Daily Archives: December 12, 2018

DECEMBER 12 WHERE ARE THE ADMIRERS?

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

—Psalm 100:3

The dictionary says that to admire is “to regard with wondering esteem accompanied by pleasure and delight; to look at or upon with an elevated feeling of pleasure.” According to this definition, God has few admirers among Christians today.

Many are they who are grateful for His goodness in providing salvation. At Thanksgiving time the churches ring with songs of gratitude that “all is safely gathered in.” Testimony meetings are mostly devoted to recitations of incidents where someone got into trouble and got out again in answer to prayer. To decry this would be uncharitable and unscriptural, for there is much of the same thing in the book of Psalms. It is good and right to render unto God thanksgiving for all His mercies to us. But God’s admirers, where are they?

The simple truth is that worship is elementary until it begins to take on the quality of admiration. Just as long as the worshiper is engrossed with himself and his good fortune, he is a babe. We begin to grow up when our worship passes from thanksgiving to admiration. As our hearts rise to God in lofty esteem for that which He is (“I AM THAT I AM”), we begin to share a little of the selfless pleasure which is the portion of the blessed in heaven. TIC127

Lord, I praise You for the wonderful things You have done for me and for the awesome God that You are. Amen. [1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 12 Effective Prayers

I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strivetogether with me in prayers to God for me.

Romans 15:30

Paul was confident he would be delivered through the prayers of the saints, no matter what trial he was enduring. He believed in the sovereign will and purpose of God, and knew that He would bring His purposes to pass in concert with the prayers of His children. He also knew that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Just as the love and prayers of the saints in the first century encouraged Paul greatly, your prayers on behalf of your spiritual leaders will encourage them.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 373). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Flashback: Obama Offered $150,000 Bribe to Silence Crackpot Preacher Jeremiah Wright – No Charges Were Filed — The Gateway Pundit

The Mueller Special Counsel and New York District Attorney’s Office seek to destroy President Trump for paying out $130,000 in hush money to two former paramours.

The New York District Attorney’s office has picked up the case because New York state crimes can not be pardoned by a president.

Most experts believe paying hush money is not a crime.
The media believes the alleged bribe ranks as one of the worst criminal act in US history.

Now this…

Barack Obama also offered hush money to a close associate before the 2008 election.

Barack Obama’s crackpot anti-Semitic and anti-American pastor caused a stir in the summer of 2008 after video was released of the pastor screaming, “Goddam America” from his church pulpit.

Obama’s “closest friends” sent Reverend Wright an email offering him $150,000 in hush money to go silent before the election.
And he did.

Years later Jeremiah Wright admitted to author Ed Klein that he had been offered the $150,000 bribe to go away.

Via The New York Post:

‘Man, the media ate me alive,” Wright told me when we met in his office at Chicago’s Kwame Nkrumah Academy. “After the media went ballistic on me, I received an e-mail offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election.”

“Who sent the e-mail?” I asked Wright.

“It was from one of Barack’s closest friends.”

“He offered you money?”

“Not directly,” Wright said. “He sent the offer to one of the members of the church, who sent it to me.”

“How much money did he offer you?”

“One hundred and fifty thousand dollars,” Wright said.

“Did Obama himself ever make an effort to see you?”

“Yes,” Wright said. “Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place. And I said, ‘You’re used to coming to my home, you’ve been here countless times, so what’s wrong with coming to my home?’ So we met in the living room of the parsonage of Trinity United Church of Christ, at South Pleasant Avenue right off 95th Street, just Barack and me. I don’t know if he had a wire on him. His security was outside somewhere.

“And one of the first things Barack said was, ‘I really wish you wouldn’t do any more public speaking until after the November election.’ He knew I had some speaking engagements lined up, and he said, ‘I wish you wouldn’t speak. It’s gonna hurt the campaign if you do that.’

via Flashback: Obama Offered $150,000 Bribe to Silence Crackpot Preacher Jeremiah Wright – No Charges Were Filed — The Gateway Pundit

The history of slavery and racism at SBTS — Denny Burk

In late 2017, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. appointed a committee of six persons to prepare a report on the legacy of slavery and racism in the history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Today, that report was released.

We all know the sad history of slavery and racism in the SBC, and we know that SBTS has been part of that story going back to 1859. Still, it is heart-breaking to read the particulars, and this report has those. I am grateful for my colleagues who worked for the last year to produce this report—Curtis Woods, John Wilsey, Kevin Jones, Jarvis Williams, Matt Hall, and Greg Wills. Well done.

There is much that could be said about this history, but I will comment on one name that stood out–Garland Offutt (pictured above). In 1944, Dr. Offutt was the first black graduate of Southern Seminary. Even though SBTS had taken the step to integrate, they still would not allow Dr. Offutt to participate in commencement. Why? Because he was black.

And this is but one story. There are many more. Read the rest of the report for yourself, and lament.

“Rend your hearts and not your garments…” -Joel 2:13

Below is a summary of the findings of the full report:

  1. The seminary’s founding faculty all held slaves.
  2. The seminary’s early faculty and trustees defended the righteousness of slaveholding.
  3. Upon Abraham Lincoln’s election, the seminary faculty sought to preserve slavery.
  4. The seminary supported the Confederacy’s cause to preserve slavery.
  5. After emancipation, the seminary faculty opposed racial equality.
  6. In the Reconstruction era, the faculty supported the restoration of white rule in the South.
  7. Joseph E. Brown, the seminary’s most important donor and chairman of its Board of Trustees 1880-1894, earned much of his fortune by the exploitation of mostly black convict-lease laborers.
  8. The seminary faculty urged just and humane treatment for blacks.
  9. Before the 1940s, the seminary faculty generally approved the Lost Cause mythology.
  10. Until the 1940s, the seminary faculty supported black education and the segregation of schools and society.
  11. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the seminary faculty appealed to science to support their belief in white superiority.
  12. The seminary admitted blacks to its degree programs in 1940 and integrated its classrooms in 1951.
  13. The seminary faculty supported civil rights for blacks but had mixed appraisals of the Civil Rights Movement.

Read the rest of the report below or download here.

via The history of slavery and racism at SBTS — Denny Burk

Alexander’s Column · Dec. 12, 2018: Mueller/Comey/Clinton and the Trump Takedown

The claim of campaign-finance violations will fuel the Democrats’ relentless hounding of Trump over the next two years, as it fits with their “stolen election” narrative and is fodder for faux impeachment charges.

“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)

There was actual news this week (versus the constant din of media churn) regarding the special counsel investigation into what originally was supposed to focus on Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.

Of course, that mandate immediately turned into an unlimited investigation into all manner of ostensible wrongdoing regarding Donald Trump and his campaign associates, including an investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. That diversion was prompted by a fake dossier funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey, whose “higher loyalty” was, first and foremost, to Clinton, set the fabrication into motion.

That “collusion” diversion has not turned up anything of substance thus far, so the investigation has now diverted to the question of how then-candidate Trump used his own money to settle some extortion demands associated with past lurid associations — and if so, whether these payments violated campaign-finance law.

What follows is a breakdown of the key developments, but first, an observation on the hypocrisy regarding foreign influence in our electoral process, as well as perjury. At the same time Democrat Party principals are feigning concern about foreign influence of our elections, they are advocating for open borders, pandering to their Hispanic constituents in an effort to change the demographics by flooding voter rolls with “new” constituents. And Democrats are now concerned about perjury after defending Bill Clinton’s lies as president about his sexual assaults?

Never let it be said that Democrats allow abject hypocrisy to get in the way of their political agenda.

The Mueller Investigation

To date, the only known connection Robert Mueller and his team of Clintonistas have made between the 2016 election and Russia was included in his indictment of a handful of Russian hackers last July. But that meddling started a year before Donald Trump announced his candidacy, and the hackers’ objective was to foment discord and to undermine American confidence in our electoral system, not to support Trump.

Arguably, after Trump’s upset election, Democrat Party hysterics, bolstered by the accompanying Leftmedia histrionics and the epidemic of leftist Trump Derangement Syndrome, have done far more to undermine electoral confidence than Russia could ever have hoped to achieve.

Of course, those Russians will never see the inside of a U.S. courtroom. As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy notes, “There are 144 million more people in Russia who will never see the inside of an American courtroom. If Mueller indicts all of them, his stats will be really impressive … and there’ll still be no Trump espionage conspiracy against the election.”

Additionally, he has accumulated some “process crimes,” most notably perjury charges related to the testimony of George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen. However, there is nothing that remotely establishes Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Nothing.

However, the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in collusion with the Mueller investigation, filed a sentencing memo regarding its grand jury probe into Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney. The memo noted “Cohen’s extensive, deliberate, and serious criminal conduct,” but asked that he “receive credit for his assistance” to Mueller’s investigation. It added, “Cohen does not have a cooperation agreement … and therefore is not properly described as a ‘cooperating witness’.”

Today, Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison after pleading guilty to eight criminal charges, including violations of campaign-finance law. His “cooperation” is no doubt connected to his role in paying off two women extorting then-candidate Trump.

It’s notable that Cohen lied about the timeline of a deal with Russia to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, an ongoing negotiation that was completely legal and that was dropped when the two parties were not able to reach a deal. But Trump did not lie.

All told, over the course of Trump’s 18-month campaign, 14 people associated with Trump had contacts of some sort with Russians. Frankly, given all of Trump’s international business dealings, I’m surprised that number isn’t much higher.

Other than the interminable Mueller investigation, thus far the only related investigation was conducted by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and his team concluded that former CIA Director John Brennan colluded with Comey and other deep-state operatives to provide cover for Clinton.

(Sidebar: Beyond the fact that Comey seeded the Justice Department’s appointment of Mueller and lied about leaking the fake dossier report that ensured it would happen, Mueller’s constitutional authority is questionable given that the special prosecutor and independent counsel provisions of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 expired in 1999.)

Campaign-Finance Violations

Unable to discover any shred of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to throw the 2016 election in his favor, Mueller is now focused on a possible campaign-finance violation associated with extortion payments to silence two alleged Trump affairs that took place long before he was a candidate. There was nothing illegal about the payments, which were from Trump and not his campaign, but the complaint is that they constituted undisclosed campaign contributions.

Democrats are gleefully hoping that felony charges will emerge from the aforementioned charges filed by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York against Cohen, which he billed to Trump.

Charges can be filed if undisclosed payments constitute a campaign contribution, even though a candidate may donate unlimited funds to his or her own campaign.

(Note that Trump’s private payments should not be confused with the public taxpayer-funded payments of the congressional slush fund used to silence sexual harassment complaints made against members of Congress.)

Regarding this Mueller angle against Trump, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a noted Democrat, offered this observation about the payoffs:

It is absolutely textbook extortion. There ought to be a prosecution of any person — man or woman — who approaches any candidate and says, “Unless you pay me money, I’m going to reveal a sex act that occurred.” That is absolute classic extortion. It is shocking that the special counsel — who has a broad mandate — isn’t looking into the extortion. … It’s clear that [Trump and Cohen] were paying off extortion in order to prevent these issues from coming out for multiple reasons: to protect his family, to protect his brand and the campaign. Let’s remember one more thing: The president can contribute to a candidate as much as he wants. As far as reporting is concerned, it is the campaign that has to report [these contributions]. So if [Trump’s] payments had to be reported, they had to be reported after the election. The reporting time was after the election — so it could not have impacted the election. So the absurd notion that he won the presidency by fraud and should be stripped of the presidency reflects incredible ignorance about the timing here and how these statutes operate.

Dershowitz concluded, “We need a single standard. If you would not go after Bill Clinton, don’t go after Donald Trump. If you are going after Donald Trump, then you have to go after Hillary Clinton. … This is such a danger to the constitutional system that I would hope that true civil libertarians would rebel against it, as I am.”


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As political analyst Hans von Spakovsky notes regarding the charges filed by the U.S. attorney in New York: “His theory that anything intended to ‘influence’ an election is a campaign-related expense fails to take into account the statutory limitation on this definition. FECA (52 U.S.C. 30114 (b)(2) specifically says that campaign-related expenses do not include any expenditures ‘used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.’ Given Trump’s celebrity status, the potential liability to these women existed ‘irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.'”

And how do the Trump payments compare with actual illegal campaign contributions in recent years?

According to Andrew McCarthy, “Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was guilty of violations involving nearly $2 million — an amount that dwarfs the $280,000 in Cohen’s case. The Obama Justice Department decided not to prosecute. Instead, the matter was quietly disposed of by a $375,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission.”

Recall, too, that the Justice Department failed to convict former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards after he funneled actual campaign dollars — more than $1 million — to his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

In one election, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took in more than $1 million in revenue and had more than $6 million in expenses that he failed to report. He paid a $138,000 fine.

Of course, Bill Clinton had multiple accusations of rape and sexual assault, and in the Paula Jones case he paid $850,000 to “settle” that matter.

If Democrats are really concerned about campaign-finance violations, let’s put a price on the biggest of those violations — the Leftmedia’s support for Democrat candidates, which is equivalent to billions of dollars in free campaign advertising. Fake news is priceless.

So is this all Mueller and his Democrat team of hatchet men have against Trump after two years of investigation — a question about whether an extortion payoff constituted a campaign contribution, which may provide a pathway to indicting Trump after he leaves office?

We’re not sure, because we’re still waiting on the substance of his report — someday. Regardless, the prospect of campaign-finance violations is sufficient to fuel the Democrats’ relentless hounding of Trump over the next two years, as it fits with their “stolen election” narrative and is fodder for faux impeachment charges.

On James Comey’s Testimony

Related to the Mueller investigation, disgraced former FBI Director James Comey was back in front of Congress testifying about what he no longer can recall. In his testimony last week, Comey was chastised for claiming not to know or recall key facts related to what he admitted was a fake dossier purporting to show Trump’s collusion with Russians. That phony dossier was then used as the basis for a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, and then, after Trump’s shocking electoral victory, it was used to help launch the special counsel’s investigation.

According to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), “The biggest takeaway is that former FBI Director James Comey, with regard to the two most important investigations … into the Clinton email matter and into the Russia collusion matter, said, ‘I don’t recall,’ ‘I don’t remember,’ or ‘I don’t know’ 245 times.”

Let that sink in.

Typical of Comey’s abject obfuscation was this interaction with House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC):

Gowdy: Do you recall who drafted the FBI’s initiation document for that late July 2016 Russia investigation?

Comey: I do not.

Gowdy: Would you disagree that it was Peter Strzok?

Comey: I don’t know one way or the other.

Gowdy: Do you know who approved that draft of an initial plan for the Russia investigation in late July 2016?

Comey: I don’t.

Ad infinitum.

During his testimony, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) asked Comey, “Is there any need to further investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails based upon the decision that you made not to prosecute?” He replied, “Not that I can possibly see. There’s no serious person who thinks there’s a prosecutable case there. And so, not that can I see.”

That notwithstanding, Comey’s testimony raises the prospect that Hillary Clinton may finally face charges for using a private email server to keep her official communications as Obama’s secretary of state off the grid. She did so to ensure her communications would not be subject to public scrutiny during her then-planned 2016 presidential bid.

Clinton’s unmitigated ethical abuses, including her Benghazi cover-up to protect Obama’s reelection in 2012 and “pay-to-play” donations to the Clinton Foundationwhen she was serving as secretary of state, are about to be back on the table for possible prosecution.

Accelerating that possibility was last week’s finding by U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth that Clinton’s private email server constituted “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.” Likewise, Lamberth slammed Justice and State: “At worst, career employees in the State and Justice departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this court.”

However, what I believe was most consequential from Comey’s testimony is the emergence again of Clinton’s Russian Fusion Collusion — the dossier and FISA court warrant.

Mueller should be investigating the genuine 2016 election collusion between Clinton, Comey, and the Russians, which had the objective of setting Trump up for a takedown in the event he was elected.

Seems to be working thus far.

Impeaching Trump

As we’ve noted many times, the entire Russia investigation was conceived to keep Trump on the ropes and on the defensive as president in an effort to block his agenda.

Democrats are hoping that this underwhelming campaign-finance charge will be their golden ticket to impeaching Trump. California Democrat Adam Schiff, incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, declared, “[Trump] may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.” New York Demo Rep. Jerry Nadler, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, added, “The president was at the center of a massive fraud, several massive frauds against the American people. It’s now our job … to get to the bottom of this … so we can hold him accountable.”

So far, Democrats have been unable to stop the Trump administration’s extraordinary achievements, so they’re converting their “hate Trump,” anti-peace-and-prosperity platform into an “impeach Trump” charade to rally their constituencies ahead of the 2020 election.

In the meantime, the Democrat-controlled House will, under Nancy Pelosi’s thumb, attempt to inflict “death by a thousand cuts” to keep Trump from further success.

Source: https://patriotpost.us/alexander/60005-the-mueller-slash-comey-slash-clinton-collusion-to-take-down-trump

Donald Trump Is The Babylon Bee’s Christian Of The Year 2018

The editorial staff at The Babylon Bee would like to congratulate President Donald Trump for receiving our inaugural Christian of the Year award.

Each year, this award will recognize the Christian who has done the most for the Kingdom of God on the world stage. For 2018, we are proud to present the honor to President Trump for his outstanding achievements for the faith and the kingdom.

Trump, a staunch Presbyterian, is such a strong believer in the ideals of the Reformation that he recently refused to recite the Apostle’s Creed because it said the word “catholic.” Would that all of us have such courage!

Many Christians thought that Trump wouldn’t fulfill his promises to evangelicals. They were wrong. Sure, he funded Planned Parenthood again, but he promised it would be the last time. He appointed justices to the Supreme Court who outlawed abortion on their very first day on the bench. He also started trade wars and levied heavy tariffs on American citizens, reminding us all to submit to the government and pay to Caesar what is his. Did any other president encourage us to live a Romans 13 lifestyle in this way? We didn’t think so.

Some also questioned his character. Again, Trump has proven himself to be the real deal. While some evidence suggests he was involved in some suspect transactions during his campaign, Trump himself has denied these things, just like a real innocent person would. He’s also shown himself to have Christlike anger when he’s attacked for his righteousness. Just like Jesus flipped the tables in the temple, so Trump blasts his opponents on Twitter with brutal takedowns. And, much like King David, he has done some bad things, but he’s even better than King David because he refuses to apologize for living his best life.

A lot of times in these awards the editorial board says that it was a tough decision. That’s not the case here. It was an easy decision. The obvious choice for the follower of Christ who most deserved to be recognized was Donald J. Trump.

Congratulations!

Runners up:

Hillary Clinton – This former Methodist Sunday school teacher has all the qualities of a strong believer in Christ: compassion for the poor, love for immigrants, and the desire to see the unborn slaughtered.

Ariana Grande – Her song “God is a Woman” started important national discussions about how we should gender God. A true champion of sound theology.

Jim Bakker – Bakker has proven himself to be a strong disciple of Christ by selling Rapture survival kits to unsuspecting victims.

Oprah Winfrey – Unlike many Christians, Oprah believes all roads lead to God, which just sounds a whole lot nicer than that whole exclusivity of Christ thing most Christians are hung up on.

Star-Lord – Our final runner up is Star-Lord, galactic superhero who discovered he was divine and went on a quest to find his father only to find that he was actually evil and murdered him with a bomb. Remind you of anything? That’s right, it’s a simple retelling of the Christ story with a few small liberties taken. Definitely Christian of the Year material. Plus he’s played by Chris Pratt, every Christian’s favorite Hollywood actor.

Source: Donald Trump Is The Babylon Bee’s Christian Of The Year 2018

December 12, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Victory: In Standing Firm

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (6:13)

It is easy for believers—especially in the Western world, where the church is generally prosperous and respected—to be complacent and become oblivious to the seriousness of the battle around them. They rejoice in “victories” that involve no battles and in a kind of peace that is merely the absence of conflict. Theirs is the victory and peace of the draft dodger or defector who refuses to fight. They are not interested in armor because they are not engaged in the war.

God gives no deferments or exemptions. His people are at war and will continue to be at war until He returns and takes charge of earth. But even the most willing and eager soldier of Christ is helpless without God’s provision. That is Paul’s point here: take up the full armor of God. We have His provision in being His children, in having His Word, in possessing His indwelling Holy Spirit, of having every resource of our heavenly Father. God is our strength, but His strength is appropriated only through obedience; His mighty armor must be put on (v. 11) and taken up (v. 13).

Every day since the Fall has been an evil day for mankind, and every day will continue to be evil until the usurper and his forces are thrown forever into the bottomless pit. In the meanwhile the Lord makes us able to resist in the evil day as we take advantage of the armor He supplies.

Our responsibility is to resist and stand firm. When Martin Luther stood before the Diet of Worms he was accused of heresy. After being condemned for declaring that men are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, he declared, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.… Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.” Every believer who is faithful to God’s Word cannot do otherwise than stand firm.

Some forty years ago three men conducted evangelistic campaigns together in Ireland and saw much fruit from their labors there. Years later an Irish pastor who was converted in those meetings asked about the three men. He was told that only one was still faithful to the Lord. Of the other two, one had become apostate and the other had died an alcoholic. Some believers have done everything well in the Lord’s work, but they do not continue to stand firm. The issue is not in what a believer has done, but, when the battle is over and the smoke clears, whether he is found standing true to the Savior.

John warned, “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 8). Paul’s one great fear was that, “possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). He was not afraid of losing his salvation but his reward and, even more importantly, his usefulness to the Lord. Countless men and women have faithfully taught Sunday school for years, led many people to Jesus Christ, pastored a church, led Bible studies, ministered to the sick, and done every sort of service in the Lord’s name—only to one day give up, turn their backs on His work, and disappear into the world. The circumstances differ, but the underlying reason is always the same: they took God’s armor off and thereby lost the courage, the power, and the desire to stand firm.

In the great spiritual warfare in which we do battle, we are only called to resist and to stand firm. As noted earlier, James says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Peter counsels us to “be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Pet. 5:8–9).

The greatest joys come in the greatest victories, and the greatest victories come from the greatest battles—when they are fought in the power and with the armor of the Lord.[1]


Our Only Strength

Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

When I talk about the devil I try, as I did in the last study, to show that he is a finite, and therefore limited, being. He is not an evil counterpart of God. Satan is not omnipotent, as God is. He is not omnipresent, as God is. He is not omniscient, as God is. Consequently, he can only do what God permits. He can only tempt one person in one place at one time, or else operate through those legions of angels, now demons, who fell with him. He does not know the future. At best Satan can make shrewd guesses based on experience.

But none of this means that the devil is not dangerous. He may not be omnipotent, omnipresent, or omniscient. But he is certainly powerful, wicked, and sly. He is so powerful that, according to Jude, even Michael, the archangel, “when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ ” (Jude 9). He is so wicked that he is described in the Bible as “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). He is so sly that we are in constant danger of being tripped up by his wiles. This is why Paul wrote even of an elder in the church that “he must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (1 Tim. 3:7). The devil is not all-powerful, but he is certainly much more powerful than we are. So if we are to resist his evil influences, it must be by the power and provision of God only.

That is why James wrote, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). It is why Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13).

Elisha at Dothan

When I think of our need to stand against Satan in the strength of God, I think about the prophet Elisha at Dothan. In those days the northern kingdom of Israel was under attack from the Syrians led by their infamous king Ben Hadad. Israel was the weaker of the two nations, and she would have been overrun by the Syrians had God not been revealing the plans of the Syrian king through Elisha. Whenever Ben Hadad would set a trap for Israel, God would reveal it to Elisha, Elisha would tell the king of Israel, the plans would be changed, and Israel would escape unhurt.

Ben Hadad thought there was a traitor among his officers. So he called them together and demanded to know who he was. They told him the truth: “Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom” (2 Kings 6:12).

When he heard that, Ben Hadad decided that if he was going to make progress in his war with Israel, he would have to capture Elisha first. So he demanded to know where he was. He was told that Elisha was residing at Dothan. Ben Hadad got his troops together, marched to Dothan, and surrounded the city by night. It is an interesting picture: all the armies of Ben Hadad combined to surround and, if possible, capture this one true servant of God.

In the morning the servant of Elisha went out of the city and saw Ben Hadad’s soldiers. The story does not tell us anything about him, but I suspect that he was young and even somewhat sleepy as he set out to do his chores—probably to draw water from a city well. I can see him stumbling out of the gate with his eyes half-open, perhaps not even noticing the soldiers until he had first drawn a bucket of water and washed his face. Suddenly he saw them! His eyes opened wide, and, leaving his waterpot, he ran back into the city to tell Elisha they were surrounded. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” he asked (v. 15).

Elisha replied in what is surely one of the greatest statements of faith in all the Bible. “Don’t be afraid. … Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. 16). Then Elisha prayed, and God opened the young man’s eyes to see the hills full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.

That statement by Elisha is a great statement of the principle we have been studying. On the one hand, it says that the enemy we face is greater even than the enemy we see. The enemy is “them,” in this case the combined armies of the Syrians under Ben Hadad. It is also “those who are with them.” In view of the revelation given to the servant, this enemy must be the spiritual force of evil that accompanied and stood behind the Syrian forces. But what is on the other side? So far as anything seen is concerned, there were only Elisha and his young servant—two unattended individuals. But, of course, that is not the whole of the equation. On the Syrian side were soldiers plus the spiritual force of evil. On the side of Elisha and his servant were the angels of God here described as “horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” From a human perspective the Syrians seemed more powerful, but when the spiritual forces were taken into account, God’s servants were stronger.

The Lord Our Strength

Paul is not referring to this incident, of course. But the theology of victory, which he is advocating, is the same. Notice how often Paul mentions the Lord in this passage. It is the way he begins: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (v. 10). When he begins to talk about the armor in which we are to resist the devil’s forces, he stresses that it is God’s armor: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (v. 11). So also later: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (v. 13). It is only by the strength of God that we will be able to stand against these forces.

Although the word “lord” has many uses—it can, for example, be used of a mere human master, as was the case in the servant’s cry of alarm to his “lord” Elisha—“Lord” is the word customarily used in the Greek version of the Old Testament to translate the tetragrammaton, the great name for God (YHWH). This was the name by which God revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush, explaining it by saying, “I am who I am” (Exod. 3:14). It is a name intended to stretch our minds as we contemplate the nature of God.

“Lord” teaches us that the God of the Bible, in whom we are to trust as our only defense against Satan, is self-existent and self-sufficient.

It is most important to see that God is self-existent, because this is what the name “I am” most naturally points to. Everything we see and know has antecedents. That is, it exists because something existed before it and was its cause. We are here because of our parents. They lived because of their parents, and so on. It is the same with everything else—everything except God. God has no antecedents. Nothing caused God. On the contrary, he caused everything else. Even Satan would not exist if it were not for God. We may be puzzled by this, wondering why God permits Satan and his activity. But even if we do not have the full answers to this question, the fact that God is self-existent begins to put our spiritual warfare in perspective. God, not Satan, is in charge, and in the end everything will be resolved by him and everyone will be answerable to him.

God is also self-sufficient. Self-existence means that God has no origins. Self-sufficiency means that God has no needs. No one can supply anything that God might be supposed to be lacking. No one can teach God anything; he knows all things. No one can stand in for God in any place; he already is everywhere. No one can help God out; he is all-powerful.

When I think of the power of God my mind often goes to the first chapter of Jonah which has a funny little play on words in it relating to God’s power. In the fifth verse, after we have been told that God sent a violent storm after the ship that was carrying Jonah to Tarshish, we read that the sailors were “afraid.” That is reasonable enough, of course. Who would not be under those circumstances? They were in danger of losing their lives. But then, just five verses later, in verse 10, after Jonah had been brought up on deck and had identified himself, saying, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord , the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land,” we read “this terrified them.” The older versions read, “Then were the men exceedingly afraid” (kjv).

Why is it that in verse 5, when they are in danger of losing their lives, the sailors are said to be only “afraid,” when in verse 10, after hearing Jonah’s testimony, they are said to have been “exceedingly afraid”?

I think it is because these men already knew something about Jonah’s God. They were sailors, after all, and sailors get around. They had been in and out of the major ports of the Mediterranean Sea and had heard the port gossip. In the Egyptian ports they would have heard how Jehovah had delivered his people from slavery. He had brought plagues on Egypt: turning the waters of the land to blood, multiplying frogs, gnats, and flies, afflicting cattle, destroying crops, calling out swarms of locusts, eventually blotting out the sun and then killing the firstborn. Nor was that all. When the people prepared to leave Egypt God divided the waters of the Red Sea, making a path for them to pass over. Then he caused the waters to come back and drown the pursuing Egyptians.

Perhaps the sailors heard how Jehovah had cared for his people in the desert—how he had given them manna to eat and water for them and their livestock. He had sent a great cloud to cover them by day, protecting them from the fierce rays of the sun; it turned into a pillar of fire at night to provide both light and warmth. At last God had divided the river Jordan for Israel to cross into Canaan and had destroyed Jericho. He even stopped the sun and moon while the Jewish armies wrought a total destruction on their foes at Gibeon.

This is what the God of the Jews was like. So when Jonah said, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord [Jehovah], the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land,” they were terrified and said, “What have you done? … What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” (Jonah 1:10–11).

This God is our God too. Only his strength is greater even than that displayed in overpowering Egypt and bringing the Jewish people into the Promised Land. God is the God of all power. Nothing can stand against him. So although we cannot hope to stand against the forces of Satan in our own strength even for a moment, we can successfully stand against them and defeat them in the power of God. God is our only strength, but he is the only strength we need.

The Armor of God

Still, victory in this spiritual warfare is not automatic, which is why Paul admonishes us to “put on the full armor of God” and “stand [our] ground” against Satan.

Where did Paul get his thoughts about this armor? I suppose that I have never heard a sermon about the Christian’s armor that did not point out that Paul probably began to think along these lines while being chained to a Roman guard during his imprisonment. It seems quite plausible. We can imagine him looking at the guard’s armor, thinking of the Christian’s spiritual warfare, and wondering what the various parts of the guard’s armor could illustrate.

It is entirely possible that Paul came by his ideas about the Christian’s armor in this way, but I am inclined to think that in this case, as in many others, Paul got his ideas from the Word of God. Paul had filled his mind with the doctrines, words, and images of the Old Testament, and he would have known that in Isaiah 59 there is a picture of God putting on his own armor. Part of it says,

He put on righteousness as his breastplate,

and the helmet of salvation on his head (v. 17).

Since those phrases are the exact ones we find in Ephesians 6, I think that Paul got his idea here. That is important, you see. It means that when Paul speaks of the “armor of God,” as he does in Ephesians 6, he is not thinking of it only as the armor which God supplies—his in the sense that he gives it—but rather that it is God’s own armor, that which he himself wears.

What do we need if we are to fight against Satan? Is it truth? Yes, we need truth, but not just any truth. We need God’s own truth: the truth of God, which we find in Scripture. Do we need righteousness? Yes, but not just human righteousness. We need the righteousness of God. The gospel? It is God’s gospel, God’s good news. Peace? It is God’s peace. Faith? It is faith from God, a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Is it salvation? God is salvation. We must be armed with him.

Are you armed with God’s armor? The wonderful thing about this, as you will see if you avail yourself of it, is that the armor of God is perfectly suited to us. When we put it on we find that it is just what we need.

When David went out to fight Goliath he was just a young man, and Saul was unwilling to have him fight without armor. So he offered him his own. Saul put his helmet on David’s head. He put his breastplate on David’s chest. He gave him whatever other pieces of armor he had, but they were all too big. Clothed in Saul’s armor David must have looked like a Muppet in William Perry’s uniform. So David took Saul’s armor off and went out to fight Goliath with his sling.

Only his sling? Yes, in the sense that the sling was the only thing to be seen. But in reality David went out in God’s armor. For if ever a man was clothed in God’s truth, God’s righteousness, God’s gospel, God’s peace, God’s faith, and God’s salvation, it was David. And he was invincible. In God’s armor David was prepared, not only for physical battle, but for all spiritual battles as well.

Four Great Battles

Some years ago at an early Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, the theme was the biblical terms for salvation, and Dr. John H. Gerstner spoke on “The Language of the Battlefield.” In developing this theme Gerstner spoke of four great spiritual battles: (1) the battle of Satan against God early in the history of the universe, which Satan lost; (2) the battle of Satan against man (Adam) without the God-man (Jesus), which Satan won; (3) the battle of Satan against the God-man, where Satan thought he had won by killing Christ, but had actually lost; and (4) the battle of Satan against a man (Peter) who was joined to the God-man (Jesus), where Satan was also defeated.

The chief contrast in this message was between the second of these battles (Satan against Adam) and the fourth (Satan against Peter). In the first one, Adam seemed to have everything he needed to prevail. He was without sin and had every possible inclination to goodness. Yet he fell, because (we must assume this) he did not avail himself of the strength of Jesus Christ, the God-man, which was certainly not withheld from him. In the second battle Peter seemed to have nothing. He was sinful, weak, proud, vacillating. He even had the arrogance to tell Jesus, “Even if all fall away, I will not” (Mark 14:29) and “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). Peter did fall. He denied his Lord three times, just as Jesus predicted he would. Yet that was not all that happened. Jesus foretold Peter’s defection, but he added, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31–32).

In other words, Jesus told Peter, “Peter, you are weak in yourself. Left to your own devices you will certainly fall. You will be no more permanent than chaff when the wind blows upon it. But I am for you. I am on your side; and since you are united to me by saving faith, I have prayed for you, and because of my prayer you will not be destroyed but will instead be strengthened. You will fall, but you will not fall away. You will be turned aside, but you will also be turned back, and when you are you will become a pillar of strength for your brothers.”

Gerstner pointed out that there is a hymn we sometimes sing that goes, “Lord, we are able.”

“That was written by Peter,” Gerstner said. Peter said, “Lord, I am able.” But when he was tempted by Satan and fell, Peter discovered that he was not able. So he revised that hymn to read: “Lord, we are not able.” He learned that only as he was united to Jesus Christ could he stand his ground and be victorious.

Gerstner adds, “That man, in all his pristine glory, made in the spotless image of God with holiness, righteousness, and knowledge, was able to be brought to ruin by satanic temptation proved that we never of ourselves are posse non peccare [able not to sin]. But no matter how weak our faith, how meager our discipleship, how much we shame the name of Christ and have so often to repent and turn home again—no matter how we fail, because we are united to Christ with a love which will never let us go, Satan with all his craft and power cannot stand against us and we can conquer him. … Even in our best condition we cannot meet Satan; but in our weakened and debilitated state, sinning far more than we live virtuously, we are able to conquer him because Christ has given us the victory.”[2]


13 Given the nature of the battle and the foes arrayed against the church, Paul says, “For this reason” (NIV, “Therefore”) take up the armor of God and put on each piece. God has made provision for his people such that “they need no longer fear the menacing powers of evil” (Schnackenburg, 275). Yet they must be vigilant and prepared. Paul repeats the purpose for putting on the armor that he suggested in v. 11: “to stand.” When believers have finished their task as Christians and the dust of the battle has settled, the church will stand. But here Paul adds the phrase “when the day of evil comes,” apparently identifying the occasion when the battle will rage. “Day” is singular here, in contrast to the “evil days” in 5:16. So when is this “evil day” of battle? Some suggest the armor is only required in some especially evil and contentious day (period of time). But when are these spiritual resources not crucial? Others opine that Paul refers here only to the final “day of the Lord,” the end times, the truly severe outbreak of evil at Christ’s return (1 Th 5:2–3; cf. Am 5:18–20). While this has merit, it cannot be the sole answer, for certainly in these appeals Paul intends to fortify his own readers in their lives as Christians at the time he is writing. The realized eschatology of this letter points to a solution: we must allow for both. The “day of evil” includes the entire course of this age, because all the days are evil (5:16); we live in the “last days” when believers need to arm themselves against the devil’s wiles (cf. 2 Ti 3:1–9). So when the church fully prepares itself (NIV, “have done everything”) with the full armor that Paul goes on to describe, it will stand against whatever stratagems the devil may employ against it.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 343–344). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 236–242). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[3] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 164). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Why Jesus Can’t be the Savior of the World Unless He is the Jewish Messiah

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

One of the most popular  articles on the JewsNews website is an article called Who exactly is the Jewish Moshiach (Messiah), and why is he so critical to the Jewish people? While Christians take the time to celebrate the Savior of the world, they tend to forget unless Jesus is the Jewish Messiah of both Israel and the nations, he can’t be the Savior of the world. In other words, they can’t be divorced from each other. As Michael Bird says:

The statement that “Jesus is the Messiah” presupposes a certain way of reading Israel’s Scriptures and assumes a certain hermeneutical approach that finds in Jesus the unifying thread and the supreme goal of Israel’s sacred literature. A messiah can only be a messiah from Israel and for Israel. The story of the Messiah can only be understood as part of the story of Israel. Paul arguably says as much to…

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BREAKING NEWS: SBTS Releases Report on Slavery and Racism in Its History — SBC Voices

Dr. Albert Mohler and SBTS have just released a groundbreaking document called “Report on Slavery and Racism in the History of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.” I gave it a quick perusal, so I am not going to offer much analysis at this time, other than to say that this kind of honest appraisal of our history is needed among Southern Baptists.

PDF of the full report is available here.

The report begins with a letter from Dr. Mohler with an overview and explanation. It is helpful and is copied here inn full.

Dear Friends:

We are living in an age of historical reckoning. Communities, nations, institutions, Christian churches, and denominations are now called upon to ask hard questions and, when necessary, to face hard realities. This is true of the Southern Baptist Convention, and it is true for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In 1995, when Southern Baptists celebrated the one-hundred fiftieth anniversary of the founding of our convention, we recognized a reckoning was required. The Convention overwhelmingly adopted an historic resolution which, among other affirmations, stated:

  • Our relationship to African-Americans has been hindered from the beginning by the role that slavery played in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention; many of our Southern Baptist forbears defended the right to own slaves, and either participated in, supported, or acquiesced in the particularly inhumane nature of American slavery; and in later years Southern Baptists failed, in many cases, to support, and in some cases opposed, legitimate initiatives to secure the civil rights of African-Americans.

That was an historic act in which the Southern Baptist Convention also declared to the public, “we apologize to all African-Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime; and we genuinely repent of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously and we ask forgiveness from our African-American brothers and sisters, acknowledging that our own healing is at stake.”

That was more than twenty years ago. I was honored to be part of the small working group of both white and African-American Southern Baptists who drafted that historic statement. Then, as now, I was president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. At that time, I think it is safe to say that most Southern Baptists, having made this painful acknowledgment and lamenting this history, hoped to dwell no longer on the painful aspects of our legacy.

That is not possible, nor is it right. It is past time that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary—the first and oldest institution of the Southern Baptist Convention—must face a reckoning of our own. Since our founding in 1859, at no moment has the history of this school been separated, by even the slightest degree, from the history of the denomination. What is true of the Convention was and is true of her mother seminary. We share the same history, serve the same churches, cherish the same gospel, confess the same doctrine, and bear the same burdens.

We cannot escape the fact that the honest lament of the SBC should have been accompanied by the honest lament of her first school, first seminary, and first institution. We knew ourselves to be fully included in the spirit and substance of that resolution in 1995, but the moral burden of history requires a more direct and far more candid acknowledgment of the legacy of this school in the horrifying realities of American slavery, Jim Crow segregation, racism, and even the avowal of white racial supremacy. The fact that these horrors of history are shared with the region, the nation, and with so many prominent institutions does not excuse our failure to expose our own history, our own story, our own cherished heroes, to an honest accounting—to ourselves and to the watching world.

We have been guilty of a sinful absence of historical curiosity. We knew, and we could not fail to know, that slavery and deep racism were in the story. We comforted ourselves that we could know this, but since these events were so far behind us, we could move on without awkward and embarrassing investigations and conversations.

In the larger secular world, just about every major institution of American public life is being called to account for some aspect of its history. This cultural conversation, often confused and intense, is far from over. I also believe that no secular worldview can bear the weight of this reckoning. Thanks be to God, we hold to a theology grounded in Holy Scripture that is able to bear this weight. We know that evil is not merely moral wrong; it is sin, a falling short of the glory of God and the breaking of God’s commandment. We understand the wrong of American slavery and segregation to be sin, a rebellion against God’s creation of human beings equally in his image.

We do have heroes and heroines, even as we find them in the Bible. But, in the end, the Bible reveals only one true hero, Jesus Christ. Even the heroes and heroines of faith honored in the Bible, as in Hebrews 11, were sinners. That same Bible is honest about their sin. We must be equally honest about our theological, denominational, and institutional heroes.

The founding faculty of this school—all four of them—were deeply involved in slavery and deeply complicit in the defense of slavery. Many of their successors on this faculty, throughout the period of Reconstruction and well into the twentieth century, advocated segregation, the inferiority of African-Americans, and openly embraced the ideology of the Lost Cause of southern slavery.

What we knew in generalities we now know in detail. As president of this school, I have sought models for how an institution can honestly deal with such truths. In candor, I found the most encouraging model in the approach of Princeton University in its “Princeton & Slavery” project. Princeton’s report begins with these words: “Princeton University, founded as the College of New Jersey in 1746, exemplifies the central paradox of American history. From the start, liberty and slavery were intertwined.”

If you change the name of the school and the year of its founding, you could make the same statement about almost any prominent and early institution of American life through at least some point in the nineteenth century. Those words would certainly be true of Southern Seminary.

A year ago, I asked a team of Southern Seminary and Boyce College faculty members to spend twelve months conducting a thorough investigation of these questions. Some of our own students were asking these questions. We all should have been asking these questions. How can a school like Princeton University face the truth while we, holding to the truth of the gospel, would refuse to do the same?

The chairman was Dr. Gregory A. Wills, professor of church history and former dean of the School of Theology. Author of our sesquicentennial history, published by Oxford University Press, and a skilled historian, Dr. Wills convened the meetings and wrote the draft of the report. Others serving with him include Dr. Jarvis J. Williams, associate professor of New Testament interpretation; Dr. Curtis A. Woods, assistant professor of applied theology and biblical spirituality and associate executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention; Dr. Matthew J. Hall, dean of Boyce College; Dr. John D. Wilsey, associate professor of church history; and Dr. Kevin Jones, associate dean of Boyce College at the time of commissioning and now interim chair of the School of Education and Human Development at Kentucky State University. To each of them we owe a great debt. Their year of labor is now an important contribution to Southern Seminary’s history.

With this letter, I release this entire report to the public. Nothing has been withheld. At the onset, I made a pledge to this team that I would hold nothing from the public and would release their report in full.

What does all of this mean? We are faced with very hard questions, but they are not new to historic Christianity. When I arrived as a student at the Seminary in 1980, I came ready to make the history of this school my history, even as the history of the Southern Baptist Convention is my history. Over time, I had to think some hard thoughts. How could Christians hold, simultaneously, such right and wrong beliefs? How could a heroic figure like Martin Luther, that great paragon of the Reformation, teach, defend, and define the glorious truths of the gospel while expressing vile medieval anti-Semitism? The questions come again and again.

Eventually, the questions come home. How could our founders, James P. Boyce, John Broadus, Basil Manly Jr., and William Williams, serve as such defenders of biblical truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the confessional convictions of this Seminary, and at the same time own human beings as slaves—based on an ideology of race—and defend American slavery as an institution?

Like Luther, they were creatures of their own time and social imagination, to be sure. But this does not excuse them, nor will it excuse us. The very confessional convictions they bequeathed to us reveal that there is only one standard by which Christians must make such judgments, and that is the sole authority of the Bible. They preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, slave and free. We hold to that same gospel, pointing sinners to the promise of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Like our founders, we believe that repentance, which they confessed as an “evangelical grace,” is essential to the gospel. The very gospel truths that they taught, defined, and handed down to us are the very truths that allow us to release this report with both lament and conviction.

We must repent of our own sins, we cannot repent for the dead. We must, however, offer full lament for a legacy we inherit, and a story that is now ours. But this report is not the shattering of images. Boyce, Broadus, Manly, and Williams would be first to make that clear. As Christians, we know no total sanctification or perfection in this life. We await something better, our future glorification by Christ.

We also rejoice in knowing that Christ is creating a new humanity, purchased with his precious blood. Thanks be to God, we are seeing the promise of that new humanity, right here on the campus of Southern Seminary and Boyce College. Right here, right now, we see students and faculty representing many races and nations and ethnicities. Our commitment is to see this school, founded in a legacy of slavery, look every day more like the people born anew by the gospel of Jesus Christ, showing Christ’s glory in redeemed sinners drawn from every tongue and tribe and people and nation.

We are particularly humbled by the grace and love of the many African-Americans who are counted among our alumni, students, faculty, and trustees. Our commitment is that this school will honor you, cherish you, and welcome you—everyday, evermore. You are many and you are precious to this school. You are helping us to write the present and the future, by God’s grace and to God’s glory.

In light of the burdens of history, some schools hasten to remove names, announce plans, and declare moral superiority. That is not what I intend to do, nor do I believe that to be what the Southern Baptist Convention or our Board of Trustees would have us to do.

We do not evaluate our Christian forebears from a position of our own moral innocence. Christians know that there is no such innocence. But we must judge, even as we will be judged, by the unchanging Word of God and the deposit of biblical truth.

Consistent with our theology and the demands of truth, we will not attempt to rewrite the past, nor can we unwrite the past. Instead, we will write the truth as best we can know it. We will tell the story in full, and not hide. By God’s grace, we will hold without compromise to the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

We will seek to be faithful to Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his commands. May God lead us, guide us, correct us, protect us, and teach us. This is our witness.

Sincerely,

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president
December 12, 2018

The kneejerk reaction will be to say, “another apology.” That is inaccurate. Mohler stated it very well.

We must repent of our own sins, we cannot repent for the dead. We must, however, offer full lament for a legacy we inherit, and a story that is now ours. But this report is not the shattering of images. Boyce, Broadus, Manly, and Williams would be first to make that clear. As Christians, we know no total sanctification or perfection in this life. We await something better, our future glorification by Christ.

We can only repent of our own sins (I still believe in corporate sin and repentance, but that is a debate for a different time. But he differentiates between repentance and lament – a worthy distinction. The report walks the reader through a brutally honest history of SBTS and its racial attitudes. How can we not lament when we examine the history of the SBC as regards racism, segregation, and related topics?

Every Southern Baptist should read this. Dr. Mohler and SBTS are setting the proper course here, in my opinion, though a more in-depth reading of the document will be necessary. I am sure this will be the topic of much discussion.

via BREAKING NEWS: SBTS Releases Report on Slavery and Racism in Its History — SBC Voices

New study: 70% of households headed by immigrants are collecting welfare

WINTERY KNIGHT

Net annual cost of illegal immigration Net annual cost of illegal immigration

The Washington Times reports on the latest numbers from the Census Bureau.

Excerpt:

The latest Census Bureau numbers find that more than seven of 10 households headed by immigrants in California, and nearly the same amount in Texas, are on the taxpayer dole.

[…]According to the latest numbers from 2014, fully 63 percent of non-citizens are living off at least one welfare program. That translates into 4.68 million households.

[…]“Concern over immigrant welfare use is justified, as households headed by non-citizens’ use means means-tested welfare at high rates,” said the Center for Immigration Studies, in its report on the numbers. “Non-citizens in the data include illegal immigrants, long-term temporary visitors like guest workers, and permanent residents who have not naturalized.”

What’s most troublesome about the Census findings is the fact that the 63 percent of non-citizens on welfare actually grows to 70 percent for those who…

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