Daily Archives: April 1, 2019

April 1 The Supreme Moment in History

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:11–15

Key Verses: Colossians 2:12–13

… buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

In our lives, there are defining moments determining what path we will take. There are events that forever change us. The moment we see the truth brought to light, we run for it, realizing that all we have ever known pales in comparison.

For the world, that moment was when Jesus died on the cross. His death at Calvary closed the chapter on mankind’s separation from God, making a way for all to know Him—and know Him intimately. As the perfect sacrifice for the entire world, Jesus served as the atoning death necessary for us to come into relationship with our heavenly Father.

Jesus’ death on the cross changed the way we live and interact with Him today. God judged sin. With the world’s sin on Jesus’ shoulders, God showed us how much He abhors sin, letting His Son die. God defeated Satan. Our heavenly Father triumphed over the enemy, stripped him of his powers, and exposed him as a liar and a destroyer.

Paul wrote that God made us alive, forgiving us, and paying the price for our sin (Colossians 2:13–14). Through Christ’s death, the barrier between God and us has been removed.

Lord, there is no place for me to take my burden, other than the cross. Thank You for triumphing over sin and setting me free.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 96). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

A Daily Gospel Preached without Words — Gentle Reformation

Unspoken, silent, like the language of the stars, it is there. Unknowingly acted out, a message unheard. Its natural rhythm a silent echo, a sermon without words.

Evening’s shadow never fails to come, casting all into its eventual darkness. Weariness overtakes as eyelids grow heavy, minds blur, bodies tire. The unrelenting night has its way. All lie down, finally succumbing to the blackness.

In the cocoon of sleep, the dark veil closes in further and enmeshes in its grasp. Nightmares torment and dreams escape, while nothing is done by those in midnight’s grip. Time stands still and yet races on all at once, the moon a quiet, solitary witness to what will come.

For suddenly, dawn’s morning rays penetrate, conquering the darkness. Growing in strength, they stir, warm, beckon back to life. Eventually, sun’s soundless call prevails, as night is shaken off, bodies rise up, and the promise of another day is entered.

The sun and earth reverberate with the message, a daily gospel preached without words.

via A Daily Gospel Preached without Words — Gentle Reformation

April 1 The Wonder of the Cross

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:6–15

Key Verse: Acts 26:18

To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.

The wonder of the Cross is that it displayed both the love and the holiness of God. In one moment in time, God’s hatred of sin and His unfailing compassion for sinners blended together in the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

The Cross was necessary because man could not save himself from sin, and holy God could not condone sin. God’s holiness, however, was matched by His love, which sent Christ to die in our stead, bearing our guilt, dying our death.

In his book The Cross of Christ, John R. W. Stott discussed the significance of sin’s gravity and God’s amazing love:

All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to the inadequate doctrines of God and man. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to His, then, of course, we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it.

When on the one hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely “hell-deserving sinners,” then—and only then—does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious.

Dear heavenly Father, as I journey to the cross during this coming month, reveal its true meaning. Help me understand its wonder. Make it real to me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 96). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 1 Discovering Your True Identity

Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:8–10

Key verse: Psalm 139:14

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

The alarm clock rings. Another day awaits. The early morning news brings word of the newest economic summit, the nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and a report on the national gathering of governors.

Meanwhile, the only financial summit you have is a monthly talk with your spouse to reconcile the checkbook. The only peace you are interested in is stopping the constant bickering between your teenagers. And the only gathering of important people you attended was the recent family reunion.

You can feel small and insignificant in a world of six billion people, millions of worthwhile developments, and thousands of news clips of notable happenings that make your contribution seem almost meaningless.

Although God cares about financial stability, world peace, and social justice, He has one great thing on His mind today—you. You are His workmanship, His masterpiece. There is no one else like you, and God cares for you with infinite watchfulness. He knows exactly how many hairs came out in your brush this morning. Your checkbook matters as much as the federal budget, harmony in your home as much as harmony among nations.

I am Your workmanship! I am Your masterpiece. There is no one else like me, Lord, and You care for me with infinite watchfulness.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 96). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Anti-Abortion Film ‘Unplanned’ Opens Big at Box Office, Tops ‘Captain Marvel’ in Per-Screen Average — The Gateway Pundit

Despite huge forces aligned against it, the anti-abortion movie “Unplanned” pulled in big money in its opening weekend.

The picture hauled in $6.1 million from 1,059 theaters in its first weekend, the Hollywood Reporter wrote on Sunday. That’s a bit more than the movie cost to make — just $6 million.

And “Unplanned” pulled in an average of $5,770 per theater, topping “Captain Marvel” by about $650 per screen, Box Office Mojo reported. For the record, the latest super-hero movie cost nearly $150 million to make.

Said the Reporter:

The R-rated film — landing in fifth place — scored the second-biggest start ever for faith-based distributor Pure Flix behind God’s Not Dead 2 ($7.6 million). The Christian pic did its biggest business in the Midwest and South.

Generally, theaters in New York City and Los Angeles populate the list of a film’s top 20 grossing theaters. In this case, there were none. Instead, the top theater was the AMC Northpark 15 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, followed by cinemas in St. Louis; Detroit; Wichita, Kansas; Temecula in Southern California’s Riverside County; Salt Lake City; Orange County, California; Kansas City; Odessa, Texas; and Nashville.

The film takes a critical look at Planned Parenthood. “As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, Abby Johnson was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women on their reproductive choices,” movie review site Rotten Tomatoes says in a brief description of the film. “Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in. Until the day she saw something that changed everything.”

The movie was hit with an R rating,  which generally reduces viewership, especially for a movie about abortion. Some networks have used that rating as a excuse not to run ads. “Up TV cited the R rating when it also rejected the commercial, as did several Christian radio channels that also refused to air ads for Unplanned,” the Reporter said, noting that Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, HGTV and “several other cable networks” also refused to run ads for the movie.

In addition, the film’s Twitter page was briefly suspended.

“According to Twitter, Unplanned was not suspended on purpose, but rather was linked to another account that had violated Twitter’s rules,” the Reporter wrote on Saturday. Boy, Twitter sure does make a lot of errors like that where they “accidentally” shut down a conservative.

But the movie pushed through all of that. “We are thrilled, gratified and humbled,” co-directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman said Sunday in a statement, the Reporter said. “We are so pleased that the American people have responded with such an enormous outpouring of support at the box office. It humbles us and we look forward to seeing what happens in the weeks ahead.”

While Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie just a 53% rating (with all five “top critics” deeming it “rotten”), the audience review score soared to 94%. The film also earned an A+ rating from CinemaScore.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has been hammering the movie. “The claims in this film are simply false,” the abortion group said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood is proud to provide expert, high-quality health care to our patients, including safe and legal abortion, in a safe and compassionate environment. The movie promotes many falsehoods including most importantly, distortions and incorrect depictions about healthcare.”

via Anti-Abortion Film ‘Unplanned’ Opens Big at Box Office, Tops ‘Captain Marvel’ in Per-Screen Average — The Gateway Pundit

VIDEO: Jussie Smollett Supporters Chanting ‘Black Lives Matter’ Clash With Chicago Police Union Outside Kim Foxx’s Office — The Gateway Pundit

The Chicago Police union staged a protest outside Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s on Monday, demanding that she resign, and were met with Black Lives Matter protesters who were there to support hoaxer Jussie Smollett.

Members of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police had rallied outside the office over her decision to drop the charges against Smollett for staging a hate crime against himself.

According to a report from the Chicago Sun Times, protesters from the anti-Foxx side were chanting “Foxx must go!” while the Black Lives Matter demonstrators were chanting “Racists must go!”

“The conduct of her office from the very beginning of this cases was highly, highly suspicious,” Martin Preib, the FOP’s second vice president, told the Chicago Sun Times.

Meanwhile. the Black Lives Matter activists claimed that the calls for her resignation were over the color of her skin — not her seemingly corrupt actions.

“This is not just an attack on Kim Foxx. This is an attack on all black elected officials throughout the state,” community activist Ja’Mal Green said. “We know what this is really about, and we don’t stand for it.”

via VIDEO: Jussie Smollett Supporters Chanting ‘Black Lives Matter’ Clash With Chicago Police Union Outside Kim Foxx’s Office — The Gateway Pundit

BREAKING: DHS Secretary Orders “Emergency Surge” of Border Patrol Agents Amid Illegal Alien Invasion — The Gateway Pundit

On Monday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ordered an “emergency surge” of border patrol agents amid the illegal alien invasion.

In a statement, DHS Chief Nielson ordered CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to implement “emergency surge operations” to reallocate 750 officers to the border.

“The crisis at our border is worsening, and DHS will do everything in its power to end it,” Nielsen said in a written statement. “We will not stand idly by while Congress fails to act yet again, so all options are on the table. We will immediately redeploy hundreds of CBP personnel to the border to respond to this emergency. We will urgently pursue additional reinforcements from within DHS and the interagency. And we will require those seeking to enter the United States to wait in Mexico until an immigration court has reviewed their claims.”

The Hill reported:

Nielsen has also directed CBP to expand the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a DHS plan to return migrants to Mexico while they wait for their day in immigration court.

Under Nielsen’s directive, CBP will return hundreds more migrants per day to Mexico, including those caught at or between points of entry, according to DHS.

Nielsen further ordered the agency to plan to expand the MPP plan beyond California and Texas, the locations where it currently operates.

President Trump tweeted late Sunday night, “Homeland Security is being soooo very nice, but not for long!”

The US Border Patrol is being forced to restart “catch-and-release” at the border because there isn’t enough bed space to hold illegal aliens and under the law, they cannot be immediately sent back across the border.

A record surge at the US-Mexico border is forcing border patrol agents to directly release illegal aliens into communities for the first time since the Bush administration.

Over 100,000 illegal aliens will be detained at the US-Mexico border in March alone — this is an invasion.

President Trump recently declared a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall and both Democrats and Republicans are pushing back against the President.

Huge caravans of Central American migrants have marched up through Mexico to the US border which has overwhelmed the asylum system — and another caravan is on the way.

The US is projected to add about 1.5 million illegal aliens (Democrat voters) to the American population by the end of 2019, should the current rates of border crossing and visa overstays continue, reported Breitbart.

The situation at the border is so dire that even Obama’s DHS Chief Jeh Johnson acknowledged there “truly is a crisis” at the southern border.

via BREAKING: DHS Secretary Orders “Emergency Surge” of Border Patrol Agents Amid Illegal Alien Invasion — The Gateway Pundit

Cartoons and Memes · Apr. 1, 2019

Frizziest Man in the World

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The Real Witch Hunt

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Jussie Smollett

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Lawyering Up

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Michael Avenatti

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In Handcuffs

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Back Luck Avenatti

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs. Wells Fargo

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A Great Disturbance

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Source: https://patriotpost.us/humor/62102-frizziest-man-in-the-world

As ‘Uncle’ Joe Biden Prepares His 2020 Presidential Campaign, He Finds Himself Having To Defend A Lifetime Of Unwanted Touching And Kissing — Now The End Begins

An allegation that Joe Biden inappropriately touched a Nevada state lawmaker is renewing questions about his appeal to women if he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

The fact that Joe Biden gave a slow, deep  lingering and unwanted kiss to the back of the head of Nevada lawmaker Lucy Flores is not surprising to anyone familiar with the modus operandi of the former vice president. But what is surprising is that he did it to someone as old as she was. Usually, creepy ‘Uncle Joe’ mostly targets children. A quick search on YouTube will show you in no uncertain terms Biden’s preference to give children highly inappropriate touching and leering while using suggestive language. We have posted one of those videos at the end of our article here so you can see for yourself. It’s not good.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6 (KJV)

As a survivor of unwanted sexual touching at the hands of a pedophile in a position of authority and trust,  I feel obligated to speak out. Not so much for Lucy Flores, who it looks like can handle herself well, but for the children who have been groped, touched and kissed by Joe Biden. The most disgusting part is how Biden has always paraded his unnatural affection for helpless children openly.

But please, don’t take my word for it. Watch the videos of  how Joe Biden has molested children, hear for yourself the disgustingly suggestive words he has spoken to them, and then decide for yourself. The memories of what was done to me when I was 11 have remained with me to this day, and it’s something that only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can cover in terms of both healing and forgiveness.  But I knew exactly what I was watching the first time I watched one of those Biden videos.  I know a pedophile when I see one. I remember, Uncle Joe, how well I remember.

Joe Biden’s history of unwanted touching threatens to put off women voters

FROM THE VIRGINIAN PILOT: The former vice president’s decades of vacillation on abortion rights and his handling of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas at Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991 were already serious vulnerabilities.

If Biden launches his third campaign for president, as expected, he will be joining a crowded field of Democratic rivals that includes four women in the U.S. Senate — and at a time when women have been siding strongly with Democrats in national elections.

Beyond the primaries, the new accusation raises questions about whether Biden, in a general-election contest, would strike a weak contrast with President Donald Trump, who has faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct toward women.

The 2020 presidential race is the first to occur after the explosion of the #MeToo movement, which swept record numbers of women into public office last year. Over the last 18 months, numerous powerful men in media, politics and business have lost their jobs or careers after allegations of sexual harassment or assault became public.

“Running a campaign in the post-#MeToo, or in the middle of the #MeToo movement, with these kinds of things on your record is going to be very difficult,” said Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer. “The old ways on gender are just no longer tolerable.”

In a New York Magazine web post on Friday, former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores wrote that she felt demeaned and disrespected when Biden touched her offstage at a 2014 campaign rally. She said she felt Biden’s hands on her shoulders and froze.

“He leaned further in and inhaled my hair,” she wrote. “I was mortified.” Flores, then a 35-year-old candidate for lieutenant governor, wondered why the vice president was smelling her hair.

“He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head,” she said. “My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.”

Flores said he made her feel gross, and she “wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me.” Neither Biden, 76, nor his staff recall the incident that Flores described, spokesman Bill Russo said.

“But Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it is a change for better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so,” Russo said.

People who know Biden best, he added, “are speaking up to say that he has always been a champion for women in his office.”

Biden, who co-sponsored the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, has long had a reputation as an affable politician who is quick to smile and put his hands on people. One viral video from 2013 captured how Biden, then vice president, “works the room” while swearing in senators — wrapping their mothers in tight embraces, insisting that female family members stand next to him, even stroking the face of one.

The behavior fed into Biden’s folksy “Uncle Joe” image, epitomized in an Onion satire that envisioned a shirtless vice president fixing a vintage Trans Am on the White House grounds while making mild catcalls.

There Is A Huge Difference Between Being A “Hugger” And Being A Molester

But in another light, Biden’s behavior struck some as disturbing. At a Senate swearing-in ceremony in 2015, Biden whispered in the ear of a senator’s teenage daughter and kissed the side of her head, an interaction that a conservative writer described as a “lecherous elderly man creeping on underage girl” and said Biden would’ve caught more flak if he were a Republican.

“All of us who have been around Joe Biden — he hugs men, women and children,” said Dick Harpootlian, a South Carolina state senator and avid Biden supporter.

“He is a hugger. That’s just the generation he comes from, and that’s his personality. You shouldn’t read anything into it other than he was doing what he has done to me, to my daughter, to my wife, to Barack Obama.”

If Biden made Flores feel uncomfortable, he said, it was unintended.

Mindy Romero, a political sociologist at the University of Southern California, said the effect of Flores’ allegation will depend partly on whether Biden’s rivals — especially the women — try to use it against him.

“If they do, that will elevate it,” she said.

Two of the Democratic contenders campaigning in Iowa on Saturday, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, told reporters they believe Flores. “Joe Biden needs to give an answer,” Warren said.

A key Biden supporter said there was no panic among his top advisers, and the Flores allegation would likely not change his expected plan to join the presidential contest in April.

Another longtime Biden ally, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, said the Flores story was “obviously a hurdle” but would do no harm to his campaign, even in a general-election contest against Trump.

“Jack the Ripper wouldn’t have a problem with his sexual activity compared to President Trump,” Rendell said.

Ana Navarro-Cardenas, the Republican strategist and commentator, wrote on Twitter that Biden needs to stop the “touchy-feely” conduct that makes people uncomfortable. READ MORE

Watch As Creepy ‘Uncle’ Joe Biden Molests Children While Parents Watch

via As ‘Uncle’ Joe Biden Prepares His 2020 Presidential Campaign, He Finds Himself Having To Defend A Lifetime Of Unwanted Touching And Kissing — Now The End Begins

Unplanned Helps Pro-Lifers Tell the Truth about Abortion — National Review

Ashley Bratcher and Brooks Ryan in Unplanned (Pure Flix Entertainment)

Seeing the truth about abortion will change people’s minds on the procedure and society’s view of this heinous human-rights abuse.

Abortion may be one of the most hotly debated topics in America, but it’s a word that not many people can readily — and accurately — define. The abortion industry uses vague terms like “choice,” “autonomy,” “reproductive rights” or “reproductive health,” “essentially a miscarriage,” and “gently emptying the uterus” to cloud the conversation. In a discussion of abortion, we are told to consider only the mother and her choice. The other party is only a “product of conception” or an “undifferentiated mass of uterine matter.”

Equally vague is our language about the way abortions are performed, which we hardly ever hear described in medical terms. That is why the recently released film Unplanned is so important. Seeing the truth about abortion will change people’s minds on the procedure and society’s view of this heinous human-rights abuse. It did for us.

Unplanned tells the story of a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who comes face to face with the reality of abortion. That director was me. I worked for Planned Parenthood for eight years but mid-career, I began to have misgivings. I saw that Planned Parenthood was willing to fire employees if they did not meet their abortion quotas and that there are monetary bonuses for directors who did meet the quotas. I saw how that lent itself to the pressuring and manipulation of pregnant women in our clinics.

I reached the breaking point on September 26, 2009, when a doctor asked me to help with an ultrasound-guided abortion. I had never seen one performed. I watched in horror as a 13-week-old baby fought for its life . . . and lost. An abortion doctor connected one end of tubing to a suction machine and inserted the other end into the pregnant woman lying in front of us. “Beam me up, Scotty,” the abortionist said, and the machine turned on. I saw the tiny baby began to squirm.

I remember it so clearly. The suction machine used in an “Aspiration (D&C) abortion” has ten to 20 times the force of a household vacuum cleaner. For the briefest moment, the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the tubing before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone. And the uterus was empty. Totally empty. After that, the abortionist used a sharp metal device called a curette to remove the baby’s remains from the mother’s uterus and completed the abortion.

I knew then that I had to expose the truth about Planned Parenthood and the violent death from which the group profits. My life would never be the same. I left Planned Parenthood and soon after started a group called And Then There Were None to provide counseling and clear action steps for those seeking to leave the abortion industry. Now, I travel the country speaking the truth about Planned Parenthood and encouraging Americans to call for an end to government support of this unsavory organization, which has been implicated in potentially criminal behavior.

Abby is not the only woman whose life was changed by witnessing the harsh reality of abortion. As a young girl, I saw a photograph of an aborted baby, only ten weeks old, in a pro-life book tucked away on my family’s bookshelf. That image stuck with me. I saw the image of tiny arms and legs, torn apart by a powerful suction abortion, and I remember thinking, “Is this real?”

I soon found that it was indeed real, and worse, that the baby pictured there was one of the millions killed in similar ways. I knew I had to do something to make sure as many people as possible knew the truth about abortion.

But that turned out to be difficult. The abortion industry has a vested interest in keeping the gory details about abortion under wraps. In an effort to document what goes on behind Planned Parenthood’s doors, I began working as an undercover investigative journalist, bringing the grim reality of the abortion industry to light by recording conversations with clinic workers. I actually earned a reputation among Planned Parenthood staff; I learned later that while still working as a clinic director, Abby Johnson had a poster of me up in her clinic, warning front-office staff to be on the lookout for me. (An “unplanned” friendship formed when she left and now we work together to end abortion.)

I was able to expose Planned Parenthood staff engaging in illegal and dangerous activity, including aiding and abetting child sex traffickers, failing to report sexual abuse of underage girls, and lying to women about their preborn child’s development — all in order to perform abortions and procure the money that comes with them, at the expense of the women involved. My non-profit, Live Action, has exposed Planned Parenthood committing sex-selective abortions, accepting racially motivated donations that target black women and babies, and discussing how they’d leave babies born alive after abortions to die. I have seen inside these abortion facilities, and it changed my life to see how they treat women. That’s exactly what you’ll see in Unplanned — the stark reality of what happens behind closed doors. Even after all this, Planned Parenthood continues to receive our taxpayer dollars and claims to be a respectable organization.

Society’s best chance at ending the abuse of abortion and the abuse that surrounds abortion is to eradicate the idea that abortion is harmless. That takes education and a glimpse into how and where the abuse takes place. Live Action shared a medically accurate video detailing the most common abortion procedures and showed it to people in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. For many of the viewers who described themselves as “pro-choice,” the video was “eye-opening” and “distressing.” When people watch what happens as an abortionist tears a baby limb from limb during an abortion, what Abby Johnson and I saw at a younger age, viewers respond that abortion should not be legal, that these videos should be shown in educational settings, and that our country’s leaders should all be required to know the facts of abortion.

The truth is there, a preborn child is a human life, and abortion horrifically destroys that human life. Films like Unplanned, groups like And Then There Were None and Live Action, make that truth available to millions. That is an essential service to the global conversation about abortion. How can we adequately discuss a topic about which we know nothing? Every American has a responsibility to be informed about abortion as the discourse will surely continue. See the film. Watch the videos. And, knowing the truth, enter the conversation boldly.

Abby Johnson, is the founder and director of And Then There Were None and author of “Unplanned” and “The Walls are Talking.” You can follow her on Twitter at @abbyjohnson.

Lila Rose is the founder and president of Live Action. You can follow her on Twitter at @lilagracerose.

Read more: Unplanned Helps Pro-Lifers Tell the Truth about Abortion — National Review

Mark Zuckerberg’s Plan For The Internet Would Be A Disaster For Free Expression — The Federalist

Mark Zuckerberg claims that “we,” as society, now have a responsibility to help him keep people “safe” from hate speech. We have no such obligation.

In a recent op-ed, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg implored the state to get more involved in governing the internet. “Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyberattacks,” he began. “These are important for keeping our community safe. But if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t ask companies to make these judgments alone.”

Zuckerberg’s case for government-instituted speech codes, a cynical attempt to deflect criticism aimed at his company, is also propelled by two corrosive political myths.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg’s Plan For The Internet Would Be A Disaster For Free Expression — The Federalist

Twitter Blocking Users From Following Anti-Abortion Film In Second Recent ‘Glitch’ | ZeroHedge News

After temporarily suspending the Twitter account of a Christian-focused production company’s anti-abortion film with no explanation, some Twitter users are now reporting that they can’t follow the account for the movie Unplanned – as Twitter automatically “un-follows” them upon a refresh.

Unplanned is based on the 2009 memoir of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, who became a pro-life activist after witnessing an abortion at 13 weeks.

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell posted video evidence of the very liberal Twitter automatically un-following the account – asking Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Sunday “What is going on @jack? This is outrageous.”

Of note, the ‘un-following’ may be random, or only apply to accounts with a lot of followers, as some users with small Twitter followings have reported being able to successfully follow the account, @unplannedmovie.

Many conservative social media influencers have reported an inability to follow the film’s official account.

R rating, no ad space

The left’s suppression of Unplanned extends far beyond just Twitter. Not only did the movie earn an “R” rating that many say never should have been handed down, TV networks have reportedly refused to sell ad time for the film.

In short, an underage girl can get an abortion in many parts of the United States without her parents’ permission, yet can’t legally watch this movie about abortion without a parent. 

Source: Twitter Blocking Users From Following Anti-Abortion Film In Second Recent ‘Glitch’

A Message of Hope and Forgiveness: ‘Unplanned’ Movie Tells True Story of Former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director — CBN News feeds

The new movie “Unplanned” takes the audience inside the abortion industry with a real-life story of a former clinic director for Planned Parenthood.

In 2009, Abby Johnson walked away from the Texas clinic after watching an abortion via ultrasound.

Much of her personal life is played out on the big screen, including the time she herself had two abortions.

“It’s a very vulnerable place to sort of expose some of your greatest wounds and hurts to the public but in the end, this film’s really not about me,” she told CBN News. “I didn’t do this so Abby Johnson would be a household name. I did this so God’s redemption – that would be known in every household.”

Actress Ashley Bratcher delivers a powerful performance in her role as Johnson.

She credits divine help with the scene involving what Johnson experienced after taking an abortion pill to terminate her second pregnancy.

“That was nothing by the Holy Spirit,” she said. “I like to go into a room that I’m going to perform in, especially if it’s supposed to be my bedroom or bathroom before the scene starts so that I know where my stuff is because I would in real life.  And I remember walking into that room for the first time – just myself — no one else around and wanting to lay on the floor and cry because I could just feel the presence of God so strongly.”

“It was like our prayer team had just been walking that set,” Bratcher recalled. “They knew how critical this scene in particular was and they had been walking through it and praying all over it and I had done tons of research and I knew what the physical impediment was going to have to entail. So that when it got into the moment, I could really just try my hardest to emotionally think what she must have been thinking in feeling like she was going to die from that.”

That scene is one of two reasons the Motion Picture Association of America gave the film an “R” rating — calling it bloody and disturbing.

The film’s writers and directors, Cary Solomon, and Chuck Konzelman believe the “R” rating is biased and political.

“Hollywood is about politics. It’s not about making movies,” Solomon said. “It’s sad. It’s about propaganda with Hollywood. And we are pro-life guys in a pro-choice town.  And so, we are not liked, and our movie is not going to be liked. So, to expect that they would give us a fair rating, ok, not going to happen. And so, we kind of knew that. We wished for the best, understood that the worst could possibly happen. When we got the R, didn’t surprise us.”

“I live in a country where my daughter can go out at 13 she can get an abortion without parental consent, but she can’t go see this movie,” Konzelman added.

Johnson addressed those concerns in a letter to parents in a Facebook post.

“I’m a parent of a 12-year-old daughter who has seen the film and I was getting a lot of questions,” she wrote.  “I think that we have a responsibility to protect children but also to be very open with them about these sorts of issues. And I think especially with the R-rating there were a lot of people coming to me and saying, ‘Abby is this ok for my 14-year-old because people wanted to bring their children, but they needed some guidance.”

Given the recent radical abortion laws passed in New York and other states, Konzelman said the timing of their movie couldn’t be better.

“This is sort of our last wakeup call I think politically because these laws are being enacted now,” Konzelman said.  “We as Americans, as people of faith. One of two things is going to happen. We’re either going to rise up and say this is wrong or we’re going to become accustomed to it and it’s going to become the new norm.”

Actress Robia Scott, who’s also an ordained minister, plays the head of Texas’ Planned Parenthood. She says, in the end, the film’s message is one of hope and forgiveness.

“As a minister, I love that it’s not preachy. This is not sort of your typical Christianity, cheesy, preachy, let me throw a lot of scriptures at you sister, that’s not this film,” she noted.

“This is a quality story. It’s beautifully shot. It’s beautifully written. It’s beautifully acted, if I may say so myself, and it’s just compelling. It’s a compelling story that regardless of what side you’re on, pro-choice or pro-life, you cannot come out of the movie the same way you as you entered,” she explained. “It’s not condemning. There’s no shame, pointing fingers, really honestly, the essence of the film is hope. It’s restoration that regardless of what choices you’ve made, cause look we’ve all made choices, and there’s restoration that God forgives and that you can move forward in your life.”

The makers of Unplanned say their ultimate desire is that a movie would make a difference in saving the lives of countless unborn babies.

The movie is now showing in theaters around the country and more screens are expected to be added soon.

via A Message of Hope and Forgiveness: ‘Unplanned’ Movie Tells True Story of Former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director — CBN News feeds

‘Unplanned’ Twitter Account Slapped With Truthful Content Warning — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—Over the weekend, as pro-life film Unplanned enjoyed a strong debut at the box office, Twitter employees took action against the movie’s social media account for displaying “dangerous, potentially truth-telling content.”

The social media platform displayed a warning to anyone trying to view the movie’s Twitter account or read any of its tweets, cautioning users that the material was way outside the progressive worldview and simply told the truth about abortion and Planned Parenthood. Users then had to click a button and read a disclaimer that Twitter was not responsible for any truthful content encountered.

“This tweet may contain truthful material that goes against the progressive narrative,” the warning read. “Your settings are configured to warn you when content may shatter your echo chamber.”

When a user signs up for Twitter, his or her content settings are automatically configured not to display tweets from accounts that might tell the truth or shift one’s thinking away from the progressive narrative. Users can, of course, turn this setting off, but Twitter employees say they don’t recommend this kind of unsafe use of their platform.

“We want Twitter to be a safe place for people who don’t want their opinions changed about anything,” said a spokesperson. “That’s what interacting with other humans on social media is all about: having your opinions reinforced and blocking anyone who disagrees.”

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, an organization that actually kills babies every single day, still had an active Twitter account in good standing.

via ‘Unplanned’ Twitter Account Slapped With Truthful Content Warning — The Babylon Bee

April 1, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Deficiency of Philosophy

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (2:8a)

Paul is concerned that those who have been transferred from Satan’s domain to Christ’s kingdom not become enslaved again. He voiced a similar concern in Galatians 5:1: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” He calls the Colossians to constant watchfulness because danger is near, as the present tense imperative form of blepō (see to it) indicates. The church constantly faces the danger of false teachers. Jesus says in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” In Matthew 16:6 he warns, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

The apostles also warned the church against false teachers. Paul cautioned the Ephesian elders that “after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert” (Acts 20:29–31). To the Philippians he wrote, “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision” (Phil. 3:2). Peter also warns of the danger of false teachers. He writes in 2 Peter 3:17, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness.”

Paul specifically warns them to be careful that no one takes you captive. Takes you captive is from sulagōgeō, a rare word used only here in the New Testament and not at all found in extrabiblical Greek until long after Paul’s time. Sulagōgeō is a compound word, made up of sulē, “booty,” and agō, “to carry off.” It literally means “to kidnap,” or “to carry off as booty, or spoil of war.” The same concept is found in 2 Timothy 3:6, where Paul warns of “those who enter into house-holds and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses.” To Paul, it was unthinkable that those who had been ransomed and redeemed should be vulnerable by ignorance and thus in the spiritual war become prisoners of some spiritual predator with false doctrine.

Surely it grieves the heart of any pastor to learn of spiritual children who by immaturity are susceptible to the danger of false teaching and fall prey to a cult. Yet many have been duped into thinking they have found some truth, which in reality is a lie that has made them a captive to false teaching. One of the primary duties of church leaders is to guard the flock against wolves and perverse men (Acts 20:28–32) who assault flock members in an effort to kidnap them.

Paul describes the means the false teachers would use to kidnap the Colossians as philosophy and empty deception. Philosophia (philosophy) appears only here in the New Testament. As already noted, it means “to love wisdom.” It is used here in a much broader sense than the academic discipline, since “philosophy is not reducible to the Judeo-Gnostic speculations about which Paul warned the Colossian Christians” (Mark M. Hanna, Crucial Questions in Apologetics [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981], p. 11). Historian Adolf Schlatter noted that “everything that had to do with theories about God and the world and the meaning of human life was called ‘philosophy’ at that time, not only in pagan schools, but also in the Jewish schools of the Greek cities” (The Church in the New Testament Period [reprint, London: SPCK, 1955], pp. 150–54).

The first-century Jewish historian Josephus wrote, “There are three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers of the first of whom are the Pharisees, of the second the Sadducees, and the third sect who pretends to be a severer discipline are called Essenes” (Jewish Wars 2.8.2). Thus, the term philosophy was broad enough to encompass religious sects. The use of the definite article with philosophia shows that Paul was referring here to the specific beliefs of the Colossian errorists. Most likely they used it to refer to the transcendent, higher knowledge they supposedly had attained through mystical experience.

Paul goes on to describe this philosophy as empty deception. Lightfoot wrote, “The absence of both preposition and article in the second clause shows that kenēs apatēs [empty deception] describes and qualifies philosophia” (St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon [1879; reprint, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959], p. 178). He translated the phrase, “Through his philosophy which is an empty deceit” (p. 178). Although the false teachers at Colossae considered their view the epitome of wisdom, Paul dismisses it as empty deception.

Apatēs (deception) means “a deceit, fraud, or trick.” The philosophy of the Colossian false teachers was not what it appeared to be. It sounded good and seduced the minds of those deceived by it, but it was a vapid illusion. There is no value in such speculative human philosophy, no matter how deeply and profoundly religious it sounds.

Commentator Herbert Carson sounds an appropriate warning:

With Paul it would no doubt be true to say that philosophy, in the simple sense of a love of knowledge and a desire for the truth, would be quite compatible with his position. But to philosophy in the developed sense with its emphasis on the primacy of human reason he would obviously be utterly opposed.… Hence, while the Christian may see a certain negative value in speculative philosophy, he will constantly be on his guard lest he come to study revelation, not as a believer, but as a humanist. This does not mean that he should come with a blind unreasoning faith. But it does mean that, instead of bringing philosophical presuppositions which will colour his study of Scripture and so prejudice his interpretation, he comes as one conscious of the finiteness of his intellect, and aware that his mind also is affected by his sinful nature. Thus he is willing to be taught by the Holy Spirit, and acknowledges that it is the Word of God rather than his own reason which is the final arbiter of truth. (The Epistles of Paul to the Colossians and Philemon [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976], p. 62)

Paul then gives two sources for such vain speculation. The tradition of men is the first. Tradition is paradosis, that which is given from one to another. Just because people have believed something and handed it down through the years does not make it true. Tradition usually serves merely to perpetuate error.

A study of the history of philosophy serves to illustrate that point. Most philosophers have built on the work of previous philosophers, either to refine their system, or to refute it. Francis Schaeffer remarked, “One man would draw a circle and say, ‘You can live within this circle.’ The next man would cross it out and would draw a different circle. The next man would come along and, crossing out the previous circle, draw his own—ad infinitum” (The God Who Is There [Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity, 1973], p. 17).

First-century Judaism is another example of the effects of tradition. The Jewish leaders and teachers had encrusted the Word of God with so many customs, rituals, and teachings that they were no longer able to distinguish it from the traditions of men. Mark 7 records an exchange between the scribes and Pharisees and Jesus on this subject. In verse 5, they asked Jesus, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders?” Jesus replied in verses 8–9, “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.… You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”

The Gentiles also had traditions. Peter used the same Greek word in a different form when he wrote to Gentiles in 1 Peter 1:18: “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited [received by tradition] from your forefathers.” In our own day, a common argument for evolution is the false assertion that it is “what scientists have always believed.” In all the above examples, tradition was nothing more than ignorance and falsehood handed down from generation to generation. It was the tradition of men, not the tradition of God (2 Thess. 3:6), which is the only source of truth.

A second source for this false philosophy is the elementary principles of the world. It is difficult to reconstruct the exact meaning of that phrase. Stoicheia (elementary principles) refers primarily to the letters of the alphabet. It literally means “things in a row.” Hence, Paul might be describing the false belief system of the Colossian errorists as rudimentary, too simplistic for mature spiritual adults. To accept their teaching would be to descend, to regress from the mature teaching of Scripture to the infantile teachings of an immature religion, based not on advanced thinking and wisdom but on silly and childish thoughts. To abandon biblical truth for empty philosophy is like returning to kindergarten after earning a doctorate. Paul writes:

The word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Cor. 1:18–21)

This same phrase is also found in Galatians 4:3: “So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.” There again, the element of immaturity is evident. Whether first-century Judaism, as in Galatians, or the false teaching threatening the Colossians, human religion is not advanced, erudite, higher, transcendent and lofty in its profundity. Rather, it is banal, elemental, and rudimentary. It does not convey any new and profound truths. And, fatally, at its core is an effort to achieve salvation by works.

There is a second possible, though less likely, meaning for stoicheia. It could refer to elemental spirits—either supposed emanations from God, or the spirit beings that the people of the ancient world associated with the stars and planets. Astrology is not new. Many of the great men of the ancient world, such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, believed in it implicitly. People who believed in astrology were caught in the grip of a rigid determinism. The influence of the stars and planets controlled their destiny, unless they had the secret knowledge necessary to escape that control. It was precisely such knowledge that the false teachers may have claimed. Paul would then be warning the Colossians, some of whom had no doubt believed in astrology before their salvation, to avoid such false teaching. In either case, what these heretics offered was not an advance in spiritual knowledge, but a retreat to spiritual infancy and demonic doctrine (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1).[1]

8. Beware lest any one plunder you. He again instructs them as to the poison, which the antidote presented by him should be made use of to counteract. For although this, as we have stated, is a common remedy against all the impostures of the devil, it had, nevertheless, at that time a peculiar advantage among the Colossians, to which it required to be applied. Beware, says he, lest any one plunder you. He makes use of a very appropriate term, for he alludes to plunderers, who, when they cannot carry off the flock by violence, drive away some of the cattle fraudulently. Thus he makes Christ’s Church a sheep-fold, and the pure doctrine of the gospel the enclosures of the fold. He intimates, accordingly, that we who are the sheep of Christ repose in safety when we hold the unity of the faith, while, on the other hand, he likens the false apostles to plunderers that carry us away from the folds. Would you then be reckoned as belonging to Christ’s flock? Would you remain in his folds? Do not deviate a nail’s-breadth from purity of doctrine. For unquestionably Christ will act the part of the good Shepherd by protecting us if we but hear his voice, and reject those of strangers. In short, the tenth chapter of John is the exposition of the passage before us.

Through philosophy. As many have mistakingly imagined that philosophy is here condemned by Paul, we must point out what he means by this term. Now, in my opinion, he means everything that men contrive of themselves when wishing to be wise through means of their own understanding, and that not without a specious pretext of reason, so as to have a plausible appearance. For there is no difficulty in rejecting those contrivances of men which have nothing to set them off, but in rejecting those that captivate men’s minds by a false conceit of wisdom. Or should any one prefer to have it expressed in one word, philosophy is nothing else than a persuasive speech, which insinuates itself into the minds of men by elegant and plausible arguments. Of such a nature, I acknowledge, will all the subtleties of philosophers be, if they are inclined to add anything of their own to the pure word of God. Hence philosophy will be nothing else than a corruption of spiritual doctrine, if it is mixed up with Christ. Let us, however, bear in mind, that under the term philosophy Paul has merely condemned all spurious doctrines which come forth from man’s head, whatever appearance of reason they may have. What immediately follows, as to vain deceit, I explain thus, “Beware of philosophy, which is nothing else than vain deceit,” so that this is added by way of apposition.

According to the tradition of men. He points out more precisely what kind of philosophy he reproves, and at the same time convicts it of vanity on a twofold account—because it is not according to Christ, but according to the inclinations of men; and because it consists in the elements of the world. Observe, however, that he places Christ in opposition to the elements of the world, equally as to the tradition of men, by which he intimates, that whatever is hatched in man’s brain is not in accordance with Christ, who has been appointed us by the Father as our sole Teacher, that he might retain us in the simplicity of his gospel. Now, that is corrupted by even a small portion of the leaven of human traditions. He intimates also, that all doctrines are foreign to Christ that make the worship of God, which we know to be spiritual, according to Christ’s rule, to consist in the elements of the world, and also such as fetter the minds of men by such trifles and frivolities, while Christ calls us directly to himself.

But what is meant by the phrase—elements of the world? There can be no doubt that it means ceremonies. For he immediately afterwards adduces one instance by way of example—circumcision. The reason why he calls them by such a name is usually explained in two ways. Some think that it is a metaphor, so that the elements are the rudiments of children, which do not lead forward to mature doctrine. Others take it in its proper signification, as denoting things that are outward and are liable to corruption, which avail nothing for the kingdom of God. The former exposition I rather approve of, as also in Gal. 4:3.[2]

8 At the outset, Paul commands the congregation to be watchful. The apostle employs the imperatival form of blepō (lit., “to see”; GK 1063) here (and elsewhere) to warn his audience to be alert and on the lookout for people who and precepts which are to be avoided (cf. Ro 16:17; Php 3:2). In this verse Paul is keen to caution the Colossians against anyone who would seek to “take [them] captive.” (“No one” translates the indefinite pronoun tis; contra Harris, 92, it is unlikely that Paul has “the foremost advocate or a vocal proponent of the erroneous philosophy” in view here [cf. Bruce, 97; Dunn, 146; Garland, 141 n. 9].) The present participle sylagōgōn is built on the verb sylagōgeō (GK 5194). This rare word, which occurs only here in the NT, likely means “to carry off as booty or plunder” (NIV, “take captive”). Wright, 100, suggests that sylagōgeō is a contemptuous wordplay on synagogue. While a clever idea, this interpretation strikes me as overly subtle and as being dependent on Wright’s conception of the “philosophy” as Judaism. At the time when Paul was writing, the Colossians had not (yet) been pillaged and carried off into spiritual captivity; however, the apostle is concerned that this could happen. The space he devotes to this issue (i.e., 2:8–23) signals the depth of his concern.

Paul is fearful that the Colossians might be taken captive by what he calls “the philosophy.” In Paul’s day, the word philosophia (GK 5814), which appears only here in the NT, was used broadly to depict all sorts of speculations, inclinations, and movements (see Lohse, 94–95, for details). To be sure, Paul is not denouncing philosophy in general; he is condemning a particular “philosophy” (note the presence of the definite article) that he regards as “hollow and deceptive.” (Interestingly, Paul describes the activity of the lawless one as “every sort of evil that deceives” [2 Th 2:10].)

The apostle then offers two reasons why he regards this “philosophy” as “hollow and deceptive.” First of all, Paul propounds, it is predicated on “human tradition.” In Paul’s perception, the “philosophy” was manufactured by humans, not given by God (cf. 2:6). Moreover, Paul maintains that the error the Colossians are to avoid is “according to the stoicheia of the world.” The term stoicheia (GK 5122), which appears only seven times in the NT (here and in 2:20; also Gal 4:3, 9; Heb 5:12; 2 Pe 3:10, 12), means, literally, “elements.” The precise relation between these elements and the world is a controverted (and complex) issue. Are we to construe these rudiments as “elementary” (NASB) or “basic” (NIV) principles of the world? If so, the operative idea would be that the “philosophy” was based on religious requirements and regulations such as those referred to in 2:16 (cf. 2:20–22; Heb 5:12). Or, do these stoicheia refer to “elemental spirits of the universe” (NRSV)? If so, the “philosophy” would be in concert with celestial powers, arguably malevolent in nature (cf. 1:13, 16; 2:10, 18, 20). (The construal of stoicheia as “elemental substances of the universe” [i.e., earth, water, air, and fire] would not be wholly unrelated to the second interpretive option, for in Paul’s day these elements that were thought to comprise the cosmos could be personified and divinized [cf. 2 Pe 3:10, 12].)

Although these two lines of interpretation differ in particulars and are typically regarded by scholars as mutually exclusive, it is worth noting that Paul linked both Jewish and “pagan” religious practices to spiritual slavery (see Gal 4:1–11, esp. vv. 3, 9; cf. 4:21–31). Moreover, Paul would have viewed religious rituals that were out of synch with Christ and out of step with the Spirit as worldly, fleshly, and earthly (see 2:11, 20, 23; 3:5; cf. Gal 5:16–25). Additionally, Paul considered people who were separated from God in Christ to be, irrespective of religion and its accoutrements, under the thralldom of a kingdom (1:13; cf. Eph 6:12) ruled by the god of this world and his minions (2 Co 4:4; cf. Ro 8:38; 16:20; Gal 1:4). Therefore, whether ta stoicheia tou kosmou is taken as “the elementary principles of the world” or as “the elemental spirits of the universe” (the view toward which I am inclined), the interpretive implications are similar. Paul considered the “philosophy” to be grounded in principles that were in concert with powers diametrically opposed to the Colossians’ new life in Christ. Were the Colossians to adopt the “philosophy’s” precepts and practices, they would return to the sphere of captivity where sinister powers and principalities hold sway. To embrace the “philosophy,” then, would not signal spiritual maturity and progress; rather, it would mark spiritual immaturity and regress (cf. Bruce, 100). In short, Paul contended that “the philosophy,” whatever its precise nature, was not “according to Christ” (NASB). Given that the Colossians had received Christ Jesus as Lord and were called to live in him, this short yet significant statement alone (i.e., “not according to Christ,” ou kata Christon) should have dissuaded them, or at least cautioned them, from a hasty and wholehearted adoption of the “philosophy.”[3]

2:8 / Earlier, the readers were cautioned about some of the methods employed by the false teachers (2:4). Now, in a stern warning (see to it), he exposes this heresy even further. First, its effect is to enslave its victims. The word sylagōgeō describes the action of one kidnapping or plundering and then making off with the catch as a prize. It is an appropriate way of portraying the malicious and seductive nature of the heresy.

Second, it is hollow and deceptive philosophy (rsv: “philosophy and empty deceit”; gnb: “worthless deceit of human wisdom”). This is the only time that the word philosophia occurs in the nt, so it must have been a special feature of this heresy. Paul is not objecting to the study of philosophy (lit., “one who loves wisdom”), because in the Hellenistic world religious communities offered their teaching as philosophy. His concern is with those who have turned the pursuit of wisdom into a “philosophistry” characterized by empty and deceitful practices. This teaching is hollow because it does not contain the truth; it is deceptive because it captivates people and prevents them from seeing the truth.

Third, these teachings are human and not divine in origin. The teaching according to Christ is Paul’s reference to the word of truth, the gospel, which came to the Colossians directly through Epaphras (1:5–7) and indirectly through Paul as God’s appointed servant (1:23, 25). The false teachers cannot make such a claim, because their doctrines come from human sources and from the basic principles of this world (stoicheia tou kosmou, lit., “elements of the universe”). Most English translations add the word “spirits” or principles to the phrase and come out with “elemental spirits of the universe” (rsv), “elementary principles of the world” (nasb), or “ruling spirits of the universe” (gnb). In Heb. 5:12, the neb translates the phrase as “the ABC of God’s oracles.”

As the additional notes will show, there is a wide variety of scholarly opinion as to the meaning of these concepts in the nt (Col. 2:8, 20; Gal. 4:3). The term stoicheion indicates something basic or rudimentary, such as the fundamental principles of learning (the ABCs), or the elements from which the world was created (earth, air, fire, and water). These principles may have been elevated to the level of spirits or angels in the Hellenistic world.

Stoicheion also designates the heavenly bodies that in some cases were personified and worshiped. The control that these elemental spirits had over human beings (fate) could only be broken by correct knowledge (gnōsis) and/or ritual, usually in the form of magic or ascetic practices (cf. 2:20–23). But these stoicheia could also be the source of wisdom or knowledge and in this way provided the substance of the false message that Paul deals with in the subsequent verses (2:16–19) and exposes as being contrary to the gospel of Christ.[4]

2:8. Believers face the very real threat of being captivated by false teaching and lured away from an unswerving devotion to the absolute supremacy of Christ. Paul’s warning now becomes direct: See to it that no one takes you captive. Captive means “to carry away” or “kidnap.” Here it refers to someone being carried away from the truth into the slavery of error.

Philosophy threatened to carry the Colossians away from the truth. This is not a blanket indictment against all philosophy. The reference here is to the particular philosophy, as seen in Paul’s description that follows, being promoted by the false teachers. This philosophy is hollow and deceptive, literally, an empty deception which stands in stark contrast to the fullness in Christ (1:19; 2:9). The hollow and deceptive philosophy of the false teachers promises much but delivers nothing.

Paul provided the Colossians with the two origins of this philosophy, neither of which is Christ. First, Paul says this empty deception is based on human tradition. William Barclay says, “It was a product of the human mind; and not a message of the Word of God” (Barclay, 164).

The second source of this empty deception was the basic principles of this world. The Greek phrase (stoicheia tou kosmou) means “component parts of a series.” It sometimes refers to elementary teaching like the ABCs. Sometimes, and most likely here, it refers to elemental powers or cosmic spirits. Paul mentioned spirit beings previously (1:16), telling us that Christ created the spirits which the false teachers venerated. Paul will mention them again (2:10, 15), telling us that Christ defeated the spirit beings. Paul’s warning is clear. Don’t allow yourselves to be kidnapped by an empty deception based on human ideas and defeated spirit beings. Referring to the false teachers and their philosophy, Eugene Peterson translates this phrase, “They spread their lies through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings” (Peterson, 501).[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 98–102). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (pp. 180–182). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 311–312). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 51–52). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, pp. 304–305). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

CNN Publishes Real News Story For April Fools’ Day — The Babylon Bee

ATLANTA, GA—Fooling thousands of readers in a prank that the cable news organization said was “just for fun,” CNN published a real news story for April Fools’ Day this year.

The story simply contained a list of facts, with no embellishment, editorializing, or invented details. The story also didn’t cite shaky “anonymous sources” and only quoted firsthand witnesses to the event. It was completely factual without any errors whatsoever.

Baffled CNN fans immediately knew something was up.

“I was reading this story, and I was like, ‘Wait, what is this?'” said one man in New York who relies on CNN for his fake news every morning. “They really got me good. Then I looked up at the calendar and I realized I’d been duped. A classic gag!”

“Those little rascals!” he added, shaking his head and laughing goodnaturedly. “As long as they return to their regularly scheduled fake news tomorrow, we’re good. We’re good.”

via CNN Publishes Real News Story For April Fools’ Day — The Babylon Bee

The Heart of True Repentance — Reformation Charlotte

Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer…But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.

Exodus 9:27-2834-35

Repentance is the ultimate evidence of salvation. It is the purest fruit of the believer’s heart. Without it, there is no true indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Salvation belongs to the repentant alone. Jesus said it very clearly in Luke 13:3,5

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

What does it mean to repent?

Read more: The Heart of True Repentance — Reformation Charlotte

Informed Churches — Repenting More Today than Yesterday — Unfathomable Grace

Church repentance, leading to revitalization, is to be the perpetual posture and practice of Christ’s church. Therefore, as wise and humble churches mature in their understanding of God’s good Law, their not-so-good performance, and Christ’s uber-good Gospel, they will find themsleves engaged in joyful repentance more today than ever before.

Consider what we learn from biblical history:

When Pastor Adam and his “First Lady” doubted, rebelled, sinned, feared, hid, and engaged in their fig-covering ritual, God pursued them to restore them. They repented, and revitalization began.

Following Israel’s sinful worship of the golden calf, Moses called his foolish congregation to repent and recommit themselves to God-honoring worship. Repentance came first, and revitalization followed.

Upon entering the Promised Land, prophets, and judges called God’s people to see their sin, return to God, and renew their spiritual vows. One such example of good repentance is located in the sixth chapter of Judges:

The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel … and Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord. When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery … And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”  (Judges 6:1-10)

Israel’s reprobation led to some very hard consequences. However, God worked within Israel and led them to call out or repent, and the ultimate consequence of this was Spirit-led revitalization, enjoyment, and worship.

When one arrives in the New Testament, the messages put forth by John the Baptist and Jesus were identical. God’s covenant community was called to repent, rejoice, and bear forth the Gospel-fruit of Spirit-led repentance.

Consider the letters of Paul to the churches of Galatia and Corinth. Are not they a summons to understand the Law, understand the Gospel, and recommit themselves to Gospel thinking and Gospel living?

Then, in Christ’s Revelation to his seven Asian churches, he presents himself as one walking among his lamp-stands and holds his ministers in his hand. Christ is the Archbishop of his bishops, and as he stands at their ecclesiastical doors knocking, he calls them to “remember, repent, and recover.”*

Consider what we learn from ecclesiastical history:

How thankful we are for that which transpired in the period of church history called “The Reformation.” In this era, God worked tremendously as church after church focused on the Law, refocused on the Gospel, found themselves hungry to repent of their false doctrine and practice, and enjoyed ecclesiastical, regional, and national revival, renewal, revitalization, or reformation.


Let us remember God’s good Law.

His ways are holy and best, and he sets the standard. Within God’s Word, we can read his commands for his church. They are neither opinions or suggestions. They are laws, and for one to be a “good church,” one must keep every single one of them every single day. As churchmen, we are to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength. Externally, we are to be men of pristine reputation. Internally, we are to have pure character. Our minds are to be fully transformed by the Word of God, and we are to be humble after the model put forth by our Savior. We are to perpetually pray; we are to constantly keep step with the Spirit; the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are always to be evident. There are to be no exceptions in desire, thought, word, or deed. We are not to commit transgressions of commission or omission. This is the good expectation of Christ. This is the high standard put forth by God’s holy Law.

Let us realize our horrid report.

Where do we stand? We are all guilty! There is not a righteous church anywhere — no, not one. Regardless of our attempts at being creative or keeping the Regulative Principle, regardless of our being less or more formal, regardless of our being culturally loose or traditionally tight, regardless our numerical growth or decline, regardless of whether we meet once, twice, or three times on Sunday, all our churches fall short of the glory of God. In our worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and leadership development, we have not kept fully and acceptably his laws. There is no room for arrogance. There is no room for judging the toothpick in the eye of other churches. We all have telephone poles in our own eyes.

Let us realize our earned results.

As a church, all we deserve is to be snuffed out by the Divine Archbishop. By our less-than-perfect performance, in accordance with God’s Law, all we deserve is extinction.

Let us realize our gracious Archbishop.

Today … again … Christ is looking at us and in great love he is calling us to respond with Spirit-inspired repentance and revival.

Let us repent!

Leaders, let’s lead! We are our church’s spiritual fathers. As elders, we are the ones setting the pace and shepherding the flock of God. Surely, after just a moment of self-examination, we can all conclude:

  • We can construct and lead a worship service without actually worshiping.
  • We can counsel others to overcome sin while committing the same transgressions.
  • We can better maintain a holy reputation than holy character.
  • We can better shepherd someone else’s family than we can our own.
  • We can preach and call people to faith while being men of faithless anxiety.
  • We can consistently waffle back and forth between legalism and licentiousness.
  • We can talk about humble unity while arrogantly fighting for personal preference.
  • We can read and write on prayer much more than we engage in it.
  • We can teach on God’s sovereignty and whine when our perfect plans go awry.
  • We can give the Gospel to others and not apply God’s mercy and grace to ourselves.
  • We can worship the theology, the pulpit, and the church and not worship Christ.
  • And our list of sins could go on and on ….

Is there any wonder our congregation struggles to repent? Let’s do it personally, then let’s do it sessionally, then let’s do it publicly. Just as the airline attendant tells mothers to put the air-mask on themselves first before attending to their younger children, so ministers, elders, deacons, and church leaders must engage in Gospel repentance first.

Then, brothers and sisters in our congregations, will we follow suit? Christ is standing at our church doors, and he is knocking. He has given us his Law. He has given us his review. He has then given us his blameless merit and report card, and he is no longer angry at our performance. He has sanctified us, and we are the beautiful and pristine Bride of Christ. However, he still calls us to love his Law, see our sins, hate them with a godly passion, repent in prayer, and go forth engaged in sanctified worship. Therefore church family, it is our glorious privilege to engage … again … in “Semper Reformandi” which means “Always Reforming.” This has always been the posture and practice of informed, Gospel-addicted churches. Will this be the case with our church family today?




* This is phrases used by Dr. Harry Reeder for years in his book, From Embers to a Flame

via Informed Churches — Repenting More Today than Yesterday — Unfathomable Grace

Living Out – The Shift — Christian Research Network

In a series of articles posted over at Alpha & Omega Ministries, Pastor Tom Buck tackles the troubling details he discovered at Sam Allberry’s ministry Living Out.  Allberry is an Anglican priest who is same-sex attracted and has become one of the leading authorities on the issue of homosexuality. In his series, Buck shares with us the bad theology and the perverted counsel offered by two of the websites leaders. You can find those articles here: part 2part 3, part 4.

Following is an excerpt from part 3:

Just because individuals agree with us on certain orthodox teaching does not mean that we should avoid careful discernment when they disagree on other fundamental issues. When Paul had his final meeting with the elders at Ephesus, he gave this warning: “and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30).

To be clear, I am not claiming that any of those involved with Living Out are definitely men of which Paul speaks. But I am saying we would be foolish to excuse the twisted things that are being spoken at Living Out by simply pointing to other things they say which are consistent with sound doctrine.

Paul tells the Ephesian elders that the men of which he warns will rise up from among themselves. If so, these men became elders in the first place because they were orthodox in their theology. However, they eventually began to speak twisted things that led disciples away from sound doctrine. How many disciples among us are being led away even now because they trust those who are pointing them to Sam Allberry and Living Out?

Now to part 1 of Tom Buck’s series:

The Church’s Shift in Addressing Homosexuality

In my seminary days, Dr. Howard Hendricks warned us that the church tends to drift from one extreme to another. He declared that the church tends to be balanced only for a brief moment when it is swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other. I am reminded of this assessment as we see a major shift taking place in the way the church is addressing homosexuality. Some has been for the good and some for the worse.

Shifting for the Good

Sadly, I grew up in a time when it was common for Christians to bash homosexuals rather than to lovingly call them to repentance and faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I often heard preachers stand in the pulpit and ridicule homosexuals to the laughter of the audience. Even as a teenager, I was appalled to hear many Christians openly belittle homosexuals. No one struggling with that sin would openly admit their sinful condition before a church that would treat them as nothing more than an object of derision.

When I became a pastor, I was committed to our church being a safe place to confess any sin without fear of ridicule. Churches who commit to making their congregations safe places, while remaining committed to a clear call to repentance, have seen individuals set free from homosexuality by the power of the Gospel. As a church, we were able to say with Paul, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 6:11).

Furthermore, we gave opportunity for every person to serve in the church who had turned from sin and had been transformed by the Gospel. In my first pastorate, we even hired a man who struggled with same-sex attraction to work for our church on our support staff. He was walking in repentance and faith as well as seeking God to mortify that desire. This was twenty years ago, when such a thing would have likely been frowned upon by many who are now championing it.

First, I share these things because I am broken over how the church has treated homosexuals in the past. I am thankful to see the shift that has taken place in churches to demonstrate love towards those struggling with homosexuality. A voice calling for a more biblical attitude is Sam Allberry who is the founding editor of Living Out and works with the ministries of TGC, ERLC, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries et al. As a Christian minister who is same-sex attracted, Allberry has quickly become the leading authority among evangelicals on the issue of homosexuality.

I read his book, Is God Anti-Gay?, several years ago and found it biblically sound. For example, he argues that someone who struggles with same-sex attraction should not be shunned by the church because the same Gospel that saved me has the power to save them. I heartily agree. He also declares that one’s identity is not rooted in his sin struggle and no Christian should label himself as “gay.” I give an enthusiastic, “Amen!” This is a good and biblical shift in thinking that needs to come to many in the evangelical world.

The second reason why I share my experience is because I also find some of the shifts taking place in the church regarding this issue to be for the worse and deeply troubling. I fear the pendulum has swung past the point of biblical balance. Some seem to be moving from maliciously condemning people struggling with homosexuality to shrinking from their responsibility to call them to full repentance from their sin. When it comes to the issue of homosexuality in our culture, we must not bash, but we dare not blush at calling them to authentic biblical repentance.  View article →


Sam Allberry

Homosexual Agenda


via Living Out – The Shift — Christian Research Network