Daily Archives: March 21, 2019

March 21 A Dose of Pain

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:3–9

Key Verses: 1 Peter 1:6–7

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Twentieth-century scholar, writer, and theologian C. S. Lewis was no stranger to pain. He lost his mother at a young age and was subsequently raised in various boarding schools throughout Europe. His father, though a decent man, was at a loss in parenting without his late wife’s help.

After many years, Lewis met and fell in love with his wife, Joy, whom he also lost to illness. An alcoholic brother, a close friend killed in battle, and many other challenges marked the life of one of the century’s most profound Christian thinkers.

In his book The Problem of Pain, Lewis writes, “One dynamic benefit of pain is that it shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us. Without pain, humans revert to an innate sense of self-sufficiency. We find God an interruption,” he continues, “or as a friend of mine said, ‘We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.’ ”

God is not a parachute. People do not have a ripcord with which they can pop God out of a neatly packed backpack to help with a temporary crisis, only to be refolded and stuffed away. Without a personal, active, growing relationship with God, no one’s life is complete. Sometimes, even though it hurts, it takes a dose of pain to help us remember that.

Please, Lord, let me never treat You as a parachute, handy for emergencies. Rather, You are the only One who is always there, in prosperity and in want.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 84). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

President Trump Delivers Remarks During Free Speech Event at White House – 3:30pm Livestream… — The Last Refuge

President Trump participates in an Executive Order signing and delivers remarks on “improving free inquiry, transparency, and accountability on campus.”  Anticipated start time 3:20pm EST

WH Livestream LinkFox News LivestreamFox Business Livestream

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via President Trump Delivers Remarks During Free Speech Event at White House – 3:30pm Livestream… — The Last Refuge

March 21 A Child Of God

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:13–21

Key Verse: Romans 9:23

He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.

All of us must respond individually to God’s offer of salvation (Eph. 1:13). Once we make a positive response of faith, the marvelous truth of God’s sovereign working has just begun. We as believers are predestined for something far beyond our wildest imagination: “He predestined us to adoption as sons” (Eph. 1:5 nasb).

God did not save you just to escape the torment of hell and the condemnation of holy punishment. He saved you so that He might draw you into His household. You are a son or daughter of Jehovah God. As a child of God, you have the exhilarating prospect of fellowshipping intimately with your heavenly Father while depending on His loving provision. Forever, you will be a son or daughter of the Father.

You are also “predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29 nasb). The process of becoming like Christ begins at salvation. It continues through your life on earth. It will be consummated in heaven. God is at work irrevocably to make you like His very own Son. Can you think of anything more glorious?

Almighty God, please continue to conform me to the image of Your Son. I praise You that You are at work irrevocably in my life.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 84). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“What is Your Religious Tradition?” ‘Nones’ Tied with Evangelicals, Catholics — Pulpit & Pen

by Cherie Vandermillen · March 21, 2019

[Jack Jenkins | Religious News Service] In a shift that stands to impact both religion and politics, survey data suggests that the percentage of Americans who don’t affiliate with any specific religious tradition is now roughly the same as those who identify as evangelical or Catholic.

According to newly released General Social Survey data analyzed by Ryan P. Burge of Eastern Illinois University, Americans claiming “no religion” — sometimes referred to as “nones” because of how they answer the question “what is your religious tradition?” — now represent about 23.1 percent of the population, up from 21.6 percent in 2016. People claiming evangelicalism, by contrast, now represent 22.5 percent of Americans, a slight dip from 23.9 percent in 2016.

That makes the two groups statistically tied with Catholics (23 percent) as the largest religious — or nonreligious — groupings in the country.

“Nones have been on the march for a long time now,” Burge said. “It’s been a constant, steady increase for 20 years now. If the trend line kept up, we knew this was going to happen.”

The shift could signify coming political changes. Evangelicals often lean conservative and are known to have outsized influence on American elections: According to exit polls, white evangelicals alone made up 26 percent of the electorate in 2016, even as their share of the American population has dipped far below that, according to Public Religion Research Institute.

“Evangelicals punch way above their weight,” Burge said. “They turn out a bunch at the ballot box. That’s largely a function of the fact that they’re white and they’re old.”

A rising tide of religiously unaffiliated voters — a group that a 2016 PRRI analysis found skews young and liberal — could potentially offset that influence. But the same PRRI analysis also noted that religiously unaffiliated Americans do not vote in the same percentages as evangelicals, and are often underrepresented at the polls.

As such, the most immediate impact of the rise in religiously unaffiliated is likely to be felt in religious communities themselves, where their absence will be noted. Even then, those who claim “no religion” are not inherently atheists or agnostics: A 2017 Pew Research survey found that only 22 percent of “nones” listed not believing in God as the most important reason for their lack of religious affiliation.

But while most religious groups in the GSS survey either saw dips in affiliation or remained roughly consistent — such as black Protestants and those listed as “other faiths” — one group did see an increase: Mainline Protestants, who have been declining at a steady clip for decades, saw their numbers tick up slightly, from 10.2 percent to 10.8 percent.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Jack Jenkins and originally published at Religious News Service. Title changed by P&P.]

via “What is Your Religious Tradition?” ‘Nones’ Tied with Evangelicals, Catholics — Pulpit & Pen

March 21 A Season of Waiting

Scripture reading: Psalm 25:1–22

Key verse: Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Is there some prayer that you have been longing for God to answer? Maybe your longing for this one prayer to be answered has continued for months or even years. Temptation comes and you feel like giving up. You think, Where are You, God? And how will I ever get beyond this point of need?

God operates along a perfectly designed time line. He knows what you need and when to provide it. But He wants you to learn how to trust Him for the blessings He has planned. “Delight yourself also in the Lord; and He shall give you the desires of your heart,” declared the psalmist. “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Ps. 37:4–5). Seeking God involves delighting yourself in His faithfulness, praising Him for His goodness, and loving Him because He cares for you.

At times, God requires a season of waiting before He sends His blessing. Then trust becomes your greatest asset. If you don’t trust God with your need, you will cry out in fear and panic. At one point during a storm on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples thought they would perish. But Jesus commanded the wind and waves to be still. He taught those men how to trust Him even in the most tempestuous of circumstances, and He is teaching you to watch and wait for His outstretched arm. As you wait in His presence today, receive peace—for He is with you.

Father, I delight in Your faithfulness. As I wait in Your presence, I praise You for Your goodness and what You have planned for me in the future.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 84). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Why The Fed Keeps Propping Up The Market | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Jesse Colombo via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

The bull market of the past decade since the Great Recession has been an unusual one: despite all of the economic damage that occurred during the global financial crisis and rising risks (including global debt rising by $75 trillion), it has been the longest bull market in history. The explanation for this paradox is simple: it’s not an organic bull marketbecause the Fed and other central banks keep stepping in to prop up the market every time it stumbles. Though the Fed has two official mandates (maintaining stable consumer prices and maximizing employment), it has taken on the unofficial third mandate of supporting and boosting the stock market since the Great Recession.

The chart below, which was inspired by market strategist Sven Henrich, shows how the Fed or other central banks have stepped in with more monetary stimulus (quantitative easing, promises to keep interest rates low, etc.) every time the S&P 500 has stumbled over the past decade:

As we noted in this past weekend’s newsletter (subscribe for free e-delivery):

“An economy that is growing at 2%, inflation near zero, and Central banks globally required to continue dumping trillions of dollars into the financial system just to keep it afloat is not an economy we should be aspiring to. But despite commentary the financial system has been ‘put back together again,’ then why are Central Banks acting? Via Bloomberg:

‘Led by the Fed, many central banks have either held back on tightening monetary policy or introduced fresh stimulus, soothing investor fears of a slowdown. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says he and colleagues will be patient on raising interest rates again, while European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has ruled out doing so this year and unveiled a new batch of cheap loans for banks.

Elsewhere, authorities in Australia, Canada and the U.K. are among those to have adopted a wait-and-see approach. China, at its National People’s Congress this month, signaled a willingness to ease monetary and fiscal policies to support expansion.’”

(Click here for an unlocked version of our Premium Newsletter to see how we are positioning our clients in today’s market.)

This is an important consideration because stocks are one of the major components of U.S. household wealth, when the stock market rises, household wealth does as well (and vice versa):

In turn, household wealth is a major variable that affects U.S. consumer spending. When household wealth is growing, consumers feel more confident and have more buying power, which means that they are more willing to spend money – a phenomenon known as a wealth effect. Wealth effects can also run in reverse, as it did in the early-2000s and during the Great Recession. Because the U.S. economy has been in such a precarious situation in the last ten years and the federal government has little ammunition left to fight a recession, the Fed has been doing everything it can to prop up stocks and household wealth in order to prevent a reverse wealth effect from occurring. Though household wealth plunged at the end of 2018 (which is why the blue line in the chart below fell so sharply), the Fed panicked and began to boost the market again starting in late-December. By the time the next quarterly household wealth statistic is reported, it will be much higher due to the Fed’s re-inflation of the stock market (the S&P 500 is up 20% from its December low).

Thanks to the Fed’s constant inflation of the market in the past decade, the S&P 500 rose much faster than earnings and is now at 1929-like valuations, which means that a painful correction is inevitable one way or another:

The Fed’s constant intervention in the market has created a moral hazard on a scale that has never been experienced before by humanity. A generation of traders and speculators now believe that the market never goes down and that the Fed will always have their backs, so they can take virtually unlimited risk. By backstopping the market, the Fed is inadvertently enabling and encouraging an unprecedented buildup of risk that will eventually overwhelm its ability to step in and rescue the market, which is when the ultimate crash will occur.

Source: Why The Fed Keeps Propping Up The Market

Francis Chan Explains Why He’ll Share a Stage With Benny Hinn

Why would a respected evangelical leader like Francis Chan agree to speak at major events that also feature controversial prosperity gospel preachers? The short answer: to share the truth.

The popular author and former pastor recently came under scrutiny for appearing on the same stage as televangelist Benny Hinn and Canadian evangelist Todd White when he was the top-billed speaker at The Send, a 60,000-person rally held in an Orlando stadium last month.

The event (not to be confused with Send International or the North American Mission Board’s Send Conference) was a collaboration involving several major leaders in the charismatic and New Apostolic Reformation movement, including The Call’s Lou Engle, Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson, and International House of Prayer’s Mike Bickle.

Some Christians questioned Chan’s place on the roster, particularly when White—who told the young crowd that God would instantly remove “the mark and stain of sin” from their bodies, including STDs and cutting scars—shared a picture of the pair praying together. Another photo turned up of Chan between Hinn, who had not been listed on the public lineup for the event, and fellow faith healer Jean-Luc Trachsel.

Chan recently acknowledged these concerns and explained why he prefers to speak among crowds whose beliefs fall outside of his own, even though he considers the prosperity gospel to be “dangerous teaching.”

“Often times, I decline [speaking requests] because other speakers will be at the event who believe almost exactly what I believe. My reasoning is that it may be a waste of Kingdom resources for all of us to be there, speaking largely to people who already agree with us,” Chan wrote on the site for his church planting network, We Are Church. “It seems more effective to speak where there is less Bible teaching.”

Chan stated that he believes he can be most effective in places where he is “not in alignment theologically,” so long as he is permitted to preach freely from Scripture.

“Over the past few years, I have seen many people come to truly follow Jesus, have a deeper love for the Scriptures, and a deeper commitment to the Great Commission,” the Crazy Love author stated. “There are millions of souls that sit under weak or unorthodox teachings. It thrills me to think about what the Spirit might do through his Word in those situations.”

The Send, a collaboration between several national ministries including Youth With A Mission and Christ For All Nations, reported that 500 attendees came to faith at the all-day event on February 23, and another 17,000 committed to fasting and prayer.

Still, Chan acknowledged that he sees how his participation in certain events—or willingess to take a selfie—can sometimes imply endorsement of fellow speakers and that he does not always research each and every one. As a result of the recent pushback, he said he would consider adding a research team and working with elders to prevent confusion over his future appearances.

Though the problem isn’t new—Billy Graham was criticized by fundamentalist Bob Jones for associating with liberal ministers at his crusades in the ’50s, and by fellow believers for his willingness to speak in communist nations in the Cold War era—Christians have been paying closer attention to theological clashes in speaker lineups in recent years.

Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum, lost his spot at several homeschooling conferences in 2011 when he criticized another speaker, BioLogos’s Peter Enns, for not sharing his strictly literal reading of Genesis.

James MacDonald’s controversial decision to invite T. D. Jakes, who had espoused a Oneness view of the Trinity, to The Elephant Room event eventually led to MacDonald’s resignation from The Gospel Coalition in 2012.

Last year, there was enough scrutiny around Louisville pastor C. J. Mahaney of Sovereign Grace Church that he withdrew from the Together for the Gospel conference rather than bring fellow speakers into the fray.

There’s also a growing awareness around whether conferences feature women and people of color. Christine Caine defended her decision to participate in The Nines conference in 2013 as 1 of just 3 women on a lineup of over 100. Leadership Network and other groups have heeded concerns over speaker diversity.

Chan warned followers that he plans to continue to accept invitations to conferences whose speakers fall outside his own beliefs. “I recognize, now more than ever, that sometimes my participation can give the impression that I align with every other speaker at the event. I’m not sure what to do about that other than to tell you that I don’t,” he said.

“My personal belief is that there are 2 [million]–3 million orthodox American Christians who consume all of the same books, blogs, and podcasts. Meanwhile, there are millions who will never hear strong biblical teaching unless teachers are willing to go. I might be fooling myself, but I feel like the Spirit enables me to lovingly confront difficult issues. And I have seen repentance result from it.”

 

Source: Francis Chan Explains Why He’ll Share a Stage With Benny Hinn

The only way Democrats can win is by changing the rules, and that’s exactly what they’re trying to do

Democrats demand that there is only one acceptable outcome to any contest. They are supposed to win. If they don’t, it’s proof that the rules are wrong and need to be changed.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=6016398166001&w=466&h=263Watch the latest video at foxnews.com

Ever since former Vice President Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000, Democrats have demanded that there is only one acceptable outcome to any contest. They are supposed to win. If they don’t, it’s proof that the rules are wrong. So, the rules need to be changed until their right to victory is confirmed in the results.

Fast forward to the 2016 election. The electoral map proved Democrats have fallen out of favor with voters in America’s heartland. Look no further than Michigan. The Democratic presidential nominee won Michigan in 1992,1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Then Hillary Clinton comes along and loses the state in 2016.

SEAN HANNITY: RADICAL, SOCIALIST 2020 DEMS WANT TO CENTRALIZE POWER AND CONTROL OUR LIVES

Now Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is pushing to replace the Electoral College with a nationwide popular vote. As Sen. Warren sees it, running up the score in progressive havens such as New York and California gives her party an advantage over President Trump, whose success creating jobs and raising wages, along with his tough stance on China, has won him support from Midwest factory workers.

Once Secretary Clinton became another losing Democratic candidate for president despite winning the popular vote, the outcries to end to the Electoral College were predictable. Any defense of the Constitutionally prescribed Electoral College as being a safeguard of smaller states and their citizens was quickly dismissed as a desire to give more weight to the votes of white rural voters. No meaningful discussion. Just change the rules so that Democrats can win.

We’ve seen this before. When former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn’t corral enough votes to approve President Obama’s judicial appointments, he changed the rules. Then, after Republicans regained Senate control, Sen. Reid complained that his changes were unfair. Today, several Democratic presidential contenders are floating the idea of killing the filibuster altogether.

More recently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was embarrassed by defections in her caucus when a group of House Democrats sided with Republicans on an important vote. The media reported that Pelosi was swift to reprimand her caucus for not toeing the line, saying, “We are either a team or we are not.” Pelosi then said to avoid a repeat embarrassment, Democrats would consider changing the rules.

Once Secretary Clinton became another losing Democratic candidate for president despite winning the popular vote, the outcries to end to the Electoral College were predictable. Any defense of the Constitutionally prescribed Electoral College as being a safeguard of smaller states and their citizens was quickly dismissed as a desire to give more weight to the votes of white rural voters. No meaningful discussion. Just change the rules so that Democrats can win.

More than any other form of power, Democrats love litigation. Going to court to bend the rules and impose their views is an age-old liberal-tradition. However, with a majority on the Supreme Court being nominated by a Republican president, progressives find themselves flummoxed.

Following the example set by former President Franklin Roosevelt, several Democratic presidential prospects have called for packing the court – increasing the number of judges until there’s enough room for a progressive majority. The fact is, Democrats would fight tooth and nail against adding justices if President Trump and the Republican Senate majority were making the selections, so this scheme is simply a blatant power grab.

Democrats are bitter about losing in 2016 and they are determined not to be bitter again, even if that means circumventing the Constitution, the rule of law, and the will of the American people.

Not surprisingly, the Democrats’ attempt to rewrite the rulebook is happening without so much as a whimper from the pundits and commentators that have been gasping to the point of exhaustion about President Trump rolling back President Obama’s administrative state.

American statesmen have long admitted that our system of government is imperfect, but there is little argument that it is preferred above any alternative. Democrats should be held accountable for their attempts to manipulate our system of checks and balances to their advantage.

Source: The only way Democrats can win is by changing the rules, and that’s exactly what they’re trying to do

MUST SEE VIDEO–> Another Day in Trump’s America — Paul Martinez Spoofs the Lying Hacks in Democrat Mainstream Media — The Gateway Pundit

THIS VIDEO IS AMAZING!
It is going viral today… It was sent to us at least four times.
Paul Hernandez produced a film that perfectly depicts America’s pathetic mainstream media.

These mainstream hacks at CNN, Washington Post, MSNBC, etc. continue to spew lies and hatred against President Trump and his supporters. Then they lash out at the president and conservatives when they get called out.
It’s a never ending cycle.

This is EXCELLENT!

via MUST SEE VIDEO–> Another Day in Trump’s America — Paul Martinez Spoofs the Lying Hacks in Democrat Mainstream Media — The Gateway Pundit

President Donald Trump Says United States Will Recognize Full Israeli Sovereignty Of The Golan Heights In Explosive Tweet Sent Moments Ago — Now The End Begins

President Trump on Thursday said the U.S. will recognize Israeli control of the disputed Golan Heights territory, delivering a diplomatic win for prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of a tough reelection race.

If you’re a Democratic Socialist like AOC, Beto O’Rourke, Ilhan Omar or any of the others, Trump just ruined your weekend. But if you’re a bible believer, you are practically leaping around the room for joy right now. Why? Because President Donald Trump continues to do what God placed him in office to do, and that is to stand up for Israel and the Jewish people in the end times. And today, President Trump knocked it out of the park with his announcement that the US will recognize Israeli control of the Golan Heights. This is truly a “wow” moment.

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:3 (KJV)

In one fell swoop, Trump reminded his massive base why we voted for him, he instantly solved Netanyahu’s election situation which was threatening to derail him, and most of all, he stood up for the God’s chosen people the Jews, and for God’s holy land of Eretz Yisrael. During the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, Israel will be fully restored to the Abraham’s original land grant as King Jesus rules the world from Jerusalem. Today’s announcement by President Trump is an excellent appetizer on that coming main course.

Isn’t it exciting to be watching bible prophecy coming true right before our very eyes?

Trump: Time for U.S. to Recognize Israel’s Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

FROM HAARETZ ISRAEL: “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Trump tweeted.

The announcement came days before Trump was scheduled to meet at the White House with Netanyahu, who has urged top U.S. officials to make the move.

This comes after the U.S. State Department scraped the word “occupied” last week when referring to the Golan Heights in its annual human rights report for 2018. The change, which now reads “Israeli-controlled territory” which strays from the language used by previous administrations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the move on Twitter as well, thank you the American president for his statement. A separate section on the West Bank and Gaza Strip also did not refer to those territories as being “occupied” or under “occupation.” READ MORE

donald-trump-says-he-will-move-us-embassy-from-tel-aviv-to-jerusalem-israels-capital

via President Donald Trump Says United States Will Recognize Full Israeli Sovereignty Of The Golan Heights In Explosive Tweet Sent Moments Ago — Now The End Begins

CNN: Dems Want Overhaul of US Government

Some Democrats are pushing for a complete overhaul of the U.S. government – from lowering the voting age to expanding the size of the Supreme Court, CNN is reporting.

The list of reforms being proposed by prominent Democrats goes far beyond climate change and healthcare, the news network said in an analysis posted Thursday.

Here are some of the changes being floated by the Democrats:

  • Overhauling the election system:  Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a presidential candidate, has endorsed abandoning the Electoral College.
  • Expanding the size of the Supreme Court: Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Warren – all presidential candidates — told Politico they would consider increasing the number of justices on the high court.
  • Addition of a new state: CNN noted every Democrat making a bid for the White House, who serves in the House or Senate, has endorsed making Washington D.C. a state.
  • Lowering the voting age: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has endorsed lowering the voting age to 16, which would require a constitutional amendment.CNN noted the idea have little or no chance of becoming reality in the near future. And President Donald Trump commented on the proposals on Wednesday calling the Democrats “strange” for pushing them.

Source: CNN: Dems Want Overhaul of US Government

Evangelicals Show No Decline, Despite Trump and Nones

The 2018 General Social Survey reports American evangelicals holding steady amid growth of the unaffiliated—and a surprising uptick for mainline Protestants.

Evangelicals in the United States are holding steady at just under a quarter of the population, according to the latest biennial figures from the General Social Survey (GSS), one of the longest-running measures of religion in America.

Despite the quick pace of news and week-to-week political polling, it’s longitudinal tools like the GSS that give social scientists the best big-picture views of how America’s religious landscape is shifting. The survey has asked about religious affiliation in the same way for more than 46 years, offering authorative, reliable measures of trends in belief and behavior over time.

As Tobin Grant, editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, pointed out: “Changes in religion are slow. No group gains or loses quickly.” (The “nones,” a popular term for the religiously unaffiliated, being an exception—gaining faster than other affiliations tend to because they pull from multiple faith groups.)

That’s mostly what the 2018 GSS results show us. Evangelicals—grouped in this survey by church affiliation—continue to make up around 22.5 percent of the population as they have for much of the past decade, while the nones, now up to 23.1 percent themselves, keep growing. (For comparison, the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Survey put evangelicals at 25.4 percent and the religious nones at 22.8 percent.)

Other than one outlier—a slight peak of 24.7 percent in 2012—evangelicals have ranged from 22.5 percent to 24 percent of the US population over the past 10 years. Still, this steadiness doesn’t mean “no change” among the evangelical population. There is always a “churn” occurring …

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Source: Evangelicals Show No Decline, Despite Trump and Nones

Julian Assange Will Not Be Cooperating With Democrats’ Trump Investigation Document Requests — The Gateway Pundit

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be cooperating with a far-reaching document request from Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee, that was sent as part of their effort to investigate President Donald Trump.

The committee requested documents from 81 individuals and entities in their efforts to investigate corruption, obstruction of justice, and ethics violations in the Trump campaign.

One of Assange’s lawyers, Barry Pollack, told Politico that the House Judiciary Committee request violates the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment dictates that any inquiry by Congress should not begin by issuing requests to journalists for documents pertaining to its news gathering,” Pollack said.

Assange has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize by 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, despite the US government’s increased effort to persecute him.

WikiLeaks is protected under the Bartnicki First Amendment Test, which holds that a publisher cannot be held liable for a disclosure of stolen information if the disclosure deals with “a matter of public concern” and provided that the speaker was not “involved” in the theft. Given that WikiLeaks does not steal or hack the documents that they publish, this precedent should apply to Assange.  There is no doubt that their publications have been newsworthy and of public concern.

Currently, Chelsea Manning is in prison for refusing to testify in a secret grand jury against the publisher.

Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19, 2012. He was soon granted political asylum. The UK has long refused to acknowledge the findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD), which found that Assange is being arbitrarily and unlawfully detained and must be immediately released without the threat of arrest and compensated.

via Julian Assange Will Not Be Cooperating With Democrats’ Trump Investigation Document Requests — The Gateway Pundit

American auto delinquencies are piling up, revealing the pains of the millions left behind by the US economic recovery | Business Insider

Joern Pollex/Getty Images

  • Last month, investors got spooked over a a spike in auto delinquencies reported by the Federal Reserve.
  • The Fed and other Wall Street analysts found the results surprising given the robust state of the economy and the job market.
  • The puzzling phenomenon is in part attributable to an overall surge in auto lending and a deterioration of lending standards between 2011 and 2017, producing more subprime borrowers than ever before.
  • But other factors are also driving the trend, including America’s growing appetite for expensive trucks and SUVs and the highly uneven nature of the economic recovery.
  • But a broader, systemic threat from auto lending seems unlikely, according to experts.

Ten years into a bull market, Americans are getting jittery about when the music will stop and the next recession will tear through the economy.

While bad economic omens are being spotted in a variety of places, last month it was a spike in auto delinquencies that spooked market participants.

The Federal Reserve reported the number of borrowers with auto loans more than 90-days delinquent shot up by 1.5 million in the fourth quarter, reaching a total of 7 million — the highest mark ever in absolute numbers, though not as a percentage of the auto-loan market, which has ballooned over the past seven years.

Goldman Sachs

Consumer pain tends to be a leading indicator for broader economic struggles: An increase in delinquencies could signify waning consumer health, foreshadowing a drop in confidence and an overall spending slowdown, which affects nearly every industry.

Bad consumer loans could also inflict losses on major institutions invested in the loans, which are packaged up and sold as asset-backed securities. That has the potential, if it gets out of hand, to create systemic risk, as we saw with mortgage-backed loans in the last crisis.

So, ugly consumer data is a siren alerting investors, trauma scarred from the mortgage meltdown, to the next proverbial canary in the coalmine.

The surge in auto defaults has been a source of both confusion and consternation. The Fed called the development surprising and Goldman Sachs analysts referred to it as “something of a puzzle,” given the broader economic and labor market strength, and the lack of distress in other consumer credit products, like mortgages and credit cards.

Why are auto-loan defaults surging, and does it pose a broader economic threat that warrants concern?

The picture is complicated, but peeling back the data provides some answers — and suggests that the overall economic sunshine grabbing headlines may be falling only on part of the country, obscuring the fact that another segment in the shadows is fairing much worse.

Part of the mystery surrounding the auto-loan default spike is the timing.

The unemployment rate is still hovering near all-time lows, foreclosures and personal bankruptcies are at post-crisis lows, and wages have been growing as well.

It’s also puzzling given the fact that consumers historically pay off their car loans at the expense of other debts, like credit cards or mortgages. This is likely because a car is more critical most Americans’ every-day life — getting to work, picking up the kids, getting groceries, etc. — and the fact that a delinquent car is much quicker and easier to repossess than a foreclosed home.

But while auto loans defaults are climbing, both credit card and mortgage loan delinquencies are at historically low levels.

There a couple explanations for the auto-default phenomenon.

First, auto-loans have exploded in the years following the financial crisis, growing steadily from less than $800 billion in 2011 to nearly $1.3 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Lending standards loosened significantly between 2011 and 2017, before tightening back up. That meant not only more borrowers in aggregate than ever before, but more risky borrowers than ever before. Auto lenders issued credit more freely, not only accepting lower credit scores but also taking borrowers at their word regarding income rather than verifying it.

“With growth in auto loan participation, there are now more subprime auto loan borrowers than ever, and thus a larger group of borrowers at high risk of delinquency,” the Fed explained in a blog post about its auto delinquency findings.

Lenders also stretched the length of loan terms over longer periods to make them more affordable, Goldman Sachs analysts Marty Young and Lotfi Karoui wrote in a research note in early March. But reducing the pace at which a customer pays off the loan increases the likelihood that “borrowers will be ‘under-water’ on their loans, with loan value above the value of the vehicle.”

At the same time, Americans became obsessed with large vehicles — trucks, SUVs, and crossovers that are substantially more expensive than small and mid-size cars. The fact that America’s top-selling vehicle — a Ford truck that starts at nearly $30,000 — and many like it cost nearly half the median household income hasn’t stopped people from buying them and hasn’t stopped lenders from facilitating loans.

The average purchase price of a new vehicle hit a record high of $36,495 at the end of 2017, a 24% increase from 2011, according to Edmunds.

Goldman Sachs

Together, that’s meant more expensive cars, more subprime borrowers, and longer-term loans. And that’s contributed to higher monthly loan repayments.

The average car-payment hit a decade high of $545 a month in the fourth quarter, according to Experian data. The average interest rate also hit a decade high, little surprise given the record number of subprime borrowers, who pay higher rates to compensate for their risk.

Of course, most borrowers don’t stop paying a loan the moment they buy the car — even if it was ill-advised.

Changes in delinquencies “necessarily lag changes in loan underwriting,” Goldman explains, so we’re feeling the brunt today of poor underwriting in previous years. The tightened lending standards since 2017 may not show up in delinquencies till next year.

What economic recovery?

But even amid the surge in lending, especially to less credit-worthy borrowers, shouldn’t the 10-year bull market and sterling economic conditions provide a buffer? Shouldn’t there be less financial pressure on households that would cause them to stop paying their loans?

Focusing on the rosy economic data in aggregate hides the highly uneven nature of the economic recovery, and the fact that many Americans remain cash strapped.

There’s been a two-tiered recovery, UBS analyst Matt Mish explained, where on one hand, those who hold assets have done very well.

“Those who do not own assets, whether a house or equities, have not benefited as much,” Mish told Business Insider.

“You’ve seen a pretty decent increase in debt in the latter cohort,” he added.

Mish and colleague Stephen Caprio focused on how the divergent consumer recovery impacts credit risk in a report last year, finding an elevated number of consumers burdened by debts that dwarf their incomes, along with small amounts of liquid assets saved to deal with those financial obligations.

This phenomenon has been masked by a reliance by investors on the Fed’s aggregate data — which skews toward the wealthy. The median data UBS presents show more significant consumer financial struggles.

UBS

“This highlights how consumer inequality is a blind spot to the aggregate metrics that investors rely upon. As income inequality grows, aggregate data becomes less representative of the population at large,” they wrote in the report.

A major driver of the diverging consumer fates: spiking Apartment rents.

Many American households deleveraged after the financial crisis, primarily by trading homes in favor rentals.

But rents have surged, UBS notes, amid growing demand and lack of affordable home-buying options.

“Renter financial obligation burdens are near record highs, homeowner burdens are near record lows,” the analysts note in the report.

Strong employment and an uptick in wage growth may ease this burden, but if the recession everyone is on edge about materializes, it could mean significant losses for investors in lower-tiered consumer debt.

Is there a broader risk?

As some have already pointed out, it’s unlikely auto-loan defaults will usher in the next financial collapse or recession.

In part, this is because they’re less systemically risky.

The total auto-loan market is about $1.3 trillion, compared with $11.2 trillion in the residential mortgage market when the financial crisis struck, adjusting for inflation.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Moreover, specialty auto-finance companies — which aren’t large or diverse enough to affect the economy as deeply as banks do — have been doling out subprime loans with the most gusto, with half their $150 billion position originated on credit scores below 620, according to the Federal Reserve.

“We think the risk is remote,” Goldman Sachs wrote, addressing the concerns among market commentators of risk to financial stability.

In Goldman’s view, auto delinquencies pose little risk of contagion, but rather are a “sector story,” with risks confined to the subprime auto industry.

The delinquency uptick, they note, is isolated almost exclusively among people with non-prime credit scores. In auto-loan ABS, for instance, the 90-day delinquency rate remains below 0.5% for prime loans, while for non-prime loans the rate has surged upward to nearly 5%.

Even within subprime auto ABS, the outlook isn’t particularly morose because of “the large extent to which high losses have already priced into high borrower interest rates.”

This may be good news for investors, but it’s no consolation for the cash-strapped borrowers covering those interest payments and defaulting on their loans.

Their struggles may not pose a broader economic threat at the moment, but they show the 10-year economic recovery hasn’t been as broad-based as many believe.

The Fed’s analysis of the auto-loan market illuminates the divergence: By one standard, the “overall auto loan stock is the highest quality” since they began tracking data, with 30% of loans from borrowers with credit scores exceeding 760 — very good to exceptional. At the very same time, we have the most subprime borrowers — and the most serious delinquencies — on record.

Source: American auto delinquencies are piling up, revealing the pains of the millions left behind by the US economic recovery

Liberal Author Reveals Democrat Endgame: Replace Republican ‘Evangelical Cult’ with Massive Influx of Immigrants to Drive GOP to Extinction — The Gateway Pundit

We all knew why Democrats support open borders.
We all knew their goal was more imported dependent voters.
Finally one Democrat pundit comes clean.


Future Democrat voters caravan to America

The goal of the modern day Democrat Party is to replace Americans with foreigners and drive the GOP to extinction.

Sadly, several Republicans in the Pretend Party (12 last week) support this plan.

Liberal David Atkins posted a thread on the Democrat Party’s plan for domination — replace Americans and capture the vote forever.

David is a contributor at the Washington Monthly and far left Rolling Stone.

The goal is a “major realignment.”

It’s time to replace Americans with foreigners and take control once and for all.

Via Michelle Malkin:

via Liberal Author Reveals Democrat Endgame: Replace Republican ‘Evangelical Cult’ with Massive Influx of Immigrants to Drive GOP to Extinction — The Gateway Pundit

03/21/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0321

•The best of Wretched Radio:
•Why Pilgrim’s Progress is still a best-seller
•What does a good pastor look like?
•When your pastor promotes a bad book
•How do I counter errant proof-texting?
•Do I lose fellowship with God when I sin?
•Chick Chat with Todd
Jesus is not your cheerleader
•How to keep the foxes out of the vineyard

Download Now (right click and save)

via 03/21/2019 — Wretched

Where Does Ligon Duncan Stand on Sam Allberry’s “Same Sex Attraction?” — Pulpit & Pen

AD Robles likes to joke about a two-step dance move when someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Lately people have been trying to pull a similar two-step trick:

  1. There’s no way he would have said that!
  2. Okay, he did say that, but it’s not really all that bad…

Come on folks…

You’ll see this trick in controversial discussions. First, they accept your standard of judgment, but they deny the facts of the case. Then you give them the facts. All of the sudden, they are rethinking their standard of judgment — moving the goalposts. You can’t win.

Here’s how it happened this week:

Ligon Duncan endorsed a book by Sam Allberry. Additional shenanigans ensued. You can catch up with the Facebook discussion here.

Why, you ask, would it be a problem that Ligon Duncan endorsed a book by Sam Allberry? Let’s fill in some details. Perhaps Duncan doesn’t know everything that Allberry currently stands for. After all, it is one thing to endorse a specific book; that doesn’t equate to an endorsement of everything the person will ever say.

But Sam Allberry is a rising star on the #BigEva conference circuit, appearing alongside the main names — including Ligon Duncan himself. Duncan ought to know something about the man.

Is Ligon Duncan paying attention?

Sam Allberry has a hand in promoting things that would make even the organizers of the infamous Revoice conference blush. Visit Sam Allberry’s website, called Living Out.

Whilst some couples do choose to part ways, I argued that’s not the only possible good outcome — perhaps especially if they have children. They could well continue to live together, sharing their lives with one another in Christian community. This is one way of ensuring they have intimate, close relationship, which God made us all to need. Without the sexual aspect, it has become more of a friendship than a romantic relationship.

So, my take on this is: the right thing to do, and ultimately the best thing for you individually and as a couple, would be to hold back from sexual intimacy as a whole, not just sex itself. That is, including romantic/sexual kissing, touching one another sexually, etc.

Of course, it may take time and a bit of trial and error for a couple to redefine the boundaries and work out how they can best remain physically close to one another, without crossing the line again into sexual intimacy.

It’s a two-step case:

  1. Yes, Ligon Duncan is really suggesting that Sam Allberry is worthy of endorsement, despite the above.
  2. Yes, that really is a problem.

Step #2 is the heart of the issue. Within conservative Evangelicalism’s intellectuals, all would (for the time being) agree that homosexual behavior is inherently sinful. But not all agree that same sex attraction is inherently sinful. Some say it is; some say it isn’t. Allberry is one of the latter.

Allberry says:

I want to say that the presence of temptation is not itself a sin.

I don’t want people who are experiencing same-sex temptation to feel as though they must be complete monsters compared to people who are wrestling with heterosexual temptation. We know that all of us are fallen in this area of life.

There is disagreement about whether SSA is sinful, and there is disagreement about the status of the issue. Even supposing one personally believes SSA is inherently sinful, can we make a compelling case that anyone who disagrees on this topic is outside of biblical orthodoxy? What is the status of this question in the grand scheme?

This is the question that matters, because it is the question of who we are willing to trust and support. (All ministries are funded by donations.) Is Ligon Duncan on one side of this issue or the other? It matters.

It is the responsibility of a faithful shepherd to make clear where he stands, and this includes Ligon Duncan. He needs to clarify his stand on Allberry’s view of same-sex attraction (SSA).

What does Scripture say about same-sex attracted people and their relation to Christianity? How can we avert the 2-step trick of moving the goalposts?

Here’s the argument:

If Ligon Duncan agrees with Sam Allberry (which is an open question, and which he absolutely must clarify) that would put Duncan outside of the bounds of biblical faithfulness.

Some desires are inherently sinful.

The message of “third-way” thinkers like Sam Allberry is that the Christians who experience same-sex attraction (SSA) do not need to change or cannot change. SSA is an essential part of their identity. They do not need to be repenting of this desire. They only need to be celibate.

Do you see the trick that is being pulled? This is itself a compromise of biblical truth. No doubt, it is a stepping-stone to a likely goal — acceptance of homosexual behavior. But even those like Allberry who claim not to be advocating homosexual behavior are already compromising by refusing to acknowledge that some desires are inherently sinful.

A splash of cold water:

Imagine if we spoke like this of those who are Wife-Beating Attracted.

Sure, it’s a sin to beat your wife. We know. But this group doesn’t actually beat their wives. They just want to. And they think about it sometimes. And they host conferences celebrating the Wife-Beating-Attracted “treasure” they will bring into the New Jerusalem. We shouldn’t speak negatively of the “Wife-Beating-Attracted Community.” After all, they are a **COMMUNITY**.

We don’t treat any other sin with the kid gloves with which we treat homosexuality.

Why? Homosexuality not a borderline case. Scripture consistently names homosexuality as one of the most abhorrent acts and desires and a sign that a person’s entire heart has been turned to darkness.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).

In 2019 America, the majority of society, of government, of state schools and colleges, and of the media work at full capacity to tell us that this wicked desire is good. No surprise here, especially, coming from those actually caught up in the wicked desire. But then we have the same message coming from a new place: the church. Now SSA is an “identity,” and gay-priests are the experts that “God is raising up to speak for and to his church.”

In a world where Christians are seen as homophobic bigots, we need to get behind the biblically faithful, same-sex-attracted Christians God has raised up to speak for and to his church. Rebecca McLaughlin at TGC, March 18th, 2019

Friends, this is heresy. We treat no other sin in this way.

No one claims their identity is “Kleptomaniac Christian.” No one claims to be part of the “Compulsive Liar Christian Community.” Even in cases for which we have words (gambling-addict or alcoholic) these terms carry a necessarily negative evaluation.

Do we really believe that homosexual activity is abhorrent to God and unnatural? Do we really believe that it is something God turns people over to when their rebellion against them is at its height (Romans 1:21–32)?

But some may ask:

How can a desire, which is an emotion over which we have no control, be sinful? Aren’t sins an act of the will? How can the initial desire itself be sinful?

You are missing a crucial distinction. Some desires are good, but misused. Other desires are inherently sinful.

There is such a thing as a good desire that has to be limited because the context is not appropriate. For instance: Jesus fasted in the desert and he was tempted to turn the rocks into bread. He desired bread. That is a good desire, but the context made it inappropriate to act on it (Matthew 4).

Contrast this good desire for bread with the desire to molest a child. Jesus was never tempted to molest a child. If your reading of Hebrews 4:15 (“in every respect has been tempted as we are”) makes Jesus out to be someone who experienced the temptation to molest children, then you might need to rethink things.

Some desires are inherently sinful. Some are not.

It is no sin to desire to eat when you are fasting. Jesus experienced the desire to eat — but not the desire to bow down before Satan. Had Jesus experienced the desire to do something that was evil in its own right, such as the desire to bow to Satan, or the desire to have sex with a man, or the desire to molest a child, etc, that would have been a sinful desire.

This is simple stuff, folks. If you fail to comprehend it, I have to wonder whether your repeated failure is entirely innocent.

But someone may also ask:

“Isn’t it possible that God gives people sinful desires so that their struggle and victory against them will glorify Him?”

No. It’s not possible.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13).

This two-step game grows tiresome. Grow up.

It is shameful how little the typical Christian understands or discerns. It is a sign of disobedience and a disordered heart, like the kind of heartthat would say, “Don’t go to a gay wedding on biblical principle; but do go to the reception.”

That is unacceptable.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).

“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Matthew 17:17)

“How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).

The failure to call homosexual desire sinful is the failure to agree with God. Some passions are dishonorable and unnatural.

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature” (Romans 1:26).

“Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7).

To Disambiguate:

  • It is always evil for a man to desire sex with a man.
  • It is good for a man to desire sex with a woman.
  • It is inappropriate for a man to have sex with a woman who is not his wife — or to entertain thoughts of it.
  • But it is not necessarily a sin for a man to find a woman who is not his wife to be sexually attractive.
  • It is wicked for a man to find men sexually attractive — just as it is wicked to find children sexually attractive. There is such thing as a desire that is sinful by its very nature.

A Word About Wolves

People who twist Scripture and cause division by attacking right doctrine are presumed by Paul and the Apostles to have bad motives (intentional, deceptive, and malicious).

Not that the motives are the issue of top concern for us. That is God’s area of expertise.

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

As Christians, we should be concerned more about what people are saying and doing. These things we can, in fact, judge.

“The spiritual person judges all things” (1 Corinthians 2:15).

“You will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16a)

God is the judge of the whole earth and of men’s hearts.

“Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

From the beginning, God has made his judgment on homosexuality known in the clearest of terms.

“Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities — and also the vegetation in the land” (Genesis 19:24–25).

“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22).

Final Thoughts

There is no innocent way to be a false teacher. People who twist Scripture are wolves. There is no reason to presume them innocent, good-natured, or well-meaning. There is no reason to consider them brothers.

[Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission]

via Where Does Ligon Duncan Stand on Sam Allberry’s “Same Sex Attraction?” — Pulpit & Pen

Ligon Duncan’s Ecumenical Push for Unity — Pulpit & Pen

On April 01, 2019, Ligon Duncan will be teaming up with homosexual pastor,Sam Allberry for a mini-conference co-sponsored by Mark Dever’s 9Marks at TGC19 (The Gospel Coalition 2019 National Conference). They aim to “rethink”denominations, as they ask: “Do they help or harm the unity of the Church?”

https://www.mbts.edu/event/ftc-tgc19/

In addition, Duncan is promoting a book on church unity from his personal webpage by a progressive, social activist and former president of RTS, Dr. Luder G. Whitlock.

Duncan wrote the foreward to the book, with written endorsements from Tim Keller, Russell Moore, Richard Mouwand Ethics and Public Policy Center president, Michael Cromartie. If these endorsements don’t tell you all you need to know about this book, the below quote from the back cover should:

“It’s time for Christians to listen, reach out and work together for the common good.”

The author is clear; this “unity” will not be shaped around doctrine, but the common good. This one statement is a complete departure from the work Christ commissioned his church to do, which is to “preach the gospel to every creature.” It is also a direct refutation of the command of Christ and his apostles to rebuke and separate from anyone teaching contrary to scripture. There is absolutely nothing in the whole of scripture of the Lord’s church “serving” the God-hating, pagan world or partnering with those who profess Christ but esteem the world. We are to proclaim the gospel, not renew the culture- our message is spiritual, not social. And please note the author’s directive to the church that it’s “time for Christians to listen”…enough proclaiming (Mark 16:15), apparently we just need to listen for a change! But to whom? Though the author claims his primary source to be scripture and church history, this veneer quickly disappears as Whitlock repeatedly appeals to sociological sources, secular literature, cultural needs and personal experience. Whitlock’s resume’ reveals much about the man and his lifelong mission:

Dr. Luder G. Whitlock, Jr – 2nd president of Reformed Theological Seminary (1978-2001)

Executive Director, CNL  https://www.cnl.com/about-us/charitable-foundation.stml  Social activism network “committed to developing a better and more flourishing community.”

Executive Director, JMS  http://jmsfoundation.org/project.html International social activism network started in 2012 to fulfill the dream of Indian politician Sardar Jagmohan Singh by his son Manu Jagmohan Singh, Secretary General of NRI Institute (http://nriinstitute.in/secretary-general.php). JMS and NRI aim to “create a better world for the underprivileged girl child.” A chief financier of this partnership is Indian-born, British-based business magnate and philanthropist Lord Swraj Paul (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swraj_Paul,_Baron_Paul), #38 on Britain’s Sunday Times Rich List.

President, Excelsis Inc. Orlando https://greatnonprofits.org/org/excelsis-center-inc   Organized to cultivate networks of leaders whose integrity and vision will “renew culture and promote human freedom and flourishing.They boast of a “broad” body of classic and thoughtful “writings” designed to “facilitate conversation and reflection around some of society’s most intriguing questions and themes.”

Minister at Large, First Presbyterian Church, Orlando https://fpco.org/about committed to “serving the city.” FPCOrlando currently has 18 session members serving through 2020, of which 4 are female elders. The rising session of 2021 is made up of 7 elders (4 are women) and 14 deacons (9 are women).

Senior Fellow, The Trinity Forum (alongside Karen Swallow Prior) https://www.ttf.org/about-us/senior-fellows/  bio-page: “His years of ministry have been marked by an effort to bring mutual understanding and cooperation within the worldwide evangelical community, leading him to serve on the board of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. He has also participated in several interfaith discussions seeking mutual understanding. He was a leader in establishing the Church Planting Center, which now serves several denominations.”

*For the record- “mutual understanding and cooperation” means unity centered around the “common good” or social justice. No gospel here.

Ligon Duncan continues to promote the ecumenical unity that is essential to the spread of the social gospel – as a board member at The Gospel Coalition, through his influential position at RTS and through associations, conferences and books written by social activists working tirelessly to advance unbiblical unity within the visible church.

Be warned and warn others.

Book details P&R Publishing   https://www.prpbooks.com/book/divided-we-fall

“Unity is a mighty blessing; but it is worthless if it is purchased at the cost of truth. Once more I say, Open your eyes and be on your guard.”   J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

via Ligon Duncan’s Ecumenical Push for Unity — Pulpit & Pen

Godlessness is reaching epidemic proportions | Christian Post

Photo: Unsplash/Luca Bravo

Imagine the world with no rules, accountability, or consequences for evil actions. This image is one where people take a life with no remorse. It is a place where life savings are greedily stolen, women and children are abandoned, and even basic respect that was afforded to a mother and father is absent. This place of our worst imaginings is one fraught with lawless, heartless, and treacherous people who are concerned with no one but themselves. That would be a world where the concept of love is foreign, while brutality, slander, and darkness become the norm. This is not a description of total societal, economic, or geopolitical breakdown sometime in the distant future. It is an accurate analysis of the condition of our world at this very moment. This is how the majority of people are living in life. These are the direct results of one fact: Godlessness is reaching epidemic proportions in our day. 2 Timothy 3:1

I want to break down a few of these godless conditions and shed light on the cause. These are times of great difficulty because people will become lovers of self and lovers of money. We live in a world where everyone wants the latest gadgets and toys, but there are people all around us who are in desperate spiritual and physical need. It’s a sad day when having the latest electronic or entertainment at all costs consumes our attention, while people suffer from exposure, sickness, and hunger. God help us make helping the ‘least of these’ a priority.

Babies are aborted, children are discarded, and women are abused. Marriages are crumbling in record numbers and families are disintegrating because of sin and selfishness. All of these conditions have skyrocketed in just one generation. People are all about being free, self-made, and autonomous. This is indicative of our generation of godlessness.

The Bible also describes the last days as a period when people will be proud, arrogant, disobedient to parents, and slanderous. We have all seen this ugliness of heart play out on every stage in life, work, home, and even church. Unfortunately, our day is full of this evil and nowhere is it on display more than the internet.

The internet and social media have done much to unearth some of the most wretched corners of the human heart. Can you imagine a time when you could walk up to a complete stranger on the street and call him or her every vile name in the book? Can you imagine gossiping, spreading lies, and slandering someone’s good name right in front of them? Of course not, but that is exactly what millions of people are doing to one another on the most visible of all places, their computer!

This is so sad because now we have family members slandering one another, Children showing blatant disregard for parents, and strangers talking to others with the vilest speech imaginable. Even with all of our technology, we cannot mask the level of depravity the human heart is capable of. These are hearts swollen with conceit and a total lack of self-control. The Bible gives insight regarding our tongue and the heart behind it: James 3:5

Self-absorption and narcissism is the rule, not the exception today. This world, it’s system, and people are looking out for number one. This self-focus is the epitome of idolatry. People are lovers of pleasure and God doesn’t even factor into their existence. If he does, it’s simply to keep up an appearance of godliness.

People don’t just kill for cars, now they kill for parking spaces. People will walk up to complete strangers and knock them out for the “fun of it.” Law enforcement officers pull over to help a stranded motorist change a tire or repair only to be gunned down by yet another depraved evil person. People hate and even kill others because of an insatiable appetite for violence.

There are many signs pointing to the close proximity of the last days and this rapid spike in godlessness that Paul described so vividly is one of the clearest signs. Any person who reads the Bible and has a realistic view of how quickly the world is descending into rampant godlessness can see these days mirror exactly the conditions of the world Paul was describing. That is why dominion theology and wearing rose-colored glasses to view what lies ahead is troubling to me. If we think this world is just fine, we won’t be concerned about matters of eternity, heaven, hell, and lost souls. Matthew 24:12

Here’s the bottom line:

We have an opportunity to shine like a bright light for the Lord in a world that’s completely mired in evil. When the majority of the people in society trade punches on social media, be salt and light by taking the high road and writing something kind or resist the urge to fire back at gossip or slander. Instead of counting the days until the launch of the newest phone or gadget that will probably be antiquated in a few months, we should get excited about any opportunity that exists to spread the gospel and show compassion to those who desperately need it. This is the time to let our light shine before other people so that God will receive the glory.

Noah was a standout in his generation, Job was a standout in his day, Daniel was also, so were the early church believers, and now it’s our turn to stand for the Lord as strangers and aliens in our world. Some will revile our God and our faith, many will not care and ignore us, but some people will be watching carefully. Let’s live to hear, “Well done” from Jesus to the glory of the Father even as godlessness is reaching epidemic proportions in our day.

Howard Green leads Concerning The Times, a Bible teaching and evangelistic ministry whose primary focus is proclaiming the gospel to the lost and exhorting believers through End Time Bible prophecy.

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