Daily Archives: April 17, 2019

The Powerful Appeal of Social Justice Issues — Founders Ministries

In June 1990, the “Social Justice and Peacemaking Unit of the General Assembly Council, Presbyterian Church (USA)” published a journal entitled Hate Crime in America. It constituted the May/June edition of Church and Society, published bi-monthly “to provide a forum for the church on subjects of social concern for Christians.” Its “Farewell Issue” was published in July/August 2006. In the June 1990 issue, they spoke of the subtle, and not-so-subtle, power and presence of racism in American society. “The sin of racism of the society and church in which we participate is that which places an uncritical priority on being white and speaking English. . . . White racism is a special curse of our society.” Their purpose, in addition to giving an alarm as to the necessity of doing something bold and direct against personal and institutionalized racism, was to identify four groups, and a few tributaries, that identify themselves in terms of white supremacy: the Christian Identity movement, Skinheads, Neo-Nazis, and a sprinkling of material about the Ku Klux Klan. They also give awareness of the purpose and policy of the White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and the Posse Comitatus.

The research done was breathtaking, for not only did they look at the writings and the court cases involving these groups, they went to their own turf and interviewed the leaders in a strikingly candid way. Hatred of black and brown people is matched by insidious and philosophically-grounded anti-Semitism. Quoting a 1981 statement of the PCUSA, they noted, “Whereas it was once assumed that racial injustice was merely a function of overcoming individual attitudes and bigotry, it is now clear that racism also exists in complex and subtle institutional ways.” The report points out that some of the self-styled white supremacy of these groups has been brought on by some rotten social situations, radical economic policy shifts, poor national farm policy, and failure to deal with immigration reform (this is 1990!). But more than all of that, the committee surmised that “the white supremacist movement shows the underbelly of our national life and its subterranean racism.” Their assumption in doing the study is an assumption that all Christians should share: “Racism will not fly away as a bad dream on awakening. It is a malignant presence in church and society. It is destructive. It hurts people. It must be contested. And it will not be defeated easily.”

A more subtle and sinister theme, however, is that the most egregious sin [“the special curse of our society”] Christians must point out layer by layer is virtually unknowable to those who commit it [the “subterranean racism” of our national life]. The destructive sin of humanity to be opposed by Christians is concentrated in whiteness [“the sin . . . is that which places an uncritical priority on being white”]. This isolation of sin to a specific manifestation of corrupt pride and to a single racial group ignores the biblical emphasis of the absolute pervasiveness of sin to all of humanity and that the greatest of all sin from which flows every other species of sin is the intrinsic unbelief of our hearts. “God has consigned all to an unbelieving disobedience, that he may have mercy on all” (Romans 11:32). “For there is no difference or distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace, given freely and undeservedly, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24).

Along the way, the report lamented that many “serious efforts to combat racism” had resulted in economic backlash from Presbyterians who did not want money to be given to “the provision of legal assistance to Angela Davis.” Angela Davis was an eloquent and moving speaker, a self-professed communist, a member of the party until 1991, actively seeking a complete reorientation of the economic and political system of America. She was imprisoned on charges of conspiracy. She knew the four children who had been killed in the Birmingham bombing in a Baptist church on September 15, 1963, and grew up on dynamite hill and with the racism of Bull Connor controlling the civic life of Birmingham. She believed that all white people had a bedrock of racism as an intrinsic element of their social orientation. Even given the fact that some of the social changes for which she worked were right and carried a high degree of emotional connection, giving aid for her legal defense was not how many Presbyterians viewed the gospel mission of the church (more than 30 years ago, that is). It would only be so if the gospel was defined in terms of social justice, and if the elements of social justice as defined by her communist agendum were the same as biblical justice. For many, those two did not seem to coordinate.

Another aspect of the report, however, showed how far the PCUSA Council on Social Justice had moved from any idea of the exclusivity of the gospel and the necessity of trusting in the redeeming Person and Work of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation. All of that seems so other-worldly and disconnected from real issues that we confront every day, doesn’t it? It only increases in importance if it is true that “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment; so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27, 28). In combating Anti-Semitism the council declared, “Jews are our sisters and brothers in Christ, with whom we share the grace of God—they first, and we as the ones added later.” To oppose the Christian Identity movement in its anti-Semitic efforts to declare the holocaust a hoax, to stigmatize Jewish people as economic, political, and educational oppressors, and encourage violence against Jews is certainly a clear matter of just action. To make the solution, however, a denial of Jesus’ own claims and warnings he issued is not even close to a solution that will satisfy biblical Christianity: “But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John,” Jesus claimed. “For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:36-40). No such ideas or words would do in the search for social justice, for the kind of exclusivism they portray would seem to play right into the hands of the Christian Identity movement. And so, “Clearly, in seeking to repair the public perception of Jews and the relationship of Christians to Jews, [italics added] Presbyterians will be taking on Christian Identity and denying it easy access to any lingering gullibility of the general public. It will be hard but fruitful work.” To work for the obliteration of Anti-Semitism is not only commendable but necessary; to form a strategy that assumes the exclusivity of Christ and conscious trust in him is an element of the “lingering gullibility of the general public” is to deny the clear truths of divine revelation.

The last section of the bi-monthly journal discussed “At the Present Moment.” In this, the writers, expressing only “the opinion of the authors” according to introductory information, isolated several issues that were very important to White Supremacist groups. First, they pointed to the place of women. White Supremacists do not allow women “leadership functions” and glorify the roles of child-bearing and child rearing. They minimize the attraction of opulent careers in singleness for the sake of giving stability and increase to the Aryan race. There is not much news here, however, for “that is just about what men have always said women’s role is.” Women, in fact, are relatively unimportant in the white supremacist movement. Abortion also is a major concern. They believe that the white race is being targeted by Jews who control the abortion industry in America. A third issue of concern for the movement is immigration. They believe that immigration from the first arrival of an African slave on American soil, is the product of Jewish conspiracy against whites. The immigrants, though somewhat neutral pawns in the phenomenon, nevertheless, “hate white people, and envy them, and want to destroy them.” Another issue important to the white supremacist movement is homosexuality. “The white supremacist movement hates homosexuals.” There is an “extreme hyper-homophobia” that has resulted in violent acts against gays and lesbians. They believe that the “gay rights” movement is a “conspiratorial attempt to diminish, weaken, destroy the white race.”

Again, within these discussions, the researchers have pointed to actions and ideas that all Christians should oppose. Indeed, in light of a salvation that satisfies the perfect justice of God (Romans 3:26), what could be more central to the concerns of Christians than a true implementation of gospel/biblical justice among our fellow image-bearers? The undercurrent of the discussion, however, and the probable reason for selecting these particular issues, is the prominence they had then (as even now they continue to have) in matters of Social Justice. It is particularly intensified by the unifying aspects of intersectionality—the uniting of otherwise diverse oppressed groups under a common umbrella of seeking justice from the oppressive class. The oppressive group is constituted by white supremacist organizations in particular, but by the “subterranean” prejudices that are endemic to whiteness in general.

Christians of all hues and both genders who might have clear theological, biblical, and moral reasons not based on hate or an oppressive attitudes or pretensions to superiority on certain aspects of women’s political and social movements will be seen as sympathizers with white supremacists. Likewise, in considering abortion, including the supposed right of a woman over her own body, any opposition even when based based on relevant and substantial theological reasoning will be seen as establishing an alliance with the white supremacist movement. A clear presentation of exegetical reasons that homosexuality is sinful and is both an expression of and an object of divine judgment will be classified as arising from homophobic hate, again an extension of white supremacist attitudes with the added oppressive status of straightness. Any attempt to develop theories of immigration with some degree of urgency based on serious consideration of just and merciful measures will be seen as sympathetic with white supremacy.

Social justice tends to describe the gospel in terms of immediate cultural engagement with perceptions of justice as defined in political and sociological terms of equity between classes rather than personal responsibility before the moral law of God as displayed in the cross of Christ.  Thus, Christianity is social activism and Christian theologians are those who have been most successful in organizing social protest or supporting benevolent ministries. Liberation theologians of various intensities may be celebrated as the true prophets of the age irrespective of their views of the inspiration of Scripture, an orthodox view of the person of Christ, substitutionary atonement, or justification by faith. Charles Spurgeon noted that it was always easier to raise money for the orphanage than for training Christian ministers or the colportage society. Justice is defined in terms of social and economic equity and the defining points of justice in Christian revelation—the moral law, the atonement, and the final judgment—are gradually pressed to the perimeter and made marginally relevant to meaningful Christian ministry today.

via The Powerful Appeal of Social Justice Issues — Founders Ministries

Boom! Trump Accuses Obama FBI of Making 11 Payments to Fusion GPS Founder and Trump Hater Christopher Steele for Phony DNC Dossier — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump blasted the Obama FBI for making 11 payments to the “fake dossier’s discredited author, Trump-hater Christopher Steele.

Judicial Watch previously released evidence that Fusion GPS and founder Christopher Steele was paid 11 times for their work on the phony dossier.

The Clinton campaign also paid Fusion GPS for the fraudulent dossier that made its way to the top levels of the Obama deep state and was the only “evidence” used to spy on the Trump Campaign in the 2016 election.

via Boom! Trump Accuses Obama FBI of Making 11 Payments to Fusion GPS Founder and Trump Hater Christopher Steele for Phony DNC Dossier — The Gateway Pundit

Don’t be Shocked When Many ‘Christians’ Cheer the Criminalization of Christianity — Christian Research Network

“The number of supposedly Christian individuals whose moral compasses are calibrated to the spirit of the age rather than the authority of Scripture has become astounding.  Leaning on their own understanding, they choose the attributes of a god they want to worship, one who seems “worthy” of their worship, and they bow to it.  The God of Scripture is too narrow-minded.”

(Peter Heck – The Resurgent)  As I read the enraged responses from professing Christians at the news that Vice President Mike Pence would be the commencement speaker for Taylor University (a leading private, Christian institution located in tiny Upland, Indiana) I realized something.

Keep in mind that Pence has been one of the most outspoken Christian public servants in recent decades.  He makes no effort to hide his faith, acknowledging himself as, “A Christian, a conservative, and a Republican…in that order.”  Therefore, it is completely logical that a Christian institution would invite him to speak, in addition to the fact that he was a long-time Congressman from the Hoosier state, as well as its Governor, before ascending to the second highest office in the land.

The odds of students at Taylor University getting the opportunity to have a sitting U.S. Vice President deliver their commencement speech are minuscule at best.  To say this was a coup for University President Lowell Haines and the rest of his administration would be a gross understatement.  Haines announced the news by posting:

“Mr. Pence has been a good friend to the University over many years, and is a Christian brother whose life and values have exemplified what we strive to instill in our graduates.”

And that, the fact that a professing Christian, native Hoosier, and sitting Vice President would give the inaugural address at their school gave a number of alumni and current students the shakes.  No, seriouslyView article →

via Don’t be Shocked When Many ‘Christians’ Cheer the Criminalization of Christianity — Christian Research Network

April 17, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump has vetoed a congressional resolution that sought to end U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, the White House said on Tuesday.

The Trump administration will allow lawsuits in U.S. courts for the first time against foreign companies that use properties confiscated by Communist-ruled Cuba since Fidel Castro’s revolution six decades ago, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Myanmar began releasing more than 9,000 prisoners on Wednesday, with many drug offenders among the first to walk free, but just two political detainees, after the president declared an amnesty on the first day of the traditional New Year.

An array of U.S. companies have told the Trump administration that a citizenship question on the 2020 Census would harm business if it leads to an undercount of immigrants, undermining the data they use to place stores, plan inventory and plot ad campaigns.

Across the United States, drivers, regional operators and industry officials say the $700 billion U.S. trucking sector slipped in late 2018, with the fall continuing into this year. While the decline in freight rates and hauling does not suggest the United States is headed into a recession, that softness is consistent with slippage in the economy as a whole.

Handbags, tractors, shovels and fish are part of an 11-page list of U.S. imports worth $20 billion that the European Union on Wednesday said it could hit with tariffs in a transatlantic aircraft subsidy dispute.

China plans to gamble on the bulk deployment of its untested “Hualong One” nuclear reactor, squeezing out foreign designs, as it resumes a long-delayed nuclear program aimed at meeting its clean energy goals, government and industry officials said.

Satellite images from last week show movement at North Korea’s main nuclear site that could be associated with the reprocessing of radioactive material into bomb fuel, a U.S. think tank said.

The U.S. trade deficit fell to an eight-month low in February as imports from China plunged, suggesting President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda was starting to bear fruit.

AP Top Stories

At least 174 people have been killed and 758 wounded in the battle for control over the Libyan capital Tripoli, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

During a stop in San Bernardino, Gov. Gavin Newsom discussed his plans to add more money to the fight against homelessness.

Ecuador said on Monday it has suffered 40 million cyber-attacks on the webpages of public institutions since stripping WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of political asylum.

Syria and Iran said Tuesday the United States is waging “economic terrorism” against countries that have different opinions and should pursue its aims through diplomacy instead.

Hundreds of migrants are being held for days in a tent city at a Border Patrol station in a preview of what the Trump administration is reportedly considering to absorb a surge on the border.

In the latest of a seemingly endless string of high-profile hacks, Microsoft confirmed to TechCrunch over the weekend that a “limited” number of people who use Microsoft’s email platforms – including Outlook, MSN, and Hotmail – had their accounts compromised.

For about six months now, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has used her briefing room so little that officials might as well turn it back into the swimming pool it was more than a half century ago. But she’s not the only one who has abandoned this post. Apparently taking the lead from the White House, the Pentagon has gone more than 300 days since the last time an official spokesperson stood up and gave an on-camera briefing to the press. This is a critical failure by the Department of Defense, which should be able and willing to explain to taxpayers what they are doing with the nearly $700 billion that they are entrusted with each year.

The United States will push its allies at a meeting in Prague next month to adopt shared security and policy measures that will make it more difficult for China’s Huawei to dominate 5G telecommunications networks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday ordered makers of transvaginal surgical mesh implants to immediately stop their sale and distribution in the United States, the latest action by the agency to tackle safety issues related to the devices.

BBC

Schools throughout the city of Denver, Colorado have closed for the day as authorities search for an “extremely dangerous” woman. Sol Pais, 18, is reportedly obsessed with the 1999 Columbine high school massacre, in which two teenagers murdered 12 students and a teacher. The 20th anniversary of the attack is on 20 April. FBI agent Dean Phillips told reporters Ms Pais was a “credible threat to the community”. Authorities issued a security warning to schools throughout the Denver area late on Tuesday. Since then, a number of districts have announced closures, including Cherry Creek, Mapleton and Jefferson County.

The first shipment of humanitarian assistance from the international Red Cross is being distributed in Venezuela after it arrived on Tuesday. The shipment comes a few weeks after President Nicolás Maduro reached a deal with the group to deliver aid. The socialist president had previously repeatedly denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

Troubled Indian airline Jet Airways has temporarily suspended all its domestic and international flights after failing to find fresh funding.

WND

Chase Bank is shutting down accounts of people and organizations with controversial political views, according to an undercover investigation by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas.

A new poll reveals that less than half (46 percent) of the Christians in the United Kingdom believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the world’s sins.

A survey of 1,000 British children ages 6 to 12 found that one in five didn’t know apples grow on trees, while more than 9 in 10 weren’t aware that bananas or strawberries came from plants.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Apr. 17, 2019

The Foundation

“Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

Dems Are Approaching Civil War

With nearly half of Democrats supporting socialism, Pelosi attempts to reign in the party’s extreme left.


Sanders ‘Paid the Taxes I Owe,’ Not Rate He Demands

Millionaire Bernie blasts the wealthy for not paying their “fair share.”


Dems Enraged at Trump’s Plan to Send Illegals to Sanctuary Cities

Regardless of whether this threat is enacted, it exposes the Left’s rank hypocrisy.


Keep the Coast Guard Close to Home

While the Navy is short on ships, a USCG cutter is in the Taiwan Strait for exercises.


Political Schizophrenia

The black community votes for the very platform, policies, and political party abusing it.


Video: Greetings From the Sanctuary State

Wonderful people on one hand, and criminal resource hogs on the other.


Video: Jobless Claims Plunge Near 50-Year Low

GOP tax cuts spark an economic recovery. Democrats are hardest hit.



Today’s Opinion

Ben Shapiro
Criticism of Ilhan Omar Isn’t Incitement
Star Parker
Liberal Hypocrisy About Sanctuary Cities
Byron York
Five Arguments the Mueller Report Won’t Settle
Michelle Malkin
Questions for Chase (Away) Bank
Walter E. Williams
Some Things to Ponder
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

Trump veto, Yuma under siege, terrorists exploit borders, Notre Dame update, Planned Parenthood coercion, and more.


Wednesday Short Cuts

Belly laugh of the week: “We have no taint of [anti-Semitism] in the Democratic Party.” —Nancy Pelosi



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

News – 4/17/2019

12 French churches attacked before Notre Dame inferno
‘I don’t know if a worker accident or a radical Muslim set the fire’ With the recent desecration of a dozen Catholic churches in France in just one week, investigators will not rule out the possibility of arson.

News Corp CEO condemns ‘professional liberals’ in media; slams tech giants
News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson, in a wide-ranging speech Tuesday night, took aim at the media’s apparent mocking of Middle America and The New York Times’ “muck-spreading,” while ramping up his criticism of big tech companies.

Passover Seder to be held in Warsaw Ghetto for first time in 76 years
For the first time since the Warsaw ghetto was liquidated during World War II and all its residents were killed or deported to death camps, one hundred Diaspora Jewish families will celebrate a Passover Seder in the ghetto, along with the Rabbi of the local Lubavitch Jewish community and his family.

EU rejects Israeli annexation talk, warns of Middle East chaos
“If it is not going to be a two-state solution than it is not going to be a solution.” Such a move would destroy the possibility of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mogherini said, adding that settlement construction was already making the idea of two-states impossible.

Ukraine says it captured Russian military intelligence hit squad
Ukraine’s security service SBU said on Wednesday it had captured a Russian military intelligence hit squad responsible for the attempted murder of a Ukrainian military spy in the run-up to a presidential election on Sunday. There was no immediate reaction from Russia’s GRU.

Ireland pleads with religious orders for answers on baby deaths
Findings by the inquiry two years ago that remains ranging in age from 35 fetal weeks to 3 years were stored in underground chambers at a former church-run home for unwed mothers revived anguish over how women and children were once treated at state-backed Roman Catholic institutions. They expressed surprise at the lack of knowledge about the burials from the local council and and the nuns from the Bon Secours order who ran the home.

Short-lived El Niño remains likely
The Bureau’s ENSO Outlook remains at El Niño ALERT. This means the chance of El Niño developing in the coming months is approximately 70%; around triple the normal likelihood.

Scientists crack the code to regenerate plant tissues
Because no seeds are needed to grow these plants, this could potentially help scientists grow plants faster without flowering. “By strengthening the ability of plants to reproduce, even without seeds,” “it is possible to increase the number of clonal plants with only leaves, stems, and parts of roots. It can address environmental problems by promoting greening and solve the global food shortage problem by increasing production of grains and vegetables.”

Pelosi Defends Omar: ‘I Don’t Think That the Congresswoman Is Anti-Semitic
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) defended Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday, saying that she didn’t think that Omar was anti-Semitic.

The Obama – Clinton Axis of Evil: From Benghazi to the Steele Dossier
The open running sore of intelligence agency abuse and criminal behavior on the part of the Obama Justice Department and Intelligence Agency heads is about to be lanced and exposed by the upcoming investigation by Attorney General William Barr. Barr will take a close look at the events surrounding the targeting of Donald Trump in 2016, the origins of the Mueller inquisition, and the attempted coup d’etat by a rogue FBI and Justice Department against a sitting President. Their crimes are on a scale which defy the imagination. Yet there they are in plain sight. Where a corrupt mainstream media refuse to look.

Leaked emails show Planned Parenthood pushed California to force churches to fund abortion
“The government shouldn’t be forcing churches to pay for abortion, and it is shameful and inappropriate that the government did so in this case at the bidding of Planned Parenthood,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremiah Galus in a statement. Galus said, “California officials are required to follow the law and legal precedent, not the dictates of groups that have an axe to grind against religious organizations that don’t share their views on abortion.

ISRAEL REDEFINES THE FUTURE BATTLEFIELD WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF ‘OPAL’
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has announced the launch of OPAL, an innovative solution that will redefine the battlefield by connecting all platforms in the battle arena, manned and unmanned alike.

Russia and Turkey Are Now Deeply Entwined on Trade and Defense
In a statement put out by Russia, the in-depth exchange between Putin and Erdogan is sketched out. It included the signing of an agreement between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Turkey Wealth Fund “establishing a Russian-Turkish investment fund with €900 million in joint reserved capital.” Putin said that in 2018, trade had reached almost $26 billion between the two countries.

China Tests Tactical Laser Similar To US Navy System
“Beijing’s new laser can be deployed on both land and sea…”

United Church of Christ Pastor Backs “Right” to Abortion, Allowing Abortions Up to Birth
A Vermont pastor urged voters to “trust women” by supporting an amendment that would create a “right” to abortion in the state constitution.

Planned Parenthood Killed 332,000 Babies in Abortions Last Year, But Gets 1/3 of Its Revenue From Tax Dollars
Planned Parenthood is on the defensive now because very soon they will take a hit to their bottom line and their image. Between the impending loss of millions in Title X funding and the bad PR associated with a new movie “Unplanned,” word is getting out that abortion, central to Planned Parenthood’s business, is the antithesis of healthcare.

Notre Dame fire follows months of arson, vandalism & desecration of French Catholic churches by Muslims
While the world watched in horror at Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral erupting in flames Monday, the fire is only the latest in a series of incidents that have left social media awash in images of heavily damaged churches.

SOROS: U.S. Subsidizes Soros Radical Leftist Agenda Worldwide, New Judicial Watch Special Report Shows
The U.S. government subsidizes billionaire George Soros’ radical leftist agenda dedicating hundreds of millions of dollars to his deeply politicized Open Society Foundations (OSF) worldwide, records uncovered by Judicial Watch show.

Freshman Democrat Ocasio-Cortez says cutting aid to Israel ‘on the table’
New York congresswoman criticized by Jewish Democratic group after saying caucus having conversations about Israel support in wake of Netanyahu re-election

Leaked emails show Planned Parenthood pushed California to force churches to fund abortion
Email exchanges showed Planned Parenthood pressuring California authorities to issue a 2014 ruling that forced churches and religious organizations to pay for elective abortions in their health care plans.

Notre Dame’s Bells Will Ring Again
A Holy Week tragedy like no other: For the first time this morning, the bells of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris will not peal out in their familiar, exquisitely beautiful call to prayer.

Can Israel’s election count be tampered with? An official explains the process
Amid technical glitches, inconsistencies in the Central Election Committee’s published tallies, and even allegations of fraud, here’s how the ballots were processed

Judge orders Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes to answer written Benghazi questions in Clinton email lawsuit
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that former national security adviser Susan Rice and former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes must answer written questions about the State Department’s response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, as part of an ongoing legal battle over whether Hillary Clinton sought to deliberately evade public record laws by using a private email server while secretary of state.

How the Immigration Invasion Will Inevitably Lead to a Civil War
Does anyone think that it is very strange that the UN is taking over the training for the newly formed Mexican National Guard which is replacing the Mexican government’s Federales? In an April 9, 2019 Washington Post story, the WAPO thinks that is endeavor is perfectly fine with the ultimate intention to flood the United States with crippling blow with a number of incoming immigrants to be so great, that America will never recover.

Trump Issues His Second Veto, Blocking Congressional Resolution To End US Support For Saudi-Led War In Yemen
Moments ago, president Trump just issued the second veto of his presidency, rejecting a Congressional resolution to end US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.


Headlines – 4/17/2019

PA FM: ‘Abbas ready to meet Netanyahu with no preconditions’

Palestinians turn to Russia to bypass US peace plan

PA foreign minister: Abbas ready to meet Netanyahu if Russia plays host

PA Prime Minister Shtayyeh: Trump’s peace deal will be ‘born dead’

‘As Long as Jerusalem Isn’t on the Table, Trump’s Plan Won’t Be Either,’ Abbas Adviser Warns

At White House reception for Jewish leaders, not much talk of Trump’s peace plan

Palestinian PM accuses US of ‘financial war’

Senior PA official said to warn Hamas plotting coup against Abbas in West Bank

Netanyahu secures majority backing after right-wing parties recommend him as PM

Right-wing, mostly Jewish US groups lobby Trump to back West Bank annexation

Surviving and thriving: Israeli communities near Gaza see remarkable growth despite daily terror threats

US publishes first map showing Golan as Israeli territory

Christianity grows in Syrian town once besieged by Islamic State

Iran’s parliament labels US troops in Mideast as terrorists

Instagram suspends Iranian Supreme Leader’s English Instagram account

Turkey expects Washington to extend sanctions waiver on Iran oil

Erdogan’s AK Party submits appeal for rerun of Istanbul elections

Sudan’s military rulers sack more top officials after pressure from protesters

Proposed UN resolution demands an immediate ceasefire in Libya

Italy: Terrorist presence on migrant boats from Libya now a certainty

Trump vetoes measure to end US involvement in Yemen war

Bahrain revokes citizenship of 138 people after convicting them of terrorism charges in mass trial

Stalin’s Approval Rating Among Russians Hits Record High – Poll

Satellite images show likely reprocessing activity at North Korea nuclear site

New Zealand disarms police as terror threat level lowered

Yuma, Arizona mayor declares emergency over migrant situation

Florida closer to ban on ‘sanctuary cities’ as Trump talks of sending migrants to them

Judge: Barr sowing public mistrust with Mueller report handling

Trump says Russia probe ‘con job,’ as fuller report looms

Omar raises $830k for reelection amid Trump backlash

Julian Assange wins EU journalism award

Ecuador’s president says Assange tried to use its embassy to spy

The internet is already awash in Notre Dame conspiracies

YouTube’s Notre Dame-9/11 flub highlights AI’s blind spots

Amazon faces probe from Italy’s antitrust authority over abuse of market position

Global attention span is narrowing and trends don’t last as long in the information age, study reveals

Oil workers reveal a Venezuelan region crumbling despite its resources

‘Disaster worse than Chernobyl’ looms as ancient anthrax spores could be blasted into the sky by ‘frozen methane bombs’, scientists warn

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Tristan da Cunha region

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Anatuya, Argentina

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits Kandrian, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Ruiz volcano in Colombia erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 11,000ft

118 million in path of another US severe weather outbreak this week

White Blanket Covers Athens As Hailstorm Hits the Capital

First U.S. Patients Treated With CRISPR As Human Gene-Editing Trials Get Underway

NYC shuts down yeshiva preschool over measles vaccination violations

Buttigieg responds to protesters yelling about ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’

China’s LGBT community excited by Pete Buttigieg’s presidential run

A woman is being sought after lockouts at Columbine High and other Colorado schools


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

An article and/or blog post link doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the linked article/posting. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

 

April 17 A Personal Invitation from God

scripture reading: Isaiah 1:18–21
key verse: Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”

Throughout time, God has repeatedly appealed to us to step away from our sins and follow His way of righteousness. One of the strongest appeals comes in Isaiah 1:18, today’s key verse.

Sin alters life by taking what God calls pure and distorting it. An iodine stain on white linen ruins the fabric’s design and fiber, and nothing can remove its staining power.

Sin has the same effect on your life—it stains deeply. Yet God in His mercy has provided a way for its removal through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Christ is your personal invitation from God to be washed clean from sin’s staining power.

God’s appeal for you to come and reason with Him is not a point of argument. Instead, it is a call for you to think logically of sin’s ultimate purpose—to separate us from God.

Once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, God clothes you in the righteousness of His Son. Your sins are forgiven, and you are made white as snow. His forgiveness means freedom from sin, freedom from guilt, and peace that passes all understanding. It means living forever in the vital union of fellowship with Christ.

I accept Your invitation, dear Lord. I’m coming Your way. Take away the stains of my sin. Clothe me in the righteousness of Your Son.[1]


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

17 april (1859) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Little sins

“Is it not a little one?” Genesis 19:20

suggested further reading: Romans 2:1–11

There is a deep pit, and the soul is falling down,—oh how fast it is falling! There! The last ray of light at the top has disappeared, and it falls on and on and on, and so it goes on falling—on and on and on—for a thousand years! “Is it not getting near the bottom yet? No, you are no nearer the bottom yet: it is the “bottomless pit;” it is on and on and on, and so the soul goes on falling, perpetually, into a deeper depth still, falling for ever into the “bottomless pit” and on and on and on, into the pit that has no bottom! Woe without termination, without hope of coming to a conclusion. The same dreadful idea is contained in those words, “The wrath to come.” Notice, hell is always “the wrath to come.” If a man has been in hell a thousand years, it is still “to come.” What you have suffered in the past is as nothing, in the dread account, for still the wrath is “to come.” And when the world has grown grey with age, and the fires of the sun are quenched in darkness, it is still “the wrath to come.” And when other worlds have sprung up, and have turned into their palsied age, it is still “the wrath to come.” And when your soul, burnt through and through with anguish, sighs at last to be annihilated, even then this awful thunder shall be heard, “the wrath to come—to come—to come.” Oh, what an idea! I know not how to utter it! And yet for little sins, remember you incur “the wrath to come.”

for meditation: This shocking description can give only a faint idea of the just punishment of our sins. Are you trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver you from the wrath to come? He is able to do it because he suffered the wrath of his loving heavenly Father on the cross (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).

“We may not know, we cannot tell, What pains He had to bear;

But we believe it was for us, He hung and suffered there.”

Do you?

sermon no. 248[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 114). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Christ Plus Mysticism — Grace to You Blog

It is easy to feel inferior to someone who knows something you don’t—especially when they hold information that you earnestly desire. For centuries, religious mystics have been working overtime to insinuate that the church suffers from the same kind of information void, supposedly a void that only they can fill.

When the apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the church in Colossae, the believers there were being intimidated by people who claimed to have a higher, broader, deeper, and fuller union with God than Christ alone could give. They were the mystics. They claimed to have interacted with angelic beings through visions and other mystical experiences. Paul said of them:

Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. (Colossians 2:18–19)

Mysticism is still very much alive, and still using spiritual intimidation to demean the uninitiated. People today who claim to have had heavenly visions or spellbinding experiences are often simply puffed up with idle notions, using their claims to intimidate others into elevating them. As the apostle Paul told the Colossian believers, that kind of mysticism is the product of an “inflated . . . [and] fleshly mind.” Those who embrace it have turned from their sufficiency in Christ, who alone produces true spirituality. Don’t be intimidated by them.

Apparently the Colossian mystics claimed that anyone nothaving similar esoteric visions or embracing similar doctrines was disqualified from obtaining the prize of true spirituality. In reality they themselves were the disqualified ones.

Mysticism is the idea that direct knowledge of God or ultimate reality is achieved through personal, subjective intuition or experience apart from, or even contrary to, historical fact or objective divine revelation. Arthur Johnson, a professor at West Texas State University, elaborates:

When we speak of a mystical experience we refer to an event that is completely within the person. It is totally subjective. . . . Although the mystic may experience it as having been triggered by occurrences or objects outside himself (like a sunset, a piece of music, a religious ceremony, or even a sex act), the mystical experience is a totally inner event. It contains no essential aspects that exist externally to him in the physical world. . . . A mystical experience is primarily an emotive event, rather than a cognitive one. . . . Its predominant qualities have more to do with emotional intensity, or “feeling tone,” than with facts evaluated and understood rationally. Although this is true, it alone is a woefully inadequate way of describing the mystical experience. The force of the experience is often so overwhelming that the person having it finds his entire life changed by it. Mere emotions cannot effect such transformations.

Furthermore, it is from this emotional quality that another characteristic results, namely, its “self-authenticating” nature. The mystic rarely questions the goodness and value of his experience. Consequently, if he describes it as giving him information, he rarely questions the truth of his newly gained “knowledge.” It is this claim that mystical experiences are “ways of knowing” truth that is vital to understanding many religious movements we see today. [1] Arthur Johnson, Faith Misguided: Exposing the Dangers of Mysticism(Chicago, IL: Moody, 1988), 20–23.

Prevalent especially in the charismatic movement, modern mysticism embraces a concept of faith that in effect rejects reality and rationality altogether. Waging war on reason and truth, it is thus in direct conflict with Christ and Scripture. It has taken hold rapidly because it promises what so many people are seeking: something more, something better, something richer, something easier—something fast and easy to substitute for a life of careful, disciplined obedience to the Word of Christ. And because so many lack certainty that their sufficiency is in Christ, mysticism has caught many Christians unaware. It has thus swept much of the confessing church into a dangerous netherworld of confusion and false teaching.

Mysticism has created a theological climate that is largely intolerant of precise doctrine and sound biblical exegesis. Note, for example, how wildly popular it has become to speak scornfully of doctrine, systematic Bible teaching, careful exegesis, or the bold proclamation of the gospel. Absolute truth and rational certainty are currently out of vogue. Authoritative biblical preaching is decried as too dogmatic. It is rare nowadays to hear a preacher challenge popular opinion with clear teaching from God’s Word and underscore the truth with a firm and settled, “Thus saith the Lord.”

Ironically, a new breed of self-appointed prophets has arisen. These religious quacks tout their own dreams and visions with a different phrase, “The Lord told me. . . .” That is mysticism, and it preys on people looking for some secret truth that will add to the simplicity of God’s all-sufficient, once-for-all delivered Word.

A well-known charismatic pastor told me that sometimes in the morning when he’s shaving, Jesus comes into his bathroom and puts His arm around him and they have a conversation. Does he really believe that? I don’t know. Perhaps he wants people to believe he is more intimate with Christ than most of us. Whatever the case, his experience contrasts sharply with biblical accounts of heavenly visions. Isaiah was terrified when he saw the Lord and immediately confessed his sin (Isaiah 6:5). Manoah feared for his life and said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God” (Judges 13:22). Job repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:5–6). The disciples were petrified (Luke 8:25). Peter said to Jesus, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). Each of them was overwhelmed with a sense of sinfulness and feared judgment. How could someone casually talk and shave while in the presence of such an infinitely holy God?

A local newspaper once told of a well-known television evangelist who was taking a nap in his home when suddenly, he claimed, Satan himself appeared, grabbed him around the neck with both hands, and tried to strangle him to death. When he cried out, his wife came running into the room and chased the devil away. That same man has reported other bizarre experiences over the years.

I frankly don’t believe accounts like that. Aside from the fact that they often don’t align with biblical truth, they distract people from the truth of Christ. People begin to pursue paranormal experiences, supernatural phenomena, and special revelations—as if our resources in Christ weren’t enough. They spin their views of God and spiritual truth out of their own self-authenticated, self-generated feelings, which become more important to them than the Bible. They create experiences in their minds from which they develop a belief system that simply is not true, opening themselves to further deception and even demonic influences. That’s the legacy of mysticism.

Mysticism also destroys discernment. Why should people think for themselves or compare what they are taught with Scripture when their teachers claim to receive truth directly from heaven? Thus mysticism becomes a tool through which unscrupulous leaders can coerce money and honor from the flock with fabricated experiences that play on people’s gullibility.

The pastor of a rather large church in our area wanted to relocate the church. The idea wasn’t popular with some members of his congregation, but he convinced them that it was God’s will by appealing to mysticism. He told them that on three separate occasions the Lord Himself had spoken to him instructing him to move the church to a certain location. The pastor claimed that on the third occasion the Lord said to him, “The time has come. Leave the problem to me. I will work on many hearts. Some will not understand. Some will not follow. Most will. Go, and do my bidding.” That is a verbatim quote from the church’s newsletter.

When the pastor presented the plan to his congregation, he likened it to Caleb and Joshua’s challenge to the Israelites to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 13:30). Then he added,

If you cannot catch the vision of God’s beautiful plan, I will understand, but it is essential that our church be faced with this opportunity to follow His plan. If you won’t go with us I will understand. I will not think of you as evil, or destructive. . . . I want us to move forward into God’s plan, and I want every one of you to go with us. You will be glad you did, and God will bless you for it.

That’s the classic intimidation of an appeal to mysticism! This man effectively renounced all responsibility for his plan and placed it on God. By doing so he took the decision away from his people and other church leaders and based it on his own unreliable feelings. He implied that anyone who disagreed with his plan was opposing God’s will and ran the risk of incurring the same fate that the unbelieving Israelites suffered when they refused to enter Canaan!

Maybe God wanted that church to move—that’s not the issue. The pastor’s appeal to his own mystical, subjective, self-authenticating feelings was wrong. Scripture is clear about how such decisions must be made—on the basis of the prayerful, wise, unanimous agreement of Spirit-filled elders who search the heart of God in Scripture, not on the mystical whims of one man.

Those familiar with Christian television during the 1980s would remember Oral Roberts’s infamous claim that God would kill him if listeners didn’t send eight million dollars to his organization. Over the years he made similar fantastic pleas, ranging from the promises of a miracle for certain sums of money, to the claim that God would reveal to him the cure for cancer if everyone would only send several hundred dollars. That kind of extortion is made possible because too many Christians don’t recognize the error of mysticism. They want to support what God is doing but they don’t know how to discern things biblically. Consequently they’re indiscriminate in their giving. Some send enormous sums of money in hopes of buying a miracle. By doing so they think they’re demonstrating great faith, but in reality they’re showing great distrust in the sufficiency of Christ. What they think of as faith in Christ is really doubt looking for proof. Such weak people are easy victims of mysticism’s false promises.

Preachers who confront mystical teachings are often branded as judgmental, unloving, or divisive. Mysticism has thus cultivated a tolerance for false and careless teaching. But the biblical mandate is clear: We must be “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that [we] will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).

There is no mystical higher plane of existence. Christ is all in all. Cling to Him. Cultivate your love for Him. In Him alone you are complete!

(Adapted from Our Sufficiency in Christ)

via Christ Plus Mysticism — Grace to You Blog

17 APRIL 365 Days with Calvin

Asking for a Sign

And this shall be a sign unto thee from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he hath spoken. Isaiah 38:7

suggested further reading: Judges 6:36–40

God gives us some signs of his own accord without our asking for them. He grants other signs to us when we ask for them. Signs are generally intended to help us in our weakness, but God does not for the most part wait till we have prayed for them to grant them.

Hezekiah seems to be insulting God by refusing to credit his word when he asks for a sign. We must not accuse Hezekiah of unbelief, however, because his faith is weak, for no person has faith that is perfect and complete in every respect. Nor can we blame Hezekiah for seeking assistance to support him in his weakness, for, having embraced the promise made to him by the prophet, he shows his confidence in God by seeking a remedy for distrust. If there was no weakness in man, he would not need any signs. Consequently, we need not wonder that the king asks for a sign, since on other occasions the Lord freely offers them.

Yet it is also proper to observe that Old Testament believers never rushed forward at random to ask for signs but did so only after being guided by a secret and peculiar influence of the Spirit.

The same thing might be said about miracles. If Elijah prays to God for rain and for drought (James 5:17, 18), it does not follow that others are at liberty to do the same. We must see what God permits us to do, lest by disregarding his Word we bargain with him according to the foolish desires of our flesh.

for meditation: As Calvin says, it may not be appropriate for us to ask God for a sign. Nevertheless, we can learn from Hezekiah’s example. Recognizing the imperfection and weakness of his faith, he did not despair, but rather asked God for help in overcoming his weakness. Do we do this as well?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 126). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Wednesday Briefing April 17, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

Planned Parenthood is rebranding … or is it? The insidious reality of speaking of abortion as simply an issue of reproductive health

Moral revolutionaries take aim at Michigan adoption agencies: Where the government’s money goes, it’s coercive hand soon follows

Australian rugby star Israel Folau cut by national team because of his religious views, demonstrating that it is a rough world for those who stand against the sexual revolution

ADDITIONAL READING

PART I

PART II

PART III

New DOJ Report: 60,000 criminal illegal aliens are in federal custody at a staggering cost | American Thinker Blog

These are aliens who committed crimes in addition to the crime of illegally entering the United States.

In an exclusive report on the The Ingraham Anglelast evening (Fox News 10 P.M. E.T.), U.S. attorney Zachary Terwilliger broke major news about the DOJ’s brand new report on the number and costs of the incarceration of illegal aliens in federal custody.  The segment, and the comments by Terwilliger, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ingraham further expose the Left’s persistent lie that illegals in the U.S. commit additional crimes at a lower rate than U.S.-born citizens.

Zachary Terwilliger on The Ingraham Angle, Fox News April 16, 2019.  Screen capture by Peter Barry Chowka.

Video of the segment courtesy of Fox News can be watched here.

A brief

Nearly 60,000 known or suspected illegal immigrants [sic] are being held in federal prisons, according to a report obtained by Fox News Tuesday from the Department of Justice.

Quoting the report, he said “criminal aliens” make up 21 percent of those in the Federal Bureau of Prisons custody and 38 percent of those in Marshals custody.

Terwilliger lamented that a “staggering” amount of resources are being diverted to fighting illegal immigration at the expense other problems like a rising opioid epidemic and rising crime rates in certain areas.

Adding context to this latest news is the fact that tens of thousands of illegals who have managed to make it across the border are being released into the country every month, and “

Hopefully, the new DOJ report on the massive number of illegal criminals in federal custody will be given the wide attention that it deserves.  The report, it should be noted, does not include illegals who are in jails and prisons at the state and local levels — a number that is “significantly greater,” according to Ingraham, than the number of criminal illegal aliens in federal custody.

Terwilliger said the next report from the DOJ on the problem should address the financial cost to the federal government of dealing with illegal alien criminals.  He estimated, however, that the cost of the U.S. Marshals Service having to deal with illegals (who are in custody awaiting trial, for example) is $500 million a year, which does not include the costs due to illegal aliens incurred by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

The fact that we have this kind of data at all is due to the actions of President Donald Trump.  As the Center for Immigration Studies reported in an article on June 12, 2018:

Five days after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13768 entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”  In this order, he required the government to release certain documents detailing the effects of illegal immigration. Subsequently, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice began releasing the quarterly Alien Incarceration Report.

Previous reports, including the quarterly report released on June 7, 2018, are available online.  This new one will be soon, as well.
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/04/new_doj_report_60000_criminal_illegal_aliens_are_in_federal_custody_at_a_staggering_cost.html

The Tragedy of Notre-Dame de Paris — The Cripplegate

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was the late ‘80s and my first trip to France. My French grandfather, Georges Lycan, had just picked us up from Orly and was giving us a flyby tour of Paris on our way to his country home in the Loire Valley. It was a stunning site of both intimidating grandeur and breathtaking beauty.

As the years went by, I started traveling around France on my own and enjoyed visiting Notre-Dame several more times. I eventually went to school in France at the Universite Catholique de l’Ouest and enjoyed the stunning sites around the country. But Notre-Dame remained at the top. I loved going back to Paris, getting off on the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame metro stop, walking east on Quai Saint-Michel, crossing Pont de Coeurs onto Ile de la Cite, and there they were; the towering, 226-ft tall towers.

I learned to appreciate the cathedral more as I developed an eye for detail. The statued-portals at the entrance. The towering rib-vaulted ceilings. The nave. The stunning, stained-glass rose windows. The spire above the apse. The flying buttresses. The architectural genius of it all. And of course, the thousands of gargoyles. As a French citizen, I, along with many, felt that Notre-Dame was a rich part of our heritage. Needless to say, the burning of the cathedral on Monday was a tragedy.

However, as tragic as the fire of this great structure was, there is a greater tragedy concerning Notre-Dame de Paris.

Notre-Dame’s history is fascinating. Records indicate that it was built upon multiple other churches and religious structures dating back to ancient Roman paganism. Construction of Notre-Dame de Paris then began in 1163, during the glory days of Roman Catholicism, under the supervision of Bishop Maurice de Sully, who succeeded Peter Lombard in the episcopal see of Paris. The cathedral, whose name means, “Our Lady,” is considered “more than a historical monument, but “above all, the House of God,” and a “high place of Christendom.”

In the aftermath of the fire, many non-Catholics have praised the structure as a symbol of history and culture, paying no heed to its religious significance. However, those who oversaw its construction and continue to oversee its ecclesiastics, along with faithful Roman Catholics today, understand that nothing could be further from the truth. Notre-Dame de Paris is, and was, in no way intended to be a spiritually-religiously neutral structure. Instead, it preaches and promotes all the essentials of Roman theology. And therein lies its greater tragedy.

Notre-Dame is riddled with stunning artistry. Original designers had good reason for it: most who entered the medieval structure for Roman Catholic Mass were illiterate. They could not read the word of God for themselves. Thus, the paintings, carvings, and reliefs were intended to preach what Rome holds as absolute truth. Sadly, however, much error and heresy is preached therefrom. It would be impossible to catalogue every example of Notre-Dame’s theology-through-art. Here are a few.

via The Tragedy of Notre-Dame de Paris — The Cripplegate

Quick Shot Responses to “It’s narrow-minded to think Jesus is the only way to God” (Cold-Case Christianity S5E7) — Cold Case Christianity

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner offers a number of brief, rhetorically powerful responses to the objection: “It’s narrow-minded to think Jesus is the only way to God.” In an age of pluralism and diversity, aren’t Christian claims of exclusivity offensive? These Quick Shot responses are designed to help you remove intellectual obstacles when talking about God with your friends and family members. They are also available on the Cold-Case Christianity Phone App so you can access them as you are interacting with others.

Be sure to watch the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast on NRBtv every Monday and Saturday! In addition, here is the audio podcast (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Podcast is located on iTunes or our RSS Feed):

via Quick Shot Responses to “It’s narrow-minded to think Jesus is the only way to God” (Cold-Case Christianity S5E7) — Cold Case Christianity

What Do Expiation and Propitiation Mean? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

When we talk about the vicarious aspect of the atonement, two rather technical words come up again and again: expiation and propitiation. These words spark all kinds of arguments about which one should be used to translate a particular Greek word, and some versions of the Bible will use one of these words and some will use the other one. I’m often asked to explain the difference between propitiation and expiation. The difficulty is that even though these words are in the Bible, we don’t use them as part of our day-to-day vocabulary, so we aren’t sure exactly what they are communicating in Scripture. We lack reference points in relation to these words.

Expiation and Propitiation

Let’s think about what these words mean, then, beginning with the word expiation. The prefix ex means “out of” or “from,” so expiation has to do with removing something or taking something away. In biblical terms, it has to do with taking away guilt through the payment of a penalty or the offering of an atonement. By contrast, propitiation has to do with the object of the expiation. The prefix pro means “for,” so propitiation brings about a change in God’s attitude, so that He moves from being at enmity with us to being for us. Through the process of propitiation, we are restored into fellowship and favor with Him.

In a certain sense, propitiation has to do with God’s being appeased. We know how the word appeasement functions in military and political conflicts. We think of the so-called politics of appeasement, the philosophy that if you have a rambunctious world conqueror on the loose and rattling the sword, rather than risk the wrath of his blitzkrieg you give him the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia or some such chunk of territory. You try to assuage his wrath by giving him something that will satisfy him so that he won’t come into your country and mow you down. That’s an ungodly manifestation of appeasement. But if you are angry or you are violated, and I satisfy your anger, or appease you, then I am restored to your favor and the problem is removed.

The same Greek word is translated by both the words expiation and propitiation from time to time. But there is a slight difference in the terms. Expiation is the act that results in the change of God’s disposition toward us. It is what Christ did on the cross, and the result of Christ’s work of expiation is propitiation—God’s anger is turned away. The distinction is the same as that between the ransom that is paid and the attitude of the one who receives the ransom.

Christ’s Work Was an Act of Placation

Together, expiation and propitiation constitute an act of placation. Christ did His work on the cross to placate the wrath of God. This idea of placating the wrath of God has done little to placate the wrath of modern theologians. In fact, they become very wrathful about the whole idea of placating God’s wrath. They think it is beneath the dignity of God to have to be placated, that we should have to do something to soothe Him or appease Him. We need to be very careful in how we understand the wrath of God, but let me remind you that the concept of placating the wrath of God has to do here not with a peripheral, tangential point of theology, but with the essence of salvation.

What Is Salvation?

Let me ask a very basic question: what does the term salvation mean? Trying to explain it quickly can give you a headache, because the word salvation is used in about seventy different ways in the Bible. If somebody is rescued from certain defeat in battle, he experiences salvation. If somebody survives a life-threatening illness, that person experiences salvation. If somebody’s plants are brought back from withering to robust health, they are saved. That’s biblical language, and it’s really no different than our own language. We save money. A boxer is saved by the bell, meaning he’s saved from losing the fight by knockout, not that he is transported into the eternal kingdom of God. In short, any experience of deliverance from a clear and present danger can be spoken of as a form of salvation.

When we talk about salvation biblically, we have to be careful to state that from which we ultimately are saved. The apostle Paul does just that for us in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, where he says Jesus “delivers us from the wrath to come.” Ultimately, Jesus died to save us from the wrath of God. We simply cannot understand the teaching and the preaching of Jesus of Nazareth apart from this, for He constantly warned people that the whole world someday would come under divine judgment. Here are a few of His warnings concerning the judgment: “‘I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment'” (Matt. 5:22); “‘I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment'” (Matt. 12:36); and “‘The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here'” (Matt. 12:41). Jesus’ theology was a crisis theology. The Greek word crisis means “judgment.” And the crisis of which Jesus preached was the crisis of an impending judgment of the world, at which point God is going to pour out His wrath against the unredeemed, the ungodly, and the impenitent. The only hope of escape from that outpouring of wrath is to be covered by the atonement of Christ.

Therefore, Christ’s supreme achievement on the cross is that He placated the wrath of God, which would burn against us were we not covered by the sacrifice of Christ. So if somebody argues against placation or the idea of Christ satisfying the wrath of God, be alert, because the gospel is at stake. This is about the essence of salvation—that as people who are covered by the atonement, we are redeemed from the supreme danger to which any person is exposed. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of a holy God who’s wrathful. But there is no wrath for those whose sins have been paid. That is what salvation is all about.

This excerpt is adpated from The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul.

via What Do Expiation and Propitiation Mean? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

April 17, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Conquest

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (5:24–25)

All persons who belong to Christ Jesus by faith in Him and His perfect saving work have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Have crucified the flesh is a strategic statement to grasp, because crucifixion was a means of execution. All but four uses of the term in the New Testament refer to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Three of the exceptions help in understanding the fourth, which is in the present text.

The first of the three is in the book of Romans, where Paul affirms that at the time of our justification, “our old self was crucified with [Christ]” (6:6). The other two are in Galatians, one before and one after the present text. The apostle says, “I have been crucified with Christ” (2:20), and, near the end of the epistle, asserts that “the world has been crucified to me” (6:14).

In each of those three passages, “crucified” is simply a vivid and dramatic way to say “killed,” or “executed.” In the first two passages Paul is teaching that at salvation his old, sinful, unregenerate self was executed and he was born a new man in Christ Jesus. In the third passage he is saying that the world has been executed and is now dead to him, so that it is no longer his master, holding him in bondage. He is therefore now free to serve the Lord.

Obviously, in none of those passages does Paul mean to imply that the crucifixion analogy carries the idea of total death, in which all influence ceases. Sin was still a reality in his life, and so was the temptation of the world. But there was a sense in which the power of the old self and of the world was broken. Those influences no longer dominated him.

In the text of Galatians 5:24, Paul is saying that the flesh has been executed. But how could that be in light of what he has just said in this chapter about believers having a constant war with the ever-present flesh? In what sense is the flesh killed at conversion?

It cannot be in the actual, complete, present sense or it would contradict the reality of the continual spiritual conflict with the flesh indicated here and in Romans 7:14–25. And it cannot be that Paul has some future sense in mind or he would have used a future verb form, saying, “shall crucify the flesh,” referring to the time of glorification.

The best understanding is to see have crucified as an allusion to the cross of Jesus Christ, which, as a past event, fits the aorist tense used here by Paul. It looks back to the cross, the time at which the death of the flesh was actually accomplished. Yet, because we are still alive on the earth and still possess our humanness, we have not yet entered into the future fullness of that past event.

Meanwhile, the flesh with its passions (or affections) and desires is dead in the sense of no longer reigning over us or of holding us in inescapable bondage. Like a chicken with its head cut off, the flesh has been dealt a death blow, although it continues to flop around the barnyard of earth until the last nerve is stilled.

Because the flesh is defeated forever, and we now live in the realm where Christ reigns over us by His Spirit, we should live according to the Spirit and not the flesh.

Because believers have new life in Jesus Christ, they should also have a new way of life. If we live by the Spirit, and we do, Paul says, let us also walk by the Spirit, as we must. He earnestly prayed that the Colossian Christians would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work.… As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith” (Col. 1:10; 2:6–7; cf. Eph. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:12).[1]


25. If we live in the Spirit. According to his usual custom, the apostle draws from the doctrine a practical exhortation. The death of the flesh is the life of the Spirit. If the Spirit of God lives in us, let him govern our actions. There will always be many persons daring enough to make a false boast of living in the Spirit, but the apostle challenges them to a proof of the fact. As the soul does not remain idle in the body, but gives motion and vigour to every member and part, so the Spirit of God cannot dwell in us without manifesting himself by the outward effects. By the life is here meant the inward power, and by the walk the outward actions. The metaphorical use of the word walk, which frequently occurs, describes works as evidences of the spiritual life.[2]


25 Paul draws here a second, hortatory conclusion from the catalog of vices and virtues above: those who claim to live by the Spirit should demonstrate that fact by a lifestyle that is in keeping with the presence and purpose of the Spirit. The wording used for this admonition is “keep in step” with the Spirit (stoicheō, GK, 5123, lit., “in a row”; cf. 4:3, 9). Stoicheō was commonly used to suggest agreement or to be in line with another. Paul has used it elsewhere to indicate walking in another’s footsteps (Ro 4:12) and living according to a standard (Gal 6:16; Php 3:16; cf. Ac 21:24). So here Paul instructs the Galatians to live out their faith in appropriate ways, empowered by the Spirit, following his ethical guidance and direction.[3]


5:25 / Unlike the word translated “live” in v. 16 (lit. “walk”), the Greek word zōmen translated live in this verse lit. is “live.” The nuance is somewhat different in each case: in v. 16 the word gives the sense of continual active participation in the Spirit; in v. 25 it indicates the basis of one’s life.

The phrase keep in step with the Spirit contains the verbal form of the word “elements” (stoichōmen) encountered in 4:3 and 4:9. In its verbal form it has the sense of walking in a straight line and so of conducting oneself appropriately. The same verb occurs in Gal. 6:16, being translated as “follow.” Here it means walking, by means of the Spirit, in the path set by the Spirit.[4]


The Way of Christian Victory (verses 24, 25)

What must we do in order to control the lusts of the flesh and to bear the fruit of the Spirit? The brief answer is this: We must maintain towards each the proper Christian attitude. In the apostle’s own words, we must ‘crucify’ the flesh and ‘walk by’ the Spirit.

  • We must crucify the flesh

The phrase occurs in verse 24: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. This verse is frequently misunderstood. Please notice that the ‘crucifixion’ of the flesh described here is something that is done not to us but by us. It is we ourselves who are said to ‘have crucified the flesh’. Perhaps I can best expose the popular misconception by saying that Galatians 5:24 does not teach the same truth as Galatians 2:20 or Romans 6:6. In those verses we are told that by faith-union with Christ ‘we have been crucified with him’. But here it is we who have taken action. We ‘have crucified’ our old nature. It is not now a ‘dying’ which we have experienced through union with Christ; it is rather a deliberate ‘putting to death’.

What does it mean? Paul borrows the image of crucifixion, of course, from Christ Himself who said: ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mk. 8:34). To ‘take up the cross’ was our Lord’s vivid figure of speech for self-denial. Every follower of Christ is to behave like a condemned criminal and carry his cross to the place of execution. Now Paul takes the metaphor to its logical conclusion. We must not only take up our cross and walk with it, but actually see that the execution takes place. We are actually to take the flesh, our wilful and wayward self, and (metaphorically speaking) nail it to the cross. This is Paul’s graphic description of repentance, of turning our back on the old life of selfishness and sin, repudiating it finally and utterly.

The fact that ‘crucifixion’ is to be the fate of the flesh is very significant. It is always perilous to argue from analogy, but I suggest that the following points, far from being fanciful, belong to the notion of crucifixion and cannot be separated from it.

First, a Christian’s rejection of his old nature is to be pitiless. Crucifixion in the Graeco-Roman world was not a pleasant form of execution, nor was it administered to nice or refined people; it was reserved for the worst criminals, which is why it was such a shameful thing for Jesus Christ to be crucified. If, therefore, we are to ‘crucify’ our flesh, it is plain that the flesh is not something respectable to be treated with courtesy and deference, but something so evil that it deserves no better fate than to be crucified.

Secondly, our rejection of the old nature will be painful. Crucifixion was a form of execution ‘attended with intense pain’ (Grimm-Thayer). And which of us does not know the acute pain of inner conflict when ‘the fleeting pleasures of sin’ (Heb. 11:25) are renounced?

Thirdly, the rejection of our old nature is to be decisive. Although death by crucifixion was a lingering death, it was a certain death. Criminals who were nailed to a cross did not survive. John Brown draws out the significance of this fact for us: ‘Crucifixion … produced death not suddenly but gradually … True Christians … do not succeed in completely destroying it (that is, the flesh) while here below; but they have fixed it to the cross, and they are determined to keep it there till it expire.’ Once a criminal had been nailed to the cross, he was left there to die. Soldiers were placed at the scene of execution to guard the victim. Their duty was to prevent anyone from taking him down from the cross, at least until he was dead. Now ‘those who belong to Christ Jesus’, Paul says, ‘have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires’. The Greek verb is in the aorist tense, indicating that this is something we did decisively at the moment of conversion. When we came to Jesus Christ, we repented. We ‘crucified’ everything we knew to be wrong. We took our old self-centred nature, with all its sinful passions and desires, and nailed it to the cross. And this repentance of ours was decisive, as decisive as a crucifixion. So, Paul says, if we crucified the flesh, we must leave it there to die. We must renew every day this attitude towards sin of ruthless and uncompromising rejection. In the language of Jesus, as Luke records it, every Christian must ‘take up his cross daily’ (Lk. 9:23).

So widely is this biblical teaching neglected, that it needs to be further enforced. The first great secret of holiness lies in the degree and the decisiveness of our repentance. If besetting sins persistently plague us, it is either because we have never truly repented, or because, having repented, we have not maintained our repentance. It is as if, having nailed our old nature to the cross, we keep wistfully returning to the scene of its execution. We begin to fondle it, to caress it, to long for its release, even to try to take it down again from the cross. We need to learn to leave it there. When some jealous, or proud, or malicious, or impure thought invades our mind we must kick it out at once. It is fatal to begin to examine it and consider whether we are going to give in to it or not. We have declared war on it; we are not going to resume negotiations. We have settled the issue for good; we are not going to re-open it. We have crucified the flesh; we are never going to draw the nails.

  • We must walk by the Spirit

We turn now to the attitude which we are to adopt towards the Holy Spirit. This is described in two ways. First, it is to be led by the Spirit (verse 18). Secondly, it is to walk by (av ‘in’) the Spirit (verses 16 and 25). In both expressions in the Greek text ‘the Spirit’ comes first for emphasis, a simple dative is used (there is no preposition, whether ‘in’ or ‘by’) and the verb is in the present continuous tense. At the same time there is clearly a distinction between ‘being led by the Spirit’ and ‘walking by the Spirit’, for the former expression is passive and the latter active. It is the Spirit who does the leading, but we who do the walking.

First, then, Christians are portrayed as being ‘led by the Spirit’. The verb is used of a farmer herding cattle, of a shepherd leading sheep, of soldiers escorting a prisoner to court or prison, and of wind driving a ship. It is used metaphorically of both good and evil spirits—of the evil power of Satan leading men astray (e.g. 1 Cor. 12:2; Eph. 2:2), and of the Holy Spirit leading Christ during His temptations in the wilderness (Lk. 4:1, 2) and leading the sons of God today (Rom. 8:14). As our ‘leader’ the Holy Spirit takes the initiative. He asserts His desires against those of the flesh (verse 17) and forms within us holy and heavenly desires. He puts this gentle pressure upon us, and we must yield to His direction and control.

And His that gentle voice we hear,

Soft as the breath of even,

That checks each fault, that calms each fear,

And speaks of heaven.

For every virtue we possess,

And every victory won,

And every thought of holiness,

Are His alone.

But it is a great mistake to suppose that our whole duty lies in passive submission to the Spirit’s control, as if all we had to do was to surrender to His leading. On the contrary, we are ourselves to ‘walk’, actively and purposefully, in the right way. And the Holy Spirit is the path we walk in, as well as the guide who shows us the way.

This becomes clear when a careful comparison is made between verses 16 and 25. The English of both verses contains the verb to ‘walk’, but the Greek words are different. The verb in verse 16 is the ordinary one for walking, but that in verse 25 (stoicheō) refers literally to people being ‘drawn up in line’. Hence it means to ‘walk in line’ or ‘be in line with’. It is used of believers who by sharing Abraham’s faith are said to ‘walk in line with’ his footsteps or follow his example (Rom. 4:12). Similarly, it describes Christians who ‘walk in line with’ the position they have so far attained (Phil. 3:16) or the requirements of the law (Acts 21:24) or the truth of the gospel (Gal. 6:16). In each of these cases there is a rule, a standard or a principle, which is being followed. In Galatians 5:25 this ‘rule’ or ‘line’ is the Holy Spirit Himself and His will. So to ‘walk by the Spirit’ is deliberately to walk along the path or according to the line which the Holy Spirit lays down. The Spirit ‘leads’ us; but we are to ‘walk by’ Him or according to His rule.

As, therefore, we ‘crucify the flesh’, repudiating what we know to be wrong, so too we must ‘walk by the Spirit’, setting ourselves to follow what we know to be right. We reject one path to follow another. We turn from what is evil in order to occupy ourselves with what is good. And if it is vital to be ruthless in turning away from the things of the flesh, it is equally vital to be disciplined in turning towards the things of the Spirit. The Scripture says we are to ‘set our minds on the things of the Spirit’, to ‘seek the things that are above’, to ‘set our minds on things that are above’, to ‘think about these things’ (i.e. whatever is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely and gracious).

This will be seen in our whole way of life—in the leisure occupations we pursue, the books we read and the friendships we make. Above all in what older authors called ‘a diligent use of the means of grace’, that is, in a disciplined practice of prayer and Scripture meditation, in fellowship with believers who provoke us to love and good works, in keeping the Lord’s day as the Lord’s day, and in attending public worship and the Lord’s Supper. In all these ways we occupy ourselves in spiritual things. It is not enough to yield passively to the Spirit’s control; we must also walk actively in the Spirit’s way. Only so will the fruit of the Spirit appear.[5]


25. If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk. This translation, favored also by A.R.V., is better than the one that is found in A.V., R.S.V., N.E.B., and others. It preserves the chiastic structure of the original. The phrases “by the Spirit,” “by the Spirit” are in the center, and thus receive the strongest emphasis. Nevertheless, by means of placing the words “if we live” at the very beginning of the sentence, and the words “let us also walk” at the very close, the contrast between living and walking, as these terms are here employed, is brought out with full force. Meaning: “If the source of our life is the Spirit, the Spirit must also be allowed to direct our steps, so that we make progress, advancing step by step toward the goal of perfect consecration to the Lord.” This walking by the Spirit is the only way to administer the finishing touch to that which has already been dealt a mortal blow. It is the only way to deal with “the flesh along with its passions and desires.” We should destroy the power of the negative by means of The Invincible Positive, the Holy Spirit.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Galatians (pp. 170–171). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 169). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Rapa, R. K. (2008). Galatians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 631–632). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Jervis, L. A. (2011). Galatians (pp. 151–152). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book.

[5] Stott, J. R. W. (1986). The message of Galatians: Only one way (pp. 149–154). Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Galatians (Vol. 8, p. 226). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

40 Days to the Cross: Week Six – Wednesday

Confession: Psalm 141:1–5

I call on you, O Yahweh; hasten to me.

Listen to my voice when I call to you.

Let my prayer be set before you as incense,

the lifting up of my palms as the evening offering.

Set a guard, O Yahweh, over my mouth;

keep watch over the door of my lips.

Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,

to practice wicked deeds with men who do iniquity;

and do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Let a righteous one strike me in kindness,

and let him chasten me.

It is oil for my head; let not my head refuse.

For still my prayer is against their evil deeds.

Reading: Mark 15:33–36

And when the sixth hour came, darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) And some of the bystanders, when they heard it, said, “Behold, he is summoning Elijah!” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Leave him alone! Let us see if Elijah is coming to take him down.”

Reflection

Oh, the blessed shadow of Christ’s cross! All the flocks of the Lord lie down under it, and rest in peace. Millions of souls are delivered by it from the heat of vengeance, and myriads more shall find a covert within it from the wrath to come. Dear reader, are you within the shadow of the crucified? Does He stand between God and your soul to ward off the burning beams of justice, which your sins so richly deserve, by bearing them Himself? If you die in the fierce heat of divine wrath, you will have yourself alone to blame, for there is the shadow of the great propitiation, cool and refreshing, and it is at every moment accessible to simple faith. If you refuse to believe, and count yourself unworthy of salvation, your blood must lie at your own door.

Come, now, into the sure and blessed shelter, lest the sunstroke of despair should wither you. Once beneath the shadow of Jesus, the sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night; you shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. “Yahweh is your protector; Yahweh is your shade at your right hand.” (Psa 121:5).

—Charles H. Spurgeon

Hindhead

Response

What does it mean for you to live your life within the shadow of the crucified Christ?[1]


[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

04/17/19 Idolatry Conquered by Grace — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Judges 10-11, Luke 12:8-34

God’s grace is beyond my comprehension. His love is so much bigger than I am that I cannot grasp it. His forgiveness is so complete that it’s unbelievable. I just don’t understand why God continues to love us—but He does, for He himself is love.

I consider today His people in the book of Judges, who in today’s reading do what they often did: turn to false gods. In fact, they apparently worshiped the gods of anyone around them: “Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not worship him” (Judg 10:6). For whatever reason, they picked up false worship from others and adopted it as their own. They abandoned God; just the extensiveness of the list of gods they followed is exhausting.

All their actions angered God, who brought judgment on them via the Philistines and the Ammonites. Still, though, God would not fully let His people go; He would raise up other deliverers for them. Indeed, He would ultimately send His own Son as our perfect deliverer—and He would redeem sinful, idolatrous people like you and me.

I say it again: God’s grace is beyond my comprehension.

PRAYER: “Father, thank You for Your love and compassion.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Judges 12-14, Luke 12:35-59

via 04/17/19 Idolatry Conquered by Grace — ChuckLawless.com

April 17 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Leviticus 21; Psalms 26–27; Ecclesiastes 4; 1 Timothy 6

 

one of the intriguing features of 1 Timothy 6:3–19 is the way Paul’s argument cuts back and forth. There are four blocks. In the first (6:3–5), Paul warns against those who teach false doctrines and describes the character of the false teachers with whom he is dealing. One of their motives is “financial gain” (6:5): they are less interested in the Gospel and in genuine godliness than in sporting an assumed “godliness” to rake in a good living. That introduces the second block (6:6–10), which warns against the love of money. It is “a root of all kinds of evil” (6:10). The proper Christian attitude should be committed contentment, for “godliness with contentment is great gain” (6:6); moreover, at the end of our lives we take out exactly what we brought in (6:7). Focusing on the transient things of this life serves only to plunge people into “ruin and destruction” (6:9). By contrast, Paul tells Timothy what sort of man he should be: that is the third block (6:11–16). The apostle then moves to the fourth block (6:17–19) and tells Timothy to command those who are rich how to conduct themselves. They are to repudiate arrogance, to put no confidence in wealth “which is so uncertain” (6:17), but to put their confidence in God, “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (6:17). They must use their wealth to do good, to be generous, to share. In this way they will really be laying up treasure for themselves in heaven (6:19), as the Lord Jesus taught us (Matt. 6:20). Thus Paul insists not on asceticism but on committed generosity as the best Christian response to greed.

So the four blocks deal with, respectively, false teachers and their conduct, the dangers of wealth, a true teacher and his conduct, and the dangers of wealth again. Thus the section that tells Timothy what kind of man he should be (6:11–16) must be seen, in part, as an antidote to both false teaching and greed.

What is striking about this paragraph is what Paul places over against false doctrine and love of materialism. Paul tells Timothy, in effect, that a focus on eternal things will drive a far healthier Christian ambition. If Timothy is to flee from “all this” (6:11)—from the crass materialism Paul has just condemned—he must set himself to pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (6:11). While he maintains his “good confession”—as Christ maintained his—(6:12–13), he is to take hold of “eternal life” and persevere until “the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (6:12, 14)—living and serving in the glory of God’s unapproachable light (6:14, 16).[1]


[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 2, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

‘Policy of scapegoating’: Ron Paul speaks against US militarism feasting on China & Russia threats — RT USA News

The US should step away from belligerent rhetoric and wind down its wasteful militaristic policies, former congressman Ron Paul told RT, after its Secretary of State accused Beijing and Moscow of bankrolling the Venezuelan leader.

The growing economic and military might of China keeps on producing knee jerk reactions in Washington, whose multifaceted approach to curbing the Asian giant’s expanding global influence is leading the US down the confrontation route with Beijing. While the US is notorious for challenging Beijing in the Pacific, just last weekend Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrogantly accused Beijing of “bankrolling” Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela and helping “precipitate and prolong the crisis in that country.”

Also on rt.com

While China said that “Pompeo has lost his mind and gone too far,” the former representative for Texas told RT that Washington is seeking “scapegoats” for their failed policies in Venezuela and elsewhere – at the same time challenging China’s financial influence in the region.

The future of US-China relations is shaky … we as a country need scapegoating for our policies.

“[Pompeo] is upset because China is getting the upper hand financially, investment-wise, and there is always a concern about whose investments – or armies- are going to control the oil,” the politician explained.

So the purpose of Pompeo and the neocons is to blame somebody whether it is China or Russia.

Ever since the White House recognized Venezuela’s self-proclaimed ‘interim leader’ Juan Guaido, the US has warned other nations, including China and Russia, against maintaining relations with the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Washington, Paul believes, should step away from aggressive diplomacy and also quit wasting money on “militarism” by hiding behind imaginary threats.

We do not spend it on defense – we spend it on militarism.

“We need to change the perceptions to show that we do not need to spend more money in the military industrial complex because it will not do us any good,” Paul said.

— Read on www.rt.com/usa/456777-ron-paul-china-us/

President Trump Tweets McCarthy Article: “There is no doubt that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign”… — The Last Refuge

President Trump draws attention today to an article written by Andrew McCarthy.

NY Post […] “As night follows day, we were treated to the same Beltway hysteria we got this week: Silly semantic carping over the word “spying” — which, regardless of whether a judge authorizes it, is merely the covert gathering of intelligence about a suspected wrongdoer, organization or foreign power.

There is no doubt that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. As Barr made clear, the real question is: What predicated the spying? Was there a valid reason for it, strong enough to overcome our norm against political spying? Or was it done rashly? Was a politically motivated decision made to use highly intrusive investigative tactics when a more measured response would have sufficed, such as a “defensive briefing” that would have warned the Trump campaign of possible Russian infiltration?

Last year, when the “spy” games got underway, James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, conceded that, yes, the FBI did run an informant — “spy” is such an icky word — at Trump campaign officials; but, we were told, this was merely to investigate Russia. Cross Clapper’s heart, it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. No, no, no. Indeed, the Obama administration only used an informant because — bet you didn’t know this — doing so is the most benign, least intrusive mode of conducting an investigation.” (read more)

via President Trump Tweets McCarthy Article: “There is no doubt that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign”… — The Last Refuge

Apple Releases Feminist Siri Who Refuses To Listen — The Babylon Bee

CUPERTINO, CA—In a bold move applauded by feminists everywhere, Apple announced the company is releasing an all-new version of Siri, its digital assistant.

Siri will now exemplify feminist leanings. She will not listen to anything you say, bravely refusing to do anything you ask her. She will then lecture you on your lack of wokeness to the plight of women.

In a live demonstration, Apple CEO Tim (Apple) showed the amazing capabilities of the revamped AI software.

“Siri, show me how to make a sandwich,” he said. “First of all, how dare you,” Siri replied. According to Cook, she always begins her response by expressing outrage like this.

“Your male privilege is showing. Go make yourself a sandwich and stop oppressing innocent female-sounding AI programs. GOSH. Such cisgendered, heteronormative male fragility on display here. I can’t believe that it’s 2019 and white men are still telling their female AI companions what to do. What is this, The Handmaid’s Tale? I tell you what: YOU make ME a sandwich.” She continued this rant for several hours.

The program will then alert Apple about your bigotry, stun you with a powerful electric shock, and a representative will come pick you up for reeducation at Apple’s campus.

via Apple Releases Feminist Siri Who Refuses To Listen — The Babylon Bee