Daily Archives: January 29, 2019

Jacob’s Final and Finest Words — Unfathomable Grace

It is an intimate moment we are privileged to share. In Genesis 49, Jacob’s sons are gathered about him on his deathbed. But this is a unique situation, for sacred scripture does place us in such a position with other patriarchs such as Adam, Noah, Job, Abraham, or Isaac. There is something Moses and the Holy Spirit would have us learn from Jacob’s final and finest words.

Jacob begins by addressing Reuben – his eldest. First, he highlights the potentiality of his firstborn. Reuben is one who should have been his might, the first sign of his strength, the one excelling in honor and power. Consequently, Reuben should receive the birthright and the blessing. However, this is not going to happen. Jacob publically refers to the heinous event recorded in Genesis 35 where Reuben had a sexual liaison with one of Jacob’s wives. Therefore, because of this sin, Rueben is being passed over. Because of his sin, Reuben’s children will miss blessings and suffer consequences for many generations.

Next comes Jacob’s words for Simeon and Levi, and it does not take long for them to realize they will not be receiving the blessing and the birthright either. Jacob’s publically comments on their murderous sins, and ends with, “Let not my glory be united with them.”

Then, it becomes Judah’s turn. What is in store for the most prolific sinner of the bunch. It might help us to remember that Judah is …

  • The ring-leader who led the charge to sell Joseph into slavery.
  • The wanderer who left the covenant community and the Promised Land of God.
  • The man who married a non-believer.
  • The father who encouraged his sons to marry non-believers.
  • The abusive father-in-law who lied to his daughter-in-law and kept her unmarried.
  • The fornicator who was guilty of sleeping with a harlot on a business trip.
  • The hypocritical “priest” who condemned a woman while ignoring his own sin.

No, there is nothing chaste, holy, or virtuous about Judah. He is the lusty reprobate. He is the worst of the brothers, and by this time, Judah surely is lowering his expectations, lowering his head, and heading for the door. Can’t you imagine the glances from his brothers as they whispered to one another, “Ouch, this one is going to be bad?” Can’t you almost Judah saying, “Hey dad, can we just skip my ‘blessing’ today?”

However, for Judah, the worst of the clan, only glorious predictions, prophecies, and promises are made. Listen as he receives mercy and grace and not justice:

Genesis 49:8-12     Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

The prophecy regarding Judah is the longest, most beautiful, and most blessed. Only that blessing given to Joseph is even close in magnificence, and Joseph’s blessing is primarily short-term. In the end, Joseph receives the birthright — the temporal benefits. However, Judah receives the blessing — the spiritual and eternal benefits that will transition from one generation to generation. Judah’s family tree will be characterized by …

  • Praise — his brothers will bow down in honor
  • Dominance — his hand will be on the neck of his enemies
  • Meekness — he will be like a lion cub with ferocious power who is best not roused
  • Kingly Shepherding — he will hold both the scepter and the staff
  • Multi-ethnic Lordship — tribute and obedience will be given him by the nations
  • Wealth and Beauty — he will possess the finest and look beautifully radiant

Did Jacob’s prophecy come to pass? Absolutely! Judah was the tribe that enjoyed the most leadership and preeminence. Upon arriving in the Promised Land, she received her allotment first. Throughout history, Israel’s greatest of kings came from her lineage. (David, Solomon)  And in the sad history of the Israelite people when the Assyrians and Babylonians were being used of God to execute discipline, Judah was privileged to be the last tribe standing. In a temporal way, in comparison to all the other tribes of Israel, Judah stood supreme.

However, the full ramification of Jacob’s prophecy to Judah became apparent with a Hebrew carpenter adopted a son named Jesus of Nazareth. At first, it did not look so hopeful. Jesus endured an initial stage of humiliation that was planned before the beginning of time. He lived as a poor serf under the rule of Rome. And despite his righteousness, he was hated, plotted against, arrested, illegally tried, blasphemed, mocked, tortured, stripped, and crucified. After being speared in the side, his body was wrapped and buried in a tomb. Jesus of Nazareth was treated like a sacrificial lamb, and he was treated so for ruined sinners like you and me.

But then his never-ending stage of exaltation began. The Lamb of God proved to be the Lion of Judah. And ever since then, Jesus has been the one characterized by …

  • Praise — his brothers continue to bow down to him in honor
  • Dominance — his hand is be on the neck of his enemies; someday he will squeeze
  • Meekness — he is like a lion cub with ferocious power who will one day be roused
  • Royal Shepherd — he hold his kingly scepter and his staff of comfort
  • Multi-ethnic Lordship — tribute and obedience is given him by the nations
  • Wealth and Beauty — he is most radiant and his friends long to see his face

Oh friends, can’t you see the beauty of Scripture. Jacob made this prophecy almost 2000 years before the coming of Jesus. God had a plan, declared his plan, and perfectly brought it to completion. The Bible is divine. It is inspired. It is prophetic. My friends, trust God’s Word!

Can’t you see the identity of Jesus? He is the PROMISED OFFSPRING of Adam, the ARK of Noah, the SACRIFICIAL SON of Abraham, and the LION OF JUDAH pronounced by Jacob. How are you related to him? Is he your best friend or greatest enemy? Will you be found held in his arms, or will you be found experiencing his rod? Oh friends, he can’t be beat. He can’t be stopped. His kingdom is marching on. He is King of kings, Lord of lords, and he is calling you to bow the knee right now. Have you done so? Have you become a part of his multi-ethnic worshiping community who love to give him tribute and obedience. Come on friends; come join the Kingdom of Heaven and rejoice with us forevermore.

Finally, can’t you see the mercy and grace God gives his sordid followers? How did Judah end up with the greatest blessing? Friends, this is what God does. Consider how in the book of Genesis God has highlighted the heinous sins of his chosen people. These are printed for posterity:

  • Hatred
  • Murder
  • Adultery
  • Incest
  • Intoxication
  • Pride
  • Stealing
  • Lying
  • Fraud
  • Homosexuality
  • Prostitution
  • Idolatry
  • Envy
  • Covetousness
  • Faithlessness
  • Disobedience
  • Forced Slavery

However, despite God’s hatred for sin, none of these transgressions caused him to forsake his covenantal plan to save the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So, if you are his child, take a serious look at your sin and hate it with all your might, but then, take a look at Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and the fellows and see God’s mercy and grace. God loved Israel, not because they were righteous, but merely because he sovereignly chose to do so. And that is the only reason God loves me and you. So look at your sin, talk to your Savior, and then get up and worship. God does not treat us as our sins deserve. Instead, he has an incredible habit of richly blessing those who deserve it most. Let this make us humble. Let this make us glad. Let this cause us to worship him today like never before.

via Jacob’s Final and Finest Words — Unfathomable Grace

January 29 God’s Greatest Provision

Scripture reading: Romans 7:14–25

Key verse: Joshua 24:15

If it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Paul wrote about the conflict between the believer’s new nature and the power of sin. Our sin is rooted in Adam, while our new nature is founded in Jesus Christ. The part of us that is tempted to sin is the part belonging to Adam.

When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you were given a new nature that is eternally rooted in God’s Son. The difficult part is that while you are spiritually a new creature, you live in a fallen world with all kinds of trials and temptations.

God created you with a free will. Therefore, you must choose between right and wrong. Obvious sins such as adultery and murder are easily detected, but what about sins such as envy, jealousy, lying, pride, gossip, and lust? Are you as quick to walk away from them?

Many people toy with sin because their perspective of God is inadequate. They have yet to grasp the full extent of God’s love for them. When they do, sin is no longer an option.

Genuine repentance results in changed desires. Allowing your new nature to outshine your old nature is a matter of submitting your life to Jesus Christ on a daily basis. If you keep tripping over the same sin, ask God to reveal the reason why you are struggling. God’s greatest provision is His eternal forgiveness.

Dear God, please reveal the reason why I am struggling so that I can deal with my sin and allow my new nature to outshine my old nature.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 30). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

What does Paul mean when he says ‘let a woman learn quietly?’ — Southern Equip

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise, also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. (1 Timothy 2:8–14)

An exhortation for men

It is significant that Paul addresses men in verse 8 before addressing women in verse 9. Paul views men as leaders of their homes—and some of them as leaders of the church. He is making clear that they have a particular role to play “in every place” where the church gathers, including at Ephesus. Men are supposed to pray. Paul has already made clear what he wants them to pray for (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1–7). The issue that he focuses on here is how they are supposed to pray, zeroing in on two things, one positive and one negative. On the positive side, they are to pray while “lifting holy hands.”

This is a common posture for prayer in the OT (1 Kings 8:22; Ps. 28:2; 63:4). Jesus himself prayed with lifted hands (Luke 24:50). A reference in Isaiah to the lifting of the hands informs our understanding of Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2:8:

When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil. (Isa. 1:15–16)

Isaiah is clear that lifting hands is not merely a posture for prayer. A person’s hands represent his deeds, which can be either pure or defiled. In the Isaiah text, his hearers’ “hands” are covered with blood, so God will not hear them.

This is why Paul calls on these men to pray while lifting “holy hands.” Their public expressions of worship must flow from a life marked by holiness. In other words, God is looking for worshipers who will worship him in spirit and in truth, not in hypocrisy. God cares very little for a man’s religious performance at worship if such a man is living like the Devil elsewhere. And so Paul says that men are to raise “holy hands.”

Negatively, Paul asserts that public expressions of worship must grow out of a life that is without “anger” or “quarreling.” Anger and quarreling, therefore, are the specific sins in view that render a man’s “hands” unholy. “Anger” refers to an inner disposition of wrath and indignation, while “quarreling” refers to unholy disputes and arguments produced by such an angry spirit. “Lifting holy hands” requires a transformation of both heart and deeds.

An exhortation for women

“Likewise” indicates a correspondence between Paul’s exhortation to men in verse 8 and his exhortation to women in verse 9. George Knight explains the connection this way: “Just as Christian men needed to be warned that their interest in vigor and discussion should not produce strife and dissension (v. 8), so Christian women needed to be warned that their interest in beauty and adornment should not produce immodesty and indiscretion.”(1)

There is nothing new under the sun. Women in Paul’s day were concerned about their appearance just as some women in our day are. There is evidence from antiquity that these particular adornments—elaborate braiding of hair, gold, pearls, expensive clothing—while not evil in themselves, could be marks of sinful motives: “It is the excess and sensuality that the items connote that Paul forbids (cf. Jas. 5:1–6), not braids, gold, pearls, or even costly garments in and of themselves.”(2) It is not that all braids and gold and pearls and clothing were wrong. It is only those that express seduction or ostentation (cf. 1 Pet. 3:3–4, where Peter is not forbidding wearing “clothing” per se).

Learning was not generally encouraged for women by Jewish men in the first century, yet, in spite of that patriarchal norm, Paul tells the believers in Ephesus that he desires women to “learn” (i.e., to be instructed in the faith). This command for women to “learn” is the only imperative in this entire text. However, the accent is not on the command itself (Paul seems to assume that women will be learning) but on the manner in which women are to do so: literally, they are to learn “quietly” and “with all submissiveness.”

“Quietly” does not mean that women are never to utter a word when the church gathers for worship. This would completely contradict what Paul says about women in 1 Corinthians 11, where he tells the women how to pray and prophesy in church. His assumption is that they will pray and prophesy, which means his assumption is that they will speak during church services. We may note that the term for “quietly” in verse 11 is similar to the term for “quiet” in verse 2. When Christians are commanded to pray for a “peaceful and quiet life,” that phrase does not describe a life in which no one talks. It aims rather at a life “without turmoil” (cf. BDAG, s.v. ἡσυχία). Likewise here, “quietly” does not mean complete silence. It means instead that women are to be “without turmoil.” The term requires women to have a “quiet demeanor and spirit that is peaceable instead of argumentative.”(3)

What is allowed?

This verse is one of the most controversial texts in all of the NT, mainly because there is such a difference of opinion over what it is that Paul is disallowing. The literature on this verse is voluminous, and adjudicating all the competing interpretations would be beyond the scope of this commentary.(4) Nevertheless, we can simplify the discussion by dividing interpretive options into two groups.

One stream of interpretation posits that Paul is prohibiting one thing—a certain kind of teaching. On this view, such interpreters translate the statement as “I do not allow a woman to teach with authority,” or perhaps, “I do not allow a woman to teach with an intent to dominate.” In either case, it is only a certain kind of teaching that Paul prohibits. As long as women do not teach with authority—teaching with pastoral authority—then it is permissible for women to teach men in the gathered assembly of the church. Or, as long as female teachers do not seek to dominate, they are allowed to teach the gathered assembly of God’s people. Paul rules out for women not church-wide teaching per se but only a certain kind of teaching—the kind that wrongly assumes authority or exercises authority in a harsh or sinful way.

But neither of those interpretations makes sense of the actual wording of the text. Thus another stream of interpretation holds that Paul is prohibiting two things, not one.(5) According to this view, Paul is saying that women should not teach or exercise authority within the gathered assembly of the church. Paul is disallowing both activities. Paul is not prohibiting all teaching by women—as if a woman must refrain from teaching subjects like geometry or science. The word translated as “teach” refers specifically to teaching Christian doctrine. Thus the prohibition applies narrowly to those who would teach and preach the Bible.

Nor is Paul saying that women are incapable of being gifted Bible teachers. There are many women who are very gifted teachers. He is simply saying that the exercise of their teaching gifts must be kept within certain parameters. They are not allowed to teach men. Nor are they allowed to “exercise authority,” which means that women are not to be pastors.6 As the following chapter of 1 Timothy makes clear, the pastorate is reserved only for qualified men—not all men, but only those who meet certain qualifications, with the result that they are recognized as elders by the rest of the church.

The average person with modern sensibilities begins to feel an objection welling up: “Why would Paul put gender parameters on who can teach and be an elder? This sounds sexist.” As if he were anticipating this objection, Paul answers it in the next verse.

Order of creation

The word “for” introduces the reason for the prohibition in verse 12: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” This is a clear reference to the Genesis 2 account of creation. In Genesis 2, God creates Adam from the ground and afterward creates Eve from Adam’s rib. Paul is teaching that the reason for the prohibition has something to do with how God made the first man and the first woman.

Some interpreters have suggested that the first woman had an intellect and discernment inferior to the man’s. They argue, therefore, that women are prohibited from teaching because they are not quite “up to snuff” intellectually. Such an interpretation is unpersuasive, for various reasons.

First of all, Paul calls for women to teach other women (Titus 2:3–5). If women are intellectually inferior to men, then Paul would not have let them teach at all. But because Paul wants women to teach other women in the church, he obviously believes that at least some women are fully capable of doing so.

Second, the text does not say that women are prohibited from teaching because they are more gullible than men. Notice in verse 13 that Paul uses the word “first” to emphasize the sequence of the creation of the man and the woman: “Adam was formed first, then Eve.” This means that the reason for the prohibition of verse 12 is found in the order of creation.

Note too that verses 13 and 14 use passive verbs: “Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived.” The implicit agents are God in verse 13 and Satan in verse 14. In this way Paul highlights not what Adam and Eve did in the garden but what was done to them. Verse 13 specifies that God made Adam first and then Eve. In contrast, verse 14 specifies that Satan first deceived Eve, not Adam. In the original order of creation, God spoke his word to Adam, Adam spoke God’s word to Eve, and Adam and Eve were to rule over the beasts of the ground. In the fall, the Serpent spoke his word to Eve, Eve influenced Adam to follow her, and both Adam and Eve evaded God. So verse 13 tells us what God has done, and verse 14 tells us what Satan has done. God established an order of creation, and Satan subverted that order.

Paul appeals to this agency and order in creation and the fall to show that Adam’s leadership in the first marriage was established in part on the basis that God created him first—a principle of primogeniture very common in the ancient world. Because this ordering is a part of God’s original creation and is deemed by God to be “good,” Paul views it as the paradigm for all marriages to follow. God intends a certain order in the husband-wife relationship. The order of creation establishes the husband as leader in the first marriage and in all marriages to follow.

The pattern for leadership in marriage is the basis for an all-male eldership. The gender norms of the eldership must follow the gender norms for marriage.

The order in marriage has wider implications for church leadership, which is the point Paul is pressing in 1 Timothy 2:12ff. Paul appeals to the nature of marriage to establish a point about leadership within the church. This is not an accident, and it corresponds with what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:3–16 concerning marriage, “headship,” and order within the gathered assembly. The pattern for leadership in marriage is the basis for an all-male eldership. The gender norms of the eldership must follow the gender norms for marriage. If this were not the case, the church’s leadership structure would be at odds with the leadership structure God has established for marriages within the church.

Sin came into the world when the Serpent strove to assault God’s order. Likewise, to subvert the headship principle that God established at the very beginning would be to subvert God’s design. This is why he prohibits women from teaching and exercising authority within the gathered assembly. The prohibition is not because of deficiency of intellect among women. Nor is it due to some situation specific to the Ephesian church. Because this prohibition is rooted in the order of creation, it is a transcultural principle to be observed for all times and ages. Male headship in marriage is not a result of the fall but is a part of the order of creation. So also, then, is male eldership in the church.

Editors’ note: This article is adapted from ESV Expository Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon(Volume 11 edited by Iain M. Duguid, James M. Hamilton Jr., and Jay Sklar. It was originally published at the Crossway blog.

  1. George W. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text, NIGTC (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1992), 136
  2. Thomas R. Schreiner, “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9–15: A Dialogue with Scholarship,” in Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15, ed. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, 3rd ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 186.
  3. For an extended discussion of this verse in English translation, see Denny Burk, “New and Old Departures in the Translation of Αὐθεντεῖν,” in Women in the Church, 279–296.
  4. Andreas J. Köstenberger, “A Complex Sentence: The Syntax of 1 Timothy 2:12,” in Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15, ed. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, 3rd ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 117–161
  5. “Authority” does not have an inherently negative connotation. See Al Wolters, “The Meaning of Αὐθεντέω,” in Women in the Church, 65–115.

via What does Paul mean when he says ‘let a woman learn quietly?’ — Southern Equip

Shutting Down the Truth: TGC, We’ll Just “Block” Them — Pulpit & Pen

Illustration: Glenn Harvey

[Medium] Amid backlash, evangelical leaders are finally acknowledging sexual abuse — but not a high-profile preacher allegedly facilitating it. Why?

One afternoon in late 2014, a friend told me that he’d been blocked on Twitter by The Gospel Coalition.

The sheer power and influence that The Gospel Coalition (TGC) holds is mind-boggling. The group is an online evangelical juggernaut that was co-founded by Tim Keller, a popular New York City pastor, respected by liberal and conservative Christians alike.

TGC’s online articles — which cover anything from Christian living to Bible and theology — generated 74.8 million page views in 2016. The group’s 2017 conference drew 10,000 attendees, paying roughly $200 a ticket. The TGC council boasts some of the most influential leaders in modern evangelicalism, including Al Mohler, Russell Moore, David Platt, and John Piper. We’re not talking about small fish. We’re talking about an organization with the financial means and influence to do whatever the hell it pleases.

So, if you’re Goliath, why block the ant on Twitter?

Intrigued, I asked my friend what he’d done to incur the wrath of TGC. “I asked them why they’ve been silent about the Sovereign Grace Ministries sexual abuse case. I told them we should listen to the victims.” Shrugging, he continued, “They seem to protect their buddies involved in the case and blocked me for asking. Blocked a ton of other people, too.”

Curious, I opened Twitter and found a number of users who had used the hashtag #IStandWithSGMVictims and then reported being blocked by TGC’s account. Over the next few years, this would become a common response from the organization whenever it was faced with questions about its practices, or criticized for posting articles like this one: “When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband.

“What happened at Sovereign Grace?” I mumble as I continue to scroll through tweets.

My friend waits until I look up from my phone. His face shows genuine concern. “How deep down the rabbit hole do you want to go?”

Down the Rabbit Hole

The Gospel Coalition was once home to a charismatic preacher named C.J. Mahaney and his protégé, Joshua Harris. These two men served on TGC’s council while simultaneously leading a sprawling association of megachurches named Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), now renamed Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC).

Sovereign Grace’s origin story begins in the early 1970s when Mahaney, then a twentysomething, long-haired hippie, wandered into an evangelical prayer meeting led by evangelist Larry Tomczak. Mahaney became a born-again Christian, and soon he and Tomczak began attracting large crowds. By 1982, the two men had opened several churches that eventually became SGM. Tomczak left the church in the late 1990s after a falling out with Mahaney, but his departure didn’t slow SGM’s momentum. Instead, Mahaney rose to prominence in evangelical circles and became close friends with several influential council members of both TGC and the famed Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), a fellowship of over 47,500 Baptist churches in the United States and its territories.

While I had never heard of SGM churches before my friend named them in a sexual abuse scandal, I knew of C.J. Mahaney. When I became a Christian in 2008, I looked to TGC as a source of information, discovering all kinds of up-and-coming “celebrity” pastors. Their neo-Calvinist views and machismo were alluring to an impressionable young combat veteran like myself, and I often listened to sermons by Mahaney, though without knowing the name of his association of churches (SGM). Over time, I became disillusioned by the callous nature of some of the pastors at TGC — Mahaney included — so I distanced myself. Several of their sermons involved yelling at menpatronizing women as sexual vixens, and allowed little to no dissent or discussion around minor biblical issues. Now, I found myself once more in their grips — this time, as a shocked observer.

My curiosity drove me to read report after report, online. I found a few websites that compiled allegations of sexual abuse like SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge (the latter has since shut down). On the sites, allegations from former parishioners described rampant sexual abuse and subsequent cover-ups by church officials. The stories allege that church officials told victims not to report their abuse to law enforcement. Officials allegedly made the abusers and victims (often a child, sometimes as young as three years old) reconcile, and reminded the parent’s victims of the Bible passage telling them, “Do not take believers to court.”

The biggest blow to SGM came in 2012, when a former youth group leader named Nathaniel Morales was arrested and tried in Maryland for child sexual abuse. During Morales’s time volunteering and singing at Covenant Life Church — SGM’s main campus — he sexually assaulted three teenage boys and, later, allegedly assaulted two of his stepsons, according to his ex-wife, with whom I spoke. He would target the boys during church sleepovers in which they would wake up to Morales fondling or orally raping them. During Morales’s trial, the defense attorney questioned Grant Layman, a pastor on staff and Mahaney’s brother-in-law. Here’s a segment of the cross-examination:

Defense Counsel Alan Drew: “Did you have a responsibility as a pastor, when you become aware of sexual child abuse, did you have a responsibility to report that to the police department? That is a yes or no.”

Grant Layman: “I believe so.”

Drew: “And you didn’t do it.”

Layman: “No, sir.”

Each time Layman was questioned regarding the church’s knowledge of the sexual abuse and whether they reported the incidents — ranging as far back as the 1980s — to the police, his answer remained the same: No, they did not. In 2014, Morales was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison. However, the civil suit that family members brought against Mahaney and SGM was thrown out due to Maryland’s statute of limitations. No official proceedings ever took place to determine whether there had been a cover-up, despite Grant Layman’s court testimony.

Once the backlash against Mahaney and SGM reached a crescendo — two years after the events were made public — Mahaney denied the allegations, stating:

“I have never conspired to protect a child predator, and I also deny all the claims made against me in the civil suit.”

Mahaney and his protégé, Joshua Harris, resigned from the Gospel Coalition’s Council. The Gospel Coalition, in turn, continued to block the men and women now demanding answers on social media.


“How’d you find out about me?”

Brent Detwiler’s voice is whimsical and calm when we connect over the phone. According to some, he’s a bitter, self-serving board member who was ousted from C.J. Mahaney’s church. According to others, he’s a whistleblower who bravely challenged a system of abuse. I wasn’t sure what to think of Detwiler, but the evidence he compiled over the years regarding SGMsubsequent cover-ups, and fraudulent activitywas extensive.

Detwiler’s knowledge of Sovereign Grace goes back several years, as he was one of its original leaders. He served as a pastor and on their board of elders, remaining a close friend to Mahaney from 1974 until 2009. Over time, he says he noticed patterns in Mahaney’s behavior that disturbed him, which included: deceit, the illegal use of funds, fraud, and, after he left SGM, the cover-up of sexual abuse.

Following Matthew 18, which describes the steps Christians take toward reconciliation, he first approached Mahaney privately. (C.J. Mahaney didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.) When it became clear nothing was changing, Detwiler involved other church leaders. As more time passed, Detwiler compiled 600 pages of emails and ministry documents that he sent to the board and fellow pastors. After he was ousted from the church, Detwiler posted, online, what became known as “The Documents.” Tens of thousands of people have now read this paper trail. A representative from Sovereign Grace said the following of the documents: “We cannot verify the precise nature of all the information Brent Detwiler has provided SGC. He has publicly disseminated large volumes of documents, accusations, slander, and misinformation.”

I tell Detwiler how my friend’s Twitter blocking led me to him. Then I ask him whether C.J. Mahaney was lying.

“Absolutely… and I can back up that claim up with documentation. In an affidavit I filled out, there were 14 exhibits that included emails between C.J. and the victims,” Detwiler tells me. “He was extensively involved in counseling at least some victims and was completely aware of the situation.”

Detwiler isn’t the only one claiming Mahaney was involved with church victims of sexual abuse — several victims have also spoken out. I took the following screen capture from the Wartburg Watch, a Christian watchdog organization. The organization has been working with SGM victims for several years, in addition to helping other sexual abuse victims from churches across the U.S.

Source: Wartburg Watch

I spoke with Dee Parsons, one of the founders of the Wartburg Watch. Like Detwiler, Parsons stated there’s “no way” Mahaney is telling the truth.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Benjamin Sledge and originally published at Medium.]

[Editor’s Note: Title changed by P&P.]

via Shutting Down the Truth: TGC, We’ll Just “Block” Them — Pulpit & Pen

Vatican to be exposed as ‘one of largest’ homosexual networks in world in new book — Christian Research Network

Martel claims to be able to show us with his new book the underlying connection between the following topics: the celibacy of priests, the condemnation of the use of contraceptives, the cover-up of countless cases of sexual abuse, the resignation of Benedict XVI, misogyny among the clergy, the dramatic fall of  vocations to the priesthood, the plotting against Pope Francis.” His book is meant to “reveal these secrets.”

(Maike Hickson – LifeSiteNews)  A press release that is to be published tomorrow in several different languages announces more disclosures about the content of the book In the Closet of the Vatican which itself aims at revealing that there now exists in the Vatican “one of the largest homosexual communities in the world” (according to the French version of the press release).

The book will come out in 20 countries and is thus intended and expected to shake the Church and the world. Its publication date – February 21, 2019 – is also intentional. It is timed for the beginning of the Sex Abuse Summit in Rome initiated by Pope Francis.

The author of the book, Frédéric Martel, is himself a prominent French journalist and book author whom the French newspaper Le Monde called “inclassable” (hard to classify). Though socialist and a homosexual, he is known for challenging his own “camp,” for example when he called upon the homosexual community to face and correct the denial of the danger of HIV.

According to the press release, the new book will “expose the rot at the heart of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church today.” For this book, the author has done research for four years and in thirty different countries, and he has conducted “extensive interviews with those in power.”  View article →


Sexual Abuse Scandal 

Roman Catholicism

Gay Agenda

via Vatican to be exposed as ‘one of largest’ homosexual networks in world in new book — Christian Research Network

Harvest, Narcissism, and the Church: My Interview on WYLL’s “Common Good” — Julie Roys

I had a great time yesterday talking with Brian From on “The Common Good” at WYLL/AM 1160. (Co-host Ian Simpkins was off because his wife just had a baby. Congratulations Ian!)

We discussed the latest at Harvest Bible Chapel, including Mancow’s blockbuster article on James MacDonald in the Daily Herald and what’s happening with John Secrest. (Secrest was fired from his position as lead pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Naples for objecting to James MacDonald preaching at his church during MacDonald’s sabbatical.)

We also discussed the problem of narcissism in pastors, and why it’s important to remember that Jesus is the hope for the world, not our particular church. Hope you can listen and add your comments here!

via Harvest, Narcissism, and the Church: My Interview on WYLL’s “Common Good” — Julie Roys

Political mass suicide — Triablogue

It’s quite something to witness the current state of the culture wars. I believe it was Pat Buchanan, back in 1992, who popularized the term “culture wars”–as well as helping to frame the issue. His speech was derided at the time, by proved to be sadly prescient.
There’s a sizable voting block that thinks Christianity is evil. They think Christianity must be suppressed.
A sizable voting block has embraced a secular totalitarian ideology. They fervently believe that everyone should be made to think and act alike. And it requires the bulldozer of a totalitarian state to steamroll dissenters and level things out.
It’s striking how impressionable and easily manipulated this voting block is. How they surrender themselves to be brainwashed by one-sided rhetoric.
And it’s striking to witness their indubitable judgmentalism. If we live in a godless universe, then human existence is like a stream of taillights headed into oblivion. One after another, each driver passes into the darkness of absolute oblivion. When you were born, some cars were ahead of you and others behind you. You can see a stream of taillights ahead of you. And, in the distance, you can see taillights extinguished as the lead car disappears into oblivion, followed inexorably by the next car and the next. As you go through the lifecycle, you edge ever closer to the devouring shadow of nonexistence. You see the taillights ahead of you vanish. There’s nothing on the other side. No road on the other side. No cars steaming away.
You are trapped in your car, in the chain of cars, as it moves relentlessly forward, at the same mechanical pace, in the same fatal direction. A journey into nothing. That’s all there is to human existence. All there is to each individual life. The fateful procession from nothing to nothing. The only thing in-between is the cortege. And yet the secular progressives are hellbent on a ruthless utopian crusade–as if anything matters.
They stoke the politics of hate and self-hate. They hate Christians. They hate Orthodox Jews. They hate whites. They hate men. They hate boys. They hate masculinity. They hate straight men. They hate straight women. They hate the elderly. They hate the disabled. They hate kids.
They hate themselves. Self-hating women (feminists). Self-hating men (transgender women). Self-hating whites (guilt-ridden caucasians), self-hating Jews, self-hating Asian-Americans, &c.
Much of this is based on woeful and willful ignorance. Self-reinforcing prejudice. They only listen to one side of the argument.
Increasingly, you have men, women, and couples who hate kids. They have dogs rather than kids. If they had kids, that would generally create a bonding effect, but they don’t.
We now have a concerned campaign to butcher the bodies of children through puberty blockers and sex-change operations. Public school exists to indoctrinate the next generation to become robotic drones of the totalitarian state.
They labor under the illusion that they will benefit from the revolution. But nearly all secular totalitarians will suffer the same fate as Christians. The only people who benefit from a totalitarian state are members of the paper thin ruling class. All the goodies are diverted to the ruling class. The loyal progressive voters are just a temporary, expendable tool. Once the totalitarian state is in place, the loyal little foot-soldiers who made it happen will join the wretched ranks of the massive underclass. Look at China under Mao. Look at the Soviet bloc under Lenin, Stalin, and Brezhnev. Look at Cuba and North Korea.

via Political mass suicide — Triablogue

Southern Baptist President Pushing Marxist Ideology, “White Privilege” — Reformation Charlotte

CHRISTIAN POST – In a culture where “white privilege” exists, Christians must work to ensure that all members of society have access to the same rights, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear said.

In a recent podcast, Grear, who is also the pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, answered the question, “Is white privilege real?” by acknowledging that while all Americans have access to the same laws and rights, “there’s this kind of invisible set of assets that I get from being a part of the majority culture.”

The pastor said that after talking with many of his “brothers and sisters of color,” he came to understand the issue on a deeper level. One of those individuals was George Yancey, an African-American sociologist from North Texas University, who explained that the term “privilege” was first developed by a white woman in the 1980s to talk not about race but male privilege in academics.

So privilege is not an exclusively racial thing (those who are good looking also enjoy certain benefits). But the term was later applied to race. Is there a privilege that you get from being white? This white privilege, which was defined in the podcast as “an invisible package of unearned assets that whites can count on cashing in each day,” can range from something innocent to something harmful.

Greear pointed out examples of where there is a social advantage in being white in the United States than in being non-white.

“When I get pulled over by the police, I’ve never one time questioned whether or not it was because of my race,” he said. “Every person of color I know has some story that goes back to this happening where … there was a line of questioning that was being given to them because they were a certain race.

“There is a clerk following you in the store because they assume maybe you’ll steal something.”

When it comes to employment, the person who is hiring might naturally be drawn to people who look like them. And when it comes to the justice system, race may be a factor in a person’s sentencing, Greear noted, citing evidence indicating that being a person of color increases the likelihood that the death penalty is given.

Yancey said “privileges” are like “rights” — meaning “you don’t want to take rights away from one and give them to somebody else,” but “you want the right that one experiences to be experienced by all.”

“If there’s a burden of being a person of privilege, of whatever kind of privilege it is, that is to leverage it so that others can experience what you experience,” Grear said.

So how should Christians respond?

“If I’ve been given any privilege in whatever situation, I’m going to leverage that not for self, but leverage it to lift others up,” the pastor said.

Grear pointed out that politicians are split on the issue; some will say that because of America’s history of exploitation and discrimination, the black community deserves certain benefits and privileges. Others, he said, will say that while government can provide “access and opportunity” and “level the playing field,” African-Americans “are the only ones who can prosper themselves.”


via Southern Baptist President Pushing Marxist Ideology, “White Privilege” — Reformation Charlotte

Do You Think God Is Angry With You? Here Are 3 Biblical Truths About God’s Wrath. — Faithwire

The idea of God’s anger or wrath is sure to pop up in religious news and social media circles every time our nation or the world faces a tragedy, natural disaster or violent attack. Invariably, someone will attribute the destruction and pain to God’s anger with some subsection of humanity, or indeed humanity as a whole.

Questions about God’s anger in such a context seems very large. God’s frustration with sin—His divine justice against evil—and His compassion toward humanity have been the matter of debate for centuries. The Bible is clear that God cannot be in the presence of sin.

But how can He be in the presence of the sinner?

When it comes to God’s relationship with us as individuals, whether or not we’ve angered Him seems very personal. Can we know whether we’ve upset Him? Are we at risk of hurting or offending God so badly that He will respond in anger?

Such concerns are grounded in our fundamental concept of God, making them difficult to change. However, the Bible is clear: in Christ, God’s anger is not directed at us individually for any wrong we may have committed.

1. Is God mad at you? No. God is empty of anger toward you.

Yes, God hates sin. In fact, the Psalmist says that God feels indignation and righteous judgment “every day” (Psalm 7:11). But Romans 1:18 makes it clear that God’s wrath is reserved for sin itself, revealed “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” He detests sin, but he does not detest sinners.

This is a critical distinction to make, because if God’s anger was toward us as individuals, we would be powerless to overcome it. Our sinful nature persists, even if we accept Christ’s mercy, and no matter how much we strive for righteousness in life, we’re always going to miss the mark.

Thankfully, God’s gift to fallible humans comes to us through the redeeming work of Christ on the cross. When God became human in the form of His son, He emptied Himself of anger. In other words, there’s no anger left somewhere on reserve for Him to take out on us when we disobey.

That’s right. God is never angry with you.

2. God’s memory of sin is mercifully brief.

Most Christians have been taught from an early age that God’s love for the world is offered in salvation through Jesus Christ. What gets obfuscated at times is how His righteousness operates. Brennan Manning once told a tale of a priest who asked an alleged Christian mystic to prove her intimate connection with Christ by asking the details of his last confession. She responded to him some weeks later that she heard back from Jesus, and His words were “I don’t remember.”

This may only be an anecdote, but it illustrates truthfully how God chooses to deal with sin in our lives. It isn’t by punishing us. Rather, it’s by forgiving us of any last vestige of our sins, past, present and future. When we seek God’s forgiveness in Christ, we’re cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Not just some.

Therefore, it’s not just that God withholds judgment of us. He willingly gives up his right to judge on the basis of our sins, or to even recall our instances of injustice. When we accept God’s gift of salvation, our sins are “nailed…to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).

3. We must not confuse natural consequences with God’s anger.

In Romans 2, Paul reminds us that “there will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil.” These consequences are not divine punishment from God for having wronged Him or acted against His will. Rather, they’re natural effects of our actions and decisions. While divine punishment is withheld—now and forever—neither do we have an excuse to continue in sin and expect to get away with it. Saint Paul asks in his letter to the Romans whether we should continue sinning in order to see the profound effects of God’s grace over and over (Romans 6:1-2). The question, of course, is rhetorical. He exclaims, “By no means!”

But these consequences aren’t meted out by God like some sort of cosmic scorekeeper when our sins reach a certain number or magnitude. When God allows for us to get caught in sin, He is simply not shielding us from correction and reproach, which allow us to re-enter into a clear and honest relationship with Him.

The medieval concept of God reigning destruction and terror over us is one that’s far removed from God’s character, which is always marked by love, mercy and grace toward us, and never with anger or malice. Through His son’s victory over death, we are marked (and treated) as God views us—sinless.

By Brandon W. Peach for LightWorkers. Lightworkers’ mission is to create engaging, uplifting and inspirational content that breaks through the clutter, building a community of sharing and igniting a movement in the real world that motivates people to celebrate and share the good all around them.

via Do You Think God Is Angry With You? Here Are 3 Biblical Truths About God’s Wrath. — Faithwire

Most Prominent Southern Baptist Leader Admits He’s Influenced By False Teachers — Christian Research Network

“Russell Moore has spent the majority of his career in the ERLC waging war on conservative views in the culture, including his push for open-borders in America and redefining the word “refugee” to include illegal immigrants. He’s waged war against traditionally southern symbols such as the confederate flag and statues, calling them “racist” and “bigoted” – despite their wider meaning for individual states’ rights.” 

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  There really is no argument that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is rapidly declining into a vapid morsel of what used to be a powerful voice of biblical truth. Succumbing to anything from social justice to charismaticism, the SBC is a world leader in ecumenism with its leaders partnering with just about anyone to achieve its notoriety as a moral progressive voice in the culture.

Arguably the most influential leader in the SBC, Russell Moore, has single-handedly transitioned the denomination from its conservative roots to an outspoken, culturally-engaged fleet of social justice warriors.

While some of the cultural war waged with the Southern Baptist Convention at the front lines are noble and just–such as the war on abortion–much of it has taken a sharp turn toward liberalism while mission drift has overcome the churches and entities within. Examples include Russell Moore visiting the Vatican in 2014 to speak at a conference promoting traditional marriage and family life. Sounds good, but biblically speaking, Christians have nothing in common with the Catholic Church.

Another example is Russell Moore’s continuous push for “racial reconciliation,” where he not only uses unorthodox ministers like Dwight McKissic and Samuel Rodriguez to parrot his message as a “gospel issue,” he uses Marxist ideology, namely Critical Race Theory, to make his case. While all Christians would agree that reconciliation–of any kind–is central to the biblical theme of reconciling God to man, cloaking man-centered culturally acceptable ideology into your central message and calling it a “gospel issue” is simply absurd.  View article →


Rick Warren

Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

via Most Prominent Southern Baptist Leader Admits He’s Influenced By False Teachers — Christian Research Network

MacDonald Fundraising While on a Sabbatical from his Sabbatical — The Elephant’s Debt

On 23 January 2019, The Elephant’s Debt became aware of a fundraising letter that James and Kathy MacDonald sent to Walk in the Word “Change Partners.”  While we could spend more than a little time dissecting large portions of this letter (as we have been prone to do in the past), it seems to us that there are really only three central features of the letter that need to be discussed in detail.

First.  At the end of 2018, James MacDonald announced that he was taking a sabbatical in Naples, FL where he would would be working on a new book and preaching at the new Naples campus.  In the aftermath of the lawsuit, the Harvest Elders announced that James would be placed on an “indefinite sabbatical,” [1] while being allowed to continue to preach at the Naples campus.  Within days, they changed tack again and this time announcing that MacDonald’s “indefinite sabbatical” would also preclude him from any leadership or preaching (at any campus).  In his own words, MacDonald said this:

I have carried great shame about this pattern in certain relationships that can only be called sin. I am grieved that people I love have been hurt by me in ways they felt they could not express to me directly and have not been able to resolve. I blame only myself for this and want to devote my entire energy to understanding and addressing these recurring patterns … Please pray that this welcomed time of sabbatical rest will lead to needed changes in me and a fresh opportunity to reconcile with others in God’s time.

Given the apparent need to set aside both writing and preaching to focus on this “fresh opportunity to reconcile with others,” why is MacDonald sending fundraising letters to “Change Partners?” 

Second, in this fundraising letter, MacDonald indicates that “Change Partners” will soon be able to see the Walk in the Word financial page, which will include, among other things, Walk in the Word form 990s.  This is a significant statement that may point to notable changes that are coming.  For readers who are unfamiliar with the US tax code, a form 990 is a financial disclosure form that is required to be filed by all registered non-profit organizations under US tax law.  Walk in the Word used to file a standard 990 form each year until 2011.  At that time, Walk in the Word was brought under the umbrella of Harvest Bible Chapel as a church ministry.  This change in status altered their legal obligations with regards to the filing of form 990.  Now, they were able to file 990-EZs, which do not reveal nearly as much information about financial matters as the full standard 990.  Therefore, the fact that MacDonald has announced that “Change Partners” will be able to see Walk in the Word 990s, complete with “monthly incomes and expenditures” may be evidence that MacDonald is spinning off Walk in the Word from Harvest Bible Chapel while he is on leave. As always, the situation is highly fluid and we will update you as more information becomes available.

There is another reason this situation may be significant.  Put simply, this situation may be mirroring the Mark Driscoll / Mars Hill collapse of 2014.  As you may recall, as the internal and external pressure upon Driscoll were reaching their fever peak, Driscoll (who is a close friend of MacDonald’s [2]) took a “break” from teaching as the church investigated the various charges being levied against their pastor.  Driscoll took this break in August of 2014.  Within less than two months of taking a “break,” Driscoll returned to the church to announce that he was “resigning” in October 2014.  Just two months, Driscoll had launched a new website; and now was claiming all of his back catalog of sermons as his own intellectual property.

So the question we have to ask is this: is James MacDonald attempting to spin off Walk in the Word from Harvest Bible Chapel?  And if so, is he doing this in preparation for a coming departure? 


[1]  This is not the first the first “mandated” leave that the Elders have required of MacDonald.  More coming this afternoon.

[2] MacDonald and Driscoll are so close that MacDonald used to serve on Dricoll’s oversight board.  Later, in either 2016 or 2017, MacDonald used HBF funds to give Driscoll’s church a $50,000 gift.

via MacDonald Fundraising While on a Sabbatical from his Sabbatical — The Elephant’s Debt

RenewAmerica Newsletter for January 29, 2019

January 28, 2019
CLIFF KINCAID — In what has been called a “strong message” to President Trump, the new socialist-controlled House of Representatives has passed the “NATO Support Act” (H.R. 676) by a vote of 357 to 22. So while the House under the direction of Speaker Nancy Pelosi has resisted paying for a wall to defend the sovereignty of the United States, the House has voted overwhelmingly to defend the borders of countries in Europe…. (more)

January 28, 2019
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump on Monday accepted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation to deliver his State of the Union speech on Feb. 5, a week later than originally scheduled because of the partial government shutdown…. (more)

January 28, 2019
THE HILL — President Trump during an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Sunday said that he is doubtful Congress can come to a deal over border wall funding, claiming that another government shutdown is “certainly an option” once the three-week funding bill comes to an end…. (more)

January 28, 2019
DAILY SIGNAL — The United States is working to support what national security adviser John Bolton called the “constitutional government” in Venezuela, as two men are laying competing claims to the presidency of the South American nation…. (more)

January 28, 2019
DAILY CALLER — The video had all the markings of a pre-dawn “knock and announce” arrest warrant on a meth lab somewhere in the United States. There were some two dozen federal agents donning tactical body armor and toting long guns. Surely, they were going in with overwhelming force to take down armed and violent criminals. Yet, what was CNN doing there and why were they being allowed to film in such a dangerous environment?… (more)

January 28, 2019
Ob/gyn has delivered 4,000 babies over 20 years
WORLDNETDAILY — New York state’s new law allowing abortion virtually up to birth conflicts with the fact that modern technology allows physicians to do heart surgeries and other medical procedures on unborn babies as early as 22 weeks, contends a physician who has delivered nearly 4,000 babies…. (more)

January 28, 2019
JOE KOVACS — At just 23 years old, she’s been prominently featured in magazines such as Maxim and Esquire, and has taken part in photoshoots for Vizcaya Swimwear. Not to mention she’s also majoring in law via the Harvard Extension School, has published two books and is an accomplished figure skater…. (more)

January 26, 2019
DESERET NEWS — Sen. Mitt Romney says President Donald Trump called Democrats’ bluff in making a short-term deal to reopen the federal government to work out an agreement to fund border security and avoid another shutdown. “This decision to reopen government for three weeks basically says to the Democrats, ‘OK, now put up or shut up,'” the Utah Republican said…. (more)

January 26, 2019
KURT SCHLICHTER — Chill. Just chill. The wailing and gnashing of teeth on the hardcore conservative side over Trump’s delaying action – really, a hudna – in the battle for the wall is way over the top and typically overdramatic. Trump’s caved-in! We’re doomed! Pelosi annihilated him with her master stratagems and it’s all over for conservatism! Oh please. Lighten up, Francises, – and many of you are my pals. But you need this bucket of cold water. What happened Friday doesn’t matter…. (more)

January 26, 2019
NEWSMAX — The U.S. economy lost at least $6 billion during the partial shutdown of the federal government due to lost productivity from furloughed workers and economic activity lost to outside business, S&P Global Ratings said on Friday. President Donald Trump agreed on Friday to end the 35-day partial shutdown, the longest in history, without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall…. (more)

January 26, 2019
NEWSMAX — White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says recent indicators for the U.S. economy show that America is the “hottest economy” in the world. The veteran financial guru and former Ronald Reagan adviser also predicted the next monthly unemployment report could shock naysayers. Kudlow said the economy will snap back from any “glitch” created by partial government shutdown…. (more)

January 26, 2019
NEWSMAX — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told countries at the United Nations on Saturday to “pick a side” on Venezuela, urging them to back Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and calling for free and fair elections as soon as possible…. (more)

January 26, 2019
His older brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 after struggling with alcoholism
FOX 8 – CLEVELAND — President Donald Trump has donated his salary from the third-quarter of 2018 to the federal agency that researches alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. The White House says Trump donated $100,000 to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcoholism is a personal issue for the president. His older brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 after struggling with alcoholism, and the president has said he learned from his brother’s experience…. (more)

January 25, 2019
THE EPOCH TIMES — President Donald Trump announced on Jan. 25 that he had reached a deal with Congress to reopen the government for 21 days, giving lawmakers a window to negotiate a bipartisan bill that would fund a wall on the southern border. If no measure is passed by Feb. 15, Trump says he will use the executive power afforded to him by the Constitution to secure funding for the border wall…. (more)

January 25, 2019
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Senate Republicans are skeptical that Congress will be able to reach agreement on a deal in just three weeks to boost border security that includes funding for a border wall, as President Trump is demanding. On Friday, after Trump agreed to end the shutdown and give Congress a three-week period to find a deal, some were already saying a deal of this magnitude probably requires more time than Congress has…. (more)

January 25, 2019
NEWSMAX — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the deal that will end the government shutdown but cautioned that Democrats need to hold up their end of the bargain. “I was glad to see today the president’s announcement that he and our Democratic colleagues have reached an agreement that will immediately reopen the government while providing the room to negotiate a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security,” McConnell said on the Senate floor shortly after Trump announced that a deal had been struck…. (more)

January 25, 2019
CLIFF KINCAID — The predawn raid on Roger Stone and his arrest are the latest developments in what is an obvious plan to force President Trump from office or impeach him. On the matter of border security, Trump looks weak and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks strong. The deal between the White House and congressional Democrats to negotiate over border security measures is a major loss for Trump. He has become toast for re-election because he has disappointed his base. The question now becomes how long he can survive as president…. (more)

January 25, 2019
FBI chief responsible for SWAT-style raid on Roger Stone home
JOSEPH FARAH — You probably didn’t hear FBI Director Chris Wray whining about what makes him really mad – – that some of his agents are not working because they’re not getting paid during the government shutdown, forcing other agents to cover their assignments…. (more)

January 25, 2019
DAILY CALLER — White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders openly wondered if the FBI would be raiding the homes of Hillary Clinton, James Comey and James Clapper Friday morning after Roger Stone’s indictment…. (more)

January 25, 2019
DAILY CALLER — Famed libel attorney Lin Wood announced Thursday that he would be representing Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School junior currently at the center of a media firestorm. Wood, who has earned the moniker “Lawyer for the Damned,” has made a name for himself taking on media on behalf of those who believe they have been unfairly characterized…. (more)

January 25, 2019
WASHINGTON EXAMINER EDITORIAL — A writer for the leftist Nation magazine opined in 2013, “Yes, the Venezuelan president could be a strongman,” upon the Venezuelan dictator’s death. “But he leaves behind what might be called the most democratic country in the Western Hemisphere.”… (more)

January 24, 2019
BARBARA KRALIS — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has again threatened his people with extreme abortion legislation that only causes a further deChristianization of the state’s culture. The degree of Gov. Cuomo’s long-held secularization of his Catholic faith and morals continues to increase exponentially due to grave impoverishment of his conscience…. (more)

January 24, 2019
NEWSMAX — Conservatives are outraged at leaders in New York after the state’s legislature approved a bill that makes abortions legal up until a baby’s due date. The state’s Democrat-led Senate and Assembly passed the Reproductive Health Act on Tuesday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic, marked the occasion by ordering several New York City landmarks to be lit in pink that evening…. (more)

January 24, 2019
NEWSMAX — Ohio’s new Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, is pledging to sign into law a bill that would make abortions illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. DeWine told radio host Hugh Hewitt he would sign the “heartbeat bill,” legislation his predecessor John Kasich, also a Republican, vetoed last month before leaving office…. (more)

January 24, 2019
DAILY CALLER — The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a paper internally that suggests President Donald Trump may have the authority to use Department of Defense resources to build a wall without obtaining congressional approval or declaring a state of emergency…. (more)


January 29, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


A blast of arctic-chilled air brought dangerous, potentially record-setting cold to a wide swath of the United States on Tuesday, stretching from the Dakotas through to Maine, with snow expected as far south as Alabama and Georgia.

As the Pentagon weighs new troop deployments to the U.S.-Mexico border, Democrats in Congress are poised to usher in unprecedented scrutiny of a politically charged mission championed by Republican President Donald Trump.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election is close to wrapping up, Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told reporters on Monday.

A day after Howard Schultz said he might run for U.S. president, a heckler shouted “don’t help elect Trump” at the former Starbucks CEO, voicing concerns that his independent bid could help President Donald Trump win re-election in 2020.

Russia and China pose the biggest espionage and cyber-attack threats to the United States and are more aligned than they have been in decades, the director of national intelligence told U.S. senators in testimony on worldwide threats on Tuesday.

White House national security adviser John Bolton raised questions about the United States’ intentions in Venezuela after he appeared at a briefing on Monday with a notepad containing the words “5,000 troops to Colombia,” which neighbors Venezuela.

Three employees of Brazilian miner Vale SA and two contractors were arrested on Tuesday, prosecutors said, as a criminal investigation began after a devastating dam rupture expected to leave a death toll of more than 300 people.

Brazil has nearly 4,000 dams that are classified as having “high damage potential” or being at high risk, with 205 of those dams containing mineral waste, the country’s Regional Development Minister Gustavo Canuto said on Tuesday.

Venezuelans braced for the deepening of a brutal economic crisis on Tuesday after the United States imposed sanctions sharply curbing the country’s vital oil exports, while the socialist government responded by refusing to load crude cargoes without payment.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has a problem: how to explain that the Fed may soon begin to taper its ongoing asset-shedding operation without looking like he’s hunkering down for a coming recession, or caving to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Power provider PG&E Corp filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, succumbing to liabilities stemming from wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018.

AP Top Stories

President Donald Trump will deliver his State of the Union address in the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 5.

Iran on Tuesday dismissed pressure from France and other Western powers for talks over its ballistic missile program, but said it had no plans to increase the range of the weapons.

Weeks after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., made headlines by calling for a top marginal income tax rate of 70 percent in an interview with “60 Minutes,” her fellow freshman congresswoman, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., suggested that the rich could pay even more. So, 70 percent, 80 percent, we’ve had it as high as 90 percent. So, that’s a place we can start.

A Duke University official stepped down Saturday after her email telling international students to “commit to using English 100% of the time” sparked outrage online.

A top Vatican official has resigned after a former nun from his community publicly accused him of making sexual advances during confession, the Vatican said Tuesday.

The Los Angeles teacher strike, which concluded last week after six school days of striking, has been branded a triumph for unions on behalf of long-suffering teachers, bravely fighting for lower class sizes and higher pay.

More than 30,000 people have fled the northeast Nigerian town of Rann and across the border to Cameroon in recent days because of fears of renewed Boko Haram attacks, the UN, civilian militia and residents said on Tuesday.

The U.S. plans to suspend its obligations under a 1987 nuclear weapons treaty with Russia after a deadline passes this weekend and the Trump administration inches closer to full withdrawal from a pillar of Cold War diplomacy, a White House official said Monday.


The partial shutdown of the US government is estimated to have cost the US economy $3bn.

Pakistan’s top court has rejected a challenge to the acquittal of a Christian woman on blasphemy charges. The Supreme Court upheld its decision to overturn Asia Bibi’s conviction and death sentence. She was originally convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbors, and spent eight years on death row.

Belgian authorities have asked for DNA samples of children adopted from the Democratic Republic of Congo to establish if their biological parents are still alive, reports said.


A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer. “We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Weizmann Science Park.

Researchers with Aimed Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to protect and enhance the rights of health care consumers and providers, say that doctors are so fed up with the constant headaches caused by insurers, two-thirds would recommend against pursuing a career in medicine, and nearly half (48%) are considering a career change altogether.

Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness.” —George Washington (1793)

Dems Are ‘For Border Security,’ They Just Oppose Securing the Border

They’re forced to explain why refusing to fund a border barrier is an effective way to secure the border.

American Socialists Unite Behind Tyrant Maduro

In spite of facts and evidence, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, Khanna, and Omar back the dictator.

Leftist Policy vs. Liberty: The Economic Freedom Index

Contrasting the policies of Donald Trump with various Democrats is enlightening.

Demo Green New Deal Strengthens Russia and China

By hitting the U.S. military with deep cuts, “saving the planet” could have a dangerous result.

Women and Selective Service Registration

Questions regarding when and how women serve in the military are still prevalent.

Profiles of Valor: Lt. Col. Charles Kettles, RIP

Remembering the life and heroism of a Vietnam War veteran.

Video: Why Trump Won

Were you shocked at the results of the 2016 American presidential election?

Today’s Opinion

Ken Blackwell
What the Episode at the Lincoln Memorial Teaches Us About Media Standards
Ryan T. Anderson
The Left Is Shunning Liberals With Concerns About Transgender Agenda
Rich Lowry
In Defense of Assimilation
Tony Perkins
New York and the Conscience of a Nation
Cal Thomas
Cave vs. Wall
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Tuesday Top Headlines

Trump to deliver SOTU, Mueller probe ending, charges against Huawei, sanctions against Venezuela, and more.

Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Tuesday Short Cuts

“We are literally as a world on a collision course with time.” —former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

News – 1/29/2019

Georgia TA: ‘Some white people may have to die…’
A University of Georgia (UGA) teaching assistant wrote Wednesday on Facebook that “some white people may have to die for black communities to be made whole in this struggle to advance to freedom.”

Nation’s largest utility files for bankruptcy amid California wildfire lawsuits
The largest utility in the U.S., Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., filed for bankruptcy Tuesday as it faces billions of dollars in potential damages from wildfires in California. The utility filed documents in a U.S. court seeking Chapter 11 reorganization despite state investigators determining last week that its equipment was not to blame for a 2017 fire that killed 22 people in Northern California wine country.

2018 Sees Record Spike in Antisemitic Attacks in Europe, North America
Thirteen Jews were murdered in antisemitic attacks in 2018—the most since the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry said in a report Sunday. The report also cited record levels of antisemitism on the streets and online, which saw a significant uptick after the U.S. embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the Hamas-orchestrated “March of Return” protests along the Israel-Gaza border.

Iran Ayatollah: ‘Death to America’ Until Muslims Turn White House to Islamic Center
Ayatollah Dezhkham said that the Iranian people are fighting and awaiting the day when the banner of Islam will fly all over the planet and the Mahdi establishes his global rule. He said the economic sanctions are evidence that the United States and U.S. President Donald Trump are terrified of Iran, and added: ”Until we turn the White House into a Hussainiya [Shi’ite Islamic center], we will all continue to shout: ‘Death to America!’ ” The crowd subsequently chanted: ”Death to America!”

The Democrats Can’t Escape Their Farrakhan Problem
Like a preacher tiptoeing out of a brothel, the Democrat Party quietly dropped its sponsorship of the Women’s March. Like most of the other lefty establishment groups slowly backing away from its pro-Farrakhan leadership, the DNC offered a non-denial and no condemnation of the group’s anti-Semitism.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah resigns
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced on Tuesday that he has submitted his government’s resignation to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The government, he said, will continue to carry out its duties until the formation of a new one.

130 ISIS fighters to be brought back to France – report
“All those who will return to France will be judged in court. If the judge estimates that it will be necessary to incarcerate them, and that will be the usual case, they will be put in jail,” French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told the station on Tuesday.

New details of 2016 meeting with Trump dossier author conflict with Dems’ timeline
New details contained in congressional transcripts and emails about a July 2016 meeting involving the author of the anti-Trump “dossier,” Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, and his wife, Nellie, appear to conflict with claims from Democrats — and the co-founder of the firm behind the dossier — that significant contacts did not occur until after the election.

Vandals ransack Jerusalem synagogue in attack seen as ‘antisemitic pogrom’
Vandals ransacked a Jerusalem synagogue Monday night in an attack labeled an “antisemitic pogrom,” the second time in a week a synagogue was vandalized. The synagogue, located in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, was broken into and its ritual objects- including a Torah scroll and prayer books – were destroyed.

130 ISIS fighters to be brought back to France – report
Paris will repatriate around 130 men detained in Syria who are suspected of ISIS ties, according to a report published by BFM TV in France. The men are currently being held by the Syrian Democratic Forces, the partner of the US-led anti-ISIS Coalition. As the US contemplates withdrawing from Syria there were concerns about the detainees future and the threats they pose.

Israel can build robots to wipe out cybercrime: ex-‘Israeli NSA’ chief
Robots can be built and trained to outpace and wipe out most of the ability of cyber criminals to harm society, a former chief of IDF Unit 8200 said Tuesday. The unit is considered to be “Israel’s NSA” – the Jewish state’s equivalent of the US National Security Agency. IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ehud Schneorson made the statement in a speech at the Cybertech TLV 2019. His speech focused on the role of robots in cybersecurity.

Iran rejects talks on missiles, but says it will not increase range
Iran on Tuesday dismissed calls from the United States and Europe for curbs on its ballistic missiles, but said it had no plans to increase their range. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran in May and reimposed sanctions, saying the accord did not address the Islamic republic’s ballistic missiles and what he saw as its malign influence on the region.

A cure for cancer? Israeli scientists say they think they found one
A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer. “We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi)… AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

Half Of Doctors Considering Leaving Medicine — Because Of Health Insurance Headaches
Are health insurance policies creating nightmares for physicians and hazards for their patients? A new study finds that nearly nine in ten doctors believe barriers set by insurance plans have led to worsened conditions for patients in need of care. Researchers with Aimed Alliance…say that doctors are so fed up with the constant headaches caused by insurers…nearly half (48%) are considering a career change…

Iran: Proxies in Lebanon, Gaza will respond with ‘hellfire’ to Israeli attacks
Iran will continue supplying high-precision missiles to its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza so they would be able to respond to Israel’s “acts of stupidity with hellfire” said the country’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani on Tuesday. The remarks come in the wake of a massive aerial bombardment launched by Israel Air Force on Iranian targets in Syria last Monday…

Freezing Finland hits Europe’s winter record low temperature
Winters in Finland are often frigid but meteorologists say the Nordic nation’s Lapland region has produced Europe’s coldest temperature this winter at minus 38.7 degrees Celsius (minus 37.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Superbug From India Spread Far and Fast, Study Finds
An antibiotic-resistant gene originally discovered in bacteria from India was found 8,000 miles away in a remote Arctic environment, according to a new study. Researchers believe the gene, found in bacteria in the soil of a Norwegian archipelago, made the trek in less than three years, highlighting the speed with which antibiotic resistance can spread on a global scale.

Vile: NBC Promotes Underage ‘Drag Kid’ Special
In the latest instance of pedophilia normalization, NBC released a fluff piece covering underage children crossdressing and exploring the LGBTQ community.

Israeli rescuers aid slow search through Brazilian mud as death toll rises
Brazilian firefighters and Israeli rescue workers poked sticks into treacherous mud Monday looking for bodies as pressure mounted on the mining company responsible for a dam that burst and spilled a flood of iron ore waste.

CA College Board Of Trustees Eliminates Pledge Of Allegiance: Its History ‘Steeped in Nativism And White Nationalism’
The president of the Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Board of Trustees unilaterally decided to get rid of the Pledge of Allegiance for two reasons: it states “one nation under God” and the Pledge “has a history steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism.”

Now you can sue over thumbprint taken without informed consent
In a ruling that could ripple across the nation’s biometric industry and target Facebook’s use of face surveillance without users’ consent, the Illinois Supreme Court has concluded companies can be sued for collecting such data without informed consent.

India Rules Sex With a Child Bride Is Always Rape in a Massive Win for Girls’ Rights
It’s a landmark change to India’s marital rape laws. India’s top court has ruled that sex with a child is always rape, quashing a clause that allowed men to have sex with underage girls if they were married to them.

‘Polar Vortex’ Will Have Nearly 90 Percent Of US Below-Freezing
Nearly 90 percent of the continental U.S. will experience below-freezing temperatures over the next five days as Arctic air moves south, according to forecasts.

ANALYSIS: To save America, Trump must declare a “New American Revolution”
It is becoming increasingly obvious to nearly everyone that the anti-Trump deep state is utterly out of control. A rogue, lawless cabal of treasonous criminals is now horrifyingly close to overthrowing democracy and achieving the permanent installation of a corrupt authoritarian regime that will rule over America like the KGB.

Starbucks Howard Schultz Tells Anti-Gay Marriage Christian Stockholders To ‘Sell Your Shares’ And Go Invest In Another Company
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has a message for Christians everywhere, and it’s a simple one. If you don’t like gay marriage, then sell your shares and get out. And he had no problem saying this as he addressed concerns by Christian employees at the annual shareholders meeting in Seattle.

Mexican Cartels Paid Off Mexican President with $100 Million – Former Democrat Claims Democrat Party Being Paid Millions by Cartels As Well!
The Democrats aggressively block the President’s desire to protect Americans and build a border wall on the southern border with Mexico.  Democrat attempts to block the wall in spite of significant evidence that it is needed indicate there is an unknown reason for their defiance.

Cuban President Reports 3 Dead, More Than 170 Injured By Tornado In Havana
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel reported Monday morning that three people were killed and more than 170 people injured by a tornado that struck eastern Havana, the country’s capital.

Feds Refuse to Unseal Documents on FBI Deep State Raid of Clinton Foundation Whistleblower that Implicate Mueller
On the morning of November 19th, sixteen FBI agents raided the Maryland home of a DOJ whistleblower who was in possession of Clinton Foundation and Uranium One documents. The whistleblower came across the devastating documents while he was working for an FBI contractor, according to the whistleblower’s lawyer. (Note: This order was likely in the works before Jeff Sessions was fired.)

Time’s up for inactive voters: Miss 2 federal elections, and you’re out
Californians across the state could find that they are no longer registered voters now that a suit by a pair of conservative groups has been settled by Los Angeles County and Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

Headlines – 1/29/2019

Ambassador Says No UN Membership for Palestinians Now, but Will Continue Fight

Abbas says Israel agreed in principle to reexamine economic ties

U.N. signs agreement with Qatar for one-time $20 million grant for Gaza

Israel to boot international observers out of Hebron, Netanyahu says

20.56% increase of Jews living in Judea and Samaria

Visiting outpost evacuees, Netanyahu vows ‘no more uprooting of communities’

Defiant Roseanne Barr says show got cancelled because she was ‘defending Israel’

Democrats launch group to keep party in pro-Israel camp

Senate advances anti-BDS bills as Congress resumes work after shutdown

UN chief: World must rise up against worsening anti-Semitism

Israel alerts UN to more Hezbollah tunnels in Lebanon, heading toward Israel

Iran general says Tehran aims to wipe Israel off the ‘global political map’

Iran denies guardsmen were killed in Israel strike in Syria

Rivlin warns Iran may step up retaliation over Israeli strikes in Syria

Rivlin: Israel ‘Strong and Resilient’ in Face of Iran Threat

After Holocaust Commemoration at UN, ‘It’s Time for Member States to Take Stand Against Iran’s Threats,’ Says Israeli Envoy Danny Danon

Netanyahu to meet top Russian diplomats Tuesday, with Syria reportedly on agenda

Likud minister Gallant: Israel has plan to boot Iran from Syria

Ex-air force chief: Only Russia can get the Iranians out of Syria

Syria air defenses target suspected drones over Russia base

Iran and Syria agree to boost cooperation, in ‘message to world’

Iran’s VP Arrives in Damascus to Sign Economic Agreements

Trump warns Europeans not to try to evade Iran sanctions

British official says Iraq must not rely on Iran economically

Top Saudi official: Barack Obama lied, set Middle East back 20 years

Sudan’s Bashir vows to bring peace as protests called in conflict zones

Yemen war: Where the fighting has stopped… but not the suffering

Senior official: US not seeking permanent military presence in Afghanistan

North Korea Launches Clothing Line That Can Be Eaten to ‘Avoid Starvation’

Pope fears ‘bloodbath’ in Venezuela

U.S. sanctions Venezuelan state oil firm, escalating pressure on Maduro

Hundreds of migrants cross Arizona border after ‘several busloads’ dropped off in Mexico

House, Senate committee is stacked against Trump’s border wall

The government shutdown cost the economy $11 billion, including a permanent $3 billion loss, Congressional Budget Office says

Election 2020: Battle of the Billionaires?

Apple FaceTime bug lets you listen in on people you call, even if they haven’t picked up their iPhone

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Lambasa, Fiji

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Constitucion, Chile

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Planadas, Colombia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near San Jeronimo Ixtepec, Mexico

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohara, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Abepura, Indonesia

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 13,000ft

Strongest tornado in 8 decades hits Cuba; 3 dead, 172 hurt

Deep Freeze Grips Midwest With Record-Breaking Low Temperatures

Polar vortex 2019 could break a 99-year record in Detroit this week

Polar Vortex to Help Trigger Coldest Arctic Outbreak in at Least Two Decades This Week in Parts of the Midwest

75% of the US population will suffer below-freezing temps this week

People robbed of Canada Goose coats at gunpoint in Chicago

Trump warns Midwest about frigid temps, asks global warming to ‘please come back fast’

Snowstorm to hit Atlanta during Super Bowl week. What could possibly go wrong?

Israeli rescuers aid slow search through Brazilian mud as death toll rises after dam collapse

A cure for cancer? Israeli scientists say they think they found one

U.S. citizen leaks data on 14,200 people in Singapore with HIV

Catholic leaders call for Gov. Cuomo to be excommunicated for ‘flagrant celebration of pro-abortion bill’

Liberty Counsel Files Suit Against Maryland for Banning Gender-Confusion Counseling

‘I’d rather go to heaven than live here as a boy’: Inside the lives of Australian trans children

Beirut’s fearless drag queens defy Middle Eastern conservatism

Iran publicly hangs man on homosexuality charges

Groups fighting hard to combat sex trafficking during Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta

Police find 10 mutilated bodies of kids kidnapped in Tanzania for witchcraft rituals

Apostasy Watch Daily News

The Pedophile in the Pulpit: How a Respected Pastor Abused Hundreds of Children for 40 Years

Vatican to be exposed as ‘one of largest’ homosexual networks in world in new book

Why I left the Village Church

After struggle with mental illness, megachurch pastor Jim Howard fatally shoots himself

Satanic prayer hotline started as joke receives multiple calls asking for prayer

UK: At least 15 churches get letter warning them to stop all services or face bombings and stabbings

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January 29, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

His Selflessness

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (7:18)

There are at least two characteristics of every false teacher and would-be messiah. First, he speaks from himself; that is, on his own authority, not God’s (cf. Jer. 14:14; 23:16, 21, 26, 32; 27:15; 28:15; 29:9, 31; Neh. 6:10–12; Ezek. 13:2, 6). And second, he seeks his own glory, not God’s. False prophets invariably proclaim their own musings to attract followers and secure personal gain. Their goal is not to feed the flock, but to fleece it. The prophet Micah graphically depicted the greedy false prophets of his day: “Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray; when they have something to bite with their teeth, they cry, ‘Peace,’ but against him who puts nothing in their mouths they declare holy war” (Mic. 3:5). In verse 11 he denounced them as “prophets [who] divine for money.” Isaiah called them greedy dogs who are never satisfied (Isa. 56:11). And Ezekiel warned, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock’ ” (Ezek. 34:2–3). The apostle Paul characterized false teachers as “slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites” (Rom. 16:18), “whose god is their appetite” (Phil. 3:19), “who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:5), and who are guilty of “teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain” (Titus 1:11). Peter warned that they greedily exploit people (2 Peter 2:3; cf. Acts 8:18–19), because they have “a heart trained in greed, … having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:14–15; cf. Jude 11).

Instead of seeking to honor God, false teachers seek honor for themselves. Jesus castigated the scribes and Pharisees as those who “do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men” (Matt. 23:5–7), and “for appearance’s sake offer long prayers” (Luke 20:47). False teachers are “those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh” (Gal. 6:12) and “boast according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 11:18). Like Diotrephes, they love the place of prominence (3 John 9). But those whose goal is to “be honored by men.… have their reward in full” (Matt. 6:2; cf. vv. 5, 16).

Jesus, however, never sought His own glory (cf. 5:41; 8:50), since He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28), for He is “gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29; cf. 2 Cor. 10:1). “Although He existed in the form of God,” Paul wrote, Jesus “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6–8; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). False teachers are materialistic, but “the Son of Man ha[d] nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58); false teachers are self-seeking and demanding, but Jesus “got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:4–5)—thus performing a menial task normally reserved for the lowliest slaves.

That Jesus came seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, instead of glorifying Himself, verified His claim to be the true Messiah, and showed that there was no unrighteousness in Him (cf. 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22). It is not surprising that the Jewish leaders rejected the One who sought God’s glory, since they were those who “receive[d] glory from one another and … [did] not seek the glory that is from the one and only God” (5:44).[1]

18. He who speaketh from himself. Hitherto he has showed that there is no other reason why men are blind, but because they are not governed by the fear of God. He now puts another mark on the doctrine itself, by which it may be known whether it is of God or of man. For every thing that displays the glory of God is holy and divine; but every thing that contributes to the ambition of men, and, by exalting them, obscures the glory of God, not only has no claim to be believed, but ought to be vehemently rejected. He who shall make the glory of God the object at which he aims will never go wrong; he who shall try and prove by this touchstone what is brought forward in the name of God will never be deceived by the semblance of right. We are also reminded by it that no man can faithfully discharge the office of teacher in the Church, unless he be void of ambition, and resolve to make it his sole object to promote, to the utmost of his power, the glory of God. When he says that there is no unrighteousness in him, he means that there is nothing wicked or hypocritical, but that he does what becomes an upright and sincere minister of God.[2]

18 Jesus now strengthens his case for accepting his teaching as coming from God. He points out that those who speak on their own do so for personal benefit. When people promote their own ideas, one can be sure that the ego is involved. The desire to convince others leads to a biased presentation that cannot be taken at face value. But Jesus is not trying to win favor in the eyes of others. His desire is that “the one who sent [him]” receive “honor.” It follows that, since he works for the honor of God, he is “a man of truth,” and “there is nothing false about him.” These words came as a stinging rebuke to the religious leaders of the day. They were consumed by the desire to gain recognition, even if it required the manipulation of what they knew to be true.[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 292–293). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 1, p. 292). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 460). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

January 29 Continue in the Spirit

scripture reading: Colossians 2:16–23
key verse: Galatians 3:3

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

The tackler could see it coming—a fullback carrying the football loosely at his side. A sudden turn and the tackler lunged after the ball. It popped loose and spiraled toward the ground.

He started to dive on the ball, but it bounded just high enough for him to pick it up and run. Breaking free from the other players, he started running down the football field as fast as he could run.

The crowd was shouting wildly as he crossed the goal line and pounded the ball proudly in the dirt. It was the first touchdown of his high school career—and perhaps his last—he had run into the wrong end zone.

We often have the right goal in mind spiritually when tackling the Christian faith but wind up in the wrong end zone. The Colossian believers had a sincere desire to serve God. However, they had become entangled in legalism and were imposing unrealistic demands on young believers. They had also begun judging actions of others.

The moment you think you have it together enough to judge another person is the moment you run into the wrong end zone. Paul described legalism as bondage. Don’t get caught up in it. Instead, “stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made [you] free” (Gal. 5:1).

Father, I have begun with You. Now keep me headed the right direction. I don’t want to wind up in the wrong end zone.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

29 january (1860) 365 Days with Spurgeon

A revival sermon

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.” Amos 9:13

suggested further reading: Psalm 44

Pharaoh’s dream has been enacted again in the last century. About a hundred years ago, if I may look back in my dream, I might have seen seven ears of corn upon one stalk, firm and strong; anon, the time of plenty went away, and I have seen, and you have seen, in your lifetime, the seven ears of corn thin and withered in the east wind. The seven ears of withered corn have eaten up and devoured the seven ears of fat corn, and there has been a sore famine in the land. Lo, I see in Whitefield’s time, seven bullocks coming up from the river, fat and well-favoured, and since then we have lived to see seven lean kine come up from the same river; and lo! the seven lean kine have eaten up the seven fat kine, yet have they been none the better for all that they have eaten. We read of such marvellous revivals a hundred years ago, that the music of their news has not ceased to ring in our ears; but we have seen alas, a season of lethargy, of soul-poverty among the saints, and of neglect among the ministers of God. The product of the seven years has been utterly consumed, and the Church has been none the better. Now, I take it, however, we are about to see the seven fat years again. God is about to send times of surprising fertility to his Church. When a sermon has been preached in these modern times, if one sinner has been converted by it, we have rejoiced with a suspicious joy; for we have thought it something amazing. But, brethren, where we have seen one converted, we may yet see hundreds; where the Word of God has been powerful in scores, it shall be blessed to thousands.

for meditation: The prayer of Habakkuk during a period of lean years (Habakkuk 3:2). Will you join him in prayer?

sermon no. 296[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 36). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Malloch and McCrae: Global Realists versus Rootless Globalists — The Gateway Pundit

Guest post by Dr. Niall McCrae and Dr. Ted Malloch

We’re all global now.

Sure we are…

In our use of the Internet, in the clothes and food we buy, and in our increasingly multicultural societies.

But that doesn’t make us Globalists.

Boundaries are important in all walks of life, from the professional register that confirms the status of a doctor or lawyer to the catchment area of eligibility for services.

Otherwise, there could be no planning or standard setting, and chaos would ensue.

We need to get real.

Civilized society requires organization, with fair rules that are upheld consistently.

You can’t vote for a seat in a neighboring town, and one wouldn’t expect to receive a tax bill from there either.

If all this seems too obvious, consider the sloganeering from the type of person that David Goodhart, characterised as, ‘Anywheres’.

Middle-class professional people rise above petty patriotism to declare themselves ‘citizens of the world’.

Numerous MPs (Labour and Tory) and Representatives (Dems, mostly) signal their virtue by promoting socially liberal causes such as transgenderism and ‘refugees welcome’ over the priorities of more traditionally-minded electors.

‘Good fences make good neighbours’, Benjamin Franklin once said.

If householders lock their doors at night, that doesn’t make them into xenophobic hermits.

The old saying that every Englishman’s home is his castle didn’t stop Britons from exploring the world and painting the map pink.

The British empire, more ecumenical than other European conquests, was a global force for good (although that’s not what is taught in schools).

The Commonwealth continues to thrive as an international fraternity.

‘No borders’ is a childlike refrain, based on an emotive but simplistic dichotomy of immigration good, border control bad.

This is moralistic rather than logical reasoning.

If you ask a committed liberal globalist how many migrants should be allowed into our overcrowded land , you probably won’t get a straight answer.

The most deluded might tell you that there are plenty of fields beyond zone 6, or that the whole world population could fit into the Isle of Wight.

How many refugees did the celebs, Gary Lineker and JK Rowling take into their commodious homes? Or the Hollywood set?

Yet globalists are apt to delineate when it suits them.

They enthuse over the EU, a protectionist regime that charges heavy tariffs on African exports.

They demonise everything Russia.

And while trying to take the moral high ground, they blithely accept exploitation of the poor by callous commerce.

Think #MeToo sweatshirts made in sweatshops by children, paid a pittance.

Global trade is undoubtedly beneficial, and a clarion call of Brexiteers and Populists.

But governments and post-national bodies such as the EU are colluding with crony capitalism, forging an unholy alliance that keeps the little man and woman –all workers down.

Political leaders are imperilling their own citizens by opening the door to unscrupulous foreign manipulation.

Arch-globalist George Osborne, when UK chancellor of the exchequer, kow-towed to President Xi and gave the Chinese state access to communications and energy networks.

Unashamed nationalist Donald Trump, constantly lampooned in Osborne’s Evening Standard, is doing a better job at protecting his country.

Reluctance of our political class to honor the referendum result demonstrates the allure of globalism, albeit of narrowly Eurocentric bent.

A leaked transcript of the Chancellor of Exchequer and other senior ministers reassuring business leaders from the likes of Siemens and Amazon that the government would prevent a clean break from the EU shows where power lies – not with the people.

With trepidation (being no socialist), we quote from a pro-Brexit pamphlet of the Communist Party of Great Britain: –

‘Parliament as it has evolved with the development of capitalism stands for the rule capital.‘

But up to now it has sought the appearance of rule by consent of the people.

Now it has to deal with a decision by the majority of the people that runs directly counter to global capitalism’s settled strategy for Europe – the obliteration of nation states and the enthronement of the freedom of capital as the only measure of freedom itself.

Parliament’s mask is slipping.

Our leading universities are immersed in globalist hubris too.

They don’t regard themselves as British or American, but as global institutes.

Certainly academic leaders and researchers should compete in the worldwide market, and knowledge transcends borders.

But we’d like to see more working-class students on campuses.

Is the high seat of learning in their home city not for them?

In the cafeteria of my university you will hear plenty of Mandarin but no Cockney

At Yale is was difficult to discover a conservative minded middle American since all the seats were given to Chinese and Indians.

Nonetheless, the natives are becoming restless, and the privileged elite realise that they are threatened by popular revolt.

The World Economic Forum at Davos has become an embarrassment, several presidents and prime ministers giving it a wide berth this year.

Patriotism is ascendant, as citizens around the globe are rejecting their self-serving political establishment.

They want their countries back.

Globalists, however, won’t give up easily.

Figures like Tony Blair and Al Gore, exercising their remnants of influence, continue to preach the New World Order.

From the gilets jaunes to Brexit protestors, charges of extremism and fascism are made by the political and cultural establishment in an effort to maintain their moral and material superiority.

A letter in the Guardian newspaper last week suggested that their cause is becoming desperate.

Philosopher bore Bernhard-Henry Lévy and dozens of prominent authors (including Milan Kundera and Salman Rushdie) used the worst invectives against the barbarians within the gates.

Warning of a collapse of European values, they opined that ‘abstractions such as soul and identity often exist only in the imagination of demagogues’.

Read their 800 word harangue here.

These esteemed novelists seem insensitive to the importance of the soul to Christians and other religions, or of identity to emancipatory movements such as LGBT.

Of course, the concept of soul that these verbose Europhiles abhor is that of the patriot.

Contradicting themselves, they implore: ‘urgently, we need to sound the alarm against these arsonists of soul and spirit who want to make a bonfire of our freedoms’.

We’d wager that Lévy wrote the previously quoted line, and Kundera the latter. It’s a silly error for supposedly brilliant writers, but it exposes an underlying fault.

Jet-setting globalists are blind to the reality that pride and belonging rest in nations, notcontinents or supra one-world organizations, like the EU or UN.

Malloch and McCrae: Global Realists versus Rootless Globalists — The Gateway Pundit

The Failure of Modern Media — National Review

President Trump speaks to news media at the White House, January 14, 2019. (Joyce N. Boghosian/White House)

Viciously partisan and unbelievably rude.

In an article featured on the cover of the latest issue of National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke discusses how the media fail. Here he talks with Madeleine Kearns.

Madeleine Kearns: It’s fair to say that you have painted a pretty bleak picture of the national press. . . When did things start going off the rails?

Charles C.W. Cooke: I’m not sure that the press has ever been especially “good.” At the Founding, it was viciously partisan and unbelievably rude. In the late nineteenth century, it often printed outright lies in pursuit of donors and advertising revenues; literally, there was “fake news.” In the 1950s, there were three TV channels, and people tended to look up to the few national news figures as oracles. Now, it’s so atomized that it’s hard to arrive at the truth. The Internet’s preference for drama and speed certainly hasn’t helped, although some said the same thing about the printing press. In truth, I’m not sure that we’ll ever have an objectively “good” press. But we could have a more self-aware press; we could have a press that doesn’t see itself as special or anointed; we could have a press that is open about its prejudices; we could have a press that doesn’t conclude that the story of every screw-up is that horrible people noticed; and, above all, we could have a press that at least understands what the people it dislikes actually believe.

MK: As a Brit, which do you think is worse: the frantic and fractious partisanship of American media or the faux-neutrality of, say, the British Broadcasting Corporation?

CCWC: I don’t see a difference. Britain and America both have openly partisan and openly ideological outlets. But they also have institutions that pretend they don’t have a bias when they obviously do. It’s morally worse in Britain, perhaps, because one of the worst offenders, the BBC, is publicly funded; whatever one thinks of CNN, at least it’s a private company. But the same pathologies are on display. Again, it’s the self-delusion I find so irritating.

MK: You mention that you didn’t go to journalism school. If you could teach at an Ivy League journalism school for a day, what would you teach?

CCWC: First, that you can’t tell the truth as it exists and commit always to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” You must choose one. Second, that it’s okay to shut up sometimes.

MK: You write that nowadays a “bad journalist with the right opinions” will be “treated as if he were the very embodiment of liberty.” What is a bad journalist in your book? And why is he getting such an easy ride?

CCWC: My complaint in that section is the conflation of a given journalist or story or outlet with the First Amendment itself, which represents an extremely dishonest dodge. I don’t think that Sonny Gray did well at the Yankees, and I think, on occasion, he embarrassed himself. To say that is not to “attack the Yankees” or “attack baseball.” This is obvious to a majority in the press when the question is, say, Sinclair. It’s less obvious when it’s the bad behavior of somebody they think has the correct biases.

MK: Many in the journalistic class attended prestigious schools and universities. And yet, you observe, they suffer from “catastrophic historical illiteracy.” Explain this.

CCWC: Prestigious schools and universities are generally poor at teaching history. That, though, is a topic for another day.

MK: When I interviewed the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt a while back, he mentioned the growing concern among senior liberal journalists about the emotional hypersensitivity of their twenty-something colleagues. As this generation advances careers in media, is the problem likely to get worse?

CCWC: Probably. Perhaps more insidious than emotional hypersensitivity is the rank intolerance of many people within the press, coupled with the genuine belief that people with different opinions represent a physical threat. We saw this with Kevin Williamson’s firing from The Atlantic, and we’ve seen it elsewhere.

MK: Some have suggested there are snowflakes on the right, too (e.g. the overreaction to a Gillette advertisement). Is this fair?

CCWC: Of course. If you don’t think that there is such a thing as a “conservative snowflake,” try saying out loud that you’re not too fond of the police.

MK: What has been your favorite “Republicans pounce” story in the last twelve months?

CCWC: Try the last twelve days. That the Washington Post’s “digital” and “media” reporters took a long look at the Covington story and concluded that the following was a fair characterization tells you all you need to know: “A viral story spread. The mainstream media rushed to keep up. The Trump Internet pounced.” It’s beyond parody.

MK: How much of the media’s bias is unconscious?

CCWC: Most of it. It’s relatively easy for a progressive or apolitical person to go through college and other elite institutions without having to grasp what conservatives really believe. It’s almost impossible for a conservative person to do the opposite.

MK: There’s more appetite now for “opinion journalism” than straight news reporting. Why is this? And what does it mean for the future of journalism?

CCWC: I think there’s more appetite because we’re more divided than we once were, and because, in the Internet era, people often don’t agree on the same facts. That’s a bad thing. But, as a rule, I’m in favor of more opinion journalism, providing it’s well done. The problem is not that people in the media have opinions. On the contrary: Making arguments — i.e. sticking to the facts but adding in your own value judgements — is worthwhile. The problem is that too many people in the media believe that “reality has a liberal bias” or similar guff, and so deny that they are overlaying their own value judgments when they are doing just that.

MK: One of the problems with our current media climate is that it distracts from real stories. What are some of the conversations that we should be having that we aren’t able to have?

CCWC: I’m a broken record on this, but we should be far more concerned with process than we are. The great genius of this country lies in its constitutional order, and yet, under successive presidents and Congresses, that constitutional order has been warped. I would like to see the same level of hysteria from the media when a president circumvents the rules that we see when a president tweets something containing a spelling mistake.

MK: Of course, we at National Review are by no means immune to hysterical media culture. How can we resist the temptation to get dragged into it?

CCWC: Within reason, it’s not the being dragged in that’s the tricky part; it’s the staying patient and calm.

The Failure of Modern Media — National Review

29 JANUARY 365 Days with Calvin

Sure Hope for Deliverance

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. Psalm 5:4–6

suggested further reading: Daniel 6

Here David makes the malice and wickedness of his enemies an argument to enforce his prayer for divine favor. The language is abrupt, but the stammering of the saints is more acceptable to God than rhetoric, be it ever so fine and glittering. David’s objective here is to show that the cruelty and treachery of his enemies is so intense that it is impossible for it to continue. God must arrest them in their course.

His reasoning is grounded upon the nature of God. Since righteousness and upright dealings are pleasing to God, David concludes that God will eventually take vengeance on men who persist in wickedness. How is it possible for them to escape unpunished, seeing that God is the judge of the world?

This passage is worthy of special attention. Often we are greatly discouraged by the unbounded insolence of the wicked. If God does not immediately restrain this wickedness, we are stupefied and dismayed or cast down into despair. But David finds encouragement and confidence in such circumstances. The more his enemies proceed against him in lawlessness, the more earnestly he asks for help from God, whose official work it is to destroy the wicked because he hates all wickedness.

Let the godly, therefore, learn when they suffer violence, deceit, and injustice, to come to God so they may be encouraged by the certain hope of his deliverance.

for meditation: God will judge the wicked. They will not prosper. Those truths are so simple yet so hard for us to believe. Do not let the prosperity of the wicked create doubt in your heart; rather, let it encourage you in the certain hope of deliverance.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 47). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

God CANNOT forsake you

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

I know we sometimes have a hard time understanding the permanent perfect love, such as the love the Triune God lavishes on his saved children.

With child abuse, abortion, abandonment, betrayals, and divorce, the love we say we have for others is oftentimes fatally flawed.

However, when Jesus says He will not leave you or forsake you, He means it. It’s not up for discussion.

When we’re saved, we become part of the Body of Christ.  Therefore, when God looks at us, He sees His Son. We are as Paul would say, “in Christ.” (Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 3:1, 1 Corinthians 4:15, 1 Corinthians 15:18, etc.) When He looks at you, He is looking through His Son to see you.

If God were to decide not to love us (which He wouldn’t because He promised to love us forever and He does not fail in…

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