Daily Archives: April 5, 2019

April 5 Lessons in Gethsemane

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1–9

Key Verses: 2 Corinthians 5:7–8

For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

One of the most painful experiences in Jesus’ life on earth was the night He spent with His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane before He went to the cross. The thought of being separated from God—if even for a few days—was excruciating to Him. Despite the pain that Jesus endured, His obedience to God’s plan allowed Him to triumph over death and for mankind to find salvation.

Whenever we find ourselves in our own Garden of Gethsemane experiences, we can reflect upon Jesus’ night there with hope. What God did was more perfect and more amazing than any man could ever imagine. In the midst of our pain and suffering, we find God is at work. God will spare no experience, effort, or pain to prepare us for His good plans and purposes.

Paul wrote that it was God that prepared us for his purposes (2 Corinthians 5:5, 7–8). The way God prepares us is not always easy, but it is perfecting us to accomplish something in the future that we cannot foresee. Our nights in the Garden of Gethsemane result in bright days ahead.

Through our obedience to God during these times, His perfect plan for our lives begins to unfold and we see His perfect purpose.

Lord, I fear separation from You. Yet those times when I walk through dark valleys, I know You are working out Your purposes. Thank You that I can entrust my life to You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 100). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

YOKED WITH JESUS: Experience The Assurance Of The Lord’s Power In Your Life And How To Surrender Your Burdens To Him In Your Time Of Need — These Christian Times

A physical yoke bound oxen together to carry heavy loads. In contrast, the spiritual yoke Jesus offers us is light, granting peace and a restful spirit. We simply weren’t created to carry heartache and troubles on our own. Shoulder to shoulder with Him, every burden is eased. In this message, Dr. Stanley explains how we can experience this assurance of the Lord’s presence and power in our lives. When we surrender, He responds: “Trust Me, and there’s nothing we can’t handle together. Walk with Me, and you will never be alone.”

via YOKED WITH JESUS: Experience The Assurance Of The Lord’s Power In Your Life And How To Surrender Your Burdens To Him In Your Time Of Need — These Christian Times

Four Things Jesus Finished on The Cross — Unlocking the Bible

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his Spirit. (John 19:30)

At Easter, Jesus went through the agony of his suffering, enduring all the pains of hell. He has cried out from the depths, but now he’s announcing his victory. He moves into death, not defeated, but triumphant: “It is finished.”

What did Jesus finish?

1. The long night of his suffering

I put this first because John described how someone held up a sponge soaked in vinegar on a stick, and the Apostle says, “When Jesus had received the drink, he said ‘It is finished.’” Matthew Henry says:

When He had received that last indignity in the vinegar they gave Him, He said, “This is the last. I am now going out of their reach.” [i]

This was the end of his excruciating suffering. Jesus knows suffering from the inside—more than anyone has ever known it. But he is not suffering now. He’s done with that. It is finished. He’s not in the grave either. He’s at the right hand of the Father where he intercedes for us.

That is of massive importance for us. A suffering world needs a savior who knows about suffering. A savior who is overwhelmed by suffering, a savior who remains in suffering is of no use to us.

We need a Savior who has triumphed over suffering. That is what we have in Jesus. He was plunged into indescribable suffering, but he was not overcome by it. He came through it and he triumphed in it.

2. The full course of his obedience

Remember why Jesus came into the world. The Son of God became a man to live the life you and I would have to live in order to enter heaven. Jesus lived the perfect life. There was no sin in him.

The night before he died, he was able to say to his Father, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Spurgeon says:

Examine the life of the Savior from Bethlehem to Calvary, look minutely at every portion of it, the private as well as the public, the silent as well as the spoken part, you will find that it is finished, complete, perfect.[ii] 

Jesus said, “I have not come to abolish [the law] but to fulfill [it]” (Matthew 5:17). Every commandment of God was fulfilled in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout his life, Jesus loved God the Father with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and he loved his neighbor as himself. He’s the only person who has ever done it.

Jesus’ perfect life of obedience was now complete and he was about to lay it down, so he said, “It is finished.”

3. The decisive battle with his enemy

The life of Jesus was a life of suffering, it was a life of obedience, but it was also a life of conflict with our great enemy the devil. Look at the world today and ask the question:

Where does evil come from? Why do so many marriages fail? Why do wars keep happening?  

Jesus spoke with absolute clarity about Satan or the devil. Confronting the devil was the first act of Jesus’ public ministry. The Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Throughout his ministry we see Jesus casting out evil spirits that were holding human lives in bondage.

The story of this conflict goes back to the beginning of the Bible. Satan tempted the man and the woman and led them into sin that caused them to lose the joys of the paradise of God.

They got the knowledge of evil and came under the power of the evil one. That’s been our story ever since. It is the explanation of what we see in the world today.

But God promised that a Redeemer would come, saying to Satan, “You will bite his heel, but he will crush your head” (Genesis 3:15). What a picture!

God’s promise in Eden is precisely what happened at the cross. In Christ’s death, he breaks the devil’s power:

Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)

When Jesus died, he went beyond the reach of Satan. Satan could no longer tempt him. The devil could no longer afflict him or cause him to suffer. When Jesus went into death, it was “game over” for the devil and “game on” for us. The decisive battle with the enemy had been won.

4. The complete work of his atonement

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to give his life as a ransom for many, and on the cross he says, “It is finished.” He has borne the guilt of our sins. He has endured the punishment of our hell. The divine wrath has been spent on him. The justice of God has been satisfied in him.

The perfect sacrifice has been offered. Complete atonement has been made. Hell has been vanquished. The condemnation has been removed.  Now the Redeemer says, “It is finished.” Jonathan Edwards wrote:

Though millions of sacrifices had been offered; yet nothing was done to purchase redemption before Christ’s incarnation… so nothing was done after His resurrection, to purchase redemption for men. Nor will there be anything more done to all eternity. [v]

What can be added to Jesus’s redemptive work, his death and resurrection? It is finished! His long night of suffering is over. He’s no longer on the cross. The full course of his obedience is over. The decisive battle with his enemy is over.

Christ finished. You haven’t. But with him you will.

[This article was adapted from Pastor Colin’s sermon, “Crossing the Finish Line,” from his series 7 Words from the Cross.]

____________

[i] Matthew Henry, “Commentary on the Whole Bible,” Vol. 5 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc5.John.xx.html

[ii] C. H. Spurgeon, sermon #2344, “Christ’s Dying Word for His Church,” Nov. 3, 1889  http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols40-42/chs2344.pdf

[iii] Ronald Wallace, “Words of Triumph,” p. 76, John Knox press, 1964 http://www.amazon.com/Words-triumph-words-Cross-application/dp/B0007IYO9I/

[iv] http://www.billygrahamcenter.com/museum/index.htm

[v] Jonathan Edwards, “Works,” Vol. 1, p. 572, Banner of Truth, 1974 http://www.billygrahamcenter.com/museum/rotund-Jonathan.htm

via Four Things Jesus Finished on The Cross — Unlocking the Bible

04/05/19 “I Tell You, Get Up!” — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Joshua 10-12; Luke 7:11-35

Sometimes I wish I could have walked with Jesus in the midst of the stories of the Gospels. In today’s reading, Jesus encounters a funeral procession – the sad reality of the death of the only son of a widow. The mother would have been not only grieving, but also wondering about her future. No one remained to support her. Surely some of her hope for the future died with her son.

But . . . Jesus showed up at the funeral. “Don’t weep,” He told her (Luke 7:13), knowing He was about to end any reason for grieving. He touched the coffin, called the son to get up, and the son did exactly what Jesus commanded: “The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother” (Luke 7:15). Rightly so, the people were struck with awe and glorified God. How could they not do so when they saw resurrection in their midst?

We may not have seen resurrection take place, but we know the stories of the Bible. If we truly believe this Word we’re studying, we, too, should be filled with holy fear and resounding praise when we think of Christ. He is still the Lord of life!

PRAYER: “Jesus, You are life. Thank You for defeating death and giving us the promise of life.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Joshua 13:1-15:12; Luke 7:36-8:8

via 04/05/19 “I Tell You, Get Up!” — ChuckLawless.com

April 5 Grace Plus Nothing

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1–28

Key Verse: Hebrews 10:12

This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.

Many Christians lack joy because they are not sure of their relationship with Christ. The Jews of Jesus’ day believed the only way they could be sure of their standing with God was by keeping the law. It provided measurable evidence of their devotion.

However, Jesus offered a new theology, one based on God’s unconditional love and acceptance. The Jewish leaders were bound by the law and refused to accept salvation as being a gift of grace. Imagine their dismay when Jesus told them that He was the fulfillment of the law. Through Christ, we have personal access to God the Father without bearing the burden of the law and its consequences. Only grace secures our position with God.

Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). His words indicated a need for a spiritual rebirth or regeneration. It is something human hands cannot achieve. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Salvation equals grace plus nothing.

The next time you are tempted to doubt your salvation, think of the Cross where grace paid the eternal price for all of our sins. We are saved and sure by the power of His grace—nothing more, nothing less.

Father, I am saved by grace—nothing more, nothing less. I accept it. Thank You![1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 100). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

A Lesson for Pope Francis on Walls and Muslims

by Raymond Ibrahim
PJ Media
April 2, 2019

https://www.meforum.org/58124/lesson-pope-francis-walls-muslims

“I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges” has long been Pope Francis’s mantra.

Most recently, when asked last Sunday “a question about migration in general and about U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the southern border with Mexico,” the pope pontificated in platitudes: “Builders of walls,” he said, “be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build…. With fear, we will not move forward, with walls, we will remain closed within these walls.”

Less than a week earlier, Pope Francis lectured the mayor of Rome about the need to be more welcoming to Muslim migrants. “Rome,” he declared, “a hospitable city, is called to face this epochal challenge [Muslim migrants demanding entry] in the wake of its noble history; to use its energies to welcome and integrate, to transform tensions and problems into opportunities for meeting and growth.”

“Rome,” he exulted, “city of bridges, never walls!”

The grand irony of all this is that Pope Francis lives in the only state to be surrounded by walls—Vatican City—and most of these bastions were erected to ward off centuries of Islamic invasions.

Most notably, in 846, a Muslim fleet from North Africa consisting of 73 ships and 11,000 Muslims, landed in Ostia near Rome. Muslim merchants who frequently visited Italy had provided them with precise intelligence that made the raid a success. Although they were unable to breach the preexisting walls of the Eternal City, they sacked and despoiled the surrounding countryside, including—to the consternation of Christendom—the venerated and centuries-old basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul. The Muslim invaders desecrated the tombs of the revered apostles and stripped them of all their treasures.

Pope Leo IV (847-855) responded by building many more walls, including fifteen bastions along the right bank of the Tiber River, the mouth of which was forthwith closed with a chain to protect the sacred sites from further Muslim raids and desecrations. Completed by 852, the walls were in places 40 feet high and 12 feet thick.

Further anticipating the crusades against Islam by over two centuries—and thus showing how they were a long time coming—Pope Leo (and after him Pope John VIII) offered the remission of sins for those Christians who died fighting Islamic invaders.

Such was the existential and ongoing danger Muslims, referred to in contemporary sources as “Sons of Satan,” caused for Europe—more than two centuries before the First Crusade was launched in 1095.

Indeed, just three years after the initial Muslim invasion of Rome, “in 849 the Muslims attempted a new landing at Ostia; then, every year from around 857 on, they threatened the Roman seaboard,” explains French medieval historian C. E. Dufourcq:

In order to get rid of them, Pope John VIII decided in 878 to promise them an annual payment [or jizya] of several thousand gold pieces; but this tribute of the Holy See to Islam seems to have been paid for only two years; and from time to time until the beginning of the tenth century, the Muslims reappeared at the mouth of the Tiber or along the coast nearby.

Today, many Muslims, not just of the ISIS-variety, continue to boast that Islam will conquer Rome, the only of five apostolic sees never to have been subjugated by jihad (unlike Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Constantinople). Similarly, Muslims all throughout Europe continue exhibiting the same hostility and contempt for all things and persons non-Islamic, whether by vandalizing churchesand breaking crosses, or by raping “infidel” women as theirs by right. As for Italy, click here, here, and/or here for an idea of how Muslim migrants behave.

And that is the point Pope Francis misses: walls should only go down and bridges should only be extended when both parties are willing to live in amicable peace—as opposed to making the destructive work of those who have been trying to subjugate Europe in the name of Islam that much easier.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

April 5 The Gift of Grace

Scripture reading: Titus 3:4–7

Key verse: Proverbs 3:34

Surely He scorns the scornful,

But gives grace to the humble.

If God’s offer of grace is so rich and free, why do so many people fail to receive the gift of salvation? The inability to receive the grace of God is almost always connected with an overdose of pride.

It is often difficult for some persons to receive a helping hand from another person in regard to material matters. They would rather earn the gift offered on their own initiative and can even be insulted by the generosity of the giver.

Perhaps you can identify with that feeling. You may have had a definite need. Someone graciously volunteered to meet that need, but you refused the offer because it wounded your pride, your sense of self-esteem.

Perhaps in some way you devised a means to satisfy your need. But in the spiritual realm, there is no substitute for grace. You cannot supplant good works or performance for grace. You can either receive it or reject it. It is yours to enjoy by faith or yours to turn away by pride.

Do not refuse the offer of God’s grace in salvation. There is no other ground by which a man can be saved. Let go of pride and receive the grace of God.

Take my pride, Lord. I want to receive the fullness of Your grace.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 100). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Chick-Fil-A Crisis: Banned From Another Airport Over Anti-LGBTQ Claims | ZeroHedge News

Chick-Fil-A has been banned from opening a location at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA) after a New York politician attacked the fast-food chain for discriminating against the LGBTQ community, reported The Daily Signal.

New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan applauded the decision by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) and Delaware North to immediately halt all projects associated with bringing Chick-fil-A to BNIA.

“I was disappointed to learn of the NFTA’s decision to introduce Chick-fil-A as a restaurant option at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. Chick-fil-A has a long history of supporting and funding anti-LGBTQ organizations,” Ryan said in a Facebook post last week.

“The views of Chick-fil-A do not represent our state or the Western New York community, and businesses that support discrimination have no place operating in taxpayer-funded public facilities,” he continued.

Shortly after Ryan’s social media posts, NFTA published a statement that was in line with the assemblyman’s stance.

“First and foremost, the NFTA is an organization that prides itself on its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and stand firmly against any form of discrimination,” the statement said. “We have the utmost respect for Assemblyman Ryan and consider him a great partner and friend to us.”

Ryan then praised NFTA’s decision. “I don’t believe there is anything to discuss with NFTA on the issue,” Ryan wrote. “We can’t allow companies who support anti-LGBTQ groups to do business at state-owned facilities.”

The decision comes a little over a week after the San Antonio City Council banned Chick-fil-A from opening in the San Antonio International Airport, citing the restaurant chain’s “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”

In 2012, Dan T. Cathy, the company’s CEO, said he opposed gay marriage. Later it was revealed that the company’s non-profit arm, Chick-Fil-A Foundation, donated large sums of money to political groups that were hostile to LGBTQ rights. It was reported later that year, Chick-Fil-A published a statement that said it would leave same-sex marriage to the government.

A 2017 tax filing showed the foundation continued to donate millions of dollars to three groups with anti-LGBTQ policies.

Chick-fil-A has taken a political stand for what its Bible-quoting CEO believes in, but over the last several years, mainly since the left-wing media has waged an all-out war on the Trump administration, the fast-food, conservative-loving, chicken-chain has been under an intense microscope from leftist organizations.

It appears the Chick-fil-A crisis has just begun, in the coming weeks and or months, there could be many more airports and or other public facilities across the country that refuse Chick-fil-A from establishing a restaurant in their food courts. Political polarization is widening, it’s only now starting to damage commerce.

Source: Chick-Fil-A Crisis: Banned From Another Airport Over Anti-LGBTQ Claims

Pope Francis Appoints Pro-Gay Archbishop Wilton Gregory To Oversee Transition Of The Catholic Church In Welcoming LGBTQP Members — Now The End Begins

The Vatican announced today that Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta will be the successor of embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl to lead the Archdiocese of Washington D.C., one of the most prominent sees in the United States.

Any time you have a large corporation that is embarking on a new transition, it is customary to appoint leaders who have a passion for the project as well as the credentials to act as an effective liaison between workers and management, and between company and customers. So it only makes sense, as Pope Francis continues to steer the Catholic Church through the murky waters of opening wide the doors to the LGBTQP, to appoint a Catholic leader who has a lifetime history of promoting the LGBTQP movement. Meet Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory!

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4 (KJV)

Currently, the Catholic church is plagued with incessant in-fighting, relentless pedophile sex scandals, and a whole host of other pressing issues. But Catholics take heart, the “glory days” are about to return the the Vatican. What do I mean by that? Well, the bible tells us that during the time of Jacob’s trouble, the Catholic Church will reclaim her former glory and power of ruling the world from Rome. Revelation 17 and 18 shows us the Vatican as the Whore of Babylon, and she appears to be unstoppable. But she will be stopped, and by the very One she claims to follow.

“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Revelation 13:2 (KJV)

The Vatican under Antichrist will finally be the true One World Religion she has always sought to be, and Satan will imbue her with mind-boggling power. But her end will come in one hour at the Battle of Armageddon at the Second Coming. Jesus Christ Himself will lead the charge to the destruction of the Vatican and the Catholic church. In the meantime, please enjoy this story of Pope Francis appointing a pro-gay bishop to help the Catholic church join with the global LGBTQ+P for pedophile community.

Pope appoints pro-LGBT Wilton Gregory to Archdiocese of Washington. Catholic laity protest

FROM LIFESITE NEWS: Numerous faithful Catholic laity are outraged over the appointment of Gregory. The Archbishop has a history of showing support for homosexuality, contrary to Catholic teaching, along with other unorthodox positions.

The group “Catholic Laity for Orthodox Bishops and Reform” had urged the Holy See to “seek out a worthy candidate who is without ties to Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Mr. Theodore McCarrick, or Donald Cardinal Wuerl.”

“The Archdiocese of Washington needs a worthy shepherd with a proven record of teaching and practicing the fullness of the Catholic Faith. We need a robust leader for Catholicism, with the Heart of Christ, focused on the Gospel message, not liberal politics,” the group said earlier this week when rumors of Gregory’s appointment surfaced.

In a press release today, the group said that it “continues to ask for a worthy shepherd who will be a robust teacher of the Catholic Faith and defender of Catholic morals.”

“We also continue to seek for the laity better communication with the hierarchy and the Holy See. We are ready to work with Archbishop Gregory to achieve these goals,” it stated. Archbishop Gregory said he was grateful to the Pope for the appointment.

“I am deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this appointment to serve the Archdiocese of Washington and to work with all of the members of this faith community,” he said. “I look forward to encountering and listening to the people of this local Church as we address the issues that face us and continue to grow in the Love of Christ that sustains us.”

Gregory’s support for the LGBT agenda is of public record. As head of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Gregory has displayed an uncritical willingness to accept LGBT ideology.

Pope Francis’ New Appointee Will Merge The Catholic Church With The LGBTQP, Here Is Wilton Gregory’s Track Record On The Issues:

Gregory’s actions also reveal a lack of orthodoxy to Catholic teaching in other areas. These include:

  • Giving the keynote address in 2017 at the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) conference. The group backs the ordination of women to the priesthood and is open to the idea of the Church approving the use of contraception.
  • Signaling an openness to allow divorced and “remarried” Catholics to receive communion contrary to perennial Catholic teaching. He was one of two featured speakers at a gathering of liberal theologians and 15 bishops at Boston College in October 2017. The event, “Understanding Amoris Laetitia,” was hosted by progressive Cardinal Cupich. Gregory appeared to endorse communion for divorced and remarried Catholics when he said Amoris Laetitia “challenges the church and its pastors to move beyond thinking that everything is black and white, so that we sometimes close off the way of grace and growth.”
  • Misrepresenting — along with now defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Gregory — the contents of a letter from Cardinal Ratzinger, then the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which counseled American prelates to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion during the 2004 presidential campaign season. They instead paraphrased the letter, telling their brother bishops that they should exercise their own judgment regarding pro-abortion politicos. The U.S. bishops ended up voting 183-6 to leave the decision up to each diocese.

Archbishop Gregory has served in various important roles in the United States. In 2001, he was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and was vice president under Bishop Joseph Fiorenza for three years thereafter. He joined other bishops in drafting and implementing the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” the so-called Dallas Charter in response to the sexual abuse crisis. In 2006, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Board of Preachers at Morehouse College, Atlanta.

Catholic laity are already signing a petition to Pope Francis asking that he stop the appointment.

“Faithful and orthodox American Catholics oppose this appointment and call on the Holy Father to directly intervene to stop this from going forward,” states the petition launched by LifeSiteNews.

“Knowingly installing a man who flagrantly departs from Catholic moral teaching to Washington, D.C., suggests that the Vatican doesn’t seem to care about listening to church-going American Catholics,” it adds. READ MORE

Why the Vatican selected Archbishop Wilton Gregory

Do not allow yourself to be distracted by the appointment of the”first black bishop” and all that nonsense. Wilton Gregory was not appointed for his blackness but rather for his gayness. 

via Pope Francis Appoints Pro-Gay Archbishop Wilton Gregory To Oversee Transition Of The Catholic Church In Welcoming LGBTQP Members — Now The End Begins

04/04/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0404

•Tom Pennington clarifies terms as we combat abuse in the Church
•Should we long for days before our post-Christian era?
•Christian prayers unwelcome where Muslim prayers are celebrated
•Good news for David Powlison
•Suicidal thoughts are commonplace for today’s youth
•Counseling on the campus
•Kids are following your example
•4 things parents should know about their kids

Download Now (right click and save)

via 04/04/2019 — Wretched

Phil Johnson in Radio: The Church — Wretched

https://player.vimeo.com/video/325310721?dnt=1&app_id=122963

Episode 2476

Phil Johnson in Radio: The Church

Segment 1 (00:00) – Todd and Phil go over an article by John MacArthur highlighting the signs of watered-down preaching.

Segment 2 (09:01) – They continue to talk about how preachers nowadays aren’t rooted in the Word, but more-so in their performance.

Segment 3 (18:37) – Phil and Todd use a letter from a backslider to explore the notion of “walking away from the faith” and hearing the voice of God.

Wretched Surprise! (25:38) – Phil & Todd: Leaving a good church

via Phil Johnson in Radio: The Church — Wretched

Tim Keller: Demanding Social Justice in the Name of John Calvin — Pulpit & Pen

Written by Toni S. Brown

You don’t have to believe in the Living God to be a good person…because God loves to make all kinds of people wise and good.

Tim Keller, TGC19 Session 2

Tim Keller took the stage again at TGC19 with a speech titled-What a Minor Prophet Teaches Us About Nationalism and Race, Grace, and Mission- continuing in his distortion of scripture he labeled Jonah a racist, Nationalist for the purpose of promoting Marxist Globalism and he demanded social justice in the name of John Calvin.

Quoting Calvin from the 3rd book of his Institutes Keller said:

John Calvin of all people has a pasage in his institutes that is absolutely astonishing in which he works out the social justiceimplications of the doctrine of the Image of God, listen to what he says:

[Calvin] “You may say about the stranger before you that you owe nothing of any service of his but God as it were has put him in his own place in order that he may recognize toward him the many great benefits by which God has bound you to himself. Do not consider man’s evil intentions but look upon the Image of God in them which cancels and effaces their transgressions and with its beauty and dignity allures us to love and embrace them. Each Christian will so consider with himself a debtor to his neighbor that he ought in exercising kindness toward them set no other limit than the end of his resources.” 

Keller expounds on Calvin’s quote, stating that no matter the race, religion or immorality of your neighbor Christians are to set no limit on giving to the common good except to the end of all their own resources. He concedes that it may be secondary to the gospel message but it is not optional: “Doing justice and eliminating racism can never be just an option.”  It is absolutely necessary. “And the only way to love your neighbor is to make sure they have everything they need.” Christians have to be about the common good.

Watch video at 17.10 min mark:

There’s just one problem with Keller’s interpretation of John Calvin- it is false. Deliberately and intentionally distorted, perverted and misrepresented to fit his unbiblical narrative. The quote comes from Calvin’s Institutes, Book 3, Chapter 7 which consists of 9 sections of which 5,6 and 7 are lessons on charity, as evidenced by the below headings of each section:

5. The advantage of our neighbour to be promoted. Here self-denial most necessary, and yet most difficult. Here a double remedy. 1. The benefits bestowed upon us are for the common benefit of the Church. 2. We ought to do all we can for our neighbour. This illustrated by analogy from the members of the human body. This duty of charity founded on the divine command.

6. Charity ought to have for its attendants patience and kindness. We should consider the image of God in our neighbours, and especially in those who are of the household of faith. Hence a fourfold consideration which refutes all objections. A common objection refuted.

7. Christian life cannot exist without charity. Remedies for the vices opposed to charity. 1. Mercy. 2. Humility. 3. Modesty. 4. Diligence. 5. Perseverance.

The Calvin quote Keller referenced is speaking to charity and mercy, not social justice. It is important to remember that the minute the word “justice” is invoked it ceases to be charity.

Keller produces a list of concerns and duties for the church:

  • Safe environment that is not plagued by crime and health hazards.
  • Humane workplaces where there are jobs for  everyone.
  • A state of peace that is not marked by racial tension and violence.
  • A just, social order that is not marked by a corrupt justice system slanted against the weak and poor.
  • Publicly available resources for the common good like education.

Keller says:

 …this is how you love your neighbor, it’s the only way to really love your neighbor, it’s not an option, and to work against racism is at the heart of what it means to honor the Image of God…this is all in the book of Jonah.

Keller continues the social justice narrative, saying that what was actually happening in Ninevah when the people repented and turned from their wicked ways was social reform. Yup! Dr. Keller insists that Ninevah was never actually converted because they “didn’t give up their idols and because injustice, slavery and“violence in the way they were treating people” were really their sins, there was only social change in the end, nothing spiritual. Keller states:

What you have in Jonah is a mission in which God is very concerned about injustice in society, because look, even though they don’t convert, the Ninevites don’t convert, the fact that they turn from their violence is enough for God to say I’ll give you another chance – God relents which means to some degree…they’re not saved, obviously they haven’t turned to true faith but God is glad, and he shows that he’s glad that they did the social reform.

Keller says the mission of the church is:

…in one way to preach the gospel…but we’re also supposed to be doing justice and caring for the poor…it’s when these two things come together that you really have a powerful mission.

In the end Keller assures his audience that the white, affluent and homogeneous neighborhoods are shrinking and ”it’s not gonna stay this way”…just be patient…I wrote a book Generous Justice about all this.” He tells the audience to make a place for the needy and disadvantaged in their churches and tostart their own non-profits and 501-C3’s. 

I repeat, Keller ends by advising the audience to make a place for the needy and the disadvantaged in their churches – not the spiritually bankrupt, but the materially poor.  And the social gospel lives on, another day. God help us.

via Tim Keller: Demanding Social Justice in the Name of John Calvin — Pulpit & Pen

Trans-Reality and State-Mandated Lying — CultureWatch

We are being forced to lie. We are being forced to bear false witness. We are being forced to renounce reality. We are being forced to reject truth. We are being forced to deny our conscience. Just who is doing this? Our leaders, our governments, our media, our elites, our “experts” and our authorities.

All have demanded that we renounce the use of our minds, pretend there is no such thing as reality, and lie repeatedly in order to make deluded and confused people feel good about themselves. I refer of course to the global trans jackboot coming down on anyone and everyone who dares to speak truth in this area.

If you call a man who pretends he is a woman a man, you WILL now be punished. I have documented countless cases of this happening, and it gets worse each passing day. Just a week ago I wrote about one brave Canadian man who refused to submit to the lies, deception and tyranny of the trans militants.

For that he is being forced to cough up $55,000! Can you believe it? See my write-up here: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/03/30/transtopia-you-will-deny-reality-or-face-the-consequences/

Of course this poor guy is just one of many who have fallen afoul of the trans mafia and their war against reality, biology, truth and sanity. I have documented many cases of people being punished simply for speaking truth, for staying true to their conscience, and refusing to bow down to the news trans overlords.

Consider just a small sampling of some other cases of those being punished for refusing to bow to this new madness:

I called a trans boy a girl by mistake… and it may cost me my job as a teacher: Maths tutor suspended after praising pupil using the wrong gender
November 12, 2017
-Joshua Sutcliffe said ‘well done girls’ to the teenager after seeing them working
-He apologised when corrected by the pupil but their parents then complained
-He has been summoned to a formal hearing to face charges for ‘misgendering’

College student is kicked out of religion class for saying there are only two genders
March 13, 2018
A college student from Indiana University of Pennsylvania was banned from Christianity class for saying there are only two genders.

Indiana Teacher Forced to Resign Over Refusal to Use Transgender Pronouns
June 6, 2018
After teaching orchestra in Brownsburg Community Schools for four years, 28-year-old John Kluge is being forced to resign. The reason? He refuses to call transgender students by their preferred names, versus the names they were given at birth. “I really do care for all of my students,” Kluge said, “which is why I don’t want to be compelled to speak in such a way that I believe I’ll be encouraging them in something that’s dangerous.”

Student editor who retweeted article pointing out that ‘women don’t have penises’ is fired from university journal
September 21, 2018

Christian student’s stance sparks protests at UC Berkeley
November 13, 2018
More than a thousand of Isabella Chow’s University of California Berkeley classmates are demanding she resign as a student senator after she abstained from a vote [on transgenderism] she said contradicted her Christian values.

Young mother is barred from her local pub for wearing a T-shirt saying ‘Woman: human female’ after a complaint that it discriminated against transgender people
January 7, 2019

D.C. restaurant fined $7,000 after asking transgender woman for ID before letting her use bathroom
January 17, 2019
A D.C. restaurant will pay $7,000 as part of a settlement after an employee tried to stop a transgender woman from using a women’s restroom last summer, D.C.’s attorney general said this week.

Gamer reportedly banned from Twitch for claiming there are only two genders
February 7, 2019
A popular online gamer who regularly broadcasts on streaming platform Twitch claims she has been permanently banned from the platform for stating her “beliefs” that “there are only two genders”.

Mother, 38, is arrested in front of her children and locked in a cell for seven HOURS after calling a transgender woman a man on Twitter
February 10, 2019
Police officers detained Kate Scottow, 38, at her home in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

I could do this all day folks. The cases of those being punished for clinging to truth and reality are mounting and getting worse and worse. Losing your job, being fined, even being arrested for speaking biological truth! This is utter madness.

And poor Bill Whatcott was slugged with a $55,000 fine for simply stating truth. These are very scary times indeed folks. When the state gets in the business of going after and punishing people who think truth and reality are important, you know we are in a very bad way indeed.

This is simply diabolical. In the old days you could lose your job, be fined, or jailed for things like rape, arson, murder and theft. Today simply being true to the real world will result in you being punished. Wow. And as bad as all this is getting, now more than ever we need people to resist – to say no to this fascist Big Brother agenda.

We must always speak truth, regardless of the consequences. We cannot let the other side intimidate us and bully us into silence, into living a lie, into denying the real world. We must resist the thought police and the trans totalitarians, regardless of the cost. If we don’t, we really have lost it all.

In my recent piece on Whatcott I quoted from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. A brand-new article, “Conservatives Shouldn’t Use Transgender Pronouns,” also quotes from it, as the writer rightly urges us not to bow down to the trans dictatorship. The piece by Graham Hillard begins:

One of the most disturbing passages in 1984 has nothing to do with telescreens, Newspeak, or rats. Rather, it is the assertion by Winston Smith’s torturer that he could “float off this floor like a soap bubble” if he wished to do so. Such a claim, the reader understands, is neither hyperbole nor metaphor but an earnest expression of the belief that reality is contingent on human perception. Winston could be forced, if necessary, to affirm his torturer’s proposition. His acquiescence would render it “true” in the only remaining sense of that word.

He concludes:

It is not the case that every transgender individual will choose to endure surgery. Yet it is the case that transgenderism is socially contagious, that it is advancing with astonishing rapidity, and that surgical interventions will surely proliferate as a result. Conservatives are not to blame for the fact that 12 percent of Millennials now identify as “transgender or gender non-conforming,” according to a recent GLAAD survey. We are to blame, however, if our conciliatory language impairs our ability to declare that this is wrong. It is not real. We have to stop it. If the transgender man or woman really is “held” or “trapped” or “born” in the wrong body, let us say so and accept the cultural and medical consequences. But if the central transgender assertion is a lie — if it derives from the same fantasy that says a man can float like a soap bubble — then God forgive us if we utter a word in its favor.

To be sure, conservatives will pay a price for their stubbornness. A transgender movement that holds public opinion in its grasp may well increase the legal pressure on nonconformists should that grip begin to loosen. Jobs may be lost or friendships ruined. Our own children may one day condemn us. What is at stake, however, is the irreplaceable right to say of one thing, “true,” and of another, “false” — to define the basic realities from which our politics proceed. A man is a man. A woman is a woman. Let us not pretend otherwise.

When Big Brother arrives in the 21st century, he will appear not on posters but in grammar handbooks, HR manuals, and social media. Not as a tormentor but as a disappointed neighbor or friend.

No matter. We still mustn’t submit to him.
http://www.nationalreview.com/2019/04/transgender-pronouns-conservatives-should-not-use/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Hillard&fbclid=IwAR0rg_V_MCag4X3eCGBtPVKOO-CIJdqvtAehiUBXmARSD9GAMcYdKoIH4JU

Now is the time to stand against this Orwellian madness and declare our allegiance to truth, to reality, and to biology. If that makes us bigots and haters, well, then so be it. About the only thing worse than all this Big Brother activism targeting us is the sad fact that so many of us have been warning about this for decades now.

We TOLD you this would happen. We warned, we pleaded, we sounded the alarm. But most of our warnings fell on deaf ears sadly. And now we are paying the price – big time. As my good friend Mark rightly put it on the social media:

One of the reasons I hold to the socio-political views I do, is because they accurately explain the past, describe the present, and most important of all, predict the future with a high degree of reliability. (I have not always done so, but a measure of maturity is the ability to say, ‘I was wrong’, and change the way you think.) One of the key marks of leftism, is it pays no attention to historical applications of its principles, with adherents preferring to believe if you only feel or emote the right intentions, the outcome will take care of itself.

Well, no. You could never draw up a model for any invention if you thought like that. It’s not how reality works. What is happening now in some places around the world is chilling. The idea you can be held to *legal* account for simply stating one of the most basic facts about being human was an inevitable outcome from letting people with no rational or moral foundation continuously inject their warped ideas into government authority. As Michael Brown states, “We told you this was coming.”
stream.org/fined-55000-for-calling-a-male-a-male/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=Newsfeed&utm_campaign=The+Stream&utm_term=content&utm_content=Fined+%2455%2C000+for+Calling+a+Male+a+Male&fbclid=IwAR3jkyXz4OgMG1Vj57Xvp1yxSK2M28nd-flb4-4omF3cpwP5FnxwY0o_5rE

via Trans-Reality and State-Mandated Lying — CultureWatch

This ‘n’ That — Do Not Be Surprised…

I experienced road rage yesterday. Let me clarify: I was the recipient of borderline road rage. It was unpleasant and a little bit scary.

Long story short, I honked my horn at someone who didn’t think he was deserving of it. Obviously I felt otherwise, because I typically only honk my horn in two situations: when someone lingers too long at a green light (and even then it’s more of a gentle tap of the horn), or when someone maneuvers in front of me in an unsafe manner potentially causing an accident. This happened to be the latter, but apparently it’s not safe to honk your horn in that situation anymore. I did this yesterday, and the other driver promptly pulled alongside me, stopped his car, and screamed at me through the window while I sat at a red light. Me? I sat, staring straight ahead, hands on the wheel, waiting for the light to change. It wasn’t until I was well down the road that I realized how dangerous the incident could have been, and I thanked the Lord for keeping me safe.

Whatever happened to patience or courtesy or just shrugging your shoulders when you disagree with someone? I suppose even small incidents like this remind us that the world is not growing kinder but darker. And as it grows darker, it will increasingly hate the light that exposes it and causes its shadows to shrink. But we, dear Christian, can take heart, for we know the One who is the Light of the World (John 8:12).

The moral of today’s story is this: drive safely, and honk sparingly. And when you get home, thank God for safe travels and then sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

  • Speaking of those marvelous “I AM” statements of Jesus, there is a series of posts at the Equipping Eve blog that I think you may enjoy.
  • Wednesday marked the 45th anniversary of the 1974 tornado outbreak that rocked towns in multiple states. Of particular significance was Xenia, Ohio, which was arguably hit the hardest. This article could use a bit of editing, but I thought the sentiment was worth sharing.
  • DebbieLynne brings balanced thoughts on discernment blogging and bandwagons.
  • I didn’t know what to do with this, so I thought I’d share it with you.
  • I just finished reading through Judges, so this was timely and interesting.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • I had no plans to see the movie Unplanned, but I still found this review to be helpful. A lot of Christians are blindly recommending this movie and that’s fine, but if we do that, we need to be aware of what we’re actually recommending.
  • The Mormon church is doing this now.
  • So, if you almost died getting this shot, then maybe you shouldn’t have attempted it in the first place. Let’s let wild animals be wild and not be surprised when they act that way. It is an amazing picture, though.
  • Brief thoughts on apocryphal works versus the Bible.

God’s word will stand, and we shall get nothing by disputing it, or delaying to submit to it.

Matthew Henry

via This ‘n’ That — Do Not Be Surprised…

Is Death a Taboo Subject for You, Or Are You Preparing for Life’s Greatest Certainty? — Randy Alcorn’s Blog

There’s an old story of a slave who travels with his master toBaghdad. Early one morning, milling through the marketplace, the slave sees Death in human form. Death gives him a threatening look, and the slave recoils in terror, convinced Death intends to take him that day.

The slave runs to his master and says, “Help me! I’ve seen Death, and his threatening look tells me he intends to take my life this very day. I must escape him. Please let me leave now and flee on my camel so tonight I can reachSamarra, where Death cannot find me.”

His master agrees, and the terrified servant takes off on the fifteen-hour journey toSamarra.

A few hours later, the master himself sees Death among the throngs inBaghdad. He boldly approaches Death and asks him, “Why did you give my servant a threatening look?”

“That was not a threatening look,” Death replies. “That was a look of surprise. You see, I was amazed to see your servant today inBaghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight inSamarra.”

While the imagery is pagan, the central moral of the story is biblical. “No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

The time of our death is unknown to us. But the fact of our death is inescapable. We may spend our lives running from death and denying death, but that won’t stop death from coming at its appointed time.

As human beings, we have a terminal disease called mortality. The current death rate is 100 percent. Unless Christ returns soon, we’re all going to die. We don’t like to think about death; yet, worldwide, 3 people die every second, 180 every minute, and nearly 11,000 every hour. If the Bible is right about what happens to us after death, it means that more than 250,000 people every day go either to Heaven or Hell.

In his book Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope, Matthew McCullough writes this about the taboo of death in our culture:

When is the last time you heard a sermon about death, or heard the subject raised in a small group or a Sunday school class? We don’t talk about death anymore. Why not?

Geoffrey Gorer, an English sociologist, was among the first to examine this roping off of death from polite conversation. In a groundbreaking essay called “The Pornography of Death,” Gorer draws a telling analogy between the place of sex in the nineteenth century and the place of death in the twentieth century. Even as the prominence of sex has broadened—in conversation, in a mainstream television, in what kids are allowed to see and know—death has been shoved out of sight and out of mind.

In the 1870s, when death was everywhere, it would have been embarrassing to bring up sex at a dinner party. It would have been shameful to admit you think much about sex. It would have been irresponsible to talk to your kids about sex. But by the late 1950s, when Gorer wrote, the taboo had shifted. Death had already become in the twentieth century what sex has been to the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth century adults told children that babies came when storks dropped them at the front door. Those same children stood bedside as their loved ones died. Now kids learn that grandpa’s death means he’s gone to a place where he can play golf or go fishing all day. Meanwhile, kids have 24/7 access to sexual content in their Instagram feeds.

How about you? Have you and your family talked about the certainty of your deaths, and how that should impact your lives now? Not talking about death won’t postpone it a moment. Talking about death won’t bring it a moment sooner. But it will give us opportunity to be better prepared when it comes.

David said, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath” (Psalm 39:4-5). Picture a single breath escaping your mouth on a cold day and dissipating into the air. Such is the brevity of life here. The wise will consider what awaits us on the other side of this life that so quickly ends.

Since life’s greatest certainty is death, it only makes sense to prepare for what lies beyond this life. Any life that leaves us unprepared for death is a foolish life. Matthew Henry put it this way: “It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day.”

For more on the subject of death and eternity, see Randy’s books In Light of Eternity and Heaven.  For inspiring quotations about death and resurrection and Heaven, see Eternal Perspectives.

Photo by Mayron Oliveira on Unsplash

via Is Death a Taboo Subject for You, Or Are You Preparing for Life’s Greatest Certainty? — Randy Alcorn’s Blog

Takeaway from Shepherds’ Conference 2019 — Grace to You Blog

Last month, 4,500 pastors and church leaders gathered on the campus of Grace Community Church for the Shepherds’ Conference. The theme for 2019 was faithfulness, with each speaker tackling a different facet of what it means to be faithful in ministry. And because we know that not everyone had the ability to follow along with the conference livestream, we wanted to highlight some of the stand-out sessions. –GTY Staff

Believers occasionally mistake suffering for persecution. Those with a penchant for self-righteousness can go so far as to view every impediment and difficulty they encounter as some kind of spiritual suppression. But it’s important to keep the two realities distinct. We can expect suffering in this life—everyone can, as repercussions of the Fall and the sin that pervades this world. On the other hand, as Voddie Baucham explained in his Shepherds’ Conference message, “Persecution is suffering with an option.” In other words, it’s suffering we can avoid if we’re simply willing to compromise.

Baucham’s message was not merely another charge to follow the heroes of our faith and avoid such compromise. It was a study of the power they required to remain faithful—to withstand persecution’s pressures and not cave in to compromise—and where that power comes from. Whether you’re currently suffering true persecution, or you need to prepare for its inevitable arrival, you ought to listen to this message. –Jeremiah Johnson

How we respond to criticism speaks volumes about our personal character—especially for people in the realm of public ministry. Dr. Joel Beeke’s message was a timely reminder that any lingering remnants of pride in our lives can easily be brought to the surface through criticism—regardless of whether the grievances are legitimate or not. His sobering warning is still ringing in my ears: “You will be known more by your reactions than your actions.” None of us is immune from this challenge, which is perhaps the ultimate test of our humility. Dr. Beeke’s keynote draws from both Scripture and a wealth of personal pastoral leadership experience to reveal how we can honor God through the way we respond to our critics. –Cameron Buettel

When we hear of a pastor who has been unfaithful or even abusive to his wife we naturally recoil at the awful hypocrisy. How could a man who preaches Christ’s love on Sunday morning fail so grievously at loving his wife on Monday? While thankfully not every pastor sins against his wife in such overt ways, still many pastors are guilty of a less heinous but no less serious act of unfaithfulness to their wives: They neglect their marriages. Tom Pennington addressed the issue of faithfulness in the home in his sermon from Ephesians 5:25–33. He demonstrated from Scripture that how a man loves his wife is actually “the most accurate measure of his faithfulness . . . because if we fail here, we are not and cannot be truly faithful men and pastors.”

It was a convicting sermon throughout, but the most piercing moment was when Pennington drew out the implications of men failing to love their wives as it relates to one of the primary goals of marriage. Marriage was designed by God to illustrate Christ’s love for the church. So a pastor might preach about Christ’s love from the pulpit, but he must also recognize that his marriage preaches too. “How we love our wives says something about Christ every day,” Pennington noted. Our marriages can either preach an accurate and God-honoring message, or they can preach blasphemous lies about Christ’s love for the church. Marriage, therefore, charges us with the great duty and honor to represent Christ’s sacrificial love for His bride by our love for our wives. If you are or hope to be a Christian husband, I heartily recommend you listen to the full message. –Reagan Rose

Early in his Shepherds’ Conference message on the necessity of evangelism, Mike Riccardi twice quoted Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

The fact is, brethren, we must have conversion work here. We cannot go on as some churches do without converts. We cannot, we will not, we must not, we dare not. Souls must be converted here. [1] Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Temple Glories,” Sermon 375 in The Metropolitan Tabernacle, vol. 7 (London, UK: Passmore & Alabaster, 1861), 221.

If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay . . . . If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for. [2] Spurgeon, “The Wailing of Risca,” Sermon 349 in The Metropolitan Tabernacle, vol. 7, 11.

Riccardi’s sermon matched the urgency and the passion of Spurgeon’s words. It was a charge to remember that the proclamation of the gospel is a fundamental element of the church’s Great Commission—that there is no making disciples if we’re not first making converts. While this message was primarily targeted at pastors and church leaders, I believe every Christian ought to hear this sermon and heed its passionate plea to be fishers of men. –Jeremiah Johnson

The theme of Steve Lawson’s Shepherd’s Conference message was faithfulness in the pulpit. After he recounted the numerous sermon series John MacArthur has faithfully preached over the course of his 50 years of ministry,  he then opened up 1 Timothy 4:12-16 and exhorted his audience to the same faithfulness in their pulpits. Genuine faithfulness is marked by a prioritizing on the preaching of God’s Word. It is through the preaching of Scripture that God has promised to provide the power unto salvation. A faithful ministry, then, goes about the task of reading Scripture, teaching Scripture, and exhorting from Scripture. Even if there is opposition from inside his ministry, a faithful minister must persevere in the proclamation of God’s Word from the pulpit. –Fred Butler

You won’t learn much about John MacArthur’s personal life and ministry experiences through listening to his sermons. His commitment to the primacy of God’s Word has left scarcely any airtime for his own opinions and personal stories. But the rarified air of fifty years of faithful pulpit ministry leaves many of us wanting to know more about the man behind the ministry. With that in mind, Phil Johnson sat down with John MacArthur for a Q&A at the 2019 Shepherds’ Conference and we were given provided with a rare glimpse into John’s fascinating life and ministry. With the flowing rapport of two men who have worked closely together for more than three decades, Phil’s probing questions led John to reflect on fifty years in the pulpit, as well as some of the key experiences during his formative years that shaped his future ministry. These included the rich pastoral heritage within John’s family, some of the harsh yet necessary lessons he learned while in seminary, and the remarkable series of providential events that led him to his being installed as the senior pastor of Grace Community Church—while still in his twenties. This special Q&A between Phil and John is a fascinating, enjoyable, and highly edifying experience. –Cameron Buettel

To access all the sessions from the 2019 Shepherds’ Conference, click here.

via Takeaway from Shepherds’ Conference 2019 — Grace to You Blog

TGC’s Same-Sex Attracted Christian Apostasy Cover-Up — Pulpit & Pen

The Gospel Coalition (TGC) and 9Marks are fully engaged in a cover-up of Sam Allberry’s abominable doctrines. Stop and think. Livingout.org has been full of appalling teaching and counsel for years. The men behind TGC and 9Marks have been promoting Sam Allberry and livingout.org for years. They were not ignorant of the gross exchange of God’s truth for the same-sex attracted lie until recent weeks. They actively facilitated it, and all the evidence indicates they’ll continue to.

Livingout.org wasn’t full of teachings that could simply be misinterpreted or misheard. It was and is full of bold, disgusting, destructive false doctrine.

Allberry’s April 2nd early morning announcement that they’re “Improving Living Out” isn’t repentance, it’s a deceptive defense in which they explain that they were left “open to unhelpful misinterpretation” and that they were being “misheard.” Every Biblically literate, informed, honest observer knows that’s a sin mitigating lie. Sam Allberry and his two longterm ministry partners at livingout.org weren’t misinterpreted or misheard. Their Same-Sex Attracted Christian Apostasy was loud and clear.

TGC’s April 2nd late evening discussion between Jonathan Leeman and Sam Allberry was a carefully crafted, well nuanced, sin diminishing defense of Sam Allberry and his ministry partners at livingout.org that allows the leadership of TGC and 9Marks the illusion of having dealt with the “recent scrutiny” and a green light to press on with their promotion of Sam Allberry’s Same-Sex Attracted Christian Apostasy.

Leeman opened up the discussion dogmatically calling Allberry his “BROTHER” and declaring him to be a repentant and committed Christian. Leeman laboriously called Allberry “brother” again and again throughout the entire conversation. In contrast, Allberry didn’t seem to feel the need to repeatedly call Leeman his “brother” at all. Why is there a prevailing unbiblical insistence of calling the false teachers and deceivers behind undeniably disgusting, dangerous, deceptive, false teachings like these ↓ ↓ ↓ our brothers?!

More “Same-sex Attracted Christian” wisdom from TGC/T4G’s resident expert Sam Allberry’s livingout.org.
Sam Allberry’s livingout.org website says MEN lusting after “BEAUTIFUL MEN” and “WANTING TO BECOME ONE WITH [THEM]” is a God-given “NATURAL RESPONSE.”

What does the Bible call men who write and promote articles like this ↑ ↑ ↑? What does the Bible call an unrepentant man who boasts in his “sexual attraction” for a “beautiful man” and unashamedly and repeatedly states his perverse desire to “become one with him” and to be “united with to him” — and then blasphemously declares:

“I am, at one level, just responding to beauty as I am created to respond to it. There is little I can do to avoid this natural response. We are all wired to appreciate beauty. That’s just how we work.”

The Bible calls such men unrepentant homosexuals and sodomites and warns them that they will not go to heaven:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

What does the Bible call men who write and promote perverse articles like this ↑ ↑ ↑ in the name of “Christian ministry” and put them up on the World Wide Web for years — leading Christ’s Church, pastors, fathers, mothers, men, women, boys, and girls astray from God’s truth? The Bible calls such men false teachers, deceivers, and wolves in sheep’s clothing:

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

2 Peter 2:1-3

For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain…They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Titus 1:10-11 & 16

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Matthew 7:15-17

Sam Allberry and his livingout.org “ministry” partners do not qualify for the title of “credible Christian” or “BROTHER.” They have provided undeniable, long-term, abundant evidence that they are false teachers, deceivers, and wolves in sheep’s clothing. That is what they should be called. If they talk like a wolf, walk like a wolf, and really, really want to mate like a wolf — we cannot stubbornly ignore the evidence and call them brothers. That isn’t loving toward Christ’s Church, who we are commanded to protect, or toward those who truly need to repent of their abominable lusts and doctrines. It is incumbent upon Sam Allberry, Sean Doherty, and Ed Shaw to cease nuancing, mitigating, and obfuscating — and to show evidence of genuine and thorough repentance of their false teaching, deceptive doctrines, and ravenous wolf proclivities.

There are many parts of the conversation between Jonathan Leeman and Sam Allberry that are worthy of review and concern. I’m going to try to cut through the nonessentials (although I hope someone else addresses some of them) and focus in on a few key points in the conversation.

At the 1:24:30 minute mark, Sam Allberry says, “My colleagues Shawn and Ed are both faithful men.” First heard you might think that’s an innocent statement. Think again. Allberry dogmatically declares his colleagues, Shawn and Ed, to both be faithful men — despite their false teachings, deceptive doctrines, and ravenous wolf proclivities. Allberry defines “faithful men” on behalf of Shawn and Ed exactly like others are defining “credible Christian” and “BROTHER” on his behalf. In the make believe Same-Sex Attracted Christian world “faithful men,” credible Christian[s],” and “BROTHER[S]” can boast in their “sexual attraction” for “beautiful” men, announce their perverse desire to “become one with” and to be “united with” men — and blasphemously declare that I’m “just responding to beauty as I am created to respond to it. There is little I can do to avoid this natural response. We are all wired to appreciate beauty. That’s just how we work.”

At the 1:27:45 minute mark, Leeman gives full credibility to Allberry’s claims that he and his livingout.org partners are simply being misunderstood, saying “I utterly understand what you’re describing. Um. I can even see with statements like this: I need to accept my sexual orientation, not deny it, not repress it. I can see how if I read it this way it means this, but if I read it that way it means that. Legitimately. Illegitimately. Um. And. And. And certainly there’s an editorial responsibility then to go and clarify those types of things.” The articles you just read above (and so many more) are not simply unclear or being misunderstood and contrary to Leeman’s anemic statement, Sam just doesn’t need “to go and clarify those types of things.” The alarming false teaching, deceptive doctrines, and ravenous wolf proclivities are actually and undeniably exceedingly clear! They said what they meant! They meant what they said! And what they said was a bold exchange of God’s truth for Same-Sex Attracted Christian Apostasy lies.

At the 1:28:23 mark, you find a unique display of cover-up expertise and double-mindedness. Jonathan Leeman brought up livingout.org’s article that encourages homosexual men who were once married to continue to live together and to raise children together, but Leeman deliberately left off the “you can handhold, hug, snuggle, and kiss” counsel — and then he said “It’s not clear to me that’s explicitly contradicting something in the Bible…[but it seems] very unwise and very possibly just sinful.” Here we’ve got to ask, what perversion of the Bible is Jonathan Leeman reading?! Sam Allberry responds to Leeman, saying, “I agree.” and then evidences astonishing and undeniable double-mindedness as he goes on to explain how homosexual men can in fact live together and share affection almost exactly as described in the debauched article in question. Leeman just sat there shaking his head in agreement with Allberry’s double-minded contradiction and then pressed on as if it didn’t happen.

Jonathan Leeman closes (at 1:46:05) with a condensed reading from Romans 14 in which he focuses in on “why do you judge your brother?” He then allows Sam to correct all those divisive, judgmental heterosexual Christians. He allows Sam to go on to exhort the body of Christ at large to accept Same-Sex Attracted Christian Apostasy and not to worry much about the wolfish hair of its proponents. Then Leeman declares Allberry a brother one final time and gives an over the top, glowing commendation of his Christian character and ministry. Mission accomplished! The TGC19, 9Marks Same-Sex Attracted Christian Apostasy Cover-Up was a smashing success!

[Guest Post by Chuck O’Neal]

via TGC’s Same-Sex Attracted Christian Apostasy Cover-Up — Pulpit & Pen

The Lawsuit, The Sermon, The Selection of Elders: An Update On The Disappointing Developments at Harvest — Julie Roys

When Harvest Bible Chapel fired James MacDonald nearly two months ago, I was cautiously optimistic. “God can rebuild something beautiful from these ashes,” I wrote. “That is His will. And He will do it if we remain focused and submitted to Him.”

Unfortunately, whatever beauty exists at Harvest continues to be obscured by ungodliness. As former Elder Dan George said when he resigned two weeks ago, the elder board continues to be controlled by former executive committee members—the same people responsible for Harvest’s “ungodly” and potentially fraudulent spending. George also warned that if the board did not “radically change,” Harvest would not “be able to rid itself of the old sinful, secretive, siloed, and controlling culture.”

“Sadly, the old adage that ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ seems to aptly describe Harvest. Yes, there has been change. But none of the change seems to have transformed Harvest’s diseased culture.”

Yet the board did not change. Instead, it dug in, denied the problem. And as the church characteristically did under MacDonald’s leadership, it strongly censured the whistleblower, accusing George of sowing “mistrust and division in the body.”

Sadly, the old adage that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” seems to aptly describe Harvest. Yes, there has been change. But none of the change seems to have transformed Harvest’s diseased culture.

Church leaders refuse to own much of their sin, and repent of it publicly. Leaders continue to try and hide the truth.The pulpit remains a means of manipulation. And stunningly, old, disqualified elders are being used to pick a supposedly new and improved elder board.

The Lawsuit

In January, Harvest and MacDonald dropped their frivolous and unbiblical lawsuit against me, the authors of The Elephants Debt—Ryan Mahoney and Scott Bryant—and their wives. That was a welcome development, but two major issues remained.

One, the lawsuit cost the Mahoneys, Bryants, and me tens of thousands of dollars. And two, the lawsuit itself (and accompanying elder updates and comments to the media) included outlandish lies about me and the other four defendants.

Recently, Harvest reached an agreement with me that included the church paying for all my legal fees. Scott Bryant told me that the church also has settled with him and covered all his legal fees. For these developments, I am grateful.

Also, shortly after reaching an agreement with Harvest, I received an email from Harvest counsel, Chris Nudo, informing me that the elders would like to meet with me to offer a “heartfelt apology for the pain caused by the litigation.”

“As part of the Mahoneys’ litigation, their attorney sent me a subpoena for audio of a recorded conversation . . . Yet as Harvest has done before, the church predictably did again, filing a motion to quash the subpoena so this information never becomes public.”

I appreciated the elders’ sentiment. However, I told Nudo that for the elders’ apology to be meaningful, the elders would need to publicly renounce the lies they’ve published about me. Nudo responded that the elders would be in touch with me after considering the issue.

That was two weeks ago. I have heard nothing from the elders since.

Meanwhile, the Mahoneys remain in litigation with the church. They have filed a motion for sanctions against Harvest under the Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137. This rule allows a party to recover attorney fees spent defending frivolous litigation.

As part of the Mahoneys’ litigation, their attorney sent me a subpoena for audio of a recorded conversation involving James MacDonald, as well as a transcript of that recording. This is something I have never published for legal reasons. But it is something that is of significant public interest and is relevant to the Mahoneys’ case.

Yet as Harvest has done before, the church predictably did again, filing a motion to quash the subpoena so this information never becomes public. So much for Harvest’s alleged new era of transparency.

The Sermon

Much already has been said on social media concerning the sermon Harvest Theologian in Residence Michael Vanlaningham gave on Sunday. For those who missed it, Vanlanigham asserted that forgiveness involves promising never to bring up an incident that’s been forgiven, nor to talk about the incident with others. Then he asserted:

Now I just want to suggest, “I promise I will not bring up this incident” and “I promise I will not talk to others about this incident”—that rules out social media. Listen up! Social media has become social mania. Blogging has become flogging. Tweeting is now beating. And Christians are doing that against Christians! If somebody does you wrong, you don’t go home and post about it on Facebook for your 1,000 friends so it’s out there forever guys. It’s just wrong. That’s sin. It’s called slander. It’s called gossip. It’s called something we ought never to do to one another in the body of Christ. And, oh my goodness, how we’ve gotten out of control with that stuff! We have to learn to forgive.

Given normal circumstances, what Vanlaningham said might not have triggered backlash. However, these are not normal circumstances. For years, Harvest leaders have shamed the congregation from engaging in social media—or reading blogs exposing corruption at Harvest, like The Elephant’s Debt—saying to do so was gossiping and sowing discord.

Granted, the specific issue Vanlaningham addressed was publicly posting about a personal offense, rather than a public offense like corruption at Harvest. Yet given the context of past shaming, what he said, which lacked any clarification or nuance, felt like the familiar urging to turn a blind eye to the online exposure of ongoing corruption at Harvest.

What’s worse, at the 11:00 a.m. service at the Rolling Meadows campus, Vanlaningham upped the ante, passionately urging congregants to raise their hands if they’re willing to “stop the madness on social media.”

According to Alex Hageli, who attended that service, only about a third of the people in the congregation raised their hands. Vanlaningham then responded, “There’s a lot of you who aren’t (raising your hand). Oh, that’s too bad. Pray for the Holy Spirit to get a hold of you.”

The audio of that sermon is no longer available online, but below is a short clip from the sermon, which includes Vanlaningham’s request.

Also, here’s video of the sermon Harvest posted online. The part about social media can be heard from 27:21 to 28:22.

Again, under normal circumstances, what Vanlaningham said might be acceptable. But given the pattern of control and manipulation at Harvest, it was unwise at best—and at worst, a sign that the old, manipulative patterns remain.

Also, Vanlaningham makes a very disconcerting statement near the end of his sermon. In this statement, he addresses public discussions about Harvest. And then he conflates the public criticism of the church—which almost exclusively has targeted corrupt leaders—with the congregation itself.

At around 35:39 on the video above, he says, “I am grieved with what people are now saying about this church.” Then he points at the audience and says, “—about you. And I care for you guys a lot. I think I’m well on my way to loving you. And it is quite a dismay to see it happen.”

I was dumbfounded when I heard that. With these statements, Vanlaningham essentially created an “us-them” scenario, where the congregation and Vanlaningham—“us”— is being abused by “them”—the outside bloggers and social media users. But the reality is that bloggers and social media users aren’t abusing the congregation; Harvest’s corrupt leaders are. That is the “them” Vanlaningham should be calling out. Instead, he continues to point the fingers at outside critics, as though we’re the problem. That’s false and it’s wrong.

I have reached out to Vanlaningham for comment, but he has declined to say anything on the record. That really saddens me. Less than a year ago, Vanlaningham was a professor at the Moody Bible Institute and a repeat guest on my former Moody Radio program, Up for Debate. I really respected him during my time there, and this is not a message I would have expected from him.

Elder Selection

Lastly, there’s the matter of elder selection. As I’ve already mentioned, the elders currently running Harvest are the same ones responsible for approving the gross financial mismanagement there. However, Harvest says it plans to have a new board in place by the end of May, so does it really matter?

Actually, it matters greatly. These men shirked their fiduciary responsibility and have a strong interest in keeping Harvest’s financials hidden forever. Why the church would continue to allow them to have access to these documents, let alone control the direction of the church, is beyond baffling. It’s no wonder that Harvest still has not opened its books nor revealed the compensation it paid James MacDonald and former Harvest executives. And, though it’s extraordinarily unusual for an auditing firm like Plante Moran to refuse a job like auditing Harvest, given the circumstances, it makes sense that it did.

In addition, the elder selection process appears to be heavily controlled by campus pastors, who were tied to the former corrupt leadership to varying degrees, as well as disqualified elders. According to the church website, the campus pastors nominated all 13 of the current candidates for the new elder board, and former elders vetted them. This, despite the fact that the church posted on its FAQ page on March 2nd that “no one who has ever served as an elder before at Harvest will be part of (elder) nominations.”

There also are seven former elders serving on the elder selection committee. And of those seven, six signed the infamous letter last December pledging “unconditional support” for James MacDonald. That letter has since been removed from Harvest’s website but is posted below.

These disqualified men—Jay Patel, Elvin Valez, Mike Lawson, Ron Frahler, Jeff Kee, and Joe Brightwell—should have zero input into the selection of new elders. And it’s shocking that Harvest would elect a “new elder board” using old, disqualified elders. But once again, the more things change at Harvest, the more they stay the same.

Elder Statement of “Unconditional Support”

Harvest Elder Application

Here is the application elders were sent. There’s much that’s worthy of comment in it. But for starters, it asks applicants whether they are tithing to the church. Normally, I would say tithing is a prerequisite for being an elder. But until Harvest opens its books and proves it has solved its mismanagement issues, giving to this church is irresponsible. I wonder if those prudent members who stopped tithing to Harvest were disqualified? I have emailed Harvest’s elders and asked questions about the process, but they have not responded.

via The Lawsuit, The Sermon, The Selection of Elders: An Update On The Disappointing Developments at Harvest — Julie Roys

Gynecologist Who Performed 1,200 Abortions Becomes Pro-Life Activist, Says ‘All I Could See Was Somebody’s Son or Daughter’ — CrossWalk Blogs

After performing almost 1,200 first and second trimester abortions, gynecologist and former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino experienced something that would change his life and his perspective on abortion forever.

In an interview on “The Billy and Justin Show” with Billy Hallowell and Justin Basch, Levantino discussed what exactly it was that caused him to turn his back on the abortion industry and join the pro-life movement.

According to CBN News, Levantino and his wife began trying to have a family sometime in the 1980s, but after failing to get pregnant they decided to adopt.

Levantino – who plays an abortionist in the recent box office hit Unplanned – found himself questioning the juxtaposition of being an abortionist while seeking to adopt a child. He said it was jarring for him to think about how when he went to work, he was tasked with killing unborn babies and when he went home all he and his wife wanted was to be able to have a child. Levantino even recalled thinking during this time that he wished he could bring one of the babies home to take care of.

While this set off questions for Levantino, after they adopted their daughter Heather – and a few months later found out that they were pregnant with a baby boy – the struggle subsided.

About six years later, however, the tragic death of Heather, would force all of these questions back to the surface.

Levantino told Hallowell and Basch “Our daughter, Heather, who we had adopted, was two months shy of her 6th birthday when she was struck and killed by a car out in front of our home.”

With the death of his daughter fresh in his mind, when Levantino returned to work a few weeks after the tragic death, he was scheduled to perform an abortion. The former abortionist recalled that during the procedure he started to become physically ill, but he knew he had to complete the abortion. If Levantino stopped the procedure halfway through, his patient could die.

He said, “I finished that abortion… for the first time in my career after all those years and all those abortions, I looked [at the remnants of the aborted baby]… and I didn’t see her wonderful right to choose and I didn’t see what a great physician I was helping her with her problem.”

“And I didn’t even see the $800 cash I just made in 15 minutes. All I could see was somebody’s son or daughter,” he added.

After losing his own daughter, Levantino saw the value of the fetus’ life and began to see abortion as the legalized killing of someone’s child. A few months after this realization Levantino left the abortion industry.

He said, “Once you figure out that killing a baby the size of your hand for money is wrong, then it doesn’t take you too long to figure out that it doesn’t matter how big — it’s still her son or daughter.”

Levantino and his wife are now active participants in the pro-life movement. You can even see the gynecologist on the big screen in select theaters as an abortion doctor in the pro-life film Unplanned. 

Unplanned tells the real-life story of Abby Johnson, a former planned parenthood worker who walks away from the abortion industry after witnessing an abortion in the clinic.

Unplanned raked in $6.1 million in its opening weekend coming in fourth in the box office last weekend.

via Gynecologist Who Performed 1,200 Abortions Becomes Pro-Life Activist, Says ‘All I Could See Was Somebody’s Son or Daughter’ — Blogs