Daily Archives: July 2, 2019

July 2 The Freedom We Need

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18–25

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The mother wonders if her daughter will ever speak to her again. The father wonders if his relationship with his son can be restored. The young man wonders if the damage in his relationship with his best friend will ever be repaired.

When situations in our lives appear broken forever, despair can settle in our hearts if we don’t turn to the source of ultimate freedom: our heavenly Father.

As Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he explained that the word of the Cross—the death of Christ there and what that means to us today—is what brings power to our lives. Jesus’ death and resurrection was the ultimate portrait of freedom from a life of despair.

The sin of the world seemed far beyond forgiveness, and the weight of all that sin rested on the shoulders of Jesus. Yet, through His death and resurrection, He not only paid the price for our sin, He brought us freedom, both for now and eternity.

It doesn’t matter how desperate our situations appear to be here on earth now; we can always find hope in God. As we read Scripture and seek Him in prayer, we discover that He desires to free us from the bondage of despair, giving us the freedom we need to trust in Him.

Lord, I relinquish to You the sins that would own me. In Your forgiveness lies my power to overcome.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 193). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 2 The Message of Freedom

Scripture Reading: Psalm 107:1–9

Key Verse: Psalm 119:25

My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.

We receive all kinds of messages in life. Messages tell us how to live, where to vacation, what to eat, how to cook it, and then how to exercise it all away.

God’s first concern is always toward the spiritual part of a person’s life, not the physical. Because of the relentless spotlight placed on the need to look and act a certain way, depression, eating disorders, and anxiety top the list of problems people are most likely to struggle with.

However, these are only symptoms of a more serious dilemma. When we seek to become something apart from Jesus Christ, we end up chasing a very elusive shadow. Even if we do achieve a certain status, there is always something else on the horizon demanding more from us. Someone is always ahead of us causing us to think we need something other than what we have in order to be happy.

The person who finds his identity in Jesus Christ has freedom and peace. If you are struggling with thoughts of inadequacy, ask God to make His love for you very clear. He will never place unhealthy expectations on you. Nor does He say you have to reach a certain status before He can love you.

The moment you accept His Son as your Savior, He comes into your heart with perfect love and acceptance. He created you and is bound in love to you forever.

Heavenly Father, I want to find my true identity in You. Free me from the bondage of my limiting inadequacies.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 193). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

European Nations Urge Iran to Abide by Nuclear Deal as Israel Says It’s Military is Preparing for Possible Confrontation — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

FILE PHOTO – French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the media ahead of a European Union leaders summit that aims to select candidates for top EU institution jobs, in Brussels, Belgium June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

European signatories to a nuclear pact with Iran said on Tuesday they were “extremely concerned” by Tehran’s apparent breach of the 2015 deal, as Israel said it was preparing for possible involvement in any confrontation between Iran and the United States.

Iran announced this week it has amassed more low-enriched uranium than is permitted under the nuclear pact, a move that prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to say Iran was “playing with fire”.

“We regret this decision by Iran, which calls into question an essential instrument of nuclear non-proliferation,” the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain said in a joint statement with the EU’s High Representative on Iran. “We urge Iran to reverse this step and to refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal,” they said.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased since Trump pulled Washington out of the pact last year and moved to bar all international sales of Iranian oil. Washington also blames Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, something Tehran denies.

The European signatories to the accord have sought to pull back the two longstanding foes from direct confrontation, fearing a mistake could lead to war accidentally.

Israel has encouraged the Trump administration to press ahead with sanctions against its arch-foe Iran, predicting that Tehran will eventually renegotiate a more limiting nuclear deal.

But Foreign Minister Israel Katz told an international security forum that Iran might accidentally stumble out of what he termed the “gray zone” of contained confrontation.

“It should be taken into account that mistaken calculations by the (Iranian) regime … are liable to bring about a shift from the ‘gray zone’ to the ‘red zone’ – that is, a military conflagration,” he said in a speech to the Herzliya Conference.

“We must be prepared for this, and thus the State of Israel continues to devote itself to building up its military might for the event that it will have to respond to escalation scenarios.”

Israel has long threatened to take preemptive military action to deny Iran the means of making nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has no such designs. One of its senior lawmakers warned on Monday that Israel would be destroyed within “only half an hour” should the United States attack Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denies that Iran is in violation of the nuclear accord by amassing more low-enriched uranium, saying Iran is exercising its right to respond following the U.S. pullout.

By exceeding the limit, Tehran could prompt the return of all international sanctions on Iran but one European diplomat, asked if Europe would trigger a dispute resolution mechanism that is part of the accord, said:

“Not for now. We want to defuse the crisis.”

A second diplomat said Britain, France and Germany would focus on bringing Iran back into compliance and that they wanted to gain more time for dialogue.

“In the immediate term, Iran must return to its obligations. There is room for dialogue,” a French diplomatic source added.

China, like France a signatory to the deal, said it regretted Iran’s move but urged all parties to exercise restraint and said the U.S. policy of increasing pressure on Iran was the “root cause of the current tensions”.


The nuclear deal lifted most international sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear work. It aimed to extend the time Tehran would need to produce a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, from roughly 2-3 months to a year.

Iran’s main demand – in talks with the European parties to the deal and as a precondition to any talks with the United States – is to be allowed to sell its oil at the levels before Washington pulled out of the deal and restored sanctions.

Iranian crude exports were around 300,000 barrels per day or less in late June, industry sources said, a fraction of the more than 2.5 million bpd Iran shipped in April 2018, the month before Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.

Iran says it will breach the deal’s nuclear curbs one by one until it is able to sell that amount of oil, saying this is the least it should be able to expect from an accord that offered economic gains in exchange for nuclear restrictions.

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported on Monday that the Islamic Republic’s enriched uranium stockpile had passed the 300kg (661 lb) limit allowed under the deal.

“We have NOT violated the #JCPOA,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to the deal by the abbreviation of its formal title, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani accused Trump of trying to bully Tehran with his remark about playing with fire, and said such language would only made Iran stronger.

Zarif reacted with exasperation to a White House accusation that Tehran had long violated the terms of the deal.

“Seriously?” he said in a one-word message on Twitter, after White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that “there is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

Her comment contrasted with CIA Director Gina Haspel’s testimony in January to the Senate Intelligence Committee that “at the moment, technically, they are in compliance.”

Additional reporting by Francois Murphy in Vienna, Writing by William Maclean and Alistair Bell; Editing by Jon Boyle and Grant McCool

Source: Reuters

via European Nations Urge Iran to Abide by Nuclear Deal as Israel Says It’s Military is Preparing for Possible Confrontation — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Israeli Ambassador to US with Mark Levin Warns: ‘There’s a Price of Doing Nothing’ Concerning Iran | CNS News

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, TV host, author and American lawyer Mark Levin (left) and Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer (right) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

On the nationally syndicated radio talk show “The Mark Levin Show” with host Mark Levin on Monday, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer warned that “there’s a price of doing nothing” concerning Iran and the defense of Israel.

“[T]here’s a price of doing nothing,” stated Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer. “Just like there’s a price of doing something, there’s a price of doing nothing. And in Israel’s history, the price of doing nothing is usually much greater than the price of doing something.”

The Israeli ambassador’s comments came after Iran, according to CNSNews.com, exceeded “the amount of low-enriched uranium permitted under the 2015 nuclear deal,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggesting, “No nuclear deal should ever allow the Iranian regime to enrich uranium at any level.”

Below is a transcript of Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer’s remarks with Mark Levin on the show Monday:

Mark Levin: “Ambassador Ron Dermer, ambassador to the United States from Israel. So, my question, Mr. Ambassador: when you strike in Syria on these Iranian military sites or operations, are you concerned, is the prime minister concerned – I mean – prepared for a military reaction?

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer: “Well, we always take that into account.  But Mark, we have no choice. We have to defend ourselves. Iran is a regime that has vowed to destroy the state of Israel, and they work every day to advance that goal. And we are not going to allow them to entrench themselves militarily in Syria and to create another front against Israel.

“They already have one in Lebanon. In southern Lebanon they’ve established a beachhead through Hezbollah, which is a terror proxy of Iran – which effectively controls Lebanon today. They support Hamas on the southern side of Israel in Gaza, and they have fired thousands of rockets at us. Hezbollah’s also fired thousands of rockets at us. And now what they’re trying to do in Syria is entrench themselves militarily to create another front against Israel, really, to put a noose around Israel’s neck, and we’re not going to allow them to do it.

“And any time you engage in military action, there’s always, you always have to calculate and think about a potential response. But there’s a price of doing nothing. Just like there’s a price of doing something, there’s a price of doing nothing. And in Israel’s history, the price of doing nothing is usually much greater than the price of doing something.

“And the prime minister has been very clear, and I think the people of Israel overwhelmingly supported that we’re going to do what we have to do to defend ourselves. And that’s [in] Syria or anywhere else.”

Source: Israeli Ambassador to US with Mark Levin Warns: ‘There’s a Price of Doing Nothing’ Concerning Iran

ERLC Removes Public List of Research Fellows After Pulpit & Pen Article Comes Out — Pulpit & Pen

Pulpit & Pen recently wrote an article about Russell Moore’s weaponization of ERLC “research fellows” to attack his enemies, after three of his colleagues went on a tirade against Liberty University president, Jerry Falwell, Jr. Shortly after that article was published, the ERLC removed this list of research fellows from its website.

The story was a simple one. Russell Moore wanted to attack a critic, but the smarmy politico likes to keep his hands clean. So instead, he sent out Thomas Kidd – one of his regular henchmen – to take a hatchet to Falwell. Other “research fellows” – per usual – jumped onto the dogpile, while Moore remained pristine and clear of the conflict.

As we reported at the time, the ERLC research fellows don’t actually research anything. They’re just a posse’ – a Latte Mafia, if you will – that runs with Dr. Russell Moore and uses their social media influence to bully and attack his critics, and keep the plebes in line.

Now, as you can see by clicking on this link, the ERLC has made its list of “research fellows” private. Or, you can click the link from Google which previously took you to the ERLC research fellows page, and see that it now takes you to the ERLC’s main site. The research fellows are no longer listed.

The Southern Baptist Deep State would rather you not know how they work or who works for whom. Why aren’t Southern Baptists entitled to know who is and who is not part of Russell Moore’s “research fellows” posse? What do they have to hide? Why delist them from the website suddenly?

Hopefully, the ERLC is removing their “research fellow” honorary positions altogether. It does little more than provide people a resume incentive and honorary title to attack people on behalf of Russell Moore.

via ERLC Removes Public List of Research Fellows After Pulpit & Pen Article Comes Out — Pulpit & Pen

Few Protestant Churchgoers Read the Bible Daily | LifeWay Research

By Aaron Earls


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Christians say the Bible is God’s Word, but even among Protestant churchgoers only a third spend time reading it every day.

The 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research found those who regularly attend Protestant churches are inconsistent in their reading and thinking about Scripture.

The study identifies Bible engagement as one of eight signposts that consistently show up in the lives of growing Christians.

“This research asked churchgoers about many biblical characteristics to see which actions, beliefs and desires are present in the lives of followers of Christ,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Among them, Bible reading was one of the most predictive of spiritual maturity.”

Regular Bible reading

A third of Americans who attend a Protestant church regularly (32%) say they read the Bible personally every day. Around a quarter (27%) say they read it a few times a week.

Fewer say they only read it once a week (12%), a few times a month (11%) or once a month (5%). Close to 1 in 8 (12%) admit they rarely or never read the Bible.

A 2016 LifeWay Research study found 1 in 5 Americans said they had read all of the Bible at least once. However, more than half said they have read little or none of it.

In the latest study, churchgoers aged 50 to 64 are more likely to say they read the Bible every day (35%) than adults under 50 (30%).

Churchgoers in the western U.S. (37%) are more likely to be everyday Bible readers than those in the Midwest (31%) or South (31%).

Hispanics are the ethnic group most likely to say they read Scripture every day (40%).

Those who attend church four times a month or more (34%) are more likely to read every day than those who attend less frequently (27%).

Evangelical Protestants (36%) and black Protestants (30%) are also more likely than mainline Protestants (20%) to say they read Scripture every day.

“Jesus’ prayer for His followers was that they would be sanctified by the truth of God’s Word,” said McConnell. “It’s not surprising that the lives of those who spend time reading the Bible look more like Christ.”

Impact of regular Bible reading

In a 2016 study of churchgoing Protestant parents, LifeWay Research found regular Bible reading as a child was the biggest factor in predicting the spiritual health of young adults.

The latest survey finds Bible reading as an adult has similar far-reaching effects.

LifeWay Research asked churchgoers if they think about biblical truths throughout the day and if they miss time with God if they go several days without reading the Bible. Responses to those questions are closely tied to how regularly churchgoers read the Bible.

When asked if they find themselves thinking about biblical truths throughout the day, 32% of Protestant churchgoers strongly agree. In total, almost 7 in 10 at least somewhat agree (69%).

Twelve percent disagree and 20% aren’t sure.

Women (33%) are more likely than men (29%) to strongly agree.

Churchgoers 65 and older (27%) are the age demographic least likely to strongly agree, while Hispanics (52%) are the ethnic group most likely to strongly agree.

Evangelical Protestants (35%) and black Protestants (33%) are more likely than mainline Protestants (18%) to strongly agree.

Among those Protestant churchgoers who say they read the Bible every day, 51% say they find themselves thinking about biblical truths during the day.

For those who read the Bible a few times a week, 32% say the same. That falls to 20% of those who read Scripture once a week to a few times a month and 9% of those who read it once a month or less.

“This is a case in which the action of reading the Bible influences one’s thoughts,” McConnell said. “This mindfulness on God’s truths has additional benefits of influencing other actions and speech.”

A third of Protestant churchgoers (33%) strongly agree they desperately miss the time with God if they go several days without reading the Bible. Almost 3 in 5 at least somewhat agree (58%).

Around 1 in 5 disagree (20%) and 22% neither agree nor disagree.

Women (36%) are more likely to strongly agree than men (30%). Hispanic churchgoers (44%) are more likely to strongly agree than African American (36%) and white churchgoers (31%).

Those 65 and older are the least likely age group to strongly agree they miss the time with God when they go several days without reading the Bible (27%).

Evangelical Protestants (38%) and black Protestants (33%) are more likely to strongly agree than mainline Protestants (19%).

The more regular the Bible reading habit, the more likely churchgoers are to say they miss that time with God.

Among Protestant churchgoers who read the Bible every day, 65% strongly agree. That number is cut in half among those who read Scripture a few times a week (32%). It continues to decline among those who read it once a week or a few times a month (13%) and among those who read it once a month or less (6%).

“One indication that reading God’s Word is beneficial is how much readers miss it after not reading for a few days,” said McConnell. “This fits with the Bible’s own description of itself as being ‘living and effective.’”

Bible engagement is one of eight signposts measured in the Discipleship Pathway Assessment and addressed in LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. For more information, visit DiscipleshipPathwayAssessment.com.

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

The online survey of 2,500 Protestant churchgoers was conducted Jan. 14–29, 2019. Respondents were screened to include those who identified as Protestant or non-denominational and attend religious services at least once a month. Quotas and slight weights were used to balance gender, age, region, ethnicity, income and denominational affiliation. The completed sample is 2,500 surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 2.0%. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

Source: Few Protestant Churchgoers Read the Bible Daily

More Wolves and False Teachings — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

I’ve been hard-pressed to even think about blogging due to the many days I am not home for the past few weeks.  Many reasons which can’t be avoided lead to being home overnight but during the days the gardens are neglected, housework gets behind, and blogging gets forgotten. When we are out with all the necessary reasons, we will usually have lunch at a fast-food place, but sometimes we will have enough time to actually sit down at a better restaurant; 20 days in June we ate out!
I do try to keep up with news items of apologetic nature when I DO get a chance to breathe, so I have collected a goodly number of links to articles which warn you about wolves invading the Church as well as the Internet, people who need to be avoided for spiritual safety. So buckle up and go for the ride.
Joel Osteen continues to demonstrate his rebellion against God.
Francis Chan should be avoided like the plague.
I’m really tired, and saddened to see solid Bible teachers and pastors continuing to use Tim Keller’s material or cite his teachings in any way. Christians should be pointed away from this false teacher, not to him.
This apostate PCUSA church is using the world to attract young people to church.  Go figure. And it gets even worseAnd worse.
An example of all that is wrong with The Gospel Coalition.
Beth Moore obfuscates a response to the open letter. Then she praises and promotes false teacher Eugene Peterson!!! The woman has absolutely NO discernment.  Just how bad does she have to get before her followers leave her?!?!
The charismatic day of infamy, June 23, 2008.  What a day of aberrations and heresies.
So why is this bishop still with the apostate Episcopal Church anyway? They punish him for not being as apostate as they are!
Kevin Mannoia is not an “evangelical,” rather he is an apostate thumbing his nose at God.
Another example of the apostasy within Hillsong’s goat pens.
Michael Brown continues to prove why he is a false teacher.

via More Wolves and False Teachings — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

July 2 Childlike Faith

Scripture reading: John 3:1–17

Key verses: Ephesians 2:8–9

By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Every once in a while you hear someone say, “God helps those who help themselves.” However, the truth is, God helps those who are quick to admit their need and absolute dependency on Him. As long as we think we can somehow work our way into heaven or perform some great deed on our own, we receive very little from the hand of God.

Jesus instructed the disciples to become like children in their approach to God. The issue He was addressing was one of pride. A child looks to his mother or father for support and help. He may try to do things on his own, but when frustration comes, he knows he can turn to his parents for a solution.

A young father told how he secretly watched his three-year-old daughter struggling to put on her shoes. The more she tried lacing and tying the shoes on her own, the more frustrated she became. Finally in desperation, she dropped back on her bed and loudly proclaimed: “Help me, God. I just can’t do it.”

Nicodemus had a hard time understanding Jesus’ concept of a new birth. As a member of the Sanhedrin, he was highly educated. Still the only way he could expect to spend eternity with God was to place his childlike faith in Jesus Christ. It was not a matter of intellect; it was a matter of humble faith and grace. Take time to tell the Savior you need Him more than anything else.

Give me childlike faith in You, dear Lord. I need You more than anything else.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 193). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Hispanic pastors tour border facility lambasted by AOC and say they are ‘shocked by misinformation’ | FOX news

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was “full of indignation” when he saw the reports and heard from politicians about the deplorable and inhumane conditions for illegal immigrants at an El Paso County, Texas migrant detention center. But what he saw at the same facility toured by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. with a group of pastors was “drastically different.”

The president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, and senior pastor of New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento shared his firsthand experience touring a migrant detention center during a press briefing Monday.

“I read the reports, saw the news clips. I just wanted to see what was actually happening in order to better enable our efforts to find a fair and a just solution to our broken immigration system,” Rodriguez, who has advised President Trump and both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush on immigration reform, noted. “To my surprise, I saw something drastically different from the stories I’ve been hearing in our national discourse. Even as a veteran of immigration advocacy in the U.S., I was shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border.”

The group of pastors saw a very different picture described by Ocasio-Cortez and other politicians and media outlets.

“We found no soiled diapers, no deplorable conditions and no lack of basic necessities,” Rodriguez remarked, adding he specifically asked border agents if they staged the facility in response to the negative press. “They unequivocally denied it — we were witnessing the identical conditions the attorneys saw when they toured the facility days earlier.”

In fact, some told him the sources from whom the negative coverage originated “never toured the areas of the facility that we toured” and speculated they might have had political motivations.

The pastors left encouraged by the commitment and dedication of America’s Border Patrol and immigration officers, “many of which are Latinos, by the way.” He said one emotional Border Patrol agent turned to him and said, referring to the vilification: “Pastor Sam, what they’re saying about us is completely false. We care about these kids and have a passion for our calling.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, with an accompanying delegation of pastors at the Clint Patrol Station this weekend in El Paso County, Texas.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, with an accompanying delegation of pastors at the Clint Patrol Station this weekend in El Paso County, Texas. (Courtesy Rev. Samuel Rodriguez)

Pastor Carlos Moran, NHCLC board member and immigrant, said, “we, as evangelical leaders that serve in different segments, are very committed to helping children regardless of their status and we commend those officers that are trying their very best to serve and fulfill their duty at the border. However, we do call on our political leaders to set aside their personal agendas and begin focusing on resolving this immigration crisis.”

Rodriguez points blame for that broken immigration system at consecutive White House administrations and especially both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress and implored each to “address the system they created.”

“What’s heart-wrenching is that we have both Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress, who can’t come together for the purpose of doing the right thing and finding a solution to our immigration crisis,” he said. “Please, President Trump, please White House, work with the Republicans and the Democrats [and] please, please, please, please, Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, please come together to solve this crisis, immediately.”

Source: Hispanic pastors tour border facility lambasted by AOC and say they are ‘shocked by misinformation’

Pence Recalled To White House As Putin Pulls Out Of Scheduled Event; Officials Say “No Cause For Alarm” | ZeroHedge News

Update 3: RT is reporting that Putin is meeting with his defense minister about this morning’s deadly fire aboard a Russian deep submersible.

It’s still unclear what Pence and the EU Security Council are doing.

Now, officials are clarifying that Air Force Two never actually left Washington.

Meanwhile, the National Guard has confirmed that gunshots are being investigated at the Pease Air National Guard base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s unlikely that has anything to do with Pence, but it’s another strange coincidence.

* * *

Update 2: It could be just a coincidence, but the timing is certainly curious. Not long after Pence turned around to head back to Washington Tuesday morning for an unspecified non-emergency, Russian press reported that Vladimir Putin has abruptly pulled out of a scheduled event to hold a meeting with his defense minister.

Meanwhile, the European Commission security council has also been convened for a meeting. There’s speculation that it could be related to Iran, or Syria, or that Russian submarine that caught fire.

Or perhaps we’re closer to the brink of WWIII than most Americans realize? An aide to the VP said simply that ‘something came up’, and another reporter noted that officials seemed to be going out of their way to say that the meeting has ‘nothing to do’ with Trump or his health. Another reporter said the incident has nothing to do with national security.

One Twitter wit seized the opportunity to make light of the situation.

* * *

Update: The Office of the VP has clarified that Pence wasn’t recalled to Washington for an “emergency”, but to deal with an undisclosed “situation.”

Though the language is less ominous, but only slightly.

A crowd of roughly 200 had shown up to the Granite Recovery Center in Salem, NH to hear Pence speak about the opioid crisis, but they are now leaving now that the event has been cancelled.

Another reporter said she was told by unnamed officials that the reason for the Pence recall is “no cause for alarm.”

* * *

Vice President Mike Pence has been called back to the White House on Tuesday because of an undisclosed “emergency,” NBC 10 Boston reports.

Pence had been scheduled to land in Manchester around 11:25 am, but instead, just before he was due to land, news broke that his event had been cancelled and that he would be heading back to Washington instead of making an appearance in New Hampshire to discuss the opioid crisis.

Air Force 2 was reportedly diverted due to the emergency. No further information was immediately available.

Whatever the emergency, it can’t be good.

Source: Pence Recalled To White House As Putin Pulls Out Of Scheduled Event; Officials Say “No Cause For Alarm”

SERIOUSLY? Hillary Clinton Slams Trump Foundation’s ‘Shocking Pattern of Illegality’ – Suggests Clinton Foundation is Scandal Free — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump on Monday blasted the corrupt politicians in New York, including the newly-elected Attorney General Letitia James in a series of tweets over the endless investigations into his businesses and the Trump Foundation.

In one tweet, President Trump pointed out the two-tiered justice system and reminded the public about the corrupt money laundering machine known as the Clinton Foundation.

“That’s right, The Trump Foundation gave away 100% plus, with Zero rent or expenses charged, and has been being sued by Cuomo and New York State for years – another part of the political Witch Hunt. Just in case anyone is interested – Clinton Foundation never even looked at!” Trump said on Monday.

Because Hillary Clinton has been able to live her entire adult life committing crimes without any fear of reprisal, she arrogantly attacked Trump about his family’s foundation while suggesting her own crooked foundation is scandal free.

“Nope. The Clinton Foundation has—among many other things—provided 13k doses of naloxone to fight ODs and helped deliver supplies to Puerto Rico in the face of your inaction,” Hillary tweeted.

“Your foundation, in the NY AG’s words, engaged in “a shocking pattern of illegality.”” she added.

The Clinton Foundation has been under FBI investigation, however, the Clintons always manage to escape true oversight and accountability in the current rigged system.

Furthermore, whistleblowers who investigated the Clinton Foundation testified to the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations in December and exposed the Clinton Foundation’s global money-laundering scams.

The whistleblowers, Lawrence Doyle of DM Income Advisors and John Moynihan of JFM Associates, argued that according to their research, the Clinton Foundation was operating outside of its bounds as a 501c3 non-profit organization and instead operated exactly like the global fund in Geneva, Switzerland by brokering money and pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Moynihan also stated that 60% of the donations going to the Clinton Foundation were used for “administration fees” which is a stark difference from the industry norm of 10-15% for admin fees.

“The investigation clearly demonstrates that the [Clinton] Foundation was not a charitable organization per se, but in pointed fact was a closely held family partnership,” Mr. Doyle said.

Doyle continued, “As such, it was governed in a fashion in which is sought in large measure to advance the personal interests of its principles as detailed within the financial analysis…and further confirmed within the supporting documentation and evidence.”

via SERIOUSLY? Hillary Clinton Slams Trump Foundation’s ‘Shocking Pattern of Illegality’ – Suggests Clinton Foundation is Scandal Free — The Gateway Pundit

Revoice, Nashville, And The Therapeutic Revolution — Abounding Grace Radio

More than 50 years ago Philip Rieff alerted us to what has been called the “therapeutic revolution.” The West did not pay attention and now our broader culture is awash in therapeutic categories and rhetoric. Anyone, on most any university campus, who dares to proclaim the existence of objective truth or reality would be immediately denounced as “hurtful,” and possibly attacked physically by masked, black-clad fascist thugs (the so-called Antifa movement). When Rieff published his seminal work, The Triumph of the Therapeutic Billy Graham, for good or ill, was the nation’s de facto pastor. Today the nation’s pastor is Oprah, who rose to famous by popularizing the therapeutic revolution.

The Triumph Of The Therapeutic

Consider the way people think and speak about civil government in our time. Remember that the civil government is empowered to use physical violence to enforce its laws. It is a blunt instrument fit to accomplish a few basic tasks: collect taxes (Rom 13:6; Matt 22:21), defend the people (Rom 13:4) and to keep order (Rom 13:4). It is common, however, for people to think and speak about government in therapeutic (helping) categories so that when the magistrate does what he is called to do, to arrest criminals and prosecute them, people are genuinely shocked. We are so persuaded of validity of therapeutic categories that, when someone does something evil, we immediately turn to them to explain it: “he must be mentally ill.” Now, mental illness is a reality but so is evil and so is sin but the latter two are severely neglected in our age. Where therapeutic explanations predominate, personal responsibility shrivels.

Therapeutic ways of thinking and speaking are so common, so interwoven into the fabric of late-modern Western culture, that we are mostly unaware of how deeply we have been influenced. The result of this revolution is that how one feels is considered of much greater importance than the truth of what is said. We might speak of the triumph of the affective over the effective. To effect is to bring something about. To affect is to move one emotionally.

Truth Is Not A License To Kill

To be sure, to value truth and to prioritize it over feelings is not say that feelings are unimportant and still less is it to license rudeness. The Apostle Paul explicitly contrasts love with rudeness (1 Cor 13:5). Kindness is work of grace in the Christian (2 Cor 6:6; Col 3:12) and a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). According to God’s Word, however, truth is and it must be spoken in love (Eph 4:15). We may not substitute, “in a way that makes one feel warm and fuzzy” for “in love.” This is how the triumph of the therapeutic subtly changes our frame of reference and thus our understanding of Scripture. We read into Scripture an alien, late-modern, subjectivist, therapeutic framework rather than realizing how Scripture challenges our cultural assumptions.

Pastoral Is Not Therapeutic

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) General Assembly recently concluded its business and perhaps the major piece of work before those assembled was to decide to how address the Revoice Conference held last summer in St Louis. That conference was held to affirm that there are Gay Christians, that it is morally right to affirm that one may be a Christian and experience sexual attraction to persons of the same sex (SSA) so long as one does not act on this impulse. In other words, homosexual desire is not sinful per se. This is the so-called “Side B” approach to homosexuality and Christianity. So, the conference was affirming of a variety of attitudes and behaviors that traditionally have been considered beyond the pale of Christian sexual ethics.

Before the assembly was the question of how to respond. Two or perhaps three positions emerged. Some, represented by the lengthy report produced by a committee of the presbytery in which the conference was held, defended the intent and substance of the conference while criticizing it mildly for some rhetoric excess. A second group is deeply concerned about the theology, piety, and practice of the Revoice Conference but convinced that the Westminster Standards are sufficient to address it. A third group wanted to adopt the Nashville Statement, which was produced in August, 2019 in response to the theology behind the Revoice Conference.

Such Were Some Of You

Greg Johnson, the PCA pastor whose congregation hosted the Revoice Conference and who, in late May, announced in the pages of Christianity Today that he is, in fact, “Gay,” i.e., he has a permanent, irrevocable SSA but he does not act on it,  argued on the floor of the assembly that we should think of same-sex attraction (SSA) the way we think of alcoholics, paraplegics, and those afflicted with infertility. Watch for yourself:

The influence of the therapeutic revolution appears immediately in this speech. The first thing to which this shepherd of God’s flock appeals is not God’s Word but his feelings. Article 7 of the Nashville Statement says that it is sin to adopt a homosexual self-conception. That statement is true.

There are several serious problems with Pastor Johnson’s reasoning here. first his speech was highly biographical, emotive, and even prejudicial. He implied that anyone who disagrees with his position “hates” homosexuals. It equates traditional Christian sexual ethics with anti-gay bigotry. Second, he assumes that, except for his commitment to Christ, he might have taken a same-sex husband and had a family and that by not violating God’s natural and moral law thus he has made a great sacrifice for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. He even invokes Matthew 19:29 to that end. Giving up sin is not a sacrifice. It is required of us who have been bought by the blood and grace of Christ. When our Lord commanded us hyperbolically to cut off our offending right hand (Matt 5:20) there is no hint that we are treasure it. Paul says “such were some of you” (1 Cor 6:11). He assumes that SSA is natural or so innate that it is irrevocable. This is an assumption that is a gratuitous and false as it is essential to his argument. His argument would be much more credible had Johnson bothered to find any of the numerous believers whose sexual orientation has has been changed by the grace of God.

Pastor Johnson is welcome to attend the AGR Conference later this month featuring Rosaria Butterfield, who was a practicing Lesbian, whom the Lord gave new life and true faith and whom the Lord has given a husband and a family. Johnson is well aware of Rosaria’s story and if he is not it is not the fault of those who have tried to notify him and the Revoice Conference about her work. Learn more about the conference and register

The category of “Gay Christians” is utterly foreign to the history of Christianity. There are Christians who struggle with sin but there are no “Thief Christians” or “Murderer Christians” nor “Pedophile Christians.” So his analogies fail spectacularly. The drunk whom the Lord has redeemed from addiction to booze makes no great sacrifice to the Lord by not drinking or getting drunk. He is doing only what is expected of one redeemed by grace: “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’” (Luke 17:10; ESV). It is orthodoxy in Alcoholics Anonymous to say that one is always a drunk but we do not confess The Big Book. We confess the Good Book, God’s Holy Word. The concept of an “alcoholic” is unknown to Scripture. Certainly the disease model is a fabrication, for which there remains no scientific evidence and certainly no biblical support.

The appeal to the analogy of paraplegia and infertility borders on the offensive. It certainly assumes what must be proved: that homosexuality is as innate as those afflictions. The evidence for this claims is wanting. Scripture never treats such cases as sin but it is explicit that homosexuality is sin.

Johnson worries about how those identify as Gay or homosexual will regard the PCA after this. I can answer that question: They should regard themselves as sinners welcome to visit PCA congregations, to see themselves as fellow sinners, to repent of all their sins (including their homosexual orientation), and as welcome to receive the free and full forgiveness of all their sins for the sake of the righteousness and death of Jesus. All are welcome, not exceptions.

It is not mean to tell sinners that they are sinners. It is not mean to specify sins. It is not mean to resist the culture when it demands that th church capitulate on this or that point as a condition of being accepted.

Jesus loves sinners. He loved his elect from all eternity. Among those elect are those who have SSA, those who have abused alcohol and drugs, those who have murdered, and those who have lied. Grace is the abounding free favor of Christ to helpless, lost sinners. As a consequence of his grace, however, he calls us to repent, to turn away from our old life—not to adopt aspects of it as our permanent identity. Our identity is in Christ, not in our sins nor in our former way of life. Our name is defined by our baptism into the name of the Triune God, not by our former way life.

Grace is healing. It restores. It renews. God Word says:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor 5:17).

In this life none of us realizes the full benefit of God’s renewing grace. We have but a beginning but by his grace we do have a beginning. Let us endeavor to speak and think about a old life and our new the way God does.

R. Scott Clark, Escondido.

via Revoice, Nashville, And The Therapeutic Revolution — Abounding Grace Radio

Top Catholic Leaders Join Mormons to Promote “God and Country” — Reformation Charlotte

It has always been a core tenet of the Protestant Reformation that the Roman Catholic Church is the harlot spoken of in Scripture that oppresses the true Church while fornicating with the kings of the world. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church will join hands with just about anyone except for true, Bible-believing Christians. While you may see prominent figureheads of the Southern Baptist Convention and other Evangelical denominations holding hands with Roman Catholics for various causes, ecumenism is strictly forbidden by Scripture (2 Corinthians 6:14-15, 1 Corinthians 5:11).

Recently, one of the most prominent Catholic leaders in the U.S., archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, joined Mormon Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at a patriotic service in Orem outside of Salt Lake City, UT — the home of Mormonism.

Read more: Top Catholic Leaders Join Mormons to Promote “God and Country” — Reformation Charlotte

The Gospel Coalition Suggests Dumbing Down Your Sermons For Non-Whites — Pulpit & Pen

The Gospel Coalition is anything but gospel — it is a subversive left-wing political organization hell-bent on enslaving minorities and keeping them enslaved to government and religion. The organization, which is run by the Cultural Marxist, Tim Keller — who says you’re lacking the evidence of salvation if you’re not practicing social justice — operates on the assumption that minorities are incapable of taking care of themselves and whites must step in and save them.

From calls for monetary slave reparations to various forms of affirmative action in schools, seminaries, and the job market, The Gospel Coalition is undoubtedly the epicentre of anti-gospel social justice.

In a recent article by Matt Dirks entitled How Your Church Can Look More Like Your Neighborhood, Dirks suggests that pastors dumb down their sermons in order to cater to non-whites in the neighborhood. He writes,

We knew they weren’t going to come listen to seminary-lecture style sermons, so we began to manuscript each sermon and run it through an online grade-level analyzer. I discovered that my sermons were averaging a 10th-grade level, so I started using simpler phrases and words to get them down around a 5th-grade level. My aim hasn’t been to patronize, but to communicate God’s Word effectively to our hearers.

We’ve also chosen simpler songs. God was saving folks coming out of serious drug addiction, and some of them would say: “When we sing these hymns, my brain just can’t keep up with all the words.” We loved our hymns, but we decided to sing fewer in favor of simpler sung worship.

Of course, this is the very definition of patronizing. As Christians, we don’t dumb our exegesis down for people, we educate people and aim to bring them to a deep understanding of God’s revelation. It is the very epitome of patronizing racism to do otherwise — to assume that non-whites are incapable of learning on a higher level and to do so based on the color of their skin.

via The Gospel Coalition Suggests Dumbing Down Your Sermons For Non-Whites — Pulpit & Pen

Reminder: lack of border security will eventually lead to unrestricted abortion


Can you be pro-life and vote Democrat? Well, as we saw in the Democrat debates, all the Democrat candidates were in favor of open borders. And illegal immigrants tend to vote for higher taxes and more government, in order to get benefits from government provided by high-producing taxpayers. The net result of importing millions of big government voters is unrestricted abortion.

Here’s a nice article from Catholic journalist John Zmirak, who is so conservative that I could swear he’s a evangelical Protestant.

He writes:

I wrote this a long time ago: “Immigration decides whether America will be saved. Abortion determines whether it deserves to be.”

That sums up most of my politics. Not because I don’t care about other issues. Of course I do. But these two are what you might call “existential.” And they are also connected.

You see, the immigration issue decides a lot of others. In fact…

View original post 743 more words

The Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ — Servants of Grace

One of the most beautiful, mysterious, and yet mind-boggling teachings of Scripture is that God put on flesh and dwelt among us. Every year at Christmas, we celebrate the miracle that the second person of the Trinity “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Without such a miracle, there would simply be no hope for mankind.

We continue our study of Great Doctrines of the Bible by Martyn Lloyd-Jones by examining chapter 23, “The Incarnation.”

Seven Guiding Principles to Our Understanding of the Incarnation

Because the incarnation is beyond human understanding, error can easily creep in. There have been councils and debates seeking to establish the biblical teaching on such a complex idea. MLJ provides seven principles that will help set parameters around a healthy, orthodox understanding of the incarnation:

  1. The incarnation reminds us of the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity– MLJ states, “The whole Christian position, in a sense, depends upon the doctrine of the blessed Holy Trinity. If we do not believe in that we cannot be Christian; it is impossible” (256).
  2. It was the second person of the Trinity who became flesh– God the Father did not put on flesh, nor did God the Holy Spirit.
  3. Jesus didn’t just appear to be human; He truly put on flesh– early in the Church, a group called “Gnostics” taught that the Lord only appeared to put on flesh. John 1:14 states, “The Word was made flesh,” not that it merely looked like it.
  4. Jesus’ divine nature didn’t change– some argue that Jesus’ divine nature mixed with a human nature to form a whole new type of person. Jesus remained who he was with his divine nature still in tact. To argue otherwise is to create a change in the eternal Godhead. MLJ states, “We must never so state the doctrine of the incarnation as to give the impression, therefore, that we say that the Son of God was changed into a man” (257).
  5. Jesus was truly human– he did not just take the appearance of a human, but truly received a human nature. This is similar to point 3, yet dealing with the nature rather than the physical body. Hebrews 2:14 argues, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” Also, 2 John 7 states, “Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” In order to be a sufficient sacrifice on behalf of man, he had to be truly God and truly man.
  6. Jesus took on a fully human nature– He did not become part human or a human in body only. MLJ states, “The doctrine of the incarnation teaches that He took on Him complete human nature, body, and soul, including spirit, that He was truly man” (259).
  7. He received a complete human nature from the Virgin Mary– MLJ is arguing against those who claim that Jesus was a different kind of human than others. They say that “God created a new human nature for His Son” that “merely passed…through Mary.” Instead, MLJ states that is a true human, the seed of Abraham and the seed of David: “Now if a special human nature had been created for Him, He would not have been the son of David nor the son of Abraham. But He was both, because His human nature came from his mother, the Virgin Mary” (259).

While beyond our understanding, the Incarnation is a wonderful miracle of God by which Jesus, truly God and truly man, bridges the gap between God and man. Or, as Augustine says, “Man’s maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that the Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die” (Sermons 191.1).

Other posts in the “Great Doctrines of the Bible” series:

via The Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ — Servants of Grace

Depravity: An Address to Sunday School teachers by C. H. Spurgeon, given when he was about fifteen years and eight months old — Banner of Truth USA

An Address to Sunday School teachers by C. H. Spurgeon, given when he was about fifteen years and eight months old.

The depravity of the human heart is a doctrine proved by the testimony of Scripture and immediately deducible from experience. If we read our Bibles with care we find numerous passages in which it is insisted that the heart is altogether evil.

Go into the world — as is the fountain so are the streams polluted by sin. In the various crimes which disgrace society, in the excesses of the voluptuary, the daring outrages of the dishonest and disorderly, or the more occult sins peculiar to every individual, have we not abundant evidence of universal depravity? It stands a monstrous fact in our history that from the moment when our parents first transgressed, sin has been naturalized in every human heart. The man who sees no evidence of depravity must be blind, and he who denies its existence affords suspicion that he is deeply affected by it.

It may be important perhaps for us as Sunday School teachers to consider what effect this universal evil has upon us in relation to the important work in which we are engaged. It is certain that something stands in the way of the success of Sunday School operations: on all hands it is admitted that, though a mighty engine for good, it does not produce all that could be wished.

In pursuing by the assistance of the Holy Spirit our consideration of this subject it shall be our aim to view it in two aspects as it regards the teacher and the taught.

1. In looking at its influence upon the teacher we shall see many ways in which it operates, but we will confine ourselves to two or three of the more obvious:

It corrupts his simplicity of aim. The desire of every teacher ought to be to glorify Christ by being an instrument in the salvation of his children. But how often do we go to our classes with only half our object in view? Do we not sometimes find ourselves contented with going through the regular routine of the school? and may we not sometimes go merely that we may not be thought negligent of our duty? Who among us can say that constantly we keep in view in all we say our great object? Are we not striving sometimes, rather to communicate instruction than to impress the heart? Here is a fertile source of mischief; when once our heart prompts us to lose sight of the vast realities of a future state, to forget the tremendous hazard of our children’s lives, or to close our eyes on the infinite value of the soul, what will our teaching be but an image without life, a model perhaps in form, but a cipher in usefulness? Could we always feel that our duty is to teach the young immortals ‘how they may be saved’ and regard all subjects as valuable only as they can be turned to account in the furthering our objects, might we not calculate upon greater success?

But here our natural depravity acts as an opiate, it deadens our sense of the solemnity of our undertaking, stifles or damps our zeal and makes us sleepy, drowsy in our work. In the next place it spreads its malignant influence over our actual engagements while with the classes. It removes far from us much of the earnestness and fidelity we so much need. We feel that after our Sabbath work is completed it is seldom that any of us can say ‘I have with all the earnestness possible directed my class to flee to Jesus for refuge.’ But we must sometimes and often thus soliloquize: ‘I fear today I have not regarded sufficiently the interests of those com­mitted to me, my appeals wanted much heart, I am conscious that I was not sufficiently faithful. I did not make my addresses direct enough nor did I urge them with powerful exhortation. I seem to have gone round my children when I ought to have sent a home stroke at them. I forgot their desperate situation and fear that I have tampered with their minds. I did not remember that the Lord’s eye was specially on me, and did not feel those throes of agonizing desire which I ought to have done. Thus it is that my evil heart has undone me, and made me an unfaithful servant.’ Let each of us now demand of our hearts, ‘If the Lord should please to call anyone of my children to his great tribunal could I acquit myself of his blood?’ Should we not then remember many opportunities which we have passed over when perhaps we might have been of use to the departed? We do not use half the earnestness in saving our children’s souls that we should in preserving their bodies. See a child near the edge of a precipice, we tremble, our blood chills, we rush to the rescue. See a soul on the borders of the yawning gulf and we sleep, we are little affected, we move with sluggishness to help. Surely such things ought not to be, but where must we trace them? Why, even to our own corrupt hearts, the seat and source of every kind of evil. We lose the sense of our own personal religion; the old man prevails; we do not make it the business of our lives to grow in grace, and then as a natural consequence, we lose our feeling of its importance to others and then impair or perhaps destroy our zeal in their behalf.

But yet we have not mentioned a still more direful effect, it chills our devotion.

We sometimes neglect the wrestling and striving at the throne of grace, and do not live sufficiently in prayer. The best of all preparations for the right performance of our duties is much earnest prayer — the want of it must be fatal to our attempts and an effectual hindrance to all real success. As well might a soldier stand in battle without sword or gun as a teacher without prayer. We cannot now stay to discuss the reasons of this, but it is sufficient for us to feel in our own hearts that often, very often, are we tempted to neglect our prayers, and still more frequently to pray without a due measure of fervent, heartfelt expectation.

We are at a mercy-seat after some struggles — like a schoolboy afraid to play truant and yet feeling it a task. We find a difficulty in collecting our straying thoughts and when once together the heart comes into slow, morbid action; how seldom do we pour out our hearts like our Master in sincere prayer for a blessing upon our endeavours. And here let us remember that closet prayer is not alone to be our exercise, but we should pray without ceasing and while teaching keep our souls in the devout attitude of supplication. But here let us all humbly confess our deep depravity in sinful neglect.

Although many other points remain let us remark that owing to the same potent, all-pervading influence, we are far from perfect in our lives. It becomes us well to reflect whether our example is always that which children may safely imitate, and whether sometimes some failing in our conduct coming beneath the observation of the scholar may not be an evil of magnitude, a blot upon our work. Thus we have considered the influence of our natural depravity upon our conduct, let us now notice the children. We see that the instruments are imperfect.

2. Let us look upon the objects to be worked upon. They are also suffering under the same deadly, self-increasing evil; they have a natural aversion to those things which we propose to teach them — their little hearts have in them a principle of opposition to the gospel. And here let us glance at a theory which assumes that all men or children would receive the gospel if properly exhibited, or in other words, that children or men in general are predisposed to receive the gospel if skilfully exhibited. Is not this theory wrong in principle and inconsistent both with the Bible and facts? May it not be refuted by such arguments as these?

First, the Bible represents unsanctified men as predisposed not to receive and love the gospel, but to hate and oppose it. Every such man is an enemy to God. In proof of this we will cite but one text as a specimen of the concurrent testimony of the sacred oracles. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God’. To say that this refers only to Jews or to men of one age is to trifle with the plain import of language for it clearly applies to men universally of all ages. To say that it applies to men and not to children is equally erroneous, for they too have carnal minds and are consequently at enmity with God. Is it possible, looking at Scripture as full of evidence as to the native temper of the human heart, that the only reason why children are not converted is that teachers do not declare the truth properly? We think we may safely answer it is not. For, in the second place, such a theory has no countenance from the public ministry of Christ. He was eminently a teacher. If his hearers only needed to have the truth skilfully set before them to love it, why did they often bitterly complain under his sermons? Did not Christ know how to proclaim his own gospel? Surely he was better acquainted with it, and the best mode of presenting it to the heart, than we can possibly be. It was not want of acquaintance with the human heart or of any skill in adapting his instructions to the real condition of men, which led so to exhibit truth at Nazareth, that ‘the whole synagogue was filled with indignation’. We are driven here also to conclude that all the difficulty does not rest with the teacher — for here is one free from those great infirmities which act as drawbacks to success — a perfect man, a teacher possessed of the highest possible degree of knowledge, discretion, earnest­ness and faithfulness; having such a deep insight into hearts that it is said that he knew what was in man; accompanying his word with signs and miracles, and yet — with reverence let us speak — and yet finding such opposition to his teaching in fallen man that he exclaims, ‘Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life’. Can we wonder therefore if the children reject our appeals and slight our invitations?

But to multiply evidence in the third place — the theory that the gospel when properly proclaimed finds the unsanctified heart predisposed to embrace it, is contrary to the general evidence of facts. From the teaching of its Divine Founder to the present time, the gospel has fought its way against the pride and prejudice and unbelief of the human heart, arrayed in a thousand forms of inveterate hostility to oppose its progress. Indeed that this religion, in its primitive purity, should have maintained an existence on earth in the face of so much opposition, and notwithstanding so many motives operating on its teachers to disguise its truths, is owing merely to the shield of omnipotence interposed for its protection. Thus have we by disproving the one theory, proved the other — namely that the human heart and consequently our children’s hearts have in them a principle of opposition, yea, hatred to the gospel.

So various are the forms in which it displays itself that whilst we prepare to combat it in one shape it assumes another. Let us set before them truth with all earnestness and clearness, in such telling terms that we half suppose that it is impossible to resist its force — and we see each one of them perhaps generalizing it — admitting its truth, but concluding that it belongs to others. The child admits the truth of your reasoning but retires behind the others to escape the force of it. The faithful teacher observes this and commences a contest with this form of evil, by direct appeal, with personal and pointed remark to the heart and conscience of each individual — and then either in sullen disbelief it turns away, pays no attention to you, or takes it but partially into consideration. Onward presses the teacher, deals harder strokes and more to the purpose, till at last the young sinner trembles and is almost persuaded to be a Christian. How acts he then? Sends off the appeal with that base procrastinating promise of another day — tomorrow, when I am older I will attend to it. Now! says the earnest teacher, today is the appointed time! Delay not! This moment is the best! Where does the youthful then retreat? Either like the hunted animal at bay it opposes all its strength to the pursuer — or rushes headlong, choosing rather to be lost than to be saved; preferring death to life, and blindly hasting to its own destruction. We may here remark that it is very seldom that the child is thus hard pressed, and that to avoid many of our appeals would require but little perseverance.

The human heart is ever slow to admit its own depravity, and unwilling to brook the humiliating terms of salvation by grace, no wonder that it finds means to justify itself in rejecting them, or ways of convincing itself that the case is not so bad as it is represented. When we have discovered and enumerated all the schemes that have been used, we shall find that the child has as many more in reserve.

We may now endeavour to draw some lessons from the whole subject.

First, then the lesson of humility for us. Seeing our own imperfection, let us prostrate ourselves in the dust, confess our deep depravity, own our sinfulness and plead for mercy on our shortcomings. In this spirit we may see how little we have done, how imperfectly we have acted our part, and how great an honour it is that God has put upon us in calling us to labour in his vineyard. We shall neither think highly of ourselves, nor of our doings, but regard what we have effected as nothing, the mere starting point, the grain of mustard seed. We shall not rest satisfied, but desire to press forward to attain to higher points of the Christian course. Humility is one of the standard graces, one of the most glorious ornaments of a Christian, and if by the consideration of this subject, we are led to grow downward in humility, we shall find great reason to rejoice in it.

Let it next teach us our entire dependence upon Almighty power, our utter inability, seeing our own weakness and the peculiar difficulty of the undertaking to do anything of ourselves. Let us fall back into the arms of omnipotence and trust and look for aid to him that is able to save. We can do nothing. Let us learn this well. It will lead us to look out of self and to give all the glory to God.

Let us also learn that since we have such a monstrous foe to grapple with, such a subtle, cunning enemy to our progress, it becomes us to call up all our powers of heart and soul, to stir up our energies, and strive with all our might against the dreadful monster, and conscious of awful weakness, call in other aid, even the help of Jehovah by earnest prayer. How dare we be such madmen as to refuse the help of the mighty! How should we seek — seek constantly Divine assistance at a mercy seat! Let prayer be our element, our constant exercise. Never on any consideration or pretence may we omit our duties in the closet. What we are there we shall be elsewhere. We may enquire of ourselves whether we spend all the time we ought or might in supplication. Do we not waste time in unprofitable conversation which might be well employed in meditation or devotion? We may depend upon it, we cannot afford to lose one opportunity for devotion, one lesson from experience, or anything that may in the least assist us. Ours is an enterprise in which we need every aid. The works of Satan we have to storm are not impregnable, and if we keep up a regular, systematic, continual attack upon them, we shall yet by our Captain’s strength plant the flag of victory upon the bulwarks and drive the tyrant from his hold.

Difficulty overcome is glory gained – the harder the task, the greater honour in its accomplishment. We must never sit still but work while it is day. Though the walls of Satan’s hold be strong, and its bulwarks firm, our Master has an agency adapted to its destruction – he can burst the heart by mighty battering-rams, he can spring his mines, force a passage, and cause the fortifications to fall flat to the ground. Mighty are our enemies, Almighty is our Friend and Master. To wish to turn back from the work, because of ill success, implies a doubt either in the right of our cause, or in the strength of God. If one soul be saved it is a miracle, yet we must not be satisfied but long for more.

Lastly and chiefly, let us look well to the state of our personal piety in all its branches. It should be our morning, evening, hourly care to tend our souls, to guard against the very appearance of evil, and watch even the distant approach of sin. There may be a real backsliding under an apparently flourishing state. It becomes us all to consider if we are what we ought to be — what we might be, and to bethink ourselves how much the general deterioration of piety rests with us. There have been men who, surmounting difficulties, overcoming opposition, bursting bonds and o’er­leaping obstacles have maintained a consistent, noble devotion to the cause of Christ. And so will we — let us boldly say — and so shall we as surely. We too have seen young sinners turn to God, hard hearts relenting, stubborn souls subdued, opposition conquered and rebellious spirits quelled, and with such things in view we will not even look back, much less stay our hand.

This article was first published in the October 1969 edition of the Banner of Truth magazine with the following note: ‘This address, apparently hitherto unpublished, we are indebted to the Rev David Kingdon who, while at Spurgeon’s College, discovered the manuscript and transcribed it. No changes have been made apart from some minor adjust­ments in punctuation. Spurgeon speaks of his work as a Sunday School teacher in The Early Years, pp. 158-159. May God raise up in England today more fifteen-year-old boys with this theology!’

via Depravity: An Address to Sunday School Teachers — Banner of Truth USA

Open Doors CEO Says Americans Pastors Are ‘Not Teaching a Theology of Persecution’ — Faithwire

As violence against Christians continues to increase worldwide, the CEO of Open Doors USA, David Curry, says American pastors are failing to educate their congregations on the “theology of persecution.”

Asked by The Christian Post why he thinks American believers seem so disconnected from the persecution facing the global church, Curry said it’s ultimately “a failure of leadership.”

“This is a bit of an indictment,” he said, “but I think pastors … they’re not teaching their church[es] about it, they’re not teaching a biblical standard, they’re not teaching a theology of persecution.”

Curry pointed out that the New Testament was written by persecuted Christians, yet in the U.S. — and much of the Western world — there’s very little emphasis on that reality.

“There are books of the Bible that start with Paul in prison, and at the end, he’s still in prison,” he explained. “But we’re not hearing that Gospel in America, and I think it’s created a chasm between us and the rest of the world.”

There is hope, though, Curry argued. In order to turn it around, pastors need to spend a portion of every Sunday “talking, praying in some way about their persecuted brothers and sisters.”

This is not the first time Curry has spoken out about the divide between the American church and the rest of the Christian population. In mid-June, he penned a column for USA Today, in which he wrote believers in the U.S. are “whistling through the graveyard” as Christian persecution continues to increase.

“Inoculated by entertainment and self-absorption, they are completely detached from the experience of the global church,” he continued. “The American church is feeding itself to death while the worldwide church is being murdered.”

Curry’s scathing indictment came one month after it was reported radical Islamic extremists stormed into a church choir practice in Nigeria and kidnapped 17 Christians. He also noted that, in 2018 alone, 3,731 Christians in the African country were killed.

Another part of the problem, Curry argued, is Christians in America are inundated with media and news.

“We take our marching orders on what’s important by what’s on our Twitter feed,” he said. “That’s a very unhealthy way to prioritize what’s important because it’s what’s urgent, but it doesn’t allow us to focus on the things that are timeless and important.”

Regardless, believers in the U.S. need to become more vigilant because, according to Curry, who took over as CEO of Open Doors USA in 2013, persecution against Christians has only increased.

via Open Doors CEO Says Americans Pastors Are ‘Not Teaching a Theology of Persecution’ — Faithwire

RenewAmerica Newsletter for July 2, 2019

July 1, 2019
NEWSMAX — The job as White House press secretary has already proven to be a bruising one for newly appointed Stephanie Grisham, who was reportedly battered and “bruised” in a scuffle with North Korean guards, according to reports. CNN’s Jim Acosta, a frequent Trump administration antagonist, tweeted sources called it “all out brawl”: “New WH Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham got into a scuffle with the North Koreans to move members of the WH press pool into position to cover Trump and Kim, I’m told. Grisham was a bit bruised. Source called it ‘an all out brawl.'”… (more)

July 1, 2019
Red Hen Restaurant owner who ousted Sanders in 2018 says ‘new rules apply’
BYRON YORK — The toxicity of the resistance to President Trump has risen in recent days, with the nation’s most respected newspapers publishing rationalizations for denying Trump supporters public accommodation and for doxxing career federal employees, while a journalist found himself under physical attack from the so-called anti-fascist group Antifa, which has stepped up its violent activities since Trump’s election…. (more)

June 30, 2019
How the leftwing lords of the internet intend to swing the 2020 election
WORLDNETDAILY — It’s one of the great paradoxes of our time. Even though by all appearances the Democratic Party has gone mad, embracing wildly radical policies out of sync with most Americans – – from mass gun confiscation to socialism to late-term abortion to allowing convicted terrorists to vote – – the party could well see its candidate elected president in 2020…. (more)

June 30, 2019
FOX NEWS — After days of speculation – – and optimistic statements by the two leaders – – President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met and shook hands Sunday at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. It was their first face-to-face meeting since an ill-fated summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February…. (more)

June 30, 2019
NBC NEWS — Special Report: President Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Korean Demilitarized Zone…. (more)

June 29, 2019
Ex-Obama adviser Ben Rhodes says ‘Trump is lying’ about Obama’s failed N. Korean initiatives
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump made history by crossing the border that divides North and South Korea on Sunday. Less than two days after Trump extended an invitation over Twitter, the president shared a handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Korean demilitarized zone in what was an unprecedented display of goodwill between the U.S. and North Korea…. (more)

June 28, 2019
THE HILL — MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called the second night of the first 2020 Democratic debates a “disaster for the Democratic Party” and said that he hopes voters were not watching the face-off, which aired on his network. “With apologies to our friends and watching, last night was a disaster for the Democratic Party,” Scarborough said Friday on “Morning Joe.” “My only hope is people were not watching and I will tell you why.”… (more)

June 28, 2019
REV. AUSTIN MILES — MIAMI 6/26/19 – Wednesday night, ten Presidential hopefuls took the stage in Miami to sell the public on their qualifications (?) to be President of The United States. These 10 candidates (out of 20) included: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); former HUD Secretary Julián Castro; former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii); Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-Texas); Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio); and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Yes, Pocahontas rides again…. (more)

June 28, 2019
NEWSMAX — Pollster and political consultant Doug Schoen said President Donald Trump emerged as the true winner of the Democrats’ debate. He made his comments Friday in a column posted on the Fox News website. “Thursday night, the remaining 10 Democratic candidates took the stage in Miami, Florida for the second night of the Democratic National Committee’s first primary debate,” he wrote…. (more)

June 28, 2019
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump said Friday that he “wasn’t impressed” with the first Democratic primary debates held this week, suggesting that the party is moving too far to the left. “You know I’ve been watching the debates a little bit in between meetings and I wasn’t impressed,” Trump said while answering questions with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro while in Japan for the G20 summit, according to The Hill…. (more)

June 28, 2019
CNN — Author Marianne Williamson criticized Democratic candidates’ emphasis on “plans” during the second night of primary debates and claimed they would be insufficient to defeat President Donald Trump in the general election…. (more)

June 27, 2019
BYRON YORK — On the second night of the Democratic presidential debate in Miami, NBC moderators asked candidates whether they would support decriminalizing the act of illegally crossing the border into the United States – – that is, reducing the seriousness and consequences of illegal entry to the level of a parking ticket…. (more)

June 27, 2019
JERRY NEWCOMBE — Last week’s cross decision was a major case for religious liberty. Perhaps it even spells the death knell of the so-called Lemon Test…an aptly-named decision from the early 1970s that has often been used against any religious expression in the public square. The Supreme Court ruled that a 40-foot memorial cross in the state of Maryland was not unconstitutional. The cross was built beginning in 1919 to commemorate many soldiers from Prince George’s County who died in service to their country in World War I…. (more)

June 27, 2019
JAMES LAMBERT — I fondly remember the time during my freshman year (second semester) in college when John Parrott was my roommate at “New Dorm.” I lost my previous roommate during my first semester when he decided to leave the college in 1969…. (more)

June 27, 2019
BRYAN FISCHER — Bob Mueller will testify before two congressional committees on July 17, a day which promises to be the worst day of his life. The problem for Mueller is that even though the Democrats have called these hearings, Republicans get to ask questions too, a prospect which will have Mueller quaking in his Gucci loafers…. (more)

June 27, 2019
NEWSMAX — The Democratic-controlled House voted Thursday to send President Donald Trump a bipartisan, Senate-drafted, $4.6 billion measure to care for migrant refugees detained at the southern border, capping a Washington skirmish in which die-hard liberals came out on the losing end in a battle with the White House, the GOP-held Senate and Democratic moderates…. (more)

June 27, 2019
HUMAN EVENTS — During the first Democratic Primary debate, the candidates were not just speaking a different language literally. They were speaking a different political language than the rest of America. The debate encompassed most of the major and controversial political issues Americans care about the most. Yet the candidates did not only fail to understand where Americans stand on these issues – – they were LITERALLY speaking a different language…. (more)

June 27, 2019
WHO TV — President Donald Trump signed a new executive order Monday to make medical billing more transparent. The executive order requires hospitals to provide patients with the cost of healthcare before it is given…. (more)

June 27, 2019
JACK CASHILL — On Wednesday, the major media were compelled, however reluctantly, to acknowledge James O’Keefe once again. This time, President Trump forced their hand. “We should be suing Google and Facebook and all that,” said Trump during a phone interview with Fox Business Network…. (more)

June 27, 2019
HUMAN EVENTS — Google has the means to prevent another “Trump situation” in 2020 by throttling conservative voices across its platforms. Executives at the firm seem willing to exercise it, according to new footage released by Project Veritas. A Google insider blew the whistle on the search giant’s suppression of conservative content creators on YouTube and Google News…. (more)

June 27, 2019
NEWSMAX — Veteran conservative activist Ralph Reed said Wednesday that the faith-based group he leads plans to spend at least $50 million on get-out-the-vote efforts in 2020. It’s part of a large-scale marshaling of evangelical resources that’s poised to benefit President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign…. (more)

June 27, 2019
DAILY WIRE — Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo slammed socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Wednesday during a press conference over her recent remarks comparing immigrant detention facilities to concentration camps…. (more)

June 27, 2019
DAILY SIGNAL — The Department of Homeland Security revealed just how common “fraudulent families” are among the thousands of illegal immigrants reaching the U.S.-Mexico border every month…. (more)

June 27, 2019
DAILY WIRE — A gut-wrenching photo that strikes at the heart of the immigration debate went viral this week. It shows a father and his young daughter face down on the shore of the Rio Grande. The girl has her arm around the man’s neck. Both are dead. Any parent – – well, any human being with a functioning conscience – – can’t help but be moved and devastated by the scene…. (more)