Daily Archives: September 10, 2018

September 10: God Doesn’t Promise Ease or Invisibility

Amos 4:6–5:27; Acts 9:20–43; Job 20:1–11

As Christians, we might be tempted by the lure of invisibility—the fabled cloak or ring that gives us the power to walk undetected among our friends or enemies. Although it is true that “making much of God” means making little of ourselves, we sometimes use this truth as an excuse to avoid proclaiming God’s work in our lives. Living under the radar is much more comfortable.

Paul never chose the comfortable route. As a former persecutor of the Church, Paul knew the danger of preaching Christ in the open—the chief priests had once empowered him to imprison all who publically professed Christ (Acts 9:14). Yet as a new convert, Paul loudly proclaimed the name of Christ to anybody within hearing distance: “And he was going in and going out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was speaking and debating with the Greek-speaking Jews, but they were trying to do away with him” (Acts 9:28–29).

Most of us know that life as a Christian won’t be a life of ease. But what is our image of a life of ease? Is it overstuffed chairs, butlers, and bulging bank accounts? Is it remaining silent when we should confess the name of Christ? Or is it judging from afar when we should be coming alongside people in their pain and brokenness? If we follow Paul’s brazen example, we will boldly and wisely share Christ in every possible circumstance.

Are you choosing invisibility? How can you boldly and wisely proclaim Christ?

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.

September 10 Maintaining Spiritual Effectiveness

“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

✧✧✧

Satan wants to render you ineffective for Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 16:9 Paul says, “A wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” That’s typical of spiritual warfare. The more opportunities you have to serve Christ, the more adversaries you’ll face. That’s because Satan seeks to hinder your spiritual service.

Often seminary students ask me if ministry becomes easier over the years. In one sense it does because you learn better study skills, time management, and the like. But in a greater sense it becomes more difficult because as you labor in the Word, contend for souls, and struggle against your own weaknesses, Satan opposes you at every turn.

You can sense something of the difficulty of ministry in Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: “Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God” (1 Thess. 2:8–9). To the Ephesian elders he said, “Be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears” (Acts 20:31).

Every sphere of ministry is important—whether you’re a pastor, homemaker, factory worker, or student. Consequently, every ministry encounters opposition as Satan attempts to cause friction and discouragement within families, churches, and workplaces. Thus, believers must be humble and gentle toward one another, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). When we do that, the Body of Christ is strengthened, and Satan can’t gain a foothold.

Ministry is hard work, and the obstacles are great, but the victories are even greater. So be faithful, knowing that God will reward you richly.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the privilege of serving Him, even during the hard times. ✧ Thank Him for the encouragement you receive from His Spirit, His Word, and your fellow-believers.

For Further Study: According to Romans 8:18, what was Paul’s perspective on difficulties?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 266). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

How Can I Witness to My Friends Who Say They’re Christians but Their Actions Say Otherwise? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

How should we respond to people who say they believe but don’t act like Christians? In this Q&A video from our 2017 National Conference, W. Robert Godfrey, Michael Horton, and Derek Thomas consider the problem of nominal Christianity.

Message us for clear, concise, and trustworthy answers to your biblical and theological questions at Ask.Ligonier.org.

via How Can I Witness to My Friends Who Say They’re Christians but Their Actions Say Otherwise? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

SEPTEMBER 10 GOD’S EXHORTATION

As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.

1 Peter 1:15

What is the Apostle Peter saying to us in relaying to us God’s exhortation: “Be ye holy as I am holy, and because I am holy”?

First is our own responsibility to bring our spiritual lives into line so that God may settle upon us with the Holy Spirit—with that quality of the Wonderful and the Mysterious and the Divine.

This is not something that can be humanly cultivated. This is something that we will not even be conscious we have. It is this quality of humility invaded by the presence of God which the church of our day lacks.

Oh, that we might yearn for the knowledge and presence of God in our lives from moment to moment, so that without human cultivation and without toilsome seeking, there would come upon us this enduement, this sweet and radiant fragrance that gives meaning to our witness!

I am willing to confess in humility that we need this in our day.

Dear Lord, if we seriously desired to be “holy,” the only way we could do so is through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. By our own efforts, this would not be possible, for the Bible says, “No one is righteous” (see Romans 3:10).[1]


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

New Age Beliefs Are Common in America–and in Our Churches

by Joe Carter

The Story: According to a new survey, New Age beliefs are common in America, even among people who are highly religious in traditional ways.

The Background: A new Pew Research analysis looks at beliefs and behaviors that cut across many denominations producing a new and revealing classification, or typology, of religion in America. The new typology sorts Americans into seven groups based on the religious and spiritual beliefs they share, how actively they practice their faith, the value they place on their religion, and the other sources of meaning and fulfillment in their lives.

Included in the survey was a question about whether people held certain New Age beliefs, such as a belief that spiritual energy is located in physical things, such as mountains, trees, or crystals; reincarnation (people will be reborn again and again in this world); astrology (the position of stars and planets can affect people’s lives); and psychics (that some people perceive or are sensitive to supernatural forces).

The groupings, from most to least religious, are:

Sunday Stalwarts — This is the most religious of the seven typology groups. Sunday Stalwarts attend religious services weekly (82 percent), pray daily (84 percent), and participate in church groups (100 percent). They are also the most likely to believe in God as described in the Bible (94 percent) and believe in heaven and hell (97 percent and 91 percent, respectively).

About one in three persons in this group believes in psychics (32 percent) and that spiritual energy can be located in physical objects (29 percent). About one in five believes in reincarnation (19 percent) and in astrology (16 percent).

God-and-Country — This group comprises believers who are less active in church groups or other religious organizations, but still hold many traditional religious beliefs and tilt right on social and political issues. About a quarter attend religious service (27 percent) but almost none participates in church groups (less than 1 percent). They mostly believe in God as described in the Bible (91 percent) and say that believing in God is necessary to be moral.

None of this group believes spiritual energy can be located in physical objects (0 percent) but almost one in three believes in psychics (28 percent). About one in five believes in reincarnation (21 percent) and in astrology (16 percent)…

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

New Age Beliefs Are Common in America—and in Our Churches

Source: New Age Beliefs Are Common in America–and in Our Churches

‘Steady State’ Or Deep State? Ron Paul Crushes The New York Times’ Hate-Driven Coup

The New York Times unleashed a firestorm by publishing an anonymously written op-ed from someone purporting to be a “senior US Administration official” and who writes of a secret cabal within the US government that conspires to thwart President Trump’s agenda.

Presented as a heroic “resistance” from within, many see it as the work of a dangerous and undemocratic “deep state.”

As Ron Paul and Daniel Mcadams discuss below, is the “steady state,” as the NYT anonymous writer terms it, really another word for the “deep state”?

Peter van Buren sums the situation up perfectly: The op-ed does indeed signal a crisis, but not a Constitutional one. It is a crisis of collusion, among journalists turned to the task of removing a president via what some would call a soft coup.

Because it’s either that, or we’re meant as a nation to believe an election should be overturned two years after the fact based on a vaguely-sourced tell-all book and an anonymous op-ed…

Source: ‘Steady State’ Or Deep State? Ron Paul Crushes The New York Times’ Hate-Driven Coup

‘End of days’: Birth of red heifer in Israel signals coming of Messiah claim Hebrew scholars (VIDEO)

Rabbinical scholars are treating the birth of an entirely red heifer in Israel as a potential omen for the rebuilding of the Third Temple. Evangelical Christians, citing Biblical prophecy, believe it means the end of days is nigh.

Source: ‘End of days’: Birth of red heifer in Israel signals coming of Messiah claim Hebrew scholars (VIDEO)

September 10, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

1  O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2  But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3  O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 131:1–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


2–3 The psalmist has been like a child in the presence of God. Oh, the wonder of quiet contentment with God! He has enjoyed the walk with God in which he “stilled” (“composed”) himself and “quieted” (i.e., “silenced” or “found rest,” 62:1, 5) his soul (v. 2).

The psalmist was also like “a weaned child.” The age of the child in the simile of the “weaned child” (gāmul) should not be stressed. The word gāmul may also mean “contented” (cf. W. A. VanGemeren, “Psalm 131:2—kegāmul: The Problem of Meaning and Metaphor,” HS 23 [1982]: 51–57). The suggestion is sometimes made that a weaned child is no longer restless when it is with its mother because it no longer frets for milk. But a baby satisfied with its mother’s milk can also lie contented on its mother’s breast. The essential picture is that of contentment, regardless of age. So the psalmist feels a deep sense of peace, tranquility, and contentment with his God. Gottfried Quell (“Struktur und Sinn des Psalms 131,” in Das Ferne und Nahe Wort, ed. Fritz Maas [Berlin: Topelmann, 1967], 173–85) suggests that the psalmist speaks of the experience of children being carried by their mothers on the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Based on his wonderful relationship and walk with the Lord, David calls on Israel to trust in the Lord forevermore (cf. 130:7).[1]


131:1–3 / Though one of the shortest of psalms, Psalm 131 is one of the most profound. Its image of tranquillity we readily admire, but its advice we all too readily dismiss as impractical. When things go wrong, the temptation is to make ambitious plans and redouble our efforts. Such was clearly the case for Judah in the hardships of the early postexilic period. But this psalm of ascent counsels God’s people to engage in contemplation before action.

It is composed of a personal confession to God (vv. 1–2) and an exhortation to the congregation, Israel (v. 3). To some readers, the attachment of a corporate exhortation to so personal a confession might sound artificial (esp. perhaps in view of the identical imperative in the preceding psalm, 130:7). But, as this commentary has emphasized, the so-called division between individual and corporate is of our own devising. The combination of personal confession and public admonishment is attested in other psalms (e.g., 62:1–2, 5–7 and 8, 10).

The psalm’s overall purpose is to teach and encourage the people of God, by means of an exemplary confession, to give less attention to human efforts and more to God’s ordering of affairs. The opening “I” verses, while personal confessions, encourage the listeners to curb ambition and to find contentment and rest. Ambition is a matter of one’s heart, eyes (i.e., one’s focus), and walk (i.e., one’s field of endeavors; concern myself is lit. “walk around”). In the simile of verse 2, the speaker is likened to a mother and his soul to a weaned child. This describes an act of self-composure. But the following verse enjoins the audience, put your hope in the Lord. This juxtaposition leads one to think further of Yahweh as mother, with one’s soul or self as the weaned child that is quieted upon her (cf. Isa. 46:3; 49:15).[2]


131:3. In conclusion, David shifts from recounting his dependence on the Lord, to admonishing the nation O Israel, hope in the Lord (cf. comments on 130:5, 7–8).[3]


131:3. David called for Israel to hope in the Lord forever. To trust in Him is the antithesis of pride.[4]


131:3 The psalmist recommends this attitude of confidence in the Lord to all of Israel. So did A. W. Tozer. He wrote: “Never forget that it is a privilege to wonder, to stand in delighted silence before the Supreme Mystery and whisper, ‘O Lord God, thou knowest.’ ”[5]


131:2, 3 Like a weaned child: The image is that of a child who is no longer unsettled and discontented, but one who is at peace and trusting in his mother, who is there to comfort and to meet his needs. The words hope in the Lord recall 130:7.[6]


131:3 David exhorts the nation to forever embrace his own personal hope in the Lord.[7]


131:3 O Israel, Hope in the Lord! With such a disposition of trust and contentment, Israel may hope in the Lord at all times.[8]


131:3 O Israel, hope in Yahweh The psalmist subtly exhorts the nation of Israel to emulate his perspective of hoping in God.[9]


131:3 O Israel. Like Ps. 130, this intensely personal prayer becomes corporate at the end.[10]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 924). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Hubbard, R. L. J., & Johnston, R. K. (2012). Foreword. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Psalms (p. 470). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Rydelnik, M., Vanlaningham, M., Barbieri, L. A., Boyle, M., Coakley, J., Dyer, C. H., … Zuber, K. D. (2014). Psalms. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 866). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 887). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 760). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 733). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 131:3). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[8] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1109). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 131:3). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[10] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 855). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

September 10, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

The United States on Monday will adopt an aggressive posture against the International Criminal Court, threatening sanctions against ICC judges if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump is facing a “coup”, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told Reuters, pointing to an anonymous column in the New York Times detailing resistance within the Trump administration.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to unveil another round of tax cuts this week, hoping to draw a sharp contrast between themselves and Democrats ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections.

Canada must end its low-price milk proteins policy to reach a U.S.-Canadian deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will meet his counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Russia starting on Monday, sources familiar with the matter said, as the Trump administration encourages oil-producing countries to keep output up two months before it is due to renew sanctions on Iran’s crude exports.

Egyptian security forces killed 11 suspected militants in an exchange of fire in the North Sinai town of al-Arish, the official MENA state news agency reported on Monday.

More than 30,000 people have been displaced within rebel-held northwest Syria by bombardment by Syrian government and allied forces which began last week, a United Nations official said.

China will respond if the United States takes any new steps on trade, the foreign ministry said on Monday, after President Donald Trump warned he was ready to slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports into the United States.

AP Top Stories

As California firefighters continue the battle against raging wildfires, the state fire agency is running out of money to keep up the fight, said officials. According to Cal Fire, California has been hit with 5,491 wildfires this year, burning 1.2 million acres, and the official fire season has only just begun. The state spent $432 million through August, leaving just $11 million in its annual budget.

Syria’s last major rebel bastion Idlib was Saturday targeted by the “most violent” Russian air strikes in a month, a monitor said, after the failure of a three-way summit on the Syrian conflict.

Workers for U.S. Steel will head back to the bargaining table on Monday, armed with a nationwide strike authorization vote. With corporations awash in tax cuts and protected from competition by Trump administration tariffs, United Steelworkers (USW) leaders say members want a contract deal that provides them with a portion of that windfall.

A suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up near a convoy of gunmen commemorating the death anniversary of a famed resistance leader in Kabul on Sunday, killing at least seven people.

The Israeli army said Sunday that it shot and fatally wounded a Palestinian man who sought to damage the fence on the flashpoint Israel-Gaza border.

Italy has never considered leaving the European Union or the single currency, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday. “I can assure you that we have never evaluated an exit from the euro … or the prospect of splitting from Europe.”

North Korea refrained from displaying its intercontinental missiles in a massive military parade through Pyongyang celebrating its 70th birthday Sunday — a conspicuous absence touted by US President Donald Trump as “a big and very positive statement”.

Pope Francis told newly ordained bishops Saturday that they must reject all forms of abuse and work in communion to fight the clerical culture that has fueled the sex abuse and cover-up scandal rocking his papacy.

Russian police detained more than 800 people protesting against planned increases to the pension age on Sunday, a rights group said, disrupting demonstrations against an unpopular change that has hurt President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating.

The Trump administration said Saturday that it is cutting $25 million meant for East Jerusalem hospitals and putting the money toward “high-priority projects elsewhere.” The move follows the State Department’s late August announcement that the administration is slashing more than $200 million in bilateral aid to the Palestinians following a review that President Donald Trump ordered to ensure the spending was aligned with U.S. national interests.

Nigeria’s military on Sunday said it had restored order after Boko Haram fighters took control of a town in the country’s remote northeast, sparking fears about the group’s resurgence.

BBC

The US is to close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington, Palestinian officials say.

There’s a 70% chance of a recurrence of the El Niño weather event before the end of this year, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Miners in Western Australia say they have discovered two huge gold-encrusted rocks that are each estimated to be worth millions of dollars. The largest specimen, weighing 210lb, was found to contain more than 2,400 ounces of gold.

French police have detained a man who stabbed seven people, injuring four seriously, in an attack on tourists and passers-by in Paris.

WND

The deep web is estimated to be about 400 to 500 times larger than the common internet. The dark web is relatively smaller – it is made up of a series of encrypted networks that is able to hide users’ identities and locations and can only be accessed with special software.

Two Muslim organizations are suspected of proselytizing California public school students at assemblies.


News – 9/10/2018

At Least Three Named Storms Will Affect Parts of the U.S. This Week
Three tropical cyclones will be affecting U.S. states or territories this week.It’s unusual to have U.S. tropical threats in the Pacific and Atlantic at the same time.There is still uncertainty about how each event might unfold.

Marianas islands fear a direct hit from Typhoon Mangkhut
The Northern Marianas is bracing for a direct hit from Typhoon Mangkhut, which continues to strengthen as it slowly approaches. A typhoon warning is active for all of the Marianas islands, including Guam. The storm is currently a category two, with winds as high as 160km/h. Thousands of people are in evacuation centres, and schools and government offices have been ordered closed.

No tsunami risk after 6.9 earthquake hits the Kermadec Islands
Thousands of people have reported feeling a 6.9 magnitude earthquake which hit near the Kermadec Islands this afternoon. The tremor, centred south of the Kermadec Islands, was initially reported as 6.8 magnitude but has been revised to 6.9, GNS Science said.

Mount Anak Krakatau in Constant Tremors: Observatory Post
According to Andi, with its unpredictable activity, the volcano in Sunda Straits remains in its alert status and the authority has warned tourists and fishermen to stay away from the volcano. Mount Anak Krakatau has an altitude of 305 meter above sea level. The tremor has indicated volcanic activity and used as a key parameter before the eruption.

Report: Trump administration to close PLO office in Washington
According to early draft of Trump’s national security adviser’s remarks reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, ‘The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.’

Spiritual-warfare expert: ‘Demonic component’ to divided U.S.
Is there a spiritual component to the sharp division America is experiencing? Karl Payne, an expert on demonology and the author of the highly acclaimed book “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization, and Deliverance,” cites Jesus acknowledging that, for a time, Satan has been given limited authority on Earth. “If someone asks if [Satan] would influence the political system, I say, ‘Of course he would. Why wouldn’t he?’”

No tsunami threat after quake shakes Solomon Islands
A magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck the Solomon Islands this morning poses no tsunami threat to Hawaii island, according to the island’s Civil Defense. The quake was reported at 8:31 a.m. Hawaii time. But the U.S. Geological Survey reported its magnitude at 6.5.

The Great Middle Eastern War of 2019
The next war on Israel’s northern front, whether it starts in Lebanon or Syria, will not be just a more extensive and destructive replay of the 2006 Lebanon War. Developments since then ensure that such a war will likely involve many more actors, a much larger theater of operations, unprecedented challenges for escalation management, warfighting, and war termination—and the possibility of a regional conflagration.

Letter confirms Vatican officials knew of McCarrick allegations in 2000
A top official from the Vatican Secretariat of State acknowledged allegations made by a New York priest in 2000 concerning Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, according to a letter obtained by Catholic News Service. In the letter, Father Ramsey told CNS, “I complained about McCarrick’s relationships with seminarians and the whole business with sleeping with seminarians and all of that; the whole business that everyone knows about,” …

Sweden’s main parties short of majority, while far-right gains
With 99pc of the votes from Sweden’s election counted, Prime Minister Stefan Loven’s center-left bloc holds a slight lead with 40.6pc against the center-right alliance’s 40pc. Neither has won the 175 seats needed to form a government. However, the far-right Swedish Democrats gained 17.6pc of the vote, up from 12.9pc in the 2014 election.

Dem Who Compared Trump to Bin Laden Also Said ‘Nazis’ Work in White House
Illinois Democrat Sean Casten, who found himself in hot water after his belief that President Donald Trump has a “tremendous amount in common” with terrorist Osama bin Laden was revealed by the Free Beacon, has also told voters there are “Nazis” in the White House. Casten, the Democratic nominee in Illinois’ sixth district, responded to the initial report by saying he regretted the bin Laden comparison and his words were “poorly chosen,” but new video obtained by the Free Beacon indicates this type of language was used often by him on the campaign trail.

Chinese officials burn bibles, close churches, force Christian to denounce faith amid ‘escalating’ crackdown
The Chinese government is destroying cross, burning bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers renouncing their faith as the crackdown on religious congregations in Beijing and several provinces intensifies.

Abbas threatens to cut ties with Israel if it negotiates with Hamas
According to the report, the sources said that Abbas’s position caused Egypt to place the internal Palestinian reconciliation at the top of its list of priorities and to reject the “calm first” option.

Intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike US Southeast
Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Florence could strike a direct and dangerous blow anywhere from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic region later this week, possibly as a fearsome category 4.

U.S. Says Syria Plans Gas Attack in Rebel Stronghold
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has approved the use of chlorine gas in an offensive against the country’s last major rebel stronghold, U.S. officials said, raising the prospects for another retaliatory U.S. military strike as thousands try to escape what could be a decisive battle in the seven-year-old war.

Muslims ‘proselytizing’ at U.S. school assemblies
Two Muslim organizations are suspected of proselytizing California public school students at assemblies.

TERROR in Paris: Seven STABBED in #Paris knife rampage by Muslim migrant
Seven people including two British tourists were wounded Sunday in Paris after they were attacked by a Muslim migrant armed with a knife and an iron bar, according to police and other sources.

Dems bring zombie ERA back to Congress
…The ERA is the controversial proposal from the 1970s that would amend the U.S. Constitution to state, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Robert Marshall, a former member of the Virginia General Assembly, said its “simplistic language” actually “hid a radical progressive social agenda.”

The Sound Of The Shofar Blowing In Jerusalem For Rosh Hashana Marks The Start Of The Most Prophetic Month In Bible Prophecy
The Feast of Tabernacles which falls right on September 23rd, is perhaps the most important of all the feast days in this month, and it is the main one connected with the first and second advents of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ

How 57,000 Socialists and Communists Plan to Take Over the Democratic Party
In a move that could have major implications for American politics, the leading socialist and communist organizations in the United States have formally allied to increase their infiltration and manipulation of the Democratic Party.

Farm murder: Farmer (66) shot dead, wife tied up, Creighton, KZN
A farm attack took place in Creighton, KZN, on the farm Lynavis. Two attackers gained access to the home through a window at approximately 03:00 on Saturday 8 September 2018. They shot and killed the farmer (66). The farmer’s wife was tied up in the violent attack.

Spiritual-warfare expert: ‘Demonic component’ to divided U.S.
Is there a spiritual component to the sharp division America is experiencing?  Karl Payne, an expert on demonology and the author of the highly acclaimed book “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization, and Deliverance,” cites Jesus acknowledging that, for a time, Satan has been given limited authority on Earth.

The Thrill Is Gone: Only 750 Turn Out To See Former President Obama In Far-Left California
This weekend, in an unprecedented move, former President Barack Obama went on the campaign trail to push the far-left Democrat agenda in the upcoming November elections.

Back-Door Martial Law Will Follow a False Flag Pandemic Release
The CDC has granted itself new draconian powers which severely violate civil liberties with regard to the spread of an ever-growing list of maladies. The loss of civil liberties, for the ill, is extremely broad and could be used to falsely imprison people under the guise that they are ill. In the new policies, the Director has extremely broad powers and the position is an at-will position solely subject to the whim of the President.

Health Scares At 2 US Airports Tied To Muslim Pilgrims Returning From The Hajj
As the global Muslim population continues to expand, conditions during the Hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must make at least once in their life are growing more crowded raising the likelihood that a serious infectious disease could easily spread. This tendency was on full display last week as serious health scares at airports in New York and Philadelphia were traced back to pilgrims who were returning from the Hajj.

State fights pro-lifers’ win, demands they change ‘point of view’
When former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office’s prosecution of Christians who were protesting outside an abortion business, he insisted America is “not a nation where you can choose your point of view.”

Twitter admits ‘unfairly filtering 600,000 accounts,’ but says it’s not politicall
Over 600,000 Twitter accounts were not showing up in an auto-search, due to a behaviour algorithm, CEO Jack Dorsey admitted on Wednesday. But he said the accounts chosen were based on “behavioural signals” and not political ideology.

Hamas Member Wants Abbas Brought to Court for ‘High Treason’
The Jerusalem Post reports: Hamas officials have accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of thwarting regional and international efforts to achieve a truce between the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist groups and Israel.

The Idiot’s Guide to Rosh Hashanah
Throw the honey cake in the oven and wax down your shofar. The new year is just around the corner but you won’t need party hats or noisemakers. This is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, when we celebrate life by wondering who will die by water and who by fire.

Pope Calls Children ‘Precious’ Days After Calling Abuse Victims ‘Wild Dogs’
In a seemingly patronizing speech, Pope Francis told members of the Parents’ Association (AGE) that “children are the most precious gift you have ever received,” as the Vatican child abuse scandal rages on in the background.

Ortel: Sunday’s Vote Could Snap Swedes out of Their Stockholm Syndrome
..Swedes are set to vote Sunday, and soon the world may view another example of citizens frustrated by arrogant politicians and bureaucrats upending the status quo and changing the landscape of a rich country whose leaders manifestly have failed the working class. For in truth, Sweden is burning, physically and figuratively.

Activists Sent 3,000 Coat Hangers To Sen. Collins’s Office To Protest Against Confirming Kavanaugh
…The Republican senator’s office received 3,000 coat hangers, which served as reminders of back-alley abortions, according to The Associated Press Saturday. Collins and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who both support abortion rights, are considered as crucial voters for Kavanaugh to be confirmed.


ApostasyWatch Daily News

The Future Temple Sacrifices in Scofield Bible Notes Insult The Finished Work of Jesus Christ

Kris Vallotton’s pagan faith? “Why We Need to Stop Saying “All the Glory to God”

Kris Vallotton and the Apostate Church are Coming for Your Children

Housekeeper Claims Bishop Marvin Winans Fired Her for Not Paying Tithes

Virginia ‘Pastor’ Launches Online ‘GodSquad Church’ for Gamers

Jackie Hill Perry: Stop Telling Gay People They’ll Become Straight If They Become Christian

Islam’s Thousand Year War on Christendom

Nigerian Pastor, Three Sons Burned Alive Among at Least 20 Killed in Latest Plateau Massacre


Headlines – 9/10/2018

Iran FM sends all Jews Rosh Hashanah wishes for a year of ‘peace and harmony’

Trump administration to close Palestinian leadership’s office in a bid to mount pressure over peace deal

Envoy: US won’t present peace plan that fails to meet Israel’s security needs

Palestinians: US cuts to Arab hospitals will have dire effect on healthcare

Palestinians say Trump’s $25m hospital aid cut ‘act of political blackmail’

Army shoots and kills Palestinian trying to sabotage Gaza border fence

Greenblatt: ‘Pray with me’ for release of Hamas held Israeli captives

Attempted murder of Brazil’s pro-Israel frontrunner pits country’s Jews vs Arabs

Anti-Israel signs pop up all over London

How the FBI partners with Israel to fight social media terror

7 injured in Paris knife attack, terrorism not suspected

Russia threatens to attack US troops supporting Syrian rebels

Moscow accuses US of using white phosphorous in Syria

Iranian Guards claims missile attack on Iraq-based Kurd dissidents

Khamenei calls on Iranian troops to ‘scare off’ enemy

Iranian official: Iran has know-how to produce solid rocket fuel

Iran nuclear chief: New Natanz nuclear facility producing advanced centrifuges

Trump Says He is Willing to Meet With Iranian President at Upcoming UN Session

Across Afghanistan, Scores Are Killed in a Deadly Wave of Violence

Trump praises North Korea for holding 70th anniversary parade without ICBMs

Trump: Kim and I will prove everyone wrong

Trump spooked Pentagon with almost-sent tweet on N.Korea: Woodward

Pence slams ‘disappointing’ Obama speech, says he’d take lie detector to prove he didn’t write NYT Op-Ed

Pence: I’m confident no one on my staff wrote incendiary anti-Trump NYT op-ed

Steve Bannon says Trump facing a ‘coup’ after anonymous NYT op-ed

Trump mocks NFL for ratings drop in season opener; suggests numbers would improve if players didn’t kneel

Jewish group in Germany condemns ‘strongly rooted’ extremism

Merkel Confronts a Defining Moment as the Global Order Realigns

Apple Inc bans Alex Jones app for ‘objectionable content’

Google Case Asks: Can Europe Export Privacy Rules World-Wide?

Head of British Science Association: AI Greater Concern than Terrorism

Death toll from Japan quake hits 44, power supply, Toyota output disrupted

6.9 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

6.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Obelobel, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Vallenar, Chile

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ile Hunter, New Caledonia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 22,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 12,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

In rare event, Atlantic, Pacific churn with storms at same time

Florence — with sights set on U.S. East Coast — leads trio of hurricanes in Atlantic

Hurricane Florence Expected to Rapidly Intensify; Serious Rainfall Threat for U.S. East Coast

Tropical storm watch issued as Hurricane Olivia heads toward Hawaii

Three die in Texas floodwater drownings, including mother and toddler

Toxic red tide algae moves north near Tampa Bay, killing hundreds of thousands of fish

OxyContin creator being sued for ‘significant role in causing opioid epidemic’

Researchers have developed an electronic skin that lets prosthetic limbs “feel”

Jewish doctor uses sperm taken 3 days after man’s death to give him heir

Ahead of Kavanaugh confirmation vote, Sen. Collins receives 3,000 hangers from pro-choice activists

CBS chief Leslie Moonves resigns after damning new sexual misconduct claims

Moonves becomes latest powerful executive felled in #MeToo era

Leading U.S. Exorcist: Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal Is Demonic, Likely to Get Worse


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James Dobson: Time to rise up against Deep State

James Dobson, a counselor to five presidents and author of dozens of books, the founder of both Family Talk and the James Dobson Family Institute and member of the National Radio Hall of Fame, is calling for Americans to do their duty, rise up, and fix the “deep state” in Washington.

He describes the problem not by the “deep state” label that has been in the headlines more and more in recent weeks, but by the descriptions “unelected bureaucrats” and “activist judges” who are widely considered to be the core of the “deep state” problems.

And he explains the nation’s Founders provided the answer, in Article V, where they allowed for a Convention of the States.

It’s the second option for creating amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the other being a campaign that starts in Congress, as was used for all of the existing amendments.

In a statement Monday he released, along with Tim Clinton and Jenna Ellis, also of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, he says, “Unfortunately, an insidious power grab has been underway in our nation’s capital for many years and it has inflicted great damage upon our constitutional republic. Unelected bureaucrats, activist judges, and the ever-expanding scope, reach and invasion of the federal government into the lives of all Americans has far surpassed what our Founders ever intended.”

The statement continues, “Thankfully the drafters of our Constitution built in safeguards to restore the size of government to its proper limits through amendments as outlined in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Of the two paths an amendment can travel, all 27 have thus far been initiated in Congress. A Convention of States is the second path, which doesn’t allow a rewriting of the Constitution as some have suggested, but rather allows the state legislatures to propose needed amendments to restrain the federal government when Congress fails to act.”

Dobson, who is on President Trump’s Faith Advisory Board and has been called by the New York Times “the most influential evangelical leader in the country,” also co-founded the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, two organizations with high profiles in the battle for religious rights and America’s Christian heritage.

He continued, “The genius of our Founding Fathers is on full display in the Convention of the States Article V process, which empowers ‘We the People’ at a local level to continue preserving and protecting the fundamental rights of every individual and keeping America’s limited government in check. Thirty-four states must call a convention to order and already 12 have passed the petition. A Convention of the States can and should be called.

“This Constitution Day, Monday, Sept. 17, in recognition of the 231st anniversary of the adoption of one of the world’s greatest and most influential documents ever drafted, we encourage every American to visit ConventionofStates.com and add their name to a growing list of citizens calling for a return of federal power back to the states. Let us raise our collective voices and challenge the entrenched powers in Washington by finally, for the first time, calling for a Convention of the States,” the statement said.

Clinton is the institute’s executive director and co-host of Family Talk. He is licensed as a counseling and has authored and edited nearly 30 books.

Ellis is director of the Dobson Policy Center, a ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute. She is a constitutional law attorney and a contributor to the Washington Examiner, Daily Wire, and the Federalist.

The idea of an Article V convention has been endorsed by personalities from Sen. Rand Paul, who has condemned the “years of abuse and overreach” by government, and Sen. Ben Sasse, Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. Ron Johnson Ben Carson, Morton Blackwell, Mark Levin, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to Sarah Palin, Gov. Mike Huckabee and more.

In a WND columnist Thomas Sowell explained in 2016 and while leftists have been hostile to the convention idea, “No one has messed with the Constitution more or longer than the political left, over the past hundred years.”

“This began with progressives like Woodrow Wilson, who openly declared the Constitution an impediment to the kinds of ‘reforms’ the progressive movement wanted and urged judges to ‘interpret’ the Constitution in such a way as to loosen its limits on federal power,” he wrote at the time.

Dr. James Dobson

He said under the leftist influence of “judicial amendment,” “local, state or national level can often seize private property in disregard of the Fifth Amendment’s protections.”

And he said, “the Supreme Court has been evading the 14th Amendment’s provision of ‘equal protection’ of the law for all, in order to let government-imposed group preferences and quotas continue, under the name of ‘affirmative action.’”

He pointed out two-thirds of the states would have to call for the convention and the resulting plans would have to be approved by three-quarters of the states.

In recent years 12 states have approved a request for such a convention, and Coburn wrote that the offenders are a class of career politicians in Washington who have taken power for themselves that the Founders never intended for them to have.

“I left Washington because I didn’t see we could fix it there, and our founders gave us this opportunity for state legislatures to re-exert their authority to restore the Constitution to its original intent,” said Coburn in an interview last year. “How do we muzzle the alligators in the swamp? By reducing their authority back to what it was originally intended to be.”

At an Article V Convention, states would send delegates chosen however they saw fit, who would discuss the issues laid out in the submitted applications. Proposed amendments would go back to the state legislatures for ratification, and they would not become part of the Constitution until three-fourths of the states had ratified them.

Source: James Dobson: Time to rise up against Deep State

China Burning Bibles – Forcing Believers to Renounce Their Faith

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Could this be us in the near future?

Not since the brutal reign of Mao Zedong has the Chinese government cracked down on Christianity. President Xi Jinping will not tolerate Christianity in China and is on a rampage to crush believers in his country.

From foxnews.com

The Chinese government is destroying cross, burning bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers renouncing their faith as the crackdown on religious congregations in Beijing and several provinces intensifies.

“The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief,” Bob Fu of China Aid, said.

View original post 684 more words

Obama’s Return to Politics Summed Up By One Brutal Cartoon

The cartoon below savagely sums up what former President Obama’s return to politics looks like to most Americans.

Brutal, but accurate:

Does that about sum it up?

The biggest theme of Obama’s latest speech was that Presidents should not be “divisive,” Marco Rubio smacks him down and points out the truth:

Marco Rubio

@marcorubio

Pres. Obama is right. It is wrong for a President to use divisive language, such as:

1. Call all opponents of same-sex marriage bigots

2. Call the Pro-Life movement a “War on Women”

3. Call all immigration enforcement advocates racists

4. Call the GOP the enemy of Hispanics

6:36 AM – Sep 8, 2018

Marco Rubio

@marcorubio

Barack Obama on people left behind by new economy: “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter,they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

6:57 AM – Sep 8, 2018

Marco Rubio

@marcorubio

Barack Obama justifying ignoring constitution limits on the power of President: “Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me.”

6:59 AM – Sep 8, 2018

Marco Rubio

@marcorubio

Barack Obama in a Univision interview calling on Hispanics to vote against GOP “enemies”: “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us…”

7:02 AM – Sep 8, 2018

Marco Rubio

@marcorubio

Barack Obama at a speech at American University accused those who opposed #IranDeal of making common cause with those in Iran who chant “Death to America”.

7:05 AM – Sep 8, 2018

Says it all!

The more Obama campaigns the more the American people are reminded why they voted for President Trump.
— Read on thefederalistpapers.org/opinion/obamas-return-politics-summed-one-brutal-cartoon

September 10 The Impact of the Incarnation

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.—John 1:17–18

God’s Law was permeated with His glory and reflected His holiness and righteousness. Though God was gracious in the Old Testament, the Law was not an instrument of grace because the Law saved no one (Rom. 3:20–22; Gal. 2:16; 3:10–12). It merely convicts sinners of their inability to keep perfectly God’s righteous standards, and condemns them to the eternal punishment of divine justice; thus it reveals their need for the grace of forgiveness.

Jesus Christ, however, brought the full realization of grace and truth. In Him, the truth of God’s salvation was fully revealed and accomplished.

God also was made visible with a clarity never before seen or known. “No one has seen God at any time,” Jesus declared of the years before His appearing (John 6:46), not merely because He is a spirit who is invisible, but more important because to do so would bring instant death. It is through Jesus Christ, the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), that God is revealed.

God, who cannot be known unless He reveals Himself, became most fully known because Jesus “explained Him.” Jesus is the explanation of God. He is the answer to the question, “What is God like?”

Jesus is the only one qualified to interpret God to man, since “no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27).

ASK YOURSELF

What is something of God that He has “explained” to you recently, some facet of His nature and character that has been “revealed” to you through your interaction with Him? Aren’t you glad He has chosen to make Himself known?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 262). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

British intelligence planning fake chemical attack in Syria – US Senator

Virginia State Senator Richard Black has claimed UK intelligence was planning a chemical attack in Syria, which they would then blame on the Syrian government. Black made the claim after a meeting with President Bashar Assad.
— Read on www.rt.com/uk/438063-chemical-attack-british-intelligence/amp/

Franklin Graham Should Be Banned From UK for Preaching ‘Hatred and Bigotry,’ Muslim Group Demands

The U.K.’s top Muslim organization has said that U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham should be denied a visa to the country for his “hatred” and “bigotry.”
— Read on www.christianpost.com/amp/franklin-graham-banned-uk-preaching-hatred-bigotry-muslim-group-227268/

4 Reasons Why Socialism Fails | Mises Wire

The new “democratic socialists” want to make their followers believe that one could redistribute wealth and income and socialize a large part of the economy without harming production and productivity. They claim that a comprehensive control of the economy by the government would bring more justice and more prosperity. The democratic socialists want more planning and less market. Yet this postulate ignores that socialism does not fail by accident or circumstance. Socialism fails because it suffers from four fundamental design defects.

• First, socialism eradicates private property and markets and thus eliminates rational calculation.

• Second, socialism allows soft budgets, so there is no mechanism in place to discard inefficient production methods.

• Third, abolishing private property and replacing it by the state distorts the incentives.

• Four, the socialist system with its absence of private property and of free markets inhibits the economic coordination of the system of division of labor and capital.
— Read on mises.org/wire/4-reasons-why-socialism-fails

Papadopoulos Tells CNN Obama Spy Approached Him in London and Set Him Up (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pund

 

Former Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in prison after being set up by the Obama Deep State in the 2016 election.

George Papadopoulos went on CNN and ABC this weekend to discuss his role in the Spygate scandal.

Papadopoulos told the liberal anchors about how he was set up by Obama spy Stephan Halper in London.

George Papadopoulos: I received an unsolicited email from Stephan Halper who I thought was a Cambridge professor inviting me. So he reached out and said I want you to write a paper for me. I joined him about a week later over drinks at the hotel in London where all of the sudden he pulls out his phone. Everyone has phones when they meet with me and he places it in front of him and he begins to tell me, “So George, of course hacking is in the interest of your campaign. Of course, the Russians are helping you.” These open-ended questions, and, “Of course, you’re probably involved in it too. That’s correct right?”

Papadopolous was set up by the Obama DOJ.

Of course, the liberal media is ignoring this development because it does not conform to their biased and inaccurate reporting against the Trump administration.

The liberal mainstream media can NEVER be trusted.

They completely ignored this stunning development.

Dan Bongino weighed in on this Papadopoulos confession on FOX and Friends.

Dan Bongino: This is one of the most grotesque acts of media malfeasance that I have ever seen.

Via FOX and Friends:
(Sorry for video quality – this is the only video we could find)

via Papadopoulos Tells CNN Obama Spy Approached Him in London and Set Him Up (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

“Let Them Not Share in the Affairs of Life”: How Ancient Christians Were Viewed as Dangerous to Society — Canon Fodder

Celsus “just can’t stand Christians.”

So, writes James O’Donnell (Pagans, 101) as he describes the vicious opposition to Christians in the earliest centuries, particularly from the second-century critic Celsus.

A few weeks ago, I began a short, three-part blog series about what people in the ancient world thought of Christians. In the prior post, we explored how Celsus viewed Christians as ignorant, uneducated simpletons.

In other words, one of the main problems with Christians was intellectualin nature.

But Celsus is by no means finished. In this post, we will see that he thinks that Christians also have a behavioralproblem.  Their actions are rude, anti-social, and morally repugnant.

So, what did Christians do that caused such irritation in Celsus?  In short, Celsus thought Christians were bad citizens.  Job number one for any Roman citizen was to participate in the public, corporate worship of the Roman gods.

And it was precisely this that Christians refused to do.  After all, they were monotheists.  They worshiped Jesus and him alone.

Why was worshiping the Roman gods so important?  Because it was the gods who gave victory in war, rain for crops, and prosperity to the state.  To neglect the gods was to put the welfare of Rome at risk.

Thus, Christians were viewed as insubordinate to the state.

But, Celsus’ complaint is not just political.  It is also social.  The refusal to worship the gods was seen as anti-social and downright rude.  Instead of joining with their fellow Romans, Christians slinked off to their private, secret meetings where they did who knows what.

Such behavior was suspicious. In the mind of Celsus, it showed that Christians were an “obscure and secret society” (8.49) that threatened the stability of the Empire. Christians “suffer from the disease of sedition” (8.49).

As a result, the insults towards Christians rolled easily off of Celsus’ tongue. Christians were like ants or bats swarming out of their nests; like worms crawling out of a hole; like frogs croaking in a marsh (4.23).  Christians were a menace.

What then should be done with these Christians?  Celsus’ answer is chilling:

If they refuse to render due service to the gods. . . let them not come to manhood, or marry wives, or have children, or indeed take any share in the affairs of life; but let them depart hence with all speed, and leave no posterity behind them, that such a race may become extinct from the face of the earth (8.55)

Translation: get rid of them. Or, at a minimum, don’t let them participate in the normal parts of society.

In many ways, little has changed for two-thousands years.  In our modern cultural climate, Christians are still seen as a threat to the stability of society because they won’t publicly and corporately bow down to the cultural gods.

And make no mistake, the culture always demands that Christians do this publicly.  Everyone has to conform. Or else.

By way of example, this is why US Women’s National Team soccer player Jaelene Hinkle, widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the nation, is no longer able to play for her country. The players were required to wear rainbow jerseys to support “gay pride.”  And Hinkle, a committed Christian, wouldn’t do it.  See story here.

It is ironic, really.  In a culture that so claims to value “tolerance,” Christians who refuse to publicly affirm the cultural gods are given none.

But, the lesson from the early church is clear.  We will not be accepted as citizens of this earthly Kingdom.  But, that is a reason to be even more thankful that Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

via “Let Them Not Share in the Affairs of Life”: How Ancient Christians Were Viewed as Dangerous to Society — Canon Fodder

The Mod | Whither Political Conservatism and American Christianity — White Horse Inn

In 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president of the United States, Christians had an easy time identifying as political conservatives.  After all, Reagan checked all the boxes of movement conservatives while showing friendliness to families and churches.  He was firmly anti-Communist, a proponent of limited government and reduced spending (except for the Pentagon), and surprisingly thoughtful for a former actor about the value of mediating institutions in a free society—the role that non-governmental agencies like schools, families, churches, neighborhood associations, and small businesses play in a healthy social order.  Reagan even promised to make America great again, though he and his handlers did it through the hazy promise of “morning in America.”  Jerry Falwell, the founding executive of the Moral Majority, produced a book during the same year as Reagan’s inauguration, Listen America, that revealed evangelical Protestants to be on the same policy page as the Republican Party.  A Christian understanding of national life resulted in support for a strong military, free markets, reductions in welfare spending, and removing anti-religious biases in federal policies and funding.  For Falwell, what made America great was the liberty its government protected, especially in contrast to the tyranny that Soviet Communism embodied.  The way to making America great again for the Baptist pastor was to restore God as the basis for the nation’s liberties.  “God is the author of our liberty,” Falwell wrote, “and we will remain free only as long as we remember this and seek to live by God’s laws.”

Fast forward to 2018.  Donald Trump makes Ronald Reagan look like Mother Theresa. Most people know Trump more for his brash persona (some say it is typically outer-borough New York City) and scandalous behavior.  He is the opposite of presidential, which is why some in the electorate who want a straight-talking politician (remember John McCain?) support the president and overlook his unsavory character.  This is the same reason why many, both Republican and Democrat, detest Trump and deem him to be beneath the office he holds.  Beyond the matter of his character, Trump’s policies are generally friendly to the older convictions of conservatives who supported Reagan—pro-business, pro-military, pro-American greatness.  Many in the mainstream media have interpreted the president’s statements and proposals on immigration and refugees as racist and xenophobic, though Republicans have traditionally been the party of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants who feared the effects of ethnic diversity on national identity, which in turn made the Democrats the party most congenial to racial and ethnic minorities.  In sum, Trump’s politics look familiar to people with some awareness of Republican history while the President’s presence on social media and journalists highlight his personal vices in ways that previous presidents, no saints themselves, could hardly imagine.  Although the foibles and exploits of a Warren G. Harding or John F. Kennedy might have embarrassed previous presidents, Trump apparently knows no shame.

Whether Trump has caused or merely revealed the break-up of social conservatism (e.g., the coalition of voters who supported candidates and policies in line with a set of moral convictions, usually grounded in religious beliefs), the alliance of values-voters evident in elections from Reagan to Barack Obama now seems to have ended.  Evangelicals have received the most attention (no one seems to remember that only fifty years ago mainline Protestantism was THE Protestant brand) thanks to the support born-again Protestants showed in voting for Trump (the much-cited statistic of eighty-one percent).  Although elite evangelicals in respectable outlets like the Southern Baptist Convention (Al Mohler and Russell Moore) and The Gospel Coalition (Tim Keller and John Piper) gave not a whimper of consideration to supporting Trump, evangelicals in the pews turned out in record numbers for apparently the least virtuous candidate in memory.  Since the election, evangelical academics (John Fea) and op-ed writers (Michael Gerson) have produced a steady stream of disgust over the hypocrisy of evangelical support for Trump.  The election has revealed, consequently, a gap between the alleged leaders of evangelicalism (anti-Trump) and the rank-and-file (pro-Trump), and raises the question of how truly representative the leadership is.  If Russell Moore’s opinions are simply his own, should reporters be using his quotations as emblematic of evangelical attitudes?  At the same time, a cast of evangelical celebrities has emerged, such as Paula White and Robert Jeffress, who may appear as rivals to the mainstream evangelicals at The Gospel Coalition.  Also in the Trump camp are familiar names of evangelical leaders, like Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell, with the sons Franklin and Jerry, Jr. respectively backing the president.

Wherever you look in the world of evangelicalism, the analysis of Trump reduces to morality and character with almost no attention to domestic or foreign policy, the viability of national institutions, or the rule of law and representative government.  For many evangelicals who write about Trump, the angle of vision is the president’s depravity (along with his administration’s policies) and the hypocrisy of any Christian support for him.  An observer might be tempted to conclude that evangelicals, who are supposed to be winsome and less sectarian than fundamentalists, have reverted to the black-and-white categories of anti-modernists.  At the same time, said observer might also notice that the leading news outlets cover Trump in ways that mirror evangelical moralism, a harmonic convergence that suggests the answer to Harry Emerson Fosdick’s famous sermon, “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” is an overwhelming affirmative.

Aside from the acrimony among evangelicals, the Trump presidency has put an exclamation mark on the end of an era in Protestant history, which coincides with Billy Graham’s recent death.  For almost seventy-five years after World War II, evangelicals established institutions that provided gate keeping services for an amorphous set of Protestants that refused to participate in the common projects concocted by mainline Protestants (through the National Council of Churches).  The magazine, Christianity Today, the interdenominational organization, The National Association of Evangelicals, and seminaries like Fuller and Gordon-Conwell functioned as the points of reference for understanding this phase of born-again Protestantism.  In some ways, the glue holding these institutions together was Billy Graham and his Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  In addition to his own crusades, radio shows, magazine, movies, and syndicated columns, Graham served on the boards of many of these evangelical agencies.  But these organizations and outlets no longer control the message of evangelicalism the way they once did.  Some of that owes to the rise of social media and its unfiltered character.  At the same time, a generation of evangelical leaders has passed away since 2000 – from Jerry Falwell to Graham – and no set of figures has emerged to assume responsibility for evangelicalism’s message and identity.  The Trump election has made that vacuum glaringly obvious.

On the other side of U.S. Christianity, Roman Catholics are experiencing Trump in a way decidedly different from Protestants and it too involves another passing of an era.  From the mid-1960s, when the Second Vatican Council convened to update Roman Catholicism for the modern world, until the inauguration of Pope Francis (2013), Roman Catholics in the U.S. were generally comfortable with the hallmarks of the nation’s political ideals and aspirations – separation of church and state, representative democracy, limited government, the leader of the free world.  In fact, since 2012 the U.S. bishops have been sponsoring annually The Fortnight for Freedom (the two weeks before Independence Day) to celebrate national liberties and to gin up support for religious freedom (and the protection of Roman Catholic social services that go with such liberty).  This was an era launched partly by John Courtney Murray’s defense of the American founding on natural law grounds and an approval of classical liberalism (in some ways) at Vatican II.  Such support for American ideals removed some barriers between Roman Catholics and Protestants.  Indeed, Richard John Neuhaus, the Lutheran pastor who converted to Rome and founded First Things, followed Murray on American politics and established a forum for cooperation with evangelicals, “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.”  Although ecumenical and theological in nature, this effort also included a consensus on certain political and social issues (such as abortion and gay marriage).

Sometimes branded an Americanist (a Roman Catholics who blended American national and religious in ways that compromised the latter), Neuhaus and the writers with which he collaborated began to receive criticism from Roman Catholics who wanted to follow Rome more than the Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln on social teaching.  These critiques often were on the periphery of the American church.  But in the last two years or so, the magazine that Neuhaus founded (he died in 2009), First Things, has become a formidable outlet for critiques of political liberalism, not so much New Deal liberalism as the classical liberalism (think John Locke) that inspired the United States.  The most visible of these critiques has come from Patrick Deneen, a conservative political philosopher at the University of Notre Dame.  His recent book, Why Liberalism Failed, argues that America’s political ideals stem from an erroneous anthropology and that both the Left (pro-government programs) and Right (small government and free markets) are not so different because each side values individual freedom over self-restraint and the state over small institutions and associations crucial to a good life (families, schools, neighborhood associations).  Some of the critics of liberalism featured at First Things even argue for integralism, the idea that the church should inform and collaborate with the state to insure a good society – which was basically Rome’s political position before the Second Vatican Council.  This negative estimate of the nation’s political forms is by no means large, nor does it have any significant traction with the bishops.  But it has a following among Roman Catholic intellectuals at both religious and secular institutions.  Perhaps the biggest indication of its influence is that First Things is no longer the vehicle for the kind of harmonization of religion and politics that Neuhaus had practiced.  Instead, it is increasingly on the other side of the debates in which Neuhaus had participated.

The Trump Effect

Even before the election of Donald Trump, Christians in the United States were re-thinking their place in national life.  President Obama was a model husband and father but his administration’s policies had increasingly put Christian institutions on the defensive – from the Affordable Care Act which required employers to cover access to contraception and abortion in health insurance to the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.  Most conservative Christians expected that they would have to assume an adversarial role with Hillary Clinton as president, which was a given in the 2016 election for most people.  The Trump victory out of the blue changed the dynamic between Christians and the federal government.  No longer would believers have to get ahead of federal policies that could compromise religious organizations.  Trump’s administration might not roll back Obama’s designs but it would also not further or deepen the Democrats’ progressivism.

At the same time, the polarizing nature of Trump’s character has prevented Christians from welcoming the president and his policies.  To do so is to seem to be selling the believer’s birthright for a mess of pottage.  For that reason, American Christians are arguably more divided than ever about how to conceive of and relate to the federal government.  Add to the potentially damaging associations with the president the lack of a widely recognized body of religious leaders who can speak for and to Christians about the public square and you have uncertainty and transition.  If political conservatives are divided on what to do with and make of Donald Trump, evangelicals and Roman Catholics can hardly be expected to clarify the matter.  The 2020 presidential election will likely bring alliances and leadership into focus, but if Trump runs again and especially if he is re-elected, Christians will need another election cycle or two to find equilibrium after the Trump chaos.

 

Dr. D. G. Hart is the Distinguished Associate Professor of History at Hillsdale College and the Novakovic Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.  He is the author of several books, including From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservativism (Eerdmans, 2011).  

via The Mod | Whither Political Conservatism and American Christianity — White Horse Inn