Daily Archives: May 21, 2018

May 21: The Power of Words

1 Chronicles 9:1–10:14; 1 Timothy 5:18–6:2; Psalm 79:1–13

Gossip kills churches. And gossip is always painful, especially when disguised as concern. A request to “pray for so-and-so because of this thing they did” is not asking for prayer; it’s gossiping. If you know some personal detail about someone’s mishap, don’t share it with everyone—take it to God. Entire leadership structures have been wrongfully destroyed because of rumors starting this way.

Paul warns against rumors when he says, “Do not accept an accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses” (1 Tim 5:19). How often have we heard something and been so influenced by it that we accuse someone on the basis of that rumor? Hearing something may make it feel factual, but it’s circumstantial at best.

Although Paul is cautious, he has no tolerance for leaders who sin repeatedly, especially those sinning directly against the community. He tells Timothy to “reprove those who sin in the presence of all, in order that the rest also may experience fear” (1 Tim 5:20). The fear Paul means is a good kind; it keeps people from sinning. It’s not just a fear of getting caught, but an understanding that there are ramifications for the abuse of power or lack of godly conduct.

Paul is not creating a legalistic system here; instead, he is focusing on making people feel what God feels when they sin. They shouldn’t be consumed with guilt, but they should feel enough shame in their actions to realize that they need grace—that they need to step out of a leadership position if they misuse their power. Paul doesn’t demand that these people be cast out of the community. He requires that such leaders be reconciled to the faith community and be made an example so that others don’t do the same.

Paul’s entire framework is based on his assumption that leaders will be godly; he provided details for determining that standard earlier (e.g., 1 Tim 3:1–12). Leaders who fall short must be held accountable. And above all, leaders must be chosen wisely. If they live and conduct themselves in line with God’s work, they will have no need to fear accusations against them.

How can you help establish and support a correct leadership structure in your faith community? How can you help stop any false accusations or gossip?

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.

May 21 Beyond Doubt to Hope (Thomas)

The twelve apostles included “Thomas” (Matt. 10:3).

✧✧✧

Jesus can replace your doubts with hope.

When Jesus was crucified, Thomas was shattered. He loved Jesus deeply and wanted always to be with Him. He’d even been willing to die with Him, but now his greatest fear had been realized: Jesus was gone.

Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection. John 20:25 says, “The other disciples therefore were saying to [Thomas], ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’” Thomas was emotionally spent and was unwilling to subject himself to any further pain. So he retreated behind a wall of empiricism, saying in effect, “I’m not going to believe this on your word alone. I need proof! I must see Jesus myself.”

Because of that, people have labeled him “Doubting Thomas,” but remember, none of the disciples believed the resurrection until Jesus appeared to them. Thomas wasn’t a compulsive doubter—he was a loving pessimist.

As it turned out, Thomas didn’t need as much proof as he thought. When Jesus finally appeared to him and invited him to touch His hands and side, Thomas didn’t do either. Instead he immediately cried out, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28)—which is the greatest single confession of faith ever made.

Thomas struggled with doubt because he didn’t understand what Jesus had said about His own death and resurrection, and he wasn’t with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. He failed to understand God’s Word and forsook the company of believers—two common mistakes that can lead to doubt.

Jesus doesn’t condemn you when you have doubts. Instead, He gives you His Spirit, His Word, and the fellowship of His people to encourage and strengthen you. So, commune with the Spirit in prayer, know the Word well, and never forsake the fellowship of believers. That’s how to change your doubts into hope!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the presence of His Spirit, the power of His Word, and the fellowship of His people.

For Further Study: Read Luke 24:13–35. ✧ Why didn’t the two disciples recognize Jesus? ✧ How did Jesus change their doubts to hope?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 154). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

May 21, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Friday nominated Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, as U.S. ambassador to South Korea ahead of a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un scheduled next month but since called into question by Pyongyang.

The Syrian army has restored control over all areas surrounding the capital Damascus, for the first time since early in the seven-year war, after pushing Islamic State militants out of a south Damascus pocket.

The United States on Sunday said it hopes to use strong shared interests that have emerged with its European Union partners in recent months to move forward on addressing Iran’s nuclear program, missile development and role in regional conflicts.

The Philippines expressed “serious concerns” over the presence of China’s strategic bombers in the disputed South China Sea and its foreign ministry has taken “appropriate diplomatic action”.

U.S. state and Canadian regulators have opened “as many as 70 investigations” into cryptocurrency scams, according to The Washington Post.

AP Top Stories

The National Rifle Association’s incoming president Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North has linked school shootings and other violence to using medications such as Ritalin.

Hawaii residents dealing with Kilauea’s volcanic eruption faced a potentially deadly new challenge on Sunday as lava that reached the Pacific Ocean threatened to send up laze, a hazardous mix of glass particles and noxious gas.

Ahead of a planned reform to the ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia, the country’s leading women’s rights activists have been detained and are being victimized by a “smear” campaign, say international human rights observers.

A cougar attacked two mountain bikers in Washington state Saturday morning, killing one and seriously injuring the other man. The biker who was killed fled into the woods to get away from the cougar after the initial attack and the animal chased him down, officials said.

More than 10,000 Moroccans chanting “Death to Israel” took to the streets of Casablanca on Sunday to protest against the U.S. decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) on Sunday pushed for arming teachers and reducing the number of entrances into school buildings after the latest mass shooting at a U.S. school afflicted his state.

Pope Francis said on Sunday he would elevate 14 churchmen from five continents to the rank of cardinal, picking candidates who work with the poor or where Catholics are in a minority and putting his stamp on the group that will elect his successor.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump held discussions on Sunday to ensure that the North Korea-U.S. summit remains on track after North Korea threatened to pull out of the high-level talks.

China’s LGBT advocates cautiously organized awareness-raising events across the country to celebrate International Anti-Homophobia Day on Thursday amid concern of growing intolerance towards LGBT causes.

Investigators seized a semi-truck truck on Saturday that had $90.8 million worth of liquid methamphetamine in the driver’s side fuel tank.

China’s air force has landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the disputed region, it said in a statement.

Residents of Pakistan’s largest city Karachi were urged to seek shelter as the temperature hit 111.2 F, sparking fears of widespread heatstroke during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a blow to the rights of workers on Monday by allowing companies to require them to sign away their ability to bring class-action claims against management, agreements already in place for about 25 million employees.

The social credit system in China has blocked people from taking more than 11 million flights and 4 million train trips. The social credit system is used to punish citizens for bad behavior with numerous blacklists preventing them from traveling, getting loans or jobs, or staying in hotels, and even by limiting internet access.

BBC

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has won re-election to another six-year term, in a vote marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US is imposing the “strongest sanctions in history” on Iran.

India police say they have successfully extracted 106 cocaine capsules from a woman who was allegedly trying to smuggle the drugs into the country.

Around 50 competitors have remained in Australia illegally after going missing during this year’s Commonwealth Games. Nearly 200 are hold bridging visas and are applying for refugee status.

Health workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have begun an immunization campaign in an attempt to halt the spread of an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.At least 26 people are believed to have died in the current outbreak.

WND

The average price of regular-grade gasoline in the U.S. jumped 10 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $3.00.

God loves gay people and it is fine to be homosexual, Pope Francis has reportedly said.

Seventh-graders at a West Virginia public school were asked to write the Islamic declaration of faith in Arabic calligraphy in a social-studies class, drawing outrage from a Christian parent.

The Fairfax County School Board in Northern Virginia is considering teaching children there is no such thing as “biological sex” and also that “clergy” are not to be trusted if students have questions.


The Briefing — Monday, May 21, 2018

1) Why a sane society cannot ‘throw their hands up’ after another school shooting, this time in Texas

USA Today (Mary Ann Cavazos Beckett, Rick Jervis, Julie Garcia, Bart Jansen and Christal Hayes) 
Student kills 10 at Texas school, says he targeted kids he didn’t like

New York Times (James Poniewozik) –
This Is School in America Now

2) Prayer is at the center of the conversation after shooting in community that has famously fought for their right to pray

3) Monarchy in the modern age: The societal and moral shift reflected in the royal wedding


Royal Wedding Emblematic of the Decline of the Church of England

PJ Media

The couple opted for a secular song, “Stand by Me,” performed by a predominantly black gospel choir—jaws literally dropped—in addition to old-school Christian hymns sung by the congregation. The traditional Anglican vows were altered slightly to allow the outspoken feminist Markle to opt out of the traditional promise to obey her husband.


News – 5/21/2018

World’s Largest Geyser is Mysteriously Erupting a Lot Lately

While the world’s eyes are gazing warily at the erupting Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, someone needs to be watching the Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. After being dormant since 2014, the world’s largest active geyser has suddenly spewed steam skyward (your tongue-twister for today) for the fifth time in less than two months … and researchers can’t explain why. Old Faithful gets all of the attention, but Steamboat is in the record books for its 300-foot (91 meter) eruptions that can last up to 40 minutes.

‘GOD LOVES YOU’ Pope Francis tells gay man ‘God made you like this and loves you like this’

The remarks were apparently made to a victim of clerical sexual abuse and are the most striking acceptance of homosexuality by the Catholic Church to date. In a private dialogue, the Pontiff is understood to have told Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, that God loves gay people and it is fine to be homosexual.

DoJ Confirms Inspector General Will Probe “Impropriety, Political Motivation” Of Obama FBI Spying On Trump

Update: Just a few hours after President Trump “hereby demanded” that the DoJ investigate whether or not the “FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for Political Purposes,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports that Justice has confirmed a probe has begun.

Abbas is a pain in everyone’s neck, not just Israel’s

The Israelis are not the only ones who have had enough of the Palestinian president. The king’s palace in Saudi Arabia, the king’s palace in Jordan, President al-Sisi’s headquarters in Cairo and the Gulf emirates—none of them will shed a tear if he resigns. They’ve already realized that he has no power, no vision and no integrity.

Israel, US attempt to block Security Council resolution on Gaza international force

Israel and the United States made a joint effort Sunday to foil a similar Kuwaiti-Palestinian attempt to pass a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for the stationing of an international force in the Gaza Strip to defend Palestinians from “Israeli aggression.” The Israeli-American push was intended to head off Palestinian attempts to secure the nine country majority—out of the Security Council’s 15 member states—needed to pass the resolution.

Deadly Nipah virus claims victims in India

Health officials in the south Indian state of Kerala say nine people have died in confirmed and suspected cases of the deadly Nipah virus. Three victims have tested positive for the virus in the past fortnight. The results from the remaining six samples will be available later on Monday. Twenty-five others have been hospitalised with symptoms of the infection in Kozhikode, officials said.

‘GOD LOVES YOU’ Pope Francis tells gay man ‘God made you like this and loves you like this’

POPE Francis has told a gay man that God loves him during a private meeting, it has been claimed. In a private dialogue, the Pontiff is understood to have told Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, that God loves gay people and it is fine to be homosexual. The comments are the most striking public acceptance about homosexuality ever made by a head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Putin Seeks Common Cause With Merkel Over Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday that he would stand up to any attempts by U.S. President Donald Trump to block a Russian-German gas pipeline project,

Philippines takes ‘appropriate action’ over Chinese bombers in disputed South China Sea

The Philippines expressed “serious concerns” over the presence of China’s strategic bombers in the disputed South China Sea and its foreign ministry has taken “appropriate diplomatic action”, the spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.

DOJ asks watchdog to look into possible ‘impropriety’ after Trump demands probe on alleged campaign ‘infiltration’

The Justice Department asked its watchdog to look into any alleged “impropriety or political motivation” in the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the DOJ said Sunday night — hours after President Trump ordered a review looking into whether federal agents infiltrated or surveilled his campaign for political purposes. “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

Trump Mideast Peace Plan to Be Released Next Month:

Reports that the Trump administration is set to release its much-awaited Middle-East Peace Plan next month indicate that it will come as a disappointment to the Palestinians. A report by Associated Press cited five U.S. officials and a congressional aide who said that the plan, composed by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, should be made public by late June, though the timing could change due to developments in the region.

UN Human Rights Council Approves ‘War Crimes’ Probe Against Israel

The United Nations Human Rights Council approved a “war crimes” probe on Friday to “provide recommendations to protect civilians against any further assaults” in the Gaza Strip. The resolution was approved in a 29-2 vote, with 14 abstentions. The United States and Australia were the only countries to vote against the resolution.

ISIS Leaves Damascus In Evacuation Deal

Islamic State fighters began evacuating their last remaining positions in southern Damascus on Sunday, under an agreement with the Syrian government reached after months of furious fighting, according to a war monitor and local reports.

School Holds Moment Of Silence For Hamas

The Beacon School in Manhattan is under fire from parents for holding a moment of silence for the people killed by Israel last week during clashes organized by Hamas.

THE NEW NAZIS: Muslim Gazan brags that the true intentions of the riots on Israel’s border is the burning of Jews like Hitler did

A Gazan man interviewed by NPR Wednesday bragged about flying a flag covered in anti-Semitic writing and stated the message from Gazans to Israelis is “we want to burn them.”

Outrage hits America as California high school yearbook proudly featured Islam, makes no mention of any other religion

Jihad Watch (h/t Catherine P) is reporting that the Rancho Cucamonga High School yearbook contains no pages on Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. but devotes two pages to Islam. Because it is the prevailing view among Leftists today that Muslims are persecuted, harassed and discriminated against on a large scale in America today, and that this happens because of Americans’ ignorance of Islam.

UN, EU call for global action to protect bees

The United Nation’s food agency and the European Union on Saturday called for global action to protect pollinators, and bees in particular, which are crucial for ensuring food security.

Hotel pools linked to many disease outbreaks

Here is something to think about before jumping into the pool on your next vacation.  Hotel pools and hot tubs are breeding grounds for waterborne diseases.

Northern Australia mining town demands the Health Department blood test its residents after water supply found contaminated with lead

The population of Borroloola, a remote mining town in central northern Australia, got the shock of their lives when they heard that their drinking water had higher amounts of lead than normal.

First, fountain of youth for dogs, then humans?

A company called Rejuvenate Bio is working on gene therapy for dogs to make them live longer with an eye to doing the same for human beings.

U.S. 7th-graders told to declare submission to Allah

Seventh-graders at a West Virginia public school were asked to write the Islamic declaration of faith in Arabic calligraphy in a social-studies class, drawing outrage from a Christian parent.

China Escalates Militarization of South China Sea, Preparing for War

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com China escalates militarization of South China Sea, preparing for war China prepares for war on multiple fronts

Michael Moore on Reviving ‘TV Nation,’ Which Premieres This October

…Although originally titled “Live from the Apocalypse,” Moore told IndieWire on Wednesday, “Then we decided, we’re going to be on the air for five to 10 years. We’re going to outlive the apocalypse, right? Think of this as the first post-Trump show while Trump is still in office.”

SHOCK REPORT: New Evidence of Foreign Government Meddling in 2016 Election Finally Uncovered — But it was from the UK – not Russia!

New evidence proves that a foreign government meddled in the 2016 US Election. But the government identified is the UK, not Russia!


Mid-Day Snapshot

Trump: Time to Probe FBI’s Collusion Probe

Details regarding the FBI’s informant within Trump’s campaign were leaked to the media.

Trade War Ceasefire?

China announces that it will buy “significantly” more U.S. goods and services.

Another ‘Win’ for Socialism in Venezuela

Venezuela’s implosion is the result of the policies pushed by American Democrats.

America’s Corrupt Collaborative Leftmedia

Last week, a trio of news stories reminded Americans that the Leftmedia is fundamentally corrupt.

Video: Laurel, Yanny or…?

The White House had a unique take on the Laurel vs. Yanny debate. Trump hears…

Video: My Strained Relationship With Facebook’s Algorithm

YouTube humorist JP Sears has some fun talking about how Facebook keeps changing the rules.

Monday Short Cuts

Belly laugh of the week: “We are going to take back the country we love.” —Hillary Clinton on the “deplorable” country she detests

Monday Opinion

Read Kay Coles James, Hans von Spakovsky, Tony Perkins, Ken Blackwell, Joe Bastardi and more.

Monday Top Headlines

Probe of the probe, Iran sanctions, new VA nominee, farm bill defeat, and more.

Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon


The Foundation

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” —Thomas Jefferson (1820)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: May 21

  • Justice Department to Review FBI Probe of Trump Campaign (Read More)
  • Trump’s Russia Probe Attacks Escalate From Tweets to Action (Read More)
  • U.S.-China Trade Truce May Not Last With Differences Unresolved (Read More)
  • U.S. Sends Mixed Messages on China (Read More)
  • ‘Don’t Scream’: How the Texas School Shooting Unfolded (Read More)
  • China Considers Ending Birth Limits as Soon as This Year (Read More)
  • GE to Merge Rail Division With Wabtec in $11 Billion Deal (Read More)
  • Rising Dollar Sparks Tumult in Emerging Markets (Read More)
  • An Arab Plan B for Containing Iran (Read More)
  • Venezuela’s President Keeps His Grip on Power (Read More)
  • Forget About Oil at $80. The Big Rally Is in Forward Prices (Read More)
  • Trans-Atlantic Oil-Price Spread Soars as Supply Glut Disappears (Read More)
  • Surging Prices, Rates Test Demand in Housing Market (Read More)
  • Fall of a Malaysian Dynasty Puts Target on Alleged 1MDB Mastermind (Read More)
  • The Beginning of the End of Forward Guidance (Read More)
  • Cohen Probe Trips Up Bridgewater, World’s Biggest Hedge Fund (Read More)
  • How Canada’s Brookfield snatched bargain assets amid Brazil panic (Read More)
  • Modi’s Party Fails to Form Government in India’s Karnataka (Read More)
  • China’s Bond Market Is a Real Minefield for Investors (Read More)

Headlines – 5/21/2018

Trump team still debating timing of Mideast peace plan release

After U.S. Embassy Move, What Actually Changes For Israelis And Palestinians?

Moroccan capital shelves twin city plan with Guatemala after Israel embassy move

Thousands chant ‘Death to Israel’ in Morocco, protest U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem

Paraguay president lands in Israel for Jerusalem embassy opening

The Walls Within Walls of ‘Undivided’ Jerusalem

Abbas taken to hospital for the third time in a week

Abbas hospitalized in Ramallah over severe ear infection

Abbas is a pain in everyone’s neck, not just Israel’s

Israeli envoy urges UN Security Council to reject Arab-backed Gaza resolution

Israel, US attempt to block Security Council resolution on Gaza international force

Pope says ‘dialogue and reconciliation’ needed after deadly week in Gaza

Police to be probed for alleged violence in dispersing pro-Gaza protest in Haifa

Police release Israeli Arabs in detention for protesting against Gaza shootings

Palestinian in Gaza sets himself on fire in apparent protest

5 West Bank Palestinians arrested for suspected involvement in terror, riots

Liberman calls Arab party chief a ‘terrorist’ who belongs in jail

Death toll from blasts at Syria airbase climbs to 28; rebels take responsibility

Islamic State surrendering in Syria’s capital

Syria war: IS militants ‘leave Damascus suburbs’

Islamic State claims responsibility for church attack in Chechnya

New Clues Bolster Belief That ISIS Leader Is Still Alive – And Busy With A Chilling New Mission

Report: Explosions heard at Iranian facility near Damascus

Zarif describes nuclear deal as a ‘dying patient’, Iran MP says

Iran Uses Nuclear Pact as Bargaining Chip With EU Over U.S. Sanctions

Iran says EU not doing enough to save nuclear deal

EU could compensate firms hit by US sanctions over Iran

Russia, Europe and China reportedly discussing new Iran nuclear deal

In first US foreign policy speech, Pompeo to discuss ‘totality of Iran’s threats’

Turkey reports likely assassination plot on Erdogan’s life

Saudi air defenses destroy ballistic missile fired from Yemen

Washington, Seoul discuss North Korea’s threat to scrap summit

Mnuchin says US has deal with China to cut trade deficit, will hold off on tariffs

Oil prices rise as China, U.S. put trade war ‘on hold’

Venezuela’s Maduro eyes second term despite economic crisis

Venezuela’s re-elected Maduro faces foreign backlash

With Brexit clarity, Scotland will look again at independence – Sturgeon

Britain to tackle ‘Wild West’ internet with new laws

As election probe spreads to Israel, Trump protests ‘witch hunt’ has gone global

Trump to ‘demand’ Justice probe whether feds spied on campaign for political purposes

Arizona Is Planning For Exodus to State in Event of Major Calif. Quake

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Pamandzi, Mayotte

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Pamandzi, Mayotte

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Xalpatlahuac, Mexico

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Al Mazzunah, Tunisia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecudar erupts to 15,000ft

Merapi volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Kilauea volcano in Hawaii erupts to 10,000ft

Lava eruptions from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano light up the night sky

Hawaii lava finally reaches the Pacific – only to create another deadly danger

‘Laze’ plume could carry toxic substances miles away from lava’s ocean entry

A Noah’s Ark of animals rescued from Hawaii lava

Hailstones the size of tennis balls damage vehicles in northwest China

Congo to begin vaccinating against Ebola after new cases in major city

Harvard start-up Rejuvenate Bio aims to increase human lifespan to 130 years

Doctor who slipped abortion pill into pregnant girlfriend’s drink gets three years in prison

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Preparing City For Marijuana Legalization, Instructs NYPD To Halt Arrests

Incoming NRA President Oliver North blames school shootings on ‘culture of violence,’ Ritalin

Texas shooting suspect’s choice of guns complicates debate over assault rifles

Texans turn to God as school rocked by latest shooting

Pope Francis reportedly tells gay man, ‘God made you that way and loves you’


ApostasyWatch Daily News

Ray Stedman – The Mystery of History

The False Prophet Paradigm on Display – a la Vallotton

Michael Curry & the Royal Wedding. A star-turn offers the world ‘Christianity-lite’

Why Jesus Is No Longer the Only Way for Many American Christians

Catholic Council –  Christians and Muslims: From Competition to Collaboration

How Southern Baptist Leaders Aided My Escape from Abuse

‘Your Prayers Don’t Work’; Hollywood Uses Shooting to Push Gun Control

Sentence Upheld for Pastor in Algeria Stopped for Carrying Christian Literature

Kuwait Demands UN Force to ‘Protect’ Gazans From Israel

Posted: 21 May 2018 06:17 AM PDT

Kuwait Demands UN Force to ‘Protect’ Gazans From IsraelKuwait asked the UN Security Council to “guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population,” and to consider the deployment of “an international protection mission,” the AP reported on Friday. Kuwait is a current member of the UNSC. The draft circulated by Kuwait demands that Israel “immediately cease its military reprisals,

collective punishment and unlawful use of force against civilians, including in the Gaza Strip.” The resolution has no chance of passing while the United States remains a staunch defender of Israel’s right to defend itself against infiltrators from the Gaza Strip, so that if the resolution is put to a vote it would be vetoed. However, it would be interesting to see how many of the members, permanent and otherwise, would support the idea.  READ MORE

Hawaii volcano’s two-story lava wall blocks crucial escape route, residents urged to steer clear of toxic cloud

Posted: 21 May 2018 06:02 AM PDT

Hawaii volcano’s two-story lava wall blocks crucial escape route, residents urged to steer clear of toxic cloudLava gushing out of cracks caused by Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano over the weekend formed a two-story wall blocking parts of a highway crucial for residents to escape. as authorities warn them to steer clear of the plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowing into the sky.  The active flows from some of the 22 fissures that have opened up on the Big Island since volcanic activity began more than

Watch the latest video at foxnews.comtwo weeks created a 20-foot wall of lava on Highway 137. Scientists said the new lava is hotter and moves faster to cover a wider area.  By Saturday night, the lava flow crossed over the highway, cutting off the route for thousands of residents in the Lower Puna communities, officials said.  “(Look at) how huge this thing is,” Herman Andaya with Maui Emergency Management, told Hawaii News Now. “The magnitude in the flow, and everything.”  READ MORE

Christian therapist fired over biblical marriage beliefs

Posted: 21 May 2018 05:57 AM PDT

Christian therapist fired over biblical marriage beliefsA longtime licensed clinical social worker who was ordered to be a “social worker first, Catholic second” and then fired because of her biblical beliefs about marriage is suing the agency that dismissed her.   The suit was filed by the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of Kathleen Lorentzen.

Lorentzen had asked permission from her former employer, HealthSource Saginaw in Michigan, for permission to refer a homosexual duo to another counselor for “marriage” counseling. She then was fired. Tyler Brooks, senior counsel for TMLC, said the case shows “that people of faith are under assault in the workplace.”  READ MORE

School Board in Virginia considering teaching students there is no “Biological Sex”

Posted: 21 May 2018 05:50 AM PDT

School Board in Virginia considering teaching students there is no “Biological Sex”In an apparent competition among American public school boards to see which sex-education program can be made the most graphic and politically correct, there’s likely a new leader.  In a stunning development, the Fairfax County School Board in Northern Virginia is considering teaching children there is no such thing as “biological sex” and also that “clergy” are not to be trusted if students have questions.  Within just the past few weeks, WND has reported on the Albemarle district in Virginia, which was warned its explicit sex videos to classes of 14-year-old girls likely were

felony violations of state and federal laws.  And the Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona, was warned that its proposed sex-ed program is both “illegal” and “obscene.” Now, according to the Family Research Council, comes the Fairfax board.  “Already, each public school student must suffer through 80 hours of sex ed. That’s not a typo: 8-0,” the report said. “They call it ‘Family Life Education’ but everybody knows that’s a joke. You won’t find lessons on building happy marriages and healthy families here. No, instead you’ll find hour after hour of instruction on your evolving ‘sexual identity,’ on the proper handling of contraceptive drugs and devices, and on how to give consent for sex.” READ MORE

More Americans than ever belief that Jesus is not the only way to Heaven

Posted: 20 May 2018 06:58 PM PDT

More Americans than ever belief that Jesus is not the only way to HeavenJust over two months ago, as winter landed its final blows of snow in New York City, Michael A. Walrond Jr. of Harlem’s 10,000-member First Corinthian Baptist Church landed an ideological blow of his own in traditional Christendom.  Walrond, who was named “One of the Lord’s Foot Soldiers” by Newsweek magazine, told his congregants that the belief that anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus is going to hell is “insanity.”

“There was a time when you would see people in the pulpit say, ‘well, if you don’t believe in Jesus you going to Hell. That’s insanity in many ways because that is not what Jesus even believes,” he said in a viral clip posted to Facebook. People take many paths to God, he argued, noting that he personally celebrates the paths others take in finding Him — even if that path does not involve faith in Jesus. “And so the key is you believe in God. And whatever your path is to God I celebrate that. Personally, I celebrate that,” Walrond said.  READ MORE

Ebola death count is growing and fears of outbreak gripping Congo

Posted: 20 May 2018 06:50 PM PDT

Ebola death count is growing and fears of outbreak gripping CongoThe death toll from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Congo has hit 26 with fears it could spread to neighboring countries.  The country’s government has agreed to increase emergency-response funding to over $4 million, AP reported. Ebola victims are being provided with free health care. Some 4,000 vaccines were ordered Saturday – but officials may struggle to keep them cold enough to remain effective. An emergency committee convened by the World Health Organization met but decided the

situation didn’t yet merit being classed as a public health emergency and stopped short of calling for travel restrictions. However, WHO warned that nine neighboring countries are at a high risk of being affected.  The U.S. government is preparing its most direct response yet to the outbreak that appears to have begun in April, readying staffers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to deploy to multiple communities in Congo. READ MORE

West Virginia 7th-graders told to declare submission to Allah

Posted: 20 May 2018 06:44 PM PDT

West Virginia 7th-graders told to declare submission to AllahSeventh-graders at a West Virginia public school were asked to write the Islamic declaration of faith in Arabic calligraphy in a social-studies class, drawing outrage from a Christian parent.   Parent Rich Penkoski contacted Principal Ron Branch at Mountain Ridge Middle School in Gerrardstown about the assignment, which was part of a world-religions unit, the Christian Post reported.

The assignment was included in a packet sent home with students of information about the history of Islam, the prophet Muhammad and the five pillars of the religion.  But Penkoski, the Christian Post said, was most upset with a worksheet that instructs students to practice calligraphy by copying by hand the Arabic form of the Shahada.  The Shahada is the Islamic profession of faith that declares Allah is the one true god and Muhammad is his messenger.  READ MORE

Pope Francis tells gay man ‘God made you like this and loves you like this’

Posted: 20 May 2018 06:37 PM PDT

Pope Francis tells gay man ‘God made you like this and loves you like this’The comments are the most striking public acceptance about homosexuality ever made by a head of the Roman Catholic Church.  The remarks were made during a private meeting at the Vatican between the pair, in which the Pope offered a heartfelt apology.  Cruz was a victim of Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest Fernando Karadima. Father Karadima, now aged 87, was found guilty of sexual abuse by the Vatican in 2011.  Cruz claims that his suffering was ignored by a number of Latin American

bishops who used his homosexuality to brand him a liar when he spoke out. Speaking to Spanish newspaper El País, Cruz said: “He [the Pope] told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. “God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. “The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.” The Pope’s words signal a much more open and inclusive approach by the often restrictive faith – READ MORE


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Trump will cut $60 million of taxpayer-funding of Planned Parenthood

WINTERY KNIGHT

Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood

The money will instead be given to women’s health care providers who do not perform abortions. I looked around to find an article that didn’t just report the decision, but also what PP would do about it, and how that was likely to work out for them. In cases like this, it really matters how the policy is phrased. That determines whether it can stand up to a court challenge.

Life News reports:

The Trump administration is announcing new regulations today to partially defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses of tens of millions of tax dollars. This is the second time Trump has taken steps to revoke taxpayer funding for the nation’s biggest abortion business — after yanking taxpayer from from International Planned Parenthood during his first week in office.

The United States spends about $260 million in Title X funds annually for family…

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Why I left the Word-Faith Movement — Why Do You Believe – SES

When I was about fourteen I started listening to teachers such as Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, and Creflo Dollar. I had grown up going to church, albeit a very liberal church, but these guys were different than what I was used to. They had passion, zeal, and spoke with power and authority. They taught very differently than what I had heard before, but they used Scripture to back everything up (well, and some direct revelation from God, so they said). They taught that Jesus had secured our physical healing for this life, that we had power over sickness and the devil, that we could transform our finances through our faith, and that we could even use faith the way God does—the God kind of faith. I really enjoyed listening to these teachers, particularly Copeland and Duplantis. I even was able to meet Duplantis and his wife at a meeting in Charlotte, where I gave him a letter thanking him for teaching the truth. Little did I know at the time that I was being sucked into a heretical mess. Since I did not know much at the time about orthodox theology, much of what was said sounded biblical and right. After having spent over a decade of learning theology in college and seminary (long after I left the movement), I began to realize how dangerous their doctrines really are. Let’s look at some of the main teachings of the Word-Faith movement.

via Why I left the Word-Faith Movement — Why Do You Believe – SES

What was lacking in Bishop Michael Curry’s royal wedding sermon — Denny Burk

After the royal wedding this past weekend, there was a lot of celebratory discussion about Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered the sermon during the ceremony. It was a sermon on the love of God, and Bishop Curry even referred to Christ as the exemplar of this kind of love.

Nevertheless, there are many bible-believing Christians who are less than enthusiastic about this message. I am one of them, and here’s why. The way I see it, there were at least two major problems with Bishop Curry’s address.First, the message did not address the heart of the gospel. There was much Christianese but no gospel substance. As Garrett Kell has pointed out:

The Bishop preached what may be one of the most broadly viewed sermons in history. He did it in a compelling way. But the heart of what Jesus did was omitted. Jesus did show love, but a particular kind of love—sinner-saving, God-magnifying love.

Some will surely be frustrated that I would give a critique of a moving message on such a historic occasion. I get it, but here’s the deal—there is nothing more important than rightly understanding what God’s love is really all about.

Second, the preacher himself is a false teacher. He believes and teaches that the church should support and bless certain forms of sexual immorality. His teaching, therefore, leads people away from Jesus and toward judgment (1 Cor. 6:9-11). For that reason, his is a very serious and grave error–a disqualifying error that undermines what God’s revelation teaches. He shouldn’t have been on that platform–or any platform–speaking in the name of Jesus Christ. Gavin Ashenden has put it this way:

There is a civil war raging at the moment in Anglicanism (and elsewhere) between progressive Christianity that takes its priorities from the zeitgeist, the present culture, and a faithful orthodox belief, that keeps faith with what Jesus taught in the Gospels.

This is quite a fight. Orthodox Christians believe that we are caught up in a very serious struggle between Good and evil, and evil tries to trick us and hide the good from us; usually by dressing up something corrupt which pretends to be goodness itself.

This ‘telling the difference’ between good and evil is as important as being able to tell the difference between medicine and poison. It may be the difference between life and death.

So when Justin Welby suggested Michael Curry as the preacher on this astonishing world-wide stage, he was also signing up one of the most effective street fighters for progressive, distorted Christianity who – with great charm and verve – presents his own preferred version of Jesus to the real one we find in the Gospels…

If people are going to experience the love of God, find transformation and be brought to heaven, it can only happen by experiencing the real Jesus, and not the fake Jesus we invent for our short-term comfort.

And that is the difference between the two sides in this civil war in Anglicanism…

At stake is whether we offer the world medicine for the healing of their souls, or something that will have a very different effect, and nothing to do with the real Jesus.

Some people think it is bad form to offer up critique on such an occasion. I disagree. Bishop Curry spoke in the name of Jesus and of Christianity, but he speaks for neither. To point that out is not bad form. It’s what love requires.

via What was lacking in Bishop Michael Curry’s royal wedding sermon — Denny Burk

Obamas Promise To Donate All Proceeds From Multimillion-Dollar Book, Netflix Deals To Combat Wealth Inequality — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Barack and Michelle Obama have committed to donate all of the money they are slated to receive as part of their recent multimillion-dollar book and Netflix deals to combat wealth inequality in the nation, the celebrity politician couple announced Monday. Obama told the press he wanted to make sure people didn’t think he was…

via Obamas Promise To Donate All Proceeds From Multimillion-Dollar Book, Netflix Deals To Combat Wealth Inequality — The Babylon Bee

May 21 Monday: God Is My Fortress

By James Boice on May 21, 2018 02:00 am

Psalm 59 is another psalm with an historical setting from the life of David, the great poet of the first two books of psalms. These historically-based psalms have appeared in more or less alternating order since Psalm 51. That is, when we look at the titles to these psalms, we find historical references for Psalms 51, 52,54,56, 57, and now 59 and 60. Most of these are linked to the days when David was hiding from King Saul, first at Nob, then at Gath, next in the wilderness of Ziph and finally in the wilderness cave of Adullam. As the collection comes to an end, we find Psalm 60 looking ahead to something that happened later in David’s life when he had been king for some time, and Psalm 59, which we are to study now, looking back to David’s first troubles with the king.

Read more…

MAY 21 GEARED INTO THINGS ETERNAL

Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.

Hebrews 9:14

The coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was a gracious experience of fulfillment and blessing and direction for the Christian church.

It was the continuing emphasis for believers that we must live to gear ourselves into things eternal and to live the life of heaven here upon earth. We must yield our first obedience and loyalty to Jesus Christ, at any cost!

Anything we try to offer God that is less than that really is a degradation of the Christian church.

Frankly, I would rather be a member of a group that meets in a little room on a side street than to be part of a great activity that is not New Testament in its doctrine, in its spirit, in its living, in its holiness, in all of its texture and tenor. The Spirit-filled and Spirit-led congregation will be a joyful people. Beyond that, it will be useful and caring and compassionate! I do believe that the Christian church ought to be a helpful influence to the whole community!

Lord, empower the local churches in this community to reach out in Your name with love and compassion to those who are spiritually needy.[1]


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

May 21 Christ Centered or Self Centered?

Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, This man is rightly called the Great Power of God. Acts 8:9-10

All false faith exalts personalities, makes much over men. It involves the inflation of an individual, usually by self-aggrandizement. These individuals are always egocentric, always pointing to themselves, exalting themselves, and using religious terminology to make a great deal over themselves. That is the quality of counterfeit Christianity. Genuine Christianity makes nothing of the individual. For what we preach is not ourselves, says the Apostle Paul, but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves your servants, for Jesus’ sake… (2 Corinthians 4:5). But here we have a man who exalts himself.

I remember a few years ago attending a service put on by one of the famous faith healers of our day, a man who has milked millions of dollars from earnest Christians. I attended this meeting just to hear what he was saying. He began preaching what I thought sounded like a good gospel message. He started out well, took his text from the Scripture, began to develop it well, and I began to settle back and say to myself, I’ve been wrong about this man! — until he came to the conclusion! Rather than giving an invitation to the thousands who were present to come to know Jesus Christ, this is what he said: If you want to know God, then have faith in my prayers. If you want to meet God, believe that my prayers will lead you to God. Come forward and kneel here, and I’ll pray for you. The whole direction of his message was toward himself and his prayer.

That is false Christianity. It always attempts to interject a mediator between a believer and his God. But, There is God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5); no other. Counterfeit Christianity tries to insert a priesthood of one sort or another, a mediator, someone great, someone who has an in with God, someone who has a special channel to God that other people don’t have. When you hear that sort of thing, you know that you are hearing again the same kind of false Christianity that appeared here in the book of Acts.

Thank you, Father, for the exhortation of this passage to my heart — that I should be Christ centered instead of self centered.

Life Application
Why is it sometimes easier to identify self-centeredness in others than in ourselves? Do we grasp the reality of our true identity in Christ, which sets us free to live for Him?
Related Message
For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:
The Gospel versus Magic

May 21, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Proper Relationship: Unity in Diversity

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (12:4–5)

In verse 1 Paul urges his fellow believers to present their physical bodies as “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Now he uses the figure of the body to represent the church, the Body of Christ, of which every believer is a member. He focuses on its unity in diversity—one body (mentioned in both verses) representing its unity, and many members that do not have the same function, representing the diversity. Just as it is in nature, unified diversity in the church is a mark of God’s sovereign and marvelous handiwork.

A football team may have forty to fifty men on the roster. If all of them decided to be the quarterback, the team would have no unity and no effectiveness. True unity arises when each team member is willing to play the specific position assigned to him.

Paul now focuses specifically on the diverse uniqueness and importance of each member to the body’s proper performance. He points out the obvious truth that, although we have many members in one body, nevertheless all the members do not have the same function.

Function translates praxis, which has the basic meaning of a doing of something, that is, a deed. It later came to connote something that was ordinarily done or practiced, a normal function.

Spiritual gifts do not always correspond to what we commonly refer to as church offices—such as apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor-teacher, or deacon—as the King James rendering suggests (“all members have not the same office,” emphasis added). Most church members do not have a specific office or title. But every believer, from the youngest to the oldest and from the newest to the most mature, has a Spirit-given ability to minister to the body of Christ through some spiritual gift. It is the use of the gift that is his God-ordained function in the kingdom.

In the spiritual organism that is Christ’s church, every constituent part—whether obvious and important, such as the arm, or hidden and unnoticed, such as the small blood vessels and glands—is critical to its proper functioning as a whole. So we, who are many, Paul explains, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. It is diversity working in unity and in harmony that enables Christ’s Body to be and to do what He directs it to be and to do.

Because it is so normal and dependable, the great wonder of the proper operation of our bodies is seldom appreciated or even noticed. We have but to think, and our hands, feet, or eyes immediately do what we want them to do. Because we have trained them to respond in certain ways, they do many things almost automatically. Our most critical bodily functions—such as our hearts’ beating and our lungs’ breathing—require no thought at all. They simply do their jobs, performing their divinely-designed functions minute after minute, day after day, year after year. The interrelationship of the parts of our bodies is so unbelievably intricate that medical science continually discovers new functions and relationships. It is often only when our bodies cease to function properly that we appreciate how marvelously God has designed them.

In his book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, the internationally renowned surgeon Dr. Paul Brand writes of the amazing diversity and interrelationship of the parts of the human body. Speaking of the body’s cells, he says:

I am first struck by their variety. Chemically my cells are almost alike, but visually and functionally they are as different as the animals in a zoo. Red blood cells, discs resembling Lifesaver candies, voyage through my blood loaded with oxygen to feed the other cells. Muscle cells, which absorb so much of that nourishment, are sleek and supple, full of coiled energy. Cartilage cells with shiny black nuclei look like bunches of black-eyed peas glued tightly together for strength. Fat cells seem lazy and leaden, like bulging white plastic garbage bags jammed together.

Bone cells live in rigid structures that exude strength. Cut in cross section, bones resemble tree rings, overlapping strength with strength, offering impliability and sturdiness. In contrast, skin cells form undulating patterns of softness and texture that rise and dip, giving shape and beauty to our bodies. They curve and jut at unpredictable angles so that every person’s fingerprint—not to mention his or her face—is unique.

The aristocrats of the cellular world are the sex cells and nerve cells. A woman’s contribution, the egg, is one of the largest cells in the human body, its ovoid shape just visible to the unaided eye. It seems fitting that all the other cells in the body should derive from this elegant and primordial structure. In great contrast to the egg’s quiet repose, the male’s tiny sperm cells are furiously flagellating tadpoles with distended heads and skinny tails. They scramble for position as if competitively aware that only one of billions will gain the honor of fertilization.

The king of cells, the one I have devoted much of my life to studying, is the nerve cell. It has an aura of wisdom and complexity about it. Spiderlike, it branches out and unites the body with a computer network of dazzling sophistication. Its axons, “wires” carrying distant messages to and from the human brain, can reach a yard in length.

I never tire of viewing these varied specimens or thumbing through books which render cells. Individually they seem puny and oddly designed, but I know these invisible parts cooperate to lavish me with the phenomenon of life.…

My body employs a bewildering zoo of cells, none of which individually resembles the larger body. Just so, Christ’s Body comprises an unlikely assortment of humans. Unlikely is precisely the right word, for we are decidedly unlike one another and the One we follow. From whose design come these comical human shapes which so faintly reflect the ideals of the Body as a whole?

The Body of Christ, like our own bodies, is composed of individual, unlike cells that are knit together to form one Body. He is the whole thing, and the joy of the Body increases as individual cells realize they can be diverse without becoming isolated outposts.

Dr. Brand also describes the unity of the seemingly endless diversity of the cells.

What moves cells to work together? What ushers in the higher specialized functions of movement, sight, and consciousness through the coordination of a hundred trillion cells?

The secret to membership lies locked away inside each cell nucleus, chemically coiled in a strand of DNA. Once the egg and sperm share their inheritance, the DNA chemical ladder splits down the center of every gene much as the teeth of a zipper pull apart. DNA reforms itself each time the cell divides: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 cells, each with the identical DNA. Along the way cells specialize, but each carries the entire instruction book of one hundred thousand genes. DNA is estimated to contain instructions that, if written out, would fill a thousand six-hundred-page books. A nerve cell may operate according to instructions from volume four and a kidney cell from volume twenty-five, but both carry the whole compendium. It provides each cell’s sealed credential of membership in the body. Every cell possesses a genetic code so complete that the entire body could be reassembled from information in any one of the body’s cells.…

Just as the complete identity code of my body inheres in each individual cell, so also the reality of God permeates every cell in [Christ’s] Body, linking us members with a true, organic bond. I sense that bond when I meet strangers in India or Africa or California who share my loyalty to the Head; instantly we become brothers and sisters, fellow cells in Christ’s Body. I share the ecstasy of community in a universal Body that includes every man and woman in whom God resides. (Taken from Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancy. Copyright [CO] 1980 by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancy. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House)

There are also rebellious cells, as it were, in the Body of Christ. Some are benign, in the sense that they do not destroy the church. They simply gorge themselves on blessings and benefits at the expense of the rest of the body. They become fatter and fatter, always taking in, seldom giving out. The focus of their whole existence is self-service. Their creed is: “I will get all I can from God and all I can from the church.” In their unfaithfulness to the Lord and to His people, they sap the church of its vitality and can so weaken it that it becomes emaciated and cannot function normally.

The church also has “cells” that are mutinous to the point of destruction. Through outright heresy and flagrant immorality, these malignant members openly attack the rest of the body, eating away at its very life.

As believers, we are all interrelated in a spiritual unity. Christ has designed us to work uniquely but harmoniously as His Body on earth—to be His own hands, His own feet, His own voice. We share a common life, a common ministry, a common power, and, above all, a common Head. We are endowed in countless different combinations of the specific gifts mentioned here and elsewhere in the New Testament. But it is our Lord’s design and desire that our diversity in spiritual gifts be manifested in unity of spiritual service.[1]


One Body in Christ

Romans 12:4–5

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Anyone who is interested in the doctrine of the church and senses its importance must be a bit surprised to notice how little the word church actually occurs in the Bible. It is not found in the Old Testament at all. The first time it occurs is in Matthew 16:18, then again in Matthew 18:17. It is not in the other gospels. It is scattered throughout Acts, of course (about eighteen times), but it is found only five times in Romans, all in chapter 16 (vv. 1, 3, 5, 16, 23). There are quite a few instances in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians (eighteen and nine times respectively), but then the references become infrequent again. In the New International Version of the Bible the singular word church occurs only seventy-nine times.

The explanation, of course, is that although the word church is itself relatively infrequent, the doctrine of the church is discussed many more times by other words and images.

That is the case in our text. Paul is beginning to talk about the church in Romans 12:4–5. His discussion is going to deal with church unity, the distribution of diverse gifts among the members of the church, and the way Christians in the church are to behave toward one another. But Paul does not use the word church. Instead he speaks of Christ’s body: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” This is an important text, because “the body of Christ” is a powerful image for the church. As we might expect, it is also found numerous other places in Paul’s writings.

What is the Church?

Most of us know that the church is not a building, though we say, “I’m going to church,” meaning a building, or we speak about “building a church,” again meaning a building. We know that the church is people. But how do these people fit into a particular congregation or a denomination in our thinking? We talk about the Episcopal Church or the Presbyterian Church or the Baptist Church. Are they “churches,” even “the one true church” as some claim? Are they even churches at all? And what about the people in these denominations? Are all of them members of the church? If so, in what sense? Does membership in a particular organization make you a church member? What about those who watch services on television? Or what about those who were baptized and attended church at one time but who no longer attend?

Paul’s image is very helpful at this point. For when he speaks of the body of Christ, obviously he is speaking of those who belong to Christ, who are joined to him in exactly the sense in which he speaks about our being joined to Christ in Romans 5 and elsewhere. This is a spiritual reality, invisible but supremely real. It is something that is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, and it has to do with faith in Christ, by which we become new creatures, having passed out of our death-union with Adam to a new life-union with the Savior.

Charles Colson has written a book on the church called The Body, in which he complains of a lack of definition and identity by supposedly Christian people. “The church—the body of God’s people—has little to do with slick marketing or fancy facilities. It has everything to do with the people and the Spirit of God in their midst,” he says.

John Stott has written, “The church is a people, a community of people, who owe their existence, their solidarity and their corporate distinctness from other communities to one thing only—the call of God.”

Strictly speaking, the church of Jesus Christ, created by Jesus from among all peoples, is a New Testament reality. That is why the word church is found only in the New Testament. It is why Jesus used the future tense when he replied to Peter’s great confession in Matthew 16 by saying, “On this rock I will build my church” (v. 18). This church began at Pentecost when people from all nations were brought to faith in Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Acts lists them as having been “Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs” (2:9–11).

But this is not quite the whole story. If the church is the community of those who have been called by God, as Stott suggests in his definition of the church, then the Old Testament believers belonged to the church of Jesus Christ too. This is because they looked forward to Christ’s coming and were joined to him by faith, just as we look back.

The key concept here is the covenant. This covenant is expressed in God’s call of particular individuals (and not others) and by his entering into a formal agreement to save, protect, and bless them. For their part, the individuals are required to believe, worship, and obey God. Adam and Eve were part of this initial covenant, and so were their godly descendants listed in Genesis 5. We see the idea of a covenant formally and most clearly set out in God’s calling of Abraham, with whom a special stage in the history of the Old Testament “church” begins. God said, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you” (Gen. 12:1–2). Later that covenant was ratified by a ceremony in which God foretold the future history of Abraham’s descendants and promised them a land of their own, “from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates” (Gen. 15:18; see vv. 12–21). Abraham’s response was to believe God and worship him.

We find the same pattern in God’s dealings with Isaac, Abraham’s son, and with Jacob, his grandson. In each case the call of God is joined to a covenant promise, and this is followed by faith, worship, and obedience on the people’s part. The church consists of all these people, those whom God has called from all times and from all places and has joined to Jesus Christ.

There is One Body, One Church

Paul’s image of the church as Christ’s body not only defines the church as the community of those who have been joined to Christ, but it also teaches that there is only one church. There is but one church because Jesus has but one body.

Ephesians 4:4–6 parallels the ideas we find in Romans 12, only with greater elaboration since Ephesians is essentially a book about the church. Significantly, this passage occurs at the same point in Ephesians as our passage in Romans does, where Paul begins to apply the earlier doctrine of salvation to Christian living. He talks about believers being “humble and gentle,” for example. Then he talks about the unity of the church, saying, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4–6).

There are seven important unities in this passage:

  1. One body. This is an important image for the church, because it pictures it as an organic whole rather than as a machine that is made up of independent parts. The church is not an airplane, a train, or an automobile. It is an organism in which the parts are alive and both support and depend on one another. In 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:24–26).
  2. One Spirit. The word Spirit is capitalized in this phrase because Paul is not thinking here that Christians share the same spirit in the sense that they are one in their enthusiasms and goals. He is referring to the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing us to Christ. We are all different. We have come to Christ along different roads. Nevertheless, the reason we have come along those roads at all is that the same Holy Spirit has been drawing us, so that at the theological level our conversion experiences are the same. We have all been awakened to our need. We have all been made alive in Christ. We have all believed on him. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is performing a work of sanctification in each of us, so that we are all working for Christ and are beginning to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23).
  3. One hope. Today the word hope usually means something that is uncertain. But in the New Testament it refers to what is sure and certain but for which we wait. Paul calls this “one hope” because it embraces a unifying set of beliefs among Christians—namely, the return of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection, and the Final Judgment. Another way of thinking about the Christian’s hope is to say that when Jesus returns we are going to be with him, all of us. People from all races and nations and economic backgrounds will be together with Jesus, and the many things that divide us now will be forgotten. If that is so, shouldn’t there be ways in which we reach across denominational, racial, and other barriers and work together now? Shouldn’t we be able to demonstrate our unity better than we do?
  4. One Lord. To hear some Christians talk, you would think that there are many Lords. “I know a Jesus who causes me to do this, which excludes you,” some say. Or, “Your Jesus isn’t the Jesus I know.” Well, there is such a thing as believing in or proclaiming a false Christ, who is not the Lord. We are not to have fellowship with unbelief. But usually that is not our problem. Our real problem is that we distrust Christians who are not made precisely in our mold. We need to realize that if others really believe in Christ, then the fact that we have this same Lord should draw us together.
  5. One faith. This is not the subjective faith that we must have to be Christians. Here the word is being used objectively to refer to the content of faith, or the gospel, and it is teaching that there is only one body of genuine Christian doctrine, whatever our own limited understanding of it may be. Indeed, if we are really Christians, our differences must be in minor areas since by definition we all believe the major doctrines. As a rule, it would be helpful for us to explore the areas in which we agree with other Christians before we explore the points at which we differ.
  6. One baptism. It is interesting that Paul should include baptism in a list of things that unite us since a diverse understanding of baptism is one of the things that has divided denominations most severely. The explanation, of course, is that Paul is not thinking of modes of baptism or even whether infants should be baptized. He is thinking of baptism as the sacrament in which we are publicly identified with Christ. If you have been identified with Jesus Christ by baptism, then you are also identified with all others who have likewise been baptized in his name.
  7. One God. The final point of unity is “one God.” We notice here that the first three of these points are grouped around the Holy Spirit: one body, one Spirit, one hope. The next three are grouped around the Lord Jesus Christ: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. This last item concerns the first person of the Godhead only.

Why is this the order? Probably because Paul is thinking from the effect to the cause. He begins with our being part of the church, and he asks, in effect, “How did we get to be part of the church?” The answer is: By the Holy Spirit joining us to Christ. The Holy Spirit made us part of one body and gave us one hope. Next question: “What, then, is the church?” Answer: Those who have Jesus Christ as Lord, who have believed on him and his work, and who have been identified with him publicly by baptism. The final questions are: But why did Jesus do this? And where did the idea of the church come from anyway? The answer is: Because it was God the Father’s plan. The idea of the church comes from God the “Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:6).

John Stott talks about the Trinity as the essential basis for church unity and sums it up like this: “There can be only one Christian family, only one Christian faith, hope and baptism, and only one Christian body, because there is only One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You can no more multiply churches than you can multiply Gods. Is there only one God? Then he has only one church. Is the unity of God inviolable? Then so is the unity of the church.… It is no more possible to split the church than it is possible to split the Godhead.”

The Problem with the Church Today

And yet we have split the church, or at least the visible church that people see. John Stott’s concern in the book One People is that we have done it by dividing the clergy from the laity. His book is designed to recapture a proper lay ministry. Charles Colson is concerned about our institutions and our individualism. He wants to revive the spiritual vitality of Christ’s body. Donald Grey Barnhouse, in his studies of Romans, was troubled by the way we have turned minor points of doctrine into major causes for division. He wanted to overcome that arrogance.

We see this problem on several levels today:

  1. The institutional problem. The division or disunity of the church is a problem at the institutional level, of course. In the hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” we sing:

We are not divided, all one body we;

one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

But even as we sing it, we know it is not true. Or we recite the Apostles’ Creed, containing the words, “I believe in … the holy catholic church.” Catholic means universal, broad, diverse, united. But though we may believe in a universal church, we seem to restrict our thoughts of the church to our own particular fellowship or denomination. It is this institutional problem that has captured the attention of some Christian leaders and through them has been a driving force behind the well-intentioned but misdirected and mostly unsuccessful ecumenical movement.

  1. Individualism. It strikes me, however, that today the problem is not so much our institutions, since they do not mean a whole lot to most people anyway, but rather our individualism, which I would define as hyperpersonalized religion. It is the religion of “Jesus and me only.” It is what sociologists and pollsters uncover whenever they explore America’s religious attitudes and practices.

Many people know the name of Robert Bellah, author of the sociological study of American life called The Habits of the Heart. Bellah says that America has been infected with a virulent virus that he calls “radical individualism.” It affects every area of life. People make up their own rules for everything, entirely apart from other people, and as a result they sometimes do terrible things to others. This “radical individualism” is particularly noticeable in religion. According to a USA Today survey, of the 56 percent of Americans who attend church, 46 percent do so because “it is good for you” (that is, “good for me”), and 26 percent go because it is where they hope to find “peace of mind and spiritual well-being.” Truth—that is, specific doctrine—does not seem important to these people.

In Bellah’s study there is a report of a woman named Sheila who considers herself to be very religious. “What is your religion?” she was asked.

“I call it ‘Sheilaism,’ ” she answered. “It’s just my own little voice.”

The word for this is narcissism, derived from the ancient story of Narcissus, a young Greek athlete who was in love with himself and spent his time by a quiet pool staring at his own reflection. It is a part of being conformed to this world rather than being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and it is a radical departure from what religion in America used to be, and should be. “Today religion in America is as private and diverse as New England colonial religion was public and unified,” says Robert Bellah. Clearly you cannot have “one body in Christ” if everyone is creating a private little a la carte religion for himself.

Maintain the Bond

So what is the challenge to informed biblical Christians in an age like ours? Well, the answer is not the ecumenical movement. Our task is not to create the unity of the body, above all not from the top down. The unity of the body is a given for those who are “in Christ.” Nevertheless, we should work for any valid visible expression of our oneness in Christ that is attainable, and we should avoid unnecessary divisions and even try to learn from one another in a humble, teachable spirit, which is the point at which Paul started in verse 3.

In his study of this passage in his volumes on Romans, Donald Grey Barnhouse tells how he once made slighting remarks about a denomination he considered to be on the fringe of genuine Christianity. A minister from this denomination was present and afterwards told Barnhouse how grieved he was at what he considered an unjust judgment. Barnhouse apologized, and it was agreed that he would meet for lunch with four or five ministers from this particular church.

When they got together, Barnhouse, who had suggested the luncheon, made the additional suggestion that during lunch they should discuss only the points on which they agreed. Afterwards, when they had finished, they could talk about their differences. They began to talk about Jesus Christ and what he meant to each of them. The tension abated, and there was a measure of joy as each confessed that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he came to die for our sins and then rose again bodily. Each acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord. Each agreed that Jesus was now in heaven at the right hand of God the Father praying for his church. They confessed that he had sent his Holy Spirit at Pentecost and that the Lord was living in each of his children by means of the Holy Spirit. They acknowledged the reality of the new birth and that they were looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ, after which they would be spending eternity together.

By this time the meal was drawing to a close. And when they turned to the matters that divided them, they found that they were indeed secondary—not unimportant, but secondary—and they recognized that they were areas in which they could agree to disagree without denying that each was nevertheless a member of Christ’s body. Barnhouse confessed, “Though separated by a continent, I have often prayed for these men and am confident that they have prayed for me. We know that we are one in Christ. They made a distinct contribution to my spiritual life, and I contributed to theirs. I am the richer since I became acquainted with them.” Something like that would be a very good experience for most of us.[2]


4–5 To offset the danger of individualistic thinking, with its resulting danger of pride, Paul refers to the human body—an illustration familiar from his earlier use (1 Co 12:12–31). Three truths are set forth in vv. 4–5: the unity of the body; the diversity of its members, with their corresponding diversity in function; and the mutuality of the various members—“each member belongs to all the others.” Of the greatest importance for Paul is the notion of the church as “one body in Christ,” and he often draws ramifications from it. The unity of the body is never regarded as incompatible with the diversity of the body. The latter is also very important for Paul.

The third item, mutuality, calls attention to the need of the various parts of the body for each other. They cannot work independently (cf. Paul’s classic analogy of the hand/foot and eye/ear in 1 Co 12:15–21). Furthermore, each member profits from what the other members contribute to the whole. Reflection on these truths reduces preoccupation with one’s own gift and makes room for appreciation of other people and the importance of the gifts they are called to exercise.[3]


12:4–5 / The first consequence of being “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (v. 2) is a new self-understanding. This self-understanding is not achieved in a vacuum of individualism, however. It comes only through the body of Christ. The ancients were much taken with the idea of the one and the many, or the sum and its parts, and Paul finds this a serviceable construct for the church. The metaphor of the body argues not for a pattern of uniformity and sameness, but for a unity of faith and diversity of gifts. The human body is not a unity despite its diversity, but a unity because of it. So it is with the church. In God’s economy, self-understanding comes only through the “inner”-connectedness of believers, where the many members (v. 4) are freed from competing with one another and freed for complementing one another. Christians—all Christians—are members of an orchestra; not one of them is a soloist. The believer must first know who we are before he or she can know who I am. Faith, in other words, is corporate before it is individual.

Paul does not say that Christians are like a body but that they are the body of Christ. Moreover, it is not they who constitute Christ’s body, but, in the same way that the root constituted the branches (11:17ff.), it is Christ who constitutes them. The church, then, is the vessel of Christ’s revelation and saving work, but it is not identical with Christ. Where the church sets itself in place of Christ, there it makes the mistake of “outward” (2:28) or “natural” (9:8) Israel. Only where the church exists in Christ, and not in place of Christ, where each member belongs to all the others, is the church the body of Christ.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 163–166). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The New Humanity (Vol. 4, pp. 1573–1580). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[3] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 186). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Edwards, J. R. (2011). Romans (pp. 286–287). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

10 ways to identify false teachings — Famine In The Land

By Rick Becker   10 May 2018

Throughout history false teachings have infiltrated the church.  Heresies that plagued the early church have not been silenced; instead they continue to flourish.  The “Christian” who slams the door on a visiting Jehovah’s Witness has no qualms embracing a “born again Jesus” that came to make us wealthy, suffered in hell, and laid aside his divinity during his incarnation.  These are some of the heresies promulgated by well known brands such as Hillsong, Bethel, and the host of word of faith and prosperity churches that litter the globe.  In this post, we offer some simple markers that will be helpful, in a general sense, to identify a false teaching.

1. False teachings are Man Centered

The description of this current generation is found in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and could be summed up in three words found in those verses: “lovers of self.”  It is this love of self that has been injected into scripture via narcigesis, and in doing so, the bible has become a book about us.  We become the hero in a biblical story – a good example can be found in the way many popular teachers approach the biblical account of David and Goliath.  This story has become a source for many topical sermons, comparing us to David.  We become the giant slayers, the hero of the story.  While we may certainly learn from David’s faith in God, there is a bigger and marvelous picture in the account that escapes many due to the tendency of narcigeting texts.  David is a type of Christ, who has overcome the enemy for us.  If we were represented in the story, we would be the dismayed and fearful Israelites, perhaps even the stubborn Goliath who needed to be slayed.  This man centered approach will focus on your destiny, your legacy, your gifts, your breakthrough, your potential, your worth etc.  You determine your future through your creative words that contain inherent power.  False teachings will meet your ‘felt needs’ instead of addressing your real needs. Your emotions will be tickled, your conscience ignored.  Contrary to popular teaching, our “best life now” can only be found when our identity is in Christ, not self.

2. False teachings Misrepresent the nature of God and man.

False teaching emphasizes some attributes of God and excludes others. God is loving, kind, and gracious; his love is so great that Christ died for us while we were sinners. This same loving God is also righteous, a consuming fire that hates evil and punishes sin. There is mercy because there is judgement, and the good news of the gospel is good news for those who know and accept the bad news – that they are sinners under the wrath of God.  This is the nature of all men and women, but false teachings would have us believe that all humans are inherently good, just somewhat lost and damaged, but not depraved.  We are purported to be victims, not perpetrators; worthy of salvation, not deserving punishment.  If that were true, we would not need a saviour but a life coach.  The truth is that the brokenhearted will find consolation in the work of the cross, but not before the wretched heart in all of us is dealt with.

What we believe about God and ourselves is what defines us.
A different Jesus, more human than divine, has duped thousands into believing they can walk as the Son of God walked on earth.  A new breed are so familiar with “papa God” that when he supposedly manifests his presence in a glory cloud, they whip out their smartphones to record the fog.  Where is the reverence for a holy God that should cause us to fall prostrate before him, trembling in awe?  The future of those who have such a low view of God and high view of man can only be further deception, and apostasy.

3. False teachings promote Methods

False teachings contain methods to harness spiritual benefits – a quick sinners prayer gains entrance into the kingdom of heaven, breaking a generational curse will restore health and finances, tithing will ensure prosperity, praying in tongues will ensure a breakthrough, praying the prayer of Jabez will enlarge your camp, spiritual mapping identifies strongholds, spiritual warfare will bind demons, aligning oneself under an open heaven will bring revival….and the list goes on.  Each year a plethora of new courses flood the market.  Not content with income from book sales, teachers now offer paid courses based on their latest book release.  Their revelations are touted as words for the body of Christ.  We are told that we can discover our prophetic personality, find out what our Kryptonite is, or discover the keys to success and prosperity.  False teachings place the emphasis on what you must do, instead of what Christ has accomplished for us.

4. False teachings Minimize the cost of following Christ.

False teachings ignore the consequences of escaping the dominion of darkness and being placed in the kingdom of God.  New believers are entering a war zone, yet the new gospel on offer is sold to happy consumers delighted to hear that God wants to make their dreams come true.  Better relationships, job promotions, and a bright future in this present world await those worthy creatures upon whom “Papa God” is eager to display his favour.

Jesus warned us about what it would cost, to be his disciple: Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.   For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?   Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,  saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’   Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”  Luke 14:25-33

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.   And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:34-39

False teachings offer a gospel that does not offend the natural man.  An attractive gospel produces decisions for Christ, but not true converts. An attractive gospel shuns self denial and replaces it with self-aggrandizement.  The true gospel has two effects – it brings life or it brings death.  Life to those who are regenerated, great condemnation to those with hardened hearts who reject truth: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” John 3:19

5. False teachings Misinterpret the kingdom of God

Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, but some teachings make the kingdom all about this world.  Dominion theology teaches that man lost dominion in the garden, and this is the time of restoring that dominion. The church will supposedly conquer the seven mountains of society: religion, education, business, family, government, arts, media.  Jesus contradicted this false notion: ” “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36

The idea is to bring heaven to earth – “invade Babylon” and establish the kingdom of God on this earth – something only Jesus can accomplish. Jesus told the Pharisees,  who asked when the kingdom of God would come:The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” Luke 17:20-21  In one sense the kingdom is here, in another, it is yet to come. Those in the New Apostolic Reformation are always looking for visible signs, and they do all that they can to influence society.  Bringing heaven to earth means conditions on earth should match heaven –  no sin, sickness or suffering in heaven.  Heaven will come to earth when Christ returns, not before.  God is building his church, not earthly kingdoms.

6. False teachings Misapply promises God made to Israel

How many times have you heard 2 Chronicles 7:14 being applied to your nation recently?  We have been taught that if the body of Christ would “humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways” that  God would “heal the land.”  As a result, the economy will prosper, crime decrease, corrupt officials rooted out, and a Christian nation would emerge.  False teachings claim the promises of Deuteronomy 28:1-13, but fail to teach on the dire consequences of disobedience in verses 14 – 68.
You will be taught that “all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” (28:2)  A South African favorite due to the drought: “The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands..” (28:12)
You probably won’t be taught :“The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.” (28:20)
False teachings offer the blessings of the Mosaic law but ignore the curses…but not always. Some false teachings apply “generational curses” to the body of Christ based on the Old Testament law that God would visit “the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”  Panic stricken people search their family tree to find out which great uncle was a freemason, or which grandmother read her horoscope.  The cure apparently is to confess their sins, forgive them, break soul ties, and break the curse.  This is an exercise in futility as “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” Galatians 3:13.  False teachings make no distinction between the gospel and the law or between descriptive and prescriptive texts.  This allows for misapplication of scripture.

7. False teachings Marginalize the word of God

The word of God is effectual: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”  Hebrews 4:12.
When we neglect the word of God, we quench the working of God in our lives.  The church has never been as active as it is today, yet we find ourselves in the midst of a great falling away, a departure from the faith.  God is doing a new thing – and it’s not revival, it’s a strong delusion from God on those who reject the truth. Unthinkable yet true – the only infallible source of communication from God has been relegated.  A false teaching will declare that unity is far more important than truth. The irony of course is the fact that this unity is based on what is false, and therefore not a biblical unity, but merely a crowd of deluded people.

The content of many teachings consists of well crafted stories that appeal to the senses. Unverifiable testimonies, opinions, and new revelations have replaced a thorough exegesis of scripture. The few verses that are thrown in to give the teaching some form of authority are usually out of context, and from a perversion of scripture such as The Passion or The Message “bible.”  New mediators between God and man have appeared in the form of modern apostles and prophets who receive direct revelations from God.  Their revelations hold just as much authority as scripture, and they ignore the infallible blueprint for the church in favor of what they heard from God.  In place of a series on biblical passages with clear expository teachings, series follow the vision of the modern apostles and prophets.  This is the year of acceleration they proclaim, next year will probably be a year of accelerated acceleration.  Teachings then focus on how to position yourself for this divine acceleration in order to reap the benefits – increased signs and wonders, creative ideas, great success in your business, opportunities that will thrust you years ahead, greater anointing etc.

8. False teachings Magnify experiences.

When the word of God is neglected, something else will creep in and take it’s place. Entertainment has become part and parcel of many a church program, but spiritual experiences and encounters with God have become the real threat of late.  Mysticism is widely accepted in the New Apostolic Reformation.  People supposedly take trips to heaven, receive downloads, new revelations, and new interpretations of scripture.  Teachings are based on experiences and encounters with God, angels, or visions.
This fascination with experiences has permeated the way some evangelize the lost. False teachings suggest that the unsaved need an experience or encounter with God in order to believe, whereas scripture states that power is in the gospel, not signs and wonders: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” Romans 1:16
An experience never takes precedence over the word of God: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”Galatians 1:8
The rich man in Hades thought that if his five living brothers had the experience of someone returning from the dead preach to them, they would repent.  Abraham replied: “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” Luke 16:31
Could it be said any plainer – scripture is sufficient to save!
Paul, a real apostle who had a real experience in the third heaven wrote of his experience in the third person: “and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.”  Today’s “apostles” flout their so called trips to heaven and subsequent revelations on the Sid Roth Show.  Gullible folk are mesmerized by artificial smoke, glitter, gold dust, and feathers in meetings, convinced that this is an experience from heaven.  While these are fake, even genuine signs and wonders will not persuade those who reject the truth – Jesus knew this:
 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people” John 2:23-24

9. False teachings Monetarize the Gospel

A mandatory tithe is a false teaching that makes the Industrial Evangelical Complex a lucrative business . Manipulative pastors will tell you that If you don’t give your tenth,  God will curse your money and you have opened the door to demonic attack.  Other teachings promise that if you give a certain amount during a specific time, God will bless you for the remaining year. 
As noted, false teachings misapply God’s promises to the nation of Israel.  Here is an example and this verse is used as justification for tithing: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10  This was a specific word for Israel, who were neglecting part of the law – the tithe (which amounted to approximately 23%). The body of Christ is not under the Mosaic covenant, but the new covenant.  The only time Jesus mentioned the tithe, he was addressing the Pharisees under the law. Any teaching that commands you to give a certain percent is false. Any teaching that guarantees you financial gain because you have tithed is false.  Any teaching that claims God’s will is to financially prosper all believers is false.
Ask a prosperity teacher to explain these verses: “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)…” – Rev 2:9
“For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted
the plundering of your property” – Heb 10:24
“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as
having nothing, yet possessing everything” – 2 Cor 6:10
“For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” – Psalm 73:3
Scripture does instruct us to support those who preach the gospel, and to give generously.  What amount should we give: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”
2 Corinthians 9:7

.10. False teachings Modernize the gospel

Modern man has demanded a modernized gospel – one suitable for the present time.  One result is a politically correct gospel that offends none and saves none.  Social justice takes precedence over evangelism, and an all inclusive approach legitimizes sins condemned in scripture.  Liberalism, Feminism, Mysticism and a host of other poisonous “isms” have influenced teachings in the visible church.  When truth becomes relative, it can no longer be defined as truth.  A modern gospel that questions the sufficiency and infallibility of scripture in order to appease skeptics and appear seeker friendly has created hordes of false converts. If Jesus was not born of a virgin birth, if he was not fully God and fully man, if he was not resurrected in his body – you have another Jesus. If scripture is not infallible we have no objective source of truth.  A modernized gospel is nothing less than an attack on God’s word.

via 10 ways to identify false teachings — Famine In The Land

Pope Says God Makes People Gay, and That’s Okay — Pulpit & Pen

Juan Carlos Cruz is a sex-abuse victim of the Roman Catholic church. He is the chief whistleblower in the Chilean Romanist sex abuse scandal and spent days with Pope Francis last month at the Vatican. During the three days with the Pontiff, Cruz discussed his sexual orientation (the Chilean man is a homosexual) and explained to Francis what it was like to have been victimized by Romanist priests. Cruz’ time at the Vatican occurred after Pope Francis made some highly controversial remarks, dismissing the severity of the sexual assaults and tacitly defending some of those who helped to cover up the crimes. According to news reports, Pope Francis told the man that God gave him his sexual orientation and that his sodomy did not matter because God loved him.

“You know Juan Carlos, that does not matter. God made you like this. God loves you like this. The Pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say.”

The words were recorded by Carlos and repeated to the press, according to CNN.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to homosexuality as an “inclination that is objectively disordered” (Paragraph 2398, 1997 edition). The Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (1985) cites The Vatican Council II in Dei Verbum 10, which refers to the “supremely wise arrangement of God” in heterosexual relationship, and relationship, and asserts that homosexual relationships are a deviation of God’s wise arrangement (chapter 5). The Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics (December 29, 1975) called homosexuality “intrinsically disordered.”

Francis seems to be repeatedly at odds with Rome’s official teachings on human sexuality. It’s for this reason that more than 40 Romanist leaders have officially accused the Pontiff of multiple heresies.

There has, however, been a gradual and growing progressivism in the Romanist church on the topic of homosexuality. In 1973, the first Romanist priest came out publicly as gay, Robert Carter, and he was not removed as a priest. He went on to form Dignity USA, a pro-LGBTQ organization advocating for homosexual Romanists. Beginning in the 1980s with Cardinal Cooke of New York City, Papists began to teach that it wasn’t a sin to be homosexual, so long as you practiced abstinence, the very same position now being taught by Southern Baptist Convention leaders like Russell Moore. By mid-2017, the same diocese hosted a “pilgrimage” of LGBTQ Romanists to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart for hundreds of married homosexuals who profess Catholicism. Today, Romanists all around the world publicly call for same-sex marriage and the normalizing of sodomy-based unions, with no punitive consequences from the Romanist church.

Greg Burke, the Pope’s spokesman, was asked about the Pope’s words of affirmation regarding homosexuality and he responded, “We do not normally comment on the Pope’s private conversations.”

In the meantime, the Scripture does speak to the issue of homosexuality, and it is not in agreement with the Pope of Rome. The Bible tells us that homosexuality is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13Leviticus 18:2220:13Romans 1:26-271 Corinthians 6:9). Furthermore,  Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a demonstration of human depravity and that God has given them over to this wickedness. While the Pope says that it doesn’t matter, the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 6:9, proclaims that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In reality, studies demonstrate that childhood sexual abuse is more likely – exponentially – to correlate with adult homosexuality, at least among men. If anyone made Carlos gay it wasn’t God, it was the Roman Catholic church.

via Pope Says God Makes People Gay, and That’s Okay — Pulpit & Pen

A Royal Wedding: How Bishop Michael Curry’s Sermon Was Not Royal Enough — Christian Research Network

(Gabriel Hughes – Junction City) So there was a royal wedding this weekend. Did you know that? You’ve probably had little contact with the outside world in the last several weeks if you hadn’t at least heard about it. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, an American actress, were proclaimed husband and wife yesterday during a fairy-tale wedding at Windsor Castle in the English county of Berkshire.

As you might expect, it was quite lavish: the bride wore a 16-foot veil, the couple rode in a 1968 Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero converted to electric, and they had a wedding cake worth more than I’ve ever made in a year. An estimated 1.9 billion people tuned in to watch worldwide. Yet I was not one of them.

I’ve always been fascinated by royalty, and Britain’s is one of the oldest monarchies in the world (after Japan as the oldest, followed by Cambodia, Oman, and Morocco for your trivia pleasure). I’ve even watched the show Suits a few times (it was on right after Psych) and knew who Meghan Markle was. But I had other things to do on a Saturday. Hey, it’s an internet age, and I can always catch it later.

Though I didn’t watch the whole wedding, a brother told me that Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon was great and I should listen — it would only take me 10 minutes, he said. Actually, according to the YouTube video, the whole message was exactly 13 minutes and 37 seconds long, but who’s counting (that was still considered long-winded to Piers Morgan).

No offense to my brother, but I was not impressed with the sermon. It was the kind of sermon a 60s era hippie would love. George Clooney and David Beckham had no problem being all-smiles during Bishop Curry’s repeated refrain, “Love is the way!” Anyone can say that. Elton John says that (yes, he was among the 600 guests at the chapel). As Saturday Night Live joked last night, the Bishop’s message could have been a Subaru commercial.

What is Love?

The Scripture that Bishop Curry opened with was Song of Solomon 8:6-7: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.” (I’m not sure what translation he read from, but his version didn’t include “the very flame of the Lord,” and not every translation does.)

Bishop Curry went on to say that we were made for love. “Ultimately, the source of love is God himself,” he said, “the source of all of our lives. There’s an old medieval poem that says, ‘Where true love is found, God himself is there.’” Is that correct? Surely it is! The Bible says, “God is love.” The Bishop went on to quote that passage as well, saying those who do not love do not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-8).

But again, anyone can believe that and not have to give up much to believe it. Without clarifying what godly love is, a person will believe that whatever they love must be of God. You can sleep with your boyfriend or girlfriend outside of marriage, and God is alright with that as long as you love each other. Hey, a man can sleep with another man as long as they love each other.

Lest you think I’m being hyper-critical of Bishop Curry’s sermon, that’s exactly what he believes. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, an Episcopal priest, is a gay-rights activist. Why else would Vanity Fair be so praising of him? Or the leftist Vox.com, who pointed out Curry’s liberation theology? Or the gay publication Pink News, who also loved that Bishop Curry quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Do not be led astray, my beloved: friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). Not everything the world calls love is truly loving. Many pair the words “love” and “God” yet do not know the love of God, for it is not loving to encourage people to engage in sinful behavior that God has promised He will judge with fire!

Bishop Curry says that Jesus “sacrificed His life for the good of others” and that His love was “redemptive.” But Bishop Curry’s idea of sacrificial love is the kind that sets aside the sound teaching of the word of Christ and encourages a man and another man to sodomize each other or pretend to get married. His idea of redemption is gaining possession of something you previously weren’t allowed to have, like gay marriage.  View article →

via A Royal Wedding: How Bishop Michael Curry’s Sermon Was Not Royal Enough — Christian Research Network

May 21 How His Kingdom Comes

Your kingdom come.—Matt. 6:10a

It is obvious that Christ is not physically ruling on earth today, but one day He will. Therefore we should pray that God would hasten that time when His Son returns to establish His earthly kingdom, defeat sin, and ensure obedience to God’s will. After a thousand years, this kingdom will merge into the eternal kingdom, and His earthly and heavenly rule will be the same (see Rev. 20–21).

There are two major ways in which God’s kingdom comes, and they ought to inform our prayers as we ask Him to complete His purpose. First, His kingdom comes by means of conversions. Thus we should pray for sinners to repent (Mark 1:14–15) and to embrace the gospel (Luke 9:61–62). Our prayers must be simply that the Spirit will add new citizens to God’s kingdom.

Second, the kingdom comes through believers’ commitment. If we pray as Jesus commands, we will constantly ask that our lives and those of other Christians might obediently honor and glorify God in heaven.

The kingdom that we hope and pray for is of infinite value. Jesus elsewhere teaches that it “is like a treasure hidden in the field” or like “one pearl of great value” (Matt. 13:44–46). When the kingdom fully comes at His return, God will have completely answered our prayers. As the hymn says, “Jesus shall reign where’er the sun does its successive journeys run. His kingdom spread from shore to shore, ’til moon shall wax and wane no more.”

ASK YOURSELF

How focused are you on these twin elements of kingdom advance? How do these priorities show themselves in your daily choices and activities? If they are commonly missing from your field of reference, ask yourself why this is the case.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 150). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Dirt on Hillary — American Thinker

What could the Russians possibly have on Hillary that is worse than what we know about her?

For the past two years the Media/Dems have relentlessly attacked President Trump, claiming that he “colluded” with the Russians to beat Hillary.  They cannot accept that President Trump beat Hillary and is dismantling the Obama “legacy.”  Mueller and his staff of Hillary/Obama contributors disguised as attorneys have wasted over one year on this investigation.

One principal premise of the so-called “collusion” is that the Trump campaign met with and contacted Russians to obtain “dirt” on Hillary and the DNC emails.

The logical questions are what dirt could the Russians possibly provide that we do not already know about Hillary, and how could it be worse than the truth about Hillary?

Think about it: dirt on Hillary. Why would we need Russians, or anyone else, to inform us about dirt on Hillary?

All you have to do is honestly examine Hillary and Bill’s shenanigans since their days in Arkansas. This does take some time and attention given the complex, corrupt history of Hillary and Bill. But it is essentially lying, greed, and abuse of power.

We already know the dirt about Hillary:  Whitewater, missing billing records, selling pardons, selling uranium to the Russians, stealing White House silverware, FBI files on Republicans, covering up Bubba’s rape and sexual harassments, the email scandal, destroying emails under subpoena, Travelgate, attacking the women harassed by Bill, and more. I am sure I missed a some.

The problem is not getting dirt on Hillary. We have the dirt on Hillary. There is so much dirt it is mindboggling for anyone who cares, which excludes Democrats and the Media.

But none of the real dirt about Hillary mattered to the Dems that nominated Hillary and the Media that promoted her campaign.  What could the Russians possibly have on Hillary that is worse than what we know about her? Even if the Russians have worse dirt than what we know about Hillary, it would not matter to Hillary supporters and the anti-Trumps and never-Trumps.  They still would have voted for Hillary.

Simply stated, the charge that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to obtain dirt about Hillary is ridiculous and falls apart when one honestly examines Hillary’s record.  Hillary had to pay Steele to make up dirt on President Trump. But the dirt on Hillary is there for anyone who cares to know.
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/05/dirt_on_hillary.html

MAY 21 NO TASK IS TOO BIG IF GOD IS IN IT

But Jesus beheld them, and said…With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible…

MATTHEW 19:26

Young people are concerned and some people are worried, they say, about whether we have the infallible Word of God.

As far as I am concerned, grant me God Himself, and I am not worried about His writing a book. Grant me the Being and Presence of God, and that settles it!

Whenever I find men running to science to find support for the Bible, I know they are rationalists and not true believers!

If God said that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, then the whale swallowed Jonah, and we do not need a scientist to measure the gullet of the whale.

Why are we fussing around finding out the collar size of a whale, or how big his neck is? Grant me God and miracles take care of themselves!

“Is healing for us today?” someone asks. My reply to that: “Is God still alive?”

And the answer is, “Yes, God is still alive!”

All right, then, healing is for us today. Whatever God did and was able to do and willing to do at any time, God is able and willing to do again, within the framework of His will.

It is not whether we can understand it or not it is whether God said it or not. If God said “I AM,” I respectfully bow and say, “O God, Thou art!”

Letting God prove Himself through the channels of our lives is the answer. Grant me God, and the task will not be too big![1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

The Bigoted and Intolerant Jesus — Pulpit & Pen

If you believe what the bible says about Jesus the world will hate you but if you start preaching a Jesus that is not the Jesus of the bible the world will love you. –Paul Washer

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

May Jesus rightly be deemed intolerant of the original and actual sin and propensities of fallen mankind? Could it be said that he practiced a form of ‘spiritual conversion therapy’? Should he be considered one who attempted to force his own spiritual morality upon the people?

“Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

By today’s standards, Jesus would indeed be deemed intolerant, regardless of the mercy and kindness he bestowed upon the multitude. The PC police of our day would swiftly label Jesus a bigoted hate speaker for promoting himself as the only true source of redemption and for expounding on the consequence of sinful rebellion.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

During his brief earthly ministry, Jesus acted with little regard for the religious establishment. Jesus was the truth incarnate and could never deny himself. There would be no appeasement…

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”

Jesus is the source of all that is righteous and good. He is a complete and utter offense to the strong and the proud.

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

His was a message that was totally unacceptable to the religious and political powers of his day. Even most of the common folk would come to reject this bold messenger, despite the amazing works and miracles he wrought upon the people.

“He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth”

It would be the same today. If Jesus walked among us he would be completely rejected. Sin, in particular, has become a foreign concept deemed too offensive for mainstream, secular society and even many churches of today.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

When we take a moment to consider those who were truly impacted by the man responsible for turning the social order and spiritual establishment upside down, it is clear that the proud and haughty were often passed by due to their own resistance.

“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast , and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”

Rather, it was they who thought the least of themselves who were the ones who fell before Jesus in need of the mercy and grace that only he could provide. They were the rejected and the outcasts. They were the humble, the hated, the afflicted, the somber, the destitute, the sober-minded, the desperate, the needy, the shamed, the distraught, the weak, the rebellious, the awakened, the SINNER…

“And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”

There will come a time in our lives when we will be brought to our knees. Will we call upon Jesus and seek deliverance or will we keep fighting a losing battle?

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Redemption cannot be had outside of repentance and submission. Those who facilitate (and are seduced by) the prideful, boastful schemes of men will need to undergo a violent awakening (likened to Saul of Tarsus’ conversion on the road to Damascus) to be made receptive to these hard realities. A seared conscience is a tragic thing.

“I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

Jesus wasn’t an activist. He’s not merely a religious icon or a mythical concept. He didn’t befriend rulers or seek world domination. He didn’t lead global economic conferences or promise to end human suffering. He did not seek the approval of the masses or the respect of kings. He didn’t seek earthly utopia or the liberation of the oppressed. He did not endorse state-sponsored wealth redistribution.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

Jesus knows who we were created to be and would have no part with race theories, gender identities, and victim mentalities.

“Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Jesus diagnosed our problem as one of a spiritual nature and offered himself as the remedy. I think it’s time us Christians, true and so-called, cease placing our own works and conditions upon him.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Do our acts of obedience flow from a desire to reflect and uphold Biblical truth or a desire to use Jesus’ good name to mold a society that fits our own personally-designed values and ideals? If it be the latter, we are wholly deceiving ourselves…

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

via The Bigoted and Intolerant Jesus — Pulpit & Pen

The Public Evidence About Crossfire Hurricane Demands A Full Investigation, Stat — The Federalist

What we know about federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies’ spying on the Donald Trump campaign likely represents but a sliver of their covert activities. But it’s about time we do, and President Trump is right to demand an investigation. Here’s what we know so far.

In the run-up to the presidential election, on July 31, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) opened a “counterintelligence investigation” to probe whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to influence the election. Over the last two weeks, in a series of articles, The New York Timesand Washington Post revealed that the investigation, dubbed operation Crossfire Hurricane, involved a government informant connected to the Trump campaign.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported more details of the informant’s “months-long pattern of seeking out and meeting three different Trump campaign officials.” The presumed informant, a professor with contacts with both the Central Intelligence Agency and MI6, first met with Carter Page, then a foreign policy advisor for Trump’s campaign, at a conference in Cambridge in July 2016. He met Page several more times before the election.

According to the Washington Post, the informant also met in the late summer “with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis,” offering “to provide foreign-policy expertise to the Trump effort.” Then in September, the informant “reached out to George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign-policy adviser for the campaign, inviting him to London to work on a research paper.”

via The Public Evidence About Crossfire Hurricane Demands A Full Investigation, Stat — The Federalist

9 Ways Mueller’s Investigation Epitomizes A Legal System In Crisis — The Federalist

One should rejoice that some trial judges are expressing skepticism about the tactics of Robert Mueller’s special counsel’s office (see here, here, here), and that defendants are increasingly willing to fight back (see here, here). Anyone with a taste for irony will appreciate that a Russian oligarch’s company Mueller indicted, which was expected to remain cowering behind the Kremlin walls, has shown up in court as a champion of American civil liberties.

But it would be unfortunate if the only result of the brouhaha were to make this particular witch hunt disappear. Mueller’s investigation is showy and politically important, but it is not unique. It embodies our administrative state, an epiphenomenon of a serious disease of the legal system.

via 9 Ways Mueller’s Investigation Epitomizes A Legal System In Crisis — The Federalist