Daily Archives: September 16, 2018

The European Union Would Love to Control Your Internet Use

The censorship regime is growing legs over there. How long before it takes over here?

Imagine an internet in which users can’t freely blog, parody, share material, or remix content – an online experience in which linking, code-sharing, and the unfettered use of art and images would be nearly impossible due to legal limitations.  Unfortunately, this scenario – a restrictive internet culture – may soon be a reality in the European Union with the recent passage of the European Unions Copyright Directive.  This new E.U. decree, which includes provisions for filtering and surveillance, could have a chilling effect on internet creativity and innovation, potentially increase censorship, and impose new market barriers for businesses worldwide.

The new regulations were originally proposed two years ago as part of the E.U.’s Digital Single Market policy that applies to 28 E.U. member-states and the four non-E.U. states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.  Essentially, it could have a global impact on non-E.U. countries across the world similar to the effect of the E.U.’s 2016 E.U.-wide data protection rules created under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The GDPR took effect in May this year and standardized data protection laws and set guidelines on controlling personally identifiable data.  The Copyright Directive imposes requirements that will change the way netizens interface with online content by imposing mandatory upload filtering, a link tax, and certain prohibitions on user-generated content in public spaces.  It requires online platforms to implement privacy-killing filtering systems that will ban content usage under the justification of copyright protections.  Platforms will be held liable for copyright infringement and fines that could threaten their economic viability.  To add to the confusion, the directive is just that, a suggestion, so each E.U. and non-E.U. party must create its own interpretation of the laws.  The result could be that all 28 E.U. member-states have their own separate definition of what part of a link can be used and copyrighted.

As part of the proposed Copyright Directive, bots, applications that run automated tasks, will act as censors and arbitrarily decide what content can be accessed and shared or even deleted without the consent of the intended user.  No technology will exist to distinguish between the outright copying of material and various forms of commentary.  Under the E.U. directive, revenue streams could be claimed by publishers for small amounts of information, even tables, headlines, or images.  Uploading of research articles from online repositories will be forbidden, and non-profit education services and universities will have to obtain copyright licenses and install filters.  All data, research papers, and articles will exist behind a virtual paywall.  Articles for submission will need to be scanned for potential copyright violations.  Exemptions are proposed for research carried out “in the public interest,” but how that will be defined and who will be making those decisions are uncertain.  Exemptions could easily be decided along political lines, amounting to a form of point-of-view censorship.

More specifically, Article 11 of the new policies will require a mandatory link tax by publishers for using more than one word of existing text from a given article unless the user has previously purchased a license from the news platform in question.  News sites will be free to determine their pricing structures and approve or reject customers based on criteria they alone determine.  This could mean that a particular website could theoretically reject a buyer who might critique content and favor one who would comment approvingly.

Article 12a will prohibit the posting of photos or videos of sports events under the pretext that the content and images belong to the organizers who have total authority on how they will present or promote their matches.  Images captured in public arenas that incidentally contain copyrighted art or other objects are verboten with no exceptions for “user-generated content.”  In other words, a family photo taken at a soccer game may not be permitted on Facebook.  A shot at an art gallery that includes a painting in the background could violate the letter of the law if texted.  According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, the E.U. even rejected a proposal to make it legal to photograph street scenes without conflicting with the new copyright laws.

Under Article 13, most platforms will be required to utilize filters that evaluate content and censor any copyright infringements.  A letter of protest to the European Parliament president, signed primarily by I.T. community members, characterized Article 13 as taking “an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”  This directive could severely limit connectivity and the freedom of digital expression by favoring publishers and equipping them with the power to extract royalties and block content.

The European Commission also proposed new rules requiring removal of terrorist content from platforms within one hour of posting, subject to penalties of up to 4% of the hosting company’s annual global revenue.  Previously, the effort to limit terrorist content online was voluntary.  It was formalized by the E.C. due to the increased number of European terrorist attacks that have resulted from internet misuse.

According to the EFF, websites will be required to pay the link tax to news publishers to use any quoted text from an original article and the fee may not be waived.  The fact that no published material can be freely used will have a profound effect on what information is available to the public.  Complex filtering systems and copyright infringement liabilities will involve costs that far exceed the financial resources of all but the biggest platforms, such as major internet players and mainstream media.  The increased staffing requirements to monitor and adjudicate legitimate versus unlawful content usage will be beyond the means of smaller platforms and non-profits.  Plus, witting or unwitting false copyright claims could be made that would delay or suppress the publication of material critical for all kinds of end-user decision-making, the formulation of political perspectives, voting patterns, the development of new technology, and beyond.

In the case of filtering errors, platforms will not face a level playing field when appealing a blocking decision.  Small businesses will find this a difficult and expensive hurdle to overcome, whereas larger entertainment and news companies will wield more clout to overturn instances of incorrect filtering.

Now that the E.U. Copyright Directive has been passed, closed-door meetings will begin between representatives of member countries and the European Union to finalize the language to be presented to the European Parliament for consideration.  The 28 E.U. member-states will then devise and enact their own versions of the legislation, potentially creating a legislative nightmare.

It remains to be seen how this newly mandated regulation of the content and practices of internet companies will impact the formerly free and unfettered internet.  In the words of the EFF on the day the Copyright Directive was adopted by the European Parliament, “Today, Europe lost the internet.  Now, we fight back.”

— Read on www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/09/the_european_union_would_love_to_control_your_internet_use.html

The Deep State, Obama, and Destroying America

Just when we thought the rot of Obama’s administration couldn’t get any worse, now all the vermin are crawling out.

On April 22, national security adviser John Bolton said, “It’s Open Season for Foreign Influence Operations.  It’s not just Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin that is trying to influence our elections.  So are communist China and sharia-supremacist Iran.”

Vitriolic hatred of President Trump has sprung America into an Afghanistan-like “state of collapse, civil conflict, ethnic and disintegration locked in a self-perpetuating cycle that may be simply beyond outside resolution.”  An example is California versus America over energy.  California has chosen 100% renewable energy by 2045 when it’s proven that renewable energy doesn’t work on a scalable, affordable basis now or in the coming decades without immense fossil fuel backup and billions in taxpayer subsidies.

Thankfully, the United States embraced fracking, allowing the U.S. to overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s number-one oil producer.  Meanwhile, California dooms its economy to poverty for its citizens with higher energy prices and depressed job growth.

This example illustrates that America’s democratic process is under attack, but it’s against each other and not from foreign interference.  Why?  Because if the Democrats take Congress, they will impeach President Trump and don’t have a plan to actually govern.  This is now Venezuelan-style socialism that only wants power.  These people – mostly unserious Democrats – “are vile, disgusting people.  There is no lie they won’t tell, no person they won’t smear to advance their agenda,” as evidenced by the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

They will return America back to the anemic growth it endured under Obama, and our enemies will only grow more emboldened.  America will go the way of California-type leaders like Tom Steyer and Gavin Newsom plus the lies coming from the #Resistance and #NeverTrump crowd.  Seemingly, this is exactly what the Deep State, the Democrats, establishment Republicans, and President Obama want.

According to Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, the Robert Mueller investigation is a mockery of justice full of Democratic partisans.  It was never intended to root out Russian collusion; instead, it is to take down the duly elected president, his family, and anyone associated with his past life.  Ask yourself, would this sham collusion narrative be happening if Hillary were in the White House?  Of course not.  Hanson is correct when he writes:

No President has ever faced impeachment for supposed wrongdoings alleged to have taken place before he took office.  With effort to go back years, if not decades, into Trump’s business and personal life, we are now in uncharted territory.

We will have a shooting, civil war on our hands if Trump is impeached over an investigation that has never proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump colluded with Russia.  The Democratic Party of Truman, Kennedy, FDR, Scoop Jackson, and Governor Pat Brown is gone.  Back then, Democrats wanted a thriving middle class, single-family homes, great schools to achieve upward mobility, and world-class infrastructure.  Now it’s spying on your political enemies through the unelected intelligence fiefdoms of the Deep State that Trump is trying to destroy.

Issues have come to light revealing the extent of Obama’s troubled presidency and former top officials reckless disregard for unlawfully spying on Trump and thousands of Americans that is destroying America.  Moreover, Obama’s glee at making a nuclear deal with Iran has unleashed Hell on the Middle East by creating a hegemonic Iran.  To illustrate, Politico did an extensive investigative report titled “The Secret Backstory of How Obama Let Hezbollah off the Hook,” because “[a]n ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.”

Additionally, The Atlantic reported that Obama and former high-ranking intelligence officials knew that Iran and al-Qaeda were working together (Hazma, Osama bin Laden’s son, got married in Iran), and more damning was a 19-page document from the 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan that killed bin Laden, showing that “al-Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Tehran touched on funding and arming the Sunni terror outfit so it could strike at American targets.”  Former CIA director Mike Pompeo “suggested” that this al-Qaeda-Iran pact was an “open secret during the Obama administration.”  Maybe these revelations are why the Deep State, Obama, Democrats, and negligent Republicans are trying to destroy Trump and the Rule of Law. It can certainly justify why Trump de-certified the Iran nuclear deal.

Unfortunately, “Obama did spy on Trump,” according to former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson.  She was also illegally spied on by the Obama administration for writing unflattering stories.  Ms. Attkisson then credibly alleges, “It means U.S. intelligence agencies secretly surveilled at least a half dozen Trump associates.  And those are just the ones we know about.”

Former senior-level Obama officials Susan Rice, James Clapper, John Brennan, Sally Yates, and Samantha Power all admitted to reviewing or “unmasking” political figures.  Obama intel agencies were caught “secretly monitoring Congressional conversations while the Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.”  Brennan and Clapper were both found lying to Congress in 2013 and 2014.  And Ms. Attkisson is still fighting the Justice Department in a federal lawsuit over hacking her CBS computer, causing CBS to publicly announce:

Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by “an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions,” confirming Attkisson’s previous revelation of the hacking.

Global intelligence firm Stratfor verified this claim in a September 21, 2010 email:

John Brennan [then an Obama Homeland Security adviser] is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources.

This Deep State behavior grew when the intelligence community “expanded its authority in 2011 so it can monitor innocent U.S. citizens.”  Then, in January 2016, a top-secret inspector general report “found the NSA violated the very laws designed to prevent abuse.”  Also in 2016, Obama officials “searched through intelligence on U.S. citizens a record 30,000 times up from 9,500 in 2013″ during an election year.  Two weeks before the 2016 presidential election, NSA officials before a FISA court hearing overseeing government surveillance “confessed they’d violated privacy safeguards with much greater frequency” than previously admitted.  The presiding judge accused the NSA of “institutional lack of candor and a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

If it weren’t for Congressman Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence the public would be in the dark “about the unethical and often illegal behavior of the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and Department of Justice” under the former administration.  Chairman Nunes also exposed the politicized leak of former NSC director Michael Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador in a January 2017 Washington Post column.  Nunes’s investigation further uncovered that Clinton’s campaign paid for an unverified dossier in 2016 from former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele that was used by Obama’s FBI and Justice Department to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for illegal surveillance on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

What Brennan, Clapper, Rice, and others have done is “monetize access” to classified intelligence for political and private financial gain.  Obama intelligence chiefs – and now the Deep State – weaponized intelligence.  Past and present high-ranking intelligence officials believe that it was correct to revoke Brennan’s security clearances and that others should follow.  These Obama-era officials and current Deep State employees are pursuing political agendas via the anti-Trump media, with the U.S. Department of Justice standing back and doing nothing while America is destroying Trump, the office of the president and the freest, greatest country in the history of mankind.

Image: Ari Levinson via Wikimedia Commons.
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/09/the_deep_state_obama_and_destroying_america.html

Jordan B. Peterson: A Sign of the End Times? – The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at WhiteHorseInn.org.

It is not often that a clinical psychologist becomes the cultural equivalent of a rock star, but Canadian academic Jordan B. Peterson has done just that. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, as the old saying goes, and Dr. Peterson is surely a man who has found his time. And all indications are that, behind his characteristically serious (if not slightly puzzled) expression, he quite enjoys the irritation and annoyance that his forthright statements on our current cultural climate cause the self-appointed members of contemporary Committees of Public Safety. Like Camille Paglia (who provided a jacket commendation for his latest book) he preaches that most unpopular of gospels in this age of victimhood: personal responsibility.

Peterson first gained public attention when, in a series of YouTube presentations, he critiqued Canada’s Bill C-16 by which the federal government added gender expressions and gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. Peterson rightly sees this move as jeopardizing free speech and as a dangerous government encroachment on freedom of expression. In an era where traditional freedoms are regarded by the panjandrums of the culture as antithetical to the well-being of society as a whole, Peterson found himself to be an instant and controversial celebrity, lauded by some and decried by others. Since then, his television appearances (particularly one with journalist Cathy Newman on the UK’s Channel 4), have revealed him to be a calm, precise, logical, clear-thinking, and courageous advocate for his various positions.

For those interested in his overall philosophy of life, his recent book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” provides a thoroughgoing account which, while resting upon his scholarly work in behavioral psychology, is accessible to the layperson. In fact, the basic message of “12 Rules” is simple: take responsibility for yourself. That this has proved so controversial is paradoxically both surprising and entirely predictable. Surprising because we live in an age where the individual is supposed to be sovereign over their own identity; entirely predictable because our contemporary individualism always assumes that our failure to fulfill personal potential is always somebody else’s fault. We live in a culture of sovereign individual victims.

While Peterson cites the Bible frequently, his philosophical influences are more eclectic. He cites Freud, Jung and Rogers in psychology, appreciates Nietzsche and Dostoyevski, and in his focus on Being seems to have imbibed something of Heidegger. He acknowledges that Solzhenitsyn’s analysis of the psychology of Soviet society in his masterwork, The Gulag Archipelago, shaped him profoundly, as did the work of Orwell. Clearly an intellectual omnivore, he is yet able to deploy all this learning in a most accessible manner.

Peterson is consequently an outspoken foe of anything which might lead to totalitarianism, political or cultural. One of many cringe-inducing moments in his interview with Cathy Newman comes when he has to explain to her the connection between the way modern identity politics threaten freedom of speech and the policies of Chairman Mao. The interview as a whole was perhaps not quite as bad for Newman as some of his fans claimed—once or twice they seemed to talk past each other, especially on the issue of women’s pay—but what is clear is that, on the issue of speech codes, Peterson thinks in terms of underlying philosophical principles and their social ramifications, while Newman thinks (if ‘thinks’ is not too flattering a word) merely in terms of her own emotional response to the emotive rhetoric of the sexual identity lobbyists.

Yet in his advocacy of freedom, Peterson understands something which seems lost today: to be truly free, the individual must be subject to limits, to constraints. Peterson understands that society is not necessarily an agent of corruption (he dismisses Rousseau’s claims to the contrary in two well-targeted pages). Society shapes individuals and, to the extent that society shapes individuals in a manner which respects their nature, society makes freedom possible. Human nature in general is limited but limitation does not mean less freedom. I cannot fly simply by flapping my arms, but that inability does not mean that I am in bondage. I need to understand my limits as a human being and learn to act accordingly—the limits of human nature in general and of myself in particular: I can, for example, swim but I will never be as good as Michael Phelps.

Failure to understand this—or perhaps better, a refusal to acknowledge this—lies at the root of much of the political insanity that surrounds us. Rejecting this is the premise undergirding transgender ideology, turns speech with which we disagree into acts of oppressive hate, and outlaws reality en masse. That is one reason why Peterson opposes the legislation of gender speech codes: not only do such violate the principle of free speech, in the hands of the transgender lobby they demand that people say that which they know is untrue and inconsistent with reality.

Peterson is lauded by conservatives because of the way he irritates the left. And yet there is plenty in his thinking to give the right, especially perhaps the Christian right, pause for thought. His robust defense of freedom of speech and excoriation of bully-boy tactics on social issues certainly appeals to many Christians today. But is this simply because the levers of cultural power now lie in the hands of the left? Not so long ago such things as commercial boycotts were the weapons of choice of the Southern Baptists. Further, the sheer personal nastiness of many debates that take place among Christians online is scarcely consistent with his Rule 9 (‘Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t’) or Rule 10 (‘Be precise in your speech’). And his question, ‘Do you want your children to be safe or to be strong?’ would seem one that many homeschool parents might not answer in quite the same way as he would.

Reading Peterson reminded me of one of the great losses of Protestant theology for which we are now paying a high price: an emphasis on the virtues, or character traits. Protestant ethics have, in practice, made the matter of character—of intrinsic personal virtues—something of secondary importance. This is not a necessary consequence of the foundational law-gospel dialectic but it is the case that discussion of Christian behavior among the Reformed has focused almost exclusively on the Third Use of the Law as an external guide. What Peterson reminds us is that behavior grows out of—and in turn shapes—character. And what society is facing at this point is a serious deficit of character; something for which the older generation (my generation!) needs to take responsibility. We cannot decry snowflake students without realizing that they were created by a generation of parents who were, in the words of English journalist, Rod Liddle, ‘selfish, whining monkeys’ without realizing that this is the world we have created. Nor can we as Christians pass responsibility for this to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is unlikely to teach your children to respect other people unless you are teaching them the same by precept and by example. We need to bring our children up correctly. We need to take responsibility for our actions.

Perhaps Peterson’s greatest significance lies not in any original insights which he has. He seems in many ways a remarkably unoriginal thinker. The front cover of “12 Rules” carries a quotation from The Spectator to the effect that he is ‘one of the most important thinkers to emerge on the world stage for many years.’ Yet it is surely not his thinking that makes him important, at least not in terms of its content. Rather, his genius lies simply in his clarity and his courageous willingness to speak and act consistently with that. His book, when shorn of its occasional flirtations with Heideggerian jargon and stripped down to its twelve basic rules, is really nothing that my father and mother could not have written. Self-respect, self-discipline, patience, courtesy, respect for others, hard work—these were the values that my parents at least tried to instill in me from an early age.

No, it is not his thought that is significant; it is the reactions to it. They are the most revealing. That a book advocating the above values is controversial should be sobering. That he can be seriously asked by an apparently intelligent journalist why his right to free speech should be considered more valuable than somebody else’s desire not to be offended indicates just how precarious are individual freedoms which we considered the jewel of the West just thirty years ago. We truly do live at a time where the omnipresent language of expressive individualism is being used by cultural totalitarians to press for a view of society which ultimately prioritizes group identity in a way that could prove lethal to any notion of true individual freedom. It is perhaps an accident of history that this happens to have manifested itself most obviously on the left. The psychological notion of personhood which underlies it, and the consequent identification of oppression as a primarily psychological phenomenon, does not seem to be of necessity a left-wing monopoly. Just think for a moment about how outraged some conservatives become when somebody dares to express a view with which they disagree; and a moment’s reflection on the history of the treatment of ethnic and sexual minorities does provide a context for the rise of identity politics of today. But the fact that conservatives have sinned too does not justify crazy ideological excesses which, if left unchecked, could challenge some of the basic philosophical foundations of democracy.

What kind of a world do we now live in where a man who advocates hard work and respect for others and roots his arguments in scientific, historical and sociological evidence, is seen as a radical right-wing propagandist? The same world, I guess, where University of Pennsylvania professor, Amy Wax, can propose much the same thing and be roundly decried as a racist white supremacist: a childish, self-absorbed world where every failure is always the fault of somebody else and nobody takes responsibility for anything. Yet the people who criticize Peterson give every appearance of being sane, functioning members of society. Perhaps they are genuinely concerned that his arguments give too much ground to a Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ philosophy? Maybe. I myself fear that the real lesson of Peterson’s notoriety is not that the lunatics have taken over the asylum as the spoiled toddlers have staged a coup at the kindergarten.

Peterson is a talented, courageous and gracious man. But only a society controlled by emotionally stunted nincompoops pretending to be adults would consider him to be either a genius or a dangerous problem. Welcome to where we are.

Carl R. Trueman

Carl R. Trueman is professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Aberdeen and has taught on the faculties of the Universities of Nottingham and Aberdeen and Westminster Theological Seminary. Most recently, he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He writes regularly at First Things and Modern Reformation and co-hosts a weekly podcast, The Mortification of Spin, for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
— Read on www.visionandvalues.org/2018/09/jordan-b-peterson-a-sign-of-the-end-times/

September 16, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Command Not to Love the World

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. (2:15a)

By examining its use in a particular biblical context, and properly comparing Scripture with Scripture, one can understand the various meanings of the term world. In this verse it is clear what John is not referring to. First, he is not speaking of the physical world, or the created order. John would not have commanded his readers to hate something that God in Genesis 1:31 pronounced was originally “very good.” Even though creation is marred by the fall (cf. Genesis 3), nature’s physical beauties still reflect God’s glory and demand praise. The psalmist expressed this principle eloquently:

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Ps. 19:1–6; cf. 104:1–32; Acts 14:15–17; 17:23–28; Rom. 1:20)

Second, John would not have commanded believers to hate the world of humanity. That is because God loves people in the world and sent His Son to be the propitiation for their sin (see 2:2; 4:9–10, 14; cf. John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Tim. 2:3–6; Titus 2:11–14; 3:4–5).

The world and its things, which John warned his readers not to love, is the invisible, spiritual system of evil. It is the kosmos (“world order,” “realm of existence,” “way of life”) governed by Satan; as Paul reminded the Ephesians, “You formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). Later in this letter John wrote: “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (5:19; cf. 4:1–5; John 12:31). The “world” here refers to the same evil system that Jesus referred to when He said, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18; cf. 17:14). So, it was not humanity in general or the created order that hated Christ, but rather the wicked, corrupt (2 Peter 2:19), demonic ideologies and enterprises that stimulate fallen humanity (cf. Matt. 13:19, 38; 2 Cor. 2:11; 4:4; 11:14; 1 Thess. 2:18; 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 16:14). In keeping with this understanding, the apostle Paul correctly viewed the world as engaged in a massive spiritual war against the kingdom of God:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3–5; cf. Eph. 6:11–13)

“Speculations” means ideologies or belief systems, ranging from primitive, animistic systems to sophisticated, complex world religions, philosophies, political theories, or any unbiblical worldviews. They represent all unbelieving ideas and dogmas that, often from an elitist standpoint, rise up against the true knowledge of God. In response, believers are commanded to confront and destroy the world’s spiritual lies and false speculations with the truth. Paul thus identifies the world as the full spectrum of beliefs and inclinations that oppose the things of God, and John implicitly echoes that definition. When a person becomes a Christian, he or she is no longer a slave to the world system. Christians have been “rescued … from the domain of darkness, and transferred … to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13; cf. 2 Cor. 6:17–18; Eph. 5:6–12).

Reasons Believers Are Not to Love the World

If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (2:15b–17)

The kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God are inherently incompatible (cf. 4:5–6; 5:4–5; John 15:19; Gal. 6:14). The two are mutually exclusive and opposed to one another. They are antithetical, and cannot peacefully coexist. True Christians therefore will not be characterized by a habitual love for the world, nor will worldly people demonstrate a genuine affection for the gospel and its Lord (John 3:20; Acts 7:51; 13:8–10; 17:5, 13; Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21; 1 Thess. 2:14–16).

Clearly, there is an unmistakable line of demarcation between the things of God and the things of the world. The ongoing moral and ethical deterioration of contemporary culture makes this obvious. Even brief consideration provides a lengthy list of cultural agendas that are aggressively hostile to biblical Christianity: an attack on the traditional family by feminism; an active promotion of sexual promiscuity and homosexuality; an increasing acceptance of violence; an emphasis on materialism and hedonism by the secular media; a steady decline in standards of personal integrity and business ethics; an undermining of right and wrong by postmodern relativism; and so on.

In order to support his admonition, John does not offer a long list of specifics or detailed illustrations. Instead, he presents three general reasons believers must not love the world: because of who they are, because of what the world does, and because of where the world is going.

because of who believers are

If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (2:15b)

Because believers are forgiven (Pss. 86:5; 130:3–4; Isa. 1:18; Matt. 26:28; Luke 1:77; Eph. 1:7; 4:32; Col. 1:14; 2:13–14; 3:13; 1 John 2:12), have a true knowledge of God (2 Cor. 2:14; 4:6; Eph. 4:13; Col. 1:9–10), have the Word of God abiding in them (Ps. 119:11; Col. 3:16), have overcome Satan (James 4:7; 1 John 4:4), and have an increasingly intimate relationship with the Father (1 John 2:12–14), they cannot love the world. Anyone who loves the world demonstrates that the love of the Father is not in him. Like Demas, such spiritual defectors manifest that any previous claim to know and love God was nothing but a lie (2:19).

Nonetheless, the basic identity of believers as God’s children does not make them immune to the world’s allure. Because they are still fallen sinners—though saved by grace—true followers of Christ are tempted through their remaining flesh by the world’s behaviors and enterprises (Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 10:13; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 6:16; James 1:12–14; 1 Peter 5:8–9). Whether the temptation comes from worldly priorities, worldly amusements, worldly riches, or worldly lusts, believers desire to resist the world’s effort to seduce them. As Jesus warned His listeners, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Luke 16:13; cf. Matt. 6:19–21, 24).

because of what the world does

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (2:16)

The meaning of all that is in the world and is from the world appears in the three qualifying descriptions of sin’s categories. Sin is the dominant reality in the world, and launching from this verse it is helpful to look more extensively at sin, by definition called “lawlessness” (1 John 3:4)—any violation of God’s perfect and holy law. Whereas the law of God encompasses all that is righteous (Pss. 19:7; 119:142; Isa. 42:21; cf. Josh. 1:7–8; Ps. 119:18; Neh. 8:9, 18; Isa. 51:4; Matt. 22:36–40; Acts 28:23; Rom. 3:21; James 1:25), sin encompasses all that is unrighteous (Prov. 24:9; Matt. 15:19; 1 John 5:17; cf. Gen. 6:5).

Although it manifests itself in external actions, the roots of sin go much deeper, embedded in the very fabric of the depraved human heart. Sin permeates the fallen mind, internally defiling the sinner in every aspect of his being (cf. Matt. 15:18–20). Thus, the Old Testament likens sin to a deadly plague (1 Kings 8:38, nkjv) or filthy garments (Zech. 3:3–4; cf. Isa. 64:6). Sin is so foul that God hates it (Prov. 15:9) and sinners hate themselves (Ezek. 6:9) because of their inherent wickedness.

Sin is by nature both rebellious and ungrateful—so much so that if possible it would dethrone God in favor of sinners (cf. Ps. 12:4; Jer. 2:31; 44:17). Its attitude is that of Absalom, who when forgiven by his father, King David, nevertheless immediately plotted to overthrow him (2 Sam. 14:33–15:12). Romans 1:21 says of the ungodly, “Even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks” (emphasis added; cf. 2 Tim. 3:2).

Sin is also humanly incurable. Sinners have no capacity in and of themselves to remedy their sin (Rom. 8:7–8; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1). The prophet Isaiah described Israel’s incurably sinful condition:

Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him. Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head there is nothing sound in it, only bruises, welts and raw wounds, not pressed out or bandaged, nor softened with oil. (Isa. 1:4–6)

Sin is like a terminal illness, or hereditary condition, about which sinners can do nothing in their own strength. God demanded of Israel, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jer. 13:23; cf. Job 14:4; Matt. 7:16–18).

Finally, sin is universal. David wrote, “They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Ps. 14:3; cf. Isa. 53:1–3; Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:10–12; 5:12). Thus all people, left to their own devices, choose to sin:

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (John 3:19–20; cf. Ps. 7:14; Prov. 4:16; Isa. 5:18; Jer. 9:5)

It is because people are sinful that evil overpowers fallen mankind (cf. Gen. 6:5; John 8:34; Rom. 6:20a), such that all that unregenerate people can think about and do are sinful things, because sin so utterly dominates their minds, wills, and affections. It is because of sin that they are under Satan’s control, as slaves to the prince of darkness (cf. Eph. 2:2). It is because of sin that the unredeemed remain under the wrath of God, destined for eternal hell unless they repent (Ps. 9:17; Matt. 3:7, 10, 12; 7:13; 13:40–42; 25:41, 46; Luke 13:3; John 3:36; Rom. 1:18; 2:5; Col. 3:6; Rev. 6:17; 19:15; 20:11–15). And it is because of sin that people are subject to all the miseries of this life. As Eliphaz the Temanite, one of Job’s friends, remarked, “Man is born for trouble” (Job 5:7a). And Solomon reminded his readers of the emptiness and meaninglessness that sin causes, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind” (Eccl. 1:14; cf. vv. 2, 8; Isa. 48:22; Rom. 8:20).

It is also crucial to rightly understand the nature of sin’s origin in human behavior. While it is true that temptation comes from Satan’s system (cf. Eph. 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8–9) through the world, sinful behavior cannot ultimately be blamed on external influences. The sinner himself is responsible for his sinful actions, which spring from his own wicked desires (James 1:13–16). Sin, then, abides in all human hearts, as Jesus clearly taught:

After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:14–23; cf. Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; James 1:13–15)

The Lord’s words illustrate the doctrine of original sin; all sin stems from mankind’s fallen nature, and that nature derives from Adam and Eve’s initial disobedience (Genesis 3; cf. Pss. 51:5; 58:3; Eph. 2:3; 4:17–19; Col. 2:13a). Since then, it has been an integral part of everyone who has lived (Rom. 5:12–21).

Understanding the serious danger sin poses, the apostle John summarized the avenues the world uses to incite sin: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Though briefly stated, those three designations are of profound importance.

The lust of the flesh refers to the debased, ignoble cravings of evil hearts. The flesh denotes humanness and its sinful essence. The word translated lust (epithumia) is a common New Testament term denoting both positive and negative desires (Luke 22:15; Rom. 1:24; Phil. 1:23; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 2:17; 2 Tim. 2:22; Titus 3:3; James 1:14–15; 2 Peter 1:4; cf. Matt. 5:28; Gal. 5:17; Heb. 6:11; James 4:2). Here it refers negatively to the sensual impulses from the world that draw people toward transgressions. The expression lust of the flesh brings to mind primarily sexual sins, but, while they are included in its definition, the phrase is certainly not limited to that meaning.

The base desire of the human heart perverts and distorts all normal desires (Jer. 17:9), sending them into a relentless, slavish pursuit of evil that exceeds the proper limits of what is good, reasonable, and righteous—any attitude, speech, or action that opposes God’s law (cf. Rom. 7:5; 8:7). Those lusts include all the immoral excesses about which Paul warned the Galatians:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:19–21; cf. Rom. 1:24–32; 1 Cor. 6:9–10)

Those sinful attitudes and actions are primary characteristics of the world system and are irresistibly appealing to the corruption of the unconverted soul.

The world also entices sinners to thoughts and actions contrary to God’s will through the lust of the eyes. Eyes are gifts from God (cf. Prov. 20:12; Eccl. 11:7) that enable people to see His beautiful creation and excellent works (cf. Pss. 8:3–4; 19:1; 33:5; 104:24; Isa. 40:26; Rom. 1:20). However, as they let in light, so they are open windows for temptation to enter; thus sin perverts the use of the eyes (cf. Prov. 27:20; Eccl. 1:8; 4:8) and plunges people into dissatisfaction, covetousness, and idolatry (cf. Pss. 106:19–20; 115:4; Eccl. 5:10). Lot’s wife misused her eyes, and God killed her as a result (Gen. 19:17, 26). Achan plundered the forbidden goods he saw, which also led to his death (Josh. 7:18–26; 22:20). From his rooftop David saw Bathsheba bathing, subsequently committed adultery with her, and paid severely for his sin the remainder of his life (2 Sam. 11:1–5; 12:1–20; Ps. 51:1–17). Because of such potential consequences, it is imperative for believers to guard their eyes (cf. Job 31:1; Ps. 101:3; 119:37). Jesus’ graphic hyperbole underscores the necessity of avoiding the lust of the eyes.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matt. 5:27–29)

The third human element that provides an avenue into the soul for temptation is the boastful pride of life. Such pride is the arrogance (cf. 1 Sam. 2:3; 17:4–10, 41–45; Pss. 10:3; 75:4; Prov. 25:14; Jer. 9:23; Rom. 1:30; James 3:5; 4:16) that arguably motivates all other sin, including the lust of the flesh and eyes, as it seeks to elevate self above everyone else (cf. Ps. 10:2, 4; Prov. 26:12; Dan. 5:20; Luke 18:11–12; Rom. 12:3, 16). Pride is the corruption of the noblest parts of man’s essence (cf. Ps. 10:2–6, 11; Prov. 16:18–19), his rationality and spirit that were created for him by God (Gen. 1:26–27). Instead of accepting that reality with appropriate humility and gratitude to God, sinners exalt themselves and seek fulfillment in things that glorify the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:22–25).

In the flesh (sensuality), humanity functions according to the base desires of animals (cf. Ex. 32:1–9, 19–20, 25). With the eyes (covetousness), individuals seek to have more than others (cf. Luke 12:16–21). Through pride, humanity defies God and arrogantly attempts to dethrone the Sovereign of the universe (cf. Gen. 11:2–4). That threefold matrix of temptation, however, is more than a theological abstraction. Two of the most foundational and pivotal passages in Scripture, Genesis 3:1–7 and Luke 4:1–13, support concretely and historically how Satan has attacked via those avenues.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. (Gen. 3:1–7)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ ” And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ ” And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning you to guard you,’ and, ‘on their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:1–13)

In both cases Satan utilized the same threefold temptation to attack his target. Adam and Eve succumbed in Genesis 3:6, plunging the human race into sin: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” The devil appealed to Eve’s desire for food (lust of the flesh), her desire to have something attractive (lust of the eyes), and her desire to have wisdom (pride of life). Adam accepted the same enticements without protest and ate the fruit his wife gave him, and Satan’s kingdom gained its initial foothold on earth.

In the second account, Satan used a similar approach as he sought to derail Jesus’ redemptive mission (cf. Matt. 16:21–23; John 13:21–30). He appealed to the Lord’s humanity (His hunger for bread), His eyes (His appreciation of the world’s splendor), and His perceived pride (His jumping from the temple’s pinnacle would have presumed on God’s protection and gained extra prestige when He landed safely). But all three of the Devil’s sinister approaches were unsuccessful as the Lord refuted each appeal by quoting Old Testament truth (Deut. 8:3; 6:13, 16; cf. 10:20).

It is not surprising, then, to see that the world, under Satan’s leadership, continues to assault sinners through those same three pathways of temptation. The Devil plays on the corruptibility of the fallen human heart to achieve the maximum impact for evil and chaos in the world. But believers are not slaves to the diabolical, corrupt world system (Rom. 6:5–14; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8–9; 1 John 4:1–6). Like their Lord who has redeemed them, they possess the ability to successfully resist the temptations of this world (cf. Rom. 8:1–13; James 4:7).

because of where the world is going

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (2:17)

The third reason believers are not to love the world is because it is passing away. The principle of spiritual death that permeates the world is the exact opposite of the principle of spiritual life, which operates in God’s kingdom. Thus, the living dead in the world are destined for eternal death in hell, but Christians are destined for eternal life in heaven (Matt. 13:37–50; 25:31–46; cf. Matt. 5:12a; Luke 10:20; Heb. 12:22–23; 1 Peter 1:3–5).

The verb translated is passing away is a present tense form of paragō (“to disappear”). The present tense indicates that the world is already in the process of self-destruction (1 Cor. 7:31b; 1 Peter 4:7a; cf. James 1:10; 4:14; 1 Peter 1:24). The entire system contains the seeds of its own dissolution (cf. Rom. 8:20–21). (God will destroy the physical universe at the end of the millennium and just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ [2 Peter 3:10], but that is not what John had in view here.) John looked ahead to the destruction of the satanic world system and all those who cling to its lusts—its ideologies that oppose God and Christ (2 Cor. 10:3–5; 2 Peter 2:1–17; Jude 12–15; Rev. 18:21–24; cf. 19:11–21; 20:7–10). They are all hurtling rapidly toward eternal damnation, as Paul wrote concerning the ungodly who persecuted the Thessalonian believers:

For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thess. 1:6–10)

Paul did not say that those unrepentant members of the world would cease to exist (that would be the unbiblical doctrine of annihilationism), but that they would undergo an everlasting punishment in hell (cf. Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:43–49; Rev. 20:15). The world’s process of self-destruction will only accelerate and grow worse in the coming years (cf. 2 Tim. 3:13) until the Lord returns.

On the other hand, the one who does the will of God, who savingly trusts and obeys Christ, has nothing to fear concerning the world’s destruction (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9). It is God’s will that people believe the gospel, repent of their sin, and embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Mark 1:15; John 6:29; 1 Tim. 2:4–6). John earlier had heard these words of Jesus: “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life” (John 6:40). Each person who has obeyed that teaching is a Christian and lives forever (Luke 6:46–48; John 8:51; 10:27; 14:21; 15:10; James 1:22–25; 1 John 2:5; 3:24; cf. Pss. 25:10; 111:10).

The apostle Paul is a sterling example of one who learned what it means to love the things of God rather than the things of the world. In Philippians 3:3–11 he recounts his transformation:

For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (cf. Acts 9:1–22; 26:4–23)

Like Paul, believers must persevere in sanctification and righteousness by “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead … toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13b–14). By doing this they will demonstrate that they love what God loves and hate what He hates. They will clearly no longer be devoted to the unbelieving world system and will shun its continuous appeal to sin, which comes through the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.[1]


An Appeal to John’s Readers (vv. 15–17)

The first part of John’s long parenthesis, verses 12–17, was written to reassure his readers, for John did not want them to think that he was questioning their salvation. Rather, he has written to them because their sins have been forgiven and because they do know the Father. If they miss this truth, they have misunderstood him. On the other hand, John does not want them to think that what he has written regarding the tests of life has no relevance for Christians, for this would be a misunderstanding too. Thus, he now goes on to show how what he has said should be applied to their lives. They are not to doubt their salvation, but rather, being assured of it, are to press on in those areas that give evidence of their transformation and that indeed bring the greatest measure of personal blessing. What is the Christian to do? Quite simply, he is to refuse to love the world and its values and instead love God and the will of God. In stating this John also gives two reasons why this is the only sane course for any Christian.

Love Not the World

John’s appeal to his readers is stated negatively, but the positive side must be understood also. Christians must not love the world. At the same time it must also be said that they are to love God and do his will. Indeed, it is only as the love of God fills them and the will of God motivates them that the world can be conquered, just as in the preceding verse it is only as the Word of God abides in them that Satan can be overcome.

With the exception of one passing reference in 2:2, this is the first time in the letter that John has used the word “world” (kosmos). But now it occurs six times in just these three verses, and it will occur many more times later on. On the whole, it is one of the most important terms in the Johannine vocabulary. What is the “world”? The answer to that question is a complex one, for the word itself has a wide range of meanings. At times, though this is a very minor usage, John seems to mean little more than the “universe,” as in John 1:10. This, of course, is the basic meaning of the Greek word. In the early history of the Greek language, kosmos meant “an ornament” (this meaning is preserved in English in the word cosmetic), then later the “universe” or “world globe,” as the ornament of God. In this early period kosmos could also mean “that which is well constructed,” “well ordered,” or “beautiful.”

In time the application of the word to the world led also to a further development by which it came to denote “the world of men.” This use is also present in John, occurring at times without apparent moral overtones. It is said of the world in this sense that God loved it and gave his only begotten Son for it (John 3:16), that it is the object of his saving purposes (John 3:17), that Jesus gave himself as a propitiation for it (1 John 2:2), and that Christ is its Savior (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14). It must be understood of this use of the word that it refers to the human race collectively and not necessarily to each individual; otherwise, the verses in question would imply a universal salvation of all men, which is, however, repudiated elsewhere.

The third major use of the word is one that involves the ethical dimension; and it is not only the most common, it is also the most significant usage in John’s writings. The idea here is of the world of men in rebellion against God and therefore characterized by all that is in opposition to God. This is what we might call “the world system.” It involves the world’s values, pleasures, pastimes, and aspirations. John says of this world that the world lies in the grip of the evil one (1 John 5:19), that it rejected Jesus when he came (John 1:10), that it does not know him (1 John 3:1), and consequently that it does not know and therefore also hates his followers (John 15:18–21; 17:14). It is in this sense that John speaks of the world in the passage before us.

If the first sense of the word is used, Christians are to receive and be thankful for the world, for it is God’s gift. Jesus himself was appreciative of the world in this sense. If the second sense is used, Christians are to love the world and seek to evangelize it, for God also loves the world. In the third sense, the sense we have here, Christians are to reject the world and conduct their lives according to an entirely different set of values.

When John says that Christians are not to “love the world or anything in the world,” he is not thinking then so much of materialism (“things”) as he is of the attitudes that lie behind materialism. For he knows, as we should all know, that a person without worldly goods can be just as materialistic as a person who has many of them; and, conversely, a rich person can be quite free from this and any other form of worldliness. John is actually thinking of selfish ambition, pride, the love of success or flattery, and other such characteristics. Law recognizes this in his excellent rephrasing of the apostle’s appeal. He writes, “Do not court the intimacy and the favour of the unchristian world around you; do not take its customs for your laws, nor adopt its ideals, nor covet its prizes, nor seek fellowship with its life.” The neb says, “Do not set your hearts on the godless world or anything in it.”

Two Reasons

The first reason why Christians are not to love the world or the things that are in the world is that love for the world and love for the Father are incompatible. God is set over against the world’s sin and values. Consequently, it is impossible to both love and serve God and at the same time love that which he hates and which opposes him. Does the believer love God? Then he must serve him. As Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matt. 6:24).

The truth of this statement becomes even more evident when the nature of the world system is analyzed, as John now proceeds to do in three succinct and memorable phrases: “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does.”

If may be, as John uses the phrase, that “the cravings of sinful man” refers to those sinful desires that arise out of man’s fleshly or carnal nature. We can think here of the grosser sins. But in John’s writings, as throughout Scripture, “sinful man” or “flesh” usually has a broader connotation by which is meant the whole of man’s nature as it is apart from God’s grace in Christ Jesus. Therefore, it is more likely that “flesh” is to be understood broadly in this context. In this case the phrase would refer simply to all godless desires. As Barclay notes,

It is to live a life which is dominated by the senses. It is to be gluttonous in food; effeminate in luxury; slavish in pleasure; lustful and lax in morals; selfish in the use of possessions; regardless of all the spiritual values; extravagant in the gratification of worldly, earthly and material desires. The flesh’s desire is forgetful of, blind to, or regardless of the commandments of God.

Clearly, we do not need to think of this as concerning particularly gross sins alone, though they are part of it. Rather, we may include all activity that is oblivious to God and insensitive to the needs of other people.

The second phrase refers naturally to covetousness. But again, this must be understood in a broader sense than a desire merely to possess things. The “lust of his eyes” certainly refers to the desire to “keep up with the Joneses” in regard to the appearance of the home, the second car, the vacation cottage, and other material considerations. But it also refers to the desire to keep up with the Joneses in terms of the husband’s status at work, the wife’s position in the Women’s Association, the social acceptability of the children, and all other such nonmaterial but nevertheless worldly values. These are the things that the Christian is not to love. In other words, he is to be content to be overlooked for the promotion, do without the external symbols of success, be thought unsophisticated or unglamorous if such actually contributes to the glory of God and the living out of the will of God for the individual Christian.

Finally, worldliness is here characterized as “the boasting of what he has and does.” The unique quality of this phrase lies not so much in keeping up with the Joneses as exceeding them. This characteristic, while the hardest of the three to define, is probably also the subtlest, for it is easy to see how quickly a perfectly laudable ambition may slide over into pride that glories not so much in doing well as in being better than one’s fellows. An example is that of the student who tries desperately to be the best in his class. This can be done in a proper way. If he has been given the talent by God and applies the talent in order that God might be honored by his achievement or better served by it, his ambition is good. On the other hand, if he finds himself thinking that he is rather superior and therefore entitled to an extra measure of deference or respect, then his ambition is at base satanic, for it arises from him who is the prince of this world and of this world’s godless system. The same kind of satanic ambition can affect men in business, wives in the home, or ministers in the pulpit. Indeed, Paul even warned us that some of Satan’s tools would wear doctoral robes and teach theology (2 Cor. 11:14–15).

These, then, are the ideals that are accepted and even prized in the world but that are antithetical to Christianity. To love God is to move away from such values. To love the world is to increasingly drift from love for God and thereby also lose love for others.

The second reason why the Christian is not to love the world is the one that closes the passage. It is that all that is in the world is transitory and therefore headed for destruction. The world is passing away, John states. So are its values and those who are characterized by its values. How foolish, then, to pin one’s hopes on the world system, however attractive it may appear or however rewarding.

But does nothing at all abide? Yes, says John. The one who does God’s will abides forever. The object of his love, even the Father, abides forever. His love itself, having its source in God, abides forever. His works, being an aspect of the work of God, abide forever, for he is the possessor of eternal life and heir to all God’s riches in Christ Jesus. The conclusion is that Christians should therefore love God and serve him fervently.

Conclusion

Do we love and serve God fervently? Then we must turn from all that would keep us from such love and service. When Jesus called men to be his disciples, he challenged them with the words “Follow me.” This meant that they had to leave their nets or money tables or whatever else had been occupying their attention and time up to that moment. Similarly, when we are called to embrace the truth of the gospel, we must reject error. When we are called to righteousness, we must turn from unrighteousness. When we are called to love God, we must turn from all lesser loves and loyalties. To fail to do this does not mean that we thereby lose our relationship to God, but it does mean that we are unfaithful to him and disgrace our calling. It is like a marriage. Adultery does not change the legal status of the marriage, but it destroys the fellowship and is dishonorable. As Christians we are married to Christ. Therefore, we must not dishonor that relationship by adultery, or even by flirting with the world.[2]


What Not to Love

1 John 2:15–17

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)

She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me, she loves me not.” We all know the words and cadence of that familiar lover’s game in which the petals of a flower fall to the ground until there remains but one. That one providential petal supposedly reveals whether the affections of the person desired are mutual or not.

The theme of love is addressed throughout the Bible, but nowhere more than in 1 John. In this little letter, the word love (with its derivatives) is used fifty-one times, and all those uses are positive except one. The only place we are told to “love not” is in 1 John 2:15. Here, and only here, we hear that “great negative exhortation”2 to “not love the world or the things in the world.” This chapter will examine that negative imperative—what it is and why we should heed it—so that we might apply it positively to our lives.

Context and Command

When my son Sean was a freshman in high school, he played on the freshman basketball team. At that same time, I helped to coach the varsity team. For practices, we were often in the same large gym. At the start of each practice, all the teams would do some basic drills. Sometimes I would wander down to the freshman squad, jump in the line, and do the drills with them. One day Sean told me that a number of the boys on his team were intimidated by me. I asked him, “Why? Is it because of my basketball prowess?” He said, “No, it’s because you always have a serious look on your face.”

The members of John’s congregation, as they read the first twenty-one verses of his epistle, might have sensed some apostolic intimidation. Perhaps they felt that his presentation of their calling in Christ was too hard and too high. That is why John penned that pastoral poem in 1 John 2:12–14, where he said in essence, “My children, let me reassure you that you are in a state of grace. Beloved, you are loved by me and, more importantly, loved by God in Christ.” He gave them a fivefold encouragement. Here John returns to his old countenance. Because of the dangers that the beloved encounter in this often-unlovely world, he puts on his serious and intimidating game face. He moves from affirmation to exhortation and admonition. Like any good coach, he goes from saying, “Good job,” to shouting, “Let’s go!” For here in 1 John 2:15–17, we begin with his sternest warning and most stringent demand yet: “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (v. 15).

This categorical and comprehensive command appears to be fairly straightforward. Yet the more we look at this command, the more questions arise: What does John mean when he says that we are not to love the world? What’s wrong with the world? Genesis teaches that God created the world—the mountains, trees, rivers, animals, and people in it. John’s Gospel adds that God so loved the world that he sent his Son to save the world (John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:19) and that Jesus is “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42; cf. 1 John 2:2). First John reiterates Jesus’ own teaching that Christians are to love other people in the world (see 1 John 3:11). So what in the world does John mean by “do not love the world”? If he doesn’t mean avoiding people, snubbing social action, discarding political involvement, resisting medical treatment, rejecting the invention of the automobile, refusing to believe in the law of gravity, and leaving planet Earth posthaste, what does he mean?

In John’s writings, the word world has a wide range of meaning. To summarize the data: on one hand, the world was made by God through Christ and is loved by God through Christ. On the other hand, the world lies in the grip of Satan and comprises people on earth who oppose and ignore God and seek to live independent of him. It is obvious that it is this second “world” that John has in mind. Robert Yarbrough’s summary of “the world” is worth quoting in full:

As a whole it is a realm that does not (or will not) recognize Christ (3:1) and that despises people who follow Christ (3:13). It is shot through with the influence of dangerous deceivers like false prophets (4:1) and antichrist himself (4:3), the evil one “who is in the world” (4:4). “The world” is conceived of as the stronghold of those who ignore the apostolic testimony (4:5; cf. 4:6). While “the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (4:14 niv), this saving work consists in equipping believers to “overcome the world” (5:4–5), not benignly acquiesce to its ways. In the end, in a sense “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (5:19 niv). In the light of such numerous and pervasive negative associations, the κόσμος is a sinister sphere indeed; it is an image “of life where God does not rule” (Loader 1992:24).

Therefore, “the world” in this passage does not mean the world in general; rather, it means the world that has abandoned its Creator and lives apart from his rule. It is the godless world that is totally “at variance with God” and his will. It is the Babylon described in Revelation, “the sensual, materialistic pagan society that Christianity had to overcome.”6 It is a group of people who are part of a system that is “organized on wrong principles, and characterized by base desires, false values, and egotism.” Quite simply, “the world” means “worldliness,” and quite sadly, it means “the typical kind of life that is being lived by the average person today.”8

In the book Worldliness, C. J. Mahaney defines the term worldliness as “a love for this fallen world.” He clarifies: “It’s loving the values and pursuits of the world that stand opposed to God. More specifically, it is to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God. It rejects God’s rule and replaces it with our own.” To that definition he adds self-evaluating questions, such as:

Does outward prosperity appeal to you more than growth in godliness?

Do you esteem and crave the approval of those around you?

Do you go to great lengths to avoid looking foolish or being rejected for your Christian faith?

Do you consider present and material results more important than eternal reward?

Have you departed from God and adopted idols instead?

Do you love the world? We must not! As Christians, we must continually refuse to let worldliness “squeeze [us] into its mold.”

The Three Things

If we must avoid worldliness, what are the characteristics of such worldliness? First John 2:15 says that we are not to love the godless world and the “things” of that world. But what exactly are these “things” that we are to avoid? Should we avoid reading muscle magazines, buying designer jeans, playing video games, gambling at casinos, listening to rap music, showing cleavage, watching sitcoms, getting a second home, upgrading to a luxury sedan, downloading an R-rated movie and then ignoring the violence, talking over the obscenities, and fast-forwarding through the sex scene? Maybe. Let’s find out.

While Hollywood is commonly a cesspool whose films desensitize us to sin, the glow of the idiot box dulls our brains, and the world outside us beckons with an omnipresent seduction, John takes us inside ourselves. The beast is within! In 1 John 2:16, John writes of our “desires of the flesh,” our “desires of the eyes,” and our “pride of life” (kjv). Those are the three “things”—or inordinate attitudes, interests, ambitions, affections, or actions—that we also must not love. And while these three are not a comprehensive catalogue of every vice, they do embody “every kind of wickedness which exists” and characterize what we all know is natural to everyone (see Mark 7:20–23; John 2:24–25). Thus, they exemplify the core of what we daily struggle against.

The first thing is “the desires of the flesh” (1 John 2:16). We might use the word desire in a positive sense, such as “I desire to be a better husband” or “I desire to honor God.” But the word used here is almost always used in the Bible in a negative way. It has a morally negative connotation. That is why the nlt translates it “a craving for physical pleasure” and the niv “the cravings of sinful man.” Perhaps “sinful bodily cravings” gets the point across best.

When the Bible speaks about the flesh, it does at times refer to sexual sin. Here, however, the term is as broad as our bodies. It is all the evil lusts that we might have or do have for physical pleasure, and all the accompanying aims and ambitions. Martin Luther defined it this way: “The lust of the flesh is that pleasure with which I desire to indulge my flesh, such as adultery, fornication, gluttony, ease, and sleep.” William Barclay gives a fuller summary:

To be subject to the flesh’s desire is to judge everything by purely material standards. It is to live a life dominated by the senses. It is to be gluttonous in food; [overindulgent] in luxury; slavish in pleasure; lustful and lax in morals; selfish in the use of possessions[;] … extravagant in the gratification of material desires. The flesh’s desire [disregards] the commandments of God, the judgment of God, the standards of God and the very existence of God.

So the “desires of the flesh” are like a lasso that tightens around our chests, seeking to turn our attention from the eternal, invisible, and holy God to that which is merely material, transitory, and evil.

In Genesis 4:7, the Lord said to Cain, “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” The same is true for us. Sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is to push its way through in order that it may rule over us. But unlike Cain, we must succeed in keeping that door to sin shut. The apostle John has already told us that we have “overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:13–14)—the devil himself! Here he is simply telling us that we need also to overcome ourselves and those internal desires that seek to choke the life of faith. In Romans 13:14, Paul tells us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” John’s intention is the same. Because, through faith, we have put on Jesus, we must put aside all bodily desires that are opposed to God.

“The desires of the flesh” are the first thing that we must avoid. The second thing is “the desires of the eyes.” Here we move from the temptations within—our flesh—to the temptations without, those cravings that come through those two little crevices that we call our eyes. Of our whole body, these two one-inch-wide openings are the parts most susceptible to sin. The devil wants our eyeballs wide open to all that is worldly on this terrestrial ball. He wants us to covet all that is opposed to God, whether it is ungodly status, success, pursuits, possessions, or people. The lustful look, the greedy gaze, and the being dressed to impress (or seduce or tempt) are three of three thousand sins that fall under this expansive root vice.

Here is the same temptation that Eve experienced in the garden of Eden and Jesus in the wilderness. Eve listened to the crafty snake and thus allowed sin to enter into her heart through her eyes. Genesis 3:6 says that she “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise.” So she disobeyed God’s one command, and “she took of its fruit and ate” (3:6). Our Lord Jesus experienced a similar temptation. He was tempted by the same tempter and through the same means. In Matthew 4:8–9, we are told that that same serpent tried to get to Jesus’ heart through his eyes. In the third temptation, “the devil took [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ ” But what did our Lord do? He closed his eyes to this strong seduction. He refused to desire those delights dangled before him. He resisted: “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’ ” (4:10).

We live in a world of images. We cannot drive the highway, turn on the television, walk through the mall, or check out at the supermarket without being surrounded by seductive images. And our fallen eyes, being so vulnerable to the wiles of this world, are greatly tempted to be lifted up to view such worldliness. It is hard to avert our eyes. It is hard to turn away from these attractive icons. Yet we must not indulge our eyes. We must not follow the first Eve but rather the “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45). Resist the devil. Overcome his allurements. Close our eyes to those attitudes and ambitions that take us from our vision of God. Worship the Lord and him alone. Long for and look to God, in whose presence there is “fullness of joy” and there are “pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).

There is one final member of the unholy trinity of temptations, perhaps “the most serious and terrible of the three,” and that is the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16 kjv). The word translated “life” (biou) can refer to “possessions” (thus the esv translation, “pride in possessions”), or simply “everyday life” or “livelihood.”15 The idea here, then, is something like this: “pride of life” speaks of the attitude of someone who refuses to rely on God as Father while he boasts in what he has seemingly gained by himself. It is self-dependence and self-glorification. It is unholy conceit in viewing God’s gifts as human achievements. It is “boastful self-confidence in the ability to secure one’s own life.” It is Jesus’ parable of the rich fool in fullest form. It is pride in your life, rather than the life you could have in the Son as a child of the Father.

Some Christians talk like the fools atop the fourth floor of the Tower of Babel. They talk with their heads near the heavens, about making “a name” for themselves (Gen. 11:4)—be it through their elite education, elevated erudition, ecclesial honors, or even extravagant almsgiving. We must abandon such self-promotion. We must reject all boasting, lest the bricks of our vanity crumble down upon us. We cannot let a hint of the “pride of life” creep into the church. God is not impressed by what family we are from, how we look, what we own, whom we know, what we know, where we went to school, what club memberships we hold, or how we have supposedly changed the world. What God loves is when his children look like his beloved Son. He has fatherly pride when we “do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than [ourselves]” (Phil. 2:3). He rejoices when we share the humble mind of Christ, the One who taught: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3) and “whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (20:26–27). He is glorified when we follow the Savior’s path to greatness—the path of the One born in a cave and crucified on a cross, the One who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 28).

Far be it from us that we boast in anything “except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14)—not our birth or appearance or knowledge or wealth or status or accomplishments. For hasn’t the “world … been crucified” to us and we “to the world”? In Christ and him crucified, our birth is now rebirth, our wealth is the riches of heaven, our loftiest associations are the communion of the lowly saints, and our honor will be to hear those blessed words on the last day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.… Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21).

Love Not! Why Not?

“The desires of the flesh,” “the desires of the eyes,” and “the pride of life” are the three things of the world that we must not love. “But why?” we might ask. We must love not, but why not? Thankfully, John handles that very question next by providing us with two sensible reasons why having these worldly interests is wrongheaded.

The first reason is that such attitudes and actions are incompatible with God’s nature. Two verses touch on this. First, at the end of 1 John 2:15 we read, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” While love for the Father must be preceded by the Father’s love for the sinner—“In this is love, … that he [God] loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (4:10)—here in 2:15, God is the object of our love (or lack of love, as the case may be). Second, in verse 16, this is followed by “all that is in the world … is not from the Father,” namely, that in the world which does not accord with God’s will. The fallen world and the things of that world are incompatible with “the Father.” If you love the world, you forfeit the Father! There is a famous saying by Cyprian on ecclesiology: “You cannot have God for your Father if you have not the Church for your mother.” John’s version on ethics goes: “You cannot have God as your spouse and still have the world as your mistress.” You cannot be in an intimate relationship with both God and the world. You cannot love all that God is and has to offer and still love this world and all that it has to offer.

I once watched a sermon in which an immensely popular health/wealth preacher from Houston shared this awful illustration: Years ago, he and his wife were walking through a refurbished neighborhood in their city. He was a young pastor and was living in a small and simple apartment a few blocks away from this old neighborhood with its now new, beautiful, large, expensive homes. Each time they walked by these homes, they dreamed of how wonderful it would be to own one. Well, one day the Lord (so he claimed) spoke to his wife and told her that soon they would own one of those grand houses. He laughed at her prophecy. He didn’t have faith. But she did! And sure enough, as time went on and his ministry blossomed and as his salary quadrupled, they were able to buy that house of their dreams. Now, the point of this preacher’s multimillion-dollar-house illustration was that God can and will do the same for you if you will just let him. Through your faith, God will fulfill all your wildest (or should we add worldliest?) dreams.

What rubbish! Do not listen to such lies! Do not think you can have your best worldly life now and your best heavenly life later. You cannot have all that the world has to offer and all that God has to offer. As Jesus made clear: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt. 6:24). Here John says much the same thing: you cannot love God and love the world. You cannot love that which the world loves most and then also try to put God first. If God is tied for first place in your heart, he is in fact placed last. God demands that you love him with heart, soul, and strength (Deut. 6:5). “To attempt to love God in multitasking fashion, dedicating a portion of one’s love worldward and then the remaining godward, is fruitless because it fails to acknowledge God as he truly is: sole, unique, sovereign, alone deserving one’s core allegiance.” “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:2–3).

The first reason that we should not love the world and the things of the world is that such a love is incompatible with God’s nature. The second reason is that this world and its values are transient. They are temporary and thus headed for destruction. That is what we are told at the beginning of 1 John 2:17. We should not love the world because “the world is passing away along with its desires.” As David Jackman notes, “there is no future in worldliness.” There is literally no future to clinging to that which this fallen, fading, and soon-to-be-forgotten world has to offer.

Once the richest American, the industrialist J. Paul Getty famously said, “The best things in life … are things.” That might be true if “the present form of this world” weren’t “passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31) and if everything under its shelter were not soon to prove bankrupt. I wonder how Getty’s final audit went when he died, stood before his Maker, and found his portfolio completely bare. “Riches, learning, knowledge, social status and all these things, they are vanishing, they have the seeds of death in them.” Loving this present world is disastrous (2 Tim. 4:10); having “living affections for dying things” is foolish. Saying “my precious” to Gollum’s golden ring or to Getty’s mansion in Malibu is simply silly. And this should be obvious to any observer.

In China, France, Greece, India, Italy, Cambodia, the Americas, and Egypt, we have unearthed pyramids, those elaborate tombs for royalty. The oldest and largest of the Egyptian pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is called one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. And yes, architecturally, it is indeed a wonder. But theologically, it is quite a blunder. We will never find even a footnote in a journal article saying, “Ancient Egyptian leaders such as Pharaoh Khufu and King Tutankhamen were among the world’s biggest fools.” But such a footnote would be quite accurate. For what an absolute waste of thought, strength, and time it was to build an elaborate burial tomb and fill it with priceless treasures that never made it into the afterlife. The golden chariots, gilded figures, fine jewelry, and heavy thrones are all still there, if not long since stolen. While we may enjoy them, the pyramids never served their original purpose. They illustrate how true 1 John 2:17 reads.

“The world is passing away along with its desires” (1 John 2:17a). Yet there is an alternative to loving and living for this world. Notice the conjunction but—an amazing contrast is coming! “But whoever does the will of God abides forever” (v. 17b). What a climactic ending, as we have moved from that negative command to this positive plea and amazing incentive!

Why would we, as heirs of the eternal world, concentrate our interests and ambitions on what is passing away? Why would we who are on the winning side—the light that is steadily but surely overcoming the darkness (1 John 2:8)—want to live like a loser? Why not rather do “the will of God” (v. 17), which is to love God first, trust in his Son for our salvation, and live according to his Word? There is a future in that kind of thinking. There is a future in that kind of lifestyle! It is like building a house on rock rather than sand (Matt. 7:24–27). The one who does the will of God abides “forever.” As missionary and martyr Jim Elliot put it, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Or as Jesus put it: Why lay up for ourselves “treasures on earth [that] moth and rust destroy” (Matt. 6:19–20), when we can lay up for ourselves “treasures in heaven” (v. 20) that are as permanent as God and his kingdom (v. 33)? As Luther asks, “What sort of god is it that is not even capable of defending himself against moths and rust?” The choice is simple. Let us use our heads. Would we rather desire that which is “passing away” or that which “abides forever”? This last reason should be a good enough reason to love not this world.

Rivals for the Human Heart

We must admit that the world has great appeal. It takes our heartstrings and pulls at them each and every day. That is why we need to be reminded of what we are called to do and why we are called to do it. We need to be reminded of who we are and what we are to be about. We need to remember that question posed long ago by our Lord who still lives today: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). And we need to remember Jesus, who was unworldly for the world so that he might save the world! Yes, we need to remember him—to know that our lifelong battle with worldliness cannot be won by sheer willpower or personal resolve, but only through replacing our love for the world with a love for someone far lovelier. The glory of Christ is the antidote for all that dazzles and sparkles but fades. The old song got it right:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 82–92). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2004). The Epistles of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 62–65). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] O’Donnell, D. S. (2015). 1-3 John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., pp. 66–77). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

Nolte: Google Tape Proves You Cannot Trust CNN, NYT, or Even Fox News | Breitbart

Getty Images

Although it feels as though every corner of the media has been politicized, there are still a whole lot of people who just want to know what’s going on in the world. These are people like myself (when I’m off the clock) who are news consumers, who want basic information.

Information is important, and therefore the thinking used to be that even if you had to sit through CNN’s hate-fueled activism, the New York Times’ phony sources, and the latest outrage Fox News has dug up to increase your blood pressure, it was worth it because in-between all the spectacle, actual news managed to creep in.

Unfortunately, we now know that is no longer true, we now know the era is over in which CNN, the New York Times, and even Fox News can argue they (at the very least) dutifully inform the public of everything.

We know this era is over because of the Google Tape.

To recap, the Google Tape reveals the following:

• Google co-founder Sergey Brin telling his employees: “it’s worth being very vigilant and thinking about all these issues, what we can do to lead to maybe a better quality of governance and decision-making and so forth [emphasis added].”

• Company CEO Sundar Pichai sees AI and machine learning as a “big opportunity” to fight “misinformation.”

• Both men reference Google’s “Jigsaw” project, which hopes to fight extremism in part by using machine learning to redirect suspected extremists to handpicked content aimed at changing their opinions. This was pitched as a tool to fight the Islamic State — but here, Google executives are talking about it in relation to law-abiding voters.

• Company CFO Ruth Porat promises that Google will “use the great strength and resources and reach we have to continue to advance really important values.”

• Kent Walker, VP of Global Affairs, says of the Deplorables defying the globalist elite: “we have to work so hard to ensure that it doesn’t turn into a World War or something catastrophic, but instead is a blip, is a hiccup.”

And so, imagine for a moment you are in possession of video that uncovers a massive conspiracy at its genesis; video of a corporate executive meeting at one of the most powerful companies in the world as a plot is hatched to manipulate their product as a means to deceive the public as a means to control information as a means to control what people believe as a means to shape the outcome of elections.

It is not far-fetched to compare that scenario to the stuff of spy thrillers, to dystopian movies, to every true journalist’s wet dream. What you have is proof, actual proof, of the worst kind of corporate malfeasance — a game-changing story, something of consequence.

Now imagine living in a world where the media you count on for information, where the news outlets you turn to as means to consume news, hide this video, cover it up, spin it, or pretend it does not exist.

Well, you do live in that world — because that is exactly what CNN, the New York Times, and Fox Business did with the Google Tape.

Basically, because these outlets are so driven by something other than informing the public, the Google Tape — the smoking guns of all smoking guns — was hidden from new consumers.

Get this… The far-left New York Times had the Google Tape all the way back in March, had all 60-plus minutes of it, had a massive story in their hot little hands; and not just any story, a legitimate game changer, proof — video proof — of the kind of corporate malfeasance that is hard to believe when you see it in fiction.

And what did the New York Times do with this bombshell? Well, the so-called “newspaper of record” covered it up, shielded Google, and deliberately misinformed the public into believing the only newsworthy thing that happened at a meeting of Google’s top executives two days after 2016 presidential election was a lot of grieving over Trump’s victory.

CNN is even worse. After Breitbart News broke the tech story of the year this week, the anti-Trump outlet refused to cover it, ignored it completely — at least until people started to notice CNN’s coverup and the last-place network was shamed into giving it a bit of play.

The motive behind CNN and the Times’ own acts of corporate malfeasance are not difficult to glean. As long as mega-corporations are corrupt for the “correct” reasons — to further the leftist cause, to remove Trump from office — CNN and the Times are happy to aid and abet that corruption.

And yes, that is what CNN and the Times have always been about, but news consumers need to take note, need to remember that both of those outlets are now so corrupt they have gone from spinning the news to hiding the news.

It is simply a fact that you can no longer trust CNN or the Times to keep you informed.

Which brings me to Fox Business and so-called “reporter” Adam Shapiro.

Shapiro’s coverage of the Google Tape this week was not only wildly misleading, he basically used the occasion to take a cheap shot at Breitbart News.

Breitbart presents 60-plus minutes of unedited video, video of a top-level executive meeting from beginning to end, and simply because Breitbart broke this story, and Shapiro warns viewers to take it with a “grain of salt.”

How do you take 60-plus unedited minutes of video with a grain of salt?

Wait, it gets worse…

Shapiro then proceeds to protect Google by covering the least newsworthy elements in the video (the post-election grief) while ignoring the bombshells about Google vowing to leverage its considerable corporate power to meddle in elections.

What motivated Fox Business to do that, to mislead its own customers? Professional jealousy? A desire on Shapiro’s part to keep his options open for a move to CNN?

You know what, who cares? It’s useless to speculate.

While I am in no way arguing Fox is equivalent to CNN and the New York Times, what I do know is that if you want to know what’s going on the world, for some indefensible reason, all three of these outlets are willing to withhold information from you.
— Read on www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2018/09/15/nolte-google-tape-proves-you-cannot-trust-cnn-nyt-or-even-fox-news/

September 16 A Righteousness That Glorifies God

“Stand firm therefore … having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14).

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A righteous life testifies to God’s transforming power and brings Him glory.

We’ve seen the importance of donning the breastplate of righteousness, but Scripture also discusses the consequences of failing to do so. These consequences serve as warnings to anyone who is prone to neglect righteousness.

If you’re not committed to righteousness, you not only make yourself spiritually vulnerable, but you also forfeit some of God’s wonderful blessings. David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation” (Ps. 51:12). His sin had robbed him of his joy and assurance. That’s true of us as well, because joy is directly proportional to obedience. If you’re pursuing greater righteousness, you’ll know greater joy.

You might also forfeit some of your heavenly reward. John said, “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 8). I believe that New Testament rewards are various capacities for service in Heaven. The greater your reward, the greater your capacity to serve God. Somehow your current righteousness and faithfulness to God affect what you will do for all eternity. Don’t allow sin and negligence to diminish your reward!

Without righteousness you will also suffer loss of opportunity to glorify God. When thinking or behaving unrighteously, you violate your reason for existence, which is to glorify God in everything (1 Cor. 10:31). Instead of exalting Him, you bring reproach on His name. Instead of causing others to see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven (Matt. 5:16), you breed confusion and mockery.

Peter says to us, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that … they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11). When unbelievers scrutinize your life, what do they see? Does your righteousness testify to God’s saving and sanctifying grace?

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to give you an increased hunger and thirst for righteousness as you seek to live to His glory today.

For Further Study: Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:21 as a reminder of God’s marvelous grace to you.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 272). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Core Christianity | How Not to Be Perfect

I am one of those tragic figures who is both a perfectionist and a procrastinator. I am such a perfectionist that the very idea of failure terrifies me to the core of my being. I am so afraid of doing things wrong that I am afraid to start because I will probably not do it (whatever “it” is) perfectly and correctly.

So I have to wait around until the fear of failure-by-not-finishing-at-all becomes greater than the fear of failure-by-not-doing-it-perfectly. Once the scale tips the balance, I can then scramble to try to get it done in the little remaining time, my normal fear of imperfection having been overwhelmed by the terror of it not being completed by the deadline.

If this doesn’t sound like a healthy pattern to you, that’s good, because it isn’t. But let me tell you, it works. In high school, college, and graduate school, I became skilled at balancing those fears and I was a successful student, but often a miserable one.

Haunted by Fear

Now that I am out of school, I have found that this strategy doesn’t work as well in normal life. My job and life have few deadlines, so the fear of not doing a task perfectly doesn’t have any counterbalance. Effectively, that means I spend most of my time with a to-do list that I never properly tackle, and so I am always haunted by things that should be done and aren’t, which is not a pleasant way to live.

The lack of deadline fear in my life is forcing me to look more closely at the fear that drives my perfectionism. It actually consists of many fears: fear that I will fail, fear that people will find me lacking and no longer love me, fear that I am not good enough for anything, and the strange fear that somehow failure will destroy me rather than be a learning experience or a hilarious story to tell my grandchildren.

These fears exist because I build my self-worth on my performance. If you can only love yourself (and believe that others will love you) as a straight-A student, then a B+ becomes an existential threat.

Defeating Perfectionism

In order to defeat my perfectionism, I need to let go of the whole project of establishing my own worthiness. I’ll never succeed. I make mistakes, I fail people, I hurt people. Busily engaging in my own pathetic attempt at perfection in limited areas doesn’t fix those things. These projects, which seem so terribly important, just distract me from the real issue.

The real issue is that I am a sinner and there is a holy God, and I do not deserve good things from him. I need someone to fulfill the demands of the law on my behalf and suffer the judgment for my failures. Christ has done this exact thing for me and extended his worthiness to me by grace, and it means that my worthiness is no longer up for me to determine. Because of Christ, I am good, I am safe, and no B+ (or worse!) can vouchsafe that reality.

I believe these things because they are true, and then the truth goes on to set me free. The truth frees me from my obsession with achieving perfection and actually allows me to do my jobs well. This paper, or this assignment, or this blog post, is not a referendum on my worth as a person. It’s just an attempt to be faithful where God has placed me. I will fail from time to time, and I know I’m going to fail, and God knows I’m going to fail, and everything will still be ok. I do not need to procrastinate because I am no longer driven by fears in any direction; so I don’t need to balance them.

Taken altogether, letting go of my perfectionism is all gain and no loss. But it is still a difficult thing to do. What if God didn’t really mean this whole grace business? What if only the superficially perfect inherit the kingdom? That’s where faith, and trust, and resting in the promises of God come in.

In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength. Some trust in their achievements (including me!), and some trust in their own facades (me too, quite often!), but we (are working to) depend on the Lord our God.

Anna Smith, “Perfectionism and Procrastination,” Modern Reformation, March/April 2016. Used by permission.
— Read on corechristianity.com/resource-library/3/294

Twitter Boss: Conservative Employees Don’t Feel Safe at Twitter | Frontpage Mag

Here’s a little Silicon Valley secret.

Behind every prog CEO, there are a thousand screaming social justice crybullies demanding that the company go full Stalinist. Maybe not Jeff Bezos at Amazon who runs a tight and brutal ship, but Facebook, Twitter and Google are definitely running scared of their own lefty employees. Because no matter how lefty you are, you are never lefty enough. And you can still be purged. Just ask Uber’s former CEO.

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, like Zuckerberg, shows every sign of it.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that the social media giant’s staffers who have right-leaning political views don’t feel comfortable to speak up because of the company’s ultra-liberal work environment.

“We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company,” Dorsey told New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen in an interview published on Friday by Recode.

“They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be the broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don’t think that’s fair or right,” he added. “We should make sure that everyone feels safe to express themselves within the company, no matter where they come from and what their background is. I mean, my dad was a Republican.”

And the plan for doing that is what? Twitter conservatives know that’s hot air. Just ask James Damore.

Once the internal left hooks up with some media types at HuffPo and the Daily Beast, touches off an outrage storm, and then crybullies start screaming that they’re getting death threats because they identify as animated asexual locusts, the company will fire whomever it has to.

Jack Dorsey knows it and is expressing regret for a situation that he acts like he can’t control. He can. He just doesn’t want to fight that fight. It might cost him his company and his standing on the circuit.
— Read on www.frontpagemag.com/point/271331/twitter-boss-conservative-employees-dont-feel-safe-daniel-greenfield

Christ and Sanctification | Monergism

by Octavius Winslow

By simple, close, and searching views of the cross of Christ, the Spirit most effectually sanctifies the believer. This is the true and great method of gospel sanctification. Here lies the secret of all real holiness and, may I not add, of all real happiness? For if we separate happiness from holiness, we separate that which, in the Covenant of Grace, God has wisely and indissolubly united. The experience of the true believer must testify to this. We are only happy as we are holy – as the body of sin is daily crucified, as the power of the indwelling principle of sin is weakened, and as the outward deportment more beautifully and closely corresponds to the example of Jesus. Let us not then look for a happy walk apart from a holy one. Trials we may have; indeed if we are the Lord’s covenant ones, we shall have them, for He Himself has said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Disappointments we may meet with – broken cisterns, thorny roads, wintry skies; but if we are walking in fellowship with God, walking in the light, growing up into Christ in all things, (with) the Spirit of adoption dwelling in us and leading to a filial and unreserved surrender – oh! there is happiness unspeakable, even though in the very depth of outward trial! A holy walk is a happy walk. This is God’s order … and therefore must be wise and good.

The Spirit especially and effectually sanctifies by unfolding the cross of Jesus

We desire to enlarge upon this point, not only because He Himself presents it in His Word as one of vast importance, but from the sober conviction of our judgment that there is no great advance in holiness without a growing knowledge of Christ as the sanctification of the believer. A reference to God’s Word will place this truth in its proper light.

“And thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21)

Not only shall He save them from the guilt and condemnation of sin, but also from the indwelling power or reign of sin, so that “sin shall not have dominion over” them (Rom. 6:14) … Again, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:2). But the most striking allusion to this important truth is found in verse 30, where the Lord Jesus is especially spoken of as made of God the sanctification of His people:

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”

It is essential to a right reception of the subject that we should know in what points of view Christ is made our sanctification, so that believing in Him and receiving Him as such, we may “grow up into him in all things” (Eph. 4:15).

In the first place, the atoning work of Christ lays the foundation of sanctification

He opens a way by which God, so to speak, can treat with the soul in the great business of its holiness. Only upon the broad basis of His Law honored, His holiness secured, and His justice satisfied can God in the way of mercy have communication with the sinner. Here we see the great glory of Jesus as the God-man Mediator. His atoning work opens a channel through which God, without compromising a single perfection of His nature, can communicate the saving and sanctifying power of His grace to the soul. The obedience and blood-shedding of our adorable Lord are ever connected in the divine Word with the sanctification of the church. A few examples will suffice to show this. Speaking of the legal but imperfect sanctification by the sacrifices under the Law, the Apostle supplies an argument in favor of the superior sanctification by the blood of Christ.

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:13-14)

Thus does the atoning blood of Jesus lay the foundation of all future degrees of sanctification. The cross of Christ is, so to speak, the starting point of the soul in this glorious career of holiness and the goal to which it returns. By it, the body of sin is wounded, and wounded fatally. From it, pardon, peace, and holiness flow. And through it, the soul daily rises to God in a holy surrender of itself to His service. Let no man dream of true mortification of sin, of real sanctification of heart, who does not deal constantly, closely, and believingly with the atoning blood of Jesus. The Holy Spirit brings the cross into the soul and lays it upon the heart to be the death of sin. “I am crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Phil. 3:10). “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Gal. 6:17) – and see how the cross lifted (Paul) above the world and deadened him to it – “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). Thus did Paul breathe after and attain unto holiness.

The intercession of our Lord Jesus pleads for and secures the sanctification of the believer

In this sense, it may be said that He is “made of God unto us sanctification.” The Christian reader may be but imperfectly aware how closely connected is every spiritual grace and blessing that he receives with the advocacy of Jesus at the right hand of God. (Lord, increase our faith in this great and sanctifying truth!) While yet upon earth, our dear Lord commenced that work of intercession for the sanctification of the church, which He ascended up on high more fully to carry on. This was the burden of His prayer; and it forms, as John Owen observes, “the blessed spring of our holiness” – “Sanctify them through thy truth” (John 17:17). And not only would He leave it, as it were, as a model of the intercession of His exalted priesthood, but for our encouragement He would provide an evidence of its success. To Peter, about to pass through a severe temptation, He says, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:32). Nor did his faith fail. It was sifted, it was severely shaken, it was powerfully tried, but it failed not! Not a particle of the pure gold was lost in the refining, not a grain of the pure wheat in the sifting. Why? – because Jesus had interceded, and His intercession was all-prevailing. O the vast and costly blessings that flow into the soul from the intercession of Christ! Never shall we know the full extent of this until we pass within the veil. We shall then know the secret of our spiritual life, of all our supports, consolations, and victories: why it was that the spark in the ocean was not quite extinguished, why the vessel in the storm and amid the breakers did not quite become a wreck; why, when temptations assailed, crosses pressed, afflictions overwhelmed, and unbelief prevailed, our faith still did not fail and our (little boat) was not driven from its moorings; and that “out of the depths” (Ps. 130:1), we were enabled to cry, “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14). The secret will then disclose itself – the intercession of Jesus our great High Priest.

How sweet and consoling to the believer is this view of our exalted Immanuel in the hour of bereavement, when confined to his chamber of solitude, or languishing upon his bed of “pining sickness” (Isa. 38:12). Too deeply absorbed in sorrow, it may be, to give utterance to his anguished spirit in prayer – his bodily frame so weakened by disease and racked by pain as to render the mind unfit for close and connected spiritual thought – O how sweet the intercession of Jesus is then! How sweet to know that in the hour of the soul’s extremity when human sympathy and power are exhausted, Jesus has entered into heaven “now to appear in the presence of God”

(Heb. 9:24) for His suffering child. And when all utterance has failed on earth, when the heart is broken and the lips are sealed, then to look up and see our elder Brother, the Brother born for our adversity, the exalted High Priest waving the golden censer before the throne while the cloud of His atoning merit goes up before the mercy-seat, bearing as it ascends the person, the name, the circumstances, and the wants of the sufferer below – precious gospel that opens to the eye of faith so sweet a prospect as this! When you cannot think of Him, afflicted soul, He is thinking of you. When you cannot pray to Him, He is praying for you, for “He ever liveth to make intercession” (Heb. 7:25). But our Lord Jesus is the sanctification of the believer in still another and blessed sense.

View Him as the Head of all mediatorial fullness to His people

“It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Col. 1:19). “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). Here is sanctification for the believer who is mourning over the existence and power of indwelling sin, feeling it to be his greatest burden and the cause of his deepest sorrow. In the growing discovery of the hidden evil – each successive view, it may be, deeper and darker than the former – where is he to look but unto Jesus? Where can he fly, but to His cross? Hemmed in on every side by a host of spiritual Philistines, no avenue of escape presenting itself, the eternal Spirit leads the soul to a simple view of Jesus, opens to him the vast treasury of His grace, and the free welcome to all comers. And what does he find in that fullness? All that he wants to pardon sin, to hide deformity, to overcome unbelief, and (to) break the power of strong corruption; he finds that there is enough in Christ to make him holy, that, in simply taking his sins to Jesus, they are pardoned; in taking his strong infirmities, they are subdued; in taking his wants, they are supplied. In a word, he finds Christ to be his “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

——

From The Works of Octavius Winslow (eBook)
— Read on www.monergism.com/blog/christ-and-sanctification

09/16/18 Riding on a Colt — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Zechariah 9

“Look, your King is coming to you.”

Zechariah 9:9

He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but He came riding into Jerusalem not on a white horse as victor, but on a borrowed colt as one who brings peace. The son of the carpenter rode into the holy city with crowds honoring Him with their words.

Zechariah had spoken of that time centuries before—“Look, your King is coming to you; he is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9)—and Jesus was bringing that prophecy to fruition (Matt. 21:5, John 12:15). He would be righteous, bringing salvation to His people, humble though He was the king, and establishing a kingdom of peace.

In contrast to the Hebrews’ desire for a political savior and king in Jesus’ day, the one on the donkey was the Messiah. He did not come as human warrior/conqueror; instead, He came as God’s obedient son to do the will of the Father. Victory and salvation came through His willingness to suffer and die for the world.

Nevertheless, the people in Jesus’ day who placed palm branches at his feet and proclaimed “Hosanna” were also the same crowd who would soon thereafter cry out for His crucifixion. I pray that my commitment to Jesus is deeper than that. He truly is the King.

ACTION STEPS:

  • Honor Jesus as King by serving Him with all your being today.
  • Ask God to make you humble today, even if He must deal strongly with your ego.

PRAYER: “God, help me to serve You by humbly giving my life to You.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Esther 6-10

via 09/16/18 Riding on a Colt — ChuckLawless.com

Bringing Down a President – LewRockwell

If anyone doubted that the top level of the intelligence agencies in Washington have dedicated themselves to ousting President Donald Trump, the past two weeks should have demonstrated precisely how such a plan of action is being executed. First came the leaked accounts of chaos in the Trump Administration derived from the Bob Woodward book Fear: Trump in the White House.

Then a New York Times op-ed entitled “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration” written by one Anonymous who claimed to be a senior official in the White House, exploded on the scene, describing how top officials were deliberately sabotaging Trump’s policies to protect the country.

Finally,  another op-ed “Why so many former intelligence officers are speaking out” by former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin appeared, providing a rationale for intelligence officers to speak up against the White House.

There has been considerable chatter in the media regarding the Woodward book and the Anonymous op-ed, but relatively little concerning McLaughlin, who arguably has made the most serious case for pushback against Donald Trump from within the intelligence community. To sum up the op-ed, McLaughlin wrote that many former intelligence officers are beginning to speak out against the foreign policy of the Trump Administration because America’s institutions are being seriously damaged by an “extraordinarily unprecedented context” of threats emerging from both inside and outside the country due to a “president’s dangerous behavior.”

McLaughlin claims that “failure to warn is the ultimate sin in the intelligence world” and that is precisely why he and his colleagues now speak out. In particular, and perhaps inevitably, he cites the “refus[al] to combat a well-documented covert foreign attack on U.S. elections — in the process weakening efforts by others to do so and encouraging Russia to keep it up.”

McLaughlin also addresses the issue of the credibility of the intelligence community after Trump, i.e. will the public and many policymakers henceforth believe that the national security team is in fact politically biased, tainting the judgments that it makes when delivering its intelligence product. He argues somewhat evasively and not altogether clearly that “…we have to hope most people will understand why we reject silence: It’s because this is a threat that we cannot combat silently, as we have been able to do with foreign threats — overseas and out of the public’s eye.”

McLaughlin is praising himself and friends as constituting some kind of loyal opposition consisting of the good guys driven to protect “American values” and “American institutions” from Trump and his “deplorables.” His argument is carefully framed but ultimately self-serving. Witness his own career as Deputy Director of CIA under George Tenet, who famously sat in the United Nations sagaciously nodding to validate the argument that Saddam Hussein threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction and terrorist support. It was all a lie, leading to America’s greatest foreign policy disaster and McLaughlin was complicit. Did he ever apologize for what he did? No. He was also around when the CIA was “renditioning” people by snatching them off the streets and sending them to foreign lands to be tortured. Did he ever consider how that damaged America’s rule of law? And then there were the torture prisons. Again, silence from the suddenly-found-Jesus John McLaughlin.

And since that time, where was McLaughlin’s conscience when Barack Obama was sitting down with his intelligence advisor John Brennan and making up lists of American citizens to be killed by drone? Or planning the destruction of Libya? Apparently, the only threats that matter are those presumably generated by Donald Trump, who is particularly reviled because he has spoken of bettering relations with Russia. And when McLaughlin inevitably cites the threat from Moscow, he ignores the fact that the United States has been arming Ukraine while at the same time conducting military exercises right on Russia’s border. It has also been sanctioning Russians and Persona Non Grata’ing its diplomats regularly to punish it under Trump, making the bilateral relationship the worst it has been since the end of the Cold War. So where is the coddling of Moscow?

And McLaughlin is also wrong about the timing and substance of the intelligence officers’ speaking out. John Brennan, Michael Morell, Michael Hayden, James Woolsey and James Clapper all have been actively trying to discredit Trump since before he was nominated. Several of them have claimed absurdly that the president is a Russian spy, also suggested in some comments made by McLaughlin himself in July, including that Trump is an “intelligence recruiter’s dream.” So, it all would appear to be less a response to policies than it is a personal vendetta by a number of politicized senior officers who were lined up behind Hillary Clinton with hopes of being personally rewarded after her election.

Finally, though McLaughlin is claiming to support former intelligence officers who bravely speak out when the United States is threatened, he completely ignores a whole lot of them who have been doing just that for many years. They are sometimes labeled whistleblowers or dissidents, but McLaughlin probably considers them to be the lowest of the low. The whistleblowers and their allies have been calling for an end to the warfare surveillance state, which McLaughlin helped create and which he is still sustaining through his fearmongering, Russophobia being the wedge issue that drives both him and his “patriotic” friends. Introspection is apparently not McLaughlin’s strong suit, but he perhaps should pause and think for a second whether he and they are doing the American people any favors by their setting the stage for yet another war in their zeal to bring down Donald Trump.
— Read on www.lewrockwell.com/2018/09/phil-giraldi/bringing-down-a-president/

US Marines Conduct Major Drills With Rebels in Southern Syria – News From Antiwar.com

09-15-2018 • https://news.antiwar.com, by Jason Ditz

According to one of the rebel commanders operating along the Syria-Jordan border, hundreds of US Marines and a large number of rebels have completed several days of live fire military exercises along the border.

These appear to be the continuation of live-fire exercises the Marines were carrying out last week at al-Tanf, which officials said were intended as a “warning to Russia,” after Russia warned they planned to act against Islamist factions in the area.

Read Full Story
— Read on news.antiwar.com/2018/09/13/us-marines-conduct-major-drills-with-rebels-in-southern-syria/

How Will Today’s Crony Debt Bubble End Up? – AC2 News

People’s QE? We doubt it, unless the cronies figure out how to profit hugely from it. Printing new money to bail out state pension funds and other government debts is more likely.

(From Global Macro Monitor)

Conservative savers who have kept their money in bank CDs, witnessed their interest income go to zero, while the highly levered and risk takers were bailed out.   Many, who have done all the right things —  worked hard, saved, paid their bills on time — feel they have been screwed in a big way

Click here for the article.
— Read on www.ac2news.com/2018/09/how-will-todays-crony-debt-bubble-end-up/

Liberal Media Just Confirmed It – The Manafort Plea Deal is a NOTHING BURGER for Trump – Truthfeed

While liberals celebrate yet another nothing-burger, fed to them by a fake news media that spins “no news” into sensational drama, the reality of the Paul Manafort situation is quite “womp, womp.”

NPR is reporting that President Trump’s former campaign manager’s “plea deal,” has absolutely nothing to do with Trump or “Russia.”

Do you think liberals ever get tired of or feel stupid over, all these hyped-up nothing-burgers?

Paul Manafort’s cooperation agreement with the special counsel does not include matters involving the Trump campaign, according to a person familiar with the case, @johnson_carrie reports

— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) September 14, 2018
— Read on truthfeednews.com/liberal-media-just-confirmed-it-the-manafort-plea-deal-is-a-nothing-burger-for-trump/

The Mueller Investigation Is Sending People to Jail – But Not For Collusion | Zero Hedge

The belief that George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort would turn over evidence of collusion with Russia got ahead of reality.

Submitted by the Strategic Culture Foundation

The anonymous government official who revealed a “resistance” inside the White House has heightened the sense of doom hanging over Donald Trump’s presidency. A stream of disparaging claims from other White House insiders, the multiple criminal cases enveloping Trump’s inner circle, and the ongoing special-counsel investigation into possible collusion with the Russian government have all also added to anticipation of Trump’s imminent downfall. But the widespread perception that “the walls are closing in”; on a “ “teetering” Trump presidency is getting ahead of reality. While figures eyed as central to the suspected Trump-Russia conspiracy—campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos, longtime fixer Michael Cohen, and campaign manager Paul Manafort—have been convicted of criminal activity, their cases have not bolstered the case for collusion as many liberals had hoped.

Last week, Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI about the timing of his contacts with a Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud. According to Papadopoulos, Mifsud claimed to have connections to Russia and information that the Kremlin had obtained Hillary Clinton’s stolen e-mails. In May 2016, Papadopoulos relayed vague details about his conversation with Mifsud to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer. According to press accounts, a tip from Downer about his encounter with Papadopoulos sparked the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into alleged Trump-Russia ties.

Because Papadopoulos may have purportedly heard about stolen e-mails before their public release, he has been widely scouted as “Exhibit A” for a Trump-Kremlin conspiracy, part of a “secret channel through which the Russian government was able to communicate with the Trump campaign as it stole Democratic emails and weaponized them to help Trump win the presidency,” according to James Risen of The Intercept. In the end, Papadopoulos did not fill that role. According to special counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memo, Papadopoulos “did not provide ‘substantial assistance’” during his interviews in August and September of 2017. But in remarks made after his sentencing, Papadopoulos says that “I did my best…and offered what I knew.” It is not a surprise that he did not have much to offer. Not only did the Trump campaign rebuff Papadopoulos’s proposals to set up meetings with Russian officials, Papadopoulos now says that “I never met with a single Russian official in my life.”

Mueller’s sentencing memo also confirms that after FBI agents interviewed Papadopoulos in January 2017, they interviewed Mifsud just weeks later in Washington, DC. Despite his being the figure whose comments ostensibly led to the opening of the Trump-Russia investigation—making him a suspected Kremlin cutout—Mifsud was not detained then, nor has he been charged since.

Mueller appears to blame Papadopoulos for this. Papadopoulos, Mueller claims, “substantially hindered investigators’ ability to effectively question” Mifsud when they spoke to him just a few weeks later. Papadopoulos’s lies, they allege, “undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States.… The defendant’s lies also hindered the government’s ability to discover who else may have known or been told about the Russians possessing ‘dirt’ on Clinton.”

The claim is puzzling. In his sentencing memo, Mueller acknowledges that Papadopoulos “identified” Mifsud to FBI agents voluntarily, though “only after only after being prompted by a series of specific questions.” That is why Papadopoulos has not pleaded guilty to lying about Mifsud, but only about the timing of his contacts with them: He falsely told agents that he was not yet a member of the Trump campaign when he and Mifsud spoke. In that same interview, Papadopoulos told agents that Mifsud informed him that the Russians “have dirt on [Clinton]” in the form of “thousands of emails.” Given that Papadopoulos not only informed FBI agents of Mifsud’s identity but also of the “dirt” he floated, how could Papadopoulos have “hindered” their ability to find out what Mifsud knows?

As Papadopoulos appears to exit the collusion bracket, longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen has recently emerged front and center. On July 26, CNN reported that Cohen is prepared to tell Mueller that Trump had advance knowledge of the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with Russian nationals. The incident has been the subject of intense focus because Donald Trump Jr. was promised compromising information about Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Veteran Clinton operative turned Cohen spokesperson Lanny Davis fanned the flames. Hours after Cohen’s indictment on August 21, Davis told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Cohen “is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows,” including about “the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude.… in the 2016 election” and even “whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time” about Russian e-mail hacking “and even cheered it on.”

Davis’ qualified language (“obvious possibility,” “whether or not”) was easily overlooked, but the specter of perjury could not be. The co-chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr and Mark Warner, noted that Cohen had testified to them last fall that that he has no knowledge of any Trump-Russia collusion and that he didn’t even find out about the Trump Tower meeting until it was publicly reported in June 2017—one year after it took place. Burr and Warner also revealed that in response to CNN’s story, Cohen’s attorneys informed them that he is not changing his testimony.

Davis quickly dropped the innuendo. Asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper on August 22 if Cohen has information that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance, Davis replied, “ No, he does not.” Davis also abandoned his suggestion, made just 24 hours earlier to Maddow, that Cohen can tie Trump to advance knowledge of Russian e-mail hacking. Davis told Cooper that he was “more tentative on that” and that he only meant that he believes Cohen “may or not be useful” to Mueller, even though “it’s not a certainty the way [Cohen] recalls it.” Davis was, he clarified in the same CNN interview, just relying on his own “intuition.”

Yet this clarification proved to be more consequential than perhaps Davis intended. The Washington Post and the New York Post revealed that they had used Davis as an anonymous source for their own stories “confirming” the initial July 26 CNN report. “I should have been more clear—including with you—that I could not independently confirm what happened,” Davis told The Washington Post, adding his regrets. Davis also continued to back off of his hacking claims, explaining that he was merely “giving an instinct that [Cohen] might have something to say of interest,” though, yet again, “I am just not sure.”

But Davis was not done; he then revealed that he had also been used as anonymous source for CNN’s initial story. This did not just raise a sourcing issue for CNN but a potential scandal: In its initial report, CNN had falsely claimed that Davis had declined to comment. This meant that CNN had not just relied on a source who no longer stood by his story, but mislead readers into believing that he was not a source. To date, CNN has yet to offer an explanation for the gaffe—which, along with the failure to explain it—is not a first.

In his dizzying retraction tour, Davis also raised doubts about another story that had been circulating for months. In April, McClatchy reported that Mueller’s team has information about Cohen that could corroborate a key claim in the Steele dossier, the DNC-funded report alleging a high-level conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The dossier claims that Cohen visited Prague in August or September 2016 to meet with Russian officials as part of his key role “in a cover up and damage limitation operation” over the hacking of Democratic Party emails. Citing two sources, McClatchy claimed that Mueller “has evidence” that Cohen secretly visited Prague during the period in question. Davis now says that that claim is false. Cohen, Davis told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, was “never, ever in Prague.”

The only story Cohen has affirmed is the one he shared in court: that Trump, in order to influence the election outcome, directed him to make a hush-money payment to cover up for an extramarital affair. That allegation may or may not prove to be sufficient grounds for impeachment, but they decidedly do not fall under Robert Mueller’s purview.

Cohen’s indictment coincided with Paul Manafort’s conviction on tax-evasion and bank-fraud charges related to his political consulting work in Ukraine. It is often speculated that Manafort’s Ukraine stint is relevant to a Trump-Russia conspiracy plot because, the theory goes, he served Kremlin interests during his time there. The opposite is the case, as Manafort’s former partner-turned-prosecution-witness, Rick Gates, reaffirmed during trial. Gates testified that Manafort pushed his client, then–Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, to align with the European Union and away from Russia. According to Gates, Manafort was paid lucratively to craft a policy known as “Engage Ukraine,” which “became the strategy for helping Ukraine enter the European Union.” Given that the tug-of-war between Russia and the EU (with US backing) over Ukraine sparked a full-blown international crisis and a new Cold War, Manafort’s strategy would be an odd one for a supposed Kremlin stooge.

Putting aside Manafort’s record in Ukraine, there have been attempts to tie him to a potential Russia conspiracy via his financial debts to Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska. During the campaign, Manafort wrote to an associate about leveraging his position in the Trump camp in order to “get whole” with Deripaska, even suggesting that he offer “private briefings.” Could this have been, pundits suggest, where a collusion plot was hatched?

Deripaska denies ever having been offered private briefings by Manafort. Another impediment to tying Deripaska to a Trump-Russia collusion plot is that Deripaska has connections to the figure arguably most responsible for the allegations of collusion. Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent whose DNC-funded “dossier” alleged a longstanding Trump-Kremlin conspiracy, has served as an intermediary for contacts between Deripaska and US officials. Deripaska even has a link to Mueller and the federal agency he once headed. In 2009, when Mueller was in charge of the FBI, Deripaska ponied up millions of dollars for a secret effort to rescue a captured CIA operative, Robert Levinson, in Iran. In return, the FBI—with the encouragement of Steele—helped secure a visa for Deripaska, who had been banned from the United States for alleged ties to Russian organized crime. In short, Deripaska’s various contacts make plain that Manafort’s financial ties to him, illicit or not, do not necessarily lead to a Kremlin conspiracy.

Most critically, Mueller has yet to allege one. Prosecutors openly acknowledged before Manafort’s first trial that the case had nothing to do with “evidence or argument concerning collusion with the Russian government,” while the judge in Manafort’s upcoming second trial notes that the collusion investigation is “wholly irrelevant to the charges in this case.”

The same could be said for all of the other charges in the Mueller investigation to date. Mueller has uncovered criminal activity, but not as of yet a conspiracy with a foreign power. Should that trend continue, it need not be a defeat for the resistance. The Russiagate fixation has diverted attention from many of Trump’s damaging policies and turned vast segments of the public into spectators of an endless drama. A political opposition mobilized around a range of issues that materially impact Americans—and no longer counting on Mueller’s investigation—may be the strongest threat that Trump could face.

Aaron MATÉ | thenation.com
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-14/mueller-investigation-sending-people-jail-not-collusion

The Basis for Truth, Part 1

With so many worldviews out there, is there any basis for truth that anyone can agree on? Can we even discover what truth is? Ravi answers those questions on this week’s program through a message he originally delivered at Utah State University.

rzimmedia.rzim.org/LMPT/LMP20180915.mp3

Bob Woodward Says He Found No Evidence of Collusion Between Trump and Russia

Well, this is going to be awkward for a lot of people. In an interview with radio host and NBC contributor Hugh Hewitt, Bob Woodward — whose new book Fear: Trump in the White House documents two years of conversations he’s had with individuals working in and around the Trump campaign and subsequent administration — says after two years of investigating he’s found no indication or evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Hewitt asked Woodward point blank if he found any evidence of collusion or even more far out there, espionage.

Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research in your interviews that sounded like espionage or collusion?”

“I did not, and of course, I looked for it, looked for it hard,” Woodward answered. “And so you know, there we are. We’re going to see what Mueller has, and Dowd may be right. He has something that Dowd and the president don’t know about, a secret witness or somebody who has changed their testimony. As you know, that often happens, and that can break open or turn a case.”

“But you’ve seen no collusion?” Hewitt asked again to confirm.

“I have not,” Woodward affirmed.

For those who derided Woodward’s work and book — like the President himself and those in his administration — holding up this revelation as proof there was no collusion, which Trump craves, puts into question the cries of “Fake news” and that the book is a collection of salacious lies.

One can only imagine what Trump might tweet about this.

On the other side of the coin, for anyone who couldn’t get to Amazon fast enough to pre-order their copy so they could salivate over all the juicy details of a lot of things we already know or can assume about the Trump White House, this new tidbit will be just as difficult a pill to swallow.

Of course, Woodward isn’t privy to what Robert Mueller has found, but says he personally found nothing that smacked of collusion or espionage. So, I’d say we’re back to zero on what we know, but Woodward’s conclusion is definitely interesting.

— Read on www.redstate.com/prevaila/2018/09/15/bob-woodward-says-found-no-evidence-collusion-trump-russia/

What Americans’ Favorite Charities Have in Common — The Aquila Report

So what do donors favor instead?  By far the number one cause among all donors is specific diseases (24%), followed by international relief and development (14%), animal welfare (13%), and community development (10%). The research also found that although a majority of donors state a preference for giving “here at home” rather than overseas, 60% name a favorite that operates globally, compared to 22% working just within the United States and only 16% working locally or regionally. 

 

If you could only support one charitable organization, which one would it be?

Consumer insights company Grey Matter Research and research panel Opinions4Good (Op4G) asked 1,000 American donors this question, then researched every organization mentioned as a favorite:  their size, primary cause, overhead ratio, theater of operations, and whether the organization is faith-based.  Donors were told to exclude local churches and places of worship from their answers.

The study found quite a number of surprising facts about the charities Americans favor.  For one thing, although there are many large and well-known organizations, just twenty separate brands account for most-favored status for over half of all American donors (54%).  In fact, just five major brands account for 36% of all donors’ favorite organizations:

  • ALSAC/St. Jude
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Red Cross
  • The Salvation Army
  • UNICEF

These are not by any means America’s largest charities, but the five most likely to be named as the very favorites by American donors.

A key conclusion of the research is that Americans tend to favor very large charities.  The average total income of the 289 different organizations donors name in the study is $1.1 billion (according to their most recently available IRS Form 990).  And although mathematical averages can be skewed upward by a small number of very large organizations, even the median figure is quite high, at $399 million.  Just 5% of donors have a favorite charity with under $1 million of income; only 23% name one with under $50 million in income.

One advantage small organizations have is that they tend to attract larger donors.  Among donors who gave under $100 during the 12 months preceding the study, only 20% have a favorite charity with income under $50 million, compared to 47% who have a favorite with a total income of $1 billion or more.  This ratio starts to equalize as donors give more, finally reaching 29% favoring small charities and 35% very large charities among donors giving $2,000 or more in the past year.

A third major discovery of the study is that religious people rarely favor religious organizations.  The proportion who name a favorite organization that is faith-based is only:

  • 18% among donors who self-identify as Christian
  • 8% among those who self-identify as some other religion
  • 19% among Protestants
  • 16% among Roman Catholics
  • 18% among those who attend worship services at least once a month
  • 23% among those who attend Protestant worship services at least once a month

The vast majority of all donors who identify with and regularly participate in religious faith do not have a faith-based organizations as their favorite charity.

Not only that, but organizations for which religion itself is the primary cause (e.g. spreading their religious faith or strengthening the faith of believers, such as a teaching ministry or missionary organization) are the favorites for only 2% of donors who regularly attend religious services.

So what do donors favor instead?  By far the number one cause among all donors is specific diseases (24%), followed by international relief and development (14%), animal welfare (13%), and community development (10%).

The research also found that although a majority of donors state a preference for giving “here at home” rather than overseas, 60% name a favorite that operates globally, compared to 22% working just within the United States and only 16% working locally or regionally.

Ron Sellers, president of Grey Matter Research, notes that donors often prefer one thing but then donate in a way that contradicts their preferences.  “When donors are directly asked, about half say they prefer supporting smaller organizations and two-thirds want to help ‘here at home,’” Sellers noted.  “But then their favorite charities are heavily weighted toward large organizations and those operating globally.  It’s a testament to so many of these favored organizations that they have garnered a high level of preference even though they don’t represent the ‘ideal’ organization for many donors.”

Sellers explained that there are many lessons to be learned from the study.  “Faith-based organizations need to start asking themselves why so many people of faith are not putting their contributions where their hearts supposedly are.  Small organizations need to consider whether their resources are best used trying to build a file of small, mass market donors or going after a more select group of larger donors.  And everyone needs to take a look at the few brands that are tremendously strong and dig into what they have done to reach that brand strength and create preference among so many donors.”

About the study:

Consumer insights company Grey Matter Research and research panel Opinions4Good (Op4G) partnered on The Donor Mindset Study, a series of research reports about American charitable donors.  The latest in the series (The Donor Mindset Study VIII:  What America’s Favorite Charities Have in Common) explores what the favorite charities of donors look like:  size, cause, where they operate, whether they’re faith-based, and why they have become a favorite.  The study was conducted online, using a demographically representative sample from the Op4G panel.  Panel members were screened for recent donor behavior, with 1,000 active donors completing the entire questionnaire.

Grey Matters Research

via What Americans’ Favorite Charities Have in Common — The Aquila Report

Google engineers and scientists flee the company as EVIL takes over – NaturalNews.com

(Natural News) Google has become so unethical that even some of its own employees want nothing to do with it anymore. In the latest example of the company driving away valued workers, senior research scientist Jack Poulson has quit his job in protest of the company’s plans to launch a censored version of the Google search engine in China.

Last month, news emerged that Google was secretly working on a Chinese search app code-named Dragonfly for devices running Android. It removes any content that the Chinese government doesn’t want its people to see, such as that pertaining to free speech, human rights, democracy, and political dissidents. It will also see queries that have been deemed “sensitive” blacklisted entirely, meaning that no results whatsoever will turn up if people type in certain terms or phrases.

As part of the company’s research and machine intelligence department, Poulson was tasked with improving their search systems’ accuracy. He raised his concerns with his managers but ultimately decided that he couldn’t work for them any more in good conscience. He resigned at the end of last month, and he told The Intercept that at least four others have done the same.

He said that the plan was a violation of Google’s principles stating they will not design technologies “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.”

Not only was the censorship itself concerning, but he also had reservations about the fact that customer data would be hosted on the Chinese mainland, where the country’s security agencies would have access to it. Given what we know about what the Chinese government does to journalists and political activists it wants to silence, he’s right to be concerned about it.

Poulson told his bosses in his resignation letter: “I view our intent to capitulate to censorship and surveillance demands in exchange for access to the Chinese market as a forfeiture of our values and governmental negotiating position across the globe. There is an all-too-real possibility that other nations will attempt to leverage our actions in China in order to demand our compliance with their security demands.”

More than 1,000 employees concerned about company’s ethics

Poulson is hardly alone in his concerns. When the news of Dragonfly made its way throughout Google, there was a lot of protest within the company, with more than 1,400 employees signing a letter demanding the appointment of an ombudsman to assess the censorship plan’s “urgent moral and ethical issues.” They say they have a right to know what they’re working on. In other words, if Google is going to be carrying out unethical acts, they want no part of it.

Some of those who led the letter effort were also behind protests of the firm’s work with the American military to build AI systems that could identify objects like vehicles in drone footage. Those protests ultimately resulted in Google letting its military contract expire.

Google’s response to the Dragonfly letter? They cut off employees’ access to documents about the Chinese search engine and tightened rules so that employees working remotely can no longer livestream meetings on personal computers after a leak last month.

Earlier this month, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, refused to show up for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing during which he would have faced questions about the Chinese censorship. In addition, Google has ignored countless journalists’ questions about the plan.

Of course, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise from a company that has been a bit China-like itself, exerting its power to censor search results and YouTube videos when the topic at hand doesn’t serve its political agenda. As this behavior continues and employees grow increasingly wary of where the line will be drawn, there could well end up being a mass exodus.

Sources for this article include:

TheIntercept.com

TheIntercept.com
— Read on www.naturalnews.com/2018-09-14-google-engineers-and-scientists-flee-the-company-as-evil-takes-over.html

September 16: Freedom and Response

Micah 4:1–6:16; Acts 14:8–15:21; Job 23:1–17

Freedom from sin gives us the power to love. But freedom from poverty or oppression or guilt sometimes makes us complacent. We forget our inclination to wander away from God’s will and pursue our own, and we overlook that God will eventually call us to account. Although Micah prophesied during a time of prosperity in Israel, it was also a time of spiritual deficiency. The powerful were oppressing the weak (Mic 2:1–2; 3:2–3) politically and economically.

Micah holds Israel to account in this passage. The prophet paints a courtroom scene with God judging His people for their unfaithfulness: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good, and what does Yahweh ask from you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic 6:8).

The mountains and the hills listen as Yahweh accuses Israel, and the evidence He presents is startling. God has been active and present in His people’s lives, turning what was meant for evil into good. He brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt. When Balaam tried to curse Israel on behalf of Balak, the Moabite king, God turned that curse into blessing.

We know where we stand in the courtroom drama. Our sins condemn us, but God has provided new evidence that changes our fates. What prosecuting attorney becomes a defender of the accused—a mediator claiming their cause? Through His Son, God frees us from our sin. Indeed, we should say with awe and humility, “Who is a God like you?”

Our story should be a response of humility and love for God. What story will your life tell?

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.