Daily Archives: April 12, 2019

12 april (Easter 1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Spiritual resurrection

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1

suggested further reading: Colossians 2:9–14

Does it not seem a strange thing, that you, who have walked to this place this morning, shall be carried to your graves; that the eyes with which you now behold me shall soon be glazed in everlasting darkness; that the tongues, which just now moved in song, shall soon be silent lumps of clay; and that your strong and stalwart frame, now standing in this place, will soon be unable to move a muscle, and become a loathsome thing, the brother of the worm and the sister of corruption? You can scarcely get hold of the idea; death does such awful work with us, it is such a vandal with this mortal fabric, it so rends to pieces this fair thing that God has built up, that we can scarcely bear to contemplate his works of ruin. Now, endeavour, as well as you can, to get the idea of a dead corpse, and when you have done so, please to understand, that this is the metaphor employed in my text, to set forth the condition of your soul by nature. Just as the body is dead, incapable, unable, unfeeling, and soon about to become corrupt and putrid, so are we if we be unquickened by divine grace; dead in trespasses and sins, having within us death, which is capable of developing itself in worse and worse stages of sin and wickedness, until all of us here, left by God’s grace, should become loathsome beings; loathsome through sin and wickedness, even as the corpse through natural decay. Understand, that the doctrine of the Holy Scripture is, that man by nature, since the fall, is dead; he is a corrupt and ruined thing; in a spiritual sense, utterly and entirely dead. And if any of us shall come to spiritual life, it must be by the quickening of God’s Spirit, given to us sovereignly through the good will of God the Father, not for any merits of our own, but entirely of his own abounding and infinite grace.

for meditation: Have you passed from death to life by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:24)? Better to be a nobody alive in Christ than a king dead in trespasses and sins (Ecclesiastes 9:4).

sermon no. 127[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 109). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Tucker Carlson: Assange’s real sin was preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president | Fox News

Tucker Carlson: The real reason everyone is mad at Julian Assange

https://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=6025367922001&w=466&h=263<noscript>Watch the latest video at <a href=”https://www.foxnews.com”>foxnews.com</a></noscript&gt;

If you watched a lot of the coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s arrest on television Thursday, you likely came away with the understanding that he is some kind of Russian spy who is in trouble because he stole classified documents from the U.S. government. That is not true. It’s factually incorrect, and saying so is not a defense of Assange. We’re not here to promote him or excuse any number of things he said over the years that we disagree with quite a lot.

But just so it’s clear, whatever his sins, Assange did not steal documents from the United States government. He did not hack the DNC servers. He didn’t break into John Podesta’s Gmail account. There is no proof that he is working for the Russian government or ever has worked for the Russian government. Assange has never been charged with any of that and wasn’t on Thursday, no matter what they tell you.


If you’re upset about the theft of classified documents from the U.S. government — and there is reason to be — we already know who did that. A 22- year-old Army private named Bradley Manning, now called Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Manning pleaded guilty to stealing secret material and got 35 years in prison for it. Shortly after that, President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence. This allowed Manning to leave jail decades early, go back on television as a commentator, and then run for political office.

So if your real concern is America’s national security, you have someone to be angry at — Barack Obama. And yet strangely, nobody is.

Instead, they’re furious at Julian Assange for posting the documents that other people stole. “Julian Assange has long been a wicked tool of Vladimir Putin and the Russian intelligence services,” wrote professional moralizer Ben Sasse, who also serves in the U.S. Senate. “He deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”


Wicked? The rest of his life in prison? Idi Amin ate people and never faced this kind of scorn. Not even close. Nor, for the record, was Amin ever extradited. He died at 78 years old in his own bed, leaving behind 43 loving children.

So what’s going on here? A couple of things. First, Julian Assange embarrassed virtually everyone in power in Washington. He published documents that undermined the official story on the Iraq War and Afghanistan. He got Debbie Wasserman-Schultz fired from the DNC. He humiliated Hillary Clinton by showing that the Democratic primaries were, in fact, rigged. Pretty much everyone in Washington has reason to hate Julian Assange.

Rather than just admit that straightforwardly – that he made us look like buffoons, so now we’re sending him to prison — instead, they’re denouncing him as, you guessed it, a Russian agent. “Justice should come to Julian Assange for his role in Russian meddling in our election and the sooner the better,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.


Okay, so once again, just to be totally clear, no one has ever shown that Julian Assange is a Russian agent. The indictment against him does not say that; t doesn’t mention Russia at all. But that has not stopped virtually every politician in Washington from repeating Senator Blumenthal’s line, including many Republicans. Robert Mueller nearly killed the Russia collusion hoax. Julian Assange is allowing them to keep it alive.

You’d think journalists would say something about this. Assange is, after all, one of them. What do you call a man who publishes news for a living? Assange is no sleazier than many journalists in Washington; he’s definitely not more anti-American. He’s broken stories the New York Times would have won Pulitzers for. And yet many of his colleagues have disowned him.

So why all the hostility to Julian Assange? Assange’s real sin was preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

“Oh, please,” wrote Alexia Campbell of Vox. “Assange is no journalist. We know who he works for. ” (Meaning Russia.) “Julian Assange is not a journalist,” explained Jelani Cobb of the New Yorker, without actually explaining. Ken Dilanian of NBC, who doesn’t so much cover the national security state as he writes memos on its behalf, noted that, “Many believe that if Assange ever was a journalist, those days ended a long time ago.”

At NBC when they tell you “many believe” something, it means they believe it.

So why all the hostility to Julian Assange? Assange’s real sin was preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president. Former Democratic staffer and current CNN anchor Jim Sciutto explained it this way: “He is central to several cases. He is central to Russian interference in the election. The U.S. intelligence views him as a middleman, a cutout that he was in effect part of this interference. He’s central to questions about what the Trump administration or Trump campaign, I should say, knew prior to the release of those materials, right? What were the communications between Roger Stone, et cetera? It’s possible that this has something President Trump himself is not particularly excited about.”

It’s remarkable to watch this. It’s bewildering, actually. There was a time, not so long ago, really, when reporters didn’t applaud the arrest of other journalists for publishing information.

In 1971, the Washington Post and the New York Times published a trove of stolen classified documents about the Vietnam War. It was called the Pentagon Papers. Remember that? Liberals loved it. Books were written celebrating their bravery.

As recently as 2011, the Washington Post saw the connection: “A conviction of Julian Assange would also cause collateral damage to American media freedoms.” A Post op-ed said that year, “It is difficult to distinguish Assange or Wikileaks from the Washington Post.” And that’s true. But that was before the Trump election and the total war that followed, a war in which the media have definitively chosen a side.

Press freedom? Sure, as long as we agree with your politics. The First Amendment? Well, that all depends. Who did you vote for?

The guardians of speech or now the enemies of speech. The people charged with policing power are now colluding with power. There’s a reason you see John Brennan on NBC all the time. They’re all on the same team now.

We’re not saying any of this to defend Julian Assange. We just want to be absolutely clear about who hurts this country more — and it’s not him.

Adapted from Tucker Carlson’s monologue from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on April 11, 2019.

Tucker Carlson currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Tucker Carlson Tonight (weekdays 8PM/ET). He joined the network in 2009 as a contributor.
— Read on www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-assanges-real-sin-was-preventing-hillary-clinton-from-becoming-president

What is the Meaning of the Cross? — Cold Case Christianity

When I first became interested in examining the Gospels as eyewitness accounts, I really had no interest in Jesus as God. I was willing to survey and consider the wisdom of Jesus as an ancient sage, but nothing more. Once I was convinced these Gospel accounts were reliable, however, I knew I had to reconsider my naturalistic presuppositions. If Jesus truly rose from the grave, He was more than a wise sage. In those early months of my investigation, I eventually embraced “belief that”; I was convinced that the Gospels were telling me the truth about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But I still didn’t have “belief in” Jesus as Savior. In fact, I can remember asking my wife if she knew why Jesus had to die on the cross to as part of God’s plan of Salvation. Although she had grown up as a cultural Catholic, she was unable to provide an answer.

I then began a second investigation; this time examining both the history and theology of the cross. Although the symbol of the cross appears in much pagan history prior to Jesus, the crucifixion cross described in the Gospels was a real, historical method of execution. As an instrument of death, the cross was detested by the Jews, so it became a stumbling block for them when considering Jesus. How could the Messiah be executed on a cross? The Greek and Roman Empire executed thousands of criminals and captives in this manner (Alexander the Great executed two thousand Tyrian captives on crosses after the fall of Tyre). This form of punishment was usually reserved for criminals guilty of such crimes as treason, desertion, robbery, piracy, and assassination. It continued to be used in the Roman Empire until the era of Constantine, when it was eventually abolished as an insult to Christianity.

Even though I became convinced the Gospels accurately described Jesus’ death on the cross, I still had many questions. How could God allow this type of horrific death to occur to His only Son? Why did Jesus have to die on the cross in the first place? What did he do deserving this kind of death? The Bible provides a path to the answers as we trace how the authors used the word and described the cross as an instrument of our Salvation:

The Cross Reconciles (Pays) Our Debt
The Bible acknowledges an important truth: all sin must be punished. God is just, and justice requires wrongs to be punished. We know this is true, even in our temporal experience as humans. When we break human laws, we expect to be punished in some way, and this punishment is proportionate to the authority we’ve offended. When we break our parent’s rules, we received one level of punishment; when we break the laws of the federal government, the punishment is appropriately harsher. God also has a set of Holy laws (called “Commandments”). When we violate these laws we offend the greatest of all authorities. Justice must be satisfied if God is to remain just, and the Bible reminds us of the gravity of our violation: our sin is punishable by death. The cross provides a solution, however, and demonstrates the mercyof God, even as it accomplishes His justice. The cross is the place where Jesus (God) paid the price for us, and in doing so, He offered us a way to be united to God, in spite of our moral imperfection:

Ephesians 2:14-16
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

The Cross is Where God Does All the Work
If we could pay our own penalty we would eventually become proud and boastful, and this confidence would ultimately incline us toward independence from (rather than dependency on) God. Maybe that’s why God does all the work here. In the end, His effort to save us is all we can ever boast about, and that’s in our best interest. We typically worship whatever we boast about, and whatever we worship becomes our “god”. Those who believe they can earn their Salvation through their own good works establish themselves as their own savior (their own “god”). This is the supreme form of idolatry, and it completely denies the role God plays in our Salvation. Christianity is the one religious worldview describing salvation as a “free gift”. Unlike every other “works-based” theistic worldview, Christianity describes God alone as the all-powerful author and solitary provider of our Salvation. God’s work on the cross is the central focus of our faith and the only thing in which we can boast:

Galatians 6:12-16
Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.

The Cross Demonstrates the Power of God to Save Us
The cross is the ultimate demonstration of God’s power. As I learned about Jesus in the New Testament, I became convinced He was precisely who (and what) the Gospel authors claimed. But my “belief that” required an additional step to become “belief in”. The more I learned about me in the New Testament, the more I understood my imperfection and my need for a Savior. To a world convinced of its own excellence and autonomy, this most certainly seems nonsensical, and I also found it confusing (and, in some ways, insulting). When I began to recognize my flaws and see myself accurately, however, my belief that Jesus was God ultimately led to my trust in Him as Savior. The cross isn’t reasonable to those who still deny their need or to those who don’t understand the all-encompassing mercy and justice of God:

1 Corinthians 1:17-19
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel-not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Christians ought to recognize the cross is a symbol of God’s supremacy; the cross reconciles our debt and demonstrates the role and power of God to save us.
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Most of my family members are either atheists or Mormons. No one in either group wears a cross. The atheists, failing to appreciate their need for a Savior and seeing themselves as autonomous and worthy, reject God’s offer of Salvation as unnecessary. The Mormons, entrenched in a “works-based” theology in which their own efforts at “goodness” account for their Salvation, reject the solitary, all-encompassing power of the cross. Christians, however, ought to recognize the cross is a symbol of God’s supremacy; the cross reconciles our debt and demonstrates the role and power of God to save us.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Apologetics at Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

via What is the Meaning of the Cross? — Cold Case Christianity

What Is the Gospel? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Many Christians, churches, and organizations regularly use the word gospel to describe their convictions. Theological controversies have occurred and do occur over the meaning of the gospel and who preaches it faithfully. What does that familiar word gospel mean? The best way to answer that question is to turn to the Bible.

In the Greek New Testament, the noun euangelion(“gospel”) appears just over seventy times. Since, in one sense, the whole New Testament is about the gospel, we might have expected the word to have been used more frequently. Even more surprisingly, its use varies greatly among the authors of the New Testament books. Paul uses the word more than three times as often as all the other authors combined. Most of the other uses are found in Matthew and Mark, with very few, if any, in Luke, John, Peter, and James.

The word gospel most simply means “good news.” The word is not unique to the Christian message, but it was also used in the pagan world to refer to a good announcement. In the New Testament, it refers to the good news of Jesus the Savior. Often, it is used with the assumption that the reader knows what the word means.

As we look more closely at the ways in which gospel is used in the New Testament, several points come through strongly. First, we often find the phrase “the gospel of God.” This phrase stresses the source of the gospel as a gift from God. The gospel is of divine, not human, origin. Second, the character of the gospel is specified in several ways: the gospel is true (Gal. 2:5, 14; Col. 1:5), gracious (Acts 20:24), and glorious (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Tim. 1:11). Third, we see two responses to the gospel. The primary response is faith (Acts 15:7; Eph. 1:13). But obedience is also a response (1 Peter 4:7; Rom. 1:5; 10:16; 16:26; 2 Thess. 1:8).

(Paul’s use of the idea of the obedience of faith in Romans has an element of irony as he responds to those who have accused him of antinomianism, being against the law.) Fourth, we see several results of the gospel. The gospel, of course, brings salvation (Rom. 1:16; Eph. 1:13). It also brings the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35, 24:14). It evokes hope in the people of God (Col. 1:23). The gospel is also a motivation to sanctification (Mark 8:35; 10:29; 2 Cor. 9:13; Eph. 6:15; Phil. 1:27).

All of these ways in which the word gospel is used point to its content, but there are also passages in the New Testament that are explicit as to its content. In examining these texts, we discover that sometimes the word gospelrefers broadly to all aspects of the salvation and new life that Jesus gives His people, and sometimes it is used narrowly to refer to what Jesus does for us outside of us. In other words, sometimes the term gospel refers broadly to Jesus’ work of justification and sanctification for and in His people, and sometimes it refers narrowly to Jesus’ work of justification. Another way of putting this distinction is that sometimes the word gospel refers broadly to all the New Testament fulfillment of what was promised in the Old Testament, and sometimes the term gospel is used narrowly of Jesus’ doing in contrast to our doing of the Law.

An example of the broader sense of the word gospel can be seen in Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” This use of the word gospel seems to refer to everything that Mark tells us about the teaching and work of Jesus. We see another broad use in Revelation 14:6–7:

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Here the gospel is the call to repent and worship God.

More often, the term gospel is used narrowly and its content is specified. We see this in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

Here, the gospel is the message of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus.

In another place, Paul writes of “the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted,” and he specifies what that gospel is:

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Tim. 1:11, 15–16)

Here, the gospel is the saving work of Christ for sinners.

Paul writes similarly in 2 Timothy:

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. . . . Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel. (2 Tim. 1:8–10; 2:8)

This narrow use of the word gospel was very common in the writings of the sixteenth-century Reformers. We can see this in the thought of John Calvin:

The word of faith is put by metonymy [using the name of one concept for another concept to which it is related] for the word of promise, i.e. for the Gospel itself, since it is related to faith. The contrast between law and Gospel is to be understood, and from this distinction we deduce that, just as the law demands work, the Gospel requires only that men should bring faith in order to receive the grace of God.

It is also clear in Zacharias Ursinus. Near the beginning of his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Ursinus divides all of doctrine into law and gospel:

The doctrine of the church consists of two parts: the Law, and the Gospel; in which we have comprehended the sum and substance of the sacred Scriptures. The law is called the Decalogue, and the gospel is the doctrine concerning Christ the mediator, and the free remission of sins, through faith.

Such reflections on the gospel have remained common in Reformed theology, as we see from this long, fascinating quotation from the great Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck:

But the word of God, both as law and gospel, is the revelation of the will of God, the promulgation of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. . . . Although in a broad sense the terms “law” and “gospel” can indeed be used to denote the old and the new dispensation of the covenant of grace, in their actual significance they definitely describe two essentially different revelations of divine will [Bavinck here cites many New Testament proof texts]. . . . In these texts law and gospel are contrasted as demand and gift, as command and promise, as sin and grace, as sickness and healing, as death and life . . . . The law proceeds from God’s holiness, the gospel from God’s grace; the law is known from nature, the gospel only from special revelation; the law demands perfect righteousness, but the gospel grants it; the law leads people to eternal life by works, and the gospel produces good works from the riches of the eternal life granted in faith; the law presently condemns people, and the gospel acquits them; the law addresses itself to all people, and the gospel only to those who live within its hearing.

How clear, distinct, biblical, and precious is this presentation of the gospel.

The church needs to preach the gospel in both its broad and narrow senses. The Greek word for gospel has given the English-speaking world the word evangelism. True evangelism, according to the Great Commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28:18–20, is a matter of making disciples: first, in the narrow sense of calling men and women to believe in Jesus and, second, in the broad sense of teaching them to observe all things that Jesus has taught His people. For the sake of the gospel, let’s all promote true evangelism.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk maga

via What Is the Gospel? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

12 APRIL 365 Days with Calvin

Finding Blessing in Trouble

And am I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? the Lord said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it. Isaiah 36:10

suggested further reading: Amos 9

Rabshakeh warns Hezekiah, King of Judah, that it is useless to assemble his forces and to make other warlike preparations against the attack of Assyria. For Hezekiah is not contending with a mortal man, but with God himself, at whose suggestion (not his own) the King of Assyria is attacking Judah. Therefore those who oppose the King of Assyria will fight against God, and all their efforts will be useless.

From this we ought to learn that, however earnestly we may be devoted to godliness, and however faithfully we may labor to advance the kingdom of Christ, we cannot expect to be free from every annoyance. Rather, we ought to be prepared to endure very heavy afflictions.

The Lord does not always recompense our piety with earthly rewards. Indeed, it would be exceedingly unsuitable for us to possess abundant wealth and enjoy outward peace and see that everything proceeds according to our wishes. For the world reckons even wicked men to be happy on the ground that they do not endure bad health or adversity, are free from the pressure of poverty, and have nothing to disturb them. In this respect, our condition would not differ at all from that of the reprobate.

Consider the example of Hezekiah, who labored with all his might to restore religion and the true worship of God, yet endured calamities so heavy and violent that he was not far from despair. We ought to constantly place this example before our eyes so that, even when we think we have discharged our duty, we may nevertheless be prepared to endure conflicts and troubles of every kind. We should then not be disturbed if enemies gain an advantage at the onset, as if all at once they would swallow us up.

for meditation: The example of Hezekiah is a powerful corrective to the “health and wealth” gospel that is common today. Such a gospel can only bring disillusionment when troubles and trials come, as they almost always do. Our assurance of God’s favor must rest in something other than external blessings—it must rest in Christ.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 121). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

So About that James MacDonald-Ed Stetzer Bribery Car…

I should’ve written about this days ago, or had someone on my staff write about it, but I’ve been busy with the new webcast set-up (it looks awesome, by the way) and preparing our church’s disaster trailer to haul off to do its thing this flood season. Thankfully, Julie Roys was on it, who is – by the way – one of two women I never want mad at me (the other is Janet Mefferd). I admire them both; they are tenacious. 

As you know, I’ve had a bit of an axe to grind with Ed Stetzer since the days of #The15 when – as an executive at Lifeway – he was given lots of advance notice that Alex Malarkey’s book, The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, was false and yet he chose to keep it on the shelves. Even after we released email correspondence demonstrating that Stetzer was asked to pull it by the family, he sided with mammon, chided the messenger, and continued to sell it. When we broke the story worldwide, Stetzer and Lifeway lied and claimed they never knew it was false. 

And you know me…once I grind an axe it’s hard to stop grinding. 

So unless you’ve been under a rock (or only read Christian media that has a vested interest in keeping celebrity scandals under wraps), you know that James MacDonald’s empire collapsed and his pyramid-scheme of a kingdom has buried him in a pile of bad press. This is, in effect, due to the reporting of Julie Roys and another blog, The Elephant’s Debt. 

But what caught my attention the other day is when Dee at the Wartburg Watch posted an article about Ed Stetzer receiving a ‘free’ car from MacDonald, which was apparently not free at all to MacDonald’s church, which is tens of millions of dollars in debt. 

Days after previously reporting that Stetzer had allegedly received a car from MacDonald (and his church), Stetzer went on to reluctantly admit it.

That a megachurch pastor would lavish gifts upon his Evangelical Intelligentsiacelebrity friends is hardly a scandal, as it happens all the time. It’s just part of the good old boys’ club that greases the wheels that make the evangelical machine go ’round. 

When I put pressure upon Stetzer during #the15, he called my friend Phil Johnson, several of my more prominent blogger friends, and even spoke on the phone with one of my family members with whom he had a loose acquaintance, to try to get me and “minions” to back off. Stetzer didn’t want resolution, he just wanted the scandal to go away and thought he could make it go away by the sheer power of his charisma. Making scandals disappear is something these people do.

However, what is a scandal is that Stetzer is a contributing editor of Christianity Today, the de facto publication of the Evangelical Industrial Complex that serves as the spearhead of the liberalization of American Christianity and the gutter through which the sewer that most evangelical scandal flows. 

Roys reports:

Mark Galli, editor in chief for Christianity Today, told me that Stetzer was willing to meet with Galli and me to discuss the issue. Galli added that he did not want to discourage me from reporting on the gift to Stetzer, but said he didn’t see a story there. I insisted that any meeting with Stetzer be on the record, and Galli emailed Monday, saying Stetzer was “not comfortable meeting on the record.”

The scandal here is that Christianity Today provided suppressing cover for MacDonald during his scandals and seemed to be the last major Christian publication to be willing to (reluctantly) cover his collapse. In fact, Christianity Today played a role in trying to do damage control and public relations (I know no better term to describe it), trying to negotiate between MacDonald and those he was suing for exposing him. Furthermore, Christianity Today published MacDonald’s article on why it’s Biblical to sue other Christians, which almost everybody at the time thought was really weird (and wrong) to say the least, especially given its timing. 

As Roys notes, “According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Code of Ethics, journalists should “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.” They should “refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment . . . that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.”

Christianity Today tried to claim to Roys that just because Stetzer is a managing editor of the publication, it doesn’t mean he works for them, because he’s a writer on his own sub-blog and not a “journalist.” 

[Insert smile]

I just want to point out that people writing for Christianity Today are not necessarily journalists (only according to Christianity Today), but “bloggers” like Julie Roys clearly are journalists. Score one for “bloggers.” 

However, Roys pointed out that Christianity Today pays the Billy Graham Center – which employs Stetzer – a monthly fee for letting them use Stetzer’s ‘services.’ The money, no doubt, is used to compensate Stetzer.

Here are the established facts so far:

  1. Ed Stetzer works for Christianity Today and is hugely influential at the publication.
  2. The publication was in the hip-pocket of James MacDonald after nearly everyone else had abandoned him due to his own unrepentant misdeeds.
  3. Ed Stetzer was given a car by James MacDonald, along with a bunch of cash and other things that Roys documents in her reporting. 

The whole crooked machine needs to be brought down. And Stetzer is a huge, huge part of the crooked machine.

A Christian leader, according to 1 Timothy 3:3, should not be “greedy for filthy lucre.” 

A guy who will sell books by a quadriplegic teenager who was begging him to stop because the story with his name attached was false – and chose to keep selling it anyway – is the kind of guy who would happily take a car and 15 thousand in cash to provide PR and bury scandals in the press.

[Publisher’s Note: My favorite part about Dee’s article was Joe Thorn doing his darndest to defend Stetzer to the Wartburg Watch. Lol. – JD Hall]
— Read on pulpitandpen.org/2019/04/11/so-about-that-james-macdonald-ed-stetzer-bribery-car/

Jordan Peterson: The MLK of the 21st Century…but better.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a thought leader, a civil rights activist, and an icon. King, although articulate and pivotal, was not necessarily essential to the Civil Rights Movement even though he was central to it. Others came before him and stood beside him to free mankind from the tyranny of discrimination and remnants of an age of slavery gone by. While countless others preached the same message – some white and some black – King became emblematic of the movement, a banner, a legend in his own time, larger than life and much bigger in myth than in person. But he was, there is no doubt, the signage and signpost of an important ideological movement.

King understood people, and in a highly religious society where 73% of Americans attended church (compared to 17.7% today), King frequently cited the Bible. He was, after all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. King was ordained by the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on February 18th, 1948. 

In spite of King’s ordination and his theological education at Crozer Theological Seminary (or perhaps because of it), King never embraced the religion of Jesus. While at Crozer, he became enamored with the teachings of Walter Rauschenbusch, who is arguably the founder of the Social Gospel, which he said, “left an indelible imprint on my thinking.” 

Although like Rauschenbusch, King used Christianity as a means for social change, King never embraced Christ’s theology. King denied the Virgin Birth, denied Scriptural inerrancy, and denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus. King often referenced these things in civil rights speeches, but only in a metaphorical sense. This can be easily researched by yourself, however, here’s a paper from King denying the Virgin Birth and calling the Resurrection “historically and philosophically untenable.” From start to finish, King denied the fundamentals of Christianity, practicing a liberation and social-gospel theology. 

Surely that paper from King on the subject (hyperlinked above) should suffice as a primary source in King’s own words of his Socinian-like denials of all the doctrinal fundamentals of Christianity. 

As the Christian Research Institute notes:

In 1985, Coretta Scott King asked Stanford professor Clayborne Carson to become the head of The King Papers Project, tasked to publish fourteen volumes of King’s papers to preserve his work.  The papers’ dates range from 1948 to 1963. Around 1996, Mrs. King gave Carson a box with papers that affirmed King’s doubts about whether the Bible was literally true: “King didn’t believe the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale was true, for example, or that John the Baptist actually met Jesus, according to texts detailed in the King papers book. King once referred to the Bible as ‘mythological’ and also doubted whether Jesus was born to a virgin, Carson said.”

In addition to not being a Christian (if by that term we mean someone who is converted and born-again), King was morally destitute on a personal level. 

Aside from his work often being filled with plagiarism (according to the New York Times) – including the dissertation in which he denied Jesus – King was a sexual libertine. 

It was reported by many people (even supporters and fellow pastors) surrounding King that he was a grossly sexually immoral man. The recent JFK Files released by the National Archives from an FBI dossier indicates that King had many sexual trysts outside of marriage and likely fathered a “love child” (according to the New York Daily News). Some sources indicate as much as four long-term affairs. 

However, aside from ‘affairs,’ King also engaged in prostitution and orgies with both men and women. The Washington Examiner reports the FBI dossier says that King engaged in ‘orgies,’ including at least one two-day orgy in Washington D.C. with members of both sex. 

Some are hesitant to believe a U.S. Intelligence Agency because of a conspiratorial agenda that supposedly targeted Dr. King. It is unlikely that a misinformation campaign was intended by the FBI, however, because the documents were sealed and kept private until 2017. 

When the FBI dossier was released, however, it surprised no biographers of King who well-knew his penchant for adultery. 

King’s close confidant and best of friends, Ralph Abernathy, wrote a tell-all book in 1989 entitled And the Walls came Falling Down in which he explained King’s sexual immorality and proclivity for adultery. The only push-back from King historians to Abernathy’s book seems to be mostly related to his claim that King slept with white women as well as black women (which seems an odd hang-up to have). 

Other documents, including audio recordings that demonstrate King’s sexual immorality, are set to be released in the year 2027. Judge John Lewis Smith, when he became aware of the tapes and their contents in 1977, declared that they be sealed for 50 years. Many attempts have been made over the years to get around the judge’s order (including U.S. Senators who are aware of their contents) but have thus far been unable. 

In spite of the fact that King denied all the fundamentals of Christian doctrine and in spite of the fact that he failed at following some of the fundamentals of Christian virtues, King assisted an important ideological movement that would enshrine in U.S. law the full legal protection of all citizens. 

I recently compared MLK to Jordan Peterson in my post, “The Gospel Coalition Attacks Jordan Peterson.” My comment was:

Peterson, who calls himself a “pragmatic Christian,” claims to follow the teachings of Jesus as best he understands them and holds that the First Century rabbi’s moral philosophy forms a superior and worthy ethos to live a virtuous life. Peterson, however, denies the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the resurrection (in other words, he’s no more a Christian than was Martin Luther King, Jr). Friends of mine who are close to Peterson believe he is open to the religion of Jesus, but as of yet he has only embraced the ethics of Jesus.

Some were incensed that I compared the openly secular philosophy of Jordan Peterson to the theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. On the fundamentals of the faith, however, they are identical. Neither affirm the plenary inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, or the resurrection. 

Peterson, however, seems to be a morally upright man and has taken to the virtues of the Christian religion far better than the adulterer, King. 

Unfortunately for Peterson, we are saved by grace through faith and not grace through virtues. 

Peterson, similar to MLK, leads another important ideological movement. Jordan Peterson, who The Social Gospel Coalition snidely referred to as a High Priest for our Secular Age is a thought-leader with a meteoric rise just as sudden as Martin Luther King when he first became noticed on the national scene in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

Peterson is a clinical psychologist from Canada who was born in 1962, the same year King met with President John F. Kennedy in the White House. Peterson is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life and his Youtube channel has over a million subscribers. Even evangelicals are finding it hard to ignore Peterson, who does not premise his philosophies upon the Bible, but yet frequently cites the Good Book as frequently as did Dr. King (see hereherehereherehere, and an HT to Joe Carter for the links). Even The Social Gospel Coalition – although not likening Peterson to King, who they venerate – have likened him to Francis Shaeffer, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century. 

Peterson’s movement is not altogether unlike Martin Luther King’s. The intellectual work of both men assert innate equality of all men. Both believe that men should be ultimately free to think and speak the content of their conscience. Both men were vilified during their times for doing little more than espousing their convictions.

In fact, Martin Luther King would have stood united against the Social Justice Warriors today who practice Critical Race Theory. Both men believe, as MLK said, we should “judge a man by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.” 

In this respect, Peterson is far closer to Dr. King on how we are to view ethnicity than ‘woke’ evangelicals who spoke recently at the MLK50 event, who have metaphorically defecated upon the grave of King by insisting that people be viewed in respect to their race. 

Peterson, like King, is focused upon the liberation and freedom of humankind. King, who was arrested numerous times for exercising his First Amendment liberties, surely would have agreed with Peterson’s words in the video below.

Peterson and King both share the same battle; human liberation from oppression of thought and the protection of human rights.

Ultimately, little is different between the two men. 

Both men have used the Bible to make their arguments, while denying its inspiration. Both deny essential Christian doctrines. Both have used their life work to fight for human equality and liberty. 

However, only one of these men is venerated by the evangelical left, and it happens to be the one who was a whoremonger. 

[Contributed by JD Hall]
— Read on pulpitandpen.org/2019/04/11/jordan-peterson-the-mlk-of-the-21st-century-but-better/

Questions Real Journalists Would Ask Obama and Hillary – The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH: If there were real journalism in America today, there would be questions right now that these real journalists would really want to ask people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, such as, “President Obama, were you made aware of spying on the Trump campaign while you were in office?”

“President Obama, are you shocked at the possibility of spying on a political campaign in post-Watergate America?”  “President Obama, are you supportive of Attorney General Barr’s efforts to fully investigate the reasons for this spying?”  “President Obama, if FISA courts were deceived in any way by your FBI, would you characterize that as a scandal — and, if not, how would you characterize it?”  “President Obama, when you said that you learned about Hillary Clinton’s secret email server by reading about it in the papers, were you being honest, sir?

“Because we know that you sent her emails on that server knowing full-fledged that it had an address that was outside the State Department.” “President Obama, looking back, are you shocked that the secretary of state would create and maintain a private, poorly secured email server that processed top secret documents for her entire term?”  “President Obama, was President Trump correct in his assessment that he was surveilled by your administration?”

Now, for Mrs. Clinton — and you might even think of some better ones for Obama. “Mrs. Clinton, when did you first read the Steele dossier that you paid for?”  “Mrs. Clinton, what was your reaction when you saw BuzzFeed actually publish the dossier despite their admission that it had not been verified or corroborated?  Did you feel successful?”  “As a former first lady, senator, and secretary of state, you are familiar with investigative reports from intelligence agencies.  Were you fooled by the information in the Steele dossier?  Did you believe what was in the Steele dossier?

“Did you pay for what you knew was not verifiable or corroborate-able in the Steele dossier?”  “Who in your organization gave the Perkins Coie law firm the assignment to secure the dossier from Fusion GPS, and were you aware of the assignment?” “If the FBI, DOJ, CIA, and Director of National Intelligence abused their powers, spying on and undermining the Trump campaign, transition, and presidency, would you condemn those actions?”

“Mrs. Clinton, are you at all worried that the Steele dossier can be tied to your campaign and that it was thus knowingly used to secure four fraudulent FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, or did you feel like it was an eminently successful political operation?”  I have to take a break.  There are obviously a plethora of questions you could create.  But the point is, there isn’t one ounce of curiosity from any reporter anywhere (in the Drive-By side of things) in any of this.
— Read on www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2019/04/11/questions-real-journalists-would-ask-obama-and-hillary/

April 12, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

8. Taste and see that Jehovah is good. In this verse the Psalmist indirectly reproves men for their dulness in not perceiving the goodness of God, which ought to be to them more than matter of simple knowledge. By the word taste he at once shows that they are without taste; and at the same time he assigns the reason of this to be, that they devour the gifts of God without relishing them, or through a vitiated loathing ungratefully conceal them. He, therefore, calls upon them to stir up their senses, and to bring a palate endued with some capacity of tasting, that God’s goodness may become known to them, or rather, be made manifest to them. The words literally rendered are, Taste and see, for the Lord is good; but the particle כי, ki, for, is taken exegetically. David’s meaning, therefore, is, that there is nothing on the part of God to prevent the godly, to whom he particularly speaks in this place, from arriving at the knowledge of his goodness by actual experience. From this it follows, that they also are infected with the common malady of dulness. This doctrine is confirmed by the promise immediately added, Blessed is the man who trusteth in him; for God never disappoints the expectations of those who seek his favour. Our own unbelief is the only impediment which prevents him from satisfying us largely and bountifully with abundance of all good things.[1]

O taste (v. 8)

We associate taste with pleasure and satisfaction. The psalmist here calls for his readers to taste the goodness of God. Matthew Henry says: ‘Let God’s goodness be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel.’[2]

34:8 Experiencing God’s goodness anticipates the experience of goodness in Christ (1 Pet. 2:3).[3]

34:8 Taste and see Describes the act of trusting, fearing, and seeking Yahweh (compare note on v. 9).[4]

34:8 taste. The psalmist describes his personal experience of God’s goodness. After tasting God’s goodness in Christ, Peter alludes to this passage (1 Pet. 2:3).[5]

34:8 Taste can mean “judge” in the sense of determine for oneself (Pr 31:18). See most likely carries the same sense in order to reinforce the concept.[6]

[1] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 563–564). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Ellsworth, R. (2006). Opening up Psalms (p. 102). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 978). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 34:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 765). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[6] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 847). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

The Illegal, Unjust Trials of Jesus, Part 2 | Grace to You: Radio Podcast

There’s only ever been one person put on trial who was absolutely and perfectly innocent. That person, of course, is Jesus Christ, and His trial is the topic of John MacArthur’s study today on “Grace to You.”