Daily Archives: February 16, 2019

February 16 Saved by Grace

Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:7–13

Key Verse: John 1:29

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Have you ever wondered about your salvation? Many people do. They worry that they have done something to cause Jesus not to love them. They struggle with feelings of doubt, confusion, and fear. In 1 John 4:18 (nasb) we read, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment.” The apostle John also reminded us that we are able to love God “because He first loved us.”

Even before you were born, God knew what you would look like—the color of your hair, the sound of your voice, and the successes and failures you would face. In spite of all you have or have not done, God continues to love you with an everlasting love.

Jesus came to earth with a clear goal in mind, and that was to save those who are lost. He never said, “Be perfect and receive My salvation.” Salvation comes to us one way, by the grace of God. When we accept His Son in faith, we receive eternal life.

You can work a lifetime to be good and perfect and not be any better off than when you first started. Salvation is based not on your works but on the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. He is the One who bore your sins—past, present, and future.

Thank Him for the work He has done, confess any sin that comes to mind, and accept His forgiveness and unconditional love as a blessing.

O God, before I was born, You knew me. You knew my strengths and weaknesses, my successes and failures. Yet You love me with an unconditional, everlasting love. How I thank You![1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 49). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

February 16 An Eyewitness Account

Scripture reading: John 9:1–38

Key verse: John 9:25

He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

The blind beggar would not be dissuaded. Even when the rich and influential Pharisees harassed him, trying to make him go back on his story, he refused to give in. He had been blind; now he could see, and he knew Jesus Christ was the One who had healed him. Nothing the Pharisees did made him say otherwise.

Few things are more compelling than an eyewitness account. An eyewitness knows the truth. He does not depend upon someone else’s interpretation of events because he was there.

Like the blind beggar, the apostle John had an eyewitness, life-changing encounter with Jesus. John knew from one-on-one personal experience that Jesus is the Messiah. John was there when Jesus healed this beggar. He stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus hung there in agony. John staked his life, his very being, on the truth that Jesus is God’s Son. Eventually, the hostile Roman emperor Domitian left John on the Isle of Patmos to die because he wouldn’t recant.

Through the Gospels, you also meet Jesus face to face. Have you staked your life on the truth of God’s Word? As you obey, you become an eyewitness to the reliability and power of Scripture.

Lord, I stake my life on Your Word. I thank You that I am an eyewitness to the reliability and power of its truths through what it has accomplished in my life.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 49). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Andrew McCabe scrambles to deny ‘coup plotting’

Maybe he should grow up instead.

After a slew of headlines from former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe finally admitting that he and his Justice department cronies were plotting a de facto coup against a democratically elected president in what CBS News billed as a “bombshell interview,” McCabe now says his remarks were “taken out of context and misrepresented.”

Like he wouldn’t know about the Washington leak games up close. But this is a very big bid to backtrack.

According to The Hill:

A spokeswoman for former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said Friday that comments he made regarding a potential use of the 25th Amendment to oust President Trump have been “taken out of context and misrepresented.”

“At no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions,” spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said in a statement. “Mr. McCabe has merely confirmed a discussion that was initially reported elsewhere.”

Actually, it sounds high-schoolish. He’s not exactly denying a coup plot, which was firmly established after his 60 Minutes interview to be aired Sunday. He’s actually just trying to extricate himself of responsibility for it – saying he’s now repeating stories he heard from others, and the whole thing was former Justice department official Rod Rosenstein’s idea.

Not me. Rosenstein did it.

Because obviously, this is a very big blunder – the admission of a full-blown coup plot against a democratically elected president, which is something the Boston Herald says stands in stark contrast to the huge police show to arrest Trump ally Roger Stone, and ought to be good for some jailtime.

It should be – the Boston Herald’s harsh editorial discusses the implications of those revelations:

According to CBS’ Scott Pelley, the reporter who interviewed McCabe, after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, McCabe jumped into action with other members of the Justice Department. McCabe was alarmed that Trump “might have won the White House with the aid of the government of Russia.” The next day, he brought the investigators together for a meeting.

“There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment,” Pelley said.

“I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and just won the election for the presidency,” McCabe told CBS. “And who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage, and that was something that troubled me greatly.”

The arrogance is astounding.

According to Pelley, McCabe noted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered to wear a wire in order to record conversations with President Trump and the idea was discussed on several occasions. It was “so serious that he took it to the lawyers at the FBI to discuss it,” Pelley explained on “CBS This Morning.”

McCabe managed to get a special counsel appointed, which to date has dogged President Trump with his own Inspecter Javert, and resulted in several of his aides thrown in jail for process crimes, as well as drawn amazing abuses of power, such as the surveillance of hapless Carter Page. MccCabe’s self-satisfiedly called that appointment the culmination of his lifework, his own mission accomplished. “If I got nothing else done as acting director, I had done the one thing I needed to do,” he wrote.

Overthrowing an elected president? A president, who has been hell on Russia with sanctions, and in the confrontations over Syria, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela? A president who refused to meet with President Putin at a big summit?

I had no problem with the FBI being suspicious of Trump’s Russia ties at the beginning – Trump after all had done business with the Russians, and based on his ownership of the Miss Universe Organization seemed to have a weakness for the Russian and Slavic beauties. But fact after fact has since come out about Russians not being able to get anywhere with Trump. The famous Trump Tower meeting with Don Trump, Jr. was a Democratic Party set-up, and nothing good for Russia came of it. The Russian press grumbled about not being able to reach anyone in the Turmp camp during the campaign and they probably still do.

But even as these facts came out, McCabe refused to drop his thesis. Did the FBI not have informant reports delivering the truth? One wonders. Or was McCabe just emotionally addicted to phony, Russian-generated opposition research via the Steele dossier instead? It’s astonishing how wedded he was to pinning some kind of Russia charges on Trump. At what point would McCabe ever drop his thesis that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton? He argues he was on solid ground. Now that the special counsel is preparing to close up shop with nothing, he clings to his insistence that he was on ‘solid ground.’

Yet as the shell of that government abuse is about all that’s left of the FBI and special counsel probes, now he’s trying to extricate himself and say other guys did it.

This is the reaction of a baby. Sorry, big boy, it’s time to face the music.

Image credit: YouTube screen grab from CBS News trailer.

Source: Andrew McCabe scrambles to deny ‘coup plotting’

Emotional Intelligence: The Social Skills You Weren’t Taught in School

I do not know how this can be taught so much as practiced.  Certainly a whole industry has emerged to accommodate practice and it is clearly beneficial and even surprising

Imagining a whole culture able to properly manage emotions appears possible.  Social pressure can certainly make this the norm.  Recall Japanese culture which has gone a long way long this path.

The actual narratives are effectively made up and serve their purpose in triggering practice.  Perhaps that can be good enough as more convincing narratives become an end in themselves…

Emotional Intelligence: The Social Skills You Weren’t Taught in School

Eric Ravenscraft

4/14/15 11:00am

https://lifehacker.com/emotional-intelligence-the-social-skills-you-werent-ta-1697704987

You’re taught about history, science, and math when you’re growing up. Most of us, however, aren’t taught how to identify or deal with our own emotions, or the emotions of others. These skills can be valuable, but you’ll never get them in a classroom.

Emotional intelligence is a shorthand that psychological researchers use to describe how well individuals can manage their own emotions and react to the emotions of others. People who exhibit emotional intelligence have the less obvious skills necessary to get ahead in life, such as managing conflict resolution, reading and responding to the needs of others, and keeping their own emotions from overflowing and disrupting their lives. In this guide, we’ll look at what emotional intelligence is, and how to develop your own. 

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Measuring emotional intelligence is relatively new in the field of psychology, only first being explored in the mid-80s. Several models are currently being developed, but for our purposes, we’ll examine what’s known as the “mixed model,” developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman. The mixed model has five key areas:

  • Self-awareness: Self-awareness involves knowing your own feelings. This includes having an accurate assessment of what you’re capable of, when you need help, and what your emotional triggers are.
  • Self-management: This involves being able to keep your emotions in check when they become disruptive. Self-management involves being able to control outbursts, calmly discussing disagreements, and avoiding activities that undermine you like extended self-pity or panic.
  • Motivation: Everyone is motivated to action by rewards like money or status. Goleman’s model, however, refers to motivation for the sake of personal joy, curiosity, or the satisfaction of being productive.
  • Empathy: While the three previous categories refer to a person’s internal emotions, this one deals with the emotions of others. Empathy is the skill and practice of reading the emotions of others and responding appropriately.
  • Social skills: This category involves the application of empathy as well as negotiating the needs of others with your own. This can include finding common ground with others, managing others in a work environment, and being persuasive.

You can read a bit more about these different categories here. The order of these emotional competencies isn’t all that relevant, as we all learn many of these skills simultaneously as we grow. It’s also important to note that, for our purposes, we’ll only be using this as a guide. Emotional intelligence isn’t an area that most people receive formal training in. We’ll let psychologists argue over the jargon and models, but for now let’s explore what each of these mean and how to improve them in your own life. 

Self-Awareness

Before you can do anything else here, you have to know what your emotions are. Improving your self-awareness is the first step to identifying any problem area you’re facing. Here are some ways to improve your self-awareness:

  • Keep a journal: Career skill blog recommends starting by keeping a journal of your emotions . At the end of every day, write down what happened to you, how you felt, and how you dealt with it. Periodically, look back over your journal and take note of any trends, or any time you overreacted to something.
  • Ask for input from others: As we’ve talked about before when dealing with your self-perception, input from others can be invaluable . Try to ask multiple people who know you well where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Write down what they say, compare what they say to each other and, again, look for patterns. Most importantly, don’t argue with them. They don’t have to be correct. You’re just trying to gauge your perception from another’s point of view.
  • Slow down (or meditate): Emotions have a habit of getting the most out of control when we don’t have time to slow down or process them . The next time you have an emotional reaction to something, try to pause before you react (something the internet makes easier than ever, if you’re communicating online). You can also try meditating to slow your brain down and give your emotional state room to breathe.

If you’ve never practiced intentional self-awareness, these tips should give you a practical head start. One strategy I personally use is to go on long walks or have conversations with myself discussing what’s bothering me. Often, I’ll find that the things I say to the imaginary other end of the conversation can give me some insight into what’s really bugging me. The important aspect is to look inwards, rather than focusing solely on external factors. 

Self-Management

Once you know how your emotions work, you can start figuring out how to handle them. Proper self-management means controlling your outbursts, distinguishing between external triggers and internal over-reactions, and doing what’s best for your needs. 

One key way to manage your emotions is to change your sensory input. You’ve probably heard the old advice to count to ten and breathe when you’re angry. Speaking as someone who’s had plenty of overwhelming issues with depression and anger, this advice is usually crap (though if it works for you, more power to you). However, giving your physical body a jolt can break the cycle. If you’re feeling lethargic, do some exercise. If you’re stuck in an emotional loop, give yourself a “snap out of it” slap. Anything that can give a slight shock to your system or break the existing routine can help.

Lifehacker alum Adam Dachis also recommends funneling emotional energy into something productive. It’s alright to let overwhelming emotions stew inside you for a moment, if it’s not an appropriate time to let them out. However, when you do, rather than vent it on something futile, turn it into motivation instead:

I recently started playing tennis for fun, knowing that I’d never become exceptional because I began too late in life. I’ve become better and have a very minor talent for the game, so when I play poorly I now know and I get down on myself. When up against an opponent with far more skill I find it hard to do much else than get angry. Rather than let that anger out, I take note of it and use it to fuel my desire to practice more. Whether in sports, work, or everyday life, we can get complacent with our skill and forget that we always have some room for improvement. When you start to get mad, get better instead.

You can’t always control what makes you feel a certain way, but you can always control how you react. If you have some impulse control problems, find ways to get help when you’re feeling calm. Not all emotions can be vented away. My struggle with depression taught me that some emotions persist long after the overflow. However, there’s always a moment when those feelings feel a little less intense. Use those moments to seek help. 

Motivation

We talk about motivation a lot . When we’re talking about motivation as it relates to emotional intelligence, however, we don’t just mean getting up the energy to go to work. We’re talking about your inner drive to accomplish something. That drive isn’t just some feel-goody nonsense, either. As Psychology today explains, there’s a section of your prefrontal cortex that lights up at the mere thought of achieving a meaningful goal.

Whether your goal is building a career, raising a family, or creating some kind of art, everyone has something they want to do with their life.When your motivation is working for you, it connects with reality in tangible ways. Want to start a family? Motivated people will start dating. Want to improve your career? Motivated people will educate themselves, apply for new jobs, or angle for a promotion.
Daniel Goleman suggests that in order to start making use of that motivation, you first need to identify your own values. Many of us are so busy that we don’t take the time to examine what our values really are. Or worse, we’ll do work that directly contradicts what we value for so long that we lose that motivation entirely. 

Unfortunately, we can’t give you the answer for what it is you want in life, but there are lots of strategies you can try . Use your journal to find times when you’ve felt fulfilled. Create a list of things you value. Most of all, accept the uncertainty in life and just build something. Fitness instructor Michael Mantell, Ph.D suggests that using lesser successes you know you can accomplish. Remember, everyone who’s accomplished something you want to achieve did it slowly, over time.

Empathy

our emotions are only one half of all your relationships. It’s the half you focus on the most, sure, but that’s only because you hang out with yourself every day. All the other people that matter to you have their own set of feelings, desires, triggers, and fears. Empathy is your most important skill for navigating your relationships . Empathy is a life-long skill, but here are some tips you can use to practice empathy:
  • Shut up and listen: We’re gonna start with the hardest one here, because it’s the most important. You can’t experience everyone else’s lives to fully understand them, but you can listen. Listening involves letting someone else talk and then not countering what they say. It means putting aside your preconceptions or skepticism for a bit and allowing the person you’re talking to a chance to explain how they feel. Empathy is hard, but virtually every relationship you have can be improved at least marginally by waiting at least an extra ten seconds before you retake the conversation.
  • Take up a contrary position to your own: One of the quickest ways to solidify an opinion in your mind is to argue in favor of it. To counter this, take up a contrary position. If you think your boss is being unreasonable, try defending their actions in your head. Would you find their actions reasonable if you were in their shoes? Even asking the questions of yourself can be enough to start empathizing with another’s point of view (though, of course, getting real answers from others can always help).
  • Don’t just know, try to understand: Understanding is key to having empathy. As we’ve discussed before, understanding is the difference between knowing something and truly empathizing with it. If you catch yourself saying, “I know, but,” a lot, take that as an indicator that you should pause a bit more. When someone tells you about an experience that’s not your own, take some time to mull over how your life might be different if you experienced that on a daily basis. Read about it until it clicks. It’s okay if you don’t spend all your time devoted to someone else’s life, but putting in just some time—even if it’s idle thought time while you work—can be beneficial.

By definition , empathy means getting in the emotional dirt with someone else. Allowing their experiences to resonate with your own and responding appropriately. It’s okay to offer advice or optimism, but empathy also requires that you wait for the right space to do that. If someone’s on the verge of tears, or sharing some deep pain, don’t make light of it and don’t try to minimize the hurt. Be mindful of how they must feel and allow them space to feel it. 

Social Skills

Summing up all social skills in one section of an article would do about as much justice to the topic as if we snuck in a brief explainer on astrophysics. However, the tools you develop in the other four areas will help you resolve a lot of social problems that many adults still wrestle with. As Goleman explains, your social skills affect everything from your work performance to your romantic life:

Social competence takes many forms – it’s more than just being chatty. These abilities range from being able to tune into another person’s feelings and understand how they think about things, to being a great collaborator and team player, to expertise at negotiation. All these skills are learned in life. We can improve on any of them we care about, but it takes time, effort, and perseverance. It helps to have a model, someone who embodies the skill we want to improve. But we also need to practice whenever a naturally occurring opportunity arises – and it may be listening to a teenager, not just a moment at work.

You can start with the most common form of social problems: resolving a disagreement. This is where you get to put all your skills to the test in a real-world environment. We’ve gone into this subject in-depth here , but we can summarize the basic steps:

  • Identify and deal with your emotions: Whenever you have an argument with someone else, things can get heated. If someone involved is emotionally worked up, deal with that problem first. Take time apart to vent, blow off steam on your own, then return to the problem. In a work environment, this may just mean complaining to a friend before you email your boss back. In a romantic relationship, remind your partner that you care about them before criticizing.
  • Address legitimate problems once you’re both calm: Once you’re in your right headspace, identify what the conflict is. Before you jump to solutions, make sure you and the other person agree on what the problems really are . Propose solutions that are mutually beneficial and be sympathetic to any concessions the other person may be unwilling to make (but be sure to stand firm on your own).
  • End on a cooperative note: Whether in business or pleasure, relationships work best when everyone involved knows that they’re on the same page. Even if you can’t end on a positive note, make sure that the last intention you communicate is a cooperative one. Let your boss/coworker/significant other know that you want to work towards the same goal, even if you have different views.

Not every type of interaction with another person will be a conflict, of course. Some social skills just involve meeting new people , socializing with people of different mindsets , or just playing games . However, resolving conflict can be one of the best ways to learn how to apply your emotional skills. Disputes are best resolved when you know what you want, can communicate it clearly, understand what someone else wants, and come to favorable terms for everyone. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that this involves every other area of the emotional intelligence model.

Source: https://globalwarming-arclein.blogspot.com/2019/02/emotional-intelligence-social-skills.html

February 16, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

1  O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
2  Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 141:1–2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


2 Though the psalmist is in a precarious situation, his “prayer” is like a pleasing offering before the Lord. Gradually incense and prayer had become associated. Incense was presented on the altar of incense every day (cf. Ex 30:7–8), usually together with the burnt offering (Lev 2:1–2) and often in connection with the evening sacrifice (cf. Ex 29:38–42). Its sweet smoke arose as a pleasing offering to the Lord (cf. 66:15; Rev 5:8). The association of evening prayers and evening sacrifice was postexilic. Certainly this poetic expression inspired the Jewish piety of later times (cf. Ezr 9:5; Da 9:21). The raising of one’s hands was symbolic of dependence on and praise of the Lord (cf. 28:2; 63:4; 1 Ti 2:8).[1]


141:1–2 / While the opening petitions are typical and reflect the standard tradition of individual prayers (i.e., Yahweh should hear my voice when I call), those in verse 2 are unique: May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. It is not clear whether this is a mere comparison or it intends to prescribe verbal prayers as a replacement of ritual offerings at the temple. Nevertheless, it is clear that Yahweh is to regard “my prayer,” that is, this psalm, as a pleasing ritual rite. And this psalm largely concerns a request to avoid joining the wicked. This comparison helps us to see that religious ritual and moral lifestyle were to be integrally connected in ancient Israel.[2]


141:1–2. David began with the urgent request: hasten to me … give ear to my voice when I call to you (i.e., meet his need in the best way possible as signified by the synonymous expression “hear my voice” in v. 2). His prayer is presented in terms of worship as incense (cf. Ex 30:8; Lk 1:10; Rv 5:8) and the lifting up of my hands (cf. Ps 28:2; 63:4; 119:48; 134:2) … as the evening offering (cf. Ex 29:41).[3]


141:1–2. David, comparing his prayer to the evening oblation at the sanctuary, called on the Lord to answer him quickly (cf. comments on 31:2). He wanted his prayer to be a sweet aroma to the Lord, similar to the incense in the evening sacrifice (around 3 p.m.) which would ascend and please the Lord. In the Book of Revelation incense appropriately pictured prayer (Rev. 5:8; 8:3–4). Lifting up his hands as a gesture in prayer is also mentioned in Psalms 28:2; 63:4; 134:2.[4]


141:2 This verse is extraordinarily beautiful. He asks that his prayer might be as pleasing and fragrant to God as incense, and that the lifting up of his hands in supplication might have the same impact with the Lord as the evening sacrifice.[5]


141:1, 2 Lord, I cry out to you: David asks to be heard as he prays in the assembly of the righteous. As the smoke and aroma of incense rises to the Lord as something sweet and compelling, so David desires that his prayer will not be ignored. The lifting up of my hands: With this impressive gesture David is asking God to pay attention to his plea.[6]


141:2 incense … evening offering. David desired that his prayers and stretching forth for God’s help (Pss 68:31; 77:2) be as disciplined and regular as the offering of incense (Ex 30:7, 8) and burnt offerings (Ex 29:38, 39) in the tabernacle.[7]


141:1–2 O Lord, Hear My Prayer. The singer earnestly asks God to give ear to my voice when I call to you! The prayer that he offers, which is sung in corporate worship, is likened to sacrificial acts that are also performed in worship: the incense (Ex. 30:8; Luke 1:10; cf. the image in Rev. 5:8) and the evening sacrifice (Ex. 29:41). On the lifting up of my hands in worship, cf. Ps. 28:2; 63:4; 119:48; 134:2.[8]


141:2 Let my prayer be set before you as incense The psalmist asks Yahweh to accept his personal worship as if it were incense and sacrifice—the mainstays of ritual worship in Israel.[9]


141:2 as incense … as the evening sacrifice. This simile comes from the sacrificial worship of ancient Israel and suggests that the psalm was set in that context. The incense was valuable and pleasing to the Lord (Ex. 30:34–38), and the psalmist asks for his prayers to be received favorably also. In Rev. 8:3–5, an angel carries the prayers of the saints, together with incense, to the throne of God.[10]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 971). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Hubbard, R. L. J., & Johnston, R. K. (2012). Foreword. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Psalms (p. 492). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Rydelnik, M., Vanlaningham, M., Barbieri, L. A., Boyle, M., Coakley, J., Dyer, C. H., … Zuber, K. D. (2014). Psalms. In The moody bible commentary (p. 874). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 893). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 773). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 739). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 141:2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[8] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1118). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 141:2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[10] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 862). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

To Be Cool or to Be a Church? That is the Question — Blog – AlbertMohler.com

These days, what passes for important argument or debate takes place on Twitter, and a recent Twitter exchange between two prominent actors has sparked a major controversy.

The exchange took place between Hollywood’s Ellen Page and Chris Pratt. Page tweeted, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed. Being anti LGBTQ is wrong. There aren’t two sides. The damage it caused is severe. Full stop. Sending love to all.” In the tweet, Page specifically indicted Pratt for his membership in what was alleged to be an anti-LGBTQ church. The church in question is Zoe Church, a church in association with the Hillsong movement. There can be no question that Page not only targeted Pratt but took direct aim at any organization or church that holds to anything even remotely connected to a biblically informed sexual ethic.

Pratt responded to Page, stating, “It has recently been suggested that I belonged to a church which hates a certain group of people and is infamously anti LGBTQ. Nothing could be further from the truth. I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone. Despite what the Bible says about my divorce, my church community was there for me every step of the way, never judging, just gracefully accompanying me on my walk. They helped me tremendously offering their love and support. It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions, regardless of sexual orientation, race, or gender. My faith is important to me, but no church defines me or my life, and I’m not a spokesman for any church or any group of people. My values define who I am. We need less hate in this world, not more. I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of their fellow man.”

That last line encapsulates the modern secular orthodoxy – “everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of their fellow man.”

Pratt’s “defense” of his church also represents the thinnest ecclesiology—a conception of the church severed from the Scriptures. He claims that “no church defines me or my life.” According to the Bible, the church does define us. Whereas Pratt denies that his church defines him, the Scriptures teach that the church founded by Christ is the family of the living God, bought by the blood of Christ, in covenant together for the cause of the Gospel. That is the vision of a biblical church. Such a church, bound together in obedience to Christ, absolutely defines a member’s life.

But Pratt also indicates that his church opens its doors to “absolutely everyone,” and that his church in no way holds to an anti-LGBTQ agenda. Which is it? Does his church, as Page claimed, teach the sinfulness of homosexuality or not? Does it uphold marriage as a union between one man and one woman or not? To answer these questions, you have to go back to 1983.

Hillsong was formed in that year as a charismatic church in New South Wales, Australia. Founded by Brian Houston and his wife Bobbie, the church grew in worldwide influence, most famously for its music. People from around the world sing Hillsong music and the movement’s worship style is now found world-wide. What began as a charismatic church in Australia now claims over 100,000 people attending weekly services in Australia, London, New York, and Los Angeles. In 2014, Michael Paulson of The New York Times wrote an article that attempted to introduce and interpret Hillsong to a secular audience in Manhattan. The headline of the article read, “Megachurch with a Beat Lures a Young Flock.”

The article described Carl Lentz, the pastor of the New York-based Hillsong location. The article cited other religious leaders who criticized the church for its thin theology. I was quoted in the article saying, “It’s a prosperity movement for the millennials in which the polyester and middle-class associations of Oral Roberts have given way to ripped jeans and sophisticated rock music.” I went on to charge Hillsong with the minimization of the Gospel and a diffused presentation of spirituality.

Over the last 5 years, the teaching of the church has grown even more opaque. It continues to minimize essential truths of the Gospel and surrenders to the growing tides of secularism. To what, then, could Ellen Page’s tweet refer when she charged the church with anti-LGBTQ teachings? In 2015, the founder of Hillsong, Brian Houston, said, “We do not affirm a gay lifestyle. And because of this, we do not knowingly have actively gay people in positions of leadership, either paid or unpaid.” He went on to affirm that Hillsong welcomed gay people in the church but that they could not serve in leadership roles.

Then, in 2017, with LGBTQ issues boiling over into the culture, Carl Lentz of the New York congregation missed several opportunities to clearly express his views on homosexuality. In an interview with CNN, he gave a non-answer, stating, “It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That’s their journey.” That statement amounts to nothing less than an abdication of biblical Christianity. Lentz described the church as body with no authority, no responsibility to summon its members to Christian discipleship. Jesus commissioned his disciples to establish a church of obedient followers—sons and daughters of the living God who would devote their lives to the glory of Christ and his kingdom.

Discipleship to Christ makes objective demands on conduct, virtue, and morality. God revealed in Holy Scripture his commands to his people, and God calls his children to live in obedience to his commands and statues. Moreover, as the Apostle John wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” [1 John 5:3]

Where you find a church, you find a community of believers striving for holy obedience to God. Conversely, a church that doesn’t tell people how to live in obedience to Christ isn’t a church at all.

When so called churches blur the lines on the authority of Scripture and surrender core theological commitments, they will slowly but surely give way to the pressures of modernity. Hillsong is trying to represent a new inoffensive and hip Christianity, but it’s teaching and messaging on LGBTQ issues will be offensive to anyone who takes a closer look. Hillsong gives a wink and a nod to the sexual revolution and fails to instruct its members on what the Bible says.

Something far more important underlines the controversy between Ellen Page, Christ Pratt, and Hillsong church. This issue isn’t about Page, Pratt, or Hillsong—it’s about you, me, and our churches. Every church will soon stand trial in the high courts of modernity. The secular storm will leave no place to hide. Hillsong gave its answer: it would rather be cool than convictional. The nod towards cultural relevance leads to theological confusion—a deliberately marketed confusion.

The controversy coming out of Los Angeles is yet another rather rude awakening for those who want a church that is simultaneously cool and Christian. That possibility evaporated long ago, when the culture decided that biblical Christianity is decidedly uncool. So, which will it be? That is the question.

via To Be Cool or to Be a Church? That is the Question — Blog – AlbertMohler.com

Mueller Panics After McCabe Admits to Deep State Coup to Remove Trump — Recycles Debunked Roger Stone Smear — The Gateway Pundit

It’s Called a Coup D’Etat

Fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told CBS News Thursday that top officials at the Department of Justice and FBI discussed recruiting cabinet members to push President Trump out of office.

McCabe, James Comey, Rod Rosenstein and the top officials at the DOJ were actively strategizing how to remove the duly elected President of the United States.
In third world banana republics they call this a coup d’etat.

Treason is punishable by death in the United States.

In response to this news the Mueller team re-released debunked smear on Roger Stone.
They wanted to change the story

Mueller deep state hacks re-released documents on Friday they claim shows that Roger Stone was communicating with Wikileaks.

Julian Assange and Wikileaks DENIED ANY COLLUSION with Roger Stone, Donald Trump Jr., Jerome Corsi, Michael Flynn, or any other Trump official during the 2016 election.

Wikileaks denied providing information about its then pending 2016 U.S. election-related publications to any outside party before the documents were released.

And late last night Roger Stone responded saying the Friday report was a recycled report on innocuous Twitter direct messages that were already fully disclosed to House investigators.

VOTE: Should President Trump Pardon Roger Stone?

The Mueller deep state  just wanted to change the subject.

via Mueller Panics After McCabe Admits to Deep State Coup to Remove Trump — Recycles Debunked Roger Stone Smear — The Gateway Pundit

ALBERT MOHLER “APOLOGIES ” SOLD THE FARM, ABUSED OTHERS AND IGNORED REAL VICTIMS — thirtypiecesofsilverdotorg

Rev Thomas Littleton                                                                                                      2/16/2019

The recent Houston Chronicle story on sexual abuse followed by years of cover up in the Southern Baptist Convention was the saddest commentary possible on the state of affairs in the church today. The scandal is smoking out leaders who have been part of the cover up . This includes Dr. Albert Mohler head of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in multiple rounds of apology .

https://www.chron.com/houston/article/Leading-Southern-Baptist-apologizes-for-13618120.php

http://news.sbts.edu/2019/02/15/statement-r-albert-mohler-jr-sovereign-grace-churches/

VICTIMS IGNORED

What is striking in this long , now exposed, history is the oppression of the voices of the innocent and those harmed- by the people who are in the position to prevent it or at least the voice to expose it.

GOOD OLE BOYS FILL THE PULPITS

Part of what feeds the cultural underbelly among evangelical leadership is the  “frat house ” mentality among a competitive and often egocentric group of good ole boys. The ties that bind tend to run along theological camps, alumni , and mentor/mentee relationships . Few ministers will speak against their friends with whom they conference and in whose circles they align or against someone whose influence might be needed for their own advancement . This holds true for some – it would seem- no matter how ugly the hidden realities are or how others may have been harmed or stand to be harmed .

A new wave of heavy handed authoritarian local church governance is also playing a role in intimidating and silencing those who report abuse. The faith of many in the circles in which Albert Mohler operates is now firmly under the thumb of both denominational/coalition and local church policy and polity .

BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE MOHLER SPHERE OF INFLUENCE

As this abuse cover up apology came forward – yet another example of Mohler abuses surfaced. This one was in fact the abusive use of  his position and authority to aid in the cover up of the abuse he has now apologized for . It involves Christian radio host Janet Mefferd for one -who tells her own story here.

https://janetmefferd.com/2019/02/al-mohlers-incomplete-apology-my-story/

“I began covering the Sovereign Grace Ministries scandal in 2012, on my previous nationally syndicated Christian radio show. As I dug more deeply into sexual-abuse victims’ accusations in a class-action lawsuit, spoke with some of those affected and began to conduct interviews to glean more information, I stated that the SGM scandal was American evangelicalism’s biggest sex scandal to date.

My assessments back then are no more significant than the parallel or subsequent assessments made by many others along the same lines. But as a Christian radio host who was covering the story, I was subject to strong and uncomfortable pressure behind the scenes, which others may not have experienced in the same way.

And Al Mohler was at the center of that pressure.

In 2013, several months after I had been covering the SGM scandal, I was blindsided by two executives from my former radio network’s corporate headquarters on an extended conference call.

They told me that they had received a call from “Al Mohler’s office” that expressed “concerns” over my radio interviews with Detwiler, who had weighed in on the class-action lawsuit filed against Mahaney and others. They communicated to me that Mohler’s office did not believe Detwiler was a good guest choice.

Knowing that Mohler served on our company’s editorial board, I said, “‘Mohler’s office’ didn’t call you. You mean Al Mohler called you.”

Neither executive denied it.”

(Read the rest at https://janetmefferd.com/2019/02/al-mohlers-incomplete-apology-my-story/  and the 2012 story where Mefford and others were attempting to bring attention to the growing poblem of abuse/ cover up among evangelical leaders.  https://baptistnews.com/article/radio-host-says-evangelicals-ignoring-abuse/#.XGgcOOhKjIV )

TELLING MOHLER INVOLVEMENT BEHIND THE SCENES

Janet Meffords story is well worth your time to understand the efforts Mohler made to continue the cover up  and protect his friends. These kinds of unseen forces and pressures are part of what some call the “Evangelical Industrial Complex “or “Big Eva” and what this writer has dubbed “The Evangelical Deep State”. The wider the window opens into and the longer one looks at this underbelly – the more disturbing it becomes .

MOHLER’S APOLOGY HABIT – WHILE COVERING UP SEXUAL ABUSE -THE ADVANCE OF “GAY CHRISTIANITY ” INTO THE SBC BEGAN IN EARNEST IN 2014

In 2014 albert Mohler advanced the homosexual agenda in the SBC by asserting / accepting and apologizing for being wrong about homosexual orientation ( an American Psychological Association priority with zero biblical basis) on behalf of all Southern Baptist and Evangelicals .

https://albertmohler.com/2014/10/29/erlc-2014-ministering-in-a-post-modern-marriage-culture/

Mohler was only too eager to make this apology – unlike the sex abuse cover up issued on February 15th- and thus  allow for this set of “victims” in the LGBT activist community to be given voice in and against the church. By doing so Mohler launched an ongoing  conversation totally outside the context and bounds of the Word of God and steeped in the language and ideologies of Social Change in the church.

Mohler knew what was at stake when he apologized . He knew that allowing for the “discovery ” or “sexual orientation ” to be viewed as an undeniable reality would  take the Christian Conversation outside the realm of Biblical authority .

He says so VERY plainly  in 2015 comments below .

MOHLER PREFERRED VICTIMS

Again Albert Mohler ignored and discounted real victims of abuse and sought to silence them and those who spoke up for them in the church while using  an apology in 2014 to launch the promoting the of  LGBT+ “victim narrative” into the SBC and evangelical mainstream.

THE 2005 MOHLER ASSESSMENT OF THE “ORIENTATION ARGUMENT ” AGAINST A SOLID BIBLICAL BACKDROP

https://albertmohler.com/2005/10/04/homosexuality-in-theological-perspective-part-two/

“As is the case with most ideological campaigns directed to the Church, the Homosexual Movement comes complete with a well-defined hermeneutic. In fact, politico-ideological crusades which aspire for influence within the churches must develop and articulate what I will term a hermeneutic of legitimation, designed to provide at least the appearance of biblical sanction. Thus, biblical interpretation becomes contested territory between rival worldviews.

The Homosexual Movement has employed a well-documented hermeneutic suspicion toward biblical texts which address homosexuality. Their efforts have been to prove that the actions proscribed in biblical passages (notably Genesis 19 and Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13) do not refer to consensual homosexual acts, but to homosexual rape and prostitution.

The net result of this hermeneutic of legitimation has been confusion in the churches. It has become the standard and politically-correct perspective assumed in most sectors of the academy, and it is increasingly prevalent among members of the mainline Protestant denominations. Disappointingly, a number of evangelicals have been taken in as well.

The revisionist hermeneutic, as applied to Romans 1:26-27, has been employed to argue that the text means something quite different from the Church’s traditional interpretation. By employing circumventions, circumlocutions, and contortions, the text’s meaning is revised so as to negate its judgment upon homosexuality.”

( Most important point he makes in 2005 is that accepting orientation argument takes the discussion totally outside Biblical framework )

“The critical issue used as a hermeneutical device by the revisionists is the concept of sexual orientation. The modern “discovery” of sexual orientation is used to deny the truth claim clearly and inescapably made within the biblical text. For example, in regard to the Romans text, Janet Fishburn of Drew University Theological School argues: “Yet, some biblical scholars point out that this passage can only refer to the homosexual acts of heterosexual persons. This is because the writers of the Bible did not distinguish between homosexual orientation and same-gender sexual acts. If this distinction is accepted, the condemnation of homosexuality in Romans does not apply to the sexual acts of homosexual persons.”

WITH A WELL TIMED APOLOGY MOHLER SOLD THE EVANGELICAL FARM TO THE FALSE VICTIM LGBT NARRATIVE

Mohler makes it very clear the high cost of allowing “orientation ” to be taken as factual in 2005 but then -as seen below – admits to the unproven / APA based assertion concluding that those with homosexual desire are in some way “born with it ” and therefore cannot be expected to change. Once this 2014 apology was made Dr Mohler and his protege’ Russell Moore began to rebrand the SBC and to force a public rethink of LGBT  in its ” conversations”.

This 2014 meeting not  only included many SBC pastors/ staff and ministers but also a host of LGBT+ activist organizations and their leaders who met behind closed doors after hearing the self assumed  head of the SBC apologize on all our behalf and settle the conversation on LGBT and Marriage firmly within the activist playing field . These conversations advantaging the activist talking points continue to this day .

https://albertmohler.com/2014/10/29/erlc-2014-ministering-in-a-post-modern-marriage-culture/

I recently addressed a major national conference on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage” held by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
One of these issues is sexual orientation. As I explained in my address, I had previously denied the existence of sexual orientation. I, along with many other evangelicals, did so because we did not want to accept the sexual identity structure that so often goes with sexual orientation. I still reject that notion of sexual identity. But I repented of denying the existence of sexual orientation because denying it was deeply confusing to people struggling with same-sex attraction. Biblical Christians properly resist any suggestion that our will can be totally separated from sexual desire, but we really do understand that the will is not a sufficient explanation for a pattern of sexual attraction. Put simply, most people experiencing a same-sex attraction tell of discovering it within themselves at a very early age, certainly within early puberty. As they experience it, a sexual attraction or interest simply “happens,” and they come to know it.” 
(You may want to read the remainder but his reasons for his apology and repositioning on Orientation need to be measured in his own words below from 2005  in the next section below  when he clearly outlines what is  at stake over this VERY issue. Here are other 2014 quotes  )
 Of course, those of us whose sexual orientation is directed toward the opposite sex are also sinners, but the sexual orientation is not itself sinful.”
The concept of sexual orientation is not only helpful, it is in some sense essential. Even those who argue against its existence have to describe and affirm something tantamount to it. There is a pattern of sexual interest and attraction that is discovered in early adolescence. It is not something that is, in itself, freely chosen. That does not mean that the individual is not completely responsible before God for how that orientation is then handled.”
CAUTION
(Remember that  sexual orientation is still an assumption and assertion from the APA and other secular organizations . Mohler is deep in the sand here and seems to know it but he is not really backing up or backing from what he said in the video. He the  goes into the Ex Gay Therapy issue )

MORE MOHLER BACKSTORY – AND IT AIN’T PRETTY

Sam Allberry was introduced to a state side audience at these 2014 meetings and took his SSA but celibate talking points into the bold beyond. Now Allberry’s ministry Living Out  in the UK  has introduced a radical LGBT Inclusion Church Audit which will police private conversations, our pulpits , and asserts the ordination and hiring on staff of SSA along with “sharing our children” with SSA in the church .In November 2018 Mohler pal Mark Dever introduced the radical Allberry/ L O  Audit stateside in 3 of his churches- his own and two affiliates .

Allberry spoke at the 2018 ERLC family conference and has since  been advocating for churches to support him as an SSA /gay priest in promoting   “singles adoption and foster care”. It just keeps getting more bizarre and it was all launched by an Albert Mohler “Orientation “apology  and timed with an abandon of “Ex gay therapies “.

MOHLER AND REVOICE LGBT+ FLOURISHING IN OUR CHURCHES MOVEMENT

At the same  time a Mohler / SBTS student and teacher/father and son were working together with leaders of Exodus International  leadership as the organization collapsed itself from within and public support of ex- gay therapy with it. Once Exodus news hit the media it helped to vilify all efforts to help to help people out of unwanted homosexual desires. That SBTS student / teacher was Nate Collins who founded the Revoice Conference /Movement is now working  to take the Mohler apology to the next level. The unbiblical / activist sexual hermeneutic Mohler described in 2005 in now in full swing in the evangelical community and Mohler both educated the leader of the newest most radical element of it in the SBC / PCA/ Evangelical circles and launched it with his 2014 “Apology”

Conclusion

Albert Mohler’s teammate Russell Moore seemed way to poised in advance for the Houston Chronicle Story .

https://www.russellmoore.com/2019/02/10/southern-baptists-and-the-scandal-of-church-sexual-abuse/

“The report is alarming and scandalous, the courage and grace of these survivors is contrasted with the horrific depravity of those who would use the name of Jesus to prey on them. So how should Christians think about this latest revelation?

Nothing is worse than the use of the name of Jesus to prey on the vulnerable.

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The first is to see with clear eyes what is before us. Some have ridiculed this concern as being some irrational sweep into a secular #MeToo moment, implying that the problem is “political correctness” over an issue that is no real problem within church life. Others have suggested that the church should not concern itself with questions of “justice,” and that preaching the gospel itself will resolve matters of injustice. Others have implied that the horrific scandals we have seen in the Roman Catholic church are due to the theology of Catholicism, the nature of a celibate priesthood and so forth. All of these are not only wrongheaded responses, but are deadly dangerous both to the lives of present and future survivors of these horrors and to the witness of the church itself”

DOES A CONFUSED RUSSELL MOORE CONTRADICTS HIMSELF THREE DAYS LATER ?

More denies the SBC abuse issue is part of the secular #MeToo movement BUT then looks to be writing that it is -just three days later.

https://www.russellmoore.com/2019/02/13/southern-baptists-face-their-metoo-moment/

After years of racial apologies and advocating for “victim narratives” while ignoring and accusing actual victims – and abusing /threatening those like radio host ,reporters, researchers  and bloggers and other who speak up – the apologies themselves are wearing thin and are totally lacking in credibility .

The greater danger ahead for people in our churches is the possibility that  the current talking points and open door policy of  Russell Moore/ Albert Mohler / Tim Keller and others to the sexual activism  into our houses of worship is in itself and invitation to more abuse .

Dear Al

Perhaps this apology was just another strategic launch effort to further the SBC into the #MeToo movement after all – like your 2014 apology or your recent SBTS racial purge apology was /is into the Social Justice false gospel. Sorry Al but many of us out here in the pews are not buying .

via ALBERT MOHLER “APOLOGIES ” SOLD THE FARM, ABUSED OTHERS AND IGNORED REAL VICTIMS — thirtypiecesofsilverdotorg

Gay Priest at Ravi Zacharias Event: Jesus Had Dysphoria, Body Issues — Pulpit & Pen

Ravi Zacharias hosted Sam Alberry yesterday, who spoke at the event to explain “How To Know Your Gender.” The answer was not as simple as, “Do a DNA test.” Alberry, the gay Anglican priest, is an editor and writer for the Gospel Coalition, an organization run by Mark Dever, Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan, HB Charles – all speakers at John MacArthur’s upcoming Shepherd’s Conference. In the talk, Allberry claimed that Jesus suffered from dysphoria and used Isaiah 53 to claim that – like transgender people – Jesus had “body issues.”

Allberry, who identifies a gay Christian on some occasions and on other occasions does not (it seems to depend on his audience), is a favorite expert on Church-Sodomite relations and is promoted not only by The Gospel Coalition but also by the ERLC and other leftist-progressive groups. Allberry spoke at the ERLC encouraging Southern Baptists to redefine the nuclear family to include “non-traditional families,” and he has also used his platform at TGC to promote single homosexuals adopting children so they won’t be lonely.

The celibate gay priest has also created an “audit” for churches to determine how warm and welcoming they are to transgender people and homosexuals, which has been advocated by Tim Keller and others.

At the 1.12.00 mark, Allberry encourages Christians to discount “traditional gender stereotypes.” The priest claims it’s unhealthy for men to be associated with masculinity and women to be associated with femininity. These “traditional” stereotypes make transgender people out of place, and the church should not try to reinforce traditional manliness or lady-likeness.

At the 1.15.00 mark, Allberry claims that men and women are not as different as many would assert and that many such distinctions are “arbitrary.” If we would just be biblical Alberry argues, we would see less difference between the genders.

At the 1.18.00 mark, Allberry makes the case that the warrior, King David, was effeminate. He claims that the Bible says David was beautiful in a feminine way, and because he wrote poetry, David likely had some gender identity issues.

At the 1.23.00 mark, Allberry claimed that Jesus had “body issues” because Isaiah 53 says that people “turned their face from him,” meaning that he was ugly.

At the 1.23.56 mark, he claimed that “there is no greater dysphoria” than what Jesus felt like on the Cross, being imputed with sin at the atonement and that he was in the wrong body.

That’s how Allberry ended his presentation.

via Gay Priest at Ravi Zacharias Event: Jesus Had Dysphoria, Body Issues — Pulpit & Pen

Do the ShepCon Speakers Stand By Their Gay Priest? — Pulpit & Pen

The 2019 Shepherd’s Conference speakers, all invited by John MacArthur amidst much controversy and protest, are personally responsible for the promotion and propagation of a gay priest who just taught against traditional gender roles and likened the atonement to gender dysphoria, claiming that Jesus had “body issues.”

Sam Allberry is an editor and writer at The Gospel Coalition, which has a Council that includes Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, H.B. Charles, and Ligon Duncan.

All of these men have oversight of TGC and its authors, platforms, and publications. All of these men have helped to promote the gay Anglican priest and propel him to platforms like Ravi Zacharias Ministries, where last night he urged the church to loosen gender roles and made the disparaging remarks about King David and King Jesus.

Asking the question if they affirm the gay priest isn’t a matter of guilt by association, because they are literallly promoting him through TGC (neither is asking the question wholly necessary, because they clearly affirm him through their organization).

Perhaps a better question is if Dr. MacArthur stands by this gay priest and his attacks on traditional gender roles and his blasphemy regarding the atonement of Christ. And if not, why would MacArthur partner with those who aid and abet the gay lobby, especially among such a resounding protest by ShepCon and Grace to You supporters?

via Do the ShepCon Speakers Stand By Their Gay Priest? — Pulpit & Pen

The Clash of Christianity and Culture — Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek | Christian Apologetics | Christian Apologetics Speakers

Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed

Detective and apologist J. Warner Wallace hosts this episode of the Cross Examined Official Podcast. During this episode he discusses the following topics:

How Media Consumption Threatens the Future of Christianity (It’s Not What You Think).
Why Young Ex-Christians Are Ex-Christians, According to the Latest Research.
Three Reasons Why All Americans Should Want Their Politicians to Be Religious.
The Good News for Christians From An Otherwise Bleak Pew Study.

via The Clash of Christianity and Culture — Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek | Christian Apologetics | Christian Apologetics Speakers

Carbon Footprint Of Green New Deal Reaches Dangerous Levels As Staffers Forced To Furiously Print Revised Copies — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The carbon footprint of the Green New Deal has already reached dangerous levels as congressional staffers have been forced to furiously reprint revisions of the document around the clock since the proposal’s unveiling.

As Fox News’ Tucker Carlson began reading the 192nd draft of The New Green Deal live on air, Ocasio-Cortez began shouting to her aides, “All right Comrades! We need to get cracking on version 193.01c—LET’S GO, GO, GO, GO, GO!!!”

Apparently, the 192nd draft mistakenly mentioned Democrat’s passion-project “Operation RoundUp”, a bill which would round up and all white males for deportation– right after they finish pulling the Nation’s weeds.

The congressional office has been producing so many re-writes of the bill, their computers, shredders, and printers were overheating from overuse.

“But Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, shouldn’t we slow down a bit!?” a staffer yelled over the fire alarm and weeping.  “Those printers are on fire and our fingertips clearly need medical attention!”  Nevertheless, she persisted. In fact, if any staff member complained about being asked to work on the yet another revision of the Green New Deal, she promptly called him or her a “climate-denying racist.”

As interns continued to deliver reams of paper and black smoke billowed from her offce windows, environmentalists began to show concern.  “If her team keeps revising the Green New Deal, Earth will be lucky to only have 12 years left,” remarked a top climatologist. “More like 12 minutes.”

At 10:12pm EST yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office had consumed so much energy revising the bill, the Washington, DC power grid finally exploded, leaving dozens dead and hundreds injured.

While Ocasio-Cortez admitted she nearly blew up our Nation’s Capital, she was displeased with some of the media coverage her explosion received. “Oh, I see.” she snapped. “It was only my first time causing mass casualties and destruction and The Washington Post calls ME out?!  A woman of color!?”

The Washington Post quickly revised its story, remarking that while the power grid explosion was deadly, it was the most beautiful explosion they had ever seen. The newspaper has also sent Ocasio-Cortez’s office a tearful apology and several Edible Arrangements.

via Carbon Footprint Of Green New Deal Reaches Dangerous Levels As Staffers Forced To Furiously Print Revised Copies — The Babylon Bee

Leading Southern Baptist apologizes for supporting leader, church at center of sex abuse scandal — Christian Research Network

“What I did was wrong and caused hurt to the victims and survivors who felt that their experience had been trivialized and dismissed,” Mohler said. “And I grieve that, I apologize for that, it was wrong. I would never make such a comment again.”

(Robert Downan – Houston Chronicle)  A leading Southern Baptist figure on Thursday apologized for supporting a religious leader who was accused of helping conceal sexual abuses at his former church, and for making a joke that he said downplayed the severity of the allegations.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Al Mohler said for the first time publicly that he regrets his embrace of C.J. Mahaney, the former leader of the non-Southern Baptist group Sovereign Grace Ministries, now known as Sovereign Grace Churches.

Mahaney and his former organization were sued in 2012 by 11 people alleging that their abuses were concealed by leaders, at least one of whom was later convicted.

Mahaney has long denied the accusations, and the lawsuit was later dismissed because of the statute of limitations. Despite the high-profile and well-publicized scandal, Mohler and others continued to welcome Mahaney at religious conferences, and at one point released a statement in which they called him a “friend” with “personal integrity.”

“I believe in retrospect I erred in being part of a statement supportive of (Mahaney) and rather dismissive of the charges,” Mohler said. “And I regret that action, which I think was taken without due regard to the claims made by the victims and survivors at the time, and frankly without an adequate knowledge on my part, for which I’m responsible.” View article →

Related:

Abuse of Faith – Houston Chronicle report

C.J. Maheney, Sovereign Grace Church

via Leading Southern Baptist apologizes for supporting leader, church at center of sex abuse scandal — Christian Research Network

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Mother Whose Baby Lived for Two Minutes After Birth Says Not Listening to Advice to Abort Was Right Decision   Feb 10, 2019 09:49 am

Photo Credit: Pexels.com (The Christian Institute) — A mother whose baby died two minutes after she was born, says choosing not to abort was the right decision. Erin O’Hara and Jamie McCormick received significant media attention last October when they revealed they would carry baby Freya to full term, despite doctors advising an abortion. Though…

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South Carolina Bills Enshrining Personhood of Unborn Would Outlaw Abortion in State   Feb 13, 2019 08:34 pm

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A trio of bills have been introduced in South Carolina that would declare the right to life from the moment of fertilization, thus outlawing abortion in the state. State Rep. Josiah Magnuson, R-Spartanburg, and state Sen. Richard Cash, R-Anderson, have presented the “Personhood Act of South Carolina” in both the House and the Senate. The…

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‘I Couldn’t Get Out’: 9-Year-Old Iowa Boy Clutching Stuffed Animal Tells Judge Couple Locked Him Under Basement Stairs   Feb 09, 2019 10:22 am

ELDORA, Iowa (KRVR) — A 9-year-old boy clutched a stuffed animal as he told a judge that his father’s girlfriend often withheld food and helped lock him under a staircase in the basement at their Iowa home. “I couldn’t get out” of the basement enclosure, the boy testified Wednesday in an Eldora courtroom at the bench trial of 40-year-old Traci…

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UK Baby Has Spina Bifida Successfully Repaired in the Womb After Mother Rejects Option to Abort   Feb 14, 2019 01:52 pm

(BBC) — An unborn baby has had surgery on her spine while she was still in her mother’s womb. Bethan Simpson, 26, from Maldon, Essex, was told her unborn daughter Eloise had spina bifida at her 20-week scan. Mrs. Simpson has become one of the first mothers in the UK to undergo the pioneering “fetal repair” surgery. During a four-hour operation her womb was…

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Weekend Snapshot · Feb. 16, 2019

Trump Signs Funding Bill, Declares Emergency to Secure Border

The bill falls far short of the border spending Trump demanded, so he will now carry out his threat.


Anti-Trump Press Spins Bigger Paychecks as a Bad Thing

Tax refunds may be smaller, but that’s because we paid less in taxes all year.


Red Old Deal Recycled as Green New Deal

The Left’s ruinous “Rainbows and Unicorns Resolution of 2019.”


Contemplating a Coup D’etat to Take Down Trump

Eight days in May — the government conspiracy to remove Donald Trump from office.


Amazon Pulls NYC HQ2 — Cuomo Blames Ocasio-Cortez

A state already reeling from tax revenue loss misses out on at least 25,000 new jobs.


Covington Boys Cleared, but MAGA Hats Still Trigger

Private investigators conclude the obvious: The Catholic students were innocent all along.


Tariff Deadline Looms Over U.S.-China Negotiations

Trump is open to postponing $200 billion in new tariffs on Chinese goods.


Sexual-Abuse Scandal Rocks the SBC

A new exposé reveals decades of sexual abuse within America’s largest protestant denomination.


California’s High-Speed Derail

The governor scraps the project just as the Green New Deal pushes it nationwide.


Fact-Checking the Leftmedia

Media outlets already don’t separate news from opinion, and “fact-checkers” are the worst offenders.



Quote Of The Week

“The threat of climate change is so urgent that we can’t solve it unless we commit to giving everybody free healthcare, free college, affordable housing, healthy food, well-paying jobs, and provide economic security to those unwilling to work.” —Philip Klein

February 16 A Time to Share

scripture reading: Luke 11:1–4
key verse: Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

In The Believer’s Guidebook, Lawrence Richards writes this delightful synopsis on the privilege of coming before our loving Father in personal prayer:

I’ve read many books on prayer. Too many of them approach prayer as if it were an obstacle course … prayer seems to become a tense, threatening chore.

Our technique must be just right. God, the all–seeing Judge, gives points; and when we fail to clear the hurdles, He is quick to withhold the prize.

What bothers me about such interpretations is that they’re hardly honest to God. They distort the vision given in the Bible of a loving, welcoming God.

To understand prayer, we simply need to look up at the character of God. We need to see the loving Father. We need to hear Him invite us to share every need and confess every sin.

Prayer is nothing less than responding to the warm assurance of God’s love and accepting His invitation to come to our Father and to share.

If you have received Christ as Savior, you can move freely into God’s presence. You are His child, and He wants to talk with you and show you His love.

Thank You for the invitation, Lord. I accept! I come into Your presence right now to fellowship with You.[1]


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

16 february (preached 17 february 1856) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The resurrection of the dead

“There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:15

suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35–44

There are some faint glimmerings in men of reason which teach that the soul is something so wonderful that it must endure for ever. But the resurrection of the dead is quite another doctrine, dealing not with the soul, but with the body. The doctrine is that this actual body in which I now exist is to live with my soul; that not only is the “vital spark of heavenly flame” to burn in heaven, but the very censer in which the incense of my life smokes is holy unto the Lord, and is to be preserved for ever. The spirit, every one confesses, is eternal; but how many there are who deny that the bodies of men will actually start up from their graves at the great day! Many of you believe you will have a body in heaven, but you think it will be an airy fantastic body, instead of believing that it will be a body like to this—flesh and blood (although not the same kind of flesh, for all flesh is not the same flesh), a solid, substantial body, even such as we have here. And there are yet fewer of you who believe that the wicked will have bodies in hell; for it is gaining ground everywhere that there are to be no positive torments for the damned in hell to affect their bodies, but that it is to be metaphorical fire, metaphorical brimstone, metaphorical chains, metaphorical torture. But if you were Christians as you profess to be, you would believe that every mortal man who ever existed shall not only live by the immortality of his soul, but his body shall live again, that the very flesh in which he now walks the earth is as eternal as the soul, and shall exist for ever. That is the peculiar doctrine of Christianity. The heathens never guessed or imagined such a thing.

for meditation: Spurgeon went on to quote Job 19:25, 26; Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Hosea 6:1, 2; Hebrews 11:19, 35. Does your hope match up to the hope of the Old Testament saints and the experience of Enoch and Elijah who rose bodily into heaven without suffering death?

sermon nos. 66–67[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 54). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

16 FEBRUARY 365 Days with Calvin

Deliverance from Fear

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

suggested further reading: 2 Timothy 4:9–22

David did not look upon his dangers with a calm and untroubled mind, as if at a distance and from some elevated position. He was grievously tormented with innumerable cares and justly spoke of his fear and terror. By saying “fears,” he reveals he was greatly terrified, not by one, but by a variety of distracting troubles.

On one hand, David saw a cruel death awaiting him, while on the other, he may have been filled with the fear that Achish would send him to Saul, since the ungodly are likely to gratify themselves by making sport of the children of God. David had already been betrayed once and might well have concluded that even if he escaped, the hired assassins of Saul might be laying in wait for him on all sides. The hatred Achish had against David for the death of Goliath and the destruction of his army might also have given David reason to fear. Achish might wreak his vengeance upon David. Furthermore, he was so cruel that he likely would not be appeased by subjecting David to an easy death.

We ought to note what David says here about seeking the Lord, who delivered me from all my fears, so that if at any time we are terrified because of the dangers that surround us, we might not be prevented by a lack of courage from calling upon God. Even David, who is known to have surpassed others in heroism and bravery, did not have a heart of iron to repel all fears and alarms but was sometimes greatly disquieted and smitten with fear.

for meditation: What fears are you battling today? How can you cast them upon God and leave them with him without becoming indifferent about them?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 65). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Can the Problem of Evil Be Answered by Christianity? – Christian Defenders

Far too often I hear Christians say that they don’t have an explanation for why God allows pain and suffering. While it is okay not to have an answer to everything we should at least attempt to know why there is evil present in the world. After all, it is one of the reasons why unbelievers and skeptics aren’t Christians. They claim Christians can’t explain it within their worldview.

As a Christian who has witnessed my fair share of evil it doesn’t make me question my faith in Jesus and I hope you can say the same. I have spent time in this area through personal experience and in my personal study time and I can confidently say that every person asks, why does God allow evil and suffering? 

I have also had to ask myself am I living out scripture? If I am I must do as 1 Peter 3:15 says:

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Evil is not a topic that anyone likes to talk about but even when issues are difficult scripture commands us to be able to communicate our answers to others. One of the most important questions to know how to respond to is the presence of evil and suffering. 

We cannot change the views of unbelievers especially if we have not earnestly thought through life’s difficult questions ourselves. Afterall, this question is one of the top objections to Christianity that an unbeliever puts forth and if you don’t have a response besides, “Jesus is the answer,” then the unbeliever will just assume your faith is shallow or worse, blind. We also have to take into consideration that a majority of the time we are going to talk about this issue with unbelievers or skeptics. Therefore, we must explain our response in a way that the unbeliever can understand, that means we can’t use christian terms and expect them to understand our point. 

Here are 3 reasons we can use in our conversations to explain pain and suffering.

Free Will

When God created us he gave us the gift of free will. C.S. Lewis says it best, “If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible.” It’s easy to complain that there is evil in the world but then we love the freedom to choose what we think is best for ourselves. We are free to choose God or reject him and it doesn’t make much sense for a person to reject God but then complain that he is allowing evil to co-exist with us. People are quick to blame God for all the evil and suffering they see but they don’t always give God credit for the good in our world. They just want to blame him when situations aren’t lining up with their standard of good. 

Looking at evil and suffering in the world it’s imperative we ascertain how it was caused. A few years ago I read a news story about 19 Coptic Christian children who were brutally murdered because they would not renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. This evil was carried out by man–not God. So, as with these types of evil we must remember our free will gives us all the choice to hurt others or to help them. Further, even after these horrible events happen we have the opportunity to help others. We always have a choice.

Free will could only exist in a world that God created, otherwise we would not have the need to know the difference between good and evil. We wouldn’t have a standard of good and evil because there wouldn’t be a law giver to issue that standard. We also would not have laws that everyone must abide by. 

Objective Good and Evil

God allows evil and suffering, that is a fact that both Christians and unbelievers have to account for. The Christian does not have the burden to prove God’s existence in the midst of the presence of evil and suffering, although they can. The problem of suffering is a dilemma for every human being. Also, it does not create a snafu for the Christian in how they explain their faith in God. In fact, the presence of evil and suffering provides more evidence for God’s existence and goodness. If someone is questioning why God allows suffering or if they question his existence because of the presence of suffering it’s important to point out the most obvious fact…there is a standard that we all are expected to follow. 

There is no question that we can agree that there are some atrocities that all make us wonder why violence is taking place. So if we are assuming that there is objective evil then we must also assume there is objective good in the world. C.S. Lewis says it this way, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust.”

So evil can’t exist unless good exists. But good can’t exist unless God exists. In other words, there can’t be no objective evil unless there is objective good, and there can be no objective good unless God exists. If evil is real–and we all know it is–then God exists.  
-Frank Turek, Stealing From God

Meaning and Purpose

Great Philosophers have written on the topic of the meaning of life for centuries. We live our lives, following our passions as if they mean something, because they do. Evil is only possible in a world that God created, otherwise we are just puppets without purpose. But we know that there is meaning and purpose in our world, science is just one example of many, where there is evidence of intelligent design. And if there is evidence of intelligent design then there has to be an intelligent designer. If everything that begins to exist has a cause then we can conclude that we, too also have a cause and a reason for existing. Even our suffering has meaning. 

“The point is this: If God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends life has meaning. But this is, of course, entirely inconsistent—for without God, man and the universe are without any real significance.” 
-William Lane Craig, Philosopher 

We all will face suffering at some point in our lives. We can’t escape from it, so how can we justify God allowing evil to co-exist with us? Experiencing suffering does not diminish the goodness of God or his plans for us. However, unbelievers and skeptics rest on the idea that if they can create enough doubt in your mind that for God to really exist that he must create only goodness in your life, then you will question his existence and goodness. This idea necessitates the fact that you would be playing God in order to determine this idea of what goodness is. The real problem here is the condition of our hearts and where it leads us. Are we following a standard or creating one?

Christianity does answer why God allows suffering and these are only 3 reasons as to why. We must not soften the real pain of suffering and evil in the world. Suffering is not easy to endure and if we are vigilant we will not fall into being desensitized to seeing its severity. It is clear that evil and suffering is all around us and it is pertinent for everyone, regardless of faith, to continue to ask difficult questions like this one. Are we objectively looking at good and evil as we discern how they both can co-exist in a world that God created?! 

Our failure to teach a biblical theology of suffering leaves Christians unprepared for harsh realities. It also leaves our children vulnerable to history, philosophy, and global studies classes that raise the problems of evil and suffering while denying the Christian worldview. 

Randy Alcorn, If God Is Good

Christianity is the only religion that can give a reasonable explanation to the problem of evil and suffering. We shouldn’t be afraid of these tough questions because we have the answer.
— Read on www.christiandefenders.org/2019/02/12/can-the-problem-of-evil-be-answered-by-christianity/