Daily Archives: October 14, 2018

Don’t Blame Karl Marx for ‘Cultural Marxism’

The list of developments for which “cultural Marxism” has been blamed includes the following: the LGBT rights movement, especially the legal push to eliminate sodomy laws and legitimize gay marriage; activism for transgender acceptance and recognition; the increase in divorce at the end of the 20th century and a decrease in nuclear family formation; African Americans protesting police abuse; art and music that fails to follow familiar genre conventions; increased depictions of a variety of races, genders, and sexualities in popular media; acceptance of immigrants and the cultural pluralism they bring; a lack of tolerance for nonliberal ideas on college campuses.

This bill of particulars is not new, especially from conservatives. The twist was to begin dragging Karl Marx into it. Here’s how the narrative goes: After the horrific deaths of millions, global communism may have been discredited as a viable economic system, but its proponents want to sneak it perniciously through the back door via cultural decadence. Thus, political correctness is part of a lefty long con to take over America.

You have to give the conspiratorial right credit for clever rhetorical deck-stacking, at least. How can you approve of sympathetic gay people appearing in yogurt commercials if it’s all a commie plot?

It may be comforting to believe your ideological foes are dupes of manipulative intellectual fiends. But declaring that advocates of multiculturalism, feminism, and gay rights are the pawns of dead Jewish communists is both mistaken as a matter of cultural history and foolish as a way to sell an alternate ideology. You won’t win the day by treating people who merely disagree with you as stalking horses for socialist tyranny.

The Critical Theory Conspiracy

You might think that a history of cultural Marxism would start with Marx, but the poorly coiffed Prussian has almost nothing to do with this tale of insidious infiltration. Instead, the theory took off in the late 1990s due to speeches, essays, and books by William Lind, then with the Free Congress Foundation, and Patrick Buchanan, the firebrand conservative columnist, TV talking head, and sometime presidential candidate. (The idea, though not the name, was hatched earlier, in a 1992 monograph called “The New Dark Age: The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness.” It was written by a disciple of the noted conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche.)

Lind and Buchanan claimed that various progressive social or legal changes—from sex education in public schools to speech codes on college campuses—are the deliberate result of a program set in motion decades ago by a squad of philosophers, musicologists, psychologists, and incomprehensible brainiacs arising out of a Marxist/Freudian ferment between the world wars in Europe.

That gang is known as the Frankfurt School, because they launched their Institute for Social Research at Goethe University Frankfurt in the 1920s. Their orbit included such recondite social philosophers as Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno.

The story goes that these eggheads saw that Marx’s predictions about the contradictions in capitalism producing a proletarian revolt were failing to come true. They decided that traditional Western culture was keeping the masses from their revolutionary mission and needed to be annihilated. Religion, the family, traditional sexual mores, belief in objective truth—all had to be overturned. So they launched “critical theory” to demolish the sacred principles that made Western civilization great and pave the way for communist tyranny and an eventual stateless utopia.

Summing up what the Frankfurt School’s clotted and confusing thinkers actually wrote or believed is beyond the capacity of a short essay (or even a long one). Luckily, it is also beside the point for understanding the conspiracy theory of cultural Marxism. Basically, these philosophers believed that knowledge and rationality do not necessarily stand outside history and culture, since everything we know arises from socially embedded perspectives.

This view indeed left all sorts of institutions and mores up for criticism, but that needn’t be inherently a threat to Western liberty. As the popular Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy sums it up, “the task of critical social theory is to evaluate the degree of rationality of any system of social domination in accordance to standards of justice.” This isn’t in itself an unlibertarian idea, though its practitioners didn’t take it to libertarian conclusions.

Adorno and Horkheimer, for example, hoped to discern the roots of the “authoritarian personality” through a mix of Marxism, Freudianism, and survey data. This attempt to understand disturbing trends in 20th century politics led their followers, aggravatingly, to write off virtually every nonprogressive attitude as “fascist” and to treat political differences as signs of mental defects. But in their analysis of the family, they weren’t nearly as dismissive of the value of parents, especially as bulwarks against the totalizing power of the capitalist culture industries they feared and criticized. They blamed modern pop culture for warping the natural moral sense of the masses, much as modern traditionalists do.

Critical theorists’ analysis of the powers of modern electronic media are interpreted by the conspiracy-minded as proof they intended to take those media over for communist goals, but a real Frankfurt Schooler would doubt that such a scheme could work within a capitalist system anyway.

Who Will Save Us?

One can spill gallons of ink on what followed from the Frankfurt School in academia. But for our purposes it hardly matters, because theories of cultural Marxism barely depend on anything those writers actually explored in their own work.

Nearly all the popularizers of the theory draw their analysis from ur-sources such as Lind’s essays and Buchanan’s 2001 book The Death of the West. The actual Frankfurt Schoolers mostly appear via a handful of out-of-context “incriminating” quotes that are used over and over. For example, Georg Lukacs (not a formal member of the school but an intellectual fellow traveler frequently roped in with them), in a preface to his obscurantist book The Theory of the Novel, wrote: “Who was to save us from Western civilization?” This cri de coeur from a man despairing of a world riven by the madness of World War I is supposed to be proof that modern cultural progressives are not pursuing what they think is right, or trying to rectify historical wrongs, but are deliberately seeking to destroy civilization.

Give the conspiratorial right credit for clever rhetorical deck-stacking, at least. How can you approve of sympathetic gay people appearing in yogurt commercials if it’s all a commie plot?

The cultural Marxism obsession on the part of these conservatives is strictly surplus to requirements. American right-wingers hate multiculturalism and gay rights and radical feminism for their own sake, not because they were designed to pave the path for communism. But the story has the emotional advantage of allowing them to imagine that the trends they despise didn’t arise from a long history of the social abuse of blacks, gays, women, and immigrants, but from sinister machinations of commies striving to enslave us. Never mind that the unstoppable traditionalist “cultural decline” of the last several decades has not gotten the United States any closer to public ownership of the means of production.

The Idea Has Consequences

Andrew Breitbart, who ran articles on his Big Hollywood site in 2009 headlined “Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism” and who appeared that year on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to declare that “cultural Marxism is political correctness, it’s multiculturalism, and it’s a war on Judeo-Christianity,” was one of the major modern vectors of belief in the conspiracy. While subterranean cultural trends are difficult to pinpoint precisely, his media empire was likely one of the main incubators.

Despite Breitbart’s efforts at spreading the idea, it hasn’t really been widely adopted by more mainstream conservative politicians and media personalities. One potent exception is the psychologist and lifestyle guru Jordan Peterson, who seems to be alluding to the same general idea when he uses his preferred phrase, postmodern neomarxism.

The cultural Marxism conspiracy cultist who made the most hideous public impact was Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011. Breivik wrote in his 1,500-page manifesto that “you cannot defeat Islamization or halt/reverse the Islamic colonization of Western Europe without first removing the political doctrines manifested through multiculturalism/cultural Marxism.”

Google Trends shows an uptick in internet searches for the phrase since the dawning of the Trump age in late 2015; they essentially doubled over the previous decade. The fever also infected the administration itself: Trump national security official Rich Higgins insisted in a 2017 memo that “Islamists ally with cultural Marxists because…they properly assessed that the left has a strong chance of reducing Western civilization to [Islam’s] benefit.” (The memo pissed off Higgins’ boss, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, enough to get him fired.)

One of the more recent adherents to the theory—a more surprising one, since his public persona during his recent presidential campaigns sensibly avoided such cultural resentments—is the libertarian-leaning former Texas congressman Ron Paul.

In July, Paul’s Facebook page featured a brief post attacking cultural Marxism. The argument offered was weak, even for the genre, while hinting at the general idea that progressive cultural trends were communist infusions: “Marxists just shifted their ‘exploitation’ schtick to culture: — women exploited by men; — gays exploited by heterosexuals — The old exploited by the young — and vice-versa — This list goes on and on.”

But the post drew attention far beyond its intellectual merits because of the cartoon that accompanied it. Following the familiar trope of blaming negative cultural change on an invading nonwhite Other, the cartoon lined up classically offensive stereotypes of Jewish, black, Asian, and Hispanic characters punching out Uncle Sam. Their shared fist was branded with a hammer and sickle, and they were united in a shout of—you guessed it—”CULTURAL MARXISM.”

An intern was quickly blamed for posting the picture, and the illustration disappeared. It was replaced with a generic sign reading “No Political Correctness.”

That first unfortunate image highlighted the danger of mixing libertarian political concerns with worries about cultural Marxism. It’s no accident that a theory that’s basically about subversive foreigners with a different religion ends up attracting bigoted cartoons. But that second image touches on a place where the farrago of fears summoned by the phrase actually impacts individual liberty.

Most of what gets lumped under the heading of cultural Marxism is really about personal choices about lifestyle or belief, not politics. But “political correctness” frequently tumbles over into actual attempts to suppress expression, which is indeed worrying. And the conspiracists have a Frankfurt School theorist to blame for that: Herbert Marcuse.

Marcuse, who after World War II taught at major American universities such as Columbia and Harvard, and who is thus often fingered as the Typhoid Mary of cultural Marxism in America, advocated the suppression of nonleftist ideas. “Repressive tolerance,” his paradoxical phrase, suggested that allowing sinister right-of-center ideas to spread was not true intellectual tolerance but its enemy.

Marcuse was hardly the first to come up with a justification for silencing one’s political foes. “Repressive tolerance” is merely a contextual restatement of the ancient attitude that only true, appropriate, and acceptable ideas should be freely expressed. Marcuse stated his terrible notion with the kind of tribute vice pays to virtue, claiming the ideas he wanted suppressed made true tolerance impossible. But Marcuse didn’t invent the idea that “error has no rights”—the very traditional Catholic Church did. Yes, he wickedly promoted “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care,” but that doesn’t mean he’s to blame for everyone who now wants enforced political correctness.

The commitment on the part of today’s progressive undergrads to suppressing distasteful speech comes not from a deep understanding of some larger intellectual tradition with a goal of world domination but from a simple (if mistaken) calculus about the morality of hurting people. As frustrating as this attitude can be to civil libertarians, many students genuinely believe that certain expressions seen as hostile to oppressed minorities either directly cause actionable harm to those people or unjustly contribute to an overall atmosphere of danger for them.

It’s comforting to believe the only reason people disagree with you is that some specific group of villains deceived them. But that misunderstands the mental barriers one must knock down to succeed at social change.

The defenders of free speech need to take on that idea. Insisting that advocacy of that worldview is part of a pathway to the dictatorship of the proletariat doesn’t really help.

Dubious conspiratorial theories of ideological or social change are also bad for their own subscribers. It might be comforting to believe that the only reason people disagree with you is that some specific group of villains deceived them. But that comfort comes at the price of misunderstanding what mental barriers one must knock down to succeed at social change.

One of the lessons of the age of social media is just how powerfully the most rabid people on both left and right are driven by a pre-intellectual sense of disgust for their opponents. That disgust is exacerbated by conspiracy theories. It can be infuriating to be surrounded by a culture or political structure that seems to hate who you are and what you stand for. This is a late-breaking revelation for white Unite the Right types, whose recent experience mirrors the one gays, blacks, feminists, immigrants, and other Others have long described. Such a sense of unfair exclusion, not a desire to impose communism, better explains some of the phenomenon the right decries.

The Way Out

The Ron Paul who ran for president in 2008 and 2012 never spoke of things like cultural Marxism. Instead, he offered a way out of our unending culture war. As he said during a 2016 broadcast dedicated to the conspiracy theory, “Liberty means allowing [everybody] to make personal choices, social relations, sexual choices, personal economic choices.” His message then, consistent with how he sold liberty as a candidate and congressman, was that libertarian tolerance should not be seen as a “threat.” It should, he said, “bring people together.”

There is a deep irony in seeing Marxism in a world overflowing with diverse cultural products and tolerance for a variety of human preferences. Paranoia about cultural Marxism tends to be imbued with an actually Marxist sense that the masses are plagued by “false needs.” Real Marxists attribute this to capitalism. Anti–cultural Marxists blame long-dead intellectuals.

It’s true that campus leftists have shifted some of their attention from specifically economic concerns to ones based in cultural identity. But to pretend that the broad grievances of gays, blacks, or women are based in communism rather than American history and a quest for dignity is to misunderstand the world around you, and that is never a good idea for those trying to change hearts and minds.

In Reason‘s pages in 1998, around the same time Lind was taking his story about the baleful influence of the Frankfurt School to the right-wing masses, the anthropologist Grant McCracken looked at the social change that was giving Lind heartburn. Seeing “anarchic, willful, recklessly individualistic behavior everywhere,” McCracken noted that “for the political right it is compelling evidence that things have gone terribly wrong.…The world feels tippy, puzzling, dangerous, and odd.”

“The right has targeted plenitude as the enemy,” McCracken presciently argued. “The Rev. Pat Robertson famously suggested that feminism ‘encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.’ Pat Buchanan, campaigning for the presidential nomination, called Mexicans ‘José’ and emphasized each syllable of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s name. The right is not always so unsophisticated, but it has been inclined to harbor misgivings about ‘outsiders.’…There is nervousness here—and a brute and thoroughgoing discomfort with difference.”

As this cultural ferment has deepened and quickened, the conspiracy theory of cultural Marxism has spread further. McCracken tried to assure nervous men of the right that “the threatening outsider rarely proves an agent of chaos or the beginning of the end. We have brought virtually all these differences on board, and nothing changed. Civilization did not cease. We will invent many more differences, and these will prove absorbable too.”

That’s good advice, especially for those who should love liberty more than they love traditional notions about race, gender, and sexuality.

This is not to say that admiring traditional values marks one inherently as an enemy of political liberty; wanting to live traditionally, or believing that certain modern mores are not optimal for human happiness and flourishing, is perfectly compatible with a political dedication to freedom. But refusing to admit that others have legitimate, nontyrannical reasons for abandoning such mores leads one to confuse choices you disapprove of with threats to your freedom.

Lind himself, to his credit, offered in a 2017 article for Chronicles a peaceable, pluralistic way out of the “problem” of the changes he blames on cultural Marxists: a movement he dubs “retroculture,” in which those who prefer the pre-1960s lifestyle choose to live together in fellowship, on their own, with the Amish as their lodestar.

All who want a tolerant civic peace in this vast and varied land should work to forge whatever way of life they choose on their own property or in their own communities, not insist that former outsiders who wish to be treated more fairly are merely doing so as a cover to impose communist tyranny. The fight for limited government in our culture can’t be successfully fought in dogged, frightened opposition to freely chosen cultural plenitude.

Source: Don’t Blame Karl Marx for ‘Cultural Marxism’

Democrat Party: Just plain evil

For years Republicans have not got it about the Democrat Party: They are just plain evil, along with a reprobate mind. The violent protests are perpetrated by the Democrat Party, and until these people start going to jail, it will only get worse.

The Democrat Party has a history of lawlessness – they own the KKK and started this organization to hinder the advancement of black Americans. The Democrat Party promoted the idea of single moms raising children without a dad.

Here are some people that should be in jail – Barack Hussein Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder. Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, George Soros.

President Trump and the First Lady are the most transparent people I’ve seen in my lifetime. President Obama claimed the same thing, yet told the press what they could and could not ask.

I believe Americans are waking up, and I hope the Democrat Party becomes extinct. If not, the United States of America as we know it will be destroyed internally. Without America in the picture, other nations will fall like dominos into the Social-Communist hellhole. Ultimately, what started in the Middle East will end in the Middle East. God and His people will be victorious.

Ken Langdon

Source: Democrat Party: Just plain evil

October 14, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Expression of Trust (4:8)

Commentary

8 The enemies diligently pursued vanity and deception in an attempt to frustrate the king and bring down his glory (cf. v. 2). Others may have asked where prosperity had gone (v. 6). David was not worried about the outcome. He was concerned, but not anxious, about the people (vv. 3–7). He committed his way to the Lord as he went to sleep. The enemies may have vexed themselves on their beds (v. 4), but he experienced “peace”—the peace that comes as a blessing from God (Nu 6:26). His confidence in Yahweh “alone” is the reason for his peaceful sleep. The expression “make me dwell in safety” connotes not only the absence of enemies and hostilities but also the presence of peace (Dt 33:28; Jer 23:6; Eze 34:25, 27–28; 38:8, 14; Hos 2:18; cf. Mic 7:14). It has an eschatological dimension, as it looks for God to act as the faithful Shepherd, ensuring the security of his people. He alone can fully restore his people to the full experience of his covenantal blessing (cf. Jer 32:37).[1]


4:8. David’s confidence that God, and God alone, will fully provide all that is necessary for his good enabled him to lie down and sleep even in the midst of his distress. This may well allude to David’s experience when God intervened to save his life by putting Saul and his army into a sound sleep (1Sm 26:12). In two other OT passages, God brought a deep sleep onto someone in connection with sovereignly meeting a great need (cf. Gn 2:21; 15:12).[2]


4:8 Reassured of the Lord’s all-sufficiency, the psalmist’s inner agitation subsides. He can now lie down in peace and sleep, knowing that it is the Lord who makes him dwell in safety. What a change prayer has produced in only eight short verses![3]


4:8 The peace that God gives is far from a relaxation technique. It is a peace that enables an anxious person to lie down and sleep (3:5).[4]


4:8 — I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Jesus once slept soundly on a boat that pitched and rolled wildly in a stormy sea. Why? Out of exhaustion? No, because He knew the Lord would keep Him safe. God wants Jesus’ kind of confidence to take root in us.[5]


4:8 dwell in safety. The word “safety” introduces a play on words by going back to the term “trust” in v. 5. David evidences a total confidence in God amidst his crisis.[6]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 112–113). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Rydelnik, M., Vanlaningham, M., Barbieri, L. A., Boyle, M., Coakley, J., Dyer, C. H., … Zuber, K. D. (2014). Psalms. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 763). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 553). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 650). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ps 4:8). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 4:8). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Freed American Pastor Andrew Brunson Prays with President Trump in the Oval Office

Freed American pastor Andrew Brunson met and prayed with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office Saturday, thanking him for having “really fought for us” — a day after his release from house arrest in Turkey.

Brunson, from North Carolina, arrived in the U.S. earlier Saturday after stopping in Germany on Friday.

Brunson was imprisoned in October 2016 due to his alleged ties to an outlawed group as part of a crackdown on a failed coup in Turkey against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government.

A Turkish judge on Friday ordered him freed from house arrest on Friday after sentencing him to time served on terror and treason charges.

Brunson thanked Trump in the Oval Office, saying, “You really fought for us, unusually so, from the time you took office.”

He also thanked members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who had worked for his release.

“We’re so grateful to so many people in Congress who stood with us, who prayed for us, who fought for us,” he said.

In a dramatic moment, Brunson knelt down and prayed with the President — asking God for “supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him.”

In his remarks, Trump said it was a “great honor” to have Brunson in the White House and thanked a number of lawmakers and members of the Cabinet for their assistance in securing Brunson’s release.

“If ever there was a bipartisan effort, this was it,” he said.

A number of senators, and also Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, were in attendance in the Oval Office.

Trump also appeared to take something of a swipe at the previous administration when he said, “We do not pay ransoms in this country, at least any longer.”

Brunson said he and his wife looked forward to spending time with children and praying to see what God wants next from him.

Trump, who had thanked Turkish President Erdoğan “for his help” earlier in the day, expressed hope that Brunson’s release would mark the start of better relations between the two countries.

Trump said on Twitter that while there was “great appreciation” and a hope of good relations between the U.S. and Turkey, there was “no deal” made for Brunson’s return.

“There was NO DEAL made with Turkey for the release and return of Pastor Andrew Brunson. I don’t make deals for hostages,” he tweeted.

Brunson’s release still leaves Turkey frustrated by the Trump administration’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric accused by Turkey of engineering the failed coup.

“There was, however, great appreciation on behalf of the United States, which will lead to good, perhaps great, relations between the United States & Turkey!”

The Trump administration advocated persistently for Brunson’s release, leading to an intense economic showdown between the two NATO allies. In August, the U.S. slapped sanctions on an array of Turkish officials and on some goods, sending Turkish currency into free fall. Brunson’s release still leaves Turkey frustrated by the Trump administration’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric accused by Turkey of engineering the failed coup.

Brunson was accused of committing crimes on behalf of Gülen and Kurdish militants who have been fighting the Turkish state for decades.

He faced up to 35 years in jail if convicted of all the charges against him.

Fox News’ Kristin Brown and the Associated Press contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission.

Read more at Fox News:
Hyperloop’s First Full-Scale Passenger Capsule Revealed
American Pastor Detained in Turkey Is Freed
Why Midterm Election Results Won’t Crush Trump’s Results

Source: Freed American Pastor Andrew Brunson Prays with President Trump in the Oval Office

Worldview and Apologetics in the News

After 55,000 abortions, doctor becomes pro-life after seeing aborted baby’s beating heart

The True Story of Kermit Gosnell and His Victims

What If Everyone Lived the Sexual Ethic of Jesus?

Intelligent Design Wins Another Nobel Prize

J. P. Moreland on claims we know better than science truths

A homicide detective looks at ID and God’s crime scene

After Being Held for Two Years in Turkey, Pastor Brunson is Released

J. Warner Wallace, Cold-Case Detective: Evidence Led Him to Faith

The Chronicles of Narnia Series Coming to Netflix

Seven Pro-Life Action Steps

Jay Richards: A Short Argument Against the Materialist Account of the Mind

Stephen Hawking’s final paper, just released, tackled the “information paradox”

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad
Last week’s edition is here.

Source: Worldview and Apologetics in the News

5 Christian Movies Hitting Theaters Nationwide in 2019

The success of faith-based films in the last several years has led to a resurgence of Christian movies being made in Hollywood. 2019 is already lined with a number of motion pictures that will hit theaters once again, this time telling the true stories of a mother who prays her son back to life, another that reveals the lies behind Roe V. Wade, and a powerful fiction the teaches power of knowing one’s identity in God.

Source: 5 Christian Movies Hitting Theaters Nationwide in 2019

Sunday Hymn: Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face — Rebecca Writes

Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen,
Here grasp with firmer hand th’eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon thee lean.

Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with thee the royal wine of heav’n;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
This is the heav’nly table spread for me:
Here let me feast, and, feasting, still prolong
The brief, bright hour of fellowship with thee.

I have no help but thine, nor do I need
Another arm save thine to lean upon:
It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in thy might, thy might alone.

Mine is the sin, but thine the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt, but thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace,
Thy blood, thy righteousness, O Lord my God.

—Horatius Bonar

 

 

Other hymns, worship songs, or quotes for this Sunday:

via Sunday Hymn: Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face — Rebecca Writes

“Genocide against Christians” – Extremist Persecution of Christians | Ibrahim at Gatestone

  • Two days later, Christian homes in the region were attacked again. “Some Muslim villagers had a meeting in one of the mosques. They incited people against us. After the meeting they set fire to a wood store owned by my brother, and four other houses,” said another Christian resident. Police responded by arresting five Christians as they tried to put out the fire. — Egypt.
  • On April 27, the government made the death penalty “mandatory” for anyone who blasphemes against Islam… And in the case of blasphemous remarks or sacrilegious acts, according to the law, the death penalty is now mandatory.” — Voice of the Martyrs, Mission Network News, Mauritania.
  • A Christian nun who was chased out of Iraq by the Islamic State was denied a visa from the nation that provided refugee status to tens of thousands of Muslim men. — United Kingdom.

Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Pakistan: A Muslim man set a Christian woman on fire because she refused to convert to Islam and marry him. Asma Yaqoob, 25, with burns covering nearly 90 percent of her body, died five days later. According to her father, his son and he were waiting for Asma, a domestic servant, at the home of her employer, when she answered a knock on the door. “After some time we heard her screaming in pain,” he said. They “rushed outside to see what had happened” and saw Rizwan Gujjar, 30, a onetime family friend, fleeing “while Asma was engulfed in flames.” Three months earlier Gujjar had begun pressuring Asma to marry him. She, “not wanting to recant her Christian faith,” politely declined and tried to avoided him, says another report. So, on April 17, when she answered the door, he doused her with gasoline and set her aflame. According to her mother:

Asma told us that on the night of the attack, Gujjar had come to Zaman’s [her employer’s] house and told her that she has no other choice but to renounce her faith and marry him in court the next morning. My daughter refused, upon which he emptied a bottle of petrol on her body and set her alight… My daughter is a staunch Protestant Christian and had been resisting Gujjar’s pressure for a long time. She was not interested in him and had repeatedly complained about his misbehavior. When all efforts failed to convince Asma to cave in to his demand, Gujjar attempted to kill her.

“Asma’s family were persistent in getting her the best treatment they could find, and traveled hundreds of miles to a hospital equipped with a burn unit,” said an activist acquainted with the case in a statement. “They did everything they could possibly do. This family will have a lot of trauma to work through and they are in shock. It is hard for anyone to see the life of a loved one so young and full of talent snuffed out.”

In a separate incident, Islamic jihadis killed at least six Christians and wounded several others in two attacks, both in Quetta, Pakistan, near the Afghan border. In the first, on April 3, armed men riding motorbikes opened fire on a rickshaw carriage and killed a family of four Christians returning from the previous day’s Easter celebrations. A 12-year-old Christian girl received bullet wounds but survived. A note saying that “this is the first episode of genocide against Christians,” was found at the murder scene.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility. In a statement, it said that a “covert unit” of jihadis had “managed to target a number of the combatant Christians…. [the jihadis] shot them with a pistol, which resulted in the killing of four of them, and all praise is due to Allah.” One official, however, said other Sunni militants operating in the region might have been responsible. “Since security was tight in churches, we believe that the terrorists chose to target the Christians on the roads instead,” he added.

As the genocidal note had predicted, Christians were targeted again. Less than two weeks later, another group of unidentified assassins riding motorbikes opened fire on Christians as they left church after Sunday service on April 15. At least two worshippers were slain and five others—including two girls aged 11 and 13—were injured by bullets.

Lamenting his son, Azhar, whose corpse was riddled with 14 bullets, his father said , “The terrorists have not just killed Azhar. They have also killed me and his mother.” His son was still alive when locals took him to a hospital, “but there was no doctor present there to attend to him.”

Talking of his slain nephew, Iqbal—who as the only able-bodied male was his family’s breadwinner—his uncle said, “We are poor and hardly make enough money to meet both ends. These Islamist terrorists have taken away the only hope of a better future for my sister’s family.”

Four months before these two attacks, Islamic suicide bombers assaulted Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, where they killed nine and wounded dozens. “The Christian community is feeling insecure and threatened,” said Pastor Simon about the bombed church: “We are not safe at places of worship, schools, or residential apartments. The majority of Christians are so depressed they are not sending their children to school and even avoid going to gatherings such as social or religious events.”

Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen slaughtered about 350 Christians and torched hundreds of homes and scattered churches in 27 different attacks throughout the month of April.

In one instance, the Islamic herdsmen stormed St. Ignatius Church during the service and massacred 19 Christians, including two priests, on April 24 in Benue State. According to a report, “the parishioners and the priests had gone for early morning mass at about 5:30 a.m., when the herdsmen who stormed the village and the church wasted no time in spraying bullets on everyone in sight….” The motivation of the murderers was not missed on the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, which in a statement, regretted the “deadly attack by herdsmen/Jihadists.”

On the following day, April 25, in the Guma region, “Seven Christian villagers who were displaced in previous attacks and were taking refuge in the church premises were killed,” according to a local authority.

Another statement concerning another of the deadly raids (in Saghev village, Friday, April 20) noted:

“Ten [Christian] corpses have so far been recovered, with many others injured. The armed herdsmen also burnt numerous houses, shops and other property in the area. This mindless attack was unprovoked, and we urge security agencies to arrest the herdsmen behind the killings for prosecution.”

Although Western media often portray these attacks as based on land disputes with no religious motive—but rather Muslim Fulani herdsmen wanting Christian land for their flocks to graze on—20 of the 27 regions attacked have no-grazing laws, meaning that even if there were no Christians on the land, the Fulani would still be unable to graze there.

Egypt: One month after a Christian soldier was killed by his Muslim commander over his faith, another Christian soldier was killed on April 22. The family of Michael Farahat Saad, 22, was told that he died when a rifle he was cleaning accidentally fired, killing him instantly. According to one report, however, “a doctor at Qusiya General Hospital who examined the body said the bullet wound entered from the back and exited from the front, shattering the jaw. The entry and exit wounds indicated someone else shot him.” Michael is one of about nine Christian soldiers to be murdered in recent times by Muslim officers and soldiers because of their faith.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Philippines: In an attack described by police as bearing “the signature of an Islamic extremist group,” a bomb explosion rocked a church during Sunday mass. According to the report:

“Attendees of the mass christening at St. Anthony Parish Church … were left in shock after an explosion just outside the church on Sunday, April 29, followed by authorities detonating a separate IED [improvised explosive device] just a few meters from the church. The explosion, which injured 2 persons [who required hospitalization], was heard around 12 p.m. while the church was packed with people attending a mass christening…”

Egypt: Local Muslims attacked the Virgin Mary and Pope Kyrillos VI Church in Beni Meinin on 14 April—hours after the Building Authority Committee came to inspect the building to prepare for legalizing its status as a church. One local resident said:

“Many Muslim young men from our village and villages nearby gathered in front of the church building and began pelting it with stones and bricks while shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ [“Allah is the greatest”], and ‘We don’t want a church in our village.’ … Windows and a door were smashed and some of the church’s contents destroyed. They also pelted Coptic-owned houses next to the building. Five Copts received minor injuries.”

Two days later, Christian homes in the region were attacked again. “Some Muslim villagers had a meeting in one of the mosques. They incited people against us. After the meeting they set fire to a wood store owned by my brother, and four other houses,” said another Christian resident. Police responded by arresting five Christians as they tried to put out the fire. “The police are conniving with Muslim villagers. We were attacked, our homes destroyed, some of us arrested—where are our rights? … There is a situation of fear and panic among the Christians and there isn’t any protection for us.”

Separately, three Islamic militants were apprehended before they managed to bomb Christian churches in Egypt. According to a report, “police at a security checkpoint found a bag in the possession of one of the defendants which contained printed material detailing support for Daesh [Islamic State]. During the investigation, one of the suspects confessed to the charge of forming a cell with some of his friends to target churches during the Easter celebration.” During the previous Easter’s celebrations, “nearly 40 Christians were killed and 100 others were wounded in two suicide bombings…”

Finally, a Muslim man appearing to be in his thirties attempted to break into the St. George church in Cairo. According to the report:

“… [the man] angrily shouted Islamic slogans of ‘There is no god but Allah,’ ‘The nation of Muhammad will triumph,’ and ‘I will uphold Islam,’ as well as cheers denouncing Christianity and the Cross. He held a club in his hand, with which he began attempting to destroy whatever he could reach, and succeeded in breaking a lamp on the church gate before the guards, who had hastened to close the gate, caught him.”

Police eventually came and took him in. Although police said it was not clear whether he acted independently or as part of an organization, “Passers-by say that, on the other side of the street, there stood four other young men who cheered the assailant and egged him on.”

Cyprus: On “Wednesday night [April 4], about 20 Muslim migrants attacked a Christian congregation outside St. Mary’s church during the holy liturgy in Leukosia,” according to one report (original Greek here).

“Most of the Christians were inside the church when 20 Muslims suddenly arrived at the temple’s yard and began screaming, cursing, and beating the attendees. According to statements given by locals at Sigma live news, one of the Muslims was waving an adze [axe-like tool] and tried to use it against members of the congregation. The Muslims disappeared after the police, called in by the terrorized believers, appeared on the scene.”

Pakistan: Unidentified vandals in Lahore set a church under construction, the Gospel of Jesus Mission, ablaze by apparently lobbing a bomb over its open roof, on April 15. “The altar, pulpit, dozens of Christian books, carpets, pedestal fans, plastic chairs, tables, wall clock, wooden crosses, tarpaulin, handmade fans, and worship instruments were desecrated and burnt to ashes,” stated the report. “We are a poor community,” said one church member. “We did not have enough funds to complete the [roof] construction. Everything we had has burnt, I don’t know how we will be able to restore the church as the officials even have not visited us.” According to church pastor, Yousaf Aziz John, local Christians “started constructing this church about three years ago and [are] still collecting small donations for it… We could not blame anybody for doing such [a] horrible act, however it’s clear that Christians are unacceptable in this society and are not given equal rights, equal dignity, and freedom of religion.”

Discussing this incident, one human rights activist said, “There is a hostile attitude against Christians in the society. In 2014, we had to face a severe resistance while building a church in a village near Lahore. People abused us and threatened us of dire consequences. The Muslims pelted stones at our under-construction church. Such things are conducted to create a fearful atmosphere that the community may abandon the place.” Explaining how “[a]ttacking places of worship is an unchecked trend in Pakistan,” the report concludes:

In September 2013, All Saints Church was bombed in Peshawar, killing hundreds of worshippers. In March 2015, two churches were bombed in Lahore which killed roughly two dozen Christians. In 2016, two other churches were set on fire in Kasur and Lahore. In October 2017, militants threw a grenade at Gospel Faith Church in Quetta. In December of 2017, another church was attacked in Quetta, killing nine worshipers. In 2018, several attacks on Christians, their properties, and their places of worship speak volumes about the situation of religious freedom in Pakistan. The community as a whole is frightened and worried for what is to come in the future.

Germany: A Muslim migrant from Pakistan who vandalized two churches was hospitalized. According to the report, “For the second time in a few days, a church in Chemnitz has been damaged by vandalism. Several stained glass windows were smashed in at the St. Peter’s Church in Theaterplatz on Monday evening [April 23]. The man who is responsible for the deed had already broken into the church of St. Mark on the Sonnenberg over the weekend and had also rampaged there. He was provisionally arrested at the church. The suspect is a 24-year-old asylum seeker from Pakistan. The property damage incurred at the church amounts to around 3000 euros, according to police.” Although attacks on churches in Muslim nations are common, “state police ruled out a political or religious motive for his actions” and said the man had been “housed in a specialist clinic.”

Nigeria: An April report says that Muslim Fulani “herdsmen had destroyed 500 church buildings since 2011 with attacks that have displaced 170,000 people.”

Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom and Dignity

Mauritania: On April 27, the government made the death penalty “mandatory” for anyone who blasphemes against Islam, says one report, thereby “increasing worry among Christians in the African nation.” According to the Voice of the Martyrs:

“This new law sort of becomes more stringent — that three days [originally granted to blasphemers] to repent disappears. Everyone is going to be punished. Even if you do repent, you are still going to be punished. And in the case of blasphemous remarks or sacrilegious acts, according to the law, the death penalty is now mandatory.”

Discussing the persecution Christians face, the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance warned that “the gospel of salvation is severely repressed” in Mauritania.

Morocco: Security agents detained for 24 hours a Christian man for having gospel literature and four other religious books in his backpack. Authorities stopped the 35-year-old Moroccan as he left his home in Rabat on the morning of April 18. The Christian was released without charges after being detained for 24 hours. Things might have been different if he had more books or was perceived as evangelizing to Muslims. According to one report:

“Article 220 of the Moroccan Criminal code calls for imprisonment of six months to three years and a fine of 200 to 500 Moroccan dirham (US$20 to US$ 49) for employing enticements ‘to shake the faith of a Muslim.’ Such ‘enticements’ could include education, health care, orphanages and other aid that Christians consider biblical commands. The harassment comes as Moroccan Christians are beginning to call on the government to respect their religious rights.”

Algeria: Authorities in the city of Tizi-Ouzou closed down Early Childhood Home, a day-care center for Christian children established 14 years ago by the Full Gospel Protestant Church. On April 17, Pastor Salah Chalah was summoned to the local police station, where he was accused of illegally running the center, which is located on the church’s premises. He was ordered to close it down. At the time, around 20 children, aged between one and five, were enrolled in the center, under the supervision of four teachers, all Christians. “Since it was established 14 years ago, the care centre has never been threatened by authorities, though the church premises have been inspected on a regular basis by the intelligence agency,” Chalah said. “The centre only exists to teach Christian values to our children in their early childhood, because in neighbouring nurseries, the teaching of the Quran and Islamic values form an integral part of the official curriculum.”

Gaza: In an interview, Fr. Mario da Silva, a Catholic priest, said that the local Christian population has shrunk to its last 1,000 inhabitants—five times less than it was six years earlier—in part because “there is now a lot of fear with the news that the Islamic State has arrived, coming from the Sinai Peninsula, in Egypt … There have already been threats. There is also fear of the Salafist groups who are coming in from the south.” He explained how, “[e]very year Christians have one permit to leave and visit the holy places on Easter and Christmas,” at which point many of them never return.

Iraq: “An explosive charge believed to be planted by Islamic State militants went off while four children were playing outside a medical complex at the Christian-majority Bartella town in eastern Mosul,” said a local source. “The explosion left the four children injured.” The report adds that “Bartella, largely inhibited by Christians, was emptied from inhabitants when the IS group seized the town in August 2014. After controlling the town, IS ordered the Christians to pay a tax, convert to Islam, or die by the sword, prompting the residents to flee the town.” Documentarian Gwendolen Cates, who spent year in the Arab nation, also said, “The Christians of Iraq, along with other religious minorities, live in constant fear and face potential genocide. … The minorities are being increasingly ‘ghettoized,’ with their land being taken.”

Pakistan: a Muslim man raped a 13-year-old Christian girl on April 11 in Lahore. According to the brief report, “Three young Muslim men stood guard while another identified only as Shehryar raped her.”

According to the victim’s mother, “They are now pressing us to reconcile by offering us money, but we have resolved not to compromise over our daughter. The Muslim boys have ruined the life of my daughter, and we will not rest till we get justice.”

United Kingdom: A Christian nun who was chased out of Iraq by the Islamic State was denied a visa from the nation that provided refugee status to tens of thousands of Muslim men. Four years earlier, ISIS had invaded and occupied Sister Ban Madleen’s convent in Qaraqosh, prompting her to flee for her life. She settled with thousands of other internally displaced persons, mostly Christians, in Erbil, where she set up kindergartens for the children. When the opportunity for her to visit her sick sister in the UK came, officials denied her. According to the report,

The letter from UK Visas and Immigration, a division of the Home Office, gives the reasons for refusing Sister Ban a visa: that she had not provided evidence of her earnings as a kindergarten principal, and that she had not provided confirmation that the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena would fund her visit. For these reasons, the letter says the clearance officer is not satisfied that she is genuinely seeking entry for a permissible purpose. Rather than allowing Sister Ban to provide the necessary evidence, the letter, a copy of which the Catholic Herald has seen, ends: “In relation to this decision there is no right of appeal or right to administrative review.” The letter acknowledges the importance of family visits, and accepts that Sister Ban had previously travelled to the UK and complied with the terms of her visa, but points out that she was issued that visa seven years ago in 2011 and comments specifically on her absence of recent travel to the UK.

“Do they not know what happened between 2014 and now?” wondered one Fr. Kiely, who is acquainted with her case. He further confirmed that denying religious orderlies visas in not uncommon in the UK: another nun with a PhD in Biblical Theology from Oxford was denied twice; another nun was denied entry for not having a personal bank account; a Catholic priest was refused a visa for not being married; and three archbishops from Iraq and Syria were refused entry despite being invited by the country’s Syriac Orthodox Church for the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Cathedral, an event attended by Prince Charles.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.

Source: “Genocide against Christians”

Iran’s Idea of Human Rights: Persecute Christians | Ibrahim at Gatestone

by Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute
October 07, 2018

https://www.meforum.org/articles/2018/iran-s-idea-of-human-rights-persecute-christian

In a speech before the United Nations on September 20, 2017, presumably as a way to support his claim that Israel is “a rogue and racist regime [that] trample[s] upon the most basic rights of the Palestinians,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly portrayed his government as dedicated to “moderation and respect for human rights,” adding:

“We in Iran strive to build peace and promote the human rights of peoples and nations. We never condone tyranny and we always defend the voiceless. We never threaten anyone…”

One need only look to Iran’s Christians — who form 1% of its entire population — to test these claims. Unlike the persecution other Christian minorities experience in Muslim majority nations — which often comes at the hands of Muslim individuals, mobs, or professional terrorists — the primary driver of Christian persecution in Iran is the government itself.

Iran is among the top ten worst nations where Christians experience “extreme persecution.” The 2018 World Watch List, compiled by Open Doors (a human rights organization that highlights the global persecution of Christians), makes this clear.

Whereas most persecution of Christians in the Arab Gulf region comes from society or radical Islamic groups, the main threat for believers in Iran comes from the government. The Iranian regime declares the country to be a Shia Islamic State and is constantly expanding its influence. Hardliners within the regime are vehemently opposed to Christianity, and create severe problems for Christians, particularly converts from Islam. Christians and other minorities are seen as threats to this end and are persecuted as a result. Iranian society as a whole is more tolerant than their leadership, thanks in part due to the influence of moderate and mystical Sufi Islam.

Most of the Iranian regime’s persecution seems directed against Protestant Christians and Muslim converts to branches of Christianity, such as the Evangelical, Baptist, and Pentecostal strains. Because they are denied the right to build churches, Christians often resort to meeting and worshipping in secret. Reports of Iranian authorities breaking into such house-church gatherings, arresting and hauling off many, if not all, present Christians, have become increasingly common.

Discussing this trend, Middle East Concern (another human rights organization) says:

“A great many Iranians have been coming to Christ and it’s something which the authorities are clearly very unhappy about. So, there are periodic arrests, detentions, [and] imprisonments. There have been a lot of charges lately which are suggesting an even greater clampdown—sentences of 10-15 years in some cases for Christians. And usually, the authorities will suggest that this [is] the result of undermining the state or seeking to collaborate against the state and will use more political charges than say apostasy or blasphemy laws.”

In June 2017, for example, four Muslim converts to Christianity, who were arrested a month earlier in raids on house-churches, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison:

“The four men were officially charged with ‘acting against national security,’ a catch-all charge often used by the Iranian government to punish different types of religious and political dissent. The government often uses it against converts instead of the charge of apostasy, according to freedom of religion advocates, in an attempt to avoid international scrutiny.”

Most recently, another convert to Christianity, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, inquired about the charge for which he was convicted: “Action against national security through the establishment of house churches.” In an August 2018 open letter to the Iranian court that sentenced him to ten years in prison, he asked:

“…is the fellowship of a few Christian brothers and sisters in someone’s home, singing worship songs, reading the Bible and worshiping God acting against national security? Isn’t it a clear violation of civil and human rights, and an absolute injustice to receive a ten-year prison sentence just for organizing ‘house churches'”…

Although the official reason Iranian authorities give in all these arrests and convictions is that such Christian activities are tantamount to “crimes against national security,” it seems that the real reason is hostility to religions other than Iran’s indigenous religious denominations. For instance, “[w]hile the government is anti-Christian, it does grant some limited freedoms to historical [non-Protestant] Christian churches,” according to the World Watch List.

“They [indigenous Orthodox and Catholic communities] are allowed to preach to fellow countrymen in their own language but are forbidden from ministering to people from Muslim backgrounds. Members of these historic churches are treated as second-class citizens, and they have reported imprisonment, physical abuse, harassment and discrimination, and jail terms, particularly for reaching out to Muslims.”

Even historical, indigenous churches are targeted for destruction by Iranian authorities.
Not only does Iran persecute its Christian minorities, but it also tries to coerce them to embrace Islam — despite Rouhani’s boasts before the UN that “Iran does not seek to… impose its official religion on others,” because “[w]e are so confident in the depth of our culture, the truth of our faith and tenacity and longevity of our revolution…”

In one instance, the government “ordered children belonging to families of one of the country’s largest house-church movements to study the Koran and Shi’a Islamic teachings or face expulsion from school,” notes one report. The policy “deprives Christian children of primary and secondary education unless they agree to religious instruction that does not conform to their faith.” As one Iranian Christian living in hiding had explained:

“Rouhani wants to prove that he is a good Muslim by persecuting Christians…. Most of the new Christians are former Muslims…. The authorities are trying to eradicate Christianity, just as the Islamic State group, but smarter.”

Many Christians who eventually escape Iran and its prisons make clear that pressuring them to convert to Islam was a standard tactic. An October 2017 report says that it had “obtained confirmed reports of them being beaten in prison and threatened that if they don’t renounce their faith in Christ and turn away from their Christian faith, they will be forced to leave the country or be beaten to death.”

Similarly, while recounting their experiences in Iran’s jail system, two female converts to Christianity said “they were asked repeatedly to deny their Christian faith,” and “were denied medical treatment because of their faith and that they were seen as ‘dirty infidels.'”

“We can do anything to you and nobody can stop us,” their Islamic interrogators regularly informed them. “Here we are the law and we can do whatever we want…. If you don’t give us the information we need, we’ll beat you till you vomit blood…”

“They treated us like animals,” recalled the women.

“If a prisoner’s case got [international media] attention, they stopped torturing or raping them because they knew the world was watching…. We heard of many cases of prisoners who had no voice outside, and many things happened to them.”

The irony is that Rouhani himself hints that Iran’s commitment to human rights does not include non-Muslims. At one point in his UN speech, he said that “Human and citizens’ rights, along with the quest for justice and Islamic values, have constituted the most pivotal demands of the Iranian people … particularly in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.” Evidently, any Iranian who has “Christian values” does not count.

Elsewhere, Rouhani said:

“It is simply impossible for anybody to aspire to attain long-term stability, prosperity, and development, while Muslims in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Myanmar and so many other places live in misery, war and poverty.”

Why did Rouhani stress “Muslims”? Why not say “all people” in Syria, Iraq, etc.? Again, apparently the “misery” of non-Muslims who live in those countries does not warrant mention.

Until such time that Iran can show that it cares about the human rights of all — including non-Muslims who live within its borders — all lofty talk about rights and Palestinians must be seen for what it is: hypocrisy, lies and a political agenda.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Lord’s Day 41, 2018

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord my God,
I cried to You for help, and You healed me.
O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.
Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Now as for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I will never be moved.”
O Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong;
You hid Your face, I was dismayed.
To You, O Lord, I called,
And to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?

“Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

—Psalm 30

Hymn XXI.
The storm hushed.

’Tis past—the dreadful stormy night
Is gone, with all its fears!
And now I see returning light,
The Lord, my Sun, appears.

The tempter, who but lately said,
I soon shall be his prey;
Has heard my Saviour’s voice and fled
With shame and grief away.

Ah, Lord, since thou didst hide thy face,
What has my soul endur’d?
But now ’tis past, I feel thy grace,
And all my wounds are cur’d!

O wond’rous change! but just before
Despair beset me round;
I heard the lion’s horrid roar,
And trembled at the sound.

Before corruption, guilt and fear,
My comfort blasted fell;
And unbelief discover’d near
The dreadful depths of hell.

But Jesus pity’d my distress,
He heard my feeble cry;
Reveal’d his blood and righteousness,
And brought salvation nigh.

Beneath the banner of his love,
I now secure remain;
The tempter frets, but dares not move
To break my peace again.

Lord, since thou thus hast broke my bands,
And set the captive free;
I would devote my tongue, my hands,
My heart, my all to thee.

—William Cowper, Olney Hymns. Book III: On the Rise, Progress, Changes, and Comforts of the Spiritual Life.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation
if you can possibly help it.
But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.

Source: Lord’s Day 41, 2018

Luther and the Thunderstorm — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Why did Martin Luther call out to Saint Anne during a terrifying thunderstorm? In this brief clip, Stephen Nichols takes us back to the incident that led Luther to become a monk.

This Reformation Month, watch a short video every day on the history and insights of the Protestant Reformation. And don’t forget that for a donation of any amount this month only, you can also receive a copy of Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer, a documentary featuring interviews with R.C. Sproul and several Ligonier Teaching Fellows, on DVD. Offer ends 10/31/18.

Transcript

In 1505, Martin Luther was here in Erfurt. He had received his master’s degree in January, and he just spent a few months studying law. He thought he’d go home and pay a visit to his family, so he traveled about 90 kilometers to the north to the town of Mansfeld. On the way back, Luther was caught in a violent thunderstorm, in fact, he thought God had unleashed the very heavens to take his life. So Luther tried to get shelter, and he found this big granite rock, and he grasped it, and he cried out, “Help me, Saint Anne, and I will become a monk.”

As Luther’s biographer Roland Bainton puts it, ‘God kept his vows, and Luther kept his.’ Luther survived the thunderstorm. He made his way back here to Erfurt, and he threw a party for his friends. He gave away his law books, he gave away his law cap, and he entered the monastery here in Erfurt. Luther thought that somehow by becoming a monk, he would solve his spiritual struggles. The word we use to describe these struggles is the word anfechtungen—struggles in the plural, a deep-seated soul anxiety. You see it in Luther at the thunderstorm, and you see Luther crying out “Help me St. Anne. Why does he cry out to Saint Anne? Well for one, this is the only mediator that Luther knows.

Saint Anne was the patron saint of miners, not minors but miners as in the profession. And that was a profession of Luther’s father, Hans Luther. He owned a copper mine, in fact, he had worked hard enough to own one mine, and he managed a second mine. He was very entrepreneurial and took on a second job as it were so that he could provide an education for his son. And as a miner, the patron saint was Saint Anne. There would have been a shrine in Luther’s childhood home to Saint Anne. When he had visited there in Mansfeld, he would have seen Saint Anne’s shrine. He probably prayed to Saint Anne before he set out on his journey. And when he found himself in that intense moment he cried out to Saint Anne for help. That was the only mediator that Luther knew.

via Luther and the Thunderstorm — Ligonier Ministries Blog

October 14 Gaining an Understanding Mind

Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

James 1:3

Don’t ever doubt that trials will accomplish something positive. They are designed to produce “patience,” or—better translated—“endurance” or “perseverance.” With every trial, we build the tenacity of spirit that holds on under pressure while waiting patiently on God to remove the trial at the appointed time and then reward us. It strengthens us as we gain more endurance.

God builds us up in the same way a runner gradually develops the ability to run long distance. He starts small and works up to his maximum capacity. God allows increasingly greater trials in our lives to increase our endurance for greater ministry and joy, for the more difficult the battle, the sweeter the victory. When you come out of a difficult trial, you can rejoice over God’s delivering you. That proves Him to be trustworthy, and that strengthens your faith.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 311). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Robin Collins lectures on the fine-tuning argument at Pepperdine University

WINTERY KNIGHT

Christianity and the progress of science Christianity and the progress of science

Details:

Dr. Robin Collins is a Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Messiah College. Collins is the foremost defender of what is known as the teleological argument for the existence of God. He has a background in both physics and philosophy and will be discussing how the specific physical constants and conditions in the universe are finely-tuned for intelligent life and how this “fine-tuning” gives us reason to believe in a Creator.

Here is the video:

Topics:

  • the constants and quantities set at the origin of the universe is fine-tuned for conscious, embodied intelligences like us
  • three kinds of fine-tuning: 1) laws of nature, 2) constants, 3) quantities
  • examples of 1): gravity, electromagnetism, strong force, quantization, Pauli exclusion principle
  • examples of 2): gravitational constant, cosmological constant,
  • examples of 3):  initial distribution of mass-energy
  • in addition to fine-tuning for…

View original post 104 more words

October 14 Free from Sin

“Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”

Romans 6:6–7

✧✧✧

Having died with Christ, believers are no longer under sin’s control.

Years ago a book with the amusing title “It Ain’t Gonna Reign No More” appeared. Though humorous, that title aptly summarizes the believer’s relationship to sin. Christians still commit sins but are no longer under sin’s dominion.

When we were united with Christ in His death (Rom. 6:5), “our old self was crucified with Him” (verse 6). Our “old self” equals what we were before salvation—lost in sin and bound for Hell. It is the unregenerate nature we inherited from Adam (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22).

Some argue that believers now have both an old and new nature—a sort of spiritual split personality. The conflict between those two natures, they believe, is responsible for the struggles of the Christian life, as the believer strives to crucify his old self. But notice that Paul does not command us to crucify our old self; he tells us that has already happened (cf. Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:9–10).

The expression “that our body of sin might be done away with” approaches this same truth from a slightly different perspective. It notes the close connection between the body and sin (Rom. 8:10, 13) and describes the absolute domination of sin in the life of an unbeliever. That domination is broken at salvation.

Paul is not teaching, however, that believers’ sin natures have been eradicated, and hence they no longer sin. The Greek word translated “done away with” does not mean “destroyed” but “rendered inoperative” or “deprived of its strength, influence, or power.” Christians are no longer slaves to sin; its tyranny in our lives has been broken.

Be encouraged today in your battle with sin because though it is still a dangerous enemy, sin is no longer your master.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for delivering you from sin’s power. ✧ Pray that He would deliver you from sin’s presence in your life.

For Further Study: Read the following passages: Romans 6:19; 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20. What is your part in the battle against sin? ✧ What practical steps can you take to more effectively defeat sin in your life?[1]


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

Devoted or Interested?

Unfathomable Grace

The words of one ancient hymn go, “Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.” Another older hymn calls out, “All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down.” To these a modern chorus may be added, “Holy Spirit, You are welcome here; come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.” Then, as I get ready to enjoy and glorify God in one of the assemblies of the saints on this Lord’s Day, I am reminded of the words of a modern-day declaration:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine. 

I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

Christian friends, at Horizon Church and elsewhere, is this the panting of your heart? Do you long for a fresh outpouring of God’s love…

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My Jesus, I Love Thee

I looked for a rendition where all four verses are sung, but I did not find one. I have no idea why people would skip the third verse.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know thou art mine,
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If I ever loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me
And purchaed my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath.
And say, whe the death dew lies cold on my brow,
“If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright.
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
“If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

Source: My Jesus, I Love Thee

Sunday Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Joy

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

On Sundays I usually post a theological word with its definition, then an explanation, and use it in a verse. I also use a picture to represent the concept. This is my effort to maintain a theological literacy among the brethren and between generations, something I believe is critical. We have to know what we believe, why, and know the words to express it. Words like Justification, Immanence, and Perspicuity have all been a Sunday Word of the Week.

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Similarly, when we discuss other words such as love, peace, and joy, we think we know what they mean, but often times these culturally embedded words have a totally different flavor when used from a biblical context. It is true of the words pertaining to the Fruit of the Spirit. Even these ‘simpler’ biblical words are misunderstood.

Therefore, over the next 9 weeks the Word of the Week…

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The Glory Isn’t Ours

The Outspoken TULIP

We love affirmation, don’t we? Those Likes on our social media accounts or commendations at work sure make us feel good about ourselves. And even as Christians, many of us consider high self-esteem as something desirable.

How merciful of the Lord to continually remind us Who really deserves all the glory!

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