Daily Archives: August 23, 2018

Republicans Block Senator Rand Paul’s Effort to Defund Planned Parenthood — The Gateway Pundit

Republican senate leadership has blocked an attempt by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to defund Planned Parenthood.

Senator Paul was attempting to add an amendment to the appropriations bill funding the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding.

There are a limited number of amendments that can be added to a bill, so to fill up space, GOP leadership inserted a useless amendment that would change funding in a program by $1.

“One of the top priorities for a Republican Congress that professes pro-life values on the campaign trail should be to stop taxpayer funding for abortion providers,” Senator Paul said in a statement. “This is our chance to turn our words into action, stand up for the sanctity of life, and speak out for the most innocent among us that have no voice.”

The March for Life issued a statementthanking Senator Paul for his efforts.

“March for Life is grateful to Senator Paul and to those who voted in favor of an amendment to the appropriations bill that would have banned funding to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider and subject of Department of Justice investigation into the trafficking of aborted baby body parts. Unfortunately, many Senators who claim to be pro-life defied their constituents and the consensus of the American public by giving the abortion industry a pass. Almost two-thirds of Americans say they do not want to fund abortion with their tax dollars. Disentangling American taxpayers from the abortion industry is long overdue. Our elected representatives should join the national consensus and put an end to taxpayer funding of abortion, or risk being voted out of office,” March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said.

via Republicans Block Senator Rand Paul’s Effort to Defund Planned Parenthood — The Gateway Pundit

August 23: God the Innovator

Isaiah 45:14–47:15; Luke 18:9–19:10; Job 10:11–22

Innovators often say they learn more from their failures than their successes. The successes come as a result of repeated failures, whether in business or in life. We must learn from our mistakes if we are to expect a different, brighter future.

God expects us to learn from our failures—the depths of which we can best understand in comparison to the glory of His successes. God speaks about Himself not only to remind people of His abilities, but also to explain where His authority begins and theirs ends.

In Isaiah 45:1–2, God gave Cyrus a lesson in these boundaries—both by what He said and by what He did not say. Like other kings of the time, Cyrus would have thought himself godlike, but God’s detailed description of what He was about to do left Cyrus with no doubt about who was in charge:

“And I will give you the treasures of darkness and treasures of secret places so that you may know that I am Yahweh, the one who calls you by your name, the God of Israel, for the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen one. And I call you by your name; I give you a name of honor, though you do not know me” (Isa 45:3–4).

From Cyrus’ perspective, he had all authority and could accomplish all things. He did not yet know the Master Innovator who can reverse any situation and honor any person as an instrument in accomplishing His larger plan—to restore His people. God blessed Cyrus with wealth so that it would be easy for him to help God’s people. God exercised authority over the economy to create a new spiritual economy. Cyrus may have pointed to his achievements, but God had enabled them all.

As God created the circumstances for Cyrus to succeed—and for His people to be blessed—He also showed the Israelites His perspective on failure and success. In His power and compassion, He could work in difficult and unexpected ways to bring about their redemption, despite their many failures. The Israelites may have gotten themselves into a horrible situation, but God could make a way to get them out.

What innovations is God making in your life story? In the process, is He teaching you to completely depend on Him?

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.

August 23 Maintaining Doctrinal Purity

“[Love] rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6).

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Love never compromises God’s Word.

Paul has just given us a list of things that love does not do: become jealous, brag, act arrogantly or unbecomingly, seek its own, become provoked, keep track of wrongs suffered, or rejoice in unrighteousness. Now he comes to the first of five things love does: “[Love] rejoices with the truth” (v. 6).

The contrast here is between love’s inability to rejoice in unrighteousness and its joy when truth prevails. “Truth” refers to God’s Word, which is the standard of righteousness. Paul could have said, “Love doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with righteousness,” but he went beyond the mere deeds of righteousness and addressed its standard and motive.

Love won’t tolerate false doctrine or sinful behavior, but it rejoices when God’s Word is taught and obeyed. The psalmist said, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies. … I have more insight than all my teachers . … I understand more than the aged. … I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word. I have not turned aside from Thine ordinances, for Thou Thyself hast taught me. How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:97–104). That’s the testimony of one who rejoices in the truth.

Often Christians are willing to compromise sound doctrine for the sake of loving others. They believe that doctrinal precision is somehow divisive and unloving. But Scripture says, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. … For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 6–8).

Biblical love always operates within the parameters of God’s Word and spiritual discernment (Phil. 1:9–10). The most loving thing you can do is live according to Biblical truth. Doctrinal compromise simply diminishes the quality of love and plays into the hands of the evil one.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God for the wisdom and discernment needed to keep your love within its proper Biblical bounds.

For Further Study: Memorize Philippians 1:9–11.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 248). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

AUGUST 23 CHRIST’S ETERNAL GLORY

We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.

John 1:14

The Apostle John speaks for all when he writes of the eternal Son and reminds us that “we beheld his glory.” John was speaking of much more than the glory of Christ’s wondrous works. Every part of nature had to yield to Him and His authority. Everything our Lord did was meaningful in the display of His eternal glory.

But we may be sure that John had a much greater glory in mind than the gracious and wonderful acts of healing and help.

It was the very person and character of Jesus that was glorious. It was not only what He did—but what He was. What He was in His person primary!

Brethren, there can be no argument about Jesus Christ’s glory—it lay in the fact that He was perfect love in a loveless world; that He was perfect purity in an impure world; and that He was perfect meekness in a harsh and quarrelsome world. Patience in suffering, unquenchable life and God’s grace and truth were in the eternal Word, as well.

This is the divine and eternal glory that earth’s most famous and capable personalities can never attain!

Lord, we get so bogged down with our life’s responsibilities that we often miss out on the kind of revelation that John had of Jesus Christ’s glory. I want to slow down, Lord, to experience more of Your eternal glory.[1]


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

August 23, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Their Perversion

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge us Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” (2:20–22)

To be sure, the false teachers of Peter’s day were outwardly religious people. They had professed faith in Jesus Christ and probably convinced the people that they knew far more about Him than they actually did. Otherwise they would not have been able to infiltrate the church so effectively.

In pursuing religion, specifically Christianity, they in a sense escaped the defilements of the world. Defilements, or “pollution,” is miasma, a transliterated word in English that conveys the same meaning as it does in Greek: “a vaporous exhalation formerly believed to cause disease … an influence or atmosphere that tends to deplete or corrupt.” The debauched system of the world produces, as it were, poisonous vapors, infectious evils, and moral pollutions in every conceivable form. Unsaved humanity is heavily contaminated by the world’s immorality and vanity, and some, such as those who become false teachers, seek to escape it. They do so by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, finding provisional shelter in the church. Such knowledge is an accurate awareness about Christ, but it is not a saving knowledge of Him (Matt. 7:21–23; Heb. 6:4–6; 10:26–29). Thus, their efforts ultimately result in nothing more than temporary and superficial moral reform through religion—the religion of nominal Christianity, devoid of genuine faith and repentance.

It is evident that false teachers are not really in Christ because they are again entangled in the world’s defilements and are overcome. They are not the “overcomers” the apostle John wrote about in his first epistle (1 John 5:4–5) or the book of Revelation (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). Since there is no real salvation for them—no grace received to overcome the power of sin (Eph. 1:7), walk by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:12–13; Eph. 2:8–10), and persevere in the faith (Phil. 2:12–13; 2 Thess. 1:11–12)—they sink back into the pollution of the world and completely reject the gospel of salvation. This last state is much worse for them than the first. After all, those who understand the truth and still turn away will face far greater judgment than those who have never heard (cf. Matt. 10:14–15; 11:22–24; Mark 6:11; Luke 12:47–48).

In light of this, it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them (cf. Matt. 26:24). The way of righteousness is the Christian faith (see the discussion of 2:2 in chapter 5 of this volume). Because of the greater condemnation they face, false teachers would be better off not hearing about Scripture and doctrine than, having contemplated it, to reject it. Their insincere consideration of the gospel gives them access to divine teaching in God’s Word, the holy commandment (cf. Ex. 24:12; Deut. 6:1, 25; Josh. 22:5; 2 Kings 17:37; Pss. 19:8; 119:96; Prov. 6:23; Matt. 15:3; John 12:50; Rom. 7:12; 16:26; 1 John 2:7). But they ultimately renounce Christ and His saving truth. Thus, they spurn the only true way of salvation and are subsequently left without any hope of eternal life. The writer of Hebrews gives a similar warning against apostasy:

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Heb. 6:4–6; cf. Matt. 13:3–7; John 6:60–66)

Later in that letter, the writer reiterates the same truth in different words:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10:26–31)

(For commentary on the Hebrews passages, see John MacArthur, Hebrews, MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 1983], 142–49, 276–80.)

Apostate teachers, as Peter describes them, actually develop from within the church where, partially exhumed from the muck of society’s wickedness, they hear the truth but ultimately reject it. Like Judas Iscariot, they breed in close proximity to Jesus Christ and His Word—cloaking themselves in the feigned righteousness of hypocrisy. Ultimately, they use the church solely for their own selfish purposes, like spiritual parasites, seductively seeking to drag as many as possible down with them, to the fiendish satisfaction of the hosts of Satan (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1–2).

In a final portrayal of their despicable nature, Peter described the false teachers by using graphic imagery from the animal kingdom. His first analogy of what happened to them is according to the true proverb, Proverbs 26:11, “A dog returns to its own vomit.” The second is probably borrowed from an ancient secular adage, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” In biblical times, dogs and swine were both contemptible animals (cf. Job 30:1; Ps. 22:16; Matt. 7:6; Luke 16:21). Dogs, for instance, were rarely kept as household pets because they were usually half-wild mongrels—often dirty, diseased, and dangerous (cf. 1 Kings 14:11; 21:19, 23–24; Isa. 56:11; Rev. 22:15). They lived on garbage and refuse, and were even willing to eat their own vomit. It is not surprising, then, that the Jews treated dogs with contempt and disgust. Swine similarly represented filth, being the ultimate in uncleanness to the Jews (cf. Luke 15:15–16). This was primarily because the Mosaic law declared them ceremonially unclean (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8). Peter’s comparison, then, is unmistakable: False teachers are the epitome of spiritual uncleanness and smut.

Contemporary Christianity, sadly, contains many people like the ones Peter describes in this passage. They have sought personal improvement and moral reformation in their quests for spiritual and religious experience. Many of them have become teachers, preachers, and self-styled prophets within the professed church. Tragically, like dirty dogs or unclean pigs, they eventually return to their old lifestyles—rejecting the only One who can truly reform them. Those who become spiritual leaders are in reality false teachers, motivated by their own selfish pursuits and sensual desires. In view of their appalling character and damning influence, Peter’s warning is clear: Stay away from false teachers and expose them! Believers are to listen to the true apostles and prophets, not the false ones (3:1–2).[1]


20 Two vivid pictures from the natural realm sum up the state of the apostate, i.e., those who in the past “escaped the corruption of the world” but had become “entangled in it and overcome.” Both images communicate actions that fit “brute beasts” and “creatures of instinct” (2:12). Common though these images are, they have the effect of shocking the readers when applied to the realm of faith. If people return to the world’s defilement after rescue through knowledge of Jesus Christ, they enter a state said to be worse for them than the first. It would have been better, the writer declares, that they had never known the truth to begin with than to disavow what they knew (cf. Mt 12:43–45). In relative terms, ignorance of “the way of righteousness,” at least according to the apostle’s logic, is better than apostasy from it. Disavowing the truth is serious business.[2]


False teachers have nothing to commend them (v. 20)

To be caught out once is foolish, but to be caught a second time is scandalous, and those who are ensnared again are liable to struggle even more because they do not know which way to turn.

Christopher Green and Dick Lucas helpfully list six things we must note:

  • The salvation Christ has won is full, final and free.
  • There will always be non-Christians in the church.
  • From the outside it is extraordinarily difficult to tell a real Christian from a fake one.
  • In cases where there is blatant disobedience, church leadership has the responsibility to discipline.
  • The acid test is whether we are merely hearers of God’s Word, or doers as well.
  • Some measure of self-examination in spiritual growth is always healthy.

Some who toy with Christianity appear to have entered into the joy of Christ, but the reality is that that joy has never entered into them, and when the going gets tough they fall away. They are embittered by the whole experience and turn against Christ.[3]


2:20 / The false teachers had once known true freedom from the corruption of the world, that is, from the sphere of life which leaves God out of account. That liberty had come to them through knowing our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1:3–4). But evidently this had been head knowledge rather than heart knowledge (Matt. 13:20–21). Now these men are again entangled in the corrupting influence of the world, having slipped back into their old pattern of life. As a result, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. These words echo the warning of Jesus himself about a man whose evil spirit was reinforced by seven others worse still (Matt. 12:45; Luke 11:26). These men are worse off because they have rejected the forgiveness of their past sins and so they continue to bear them personally. Indeed they have incurred even greater culpability by flouting that gospel after once having known it, and thus they have rejected the only source of salvation. Furthermore, their future ability to resist sin has been fatally weakened by their returning to embrace it.[4]


2:20–22. The New Testament distinguishes clearly between people who are in the church and people who are actually followers of Jesus Christ. They are not always the same people. This distinction is seen clearly with this group of false teachers. They were not followers of Jesus. The knowledge of Jesus mentioned in verse 20 was simply a head knowledge, not a knowledge of the heart. They knew all about Christ and Christianity; this is how they were able to offer a counterfeit. Because of their association with true believers in the church, they had escaped some of the corruption of the world simply because true believers move away from this behavior.

However, knowing about Jesus Christ and being associated with Christians does not mean that they had embraced Jesus Christ as their Savior. Since they were worse off at the end than they were at the beginning, these people had never reached full, saving faith.

Worse off at the end than they were at the beginning aptly summarizes what Peter went on to explain in verses 21–22. They were worse off because those who give themselves to the pursuit of greed and sexual immorality ultimately become so corrupt that they lose the ability to enjoy themselves. Like a sick dog, they wallow in their own vomit (v. 22). They were worse off, secondly, because they deliberately chose to reject the truth they had learned (v. 21). They rejected the way of Christ, the way of forgiveness for their sins, the way of heaven. As a result, they chose hell over heaven and confirmed the judgment already confirmed upon them (see v. 17).

MAIN IDEA REVIEW: The church is always subject to the heresy of smooth-talking false teachers. Christians must understand who these false teachers are and how they operate. We must understand God’s verdict on such people and be alert for their presence within the body of Christ.[5]


20. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

Who is the subject of this verse? Some writers say: “The false teachers.” Other commentators assert: “The new Christians who are led astray.”52 The arguments advanced to defend either position are cogent. For instance, the use of the conjunction for (omitted in the NIV) as a first word in verse 20 forms a bridge to the immediately preceding verse (v. 19). Because the two texts form one unit, they have the same subject: the false teachers. On the other hand, the verb to escape appears in verses 18 and 20. The subject of this verb appears to be identical in both verses. But the argument on the use of a particular verb must be balanced by the observation that the verb to master, overcome in verses 19b and 20 refers to the false teachers. And last, in the light of the preceding verses that feature the apostates as the dominant subject, many commentators apply the last three verses to these teachers. Granted that convincing evidence has been presented by both sides, I am persuaded that in view of the flow of the entire chapter the subject is the false teachers.

  1. “If they have escaped the corruption of the world.” This is a factual statement, even though it appears in a conditional sentence. The element of probability is missing and the experience of what has happened in the past becomes evident. In the Greek, the verb form indicates that the false teachers on one occasion departed from the corruption of the world. “They had once escaped the world’s defilements” (NEB; also see JB). The difference in the verb form (in v. 18) is evident: “[They] have barely begun to escape” (NEB). This variation in the use of the verb form shows that Peter was thinking of the new converts who were in the process of breaking with their past. Here in verse 20, however, he is describing the heretics who at one time forsook their world and its corruption. “There can be little doubt that the false teachers had once been orthodox Christians.” In the past, these people were members of the church and they became acquainted with the teachings of the Christian faith.
  2. “By knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Did the false teachers at one time know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? The answer is yes. For example, when Jesus commissioned his disciples two by two, he sent out Judas and another disciple. “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (Mark 6:12–13). Obviously, Judas knew Jesus; in the name of Jesus he preached and performed miracles. Yet Judas betrayed his Master.

The apostates had a knowledge of Jesus Christ, but their knowledge lacked the intimacy that characterizes the relationship of the true believer with Christ. Observe Peter’s personal touch in the phrases our knowledge of him (1:3) and your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (1:8). These people had professed the name of Christ as their Lord and Savior but in time fully disclosed that their knowledge was merely intellectual knowledge (compare Matt. 13:20–21). Also note that Peter refrains from using the terms faith and believer in this context. The teachers never put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Because they lacked a personal relationship with Christ, they fell away.

  1. “And are again entangled in it and overcome.” The Greek actually indicates that these teachers were again woven into the fabric of the world’s corruption. This matter is an accomplished fact: although they left the world momentarily, they returned and defiled themselves again with its sordid sin. The result is that they are no longer free; they are slaves of sin (v. 19). Any resistance to the corruption of the world is out of the question, for they are overcome by sin and serve as slaves.
  2. “They are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” Here is the conclusive statement in Greek that Peter borrows almost verbatim from the teachings of Jesus. About casting out a demon who returns to a former demon-possessed person with seven other spirits, Jesus says, “And the final condition of that man is worse than the first” (Matt. 12:45; Luke 11:26; and compare Matt. 27:64).

Peter writes descriptively about the destiny of the apostates. Yet his words contain an urgent warning to the believers not to follow the path of the heretics that leads to irrevocable and everlasting destruction.

Doctrinal Considerations in 2:20

Within the church of Jesus Christ are true believers and pseudobelievers. Scripture tells the church members to make a clear distinction between these two groups. They live alongside each other much the same as the wheat and weeds in the same field. When the pseudobelievers depart on their own accord, they demonstrate that they never belonged to the body of Christ. Writers of Scripture, therefore, distinguish between the two groups by using the pronouns we and us over against they and them.

Peter differentiates between the members of the church and the false teachers with the use of the personal pronouns. In verse 20, for instance, he refers to the teachers with the plural pronoun they. In the last three verses of this chapter (vv. 20–22), he speaks only of the teachers and not of the believers. The exception is that Peter uses the possessive pronoun our in the phrase “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

In these verses, then, Peter never calls these teachers believers or children of God. Throughout these verses he describes them as people who deliberately sin against God and his Word. He repeatedly declares that these people face God’s judgment and destruction (vv. 3, 9, 12, 17).

Did these false teachers ever know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? By listening to the words of Jesus we receive an answer. Jesus says that only the person who obeys his Father in heaven will enter the kingdom. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” (Matt. 7:22–23).[6]


2:20 Verses 20–22 refer, not to the false teachers themselves, but to their victims. They are people who had reformed but who had not been born again. Through a partial knowledge of … Christ and of Christian principles, they had turned from a life of sin and begun a moral house-cleaning.

Then they come under the influence of false teachers who mock puritanical virtue and crusade for liberation from moral inhibitions. They become involved again in the very sins from which they had been temporarily delivered. As a matter of fact, they sink lower than before, because now that religious restraints are gone, there is nothing to hold them back. So it is true that their latter state is worse than the first.[7]


2:20 they have escaped: The subject of this phrase is the heretical teachers who are called “slaves of corruption” in v. 19. This verse seems to indicate that the teachers had formerly turned from the pollution of the world through a full and experiential knowledge of Christ. Now, however, they have fallen again into immorality, even becoming teachers of sinful lifestyles. As a result, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. This phrase is almost certainly taken from Jesus’ words in Matt. 12:45 and probably reflects Peter’s memory of that occasion.[8]


the termination of destruction (2:20–22)

Of whom are these verses speaking? Four views are possible.

(1) Some suggest that the word “they” refers to the false teachers rather than the targets of their attack (e.g., Edwin A. Blum, “2 Peter” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12:282).

(2) But the connection between the end of verse 18 (“people who are just escaping from those who live in error”) and the beginning of verse 20 (“if they have escaped the corruption of the world”) seems to favor a reference to the unstable, unsaved people who were “listeners” of the gospel (v. 18).

(3) Others think the reference might encompass both the false teachers and their “converts,” who can lose their salvation. This, however, runs counter to many passages that assure believers of eternal salvation.

(4) Another view is that new believers are warned against being “caught up into a life of carnality … only to find that there is even less pleasure, less fulfillment than before they were saved” (Duane A. Dunham, “An Exegetical Study of 2 Peter 2:18–22,” Bibliotheca Sacra 140. January=March, 1983:51).

2:20–21. Whether they in verse 20 refers to the teachers or their victims, both groups had available to them knowledge about Jesus Christ, which could produce liberty and life. But when that knowledge was rejected, their end was deeper corruption (again entangled in it and overcome) and presumably a more severe degree of punishment. Indeed, they would have been better off never to have known the gospel, the way of righteousness, and the sacred (holy) commandment (i.e., the apostolic message) than to have known the truth and have deliberately violated it.

2:22. Jews considered both dogs and pigs among the lowest of creatures (cf. Matt. 7:6) so Peter chose these animals to describe people who knew the truth and turned away from it. The first proverb, A dog returns to its vomit, is taken from Proverbs 26:11. The second proverb, A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud, was presumably commonly known by Jews in the first century. The underlying principle of both is the same: these apostates (whether false teachers, their victims, or both) never were what they seemed to be and returned to what they had been all along. Dogs and pigs can be scrubbed but not kept clean, for it is in their very nature to return to unclean living. Such apostates are in a tighter bondage, they are farther from the truth, and they are deeper in spiritual filth than ever before.

Believers today do well to heed Peter’s warning against false teachers, to learn how to discern truth for themselves, and to teach it to others. The false teachers will themselves meet destruction and others will be destroyed by them. But Christians can wage spiritual warfare more effectively if they know their spiritual enemies, the techniques that heretics use, and the end result of their deception.[9]



[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2005). 2 Peter and Jude (pp. 106–108). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Charles, D. J. (2006). 2 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 403). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Anderson, C. (2007). Opening up 2 Peter (p. 79). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (p. 205). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 129–130). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 311–313). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[7] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2300). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1698). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] Gangel, K. O. (1985). 2 Peter. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 874). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

August 23, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

Hurricane Lane, threatening a direct hit as Hawaii’s worst storm in a quarter century, on Thursday churned toward Oahu, the island with the largest population, as schools, government offices and business closed and residents stocked up on supplies and boarded up homes.

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said on Thursday that he warned his Russian counterpart against meddling in the U.S. elections in November in talks that he said also covered a phased withdrawal of Iran’s presence in Syria.

A new front in the battle over the cost of expensive medicines in the United States is opening up in Oklahoma, the first state where the government’s Medicaid program is negotiating contracts for prescription drugs based on how well they work.

The Federal Reserve should raise U.S. interest rates further this year and probably next year as well, despite President Donald Trump’s displeasure at tighter policy, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George said in interviews aired on Thursday.

The U.S. Democratic National Committee said it has determined its voter-data website was not the target of a recent cyber-attack, correcting a warning on Wednesday that a sophisticated hacking group was trying to break into the system.

More than two million haj pilgrims headed back to Mecca for final prayers on Thursday as organizers said the world’s largest annual gathering of Muslims had gone smoothly in the face of political tensions and huge logistical challenges.

Tunisia’s coast guard said it recovered the bodies of five migrants on Thursday whose boat sank as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The British government called on Thursday for drug makers to build an additional six weeks of medicines stockpiles to cope with potential supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit – a target the industry said would be challenging.

Frustrated by a string of defeats at the polls, a progressive wing of the Democratic Party pushes a populist platform across the country. Amid wins and losses, the movement aims to reshape a party in flux.

AP Top Stories

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in his first purported speech in nearly a year, has called on followers to fight on despite recent defeats, according to an audio recording posted on the group’s media outlet.

Gay people in the Catholic Church are sometimes “treated like dirt”, according to a priest invited by the Vatican to address a conference on families in Dublin on Thursday ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.

Venezuela has been hit by its strongest earthquake in more than 100 years, knocking out power and toppling supermarket shelves. Damage from the 7.3-magnitude quake, which shook the nation’s northeastern coast and parts of the Caribbean, was limited by the depth of tremors beneath the Earth’s surface.

Benjamin Netanyahu will on Thursday become the first Israeli prime minister to visit Lithuania, where he will hold talks with the leaders of the three Baltic countries, his office said.

Beginning Thursday a youth-led campaign will march to save lives and change the conversation about gun violence. The Massachusetts event will begin in Worcester and end Sunday in Springfield outside the headquarters of Smith & Wesson, where the students say they’ll challenge the firearms manufacturer to do its part to prevent mass shootings and other routine gun violence.

A suicide attack on a former Iraqi lawmaker’s house killed at least six tribal militiamen and wounded seven others in a northern Sunni Muslim village early on Wednesday, police said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but Islamic State militants operate in the area.

The U.S. has charged two alleged agents of Iran, accusing them of conducting covert surveillance of Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States and collecting intelligence on Americans linked to a political organization that wants to see the current Iranian government overthrown.

Per the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Aug 22 report, U.S. crude inventories dropped by 5.8 million barrels for the week ending Aug 17. This resulted in crude oil price rising to a two-week high to settle above $74 a barrel. Further, crude-oil futures also increased for the fifth session on the trot on Wednesday.

BBC

Venezuelans trying to emigrate to Peru are rushing to get there before Saturday when new rules will come into force requiring them to have valid passports.

Russia has revealed the extent of its military involvement in the war in Syria. A defense ministry video said more than 63,000 Russian military personnel had “received combat experience” in the country since September 2015. The Russian air force had meanwhile flown 39,000 sorties, destroying 121,466 “terrorist targets” and killing more than 86,000 “militants”, it added.

President Donald Trump’s trade war against China has moved up a gear as it brings in a 25% tax on a second wave of goods worth $16bn.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has set out what he called “practical and proportionate” advice in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The guidance includes instructions for businesses who could face extra paperwork at borders and contingency plans to avoid medicine shortages. Britons visiting the EU could also face extra credit card charges.

WND

A recently published academic article examines “exosexuals’ encounters with the natural environment.” “1. A person that finds nature sensual, sexy. 2. A new sexual identity. 3: Person who takes the Earth as their lover,” she wrote. “Ecosexuals” take it a step further by encouraging sex with “nature itself.”

In a move to be eco-friendly, the University of Miami football program has agreed to be the first college team to wear uniforms, cleats and gloves made from ocean waste.


News – 8/23/2018

Netanyahu: I would like to balance the EU’s unfriendly stance on Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is flying Thursday to Lithuania for a three-day trip to hold bilateral diplomatic meetings with the heads of the Baltic states, who will also be arriving in the European country. “I would also like to balance the EU’s unfriendly stance towards the State of Israel in order to achieve a more fair and genuine relationship with the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu before he boarded the plane.

US-China trade war: New tariffs come into force
US President Donald Trump’s trade war against China has moved up a gear as it brings in a 25% tax on a second wave of goods worth $16bn (£12.4bn). The move ratchets up the dispute which began in July. The US imports far more goods from China than it exports to it. There are fears that more tariffs could cause further damage to companies and consumers. Goods affected this time include motorcycles and aerials.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: ‘New audio’ of IS leader released
The Islamic State group (IS) has released an audio message purportedly from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, his first in almost in a year. In a speech, he calls on IS supporters to “persevere”, despite the losses the group has suffered in Iraq and Syria. The recording’s authenticity could not be verified, but experts said the voice resembled that heard in other messages.

Israel advances plans for 1,000 new West Bank settler homes
Israel has advanced plans to build more than 1,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Final approval for construction was given for 382 homes, while the others cleared an earlier planning stage. Anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now said most would be built in communities that were likely to be evacuated as part of any peace deal with the Palestinians.

Texas Exports More Oil Than It Imports For First Time Ever
The Texas Gulf Coast oil terminals sent abroad more crude than they received in April, the Energy Information Administration said this week. During that month, crude oil exports from the Houston-Galveston port district exceeded imports by 15,000 bpd. Over the next month, the advantage of exports over imports welled further, to an impressive 470,000 bpd.

Over The Last 7 Days Our Planet Has Been Violently Shaken By 144 Major Earthquakes
Within the past few days, we have seen an enormous magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Venezuela and a giant magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit Fiji. Where will the next one strike? To many of us, it is becoming exceedingly clear that something very unusual is happening to our planet. I went and looked it up, and I was astounded to learn that the crust of the Earth has been shaken by 144 major earthquakes over the last 7 days, and that includes more than 50 on Sunday alone.

52.1% of Kids Live in Households Getting Means-Tested Government Assistance
Will they be called The Welfare Generation? Today, they are Americans under 18 years of age growing up in a country where the majority of their peers live in households that take “means-tested assistance” from the government. In 2016, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau, there were approximately 73,586,000 people under 18 in the United States, and 38,365,000 of them — or 52.1 percent — resided in households in which one or more persons received benefits from a means-tested government program.

Image-conscious China appoints new global propaganda czar
China’s increasingly image-conscious government has appointed a trusted member of the ruling Communist Party to head up its international propaganda operation. Former top internet regulator Xu Lin will be in charge of efforts to portray China as a progressive force for good in the world at a time when it’s facing criticism over its allegedly unfair trading practices, human rights abuses and militarization of island claims in the South China Sea.

Category 5 Hurricane Lane Prompts Hurricane Warning for Hawaii’s Big Island, Watches For Maui, Oahu, Including Honolulu
Hurricane Lane strengthened to Category 5 intensity and, while forecast to weaken, poses a danger to Hawaii Thursday through Saturday with flooding rain, battering surf, coastal flooding and high winds possible.

Mexican city legalises sex in public
A city in Mexico has approved a law change allowing sexual intercourse and exhibitionism in public, providing no one complains about it.

The shocking Soros ‘Speech Code Cartel’ memo
You can’t make this stuff up. Never, even in my fertile imagination, would I have guessed that we would find a smoking-gun 49-page memo revealing how George Soros operatives, including David Brock, were there at the genesis, the planning stages, with their hands on the ignition key, of the most concerted, well-funded, diabolical attack on free speech in the history of America.

Newark Archbishop Joseph Tobin Denies ‘Gay Subculture,’ Bans Priests from Speaking to Media About Sex Scandal
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, has told priests under his leadership he has no knowledge of a “gay subculture” in his archdiocese and has instructed them not to speak to media about sexual misconduct.

Soros Broke Charity Laws To Meddle In Elections, Wall Street Analyst Says
Globalist billionaire George Soros has found himself under the firing line again after Wall Street analyst, Charles Ortel, highlighted that he repeatedly broke US charity laws when attempting to meddle in elections.

Comey & Mueller Caught Funneling Billions in FBI Contracts to Lockheed Martin
A pair of leading Government Accountability Institute researchers has revealed that two former FBI Directors, James Comey and Robert Mueller, took advantage of their government contacts and security clearance to enrich themselves.

Russian Weapons Company Unveils 13-Foot ‘Killer Robot’
A well-known Russian weapons company has just unveiled it’s newest deadly weapon: a golden 13-foot tall killer robot. Kalashnikov Concern presented the large bulletproof robot that’s currently in development at the Army 2018 fair near Moscow.

Gruesome: Naral Offers Abortion-Themed Ice Cream in Oregon
What a sick organization. Naral Oregon is now offering abortion-themed ice cream. Rocky Roe v. Wade seems to be a favorite among the far left abortion group.

Jewish Democratic Assemblyman Calls Out His Own Party For Politicizing ICE’s Nazi Arrest
Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind of New York went after his own party, on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday, for politicizing the arrest of World War II Nazi Jakiw Palij.

How the Banks Will Steal Your Money In the Coming Economic Crash
Wells Fargo has been fined more than 12 billion dollars for over 80 federal violations of banking law ranging from mortgage abuses, consumer protection violations, prices fixing and violation of anti-trust laws, and a breach of trust with its investors resulting in fines for investor violations.


ApostasyWatch Daily News

Steven Furtick is the Most Dangerous Kind of False Teacher

What is the Hebrew Roots movement?

Lake Forest church youth mentor convicted of lewd acts with teen boys

“Allahu Akbar” Rules At Minnesota Vikings Stadium

Bishop Roy E. Brown’s Widow Says She Was Promised $2.5M Church House, ‘Traumatized’ by Eviction Notice

Lesbians Sue Christian Senior Center Over Biblically-Based Policy Banning Same-Sex Cohabitation

Study: Children of Same Sex Couples do Less well Than Those of Married Couples


Headlines – 8/23/2018

US, Israel officials downplay Trump’s warning of ‘price’ over Jerusalem moves

Top minister vows to ‘push back’ against Trump’s promised price for embassy move

Bolton denies ‘quid pro quo’ in embassy move after Trump warns of ‘price’

Bolton says no timetable for Trump’s Mideast peace plan

Trump team expands Israel-Palestine peace plan staff

Hamas: ‘Trump’s statements about Jerusalem are dangerous’ – the right response would be to revoke the Palestinian Authority’s recognition of the State of Israel, and cease all security coordination with Israel

Abbas aide: To offset embassy move, Trump must make East Jerusalem our capital

Jewish settlement movement Amana moves its headquarters to east J’lm

Netanyahu angers settlers by only advancing 1,400 homes

Israeli bill to ban Palestine flag

Fatah leaders arm themselves ahead of Abbas’s possible departure

UN says it ran out of money for fuel, medicine in Gaza

UN urges Israel not to hold Gaza aid ‘hostage’ to politics

Head of UN probe on Gaza clashes resigns for ‘personal reasons’

Report: UN Middle East envoy may soon leave post, sparking concern in Israel

Netanyahu Baltic trip: I would like to balance the EU’s unfriendly stance on Israel

Pentagon: New general appointed to lead US forces in Mideast

Iran’s Missile Program Is Israel’s Main Challenge, Revolutionary Guards Say

Iran: Britain will help redesign reactor after US pullout

Merkel cool on EU independent payment system to save Iran deal

Amid Iran deal tensions, Merkel to visit Israel in October

US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

Putin would be happy to see Iranian forces leave Syria, John Bolton says

Syria’s al-Qaida leader vows to fight on in rebel province

US will ‘respond very strongly’ if Assad uses chemical weapons in Idlib: Bolton

US pastor’s lawyer plans appeal to Turkish constitutional court

Lira steady after Turkey says U.S. waging ‘economic war’

Bolton remarks proof U.S. targeting Turkey in economic war: Erdogan spokesman

IS chief urges followers to wage ‘jihad’ in new recording

More than 100 migrants storm border of Spanish enclave ‘throwing battery acid’ at border guards

German police arrest Russian man over alleged terror bomb plot

Trump asks Pompeo to look into killing of white farmers in South Africa

Afghanistan will not attend Russia-led peace talks with Taliban

Putin Says Russia Must Strengthen Its Military as NATO Inches Closer

Britain Scrambles Typhoon Jets to Shadow Russian Aircrafts Near NATO Airspace

Putin deplores U.S. sanctions, but lauds Trump meeting

US, China raise tariffs in new round of trade dispute

Taiwan Grows Isolated As El Salvador Recognizes Beijing

Images indicate N.Korea halted dismantling of launch site

GOP, and some Democrats, reject talk of Trump impeachment

Trump-hating Democrats who pursue impeachment will be punished by the American voter

Senate Dems demand Kavanaugh nomination pause after Trump implicated by Cohen

Ex-national security official: Cohen plea timing is a confluence of events ‘of historic proportions’

Cohen’s plea deal is prosecutor’s attempt to set up Trump

New York state subpoenas Cohen in Trump Foundation probe

Cohen willing to tell Mueller about ‘conspiracy to collude’: lawyer

Attorney: Cohen would not accept a pardon from Trump

Cohen flipped after dad said didn’t survive Holocaust for Trump to ‘sully’ name

In case of Mueller firing, break glass: Democrats prep an emergency plan

Trump accuses ex-lawyer Cohen of making up ‘stories’ to get plea deal

Trump, White House deny wrongdoing after Cohen plea deal

Trump says ex-lawyer’s hush payments ‘not even a campaign violation’

DNC says it thwarted hacking attempt on its voter database

China’s Xi says internet must be “clean and righteous”

Image-conscious China appoints new global propaganda czar

Study says Earth’s magnetic field has shifted rapidly in the past, and if it happens again it could be catastrophic

‘Big One’ talk swirls as 69 massive earthquakes hit the Pacific’s Ring of Fire in 48 hours

6.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Tanaga Volcano, Alaska

Magnitude 6.2 offshore quake hits west of Oregon: USGS

Earthquake In Trinidad: 5.9 Aftershock Hits Trinidad and Tobago After Massive Venezuela Quake

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits the Balleny Islands region

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits South of Africa

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Ometepec, Mexico

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Biha, Indonesia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Sarangani, Philippines

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Lakatoro, Vanuatu

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kangin, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Shizunai, Japan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 30,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

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

Semeru volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

2 typhoons target Japan, South Korea

As Hurricane Lane nears, Hawaii governor requests presidential disaster declaration

Unable to evacuate, Hawaii residents prepare for category 4 Hurricane Lane

Hurricane Lane: Scientists Fly Into What Could Be Biggest Storm Ever to Hit Hawaii’s Big Island

Pearl Harbor ships and subs head to sea ahead of Lane

Lake Michigan water temperature drops 32 Degrees in 8 hours

Firefighters say Verizon ‘throttled’ data, crippling communications during California wildfire

Australia is devastated by drought, yet it won’t budge on climate change

Asian Tick Invading America Is a Mystery to Lyme Experts

Experimental Ebola Treatment Approved for Use in Congo

‘Flesh-eating’ STD allegedly reported in England

Pregnant Colorado mom’s murder sparks debate over fetal homicide laws

Franklin Graham Blasts NARAL for Launching Ice Cream Flavor to Promote Abortion

#MeQueer takes Twitter by storm as LGBT community cries #MeToo

An Indiana priest is attacked by a man yelling, ‘this is for all the little kids’

Mexico opened 2,599 homicide investigations in July – the most ever recorded in a month

Cancun horror as 8 bodies, including 2 dismembered in bags, found on streets


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MacArthur Launches Second Salvo Against Social Justice — Pulpit & Pen

After eagerly waiting for the elder theologian to enter the fray on the topic of Social Gospel, deceitfully renamed Social Justice, Dr. John MacArthur waded into the controversy last week with his first article on the subject. He was quickly maligned as being a white supremacist, as “fighting ghosts,” and was accused of “attacking racial reconciliation.” The aged pastor-warrior has been flogged for defending the Gospel so often and for so many years that he has skin as thick as a dinosaur, and so it’s doubtful he was even aware of the barbs in social media, let alone felt them. He has now launched a second salvo against “Social Justice” on the Grace to You website.

A Grace Community Church pastor, Mike Riccardi, reminded the world of MacArthur’s long-proven tenacity when it comes to defending the Gospel on his Facebook page on August 15…

“The measure of a person’s love for the truth is how that person responds when confronted by it. Those who most loudly proclaim the virtue of tolerance are often those with the most to lose if confronted by the truth. And when the truth is brought to bear on them, they frequently retaliate with fury. But when the honor of God and Christ, and the truth of the gospel and Scripture were at stake, Paul was not one to equivocate.” — John MacArthur

MacArthur isn’t disappointing. For those concerned that MacArthur was backing off the issue, it’s been clear he wasn’t waiting. He was just reloading.

In Part 2 of The Long Struggle to Preserve the Gospel, MacArthur historically documents the current evangelical downgrade. He laments the capitulation on female clergy that is a by-product of the sexual revolution rather than careful exposition of Scripture. He laments the church’s softening tone on sex outside of marriage. He acknowledges the current side-stepping of Scripture to embrace sexual perversions of every kind, including gender-fluidity and homosexuality. MacArthur then diagnoses the problem…

Why have so many evangelicals openly embraced such compromises? The answer is very simple. It’s the next logical step for a church that is completely ensnared in efforts to please the culture..The common link in those continual compromises is pragmatism, driven by a desire to reach the world and win its support and admiration by utilitarian means. Evangelicals of our generation seem pathologically addicted to the sin of desiring the praise of men. Indeed, that is precisely the brand of pragmatism that I fear points people down nearly all the paths of departure from the gospel mentioned in Monday’s post. Today it has penetrated deep into the culture of the church, and the end effect is disaster.

MacArthur then explains that the different forrays into tragic doctrinal compromise we’ve recently seen, using the Seeker Friendly Movement and Charismaticism as two other examples (which I take as a rebuke of Ed Stetzer’s tweet, whether it was intentional or not), are just other kinds of Gospel distraction, similar to the latest fad of Social Justice. These are all distractions designed by principalities and powers to keep us from focusing on the actual, real, Biblical Gospel. These are all a part of the vain philosophies the Scripture warns us not to be taken captive by in Colossians 2:8.

The young critic who accused MacArthur of being a wascally wabbit “chasing ghosts” for not being specific enough in the concerns listed in his original article, should notice that MacArthur was more specific in his latest post, unmasking the philosophies that undergird what is known as Social Justice. He did so accurately. MacArthur writes…

“Social justice” (in the world’s usage of that term) entails political ideas that are deemed sophisticated—namely, identity politics, critical race theory, the redistribution of wealth, and other radical or socialist policies. Those ideas were first popularized and propagated in the secular academy, where they are now regarded as received wisdom and have become a dominating part of popular culture. Evangelicals who are chasing the culture are latecomers to the party of those who advocate “social justice.”

I don’t know that there have ever been truer words written that weren’t inspired of the Holy Spirit. The ideas propagated by evangelicals at The Gospel Coalition, certain among those at Together for the Gospel, the ERLC, Southern Seminary and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary – chiefly those influenced by New Calvinism – are all ideas that were first created in the secular laboratories of thought and are thoroughly political philosophies. Chasing after the world’s approval, enjoying a momentary popularity among the heathen through worldling pastors like Tim Keller, and with the wheels of these institutions having been thoroughly greased by a proven money trail that leads back to George Soros and James Riady, we now see New Calvinist leaders promoting what amounts to communist ideology in a clerical collar. Even Joe Carter, who serves both The Gospel Coalition and the board of the ERLC, acknowledged in a post just six days ago that a communist Jesuit Priest invented “Social Justice” as we now know the term. The origins of their movement seem not to matter to the Evangelical Intelligentsia, even though they are aware of it. To MacArthur, it matters.

The current fad of Social Justice is due to little else than world-pleasing preachers seeking the applause of a culture that hates Jesus. Its ideas are not theological, but philosophical. Its ideas are not doctrinal, but political. It did not come from the Bible, but from the academy, so says MacArthur.

Consider this: The maestros of missionary and church growth have been telling church leaders that they need to survey the unchurched people in their communities, find out what it would take to get them interested in their churches, and then give that to them. Let opinion polls tell the church how to preach, what to teach, and what not to say or do.

Is it any wonder that the unchurched world now expects to be able to tell the church precisely what she should believe and how she should function and teach?

And is it any wonder that people who grew up through several decades of evangelical pragmatism and have now come into leadership positions in the church are absolutely convinced that it is essential for Christians to both heed and parrot the world’s wishes?

You can read MacArthur’s article here. The line to  MacArthur a White Supremor angry old bigot forms to the right. I mean…left. It forms to the left.

via MacArthur Launches Second Salvo Against Social Justice — Pulpit & Pen

August 23 Jesus Touches an Untouchable

A woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.—Matt. 9:20–22

When the godly Sir James Simpson was on his deathbed, a friend said to him, “Well, James, soon you will be able to rest on the bosom of Jesus.” But Simpson replied, “I don’t know that I can quite do that, but I do think I can take hold of His garment.”

In her shame at being ostracized from her family and being ceremonially unclean, the woman here wanted to be unnoticed. She merely desired to touch Jesus’ garment, confident that such contact was enough to receive healing. In keeping with such confidence, she received immediate healing from her defilement.

Our Lord became aware of what had happened only as He realized that divine power had gone out from Him (Luke 8:46)—a realization that happened before He humanly knew of the woman specifically. His statement, “your faith has made you well,” simply assured her and the crowd that miraculous healing had occurred. Jesus did not care that her touching Him would make Him ceremonially unclean to the Jews. The Lord was touchable even by an untouchable.

Even though the woman’s expectations were likely not fully informed by Scripture—she might have superstitiously thought Christ’s clothes had inherent healing powers—He spoke to her caringly and compassionately: “Daughter, take courage.” In spite of other factors, the woman’s faith was genuine and acceptable to the Lord. It was enough to make her well.

ASK YOURSELF

Part of the balance of Christian faith is realizing that we are unworthy to touch the hem of His garment, yet are welcomed into His full embrace as an adopted member of His family. How do these two seeming incongruities come together and balance out in your worship?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 244). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

AUGUST 23 MEN IN LOVE WITH SIN DO NOT RECEIVE CHRIST

…Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

JOHN 3:19

I do not believe anyone has ever rejected Jesus Christ on philosophical grounds. Israel did not reject the Lord because of philosophical reasons. Israel’s rejection was for moral reasons.

The man who continues in his rejection of Christ has a pet sin somewhere—he’s in love with iniquity. He rejects Jesus on moral grounds, and then hides behind false philosophy—philosophical grounds.

I believe that every one of those who are having “intellectual difficulties” is hiding because he is morally reprobate. When we fall in love with our sin, we can imagine and manufacture 10,000 syllogisms to keep us away from the cross.

A blind man can argue that there is no sunshine, but when he gets his sight, the sunshine floods in!

How wonderful it is that when a person gives up his sin and puts his pride under his feet and looks at the light, the whole body and mind are flooded with light. I have talked with people who have come out of rationalism and atheism and all the rest—and they smile at you with clear eyes and say, “Oh, it is wonderful now; the light has flooded in.”

Jesus said, “For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light lest his deeds should be reproved.” This is the condemnation—that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. The natural man has a perverse antipathy to the light because it interferes with his iniquity![1]


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

August 23 Spiritual Self–examination

Test yourselves.

2 Corinthians 13:5

Many professed believers go through life with an indifferent attitude toward their sins. Yet the Lord tells His people to examine their lives each time they come to His table (1 Cor. 11:28). And the apostle Paul admonished the Corinthian church, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5). If you do this regularly and with a positive attitude, you will make sure your inner motives and desires are set toward pleasing God, even though you often fail Him (see Rom. 7:14–25).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 256). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Brannon Howse: August 22, 2018 | Worldview Weekend

Question: My church is breaking numerous state law when operating their ministry.  I went to the Pastor and was told that 1. people were being saved through the ministry and 2. I had the wrong spirit. Laws are still being broken. How do I respect a Pastor who knowingly and repeated breaks the law? Is it wrong for me to turn them in Question: Should Ezekiel’s predictions about a Millennial Temple (Ezek. 40‒48) be understood literally? Question: Is it heretical to argue that Ezekiel’s predicted Millennial Temple, along with its animal sacrifices, will be fully functioning during the Millennial Kingdom? Question: Were the land promises given to Abraham already fulfilled in the days of Joshua or Solomon? Question: Should we reject the idea of a future reign of Christ on earth since Jesus never mentioned this doctrine? Question: Has the Church permanently taken over Israel’s place since she is called “the seed of Abraham” (Gal. 3:29) or the “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16)? Question: Should the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture and premillennialism be rejected as a “Johnny come lately” view in church history? Question: Should God’s Old Testament commitments be understood as allegorical since the New Testament reinterprets the Old Testament?
— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-august-22-2018

Thursday Briefing Aug 23, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

The emerging corporate conscience: What is behind a shift in Walmart’s strategy when it comes to social issues?

Wall Street Journal (Sarah Nassauer) — Walmart Takes a Stand on Guns, Gay Rights to Get People to Like It More

Rodgers and Hammerstein meet the sexual revolution as ‘Oklahoma’ gets overhauled

New York Times (Laura Collins-Hughes) — In This ‘Oklahoma!,’ She Loves Her and He Loves Him

Prestige vs. Popularity: As Oscars seek to reverse declining ratings, many in Hollywood push back

Wall Street Journal (Erich Schwartzel — As Oscars Get a Rewrite, Many Pan the Changes

— Read on albertmohler.com/2018/08/23/briefing-8-23-18/

Does the Existence of Moral Evil Disprove the Existence of God? (Podcast) — Cold Case Christianity

In this blast from the past, J. Warner Wallace examines another aspect of the classic “Problem of Evil”. Why would an all-loving and all-powerful God allow people to commit horrific crimes? Doesn’t He have the power to stop these kinds of crimes? Doesn’t He care enough about us, as potential victims, to stop them? Do examples of moral evil demonstrate that God doesn’t exist?

via Does the Existence of Moral Evil Disprove the Existence of God? (Podcast) — Cold Case Christianity

August 23, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

30 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord GOD. 31 And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord GOD.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eze 34:30–31). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


34:30–31. In the millennial kingdom, under the leadership of the Good Shepherd, Son of David, peace at last will be a reality for Israel and the Jewish people, and they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people (vv. 27, 30, 31; Lv 26:11–12). God will restore Israel because of His faithful love for them and their unique relationship to Him. Israel will know they are My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God (cf. vv. 7–8; Ps 100:3).[1]


34:31 — “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God.

In both testaments, God calls His people His “flock.” Why? For one thing, it’s a term of endearment and a picture of close, personal connection. For another, it reveals our total dependence upon Him. Third, it honors Him as our Guide.[2]


34:31 my flock, the flock of my pasture. You are my people Ties the oracle of blessing and restoration back to the metaphor of the sheep and shepherd from vv. 1–24.[3]


34:31 This language (You are my flockI am your God) is associated with reestablishment of the divine covenant established with Moses (Ex 6:7; Jr 7:23; Hs 2:23).[4]


[1] Dyer, C. H., & Rydelnik, E. (2014). Ezekiel. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 1255). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Eze 34:31). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eze 34:31). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Rooker, M. F. (2017). Ezekiel. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1297). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

“Believing” the Bible While Denying What It Says – Blog – Eternal Perspective Ministries

You can believe in the inspiration and even inerrancy of God’s Word, but because your subjective interpretation doesn’t center on the author’s (and Author’s) intention, but on what seems right to you and the secular or church culture, the Bible isn’t really your authority. You don’t let it correct your thinking but walk away with an interpretation which conveniently supports your comfortable beliefs.

I’ve been spending some time in Psalm 1 recently and have been reminded just how important delighting and meditating on God’s Word is. Here’s how the CSB renders it (note the use of “happy” in verse one for the Hebrew asher, often translated “blessed”):

1 How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams
that bears its fruit in its season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
4 The wicked are not like this;
instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand up in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

In order to delight and meditate on the law of the Lord, we must understand correctly what Scripture actually says. As people respond to my books, ask questions, and state opinions through emails and social media, I’m struck with how many say they believe the Bible, but their interpretations are so out of line with credible biblical meanings that their profession of confidence in Scripture becomes meaningless, and even dangerous. Not only is this happening more frequently today, it’s also being accepted as normal.

Historically, theological liberals denied Scripture, and everyone knew where they stood. But today many so-called evangelicals affirm their belief in Scripture, while attributing meanings to biblical texts that in fact deny what Scripture really says. Hence they “believe every word of the Bible” while actually embracing (and teaching) beliefs that utterly contradict it.

I’m not talking about mere differences within the sphere of orthodoxy, such as the debates between Calvinists and Arminians, or various interpretations for some of the most difficult problem passages or intramural squabbles about spiritual gifts or ordinances or church polity. I’m talking about people believing and confidently affirming that Scripture says what no one in the history of the church ever believed it says—or some people did say it but were easily recognized as heretics. (Universalism is just one example among many, though an important one.)

Read More
— Read on www.epm.org/blog/2018/Aug/8/believe-bible-while-denying

Hillary Campaign Laundered $84 Million – LRC Blog

This article and this officially filed complaint allege that Hillary Clinton’s campaign committee illegally laundered $84 million, thereby massively breaking the federal election laws. The case is before the U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Here’s an example of how money was washed to conceal its illegal course. The Hillary Victory Fund receives $1 million from contributors, which it may not legally transfer to the Democratic National Committee without violating limits. It transfers the million dollars to 19 state committees. That same day or the next day, these state committees transfer the funds to the Democratic National Committee or have it done for them without their knowledge and without their appropriate filings. This is not a legally-allowable loophole. The Supreme Court ruled it out specifically in a 2014 decision (McCutcheon v. FEC).

Trump’s erstwhile lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he paid several women $280,000 in 2016 to keep quiet about their relationships with Trump. Why is the Mueller operation not investigating the Hillary money-laundering operation that allegedly involves 300 times as much money?

A federal prosecutor is quoted as saying about the Cohen plea: “Campaign finance violations are very hard to prove, and require a lot of mental evidence, or evidence of intent — not just that you know you are doing something wrong, but that you know you are doing something illegal. So to get a plea to that charge is a huge win for the government, and for the whole series of investigations.”

If so, why not prosecute Hillary? The money shuffling, in on day 1 and back out on day 1 or 2, clearly shows a coordinated operation that had the intent of flouting the election laws.

Was it a big win for Mueller? Not at all. He got a plea deal out of Cohen, but on the campaign aspect, Cohen did nothing illegal. A plea deal is not a trial and not evidence of a Trump campaign finance violation. I find Mark Levin’s analysis compelling, from which he concludes “Donald Trump is in the clear” and “There was no violation of the federal campaign finance laws”.
— Read on www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/hillary-campaign-laundered-84-million/

GTY Blog Post – The Long Struggle to Preserve the Gospel, Part 2

Monday’s blog post focused on some of the past few decades of conflicts within the evangelical movement that have provoked me to preach and write in defense of the gospel. It wasn’t an exhaustive list—that would be tedious, I suspect. Evangelicals as a group have shown an unsettling willingness to compromise or unnecessarily obfuscate all kinds of issues where Scripture has spoken plainly and without ambiguity.

For example, despite the clarity of 1 Timothy 2:12 (“I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man”), leading evangelicals have been debating for several years whether women qualify to be elders or pastors in the church. Many capitulate to cultural preference rather than submitting to biblical authority on this and other similar issues. Some have tried to redefine the role and proper functioning of the family. Others seem to want to deconstruct—or simply ignore—what the Bible says about divorce and remarriage.

More disturbing yet, over the past few years some evangelicals have begun to borrow moral rationalizations from secular culture in the wake of America’s sexual revolution. For years there has been a slow but steady softening of evangelicals’ stance against sex outside of marriage. More recently, and more ominously, several vocal evangelicals (including some in positions of leadership or influence) have been tinkering with novel ideas regarding gender fluidity, sexual orientation, transgenderism, and homosexual marriage. Those are issues that generations of believers would never have dreamed of putting on the table for debate or redefinition in the church. But at this very moment there is a burgeoning campaign to reconsider and abandon the church’s historic stance on LGBT issues under the banner of “social justice.”

Why have so many evangelicals openly embraced such compromises? The answer is very simple. It’s the next logical step for a church that is completely ensnared in efforts to please the culture. For decades the popular notion has been that if the church was going to reach the culture it first needed to connect with the style and methods of secular pop culture or academic fads. To that end, the church surrendered its historic forms of worship. In many cases, everything that once constituted a traditional worship service disappeared altogether, giving way to rock-concert formats and everything else the church could borrow from the entertainment industry. Craving acceptance in the broader culture, the church carelessly copied the world’s style preferences and fleeting fads.

In my book Ashamed of the Gospel, I warned that this was a slippery slope, because the world would not be content for the church merely to reflect its style—it would demand to dictate the substance as well. And the seemingly endless parade of evangelical compromises bears that out. Many believers have long been convinced that they first have to give the world what it wants in order to have any opening for the gospel. Evangelical style coaches have heedlessly followed wherever the world leads them. Having thoroughly absorbed the world’s methods, the church is now being forced to adopt the world’s message.

The common link in those continual compromises is pragmatism*, driven by a desire to reach the world and win its support and admiration by utilitarian means. Evangelicals of our generation seem pathologically addicted to the sin of desiring the praise of men. Indeed, that is precisely the brand of pragmatism that I fear points people down nearly all the paths of departure from the gospel mentioned in Monday’s post. Today it has penetrated deep into the culture of the church, and the end effect is disaster.

Every one of those deviations from sound gospel doctrine has been driven and advanced by evangelicals seeking acceptance in the broader culture. Some of the errors I have singled out (seeker sensitivity and the explosive growth of the charismatic movement) have been promoted by evangelicals who think that whatever attracts the world must be the right doctrine or strategy. Other errors (the embrace of psychotherapy, the ecumenical drift away from Protestant principles, and—yes—the recent rhetoric about “social justice”) reflect a fear of being thought unsophisticated or out of step with contemporary “wisdom.”

“Social justice” (in the world’s usage of that term) entails political ideas that are deemed sophisticated—namely, identity politics, critical race theory, the redistribution of wealth, and other radical or socialist policies. Those ideas were first popularized and propagated in the secular academy, where they are now regarded as received wisdom and have become a dominating part of popular culture. Evangelicals who are chasing the culture are latecomers to the party of those who advocate “social justice.”

And I’m convinced the dominant motives are pragmatic.

In ministry, success cannot be measured numerically or by popular opinion. “It is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2, ESV)—not “famous,” “fashionable,” “filthy rich,” or whatever. If attendance figures are someone’s gauge of effectiveness, there’s literally no end to the crazy schemes that person will try to legitimize—as long as the schemes are successful in drawing appreciative crowds. That idea has been injecting poison directly into the evangelical mainstream for decades.

Consider this: The maestros of missionary and church growth have been telling church leaders that they need to survey the unchurched people in their communities, find out what it would take to get them interested in their churches, and then give that to them. Let opinion polls tell the church how to preach, what to teach, and what not to say or do.

Is it any wonder that the unchurched world now expects to be able to tell the church precisely what she should believe and how she should function and teach?

And is it any wonder that people who grew up through several decades of evangelical pragmatism and have now come into leadership positions in the church are absolutely convinced that it is essential for Christians to both heed and parrot the world’s wishes?

*Pragmatism, quite simply, is the notion that the truthfulness or value of any strategy, idea, or truth claim is determined by its practical results. If a tactic produces the desired effect, it is deemed good. In the realm of church growth and gospel ministry, pragmatism as a guiding philosophy is severely flawed—even dangerously detrimental—for a couple of reasons that should be fairly obvious.

Number one, pragmatism alone cannot define what “the desired result” ought to be. If the goal is bad and the strategy works, it’s a bad strategy. In fact, if the desired end is evil, the strategy used to achieve it is by definition evil.

Second, and more to the point, raw pragmatism is unbiblical. God’s Word itself is the only reliable test of how good or bad anything is.
— Read on www.gty.org/library/blog/B180822

August 23 Letting the Fog Lift

“Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on.”

Matthew 6:25

✧✧✧

God’s Word commands us not to worry.

A story I once read reminded me that worry is like fog. According to the article, dense fog covering seven city blocks a hundred feet deep is composed of less than one glass of water—divided into sixty billion droplets. In the right form, a few gallons of water can cripple a large city. Similarly, the object of a person’s worry is usually quite small compared to the way it can cripple his thinking or harm his life. Someone has said, “Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.”

All of us have to admit that worry is a part of life. The Bible commands us, however, not to worry. To break that command is sin. Worry is the equivalent of saying, “God, I know You mean well by what You say, but I’m just not sure you can pull it off.” Worry is the sin of distrusting the promises and providence of God; yet we do it all the time.

We don’t worry about anything as much as we worry about the basics of life. In that regard we are similar to the people whom Jesus addressed in Matthew 6:25–34. They were worried about having sufficient food and clothing. I suppose if they were to try and legitimize their worry, they would say, “After all, we’re not worrying about extravagant things. We’re just worrying about our next meal, a glass of water, and something to wear.” But there is no reason for a believer to worry about the basics of life since Jesus says He will provide for him. You are neither to hoard material possessions as a hedge against the future (vv. 19–24) nor be anxious about your basic needs (vv. 25–34). Instead of letting the fog of worry roll in, it’s time to let it lift.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: “Rejoice in the Lord always…. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:4, 6).

For Further Study: What counsel does 1 Peter 5:7 give?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – Place for Truth

When churches recover this ancient vision for the church in all its fullness and glory, they will not only discover more of the beauty and joy of being part of the body of Christ, we will become more effective in our efforts to reach the world with the gospel entrusted to us.

Christians have a remarkable ability to skew what the Bible’s teaches about the church. As with so many things in life, we tend to perceive and define it with ourselves as the key reference point. But when this happens it distorts both our understanding and our enjoyment of whatever is in view.

The most obvious way we do this is to see either our own church/denomination, or else the church we most admire as the benchmark for what we think it should be. Whether in terms of belief or practice, we find ourselves drawn to it because it matches what we are looking for. The flaw in this ought to be self-apparent, yet we stumble into it repeatedly. Our subjective judgement can never be the final arbiter of what is true and good.

It is not without significance that God’s people through the ages have seen the need to objectify the truths taught in God’s word in such a way that they never cease to challenge us. Regardless of how well we might think we know them, the core teachings of Scripture are so immense that we are constantly challenged to adjust our thinking in light of them. This comes out in a surprising way in the great Catholic creeds of the church. Far from being minimalist summaries of Christian doctrine, they were designed to be maximalist expressions of truth in short compass. Brief and simple enough to be memorised, even by children, but sufficiently dense to consistently stretch even the most erudite theologian.

So it is with the creedal statements about the church. The Apostles’ Creed captures it tersely in the statement: ‘I believe in the church, the communion of saints’. The Nicene Creed, however, says a lot more using the same number of words: ‘I believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic church’.

Whereas the statement enshrined in the earlier creed most certainly has the church universal within its purview, it is expressed in a way that inclines its confessors to focus on its expression in denominations or local congregations. The issue, then, is whether the church is to be understood ‘from the bottom up’, or ‘from the top down’. The Nicene Fathers leave no doubt as to which is prior.

Why does this matter? For a multitude of reasons that are more relevant than ever to a post-Enlightenment generation that thinks instinctively ‘from the bottom up’. Ours is the age that denies the very notion of ‘metanarrative’ or ‘big picture’. ‘Me and my world’ loom so large in our thinking that we lose sight of the bigger factors that provide the larger context for our understanding. One does not have to look far to see how this impacts our generation’s view of the church.

Read More
— Read on www.placefortruth.org/blog/one-holy-catholic-and-apostolic-church