Daily Archives: October 30, 2018

James MacDonald Sues Critics After 2,000 Leave Harvest Bible Chapel | News & Reporting | Christianity Today

The authors of a longtime watchdog blog and Julie Roys, who was reporting on the church, face defamation claims.

Pastor James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel filed a lawsuit this month against two ex-members and former Moody Radio host Julie Roys, accusing them of spreading false information about the Chicago-area megachurch’s financial health and leadership.

The main targets of the church’s defamation complaint are Ryan Mahoney and Scott Bryant, who together run the blog The Elephant’s Debt. The site has culled stories of alleged mismanagement at Harvest since 2012, including claims of as much as $70 million in mortgage debt and a lack of accountability from its elder board.

Harvest has addressed some of the criticisms. MacDonald, its founder and senior pastor, apologized in 2014 to a trio of former elders who were disciplined for speaking out about a “culture of fear and intimidation.”

But the church challenges the blog’s characterizations of its financial standing and MacDonald’s character, wealth, and leadership. The lawsuit lists more than 57 points of disagreement with details published on The Elephant’s Debt.

Leaders at Harvest said the blog harmed its reputation enough that 2,000 people have left the congregation over the past few years. The multi-site church numbers 13,000 attendees across seven locations, making it one of the biggest in Illinois.

“Our goal was to end their prolonged and divisive effort to undermine the Elder governance of our church and to discredit our primary leaders,” elders said a statement to their congregation this month. “We have chosen to accomplish that by filing a civil suit in Cook County.”

Mahoney, a former teacher at Harvest Christian Academy, and Bryant left the church in 2010. They posted the bulk of their updates on The Elephant’s Debt between 2012 and 2013, including testimonies from more than a dozen former elders and staff members who were concerned about the direction of the church.

Before the October 17 suit—which also names Mahoney’s wife and Bryant’s wife—the blog had not been updated all year. They declined to answer questions from CT, citing the legal proceedings, but wrote online in response:

While the authors of this website would never have chosen to resolve our differences in a litigious manner, we are confident that the legal process will ultimately uphold the values of the first amendment right to freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, all of which are essential to safeguarding the values of the Protestant Reformation and our common life.

Last week, a Cook County judge dismissed the church’s request for an emergency restraining order, which would have barred The Elephant’s Debt and Roys from publishing about MacDonald and Harvest while the case proceeded. Now, the defendants await another filing for the defamation complaint, which includes charges under the Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices Act of using false or misleading information to disparage the work of the church.

Continue reading
— Read on www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/october/james-macdonald-harvest-bible-chapel-sue-elephants-debt-jul.html

Don’t Worry, There Are More Demons Than You Think | Christianity Today

What Halloween gets right about spirits and why Christians have nothing to be afraid of.

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold,
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang,
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.”
–William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

William Shakespeare recognized that the coming of autumn was an apt time to reflect on his own mortality. We Americans don’t usually share in that impulse. We find just about any talk of death morbid and out of place. Most of the time. But then, halfway through the autumn season, we stumble across a holiday that (at least traditionally) relishes in darkness and death—Halloween.

Christians have long debated, and will continue to debate, whether they should engage in the various traditions that surround Halloween. If Halloween were only a day for little kids to dress up like their favorite princess or—for the more budget-conscious parent—ghosts (hello old bed sheet!), it’s unlikely Christians would raise much of a fuss. What bothers the anti-Halloween crowd isn’t current practice; it’s the history behind the holiday.

But what if the dark side of Halloween has something to teach us? I would go so far as to say that if the only relic left of Halloween is costumes and candy, we miss a dangerous truth—that dark powers are still at work in our world.

A Portal to the Other Side

Though the history of Halloween is a rather muddled affair, certain details are rather uncontested. We know, for instance, that commemorating October 31 is centuries old. As far back as the ninth century, Pope Gregory IV moved the “Feast of All Saints” day to November 1. The evening before this feast became known as “All Hallows’ Eve” and was, for centuries, a time when Christians honored the saints and prayed for the souls of their departed loved ones.

The more ancient history of Halloween, however, is murky. Some claim that the date of October 31 was chosen intentionally to coincide with a Celtic festival called “Samhain,” a pagan holiday marking the end of harvest. Samhain was a time when the locked portal to the world of the dead was briefly opened, allowing spirits, ghosts, and other paranormal beings to walk the earth.

If the church chose October 31 to coincide with Samhain, the question is, why? Most likely, this was an attempt at supplanting a pagan holiday with a “Christianized” version. After all, if the coming of autumn is going to make everyone speculate about the world of the dead anyway, it might be wisest to corral and re-direct the impulse.

Many believers today don’t approach Halloween like our 9th-century Christian forebears. But in one sense, I think we should. Those believers recognized a pressing question, “Are there spirits among us today?” and did their best to answer it. Halloween raises the same question for us today, but we Westerners tend to dodge it. We make spirits and ghosts into silly games, because—obviously—only the ignorant people of the past believed in stuff like that.

Christians ought to know better. Our holy book contains stories of spirits being called back from the dead (1 Sam. 28:8–19), of men who thought they were seeing ghosts (Matt. 14:26, Luke 24:37), and of demons who did tremendous damage, both spiritually and physically (Matt. 8:32–34, Mark 9:20–22, Acts 19:13–16). In fact, Jesus’ ministry can be characterized as an extended battle between his Holy Spirit and the lesser spirits of darkness, a battle that finds its dramatic conclusion in the paradoxical defeat of those spirits on Calvary (cf. Col. 2:15). When it comes to the question of a “portal to the other side,” one night a year might be too modest. If the New Testament is any indication, that portal is never completely closed (Eph. 6:10–18). Our world has far more spirits involved in its affairs than we realize.

So Where Are the Spirits Today?

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— Read on www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/october-web-only/halloween-demons-ghost-stories-spiritual-world-silver-linin.html

The Five Solas — Ligonier Ministries Blog

We’re saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul walks us through the five solas of the Reformation.

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.

Throughout the “Solas,” the accent is on the qualifier alone. The created world is called to reflect the glory of God. The very fact that God makes a creature places that creature in debt to the Creator. And the only reason you exist and that I exist is for Him. There’s nothing inherently dignified about dirt, and that’s what we’ve been made from. The reason why you count is because God says you count. And the whole world is full of His glory. Only God can bind the conscience absolutely. The peasant armed with one verse of Scripture has more authority than a pope or a church council who does not have Scripture. This is crossed out by the Reformers. This is crossed out by the Reformers. And my inherent righteousness is crossed out. So that you have faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone. The divine prerogative for mercy and grace is “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” That’s His prerogative. God does not owe saving grace to anybody.

I talked to my Arminian friends all the time about this and say, “look, let me ask you a question. Why is it you’re a believer, and many members of your own family or friends that you have are not believers when you both heard the gospel?” Jesus doesn’t say no man can come to him unless God helps it. He says no man can come to Him unless God, in fact, gives it to him. No one is saved just because they affirmed the doctrine of justification. What happens if you deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone? Now that’s a different matter because now you’re denying that you’re saved by Christ and by Christ alone, and that denial may be enough to damn you. Christ alone merits salvation in front of a just and holy God. Because He’s the only one who is sinless. The whole doctrine of justification by faith, the whole doctrine of salvation by grace rests on the principle that the law of God has been fulfilled by Christ. When I put my trust in Him, He computes or counts to me His righteousness. And on the basis of that imputed righteousness, God declares me just right now. So if I die right now, I go to heaven right now, because I have all the righteousness I will ever need to get there—namely the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That’s good news. You reject that you’re rejecting the gospel.

via The Five Solas — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Demonic Origins of Halloween and How the Church Has Fought to Redeem It | CBN.com

Halloween is a pagan holiday with some very dark roots, and the modernized version of this celebration of evil is still a cause for concern by many Christians.
— Read on www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2018/october/the-demonic-origins-of-halloween-and-how-the-church-has-fought-to-redeem-it

October 30 God’s Goodness

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

James 1:17

Things that come from God are good and perfect. God could never produce evil because His nature is good. Rather, He produces unending good. Whereas we possess a nature that gives rise to sin, God does not.

Why would we try to satisfy ourselves with evil desires that result in death when God is pouring out everything we could ever want for our satisfaction? Only a fool would be lured away by such a trap when all the goodness of God is available by His grace. Likewise, our flesh can be compared to a well of stagnant water. It is ludicrous to believe we could be satisfied by drinking from it when we can come to the fountain of Living Water Himself who gives us every good and perfect gift.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 327). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

2 Essential Doctrines of the Reformation | Crossway Articles

https://vimeo.com/277362945

Authority of Scripture

The Reformation addressed many different theological issues, and as an entire movement, affected a reformation for the whole church. There were at least two issues—two doctrines —that were at the center of the Reformation.

First, there was what’s called the “formal principle” of the Reformation or what’s also referred to as sola scriptura. This simply means that God’s word alone, because it’s inspired by God himself, is the inerrant, sufficient, and the final authority in the church.

As Martin Luther begins to wrestle over issues of salvation, another issue comes up of who has the authority to decide on these matters. Here Luther comes into some heated conflict with the Church of Rome because Rome claimed ownership of church tradition. Some even said the pope himself had an equal authority to Scripture—even one that was infallible.

As the reformers returned to the Bible as the final authority, they found the gospel again.

And Luther said that as much as he respected the tradition of the church and even the Pope himself, only Scripture is God’s written revelation. Therefore only Scripture is without error. Therefore only Scripture is our final and sufficient authority for the church.

Faith Alone

This became a defining mark of the Reformation, but there’s also a second major tenet of the Reformation: the “material principle” or what sometimes has been referred to as sola fide or faith alone.

As the reformers returned to the Bible as the final authority, they found the gospel again. And as they rediscovered the gospel of Jesus Christ, they came to the realization that one isn’t right with God by grace plus works of merit. Actually it’s by God’s grace alone, on the basis of what Christ has done alone, through faith alone: sola fide.

And so they began to preach the Bible to their congregations and the message that if you are to be right with God, you cannot trust in your good works. Works have no value before a perfectly holy God. Instead, place your faith in Jesus alone.

So sola fide and sola scriptura became two of the five solas of the Reformation and these two solas were absolutely essential to the Reformation cause.

Matthew Barrett (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine. He is the author of several books, including God’s Word Alone; and Owen on the Christian Life; and Reformation Theology.

Related Articles

— Read on www.crossway.org/articles/2-essential-doctrines-of-the-reformation/

PLOT TWIST: ‘Mail Bomb’ Suspect Cesar Sayoc and Stormy Daniels Worked at the Same Strip Club — The Gateway Pundit

Plot twist: Suspected ‘mail bomber’ Cesar Sayoc and Stormy Daniels worked at the same strip club.

This is strange…

Suspected ‘mail bomber’ Cesar Sayoc worked as a DJ at Ultra Gentleman’s Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, the same strip club porn-star-turned-Trump-nemesis Stormy Daniels performed at in April.

WPTV reported:

Mail bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc worked as a DJ at Ultra Gentleman’s Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., the same strip club where Trump accuser Stormy Daniels performed in April.

WPTV spoke to Ultra manager Stacey Saccal who confirmed that Sayoc worked as a DJ Thursday afternoon, the day before he was arrested in Plantation. She said Sayoc had worked there for two months as a DJ and doorman.

Saccal said there had been no complaints about Sayoc from other employees prior to his arrest Friday.

According to the club’s manager, Stacey Saccal, Cesar Sayoc never spoke about politics and everyone who worked at the club was “shocked and in disbelief” when they heard about Sayoc’s arrest.

Saccal said she never knew Trump decals or political stickers were plastered on Sayoc’s white van; she said it looked like an ice cream truck.

“I never knew that his van was covered in political stickers. I thought it was an ice cream truck,” Saccal said, noting that he parked far from the club.

After Cesar Sayoc was arrested for allegedly sending out a string of cartoon-like ‘mail bombs,’ (zero detonations) authorities impounded his white van dubbed a ‘Trump mobile’ by many in the media because the windows were covered with pictures of President Trump.

The windows on Sayoc’s van were also covered with anti-CNN, anti-Democrat pictures.

On Monday, Sayoc’s lawyer said the evidence against his client is thin.

Is this just a coincidence? Or something more?

 

H/T Townhall

PLOT TWIST: ‘Mail Bomb’ Suspect Cesar Sayoc and Stormy Daniels Worked at the Same Strip Club — The Gateway Pundit

October 30 The Solution to the Sin Dilemma

“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Romans 7:24–25

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Christians have been delivered from sin’s power and will one day be delivered from its presence.

The godly Puritan writer Thomas Watson once said that a sure sign of sanctification is a hatred and loathing of sin. It was his hatred of sin that caused Paul to cry out as he wrapped up his spiritual autobiography, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” That cry expresses the distress and frustration the apostle experienced in his spiritual battle. David expressed that same frustration in Psalm 13:1–2: “How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day?”

When he exclaimed, “Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Paul referred to his physical body that was subject to sin and death. It is there that the battle with sin is joined. The verb translated “set me free” was used to speak of a soldier rescuing a wounded comrade in the midst of battle. Paul longed to be rescued from his sinful, unredeemed flesh.

But the story doesn’t end there, with Paul frustrated and in despair. Certain of his eventual triumph over sin, the apostle says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” As he goes on to explain in Romans 8:18–19, 22–23 (and in 1 Cor. 15:53, 57), believers will one day receive their glorified bodies and enter Christ’s presence, never to struggle again with sin. Paul elaborates on that glorious truth in Philippians 3:20–21: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

What a triumphant hope is ours!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God in advance for the glorified body that will one day be yours.

For Further Study: Read 1 John 3:2–3. Are you fixing your hope on your glorification when Christ returns? ✧ Is that hope having a purifying effect on your lifestyle now?[1]


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

October 30 Increasing Your Spiritual Strength

“All Scripture is … profitable for … correction” (2 Tim. 3:16).

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God’s Word strengthens the repentant sinner.

If you’re a gardening buff, you know that skillful pruning promotes the overall growth and productivity of a plant. Jesus assumed His audience knew as much when He said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:1–3).

Jesus was comparing believers to branches, which the Father prunes for maximum productivity. The Word is His pruning shear, which He applies with skill and precision to remove our imperfections and to promote godliness. He wants to eliminate anything from our lives that may restrict our spiritual growth.

The word translated “correction” in 2 Timothy 3:16 speaks of the strengthening work of God’s Word. Scripture not only exposes your sin, but it also strengthens you and restores you to a proper spiritual posture. It convicts you and then gives you instruction to build you up again.

Job 17:9 says, “The righteous shall hold to his way, and he who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger.” Paul added, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).

As the Spirit uses Scripture to expose sin in your life, forsake that sin, and follow what Scripture says to do instead. You will be strengthened in your spiritual walk as a result. To aid in that process, be “constantly nourished on the words of the faith and … sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:6).

I firmly believe that any weaknesses you have can become areas of great strength as you allow God’s Word to do its sanctifying work within you.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the strengthening and restoring power of His Word. ✧ If there’s an area of your life that is weak and vulnerable to temptation, confess it to the Lord, and begin today to strengthen it according to the Word.

For Further Study: Read Ephesians 1:18–23 and 3:14–21. ✧ What did Paul pray for? ✧ How did God demonstrate His power toward believers? ✧ Is God’s power sufficient for all your spiritual needs? Explain.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 316). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Second migrant caravan crosses river entering Mexico (Video)

https://youtu.be/hhIaQdI2dY0

Central American migrants hoping to eventually reach US soil waded across parts of the Suchiate River to enter into Mexico.

The Mexican navy has begun patrolling the river and Mexican police have taken up positions on the riverbank, insisting migrants register before entering and show travel documents that many do not have.

8 Theses for Women of the Modern Day Reformation

Michelle Lesley

Originally published October 20, 2017

October 31, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and because I’m all theme-y and whatnot, I’m in the midst of a fantastic book called Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDoodewaard who I dearly wish were on social media so I could shamelessly fangirl her and make a general nuisance of myself by asking too many questions. Normally, I would actually finish a book before slobberingly commending it to you, but in case you like being all theme-y and whatnot too, and because time is of the essence, I’m throwing caution to the wind and telling you:

Get this book. Now. You’re welcome.

Normally, when we read about the Reformation, we’re reading about great preachers and leaders like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Hus, but preaching was not the only work of the Reformation. And that’s one of the things that…

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Tuesday Briefing Oct 30, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

In response to corruption and economic turmoil, Brazil turns to the right in Sunday’s presidential election

Why order is a precondition for liberty in a representative democracy

A moral revolution in primetime: What the record number of LGBTQ characters on TV tells us about this cultural moment

Why cultural bankruptcy is a far more serious concern than corporate bankruptcy

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  • CNN face plant trying to blame Trump for synagogue massacre

    Alisyn Camerota looks a desperate fool.

    You have to hand it to CNN — sometimes. Yesterday, Alisyn Camerota asked her guest probing questions about hate: “Can hate be cultivated?” “What lights the match of hate?”

    Unfortunately, her guest wasn’t Robert Spencer and she wasn’t trying to expose the root cause of jihad.

    Instead, she was
    — Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/10/cnn_face_plant_trying_to_blame_trump_for_synagogue_massacre.html

    Deranged leftist media will destroy the country if Republicans don’t fight

    So hysterical is the left as the midterm elections approach that it has descended into unhinged moonbattery.  Leftists fervently and viciously blame President Trump for the bad acts committed by mentally ill persons across the nation.  They hoped and prayed that whoever was sending those fake bombs to prominent Democrats was a Trump-lover.  When arrested, he was living out of a shiny white van plastered with suspciously looking like professionally applied pro-Trump decals and posters.  According to the “news,” so often wrong, he registered as a Republican in 2016.  But he had been a felon since 2004, so, in Florida, he could not have registered in either party.  He had been a registered Democrat for many years prior.  

    Considering how he lived, Cesar Sayoc may well not have been capable of finding the addresses of all those targets or of creating those ridiculously fake mail bombs that could not hurt anyone.  His lawyer said he “never seems sophisticated enough to do something like he’s accused of.”  It’s possible he was someone’s dupe, a plant, a victim of someone else’s plan to harm Republican candidates in the upcoming election.

    Will we ever discover the truth?  Not likely, but the FBI had better be investigating the finances of his family members, who are probably glad he is safely off the streets. 

    Then came the worst murderous attack on a Jewish house of worship in U.S. history, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  Eleven people were killed while the killer shouted anti-Semitic screeds.  This horrific act is also being blamed across the left media on President Trump.

    Apparently unaware that Trump’s daughter and her family are Jewish, 

    Anti-Semitism is on the rise thanks to Barack Obama and his antipathy toward Israel, as well as the tenured radicals on our university campuses who hate Israel and embrace Islamists like 

    Anyone paying attention, left or right, knows that the violence is all on the left, as is the violent rhetoric.  Robert Creamer hired thugs to pick fights at Trump campaign rallies.  Antifa is left and very violent.  Occupy Wall Street was left and sometimes violent.  Black Lives Matter is left and sometimes violent.  There is simply no debate when it comes to this issue.  Leftists feel duty-bound to commit violence in the furtherance of their agenda.  They think they are winning hearts and minds, that millions of Americans agree with them.

    What they are doing is ensuring a red wave on November 6.  The Democrats’ behavior throughout the Kavanaugh hearings was not the beginning of normal Americans’ contempt for leftist cruelty and lack of any semblance of ethics, but it sure kicked it into high gear.  Blaming Trump and his supporters for fake mail bombs and the slaughter of Jews is beyond the pale – even Catherine the Great’s anti-Semitic pale.

    Then there is the “caravan” that is actually a mob, including all that the word entails – gang members, human-traffickers, pedophiles, etc.  Not one Democrat has spoken out against this invasion heading our way.  This appears to have Soros’s fingerprints all over it.  He and his lefty pals in Latin America thought forcing more “separation of families” at the border would work against Trump.  This is how stupid they are!  This trick alone is winning over Hispanic and black voters to the GOP.  Trump will use the U.S. military to prevent this harrowing re-enactment of Camp of the Saints.  The left, both here and in Latin America, could not care less about the human beings they’ve encouraged to join this march with promises of entry into the U.S.  They are just fodder for the left’s pursuit of unending power and votes.

    The left media are so frenzied they will spend hours or days on Trump’s use of a single word.  He called himself a “nationalist” at a recent rally to distinguish himself from the globalists like Obama and the rest of the left, who feel guilty about America’s success and power.  One would think he admitted to being a member of the KKK; that is how absurd the response of nearly every anchor and guest on the leftist media was.  They pretended he had said “white nationalism,” claiming that is what he meant.

    These not-journalists have been digging themselves into holes for years and need to learn to stop digging.  The NYT and the WaPo have lost any sense of journalistic ethics; they’ve thrown them away altogether.  No matter what event they “report” on, they will post an anti-Trump headline.  So derisive of the president, they are willing to sacrifice everything that has made America great.

    Does anyone outside of the Beltway read these papers anymore?  Not likely.  These people write and publish for each other.  They think the rest of us are irrelevant.  The truth is that they, the mainstream left media, are irrelevant.

    The left and the leftist media are so furious at Trump’s success – the economy, trade, defeating ISIS, two terrific SCOTUS justices, de-regulation, etc. – that they are prepared to do anything to stop him, no matter how devastating to the country.  Vote next Tuesday to save the GOP majority.  The thought of Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Adam Schiff with gavels in hand is a Halloween horror story.
    — Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/10/deranged_leftist_media_will_destroy_the_country_if_republicans_dont_fight.html

    Why Was the Reformation Necessary? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

    The church is always in need of reform. Even in the New Testament, we see Jesus rebuking Peter, and we see Paul correcting the Corinthians. Since Christians are always sinners, the church will always need reform. The question for us, however, is when does the need become an absolute necessity?

    The great Reformers of the sixteenth century concluded that reform was urgent and necessary in their day. In pursuing reform for the church, they rejected two extremes. On the one hand, they rejected those who insisted that the church was essentially sound and needed no fundamental changes. On the other hand, they rejected those who believed that they could create a perfect church in every detail. The church needed fundamental reform, but it would also always need to be reforming itself. The Reformers reached these conclusions from their study of the Bible.

    In 1543, the Reformer of Strasbourg, Martin Bucer, asked John Calvin to write a defense of the Reformation for presentation to Emperor Charles V at the imperial diet set to meet at Speyer in 1544. Bucer knew that the Roman Catholic emperor was surrounded by counselors who were maligning reform efforts in the church, and he believed that Calvin was the most capable minister to defend the Protestant cause.

    Calvin rose to the challenge and wrote one of his best works, “The Necessity of Reforming the Church.” This substantial treatise did not convince the emperor, but it has come to be regarded by many as the best presentation of the Reformed cause ever written.

    Calvin begins by observing that everyone agreed that the church had “diseases both numerous and grievous.” Calvin argues that matters were so serious that Christians could not abide a “longer delay” for reform or wait for “slow remedies.” He rejects the contention that the Reformers were guilty of “rash and impious innovation.” Rather, he insists that “God raised up Luther and others” to preserve “the truth of our religion.” Calvin saw that the foundations of Christianity were threatened and that only biblical truth would renew the church.

    Calvin looks at four great areas in the life of the church that needed reform. These areas form what he calls the soul and the body of the church. The soul of the church is composed of the “pure and legitimate worship of God” and “the salvation of men.” The body of the church is composed of the “use of the sacraments” and “the government of the church.” For Calvin, these matters were at the heart of the Reformation debates. They are essential to the life of the church and can only be rightly understood in light of the teaching of the Scriptures.

    We might be surprised that Calvin placed the worship of God as the first of the Reformation issues, but this was a consistent theme of his. Earlier, he had written to Cardinal Sadoleto: “There is nothing more perilous to our salvation than a preposterous and perverse worship of God.” Worship is where we meet with God, and that meeting must be conducted by God’s standards. Our worship shows whether we truly accept God’s Word as our authority and submit to it. Self-created worship is both a form of works-righteousness and an expression of idolatry.

    Next, Calvin turned to what we often think of as the greatest issue of the Reformation, namely, the doctrine of justification:

    We maintain, that of what description so ever any man’s works may be, he is regarded as righteous before God, simply on the footing of gratuitous mercy; because God, without any respect to works, freely adopts him in Christ, by imputing the righteousness of Christ to him, as if it were his own. This we call the righteousness of faith, viz., when a man, made void and empty of all confidence of works, feels convinced that the only ground of his acceptance with God is a righteousness which is wanting to himself, and is borrowed from Christ. The point on which the world always goes astray, (for this error has prevailed in almost every age,) is in imagining that man, however partially defective he may be, still in some degree merits the favor of God by works.

    These foundational matters that form the soul of the church are supported by the body of the church: the sacraments and the government of the church. The sacraments must be restored to the pure and simple meaning and use given in the Bible. The government of the church must reject all tyranny that binds the consciences of Christians contrary to the Word of God.

    As we look at the church in our day, we may well conclude that reformation is needed—indeed, is necessary—in many of the areas about which Calvin was so concerned. Only the Word and Spirit of God will ultimately reform the church. But we should pray and work faithfully that such reform will come in our time.

    This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

    Why Was the Reformation Necessary? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

    October 30, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

    32:3 Ascribe greatness to our God: True wisdom and obedience always lead to the praise of God (Pss. 145:3; 150:2).

    32:4 Unlike the powerless gods of the nations (v. 37), God gives life, stability, and happiness to His people (vv. 15, 18, 30, 31). The joyful life that He gives is based on His perfect works. Like a firm Rock that stands against the raging waters of a stormy sea, God and His works stand firm against the chaos produced by sinful lives. He is the sure foundation for all truth in a world of deception. Thus He will never let lies pervert justice (Zeph. 3:5). Instead, as a righteous Judge, He will protect those who have been oppressed. Right before the Israelites entered the land of Canaan in order to establish a new nation, Moses extolled the God who is the perfect foundation for any society.[1]


    32:3 Ascribe greatness to our God! Cf. 3:24; 5:24; 9:26; 11:2; Ps 150:2. This command refers to the greatness of God revealed in His acts of omnipotence.

    32:4 the Rock! This word, representing the stability and permanence of God, was placed at the beginning of the verse for emphasis and was followed by a series of phrases which elaborated the attributes of God as the Rock of Israel. It is one of the principal themes in this song (see vv. 15, 18, 30, 31), stressing the unchanging nature of God in contrast with the fickle nature of the people.[2]


    32:3 proclaim the name of the Lord. This song was to witness in future days to the Lord, His goodness, and His saving work for Israel (31:19).

    32:4 Rock. This chapter provides the first instances in Scripture of “Rock” as a name for God (vv. 15, 18, 30; there is a similar image in Gen. 49:24 using a different Hebrew word). Suggesting God’s steadfast faithfulness and permanence, the term is common in the Psalms and other poetic passages (Ps. 95:1; Is. 44:8).[3]


    32:3–4 The epithet The Rock describes the Lord as both: (1) a firm and secure foundation upon whom one can build and in whom one can trust for salvation (vv. 15, 18, 30; Hab 1:12), and (2) a companion who is able to lead one through the trackless deserts of life (1Co 10:4).[4]


    [1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 266). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

    [2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Dt 32:3–4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

    [3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (pp. 288–289). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

    [4] Merrill, E. H. (2017). Deuteronomy. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 309). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Dr. Steve Lawson on Luther and Little Germany — Wretched

    Episode 2375 –

    Dr. Steve Lawson on Luther and Little Germany

    Segment 1 (00:00) Got Papal Bull?

    Segment 2 (07:15) The Great Declaration and Escape

    Segment 3 (15:24) When in Little Germany

    Wretched Surprise! (22:52) Bible League: Continuing the Work of the Reformation

    Dr. Steve Lawson on Luther and Little Germany — Wretched

    Why does the media let Obama get away with such bald faced lying on the stump?

    When I see former President Obama and others lecturing Trump about lying, I long for journalists who will correct the record. Sadly, there aren’t many out there so I will try to do their job.

    The first thing that needs to be corrected is when Obama is given credit for bringing us out of the 2008 recession. The truth is that the economy came out in June 2009, 110 days after Obama took office — before any of his policies could have had an effect on the economy. Three main things brought the economy out. 1. TARP where banks and others were loaned money (that they mostly paid back) to shore up their capital base.  2. The Federal Reserve rapidly dropping interest rates and injecting massive amounts of liquidity into the markets. 3. Rapidly dropping oil prices. Obama had little or nothing to do with those policies or actions.

    In the summer of 2008, gasoline prices shot up to over $4 per gallon for no justifiable reason. The price rise acted as a massive tax hike on all individuals and businesses. In the fall of 2008, Bush opened up drilling and by the time Obama took office, the price had collapsed to under $2 per gallon, reinvigorating purchasing power. One of the first things Obama did was to again block the drilling, reversing the positive effects.

    Obama’s policies actually gave the U.S. the slowest economic recovery in seventy years,

    Obama even admitted that there weren’t that many shovel ready jobs available,  which is what was promised when Obama pushed the stimulus bill. Obama did use the bill to reward political supporters like the owners of Solyndra. Throughout Obama’s term, he and Hillary rewarded supporters with political favors. Of course Democrats, including the media, never cared about this obvious corruption while they go after Trump for people staying at his hotels.

    It was clear as soon as Obama took office that he had little regard for following the law. When he bailed out General Motors he violated bankruptcy laws by rewarding his unsecured union supporters over more secured bond holders and other unsecured creditors.

    One of Obama’s supposedly huge accomplishments was Obamacare. He and others repeatedly lied to get it passed.  Instead of actually lowering prices, allowing people to keep their doctors and plans, and lowering the deficit, it did the opposite. The media willingly pushed and supported the continuous lies.

    Another accomplishment was passing the Lily Ledbetter law, which requires equal pay for men and women. There has been a law on the books called the

    On June 10, 1963, the 

    My guess is Obama and the Democrats passed that law for symbolism to pretend to do something. We don’t need duplicate laws. It is similar to Obama and a significant number of Democrats voting for a border fence in 2006 while they were seeking to take control of Congress. It doesn’t appear that they were ever serious about funding it.

    Obama and others brag about continuous job growth during his term, which is certainly true if you look at seasonally adjusted numbers.  But if you want to see good growth after a deep recession, go back to Reagan’s numbers from 1982 all the way up to 2000, when the labor force was much smaller. When Reagan took office there were 90.9 million working, and at the end of 1988 there were 108.8 million: up almost 18 million or 20%.  At the end of 2008 when Obama took office there were 134.8 million jobs and at the end of his term there were 145.8 million jobs, or up 11 million jobs or less than 9%. Tax cuts obviously work better.

    In 2018, wages are rising faster than any time since 2007, and the economy looks like it will grow faster than 3% for the whole year for the first time since 2005. That last growth came after Bush’s across-the-board tax cuts in 2003.  It is a shame that Democrats refuse to learn from history and instead want to go back to policies that gave us the slowest economic recovery in seventy years.

    Part time jobs are also down around 1 million since Trump took office and unemployment for all sexes, races and education levels are near record lows. Consumer and business confidence levels are also much higher than any time during Obama.

    So why is the media cheering for the policies that gave us slow economic growth and doing their best to hide the

    During Obama’s eight years, he weaponized the IRS and Justice Department to go after political opponents and protect those who surrounded him and supported him, no matter what laws they violated.

    Obama is clearly delusional and divorced from reality when he lectures others about Trump lying when he lied about so many major things throughout his term. Those lies include, but a not limited to Iran, Obamacare, Benghazi, Hillary’s Emails, Fast and Furious and spying.

    What do you call it when Obama takes credit for the current fast growing economy other than a bald faced lie?

    During Obama’s eight years, he repeatedly ginned up racial hate and derision towards cops. The best example was Ferguson, Missouri, where so many, especially journalists, pushed the fictional “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative”. How much violence and shootings of law enforcement have occurred because of the fictional narrative?

    If anyone wants to know what Democrats, including journalists and Hollywood, think of blacks wanting to move up the economic ladder they should just look at the lack of coverage of young black men at the White House last week. They need to keep blacks dependent on government.

    There also has been little coverage of Louis Farrakhan and his consistent hate towards Jews in relationship to the Pittsburgh shooting.
    — Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/10/why_does_the_media_let_obama_get_away_with_such_bald_faced_lying_on_the_stump.html

    Investigate — and jail — George Soros

    In the 2004 movie “National Treasure,” Agent Sadusky, played by Harvey Keitel, explained to Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage), the ramifications of his breaking the law: “Someone’s got to go to prison, Ben.” Ben responds: “Well, if you’ve got a helicopter, I think I can help with that.” Which brings me to George Soros.

    Bankrolling violent subversive groups for the express purpose of subverting the government of the United States of America and deconstructing our Constitution for purposes of bringing about insurrection is by definition sedition. This is exactly what George Soros has been knowingly funding since at least 1984.

    Soros is founder of the Open Society Foundations worldwide and the rabid progressive group MoveOn.org – both are legendary for their commitment to subverting the government of America.

    And while MoveOn.org both directly and through its ancillary satellite groups has spared no effort to advance its pernicious progressivism, I argue it’s Soros’ Open Society Foundations that are the primary threat to our way of life.

    An example is the so-called “caravan of refugees,” which is an act of organized politico-subversion intended to create a Marxist climate of anti-American resentment from within the borders of America.

    I argue that there are two key elements to their effort. In his book: “The Red Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America,” investigative journalist James Simpson, details the veiled machinations of these shadowy Marxist groups.

    In a recent article Simpson writes: “A vast network of foundations, non-profits, government entities and political organizations have a vested interest in the continued growth of the resettlement of refugees in America. Because they receive billions of dollars in federal grant money, publicly-financed, tax-exempt organizations have significant incentives to support political candidates and parties that will keep these programs alive.” (“Resettlement with Caution: National Security Concerns,” Capital Research Center, Oct.24)

    But it is the intent of Soros’ Open Society Foundations that I believe are the greatest threat. If allowed to go unchecked, Soros will use these global foundations to reshape our way of life in America and potentially overthrow our federal institutions by the insidious advancement of protocols designed to subvert our culture and government.

    Open Society Foundations boasts its mission as: “The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people” (opensocietyfoundations.org). They should have followed that opening sentence by saying: They accomplish same by using the worst of humankind to invade nations Soros targets.

    Soros casts himself as a great philanthropist and propagator of the advancement of poor and disaffected persons worldwide. In reality he is a manipulator of global currencies and a destroyer of sovereign borders. He is a malignant cancer that appears benign when in reality it’s hyper-aggressive.

    He is responsible for the funding of radical progressive groups that employ demonstrators and those who amount to domestic terrorists, for the express purpose of subverting the intent of our Founding Fathers.

    Soros has a vision for America that is antithetical to everything our Founding Fathers purposed. He uses groups like the so-called “caravan of refugees” to invade and then extort services that belong to legal citizens. He funnels money and manpower through radical progressive groups like MoveOn.org to accomplish that goal.

    It’s time the federal government thoroughly investigates every penny, every one of his foundations, everyone involved in the management of his foundations and every group that either directly or indirectly receive funding from him. The Ku Klux Klan was guilty of terrorizing Americans based upon the color of their skin, but they weren’t guilty of trying to overthrow America.

    George Soros wants to destroy our economy for financial gain, and he purposes to reorder our government institutions to gain power, control and personal wealth. It’s time for the government investigative agencies to stop pretending that the invasion of America by the worst humankind other countries have to offer is just a random occurrence. It’s time to stop pretending that these groups are organically organized individuals who got up from their blankets on the floor of their huts and shanties one morning and decided to walk to America. It’s time to stop ignoring that these invaders are highly funded and well supplied.

    We are a country of laws, and it’s past time to investigate and punish the person behind this intended seditious subversion of our culture. “Someone’s got to go to jail” for this, and that someone is George Soros. At the very least he should be deported back to Hungary where it is my understanding that their government would love to see him again.
    — Read on https://www.wnd.com/2018/10/investigate-and-jail-george-soros/