Daily Archives: April 5, 2018

April 5: Treating the Symptom

Deuteronomy 7:1–8:20; 2 Corinthians 2:12–17; Psalm 34:1–22

I regularly predict that something will only take me an hour when it actually ends up taking two. I’m beginning to think that this is a sign of a larger issue: the tendency to underestimate the severity of a problem. In medical offices, this is called treating the symptoms and not the disease. In street ministry, it’s known as getting addicts off the street rather than helping them understand their addiction.

Addicts rationalize sin. And eventually, sin becomes everything in their lives, which means they rationalize away who they are. If we’re all honest with ourselves, we would see that, like the addict, we like the “gray” area far too much. We want to push the boundaries in the name of freedom, rationality, or cultural appeal.

In Deuteronomy 7:1–8:20, Moses was uninterested in pushing boundaries. He even told the Israelites to stay away from foreigners who worshiped other gods because they would corrupt the fledgling worship of Yahweh (Deut 7:3–4). Paul makes a similar point in 2 Cor 6:14: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers, for what participation is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?” Paul’s statement is part of a larger discussion on why the world is as black and white as God makes it out to be. In 2 Corinthians 2:15, Paul writes, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

Christ-followers are meant to be a good smell to the world of God’s work and goodness, and it’s impossible for them to do this if they are not living in His “light.” Corruption infects everyone affiliated with it. We are meant to bring the light into the darkness, not become part of the darkness. Interacting with culture and those who don’t believe is not the same as becoming one with culture and those who don’t believe.

When we see a symptom, we need to recognize there is a disease behind it. We’re all metaphorical addicts. The difference between Christ-followers and the rest is that we recognize the condition and seek Christ, who can heal us and save us.

In what ways are you rationalizing your sin or problems? What can you do to understand it the way God would like you to, and what can you do about it?

John D. Barry[1]

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

April 5 Dealing with Sorrow

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).


Human sorrow is a natural and healthy emotion, but beware of mourning over unfulfilled sinful desires.

Most people in our society have an amusement-park mentality. They spend much of their time and money on entertainment, wanting to enjoy life and avoid problems whenever possible. To them, Matthew 5:4 is a paradox. How can someone who mourns be happy? The answer lies in the difference between godly sorrow and human sorrow. Godly sorrow is sorrow over sin; human sorrow is sorrow over some tragic or disappointing turn of events (2 Cor. 7:8–11).

In Matthew 5:4 Jesus is referring to godly sorrow, which is our topic for tomorrow. But we all face human sorrow as well, so I want to discuss it briefly today.

Human sorrow is a natural emotion. Our Lord Himself was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). Many things can cause this. We might mourn out of love, disappointment, loneliness, or physical illness. There is nothing wrong with that kind of mourning. It is a God-given relief valve for the pain and sorrow in this fallen world, and it promotes the healing process.

Scripture gives many examples of human sorrow. Abraham wept when his wife, Sarah, died (Gen. 23:2). Through tears Jeremiah preached God’s message of judgment (Jer. 9:1). Paul expressed his concern for the church with his tears (Acts 20:31). Those are natural, healthy expressions of human sorrow.

However, sorrow can also be caused by evil desires or by a lack of trust in God. King Ahab mourned to the point of sulking and not eating when he couldn’t have another man’s property (1 Kings 21:4). Some Christians mourn excessively when they lose a loved one. Forsaking the comfort of the Spirit, they focus only on their own grief. Extreme or prolonged manifestations of great sorrow are sinful and must be confessed rather than comforted.

God is gracious to His children amid times of human sorrow. Ultimately He will do away with mourning and pain forever (Rev. 21:4). Rejoice in that promise, and be comforted by His wonderful grace!


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the ministry of the Spirit, who is the great Comforter or Helper (John 14:16–17). When sorrow occurs, lean on the Spirit, feed your soul on God’s Word, and commune with Him in prayer.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 55. How did David express his desire to escape his difficult situation? What was his final resolve?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 108). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Thabiti Anyabwile Says All Whites Are Complicit in Murdering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ron Brown / Thabiti Anyabwile

Ron Brown changed his name to Thabiti Anyabwile to identify with the Black Nationalist Movement. When he converted from Christianity to Islam and then from Islam back to social-justice Christianity, Anyabwile continued to identify with the Black Nationalist Movement and kept his name. Today, Anyabwile – a protege of Mark Dever – is a favorite celebrity of the Social Justice primarily-political organization, The Gospel Coalition, and regularly posts content there. Anyabwile regularly impugned the police during the Ferguson riots, defended the violent criminal thug, Michael Brown, and engaged in race-baiting just as vile as anything committed by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or any of Anyabwile’s fellow Cultural Marxists. Anyabwile first endorsed Bernie Sanders (he claimed at the time he wouldn’t ever endorse a political candidate, and his words shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement), but then went on the explicitly endorse Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election, and allowed his Gospel Coalition blog to promote the Democrat politician as well. During the Gospel Coalition and ERLC joint “MLK50” white-guilt conference, Anyabwile still says the pandering and patronizing of affluent whites in venerating the non-Christian and immoral Dr. King is not good enough. Anyabwile wants you to know that white people – in general – are guilty of murdering Martin Luther King and is demanding an apology.

In today’s post at The Social Gospel Coalition, Anyabwile shows no appreciation to his white brothers at the Coalition for their pandering, graveling, self-loathing and white-blaming or their honoring of the sex-trafficking, whore-mongering, bi-sexual communist, King. No, Anyabwile is using the 50th anniversary of King’s death to demand a blanket apology from all white people for King’s death. And that apology, apparently, should be made to all black people.

In Anyabwile’s view, all black people are innocent of King’s substitionary death and are victims vicariously through him, and all white people are guilty of murdering him. As we have written many times, Thabiti Anyabwile is a stone-cold racist.

Anyabwile writes at The Social Gospel Coalition…

James Earl Ray initially confessed to assassinating Dr. King. But he did not act alone. Many have long believed there was a literal conspiracy of Government actors, the mafia, and Memphis police. Whether or not you believe Ray acted as a patsy for these conspirators, he did not act alone. He acted with the tacit and sometimes explicit approval of white supremacists. He acted with the encouragement of a white society dedicated to the advantage of whites above all others and simultaneously the segregation, oppression, and exploitation of black people. Ray acted with the assistance of whites who suppressed their consciences. He acted with the assistance of anti-Civil Rights propagandists and white-collar country club segregationists. He acted with the assistance of a FBI COINTELPRO campaign charged with discrediting, maligning, and silencing voices of Black dissent. These parties acted in concert, in the same direction, against Dr. King and by extension the millions of African Americans hoping for some larger piece of freedom’s promise.

I’m saying the entire society killed Dr. King. This society had been slowly killing him all along.

Shame on all of you white people. How dare you. You killed Dr. King. Or at least your parents and grandparents did, so Ron Brown would have us think.

Until and unless there is repentance of this animus and murderous hatred, the country will remain imprisoned to a seared conscience. Until this country and the Church learns to confess its particular sins particularly, we will not overcome the Adamic hostility that infects the human soul and distorts human potential…My white neighbors and Christian brethren can start by at least saying their parents and grandparents and this country are complicit in murdering a man who only preached love and justice.

Ron Brown, or Thabiti Anyabwile, argues that our parents and grandparents killed King, and their sin still lingers in us, and so we should apologize for killing King on their behalf.

Of course, Martin Luther King didn’t “only preach love and justice,” he also had sex with both men and women who were paid to commit fornication with him, cheated on his wife, and denied the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Christ and the Resurrection (none of which deserve getting assassinated, but I would argue that God’s justice being poured out now upon King is quite greater than what James Earl Ray did to him; in fact, the last painful moment of King’s life was probably the last, best moment he would ever experience from that split-moment onward). But, I suppose it’s racist to say such thing in Brown/Anyabwile’s worldview.

So then, in Anyabwile’s anti-Gospel article at the social justice blog, he refused to acknowledge or apply the concepts of Christ’s atoning death or the imputation of sin and righteousness. Instead, Anyabwile – in a perverted sense – imputed the sins of our fathers (which is an illogical jump and unfair, if not a flatly stupid, assumption about our fathers) to us, and demands that we give him, and other of our black brothers, an apology. Of course, we have given many such vicarious apologies that never should have been offered to begin with (because that’s not how apologies work). The Southern Baptist Convention is in a nearly annual cycle of making such apologies. It’s time for Ron Brown to demonstrate the Gospel by accepting the good (and unnecessary) gestures of contrition from his white brothers and let…it…go. That’s what Christ’s worthwhile atonement (as opposed to MLK’s worthless, pointless death) accomplishes; forgiveness.

Martin Luther King is not the Savior. Heck, he wasn’t even saved if theology matters (and it does). His murderer’s sin wasn’t imputed to the white world. His death didn’t atone for black sins. Not every white person is an assassin like Ray. Not every black person is a bi-sexual adulterer and heretic like King.

That’s not how any of this works.

The post Thabiti Anyabwile Says All Whites Are Complicit in Murdering Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared first on Pulpit & Pen.

April 5 God’s Law Not Up for Annulment

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.—Matt. 5:19a

People resent prohibitions and demands on their behavior. Even believers, out of ignorance, misunderstanding, or blatant disregard, sometimes want to water down God’s standards. But when anyone “annuls” (breaks, sets loose) any part of God’s Word, he or she is not following Christ’s example.

Jesus did acknowledge that not all of God’s commands are of equal importance. He told a pharisaical lawyer that one divine commandment is above all others and that another is second (Matt. 22:37–39). Thus all the other commandments fall somewhere below those two and vary in significance.

Our Lord’s point here in the sermon, however, is that we must not annul—by ignoring, modifying, or disobeying—even the smallest aspect of God’s law. Some commands might be greater than others, but none should be disregarded. Paul did not pick and choose what he would teach. He did emphasize some issues more than others, but he omitted nothing (Acts 20:27). And we certainly must not teach others to disregard or disobey any portion of the law. To do so shows that our disobedience is conscious and intentional.

Jesus does not restrict His warning to formal teachers. By example, every Christian teaches those around him to be more obedient or more disobedient. Our words of respect for God’s Word present a guide for others. To speak disparagingly of the Word or to ignore its requirements presents testimony to others of the law’s unimportance to us. This ought to be the furthest thing from our agenda.


On what subject matters do you find yourself most tempted to comment, “I know what the Bible says, but . . .”?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 104). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

April 5, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Republicans are warning President Donald Trump that a trade war with China would deal an economic blow to politically important areas of the country that will cost the party in November’s congressional elections.

Conservative activists and industry allies are mounting an aggressive campaign to keep Scott Pruitt at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency as he confronts a storm of ethical allegations that have critics calling for his ouster.

The Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian has said the Navy should perform shock-testing soon to determine how well its new $12.9 billion aircraft carrier — the costliest warship ever — could withstand an attack, affirming the service’s recent decision to back down from a plan for delay.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval to the military to make weapons purchases worth $1 billion to enable Africa’s most populous country to tackle rising insecurity.

Boracay Island, one of Asia’s top beach destinations, will be shut for six months after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved a proposal from the environment and tourism agencies to close the area for rehabilitation.

Facebook said data on most of its 2 billion users could have been accessed improperly, giving fresh evidence of the ways the social-media giant failed to protect people’s privacy while generating billions of dollars in revenue from the information.

The White House signaled the U.S. is committed to keeping troops in Syria to fight Islamic State, a day after President Donald Trump said he wants to get out of the seven-year civil war “very soon” and “bring the troops back home.”

The U.S. trade deficit widened by more than forecast to a fresh nine-year high in February amid broad-based demand for imports, ahead of Trump administration tariffs that have raised the specter of a trade war. The gap increased 1.6 percent in February to $57.6 billion.

President Donald Trump is sending National Guard forces to assist border authorities along the U.S.-Mexico boundary, according to a presidential memorandum that the White House released Wednesday night.

Venezuela’s currency is worth even less than previously believed, with new trackers of the black-market rate showing deep discounts compared with the long-standing benchmark gauge.

AP Top Stories

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday aimed at blocking the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, saying such a question violates the U.S. Constitution’s mandate to count all persons.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley warned Wednesday that the U.N.’s failure to hold Syria accountable for its use of chemical weapons because of Russia’s opposition has made the world “a far more dangerous place.”

Iowa is set to become the latest Republican-led state to target so-called sanctuary cities by withholding money from local governments that don’t comply with federal immigration laws, even though the plan could lead to court challenges.

Yemen’s Houthi group hit a Saudi oil tanker off the main port city of Hodeidah on Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition said, in an attack that could complicate a new United Nations push to end a war that has killed more than 10,000 people.

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi told North Korea’s foreign minister on Tuesday that Beijing supports the North’s planned summits with South Korea and the United States.

A caravan of Central American migrants whose trek across Mexico infuriated President Donald Trump has decided not to travel to the US border, leaders said Tuesday.

A Pakistani political party placed on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations vowed on Wednesday to continue its political activities and participate in upcoming elections.

What’s going on in Africa? An enormous crack spanning for miles opened up in the earth outside Nairobi, Kenya. The 50-feet-deep crevice that sliced through a major highway measures up to 50 feet deep and 65 feet across at its widest point.

Russia and China are drawing closer together as Washington ratchets up pressure on Moscow and Beijing.

As U.S. government watchdogs increase scrutiny of initial coin offerings, or ICOs, Japan is exploring ways to formally regulate the process where companies issue tokens in exchange for cryptocurrencies.


Leading AI experts have boycotted a South Korean university over a partnership with weapons manufacturer Hanwha Systems. More than 50 AI researchers from 30 countries signed a letter expressing concern about its plans to develop artificial intelligence for weapons.

Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be jailed while he appeals against a graft conviction, the Supreme Court has ruled. He is facing 12 years in jail on charges of accepting a bribe but had asked to remain free during his appeal.

A gunman shot and killed four teaching staff at a university in Eskisehir in north-western Turkey.

France’s defense minister has promised “zero tolerance” of discrimination in the armed forces amid allegations of widespread sexual harassment involving an elite military academy near Paris.


Facebook said Wednesday that it believes most of its users who had a specific search function enabled have had their profile data scraped by third parties.

The Chinese government removed Bibles from online stores after announcing it is working on re-interpreting and translating the Bible so it conform to “Chinese-style Christianity.”

Gun sales soared in March amid concerns that Democrats and their left-leaning allies were working to enact major gun restrictions at both the state and federal levels.

The Briefing — Thursday, April 5, 2018

1) Theological controversy erupts after Pope Francis reportedly denies the existence of hell

Wall Street Journal (Francis X. Rocca) –
‘There Is No Hell’: An Untraditional Pope, an Italian Journalist and the Quote Igniting Controversy

New York Times (Jason Horowitz) –
Does Hell Exist? And Did the Pope Give an Answer?

2) The liberalization of Catholic doctrine under Pope Francis

Simon & Schuster (Ross Douthat) –
To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism

3) The collision of biblical Christianity and the spirit of the modern age over the doctrine of hell

Thomas Reese (National Catholic Reporter) –
Pope Francis and hell

4) Vatican attempts to bolster Pope’s conservative credibility by doctoring photo of letter from Benedict

AP (Nicole Winfield) –
Vatican doctors photo of Benedict’s praise for Francis

News – 4/5/2018

With tensions between Israel and Turkey on the rise, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recognize the mass murders of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman government in 1915 as genocide.
“The Hamas terrorist organization, which controls the Gaza Strip, has issued an order to burn about 10,000 tires this Friday along the border with Israel,” Mordechai wrote. “The burning of tires in such a huge quantity will cause severe damage to the ecosystem in the area, will severely harm the life, the flora, and health of the residents, and will add to the severe damage to the aquifer and lead to unprecedented air pollution.” “I call upon you, as the head of an international organization whose goal is to promote health and protect natural and environmental resources, to do everything in your power to publicly warn against this ecological catastrophe and to protest Hamas’ irresponsible behavior.”
Honduras President to light Israel Independence ceremony torch
The president of Honduras will light a torch in Israel’s annual Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl. Juan Orlando Hernández, who was reelected for a second term in November, confirmed his attendance at the event, Culture Minister Miri Regev announced today.

Trump Administration: Combating anti-Semitism a ‘priority’
A State Department spokeswoman said combating anti-Semitism remains a “priority” for the Trump administration, but would not say if the Trump administration would fill the congressionally-mandated job of an anti-Semitism monitor.“The position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism is currently unfilled, but the Office of International Religious Freedom at the Department of State continues actively to support the mission of that office,”

Netanyahu returns fire
“There is no end to this absurdity,” Netanyahu said. “The Iranian terrorist octopus is accusing Israel of terrorism. If Rouhani is not familiar with the acts of terror and sabotage that the Al Quds Force carries out every day in Syria, Israel will be able to update him.”

Germany’s Merkel plans to visit Trump as trade deadline looms: Bild
German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to visit U.S. President Donald Trump on April 27, just before the expiry of an exemption for the European Union from U.S. import duties on steel and aluminum, mass-selling daily Bild reported on Thursday. The twin visits would give the European Union’s two leading national leaders the opportunity to lobby for the bloc to be exempted permanently from the steel and aluminum tariffs. The tariffs are suspended for the EU until May 1.

Mossad chief ‘100 percent certain’ Iran seeks nuclear bomb
The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency is “100 percent certain” that Iran remains committed to developing a nuclear bomb and believes the international community must change or scrap its nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

Trump was right! Convicted child rapist caught crossing U.S. border
But was Trump actually right about rapists illegally crossing the border and coming into the U.S. from Mexico? On Easter Sunday, Border Patrol agents captured a convicted child rapist trying to illegally re-enter the U.S., according to a new report from Breitbart News. Gustavo Hurtdao-Juarez, 36, was arrested in Del Rio Texas, after he crossed the Rio Grande River. “The agents transported the Mexican national to the station for processing and a biometric background investigation,” Breitbart reported. “Agents learned that a Tennessee court convicted Hurtado-Juarez for aggravated statutory rape in Sumner County in 2010, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dennis Smith.”

China Reinterprets Bible For The Masses
The Chinese government removed Bibles from online stores after announcing it is working on re-interpreting and translating the Bible so it conform to “Chinese-style Christianity.”

Daily Dose Of IRONY: Mexico Deports 400 Caravan Marchers For Entering Country Illegally
One of the biggest bits of news on all mainstream media channels is the caravan of illegal immigrants heading toward the United States border with Mexico intending to demand entry into the country. But from this big story comes a heavy dose of irony as Mexico deports 400 marchers for entering Mexico illegally.

Facebook Admits Spying on Messenger, ‘Scanning’ Private Photos
Facebook Messenger scans photos and links sent by users on the messaging platform, according to a recent statement by the company itself.

IT’S COMING: The world goes for Israel’s throat
If the 30.000 Palestinians were allowed to cross those borders, instead of dead terrorists, we would have had dead Israelis. Would the world be more satisfied?

Transgender bathrooms to be forced on 4-H kids in another state
Yet another state in America’s conservative heartland, this time Iowa, is about to force 4-H – the popular, century-old, rural agricultural youth organization – to adopt the same LGBTQ transgender bathroom and other policies that have prompted evangelist Franklin Graham to promote a boycott of Target for adopting the same policies.

More than a million illegal immigrants scored California driver’s licenses, state DMV announces
More than one million illegal immigrants living in California have received driver’s licenses, according to a new report. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced that as of March 31, 1,001,000 illegal immigrants have received licenses, The Sacramento Bee reported on Wednesday.

Messed Up: London Man Arrested After Killing a Burglar In Self-Defense
America isn’t a perfect country, but it’s far better than other first world nations across the pond. Namely, ones that have odd speech laws and backwards views about self defense.

2 Years After Bathroom Announcement, Target Still Hasn’t Learned Its Lesson
…Over Easter weekend, according to NBC affiliates, a man allegedly entered the women’s restroom at a Chicago Target store and exposed himself to a little girl. Chicago police are investigating the report from a woman and her daughter, who said that the man walked in on them in the women’s bathroom, pushed his way into the stall the girl was using, exposed himself, then fled.

Judicial Watch: Records Show Obama Admin Used Millions In Taxpayer Money To Fund Soros’ Left-Wing Political Activities In Albania
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained 32 State Department documents Wednesday showing the Obama Admin gave millions in U.S. taxpayer money to help fund George Soros’ radical left-wing activities in Albania.Via Judicial Watch:

WOW! Homeland Security Discovers Rogue Cell Tower Simulators In Washington Used By Foreign Spies
A stunning report by the Associated Press reveals the Department of Homeland Security has discovered rogue cell tower simulators in Washington, D.C. commonly used by foreign spies.

WATCH – Undercover Video Reveals Ranking Democrat As Communist Black Supremacist
The Democratic National Committee’s Black Caucus chairwoman Virgie Rollins revealed Saturday that she used to be a member of the militant Marxist Black Panther Party.

The Deep State Is Desperate! Is a False Flag Bio-Terror Event Next??
The Deep State has one ace up its sleeve and it is a bio-terror false flag event designed to cripple this country. This is where the bck stops and this is the next move on the part of the Deep State.

Morrissey Savages Politically Correct UK: “Free Speech No Longer Exists”
Music icon Morrissey has launched a stinging rebuke against the politically correct state of the United Kingdom, asserting that “free speech no longer exists” and blaming totalitarian leftists for censoring art and policing opinion.

“Rogue” Network Of Cellular Eavesdropping Devices Discovered Throughout Washington D.C.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has acknowledged a 2017 discovery of several “rogue devices” placed throughout Washington D.C. often used by spies and criminals to track and eavesdrop on private cellular devices, AP reports.

END TIMES AXIS OF EVIL: Putin Creates Powerful Alliance Between Russia, Iran And Turkey For Control Of Damascus And Syria

The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran met in Ankara for talks yesterday as they cemented their unlikely alliance over Syria in a challenge to US and western influence in the region.

“Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: “ Ezekiel 39:1 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: For those of you who think we might be putting a little too much emphasis and importance on the upcoming 70th anniversary of regathered Israel, today’s article should clear that up for you. Russia, Iran and Turkey forming an alliance just this week to take control of Syria absolutely leaps off the pages of the Bible. Putin supplies both Iran and Turkey with nuclear and military technology, as well as oil and gas. All three countries are mentioned in the Bible as Gog-RussiaPersia-Iran and Turkey/Meshech and Tubal . And obviously, so is Syria which figures quite heavily in Bible prophecy. We now have a little more than 5 weeks to go until May 14, and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next. But buckle up because it’s gonna be something big. 

President Putin, President Erdogan and President Rouhani vowed to work togetherto create a ‘lasting ceasefire’, build a hospital for wounded civilians in Eastern Ghouta and allow refugees to return home.

But the deepening ties between the trio will be a concern to the US as its ability to influence the future of the country and the region wains and President Trump openly mulls pulling troops out.

Russia, Iran and Turkey have been drawn together in their support of Syria. Putin and Rouhani provide Assad with military support and Turkey has now joined their efforts because it wants to crush US-backed Kurdish forces massing on its border.

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1 (KJV)

Putin supplies both countries with sophisticated military equipment. President Erdogan recently signed a $2.5 billion arms deal with Russia for S-400 sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, which has caused consternation among Turkey’s fellow Nato members.

And Russia helps both countries on energy. It is also building Turkey a $20 billion nuclear power station, which began construction yesterday, and last year Putin signed a $30 billion energy co-operation deal with Iran.

Through these major deals Russia now finds itself in the position of having influence over Turkey as well as Iran. And these two countries in turn exert huge influence beyond their borders.

Turkey controls much of the flow of middle eastern refugees into Europe. It stemmed the influx after signing a deal with the EU in March 2016 – but if it reversed this agreement the political consequences in Europe would be enormous.

Iran has been accused of supplying arms to the Taliban by the government of Afghanistan and is fueling the conflict in Yemen.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, is an implacably opposed the Syrian regime and his administration provides significant backing for the rebels fighting it. Trump is also a staunch ally of Israel, most notably announcing the US is to move its embassy to Jerusalem – putting it in direct opposition to Iran, which has threatened to destroy the state.

Under Trump, the US has become a close ally of Saudi Arabia, whose Crown Prince Salman said this week that he recognised Israel’s ‘right’ to its land –  becoming the first Arab leader to ever make such an acknowledgement.

He compared Iran’s Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Hitler.

At the summit on Wednesday Turkey and Russia said they would work together to build a hospital to treat civilians injured in the fighting in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

The Syrian government has been carrying out an intense bombing and ground campaign against rebel-held areas in Eastern Ghouta which has left thousands of civilians dead or wounded and drawn international condemnation.

Russia and Turkey also said 160,000 refugees who had fled the conflict into Turkey had been able to return home. The Ankara summit at Erdogan’s presidential palace was the second such summit following one in November 2017 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi hosted by Putin.

‘We are determined to take Syria out of this quagmire. There will be no peace in turkey until there is peace in Syria,’ Erdogan said at a press conference in Ankara on Wednesday.

Turkish and Russian forces would work together to build a medical facility in Eastern Ghouta, as well as establishing ‘safe regions on both the Turkish and northern Syrian sides’ with facilities such as bakeries and plots of land to build homes and grow food.

‘It is about constructing houses [in the safe regions] so these people no longer have to live in tents and containers,’ said Erdogan. In a statement from the three leaders, they pledged to ‘continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties’.

‘There is no military solution option for the crisis in Syria and we need to cooperate to put an end to the war in the country,’ said President Rouhani. ‘We have to follow peaceful methods, we need to help the Syrians go back to their homes as soon as possible.’

A third trilateral summit will take place in Tehran though a date has yet to be announced.

Putin’s two-day visit was his first international trip since securing a fourth term as president of Russia last month. On Tuesday, he and Erdogan revealed the delivery of Russian S-400 missiles would be brought forward to July 2019.

‘We have made our agreement on the S-400s. We have closed this chapter. This job is done,’ a defiant Erdogan told journalists during a press conference, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Putin added: ‘Our Turkish colleagues made a request in the meetings. We will accelerate the process.’ The leaders also made an appearance at the launch of Turkey’s first nuclear power station via video link on the same day.

Russian company Rosatom was granted permission by Turkey’s TAEK atomic energy authority on Tuesday to begin work on the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant’s first unit.  The plant will have a combined capacity of 4,800 megawatts across four reactors. source

The post END TIMES AXIS OF EVIL: Putin Creates Powerful Alliance Between Russia, Iran And Turkey For Control Of Damascus And Syria appeared first on Now The End Begins.

Mid-Day Snapshot

Apr. 5, 2018

Trump Deploys Troops to Border

With an eye on the midterms, Trump is making clear the distinction between the parties on illegal immigration.

Headlines – 4/5/2018

Honduran president to light torch at Israel’s 70th, obligating PM’s attendance

Arab League wants ICC to probe IDF shootings of Gaza protesters

Israeli fire kills Palestinian at Gaza border, with more frontier protests ahead

Police shoot, injure Palestinian they say tried to ram into them

Official: Escalation may lead to another round of fighting

Israel warns of dire pollution as Gazans amass tires to torch at protest

Hamas to pay families of protesters killed, injured in March of Return

New Tactic by Hamas: Using Human Beings to Fuel the Fire

UK: Funding Textbooks That Teach Children to Blow Themselves Up

Palestinian terror groups seethe over Saudi crown prince’s pro-Israel comments

Iran Urges NAM Members to Condemn Israel’s Atrocities

Iran’s Khamenei censures talks with Israel as ‘betrayal,’ backs Hamas

Khamenei: Israel should be forced to ‘retreat to point of demise’

Mossad chief ‘100 percent certain’ Iran still seeks nuclear bomb

U.S. re-ups commitment to Israeli security while Iran tries to settle in Syria

PM says Rouhani’s claim Israel supporting terrorists in Syria is ‘absurd’

Putin, Erdogan and Rohani Discuss Syria’s Future in Ankara

Iran, Russia and Turkey plan Syria’s future as Trump seeks an exit

Trump advisers urge against hasty American retreat from Syria

US officials: Trump-Netanyahu call grew tense over plans to leave Syria

Trump agrees to keep US troops in Syria a ‘little longer,’ but wants out

Haley Assails Assad Regime’s Use of Chemical Weapons, Amid Uncertainty Over Trump’s Stance on Syria

Islamic State militants renew loyalty pledge to ‘caliph’ Baghdadi

Lebanon seeks billions at Paris conference to boost troubled economy

US urges Houthis to cease escalation in Yemen after tanker attack

Houthi militias pushing women, children to the frontlines

Bahrain discovers offshore oilfield ‘containing 80bn barrels’

Pro-Trump South Korean conservatives want tougher policy toward Kim Jong Un

South Korean military says fighter jet crashes on mountain

South Korea’s top university promises it’s not working on ‘killer robots’ despite new AI weapons lab

Elon Musk joins other experts in call for global ban on killer robots

China Military Tells Russia ‘We’ve Come to Support You’ Against U.S.

China, holding Treasuries, keeps ‘nuclear option’ in U.S. trade war

Fear of ‘disastrous situation’ in farm economy as China targets huge US soybean business

Kremlin: We’ll wait to see if US hits Russian tycoons with sanctions

Venezuela’s Currency Is Doing Even Worse Than Previously Thought

Angry Venezuelans tell Maduro they’d rather clean America’s toilets than stay in their country

‘A point of crisis’: Trump orders troops deployed to border

Trump to sign proclamation sending National Guard to the border immediately

National Guard troops sent to the Texas-Mexico border to stay indefinitely

Most border-state governors back Trump’s National Guard plan

More than a million illegal immigrants scored California driver’s licenses, state DMV announces

When it comes to news, America is in a state of ‘pure polarization,’ physicist says

Pledging to carry on his mission, thousands mark 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death

NATO chief says alliance is not trying to isolate Russia

Russia calls diplomat expulsions ‘mockery’ of the law

Kremlin calls Facebook’s removal of Russian media accounts censorship

Australia launches investigation into Facebook over data scandal

Facebook says data leak hits 87 million users, widening privacy scandal

Anyone Who Has Ever Used Facebook May Have Had Their Data Hijacked, Mark Zuckerberg Admits

Why Google – not Facebook – should be your main concern

Delta, Sears are part of credit card data breach at tech firm

As Trump Bashes Amazon, the Government Increasingly Relies on It

Police: YouTube shooter was calm in interview before attack

Obama State Dept used taxpayer dollars to fund George Soros group’s political activities in Albania, watchdog group says

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Tarragona, Philippines

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Iquique, Chile

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Mid-Indian Ridge

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Grande Anse, Guadeloupe

Kirishimayama volcano on Japan erupts to 33,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

Record-breaking, ‘ridiculous’ April cold and snow set to hit northeastern U.S. this weekend

“Zombie-like” raccoons: Police probe calls about raccoons acting strangely in daytime

Bulgaria reports second bird flu outbreak in a month

Patients At Risk For HIV, Hep B After Sterilization Breach At Porter Hospital

2 Years After Bathroom Announcement, Target Still Hasn’t Learned Its Lesson

Man Exposed Himself to Child in South Loop Target Restroom

Chinese Government Reinterpreting The Bible For The Masses

ApostasyWatch Daily News

Mike Ratliff – Conversion and regeneration

Prosecutors lay out case against former Charlotte televangelist Todd Coontz

MEpostle MElvin Thompson III – The Apostle of Me – God Serves to Promote You

Navy chaplain fired after he’s caught on video having sex at a New Orleans bar

Some DFW Musicians Spend Their Sunday Mornings at Church — Hung Over From Secular Gigs

Cecile Richards Confirms She Declined Ivanka Trump’s Compromise on Planned Parenthood Funding
Jared and Ivanka trump offered to maintain funding for Planned Parenthood if they would stop doing abortions

Russia warns US to put an end to military action in Korean Peninsula immediately!

Posted: 05 Apr 2018 07:19 AM PDT

Russia warns US to put an end to military action in Korean Peninsula immediately!According To reports from multiple sources, The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday said it wanted the United States to immediately halt all military activity on the Korean Peninsula. The United States

and South Korea this month resume joint military drills.  RIA cited the foreign ministry as saying such war games did not help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula. MORE 

Trump Drops Push for Immediate Withdrawal of Troops From Syria

Posted: 05 Apr 2018 06:24 AM PDT

Trump Drops Push for Immediate Withdrawal of Troops From SyriaPresident Trump has instructed his military commanders to quickly wrap up the American military operation in Syria so that he can bring troops home within a few months, senior administration officials said on Wednesday. He dropped his insistence on an immediate withdrawal, they said, after commanders told him they needed time to complete their mission.  The president’s decision to keep the 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria for the immediate future came in a meeting of the National Security

Council in the White House Situation Room on Tuesday, hours after Mr. Trump had told a roomful of reporters that “it’s time” to bring American forces home from a conflict that has been a crucial battlefield in the fight against the Islamic State.  At the meeting, Mr. Trump’s top military advisers told him they had  drawn up plans to pull American troops out of Syria immediately. But they also presented a plan for the forces to stay longer to clean out the residual pockets of Islamic State fighters and to train local forces to stabilize the liberated territory so that the group could not regain a foothold. READ MORE

DAYS OF LOT: Transgender bathrooms to be forced on 4-H kids in another state

Posted: 05 Apr 2018 06:15 AM PDT

DAYS OF LOT: Transgender bathrooms to be forced on 4-H kids in another stateYet another state in America’s conservative heartland, this time Iowa, is about to force 4-H – the popular, century-old, rural agricultural youth organization – to adopt the same LGBTQ transgender bathroom and other policies that have prompted evangelist Franklin Graham to promote a boycott of Target for adopting the same policies.   Earlier this week, WND exclusively reported on a multi-pronged, state-by-state movement to impose radical transgender policies on the nation’s 4-H youth

organizations.Although 4-H is administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or NIFA,  an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is overseen and guided by “a network of 100 public universities,” specifically their extension services. But these universities also comprise the source of a coordinated and, until now, below-the-radar push to impose on 4-H highly controversial LGBTQ policies – including the mandatory use of exotic transgender pronouns and the admission of biological males into female restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa.  READ MORE


CDC continues to warn of new deadly germ spreading across US that is antibiotic resistant

Posted: 05 Apr 2018 06:10 AM PDT

CDC continues to warn of new deadly germ spreading across US that is antibiotic resistantThere’s a newer and stronger germ popping up across the US and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this “nightmare bacteria” has an unusual resistance to antibiotics. “When we talk about ‘nightmare bacteria,’ what we’re talking about are bacteria that are especially difficult to treat,” Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, associate director for Healthcare Associated Infection and Prevention

Programs at the CDC, said. “We either have a very limited number of antibiotics left to treat these infections or in some cases, we don’t have any antibiotics at all,” he continued. “So they’re dangerous from that standpoint. They pose a very serious risk to patients who get these infections and they can also spread.” READ MORE

PROPHETIC PREVIEW: Leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey hold meeting together

Posted: 05 Apr 2018 05:56 AM PDT

PROPHETIC PREVIEW: Leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey hold meeting togetherIranian President Hassan Rouhani, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in in Ankara on Wednesday for a three-way summit on the Syrian conflict. The leaders were determined to speed up efforts to ensure “calm on the ground” in Syria, and to protect civilians in “de-escalation areas,” according to a joint statement posted on Rouhani’s presidential website. The three  countries are working together to try to reduce the violence in Syria despite supporting opposing sides in the war.

Russia and Iran are Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest backers, while Turkey supports anti-Assad insurgents.  Despite their differences Iran, Russia and Turkey are three of the major powers involved in a conflict whose course has been largely defined by foreign interventions, and their influence could increase further if the United States pulls out. Rouhani blamed the United States for backing Islamic State militants in Syria and called on all countries to respect the independence of its main Arab ally in the Middle East. READ MORE

Scientists fear secret killer robot army could destroy humanity…

Posted: 05 Apr 2018 05:43 AM PDT

Scientists fear secret killer robot army could destroy humanity…A top South Korean university is secretly developing a killer Artificial Intelligence robot army that could destroy humanity, scientists fear.  KAIST university allegedly launched a new AI weapons lab in February, leading dozens of researchers to believe the products will “have the potential to be weapons of terror”.  Toby Walsh, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, organised the boycott

with 49 other researchers. He said in an open letter: “If developed, autonomous weapons will … permit war to be fought faster and at a scale great than ever before. “They will have the potential to be weapons of terror.” KAIST said it had “no intention to engage in development of lethal autonomous weapons systems and killer robots”. READ MORE

China warns that Trump will learn painful lesson soon enough

Posted: 05 Apr 2018 05:37 AM PDT

China warns that Trump will learn painful lesson soon enoughChinese state media hailed their leaders’ quick counteroffensive in the brewing trade war with the U.S. and said America would learn a “painful lesson” by tangling with China.  The articles and editorials across the Communist Party’s media stable came even as the country started a long holiday weekend. They emphasized that China was acting only in self-defense, and that the Trump administration’s move to levy a 25 percent tariff on about 1,300 types of Chinese imports was opposed by many in the U.S.

“As China deploys its counterattack, the pleasure that the U.S. achieved from those tariffs will now cause them suffering as their financial and political gains diminish to zero,” the Global Times wrote in an editorial Thursday. The tabloid, which sometimes takes more hawkish positions, has run five editorials on the trade issue since Monday.China said on Wednesday said it would levy an additional 25 percent tariff on about $50 billion of U.S. imports, matching the scale of proposed U.S. tariffs announced the day  before. The U.S. is allowing 60 days for public feedback, leaving room for talks. China has said its tariffs will take effect when the U.S. ones do. READ MORE

China holding Treasuries, Keeps ‘nuclear option’ in trade war…

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 06:59 PM PDT

China holding Treasuries, Keeps ‘nuclear option’ in trade war…It took China just 11 hours to retaliate against the United States for proposing tariffs on some 1,300 Chinese products, but Chinese officials are holding back on taking aim at their largest American import: government debt.  In a tit-for-tat response to the Trump administration’s plan for 25 percent duties on $50 billion of Chinese imports, China hit back with its own list of similar duties on key American imports including soybeans, planes, cars, beef and chemicals. But officials signaled no interest for now in

bringing their vast holdings of U.S. Treasuries to the fight. China held around $1.17 trillion of Treasuries as of the end of January, making it the largest of America’s foreign creditors and the No. 2 overall owner of U.S. government bonds after the Federal Reserve. Any move by China to chop its Treasury portfolio could inflict significant harm on U.S. finances and global investors, driving bond yields higher and making it more costly to finance the federal government. READ MORE

The Danger Of Allowing Unbelief To Take Root In Your Life!

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 06:41 PM PDT

The Danger Of Allowing Unbelief To Take Root In Your Life!(By Ricky Scaparo) In today’s broadcast we discuss how unbelief is a dangerous stronghold that prevents and hinders many breakthroughs and blessings in the lives of believers today.

Trump sending National Guard to Mexico border immediately

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 05:29 PM PDT

Trump sending National Guard to Mexico border immediatelyPresident Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday night to send the National Guard to the southern border immediately, a senior White House official told Fox News, in response to what the administration described as an “unacceptable” flow of drugs, criminal activity and illegal immigrants.  Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the White House press briefing that the signing would be done in conjunction with governors and that the administration hoped the deployment would begin

“immediately.”  “Despite a number of steps this administration has taken…we continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity transnational criminal organizations and illegal immigration flow across our border,” she said.  “The president has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy our National Guard to our southwest border to assist the border patrol,” she said. READ MORE

Scientists warn that giant crack opening in Africa could be “Earth-Changing”

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 05:23 PM PDT

Scientists warn that giant crack opening in Africa could be “Earth-Changing”Alarming reports are coming out of Africa that a 50-foot-deep crack that has developed in the earth across many miles actually could end up – eventually – splitting the continent into two parts.  The crack has appeared along Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, and runs from Somalia, in the northeast part of the continent, hundreds of miles down to South Africa, they say. CBS

explained it opened “suddenly” and “many scientists believe it could end up breaking Africa’s continent apart.  The Washington Examiner say scientists suggest it is an indication of tectonic plate movement.  CBS quoted Smithsonian geologist Ben Andrews with the comment, “We’re seeing a crack that in all likelihood formed over many thousands of years or hundreds of thousands of years.”  READ MORE


Ohio Sued For Refusing to Allow Transgender People to ‘Correct’ Their Birth Certificates

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 11:56 AM PDT

Ohio Sued For Refusing to Allow Transgender People to ‘Correct’ Their Birth CertificatesThe state of Ohio is being sued on behalf of a few transgender persons who are demanding that they be able to change their birth certificates to reflect their “gender identity.” The state’s unwillingness to do so violates their constitutional rights, the plaintiffs argue.  In a lawsuit filed last week by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union, the four transgender individuals

— three men and one woman — claim that the state’s refusal to allow them to have new birth certificates coerces them into endorsing the “government’s position as to their own gender, as well as on the meaning of gender generally, through the birth certificate they must show to others.” The government’s position is therefore an infringement on their free speech rights guaranteed by the first Amendment, the lawsuit maintains.  READ MORE

China Military Tells Russia ‘We’ve Come to Support You’ Against U.S.

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 11:48 AM PDT

China Military Tells Russia ‘We’ve Come to Support You’ Against U.S.China’s military leadership has pledged its support to Russia as tensions between Moscow and the West further deteriorate into diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and dueling defense drills.  In his first visit to Russia, newly appointed Chinese Defense Minister Wei Feng attended the seventh Moscow International Security Conference accompanied by a delegation of other high-level military officials. Emphasizing that his trip was coordinated directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Wei

said that he had two major messages for Russia at a time when both nations were attempting to modernize their armed forces and strengthen their hands in global affairs in spite of U.S. fears. “I am visiting Russia as a new defense minister of China to show the world a high level of development of our bilateral relations and firm determination of our armed forces to strengthen strategic cooperation,” Wei said at a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency. READ MORE

‘Jesus Has Changed my Life’: Justin Bieber Shares His Powerful Easter Testimony

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 11:45 AM PDT

‘Jesus Has Changed my Life’: Justin Bieber Shares His Powerful Easter TestimonyPop star Justin Bieber has become increasingly vocal about his Christian faith in recent years, and this Easter, he wanted to set something straight: Easter is about one thing only, and that’s Jesus Christ. In an Easter Instagram post, the singer declared that “Jesus has changed my life.”  “Easter is not about a bunny, its a reminder that my Jesus died on the cross for my sins and then rose from the dead

defeating death!” he wrote. “I believe this happened and it changes everything! I am set free from bondage and shame.” Bieber has started attending Church on a regular basis and has formed a close bond with several high-profile pastors such as Hillsong NYC’s Carl Lentz and LA-based “Zoe Church” leader Chad Veach. READ MORE

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Luther: On the Emergents and Seeker Sensitives

Whatever departs from the word of God (which is the only way, as Christ says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” [John 14:6]), however well and beautifully it may glitter, is without question error, lie, and death. It is without the word of God, that is, without the way, the truth, and the life. And what need would we have of the word if we could find ways for ourselves without it? For the word alone is the lamp to our feet, and the light to our path [Ps. 119:105], which, as St. Peter says, shines in the darkest place of this world [2 Pet. 1:19]. Whoever does not hold it constantly and steadfastly before his eyes—where else can he go but into darkness? The light therefore is there in the darkness so that we can guide ourselves by it. — Martin Luther

Source: Luther: On the Emergents and Seeker Sensitives

Herescope: Did Hell Disappear?

Creating A “Low-Intensity Faith”

The Wall Street Journal wrote last week that “Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, a friend and frequent interviewer of the pope, reported that the pontiff had denied the existence of hell.”

Sinners who die without achieving eternal salvation “are not punished,” the pope said, according to an article by Mr. Scalfari in the Itlaian newspaper La Repubblica. “There is no hell; there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”[1]

Predictably the Vatican would later release a statement that partially denied the report, but also “stopped short of a specific denial.”[2] This clever dialectic maneuver is a perfect example of two steps forward, one step back. Now the issue of hell is on the table and up for debate, once again illustrating how the Pope Francis has “shaken up perceptions of Catholic doctrine.”[3]

The Pope is merely following in the steps of other theologians and leaders who have professed orthodoxy out of one side of their mouth while teaching new doctrine.[4]Their strategies appear to be the same. The Wall Street Journal’s Vatican correspondent, Francis X. Rocca, describes it:

For more conservative critics, the pope’s approach amounts to promotion of a “low-intensity Catholicism that can be easily welcomed by those far from the faith and even hostile to it,” said Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert who writes for Italy’s L’Espresso magazine.[5]

An Editorial by Pastor Jim Jenkins

The nun turned her back on the class. (We were still not safe from scrutiny… we all knew she also had eyes in the back of her head.) Jimmy Cummings could make these strange voices and sounds and get us giggling… and then when the good sister turned around to find the culprit, Jimmy could instantly take on the countenance of a cherub and someone else would be blamed. His unique ability served him well. He is now Voice Actor Jim Cummings… the voice of Winnie the Pooh!

I digress… Back to what the nun had written on the green blackboard. She took the pointer, a weapons grade staff with a rubber tip that looked like a ballistic missile, and pronounced the phrase she had written:

Ex Cathedra 

She then went on to explain that whenever the Pope was seated in the chair (also called the throne of St. Peter) whatever he said was infallible. He was not to be questioned for he was speaking in the place of God. The Latin phrase ex cathedra means “from or out of the chair”

There was another Latin term we would learn:


Imprimatur was the term used to describe the authority of the Church when it came to anyone publishing anything that had to do with the teachings of the Church. It was an official endorsement or sanction… a seal of approval. Yet another Latin phrase would be the official Imprimatur:

Nihil Obstat

It means “Nothing is in the way or is unacceptable or offensive.”

Two days ago, I was listening to a national talk show. I actually got on the air and was able to engage the host on a topic that is important to me… how the media is intentionally trying to undermine our values and beliefs. After the conversation and just before the commercial break, the host teased the topic for the next segment:

“Stick around folks, did you hear the Pope said there is no Hell?”

The current Pope has made numerous remarks that seem to confute not only Catholic Dogma, but the Bible itself. He took a lot of heat when he opined about the whole issue of homosexuality. “Who am I to judge?” I mean no disrespect, but I said out loud when I heard it, “I know who you are… You are Vicar of Christ on earth, the unquestionable representative of God to over a billion people. You sit on a throne, and utter remarks that are deemed to be infallible. You and those who rule with you can excommunicate people, hence cut them off from the means of grace… ergo consigning them to the Hell you said is not what the Bible describes, and Jesus believed to be real. In the New Testament, Jesus mentioned the word Hell more than He did Heaven.”

The implications of all this are far reaching. What else in the Bible will be deemed to be inaccurate or false? Does the word infallible mean… sometimes or ‘sort of’? And what of all the tormented souls who died believing that they were damned to Hell? The Pope is reported to have said that the unrepentant ones don’t go to Hell. They just disappear. The Bible describes torment that never ends… a Dante’s inferno.

There is an angst that is palpable in our world… Constitutions mean nothing. Vows mean even less than nothing and we, lemming-like, rush to fall into the abyss as the institutions of power in our country disassemble all that was based on God’s word.

Listen to this noble school mission statement:  

“Christo et Ecclesia”

For Christ and the Church! This is the founding mission statement of Harvard! Princeton had this lofty goal for its students, To know God in Jesus Christ… to live a godly sober life.”[6]

God said, “For I am the Lord. I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”(Malachi 3:6) The writer to the Hebrews said under the unction of The Holy Spirit, “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!” (Hewbrews 10:31) We have for a long time meekly submitted to the abandonment of the very notion there is such a thing as Truth. One writer quipped “God created man in his own image and likeness… and now man has returned the favor.”

I remember preaching a message years ago in which I talked about the Bible’s use of the word authority. Now for Catholics, authority rests in a man who speaks ex cathedra… from the chair. For those who rule us politically their authority can be described as ex officio… out of the office they hold. But for the believer in Jesus, the authority that He grants us is based on our relationship with Him. The word translated authority in the Greek is exousia. It is a derivative of the verb “to be” It can be rendered ‘Out of who I AM’.

Is there a Hell? Is it how the Bible describes it? I read in the Bible that there is a hell and that Jesus affirmed it and warned that some will go there. I have staked my life on its veracity.

I hold that the answer does not rest with a man, or an organization, or a tradition. The Bible says, “All Scripture is God breathed.” (1 Timothy 3:16) “Heaven and earth shall pass away,” said Jesus, “but My Words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33) That is proof enough for me.

The Truth:

For the truth about hell, see Pastor Larry DeBruyn’s excellent article, “An Imaginary Cosmic Reality,”[7] where he refutes the denial of hell. Here is a brief excerpt:

Many, even Christians, reject the teaching of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles regarding the eternal punishment of the wicked. They point out that no biblical word expresses the concept of “eternity,” but only “a long period”or “remotest time” (Hebrew ‘olam) or “age” (Greek aion). They argue that because of these words’ multifaceted meanings there is no word in Scripture expressing a forever category of time. Therefore it is presumptuous for anyone to think hell will never end. But the Apostle John describes the state of being consigned to the Lake of Fire as one of being “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). The time frame expressed is in multiples of forever-s, one of ages of ages. These multiples of ages is the longest concept of time the Greek language, or perhaps any language, can express (Greek plurals, eis tous aionas ton aionon, Revelation 20:10). Combined with “day and night” (Greek, hemeras kai nyktos), “for ever and ever” nuances a timeless existence in which 24/7, for ages of ages, the unholy trinity—the beast, the false prophet, the devil—and others will be confined. Together, the clauses express the “the unbroken continuity of their torment” in perpetuity.

“And I say unto you my friends,
Be not afraid of them that kill the body,
and after that have no more that they can do.
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear:
Fear Him, which after He hath killed
hath power to cast into hell;
 I say unto you, Fear Him.” 
(Jesus, Luke 12:4-5)
“Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto
 the Father, but by Me.”
(John 14:6)

1. Francis X. Rocca,  “Shifting lines: Pope’s Uncertainty Principle,” The Wall Street Journal, March 31-April 1, 2018, p. A9.
2. Ibid
3. Ibid.
4. See Pastor Larry DeBruyn’s “Love Loses,” a review of Rob Bell’s book Love Winshttp://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/05/love-loses.html and his article “An Imaginary Cosmic Reality” reviewing Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About Godhttp://herescope.blogspot.com/2017/06/an-imaginary-cosmic-reality.html
5. Rocca, Ibid.
6. Everett Piper, The Wrong Side of the Door, p. 23.
7. http://herescope.blogspot.com/2017/06/an-imaginary-cosmic-reality.html

April 5, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” (4:4)

Sabbath rest was instituted as a symbol of the true rest to come in Christ. That is why the Sabbath could be violated by Jesus, and completely set aside in the New Testament. When the true Rest Land came, the symbol was useless. “Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:16–17).

Adam and Eve were completely righteous when they were created. They walked and talked with God as regularly and as naturally as they walked and talked with each other. They were at rest, in its original and its fullest sense. They relied on God for everything. They had no anxieties, no worries, no pain, no frustrations, no heartaches. They did not need God’s forgiveness, because they had no sin to be forgiven of. They did not need His consolation, because they were never grieved. They did not need His encouragement, because they never failed. They only needed His fellowship, because they were made for Him. This was their “rest” in God. God completed His perfect work and He rested. They were His perfect work and they rested in Him.

But something terrible happened. When Satan began to impugn God’s word and integrity and love, Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan. They trusted him rather than God. And when they lost their trust in God, they lost His rest. And from that time until now, man apart from God not only has been sinful but restless. The entire purpose of the Bible and the entire working of God in human history have one theme: bringing man back into His rest.

To accomplish that, God had to remove the barrier to their rest, the barrier which separated them from Him. He sent His Son to do just that, to provide again for man’s rest in His Creator. Through Christ’s death men are again offered life. Rest is another name for life, life as God meant it to be. Even the people who lived before Jesus were saved on the basis of what God was going to do through His Son. Christ bore sins past and future, and through Him God’s rest has been available to anyone who believes.

Those who sinned while wandering in the wilderness not only forfeited Canaan. Unless they exercised personal faith in God sometime during the forty years, they also forfeited eternal life—of which Canaan was only a symbol.[1]

4:4 / Again our author shows little concern with the human author of Scripture (he has spoken) or even the location (somewhere) of the quotation. The quotation closely follows Genesis 2:2 according to the lxx and is used here to substantiate the argument of the preceding verse. Seventh day thus became in itself an expression for rest. This is more evident from the underlying Hebrew word for “seven,” from which we get the word “sabbath” (see comment on v. 9).[2]

4:4 This verse is intended to prove from Scripture that God rested after the work of creation was completed. The author’s vagueness in identifying the passage quoted does not indicate any ignorance on his part. It is merely a literary device in quoting a verse from a book that was not at that time divided into chapters and verses. The verse is adapted from Genesis 2:2: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.”

Here the past tense is used and it might seem to indicate to some that God’s rest belongs only to history and not to prophecy, that it has no relevance for us today. But that is not the case.[3]

4:4God rested: The theme of rest has its beginning in God’s own rest after creation. The fact that Genesis makes no mention of the evening of the seventh day of creation provides a basis for some Jewish commentators to conclude that the rest of God lasts throughout all of history.[4]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 101–102). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 70). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2168). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1641). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

The Broken Road of the Social Gospel

Sin demands justice. We live in a world of sin and to be quite honest—we’re all sinners—broken sinners who can’t impress God in our flesh. Therefore, when we hear stories of people working to build campaigns to help people build huts in the jungle, put shoes on the feet of the impoverished in Africa, and feed the hungry under the bridges in major American cities without providing them with the good news of Jesus—such stories should cause us to weep. The problem with the social gospel is that it often never gets around to sharing the gospel at all.

The Social Gospel Leads to Mission Creep in the Local Church

The mission of the Church of Jesus is to make disciples through the good news of Jesus among all peoples for their joy in Christ alone. No matter the setting of the local church (rural or urban)—their mission is a gospel mission. You could start out with good intentions in a ministry in the local church, but over time it could creep over into a social gospel that does little more than meet surface needs in your community.

How many people get excited in local churches about a homeless ministry that organizes the clothing collection, labor early Saturday morning on distribution teams, feed the hungry, and go home fulfilled in how they provided such humanitarian needs without ever sharing the good news of Jesus? The same thing is true regarding clean water ministries devoted to digging wells in rural villages in Africa without telling them of the living water that comes through Jesus Christ.

This is a danger in many areas—even sports ministries in local churches that provide a nice safe atmosphere for children to play basketball and soccer without ever sharing the gospel. It could happen with a local church’s oil change ministry for single mothers on Saturday mornings where men change oil and never get to the gospel. Local churches must avoid this dangerous mission creep that majors on humanitarian needs or cultural needs in the community without first providing people with the gospel of Jesus. People who drink clean water die and go to hell without Christ. People who are warm and comfortable with good clothing die without Jesus and perish eternally. The gospel is the answer to the problems in the world today.

The Social Gospel Opens the Door to Progressive Politics

The danger in social gospel emphasis is that it often focuses on something other than the true gospel of Jesus. While focusing on the external hurts of the people in the culture—the social gospel warriors tend to avoid the spiritually dead soul that needs the gospel of Christ. Sadly, this improper emphasis leads people down a broken road through the doors of progressive politics that often talk about redistribution of wealth, “male privilege,” “white privilege,” and now—”Christian privilege.”

Many times those who have reverend preceding their name appear on television promoting better social structures, equality for men, women, minorities, and the LBGTQ persons—yet their focus is centered on social structures rather than the gospel. Many of those same people lobby for social justice change in communities in the name of Jesus without ever getting to the true message of Jesus. Often a social gospel commitment majors on redeeming a city of social-ills rather than individuals within the city through the good news of Jesus. No matter how reformed our social structures become—people will not become better as a result of social change. Lost people need Jesus—not an improved social structure.

Did Jesus meet the physical needs of hurting people? Sure he did and we must care about the needs of people in our culture as well (Luke 10:25-37). However, Jesus’ social focus was always built upon a theological foundation of the gospel. Jesus healed people to reveal their need for spiritual healing. If we know of someone who needs food—we should not turn a blind eye to the need—and we should not serve without sharing the gospel. If we have people in our community who are hurting in various ways—it would be the right thing to investigate ways to meet those needs. However, if local churches focus on the cries of physical needs without addressing the spiritual needs—our ministry becomes a politically motivated humanitarian mission rather than a gospel mission of a local church of Jesus Christ.

People die and go to hell everyday while wearing good clothing, eating good food, and living in comfortable homes with good educational opportunities. Our communities need the gospel of Jesus not Marxism or socialism or communism or any other ideology. It’s the gospel that saves sinners. Far too often the social gospel majors on social issues, complaints, needs, and cultural trends while theology takes a backseat. That’s a tragedy. Consider the reality that Jesus never once sought to reform the social structures of his culture. Jesus majored on the gospel. Remember Jesus came to seek and to save the lost—not to run a clothing pantry or a mobile chili ministry in an urban city. Serve people, but don’t silence the gospel in the process. Preach the gospel.


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