Daily Archives: August 8, 2018

August 8: Distortion

Isaiah 14:24–16:14; Luke 6:1–49; Job 4:12–21

If attending church and small group or even reading the Bible and praying become activities that we do out of obligation, then we have a bigger problem than we might realize. If our hearts are disengaged, our religious motions and listless obedience serve only as a security blanket—something that makes us feel safe and good.

The Pharisees faced this dilemma, but they took the error one step further. They took the Sabbath—a practice intended to point people toward God—and twisted it into a heavy burden. So when Jesus wanted to do good on the Sabbath, it’s no surprise that they seized the opportunity to trap Him.

Jesus responded to the Pharisees’ accusation by telling them He is “Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5). But He also showed them the true purpose of Sabbath while at the same time exposing their hearts: “And Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you whether it is permitted on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to destroy it?’ ” (Luke 6:9).

Caught up in their religious observance, the Pharisees misunderstood the heart of God’s commands. Not only this, but they used the Sabbath to do harm—the polar opposite of Jesus’ life-giving actions.

Ultimately, the actions of the Pharisees appeared holy and righteous, but underneath they were lifeless. They were like the lukewarm waters described in Revelation, for which Jesus feels utter contempt: “Thus, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am about to vomit you out of my mouth!” (Rev 3:16).

Nothing displeases God more than when our hearts and our actions don’t match up. If this is the case for us, we need to let Scripture examine our hearts as we pray for wisdom and the Spirit. Nothing can make us right with God unless we know why we are wrong with Him—and where our hope really lies. Our outward actions need to be infused with the desire to follow Him.

What are the motives behind your motions?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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

August 8 Balancing Knowledge and Love

“If I … know all mysteries and all knowledge … but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2).

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True knowledge is always governed by love.

Christians should never take knowledge for granted. The ability to learn about Christ and to grow in His truth is a blessing beyond measure. Paul prayed that we would be “filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9). That’s what enables us to live in a way that pleases God (v. 10).

But knowledge must be governed by love, just as love must be governed by knowledge. In Philippians 1:9 Paul says, “This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.” In 1 Corinthians 13:2 he says that knowledge without love is nothing. That’s a God-ordained balance you must maintain if you want to be effective for the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 13:2 Paul uses a hypothetical illustration to emphasize the importance of love: “If I … know all mysteries and all knowledge … but do not have love, I am nothing.” The Greek word translated “mysteries” in that verse is used throughout the New Testament to speak of redemptive truth that once was hidden but is now revealed. For example, Scripture speaks of the mystery of God in human flesh (Col. 2:2–3), of Christ’s indwelling us (Col. 1:26–27), and of the church as Christ’s Body (Eph. 3:3–6, 9).

“Knowledge” in 1 Corinthians 13:2 refers to facts that can be ascertained by investigation. It’s impossible to know every mystery and every fact in existence in the universe, but even if you did, without love your knowledge would be useless. Knowledge alone breeds arrogance, but love builds others up (1 Cor. 8:1).

Maintaining a balance of knowledge and love is a practical principle that influences the decisions you make every day. For example, if you have a choice between going to a Bible class or helping a neighbor with some immediate need, the better choice is to help your neighbor. You will have other opportunities to learn the Word, but it might be some time before you have a chance to show Christian love to your neighbor.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God for the wisdom to keep knowledge and love in proper balance.

For Further Study: Read Luke 10:25–37. ✧ How did the lawyer try to justify himself to Jesus? ✧ How did Jesus illustrate love for one’s neighbor?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 233). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The Romans Road to Heaven (From the Old Torch Series)

Who is good?

Romans 3:10: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one.”

Who has sinned?

Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Where did sin come from?

Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

God’s price on sin

Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Our way out

Romans 5:8: “But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:9-11: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Romans 10:13: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Take God at His word and claim His promise for your salvation.

Source: The Romans Road to Heaven (From the Old Torch Series)

The Race Set Before Us: A Q&A on Race, Justice, and the Church’s Mission — The Cripplegate

A couple of weeks ago, two of my fellow-elders and I participated in a Q&A at our church. Carl Hargrove, Hohn Cho, and I asked and answered questions about the recent discussions of social justice, ethnic harmony, and Gospel priority taking place in evangelicalism. “The Race Set Before Us” was my cheesy play on the words of Hebrews 12:1 in an attempt to highlight that such topics really have been thrust upon us in recent days. And we felt a responsibility to shepherd our people’s thinking on these matters.

Below, I’ve included an outline of questions asked, along with timestamps so you can easily navigate through the audio. Questions in bold are those that were either prepared, submitted beforehand, or asked by audience members during the Q&A time. Other non-bolded comments highlight topics addressed as we answered the main questions. I pray it’s a help to you.

Beginning to 05:38 – Introduction and Prayer

5:41 – Where did this all come from? Can you give us some background as to why this is a discussion topic all of a sudden? Why has the issue of race and social justice come up in evangelicalism more recently?

Comments on: police shootings, the presidency of Barack Obama, the election of Donald Trump, and evangelical churches and conferences taking up this theme

8:51 – A lot of worldly terminology seeping into the church: intersectionality, white privilege, terms of critical race theory.

9:34 – The ministerial pragmatism of the Christian SJW agenda

10:42 – The role of the media in this discussion

11:10 – The tone of the discussion within the church and the need for civil discourse

15:00 – Is it right or wrong to see color? Some people speak of not seeing color as evidence that racism has been mortified. Others say the claim not to see color is premier evidence of racism. What’s the biblical view?

Key texts discussed: 2 Corinthians 5:16, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11, Revelation 5:9 and 7:9–10.

21:36 – 2 Corinthians 5:16 and the basis of our identity. Who are “my people,” for a Christian?

23:54 – But Paul speaks of Israel as his kinsmen according to the flesh. Isn’t he regarding people of his ethnicity “according to the flesh”?

26:20 – In Galatians 3:28, in addition to saying, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man,” Paul also says, “There is neither male nor female.” And yet we insist upon ongoing male/female distinctions. How is that different than ethnicity?

29:27 – Given what we just heard, then, what do we make of the world’s idea of “representation” infiltrating the church? One of the T4G speakers wondered aloud, “Why is this conference so white?” How should we think about pursuing ethnic diversity in the church?

Commentary on some statements made at MLK50.

37:12 – Scripture on double standards, partiality, and affirmative action.

38:39 – The unstated ideology that undergirds the concept of “representation.”

40:08 – We must repent of any racism or partiality taking root in our hearts.

41:00 – In light of Romans 13:1–4, was it wrong for Rosa Parks to give up her seat? What is the biblical view of civil disobedience to unjust laws?

45:25 – How do we understand Old Testament instances of collective guilt and corporate repentance?

50:36 – How have the negative aspects of this discussion been exacerbated by evangelical celebritism?

55:04 – Is it true that you have to possess power to be racist? If not, how does such a view fall short of a biblical understanding of racism?

1:00:43 – The difference between ignorance, insensitivity, and racism.

1:03:07 – Carl, last week in your seminar you spoke of Martin Luther King’s denial of essential doctrines of the Christian faith as well as of his habitual immorality. Given that, you said it would be difficult for people of sound biblical conviction to conclude that he was a genuine believer. Some are scandalized by that declaration, while others seem to be celebrating it. Can you speak to that?

1:09:23 – Misunderstanding this issue indicates that many people are confused about the nature of the Gospel itself. What is a “Gospel issue”?

1:10:50 – In light of that, then, does the mission of the church include the mandate to establish justice in society?

Discussion of (1) the distinction between Israel’s mission and the Church’s mission; (2) a proper understanding of the kingdom of God; (3) the distinction between corporate and individual ethics; (4) the place of individual Christians’ liberty of conscience.

1:19:30 – Would it be wrong for an individual to focus on just preaching the Gospel, rather than focusing on social injustices?

1:20:20 – How do we love our neighbor by meeting their needs without promoting a victim mentality?

1:21:35 – Do all things—even injustices—happen according to God’s will?

1:24:14 – Carl, in your seminar last week, you mentioned the practical failures and unbiblical nature of socialism. What about texts like Acts 2 and Acts 4, which speak of the church selling their goods and having all things in common?

1:28:05 – It is inevitable that we face injustices as Christians. It’s inevitable that people sin against us—whether by racism or some other sin. What is the Christian’s biblical responsibility for responding to being sinned against?

via The Race Set Before Us: A Q&A on Race, Justice, and the Church’s Mission — The Cripplegate

The Key Word In “Democratic Socialism” Is “Socialism”

Authored by Bill Anderson via The Mises Institute,

The recent New York Democratic primary upset in which self-described “democratic socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, age 28, defeated the high-ranking Congressman Joe Crowley is another example of socialism being pushed front-and-center into modern American politics. As usual, the pundits have it wrong when trying to explain what one means by “democratic socialism.”

Part of the reason for the upsurge in favorable views toward “democratic socialism” has been the perpetual presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who most likely would have been the Democratic Party candidate for president in 2016 had party insiders not rigged the process for Hillary Clinton. AlthoughSanders in his earlier years identified with the full-blown communism of the former Soviet Union (he called himself a “Trotskyite”), today he claims that socialism can be better organized through the electoral politics of a democracy, hence the name “democratic socialism.”

According to John Haltiwanger of Business Insider, “democratic socialism” differs from outright socialism in the level of state control of the economy, with socialists wanting the government to own almost all property and all means of economic production, while “democratic socialists” would allow for some private production (although it would be heavily regulated by government). He writes:

Democratic socialists also believe strongly in democracy and democratic principles. They are by no means proponents of authoritarian government systems many Americans associate socialism with.

As the DSA’s (Democratic Socialists of America) website states: “At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people.”

Seeking the Same Ends Through Different Means

To be honest, we are looking at distinctions without real differences, as both socialists and their “democratic” counterparts differ only about the means by which to reach the same ends: total state control of the lives of everyone in a society. Furthermore, even Bernie Sanders has not fully renounced his allegiance to Leon Trotsky and his Bolsheviks, and that would have to include the infamous Red Terror:

At these times, there were numerous reports that Cheka interrogators utilized torture methods which were, according to Orlando Figes, “matched only by theSpanish Inquisition.” At Odessa the Cheka tied White officers to planks and slowly fed them into furnaces or tanks of boiling water; in Kharkiv, scalpings and hand-flayings were commonplace: the skin was peeled off victims’ hands to produce “gloves”; the Voronezh Cheka rolled naked people around in barrels studded internally with nails; victims were crucified or stoned to death at Dnipropetrovsk; the Cheka at Kremenchuk impaled members of the clergy and buried alive rebelling peasants; in Orel, water was poured on naked prisoners bound in the winter streets until they became living ice statues; in KievChinese Cheka detachments placed rats in iron tubes sealed at one end with wire netting and the other placed against the body of a prisoner, with the tubes being heated until the rats gnawed through the victim’s body in an effort to escape.

One should recall that prominent “democratic socialists” like the late John Kenneth Galbraith effusively praised both the communist economies of China during the Mao years and the USSR (the latter less than a decade before it collapsed), although there is no record of Galbraith having supported the mass executions of millions of people in order to make the socialist utopia a reality (and no record of Galbraith having condemned communist mass murder, either). Still, one can say unequivocally that Galbraith and others in the “social democracy” camps have lavished praise over the years of the communist system after it was put into place — and the main reason it was in place was because of outright terror and murder.

Likewise, in an interview with Sojourners Magazine in December, 1976, Dorothy Day, the so-called Catholic anarchist, laid unrestrained praise upon Chinese communism, claiming that China was a place with no hunger and a near-utopia. She added in an afterthought, however, that she disagreed with the violent means used to put that system into place, as though the implementation of the communist state she so adored could be done any other way.

That prominent “democratic socialists” have endorsed the ends of socialism without openly embracing violence and murder to install it into place does not mean that they should be left off the hook. We further can assume that employing an electoral process to vote socialist measures into place is going to make socialism work better than it has in the past, since the mechanics of socialism do not differ whether the socialist regime is installed via revolutionary violence or through the ballot box. After all, both Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro were overwhelmingly elected to office in Venezuela in what generally are believed to be relatively free and fair elections, and now that the state-directed economy has collapsed, “democratic socialist” supporters in the USA either pretend that the government is not socialist or that the Maduro regime is not socialist enough. Declares The Nation:

If socialism is understood as a system in which workers and communities (rather than bureaucrats, politicians, and well-connected entrepreneurs) exercise effective democratic control over economic and political decision-making, it would appear that Venezuela is suffering not from too much socialism, but from too little.

This quote is significant in analyzing “social democracy” if only for the use of rhetoric as a tool of social organization. To put it in another way, “social democrats” promise all sorts of “free” goods and services from medical care to housing as part of their platform, yet want us to believe that rhetoric by itself also provides the means to provide these “free” items without creating economic havoc. For example, after her victory, Ocasio-Cortez told CBS late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert:

I believe that in a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live. What that means to me is health care as a human right, it means that every child no matter where you are born should have access to a college or trade-school education if they so choose it. I think that no person should be homeless if we have public structures or public policy to allow for people to have homes and food and lead a dignified life in the United States.

In the mind of “democratic socialists,” all that is lacking to provide massive amounts of “free” goods and services is political will. Things like “free” healthcare and “free” higher education and “free” housing do not exist because capitalists have kept people from massing together to vote these things for themselves. As the Democratic Socialists of America website proclaims:

Traditional left prescriptions have failed on both sides of the Communist/socialist divide. Global economic integration has rendered obsolete both the social democratic solution of independent national economies sustaining a strong social welfare state and the Communist solution of state-owned national economies fostering social development.

The globalization of capital requires a renewed vision and tactics. But the essence of the socialist vision — that people can freely and democratically control their community and society — remains central to the movement for radical democracy.

The site goes on to claim (falsely) that poverty rates are increasing and that people around the world are poorer than they were a half-century ago. But even though poverty is increasing and everything in the world (due to capitalism) is worse than it ever was in history, “democratic socialists” through political organization and government takeover of commercial and social institutions — done through the ballot box, of course — will create the utopia that socialists a century ago only dreamed of crafting.

It is not as though socialists suddenly have discovered the word “democratic.” One recalls that the socialist nation we know as North Korea is actually the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The country we knew as East Germany — famous for its wall preventing people from escaping over its borders — officially was named the German Democratic Republic, and so on. For that matter, the deadly Cambodian regime that murdered more than a third of the nation’s population from 1975 to 1979 ruled over the nation named Democratic Kampuchea.

While it is true that the DSA website calls for “market mechanisms” and does not call for elimination of all private property and business enterprises, it is clear that anything associated with “markets” would be heavily regulated — through “democratic” state planning, of course. Furthermore, the sheer volume of “free stuff” that socialists guarantee would require vast increases of government coercion just to obtain the resources needed to fulfill such campaign promises. One cannot have such large-scale changes in direction of resources without creating economic dislocations.

The “democratic” portion of “democratic socialism” also is troubling in itself. Does “democratic” mean that economic decisions that now are made by the various players in the market now will be subject to widespread voting? One cannot have both “market mechanisms” and an economic system in which major decisions on production and exchange carried out through a political voting mechanism that lacks what Mises would have called a method of economic calculation. Voters in winner-take-all elections are no more adept at creating a vibrant (or even functioning) economy than central planners, and the idea that a popular vote for nearly everything economic would produce anything but chaos is laughable.

Given that the United States has a representative democracy, it would seem that “democratic socialism” would be implemented by elected representatives that would direct factors of production and determine what should and should not be created. They would set up a system that would be highly confiscatory and order things like single-payer medical care to be put into place.

We have two major historical examples of this kind of “democratic socialism” in action.

The first is well-known to readers of this page, the “democratic socialist” regime in Venezuela. Voters in that country freely elected Hugo Chavez, who promised — and delivered — a socialist regime in which government confiscated huge amounts of private property, nationalized the oil sector, and then spent the new windfall on things that socialists believe to be important. Such action garnered Chavez much admiration in the USA, Canada, and elsewhere in the West as the regime claimed to be improving the lives of Venezuela’s poor through medical and educational services.

Salvador Allende and Chilean Democracy

The second example is that of Chile, in which voters in 1970 gave the legislative faction led by Salvador Allende, who was a committed communist (he insisted upon being called “Comrade President”) a slight plurality of votes. Once in power, Allende’s government did what socialists do: it seized private property, expropriated whole industries, tripled wages to some workers, and then touched off one of the worst hyperinflations in the 20th century. (Venezuela has the honor of creating the worst hyperinflation of the 21st century.) Allende died during a 1973 coup that brought a decade of dictatorship to Chile, but ultimately the new regime ended the socialist economy — and in return, Chile’s economy became the best in Latin America, and it also threw off the shackles of dictatorship.

Theoretically, if a “democratic socialist” regime can be voted in, then it should be able to be voted out. Socialists, however, see things differently, as they view the establishment of a socialist regime to be a social and political “triumph” that cannot be undone by the whim of voters. The view from socialists is that once a system of state ownership and control has been put into place, anything that would change those arrangements would be illegitimate, reactionary, and fought against at all costs.

Indeed, nowhere in the entire DSA website can one find any mention that voters can and should be free to vote out socialism after it is established in a society. So-called democratic socialists, it seems, believe that once socialism is put into place, that any attempt to remove it is a crime against progress itself. Whatever democratic processes remain after socialism becomes woven into the economic and political structures are to be directed toward the continuance of socialist “progress,” not away from it.

In a final plea, democratic socialists claim that they don’t want a totalitarian system; they just want us to be like Denmark. As the Occupy Democrats meme tells us, Denmark is the world’s “happiest country” because it has lots of free stuff, like healthcare, education, and childcare. Come to think of it, the old USSR had the same setup — and many American leftists like Galbraith claimed that the imagined cornucopia of “free stuff” legitimized the old Soviet regime.

Yes, Denmark has lots of government services paid for via very high marginal tax rates. However, would the followers of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez be willing to put up with the relatively-low business taxes that exist in Denmark in order to ensure that private enterprise can produce enough wealth to fund the Danish welfare state? The recent political caterwauling over the reduction in corporation taxes in the USA from 35 to 21 percent tells us that democratic socialists in this country have no idea that the vast welfare state they want to create must be undergirded by someone, somewhere, producing all of that “free stuff.”

There is another point that few people make, but should be central to the “we-should-be-like-Denmark-and-Sweden” demands from American democratic socialists: the overarching demands for total social conformity. While much of the current call for socialism in the USA is coming from entrepreneurial billionaires, and especially those on the West Coast, there is no room for such people in Denmark. There are no Mark Zuckerbergs, Steven Jobses, or even a David Trone. (Trone is the billionaire wine distributor running as a Democrat in our Democrat-gerrymandered Western Maryland congressional district whose platform essentially is one of so-called democratic socialism.) The fact is that the society Trone wants to create would have no place for people like him who took an idea, purchased resources in the face of uncertainty, and built a thriving business, enabling him to become a billionaire.

The demand for utter conformity is something that neither Sanders nor his inarticulate acolyte Ocasio-Cortez can explain away. In order to create their utopias, they ultimately would have to respond to the normal resistance that comes when authorities are heavy-handed and when they try to expropriate one’s property to use it for political purposes. The government response almost always is the same: gratuitous violence. Once upon a time, Sanders understood the “need” for violence and even murder in the creation of the socialist state, and he tacitly approved it. Today, he and Ocasio-Cortez pretend that they peacefully can create that happy utopia where everyone is happy, and there is a coffee shop on every corner.

Source: The Key Word In “Democratic Socialism” Is “Socialism”

AUGUST 8 CHRIST, THE BLESSED ONE

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:29–30

I feel great sorrow for those who read the Sermon on the Mount and then conclude that Jesus was providing a word picture of men and women comprising the human race. In this world, we find nothing approaching the virtues of which Jesus spoke in the Beatitudes.

Instead of poverty of spirit, we find the rankest kind of pride. Instead of mourners, we find pleasure seekers.

Instead of meekness, we find only arrogance, and instead of hunger after righteousness, we hear men saying, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17).

Instead of mercy, we find cruelty. Instead of purity of heart, we encounter corrupt imaginings. Instead of peacemakers, we find men quarrelsome and resentful, fighting back with every weapon at their command.

Jesus said He came to release us from our sad heritage of sin. Blessed is the sinner who finds that Christ’s words are the Truth itself, that He is the Blessed One who came from above to confer blessedness upon mankind!

Thank You, Father, for Your open-armed invitation for Your children to cast all of their worldly cares upon You. Lord, teach me how to trust You more deeply.[1]


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

There’s No Peace On Earth – There Is Peace In Christ

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

I was touched deeply as I watched a video with Claire Crosby and her father, Dave.

Claire has been singing since she was two years old. I believe that now she is four. When I listen to her, I am reminded of this Scripture:

“Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?”

And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read,

‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise’?”   (Matthew 21: 14-16).

Peace is Only Found in Christ

We only need to look back at history to understand that there…

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The Willow Creek Crisis : A Time to Dispense With Protecting the Institutions at the Cost of Integrity – A Reprint By Mel Lawrenz —

Courage isn’t a feeling that you wait for. Courage is doing when you don’t have courage. Courage is
doing it scared.” ― Jill Briscoe, Me Worry?

Michelle Van Loon directed me to this excellent op ed by Elmbrook Church’s Minister at Large, Mel Lawrenz. He calls out the arrogance of many churches which seek to manage a crisis by “protecting the institution at the cost of integrity.” He does this by forcing us to confront presumptuous *truisms* that are accepted by many in the Christian leadership culture.

In case there are some out there who believe that their church has a corner on the market when it comes to gospel™ leadership structure, I urge them to think again. No matter the doctrinal stance, no matter the view on gender, no matter which seminary was attended, all Christians, at one time or another, have embraced these truisms which are merely weak platitudes which can easily lead to abuse. Long time readers of TWW will note that we have covered a number of abusive churches in which these truisms were held up as biblical™ standards.

I hold a particular fondness for Elmbrook Church. It is the church in which my beloved, former pastor, Pete Briscoe, grew up in. Stuart Briscoe, his father, became the lead pastor at Elmbrook in 1970. Both he and his wife, Jill Briscoe, transitioned to become Ministers at Large in @ 2000. The church was originally Baptist but dropped that affiliation in 1968 and became a nondenominational church. I have personally benefitted from the ministry of Stuart and Jill Briscoe through the years. I also loved my years at Bent Tree with Pete Briscoe.

I want to thank Mel Lawrenz for permission to post this article. I have a feeling that TWW will long be quoting his thoughtful words.


The Willow Creek Crisis – Time of Reckoning for All Leaders -Opinion by Mel Lawrenz:

The ever-widening scandal of Pastor Bill Hybels’ behavior with women over many years is only the outermost edge of the shockwave. Equally as devastating has been the woeful response of Willow Creek’s leaders. The resignation of Hybel’s successor, Steve Carter, with a stinging rebuke of Willow Creek’s leaders’ response, all before the convening of the Global Leadership Summit, ought to put hundreds of thousands of Christian leaders around the world on notice: This is a time reckoning. And an opportunity to correct.

This teachable moment will not last long before we all move on with the busyness of our work. If this crisis is only seen as one man’s transgressions with women, the bigger picture will be missed. Whenever there is a decades-long ethical and moral failure there is a spiritual reason the sickness of the situation can go on. Institutions are powerful. We need institutions for sustained and long-term influence. But leaders of institutions often try to protect their institutions at the cost of integrity.

Every virtue has a corresponding vice. For leaders, the virtues of conviction and strength are only a short step away from pride and arrogance. Pride comes before the fall. This time is an opportunity for all Christian leaders to ask God’s help in cleansing from arrogance.

Arrogance also blinds us. We don’t see clearly. Some principles are embraced and repeated with little awareness that they are just wrong enough to steer us toward a cliff. Here are seven untruths that are widely passed on in Christian leadership circles.

Untruth #1: Crises need to be “handled.”

When a church is in a true crisis, its leaders should not go running to a PR firm, its lawyers, and its communications experts to figure out a path forward. When you’re in the middle of an earthquake, you do not “handle” the situation, it is handling you. In the Willow Creek crisis, people sniffed out the spin. The highly crafted statements inched forward. Church leaders need to know this: people don’t want to be “handled.” That is fundamentally disrespectful. People know that true crises must be faced with courage and wisdom, truth and grace. Not “handled.”

Untruth #2: The only way God works is through leaders.

This oft-repeated mantra has often been fueled by arrogance. Bad behavior is excused because a “strong leader” gets impressive things done. The ends justify the means. Why have pastors not emphasized their roles as servants of God, as ministers of the gospel, as proclaimers of God’s truth, and instead focussed on being really “successful” leaders? The answer is not far away. It is more satisfying to be viewed as successful than faithful.

Untruth #3: People are a means to an end.

Nobody says this out loud. But leaders treat their followers as a means to accomplish their “vision” all the time. In Christian ministry people are not a means to an end, they are the end. This is fundamental to the idea of human dignity. People on the staff of a church should feel as though, at the end of the week, something was added to their humanity, not taken away. Churches should live way above corporate values when it comes to hiring and firing people. We have the biblical principle of “calling” which should make our hiring very serious and firing infrequent.

Untruth #4: Vision is the highest form of leadership.

Divine calling is more important than personal vision. It’s wonderful when leaders can see new, good possibilities, but vision should be about spiritual advances, not just about building bigger, doing more, piling up numbers. The best scenario for a church is when its leaders (not just one leader) perceive how God is moving a whole body of people toward a particular purpose, always defined within the overall mission of the church. Jesus said, “make disciples.” He defines the mission, not us. At the end of our work and lives we will have had more joy in being part of accomplishing God’s mission than pursuing our own ambitions.

Untruth #5: Image is everything.

Churches that obsess about the personal physical appearance of people in the spotlight, essentially saying only “beautiful” people need apply, are projecting corrupt values. Perfectionism that makes things appear better than what they are sets congregations up for disillusionment when they see the reality. Sooner or later someone always pulls the curtain on the wizard of Oz.

Untruth #6: Leaders are above the rules.

People would be shocked how many Christian leaders preach about humility, kindness, and respect, and behind the scenes mistreat, abuse, and shame ordinary people. Worse, such leaders really enjoy manipulating others. It makes them feel powerful and important. The only thing worse than worshiping an idol is to act like an idol.

Untruth #7: The local church is the hope of the world.

Only Jesus Christ is the hope of the world (Col. 1:27, 1 Pet. 1:3-6, etc.). Always, only, ever. Jesus Christ. Get that wrong, and we are perpetually at risk of the chaos of presumption. We should be excited that the local church can proclaim the hope, embody the hope, live the hope. But if we say the local church is the hope of the world, what happens when a church’s leaders fail miserably?

The Global Leadership Summit will begin in a few days, just at a time when the credibility of Christian leaders in and around Willow Creek is badly damaged.

Leaders and consultants are surely hard at work crafting the best possible words to “handle” the situation. What would be helpful to hear is: This is a time for reckoning for us all. We ask God to humble us. We repent of leadership arrogance. We need fresh starts.

We all do.

_____________

Mel Lawrenz is Minister at Large of Elmbrook Church and the author of Spiritual Leadership Today(Zondervan) and Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement (Leadership Network/Jossey-Bass).

via The Willow Creek Crisis : A Time to Dispense With Protecting the Institutions at the Cost of Integrity – A Reprint By Mel Lawrenz —

US Intelligence Veterans Urge Governments to Ensure Assange’s Right for Asylum

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – An advocacy group of retired US intelligence services analysts urged on Wednesday all governments involved in the matter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to ensure the whistleblower’s right for asylum either in Ecuador or in his home in Australia.

“Collectively, the governments of Sweden, the UK, the US, Ecuador (recently) and, through its silence, Assange’s home country of Australia have imposed six years of suffering on Assange and possibly lifelong damage to his health… We the undersigned members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity urge all governments to honor the OHCHR and IACHR directives with respect to Julian Assange and other asylum seekers,” Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) said in a statement published on Antiwar.com.

If the involved governments continue to persecute Assange, they risk damaging their own reputation, but if they let the whistleblower go either to Ecuador or home to Australia, providing their guarantees, they might be seen as supporters of human rights, the statement noted.

© REUTERS / Peter Nicholls

The appeal was signed by 22 former officers, including former National Security Agency (NSA) Technical Director William Binney.

In May, the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said in response to a request from Ecuador, without directly naming Assange, that the human right of an asylum seeker covered both “territorial asylum and diplomatic asylum” and that every nation must ensure safe passage for asylum seekers to their final destination of asylum.

READ MORE: Assange’s Defenders Alarmed at Ecuador’s Wish to End His Stay in Embassy

In February 2016, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that Assange had been unlawfully detained and his rights violated.

Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in June 2012 after being accused of sexual offenses by Swedish authorities. While the charges have since been dropped, he still fears extradition to the United States, where he is wanted for leaking Iraq War logs. According to media reports, his health has deteriorated recently and he would leave the embassy for a hospital visit in the near future, after which the whistleblower’s options for taking shelter will be limited.

READ MORE: Ecuador’s President Names Condition For Assange to Leave London Embassy

In March, Assange’s communications with the outside world were cut off after Ecuador accused the whistleblower of putting its good ties with London at risk. The new president later ordered for the extra security at the diplomatic mission to be removed.

READ MORE: US Senate Intel Committee Urges Assange to Testify in Russia Probe — WikiLeaks

Source: US Intelligence Veterans Urge Governments to Ensure Assange’s Right for Asylum

Members of Congress Denounce Religious Persecution in Letter to Prime Minister of India

Congressional Letter Sheds Light on Rising Intolerance in India

08/08/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)International Christian Concern (ICC) has closely recorded developments in India as religious persecution continues to intensify. In February 2018, the Indian government openly admitted that religious intolerance was on the rise and presented evidence that reaffirmed their statements. While admission of growing persecution is a step forward, the government has taken no concrete steps to help curtail the increasing violence.

Following these statements, ICC has worked with members of the United States Congress to author a bipartisan congressional letter to Prime Minister Modi. The letter applauds the admission of the problem by the Indian government, while sternly calling on the prime minister to take action to ensure religious freedom for all religious groups in India. The letter was led by Congressman Dennis Ross (R-FL) in the House and Senator James Lankford (R-OK) in the Senate. After several other members of Congress signed, the letter was sent to Prime Minister Modi last week. ICC continues to monitor developments in the region and expects a response from the government of India, highlighting steps to ensure religious freedom for all.

Although India’s constitution guarantees the right to religious freedom, not all citizens currently enjoy this right. Many Indian states have passed so-called Freedom of Religion Acts, or anti-conversion laws, that prohibit “coerced” religious conversion. The congressional letter specifically calls attention to these laws, which are extremely vague and often misused by local authorities to prevent Christians and other religious minorities from publicly practicing their faith.  Most organizations working with the persecuted are aware of the situation in India and support the US government’s efforts to apply pressure on Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government.

In 2016, ICC worked on a similar initiative with members of Congress that called on the Indian government to publicly acknowledge ongoing religious freedom violations. The letter helped prompt a response from the Modi regime, which dismissed such acts of persecution as mere “aberrations,” not indicative of a widespread and growing problem. International Christian Concern and partnering NGOs deemed these statements as false.

ICC has been working continually to combat persecution in India and hopes that the congressional letter will shed more light on persecution in India. Coming off of a 2017 visit to the United States, Prime Minister Modi echoed President Trump in saying that he greatly values US-India relations. ICC hopes that this letter will increase pressure on Prime Minister Modi to value human rights and religious freedom as the United States continues its cooperation with India.

Matias Perttula, ICC’s Advocacy Director, said, “International Christian Concern played a crucial role in supporting this congressional letter by making significant contributions to the language by providing expertise, raising awareness, and encouraging members of Congress to sign on to the letter. The bipartisan letter is expected to prompt a public response from the government of India and highlight the concrete steps they plan to take in order to curtail the ongoing persecution.”  

Source: Members of Congress Denounce Religious Persecution in Letter to Prime Minister of India

Here’s a recap why Assange’s revelations have angered Washington

For six years now, the Wikileaks chief has been stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, over fears he will be extradited to the US if he leaves the building. Some American politicians have even called to assassinate him. Here’s a recap why his revelations have angered Washington.

Liberal Ideology and the Fake News Problem — David Fiorazo

Many American citizens have very little respect for the extremely biased mainstream media – and rightly so. Some still refer to them as “journalists,” but let’s not go that far. The media as a whole is not an enemy of the people but they certainly are part of the fake news epidemic in this country. I do not agree, however, with shouting them down at events or hurling insults at them. Battle the bias with facts and truth.

Apparently, CNN’s Jim Acosta felt threatened at a recent Trump rally when people were shouting things like “CNN sucks.” Afterward, Acosta revealed how he really feels about Republicans and conservatives and said:

“It felt like we weren’t even in America anymore.”

Maybe Acosta also felt the need to shower after being at the rally with Republicans and conservatives.

Commentators on the major networks, MSNBC and of course, CNN most often put a liberal spin on the news, withhold facts, and at times even lie, but we should not follow the mob tactics and intolerance employed by the Left.

But I do understand how some folks are frustrated with the Democrats running most of today’s media, especially when their reporting on President Trump has been documented to be over 90% negative. Even if you’re not a Trump supporter, the people deserve balanced, fair reporting.

And when there’s good economic news to report, they’ll often find other things to talk about. (Liberal celebrities are a common go-to topic.) Very little was said about positive job numbers released last week showing another strong employment report from last month. According to CNS News:

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says a record 155,965,000 people were employed in July, the 11th record-breaker since President Trump took office…

The majority in the media ignore or minimize the facts. This is now part of an established pattern and sadly, at least the mainstream media and cable networks chose sides long ago.

There is so much documentation on this one-sided reporting, but let’s flashback to an interesting example of blatant bias by the liberal media.

During the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements, there was a stark difference in how the media reported on the two. I’ll say this slowly: In the first nine days of coverage, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) drew 24 broadcast stories; the Tea Party received 19 stories – in the first nine months!

This is not journalism.

The media practically ignored over 7,000 arrests in 122 different cities where OWS held rallies. Charges included civil disobedience, disturbing the peace, trespassing, drug use, and vandalism. Police rap sheets showed dozens of incidents of sexual assault, violence, and extortion. There were at least nine deaths.

Plus, groups openly supporting OWS included the Communist Party USA, Louis Farrakhan and Nation of Islam, CAIR, American Nazi Party, Marxist Student Union, and Socialist Party of America.

What about the Tea Party? Tens of millions of American patriots mobilized. They flew their flags at peaceful rallies and they’re proud of America’s founders and our Constitution. These patriots love America.

CNN accused them of “rabble rousing.” The Democrat National Committee called them “rabid right-wing extremists.” ABC said they were a “mob.” Harry Reid called them “evil mongers.” Nancy Pelosi said they were “un-American.”

This is what the left thinks about today’s deplorable Trump supporters.

But despite all this, please don’t stoop to their level. Don’t censor or insult anyone, and don’t shout them down. Fighting hate with hate won’t solve anything.

Try to have respectful conversations and debates – even if they refuse; even if they’re blind to their own godless ideology and refuse to acknowledge the facts. As Christians, let’s be self-controlled and always be civil. It won’t change the media, but it might open the door for a respectful conversation about politics and current events.

From there, we should always make an effort to discuss spiritual things, especially the gospel. This is why you and I are still here, to testify to the love and grace of a holy, living God.

* Originally published by Freedom Project Media

via Liberal Ideology and the Fake News Problem — David Fiorazo

Assange’s Senate testimony could ‘destroy conspiracy theory that Russia hacked DNC’ – journalist

If he accepts the Senate’s request to testify, Julian Assange may provide evidence that would upend allegations that Russia hacked the DNC, putting to rest two years of Russiagate hysteria, journalist Patrick Henningsen told RT.

Source: Assange’s Senate testimony could ‘destroy conspiracy theory that Russia hacked DNC’ – journalist

BREAKING: US Senate Intelligence Committee Calls on Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange to Testify –Wikileaks Considering Offer — The Gateway Pundit

Julian Assange is the ONE MAN who knows who supplied the Podesta-Clinton emails to Wikileaks.
It took the US Senate Intelligence Committee a year-and-a-half to call him in for questioning.

The US Congress is not a serious about the “Russia collusion” story.

Julian Assange has repeatedly said Russia was not the source of the Podesta emails.

MORE—

Wikileaks is considering the offer.

via BREAKING: US Senate Intelligence Committee Calls on Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange to Testify –Wikileaks Considering Offer — The Gateway Pundit

August 8, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

1 There are two different words for time in v. 1, zemān (NIV, “time”) and ʿēt (NIV, “season”). There is no significantly appreciable difference between them. It is the second of these two words that occurs repeatedly as “time” in vv. 2–8.[1]


3:1 As a research student of life and of human behavior, Solomon observed that there is a predetermined season for everything and a fixed time for every happening. This means that God has programmed every activity into a gigantic computer, and, as Hispanics say, “Que será, será”: What will be, will be! It also means that history is filled with cyclical patterns, and these recur with unchangeable regularity. So man is locked into a pattern of behavior which is determined by certain inflexible laws or principles. He is a slave to fatalism’s clock and calendar.

In verses 1–8, the Preacher enumerates twenty-eight activities which are probably intended to symbolize the whole round of life. This is suggested by the number twenty-eight, which is the number of the world (four) multiplied by the number of completeness (seven).

The list is made up of opposites. Fourteen are positives and fourteen negatives. In some ways, they seem to cancel out each other so that the net result is zero.[2]


3:1 a season … a time: Both words are usually regarded as being specific points in time rather than a continuity of time. under heaven: That is, life “under the sun,” the sphere in which human life is lived.[3]


3:1. Solomon said, There is a time … for every activity under heaven (cf. 8:6). By the word “activity” Solomon meant people’s deliberate, willful acts. The Hebrew word for “activity,” always used of people, literally means “desire,” and then by metonymy “what one desires” (cf. Isa. 58:13). For these willful acts people are held accountable (cf. Ecc. 3:17). Each activity, wrote Solomon, has its proper “time” (point in time) and season (duration)..[4]


3:1 there is an appointed time, a time These two terms are similar and refer to specific points in time.[5]


3:1 time. The truly wise know that all their “times” are in God’s hand (Ps. 31:15) and that there is an appropriate time for every human activity.[6]


[1] Shepherd, J. E. (2008). Ecclesiastes. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 289). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 890). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 784). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] Glenn, D. R. (1985). Ecclesiastes. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 983). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ec 3:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 927). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

August 8, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

A hotly contested race in Ohio for a U.S. House of Representatives seat that has gone Republican for more than 30 years remained too close to call on Wednesday, in an encouraging sign for Democrats heading into the Nov. 6 elections.

White House national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday said North Korea has not taken the necessary steps to denuclearize despite an agreement between Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in June.

Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had stopped all medical treatment programs in Canada and was working on the transfer of all Saudi patients from hospitals there, in an escalating row after Ottawa urged it to free rights activists.

China is slapping additional import tariffs of 25 percent on $16 billion worth of U.S. goods ranging from oil and steel products to autos and medical equipment, the commerce ministry said, as the world’s two largest economies escalate their trade dispute.

The New York Times reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit but the company added fewer paid digital subscribers, sending its shares down about 5 percent in premarket trading.

The nightmare scenario for computer security – artificial intelligence programs that can learn how to evade even the best defenses – may already have arrived. That warning from security researchers is driven home by a team from IBM who have used the artificial intelligence technique known as machine learning to build hacking programs that could slip past top-tier defensive measures. The group will unveil details of its experiment in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

AP Top Stories

Known for making inflammatory claims about the LGBTQ community, Pastor Kevin Swanson is drawing a link between California’s devastating wildfires and the state’s embrace of same-sex marriage and other pro-equality efforts.

Joe Biden announced a new initiative Tuesday aimed at emphasizing the importance of family and community acceptance to LGBTQ youth. The “As You Are” campaign was launched under the former vice president’s eponymous foundation, which lists LGBTQ equality as one of its pillars. The social media campaign hopes to collect testimonies from LGBTQ youth, family members, educators and others.

A controversial scheme to clean up plastic in the Pacific Ocean could harm wildlife and release unnecessary greenhouse gases into the air, conservationists have warned. The system uses a 2000ft long u-shaped floating cylinder with a 10ft skirt beneath which moves along with the current capturing plastic as it goes.

A German mother and her partner were convicted and jailed Tuesday for repeatedly raping the woman’s young son and selling him to pedophiles on the internet, abusing him for more than two years in a case that has horrified the country.

Venezuelan government sympathizers on Monday rallied to show support for President Nicolas Maduro following weekend drone blasts that he called an assassination attempt, but the socialist leader surprised the crowd by skipping the event.

Chicago officials called on community members to hold shooters and gangs responsible after a violent weekend left at least 12 dead in shootings across the city.

Pakistan Wednesday defended its economic partnership with China, amid fears that the terms of opaque multi-billion dollar investments by Beijing could be exacerbating Islamabad’s economic woes as it considers a fresh IMF bailout.

A string of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan have killed 12 people, including four women who died in the crossfire during a shootout between insurgents and soldiers, while an errant NATO airstrike killed nine Afghan police, Afghan officials said Tuesday.

If Snap’s second-quarter earnings are any indication, Snapchat’s user growth may have flatlined – the parent of the ephemeral messaging app beat expectations on revenue but fell far short of expectations on user growth.

U.S. mortgage application activity decreased to its lowest in 2-1/2 years last week as loan requests to refinance an existing home fell to their weakest level since December 2000.

BBC

More women candidates than ever will contest US governorships and House seats in November’s mid-term elections. After Tuesday’s primaries across four states, there are now 11 female nominees for governor and at least 182 for the House of Representatives. The results were hailed as a continuing success story by activists for women in politics.

Venezuelan opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens has been arrested after President Nicolás Maduro accused him of involvement in Saturday’s alleged drone attack against him.

The US has said it will impose further tariffs on Chinese goods starting 23 August, as a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies continues.

Ruby Rose will play the first openly lesbian lead superhero in a new TV production of Batwoman. The Australian actress will play the title lead in a new series on The CW Network in America. The series will see Batwoman’s alter ego Kate Kane portrayed as a lesbian, and is expected to air in late 2019/early 2020.

WND

A border lawmaker had drawn up a plan to pay for the wall in part by fining Mexico and other countries $2,000 for every illegal immigrant caught crossing into the United States. With up some 400,000 illegal immigrants being apprehended at the border yearly, his tax could raise $800 million a year. The border wall could cost up to $25 billion.

The student club Business Leaders in Christ won a short-lived victory against the University of Iowa when a judge ordered the taxpayer-funded institution to recognize the Christian group on the same terms as others that require leaders to adhere to the club’s beliefs, such as a Muslim student group.


News – 8/8/2018

Senate Democrats Are Circulating Plans For Government Takeover Of The Internet
The paper also suggests making it a rule that tech platforms above a certain size must turn over internal data and processes to “independent public interest researchers” so they can identify potential “public health/addiction effects, anti-competitive behavior, radicalization,” scams, “user propagated misinformation,” and harassment – data that could be used to “inform actions by regulators or Congress.” And – of course – these include further revisions to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, recently amended by Congress to exclude protections for prostitution-related content. A revision to Section 230 could provide the ability for users to demand takedowns of certain sorts of content and hold platforms liable if they don’t abide,

Trump Vows to Expose Clinton-FBI Collusion by Declassifying FISA Docs
Donald Trump has vowed to step in and override Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to expose collusion between Hillary Clinton and the FBI. The president says he is going to declassify FISA documents proving federal agents have colluded with the Clinton campaign. According to former IBC Bureau Chief Paul Sperry, Trump is preparing to declassify 20 redacted pages of a June 2017 FISA renewal.

Russia’s Building Warships Faster Than America—or even China
The Russian navy will get a total of 26 new ships in 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this week at a reception honoring Moscow’s fleet. In raw numbers, the Russian navy is adding ships faster than the U.S. and Chinese navies are doing. Putin is preparing for a naval war. But the kind of war Putin is preparing for might not be the same kind of war the United States expects. Putin’s new fleet is well suited to his increasingly aggressive foreign policy along Russia’s borders.

43% of Republicans want to give Trump power to shut down media
The survey by Ipsos found 43 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats want to give Trump the authority to close down certain news outlets. The Daily Beast, which was given exclusive access to the polling, said the findings “present a sobering picture for the fourth estate, with respondents showing diminished trust in the media and increased support for punitive measures against its members.”

Defense Bill Pushes Trump Toward Tougher China Policies
Congress has sent the fiscal 2019 defense authorization act to the White House with several provisions targeting China. The China measures call on the Pentagon to improve arms sales to Taiwan and hold joint military exercises with the island’s forces, along with increasing high-level U.S.-Taiwan military exchanges. The legislation authorizes $717 billion for defense and was completed recently after a House-Senate conference reconciled two versions of the bill.

Experts: New U.S. Sanctions on Iran Impose Cost on Regime’s Hostile Behavior
‘Iranians escalate when they sense American mush … they back down when they perceive American steel’ The first round of U.S. sanctions reinstated against Iran this week makes clear to the Islamic Republic the Trump administration’s willingness to financially squeeze the regime until it curbs its destabilizing behavior, according to regional experts.

Facebook: Farrakhan’s Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Don’t Violate ‘Hate Speech’ Rules
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s official Facebook page is rife with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and other hateful speech, which have not been censored by Facebook content monitors, a Daily Caller News Foundation review of the page reveals. Videos posted to Farrakhan’s Facebook page show the Nation of Islam leader claiming that Jews are secretly controlling government agencies to suppress black Americans and blaming Jews for “weaponizing” marijuana with “chemicals” to “feminize” black men.

Egyptian Military Kills 52 Islamic Extremists In The Sinai Peninsula
The Egyptian military has killed more than 50 Islamic terrorists during operations on the Sinai Peninsula over the weekend. These latest operations are part of a broader push by the Egyptian government, which began in February to rid the Sinai of Islamic extremists. According to Reuters, 52 jihadis were killed in recent days, and another 49 were arrested by the Egyptian military and security personnel.

Court to DOJ: Save Comey’s personal emails
To aid the developing investigation of fired FBI chief James Comey’s conversations with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and others, a federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to save and protect any relevant personal emails. “Defendant is ordered to take all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure that any records that are potentially responsive to either of the plaintiffs’ FOIA requests located on former Director Comey’s personal email account are preserved.”

First, they came for Alex Jones …
I’ve been warning everyone who would listen about the greatest threat to freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion in America today. It’s not government. Instead, the overt attack on America’s First Amendment comes from the corporate behemoth new media gatekeepers who are in ideological lockstep with each other – from Google to YouTube to Facebook to Twitter to Apple to Amazon.

Amb. Danon blasts official who suggested Israel be suspended from U.N.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon harshly criticized a suggestion by UN official Michael Lynk that Israel be suspended from the world body over what the United Nations characterizes as violations of international law, Fox News reported Wednesday. Lynk’s comments is “another reason why the [Human Rights Council] lost its credibility,” Danon said.

China continues ‘fair and lawful’ business in Iran, despite U.S. sanctions
China’s business ties with Iran are open, transparent and lawful, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday, after US President Donald Trump said companies doing business with Iran would be barred from the United States. New US sanctions on Iran have taken effect… Iran dismissed a last-minute offer from the Trump administration for talks, saying it could not negotiate while Washington had reneged on a 2015 deal to lift sanctions…

Russia and Israel reach understanding on Golan border line
Israel and Russia have reached an understanding to ensure the preservation of the 1974 cease-fire line on the Golan Heights, according to Israel’s Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren. According to a TASS Russian News Agency report, Koren…said, “we coordinated the arrangement under which Russia pledged to make sure…that the Syrian Army will not cross the cease-fire line established under the 1974 agreement…”

New South Wales drought now affects entire state
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), is now entirely in drought, officials have confirmed. A dry winter has intensified what has been called the worst drought in living memory in parts of eastern Australia. NSW produces about a quarter of Australia’s agricultural output. It was officially listed as “100% in drought” on Wednesday.

Iran crowds reportedly chant ‘death to the dictator!’ as US sanctions increase economic unrest
Days of unprecedented protests aimed at Iran’s sluggish economy along with “biting” sanctions imposed by President Trump are ramping up pressure Tuesday on the Islamic Republic’s ruling class… Videos circulating on social media…from inside Iran show thousands of protesters marching through the streets. In one video, crowds leaving a soccer match are heard yelling “death to the dictator! Death to Khamenei! Death to Rouhani!” and “Islamic regime must get lost!”…

Christian heartland opens window into fight for China’s soul
The 62-year-old Chinese shopkeeper had waited nearly his entire adult life to see his dream of building a church come true…But in March, about a dozen police officers and local officials suddenly showed up…and…ordered that the cross, a painting of the Last Supper and Bible verse calligraphy be taken down. And they demanded that all services stop until each person along with the church itself was registered with the government, said the shopkeeper…

…Movies Made Under The Direct Influence And Supervision Of The Pentagon
A year ago we featured a detailed report by authors Tom Secker and Matthew Alford exposing just how vast the Pentagon and CIA programs for partnering with Hollywood actually are, based on some 4,000 new pages of formerly classified archived documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The report noted at the time that “These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles.”

END OF TIMES: Ancient Judaic Sources Indicate Trump Will Pave Way for Third Jewish Temple
“It sounds illogical that the Third Jewish Temple will be built by non-Jews,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “But Rabbinic sources state explicitly that this is what they must do to fix the historic wrongs that were committed.”

Italian Gov’t Proposes Displaying Crucifixes in All Public Buildings
The coalition government of Italy is now debating legislation to place Christian crucifixes in all public buildings, including universities, ports, train stations, airports, libraries, court houses, and post offices.

Damascus creates body to repatriate Syria refugees
Syria’s government is to set up a committee to coordinate repatriating millions of its nationals who fled the country’s seven-year conflict, state media has said.

Pastor Asks God to Protect President Trump from ‘jungle Journalism’
..”Tonight, I pray that You will protect our President and his family with a shield of faith, Lord, that shield of faith against the fiery darts of the wicked one, Lord, against that jungle journalism (that) extorts the truth and distorts honesty and integrity every single day, gets in his face with lies and mistruths and innuendos,” he told the crowd, as reported by CNN. “Lord, protect him.”

Indonesia evacuates tourists as Lombok earthquake death toll climbs
Indonesia evacuated hundreds of tourists from popular resorts and sent rescuers fanning across the holiday island of Lombok after a powerful quake killed at least 91 people and reduced thousands of buildings to rubble.

Children are being euthanized in Belgium
Deliberately taking a small child’s life is unlawful everywhere in the world..There is an exception to this rule: Belgium. In 2014, that country amended its law on euthanasia…authorizing doctors to terminate the life of a child, at any age, who makes the request.

Sen. Feinstein Was Aiding and Abetting Treason On Behalf of Communist China
Senator Dianne Feinstein once held an automatic weapon on the floor of the Senate and told the American people that they were going to take all of their guns. Now she’s aiding and abetting espionage from the Chinese government. Her husband sells vast amounts of California land to the Chinese and is involved in Calexit. The Chinese are involved in Calexit.  These are not coincidences. What is most frightening is that Feinstein will be defeated this year, in the Democratic primary, by Kevin De Leon because she is “too conservative”. Here is the complete story.

George Soros Pushes for Facebook To ‘Ban Anyone’ Who Denies Global Warming
The infamous George Soros-funded Media Matters activist group has taken it upon themselves to push Facebook to ban anyone who dares to question global warming.

Twitter Shuts Down Ron Paul Institute Director as Conservative Cull Continues
Just one day following the seemingly coordinated attack by media giants Facebook, Apple, Spotify and Google on radio host Alex Jones, Twitter continued its crackdown against conservative and independent media figures.

Mendocino Complex Fire Now The Size Of LA, Largest Fire In CA History
As of midday on Tuesday, the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in California’s history, had ravaged over 290,000 acres, or 453 square miles, making it roughly as big as the city of Los Angeles, which encompasses 469 square miles. The fire is 34% contained.

Judicial Watch Sues to Obtain Anti-Israel Boycott Records of Obama Administration
The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department, Homeland Security, and the State Department to obtain the records concerning the anti-Israel group Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions’ (BDS) efforts “to lobby the Obama administration to adopt policies to harm companies doing business with Israel,” reported the group in a statement.

FDA Acquiring ‘Fresh’ Aborted Baby Parts to Make Mice With Human Immune Systems
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration signed a new contract on July 25 to acquire “fresh” human fetal tissue to transplant into “humanized mice” so that these mice will have a functioning “human immune system,” according to information published by the FDA and the General Services Administration.

British PM Theresa May Refuses to Ban Dog Eating in the UK
British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing mounting pressure as she refuses to ban the practice of dog eating in the United Kingdom.

Refugees in Austria Demand Access to Citizens Homes and Money
A refugee living in Germany has demanded that all Austrians should give refugees access to their homes and money if the country wants integration to work.

WATCH VIDEO: “Palestinian” Muslim Professor Says Koran Teaches ‘Jews Are Behind Every Conspiracy,’”
Abdul Samee’ Al-‘Arabeed here confirms what I have been saying for years: Islamic Jew-hatred is in the Quran. The “Palestinian” hatred for Israel is not really based on land claims, or “occupation,” or settlements, or any of the other common claims. What it’s really all about is that the Quran demonizes and scapegoats the Jews, and makes these libelous claims about them — so anyone who believes in the Quran can’t help but hate the Jews.

Graham: ‘I Am’ Advocating Regime Change in Iran, Regime ‘Will Collapse’ with US Support
On Monday’s “Fox News @ Night,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) advocated for regime change in Iran and stated, “with our moral support and isolating the ayatollah and cutting off this cash, he will collapse.”


ApostasyWatch Daily News

The Pastors Who Run Evangelical Hollywood

In Spite of Decreeing the Fire Away, 25 Bethel Staff Lose Homes in Carr Fire

Bethel Church to Give $1000 to Every Family Whose Home Burned in Carr Fire

Prophetess’ Kat Kerr Guarantees ’24 Years Of God (Republicans) In The White House’

Pastor Greg Locke: “Adulterer in God’s Eyes” Marries Church Secretary

Tyler Perry Reveals He Was Minister, Attended Seminary in Message at Lakewood Church

InterVarsity Sues University of Iowa After 38 Student Groups Are Expelled Over Policies

Rwanda Restricts Fasting as 8,000 Churches Closed


Headlines – 8/8/2018

U.S. Official: Trump’s Peace Plan Will Cause Discomfort to Both Israel and Palestinians

Hamas official says truce with Israel to be inked within weeks

Hamas expresses optimism over UN brokered deal

Israel kills 2 Hamas operatives in tank attack

PA demands full authority in Gaza

Fractured union: Israel has all but given up on the EU

Russia and Israel reach understanding on Golan border line

Defense Minister Liberman: Assad regime rebuilding stronger army

Israel sees Syrian army growing beyond pre-civil war size

Iraq reluctantly agrees to abide by US sanctions on Iran

Seeking ‘WORLD PEACE,’ Trump says US won’t trade with those who trade with Iran

In swipe at Trump, Iran FM says world affairs not a ‘beauty pageant’

Germany blocks $400 million cash delivery to Iran amid heightened US sanctions

Iran Braces For New U.S. Sanctions To Further Cripple Economy

The Iranian regime is in deep trouble

‘A matter of life and death’: Iranians despair as US sanctions bite

Iran crowds reportedly chant ‘death to the dictator!’ as US sanctions increase economic unrest

Iranian Revolutionary Guards: We asked Houthis to attack Saudi oil tankers

Canada Defiant Against Saudi Arabia: We Will Always Stand Up for Human Rights

US, Europe seek answers from Riyadh but steer clear of Canada spat

Muslim group plans to sue US over terror watch list system

Russia warns of ‘horrible’ conflict if Georgia joins NATO

North Korean foreign minister visits Iran as US sanctions take effect

John Bolton admits it: The North Korea summit was a bust

White House’s Bolton says North Korea has not lived up to denuclearization deal

Trump says North Korea making progress on denuking

China claims to have successfully tested its first hypersonic aircraft

China’s stock market plunge will not force the country to give up on its trade war with US

Apple could be used as a ‘bargaining chip’ in the trade war, Chinese state media warn

Apple tells lawmakers iPhones are not listening in on consumers

FCC net neutrality cyberattack wasn’t real, says internal report

National debt is about to roar back to life as a pressing issue

Mattis throws support behind new space-focused military command

‘Incredible Hulk’ Comet Will Soon Whiz Past Earth

Landslides, debris hinder Lombok quake rescue efforts

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits the Greenland Sea

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Ofunato, Japan

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Aratoca, Colombia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 18,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 17,000ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 14,000ft

Hawaii volcano eruption slows to virtual halt after more than three months

Hurricane Hector – one of 3 storms in Pacific – should slide south of Hawaii

Baseball-Size Hail Kills Zoo Animals In Colorado

Mendocino wildfire explodes into raging monster nearly the size of Los Angeles

Spain heatwave death toll rises to nine

Why Italy’s U-turn on mandatory vaccination shocks the scientific community

Opioids Have Sparked An HIV Outbreak In Massachusetts

FDA Acquiring ‘Fresh’ Aborted Baby Parts to Make Mice With Human Immune Systems

Argentina Votes on Legalizing Abortion Tomorrow. Here’s What That Means for Women’s Rights Across Latin America

Argentina braces for abortion vote in Pope’s homeland

NYT Guilty of ‘Anti-Christian Bigotry’ with Mike Pence ‘Hit Piece,’ Focus on the Family Director Says

Franklin Graham Says ‘Pray for Chicago’ Following Latest News of Extreme Violence


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What does the Bible say about capital punishment?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Let's take a look at what the Bible says Let’s take a look at what the Bible says

Note: This post has a twin post which talks about the crime-preventing effect of capital punishment.

First, let’s take a look at what the Bible says in general about capital punishment, using this lecture featuring eminent theologian Wayne Grudem.

About Wayne Grudem:

Grudem holds a BA from Harvard University, a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. In 2001, Grudem became Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary. Prior to that, he had taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he was chairman of the department of Biblical and Systematic Theology.

Grudem served on the committee overseeing the English Standard Version translation of the Bible, and in 1999 he was the president of the Evangelical Theological Society. He is a co-founder and past president of the Council…

View original post 308 more words

Signs of Life on Mars but not in a Mother’s Womb?

Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

This just in! Once again, researchers are thrilled about the possibility of life on Mars! Maybe. A recent report of water a mile underneath a slab of ice seemed to boost the odds of life on the red planet. One scientist from the University of Arizona stated if they did find life, it would be microbial, somewhere in the Martian crust.

My question is this: why don’t we use this same determined, scientific, optimistic approach to find human life on earth? We’re often told a heartbeat in a human mother’s womb is not a sign of life. Come on.

NASA’s John Grunsfeld commented on the report at a news conference:

“It suggests it would be possible for there to be life today on Mars,”

Researchers said in the journal, Nature Geoscience, that further exploration is warranted to determine whether microscopic life exists there. One of the lead scientists says the…

View original post 655 more words