Daily Archives: July 6, 2019

July 6 How to Handle Rejection

Scripture Reading: John 1:1–13

Key Verse: John 1:12

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

At some point, each of us will experience some form of rejection. And while we have to deal with it, we must keep in mind that we are not rejected.

God deemed our lives so precious and valuable that He sacrificed His only Son for us, guaranteeing acceptance by Him forever, should we choose to make Him Lord of our lives. Paul wrote, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death” (Colossians 1:21–22 nasb).

In combating feelings of rejection, we must remember what God says about us:

  • We belong. We are His children, children who belong.
  • We have worth. Regardless of what others tell us, God says we have worth because of Christ who lives inside of us. That’s what counts!
  • We are capable. With the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we have the power to accomplish whatever God calls us to do (Philippians 4:13).

The world is wrong! We are valuable. And we are valuable to God, who places great importance on our lives as He desires to see us enjoy His kingdom and fellowship.

Thank You, Father, for the sacrifice of Your Son for me. Because of that I am Your child. No one can take that away from me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 197). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 6 Inadequacy

Scripture Reading: Psalm 51

Key Verse: Psalm 60:12

Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.

In Psalm 51, David’s psalm of contrition, he declared, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Ps. 51:6).

God’s truth, woven richly into our innermost beings, is the foundation for freedom. God wants His truth to sink deep to establish His perfect wisdom in our minds and hearts.

When we understand the truth of our position in Christ, we understand that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit—that we are secure in the family of God. No act or thought can ever alienate us from the love of God. We no longer have to depend on others or other things for our identity. We belong to Christ; we are His and He is ours.

When we understand the truth of our personhood in Christ, our feeling of inferiority can dissolve. We are of infinite worth to God, who died on our behalf. It is not our income level or social status that determines our value; it is God’s estimation of our lives. We are so valuable to Him that He desires our company for all eternity.

When we understand the truth of our position in Christ, any incompetency or inadequacy we may feel is overcome. We have everything we need in the indwelling Christ. He makes us adequate for every demand.

Master, I often feel inadequate, but I know You are greater than my inadequacies. I am of infinite worth to You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 197). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sketchy Business – RCP Review Questions Unsubstantiated Conclusions of Mueller Report… — The Last Refuge

Real Clear Politics has a deep dive into the underpinnings of the Mueller report surrounding the sketchy conclusions about Russian interference.  What RCP outlines parallels our own review where most of the substance claimed by Andrew Weissmann, Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein is essentially baseless.

(RCP) […] The report claims that the interference operation occurred “principally” on two fronts: Russian military intelligence officers hacked and leaked embarrassing Democratic Party documents, and a government-linked troll farm orchestrated a sophisticated and far-reaching social media campaign that denigrated Hillary Clinton and promoted Trump.

But a close examination of the report shows that none of those headline assertions are supported by the report’s evidence or other publicly available sources. They are further undercut by investigative shortcomings and the conflicts of interest of key players involved: (read more)

via Sketchy Business – RCP Review Questions Unsubstantiated Conclusions of Mueller Report… — The Last Refuge

Saturday Sampler: June 30 — July 6 — The Outspoken TULIP

Have you ever wondered where the Roman Catholic Church came up with their devotion to Mary? Leonardo De Chirico reviews a book on that very topic in 164. From the Mary of the Bible to the Mary of Manifold Devotions for the Vatican Files. He includes points for evangelicals to consider.

Although I didn’t highlight the first two installments of Leslie A’s series on worldly attitudes among Christians in Growing 4 Life, I very much recommend Thinking Beyond the Obvious (Part 3). This one is truly excellent! As a bonus, she includes links to her first two articles. Check them out.

Taking us carefully through John 3:1-20, Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure asks Are you born again? This is one of the clearest expositions of the passage that I’ve ever read. What do you think?

Blogging for Abounding Grace Radio, R. Scott Clark reflects on Revoice, Nashville, And The Therapeutic Revolution. Lots of food for thought here, ladies!

Do you know what The Most Politically Incorrect Bible Passage is? Alan Schlemon shows it to us in his post for Stand to Reason, and then he explains why it’s also one of the most powerful Bible passages. Curious?  Well then, click the link and find out why this politically incorrect passage has such power.

Take a look at Elizabeth Prata’s thought provoking essay, Our associations matter: Biblical study on when to stay and when to separate in The End Time.  In navigating through false concepts of love and tolerance, the Scriptures she shares offer good guidance.

Jesse Johnson of The Cripplegate writes “Persecution emboldened me!” as an encouragement to believers. Please don’t miss this powerful article!

During my years in Charismatic circles, we’d occasionally refer to Calvinists as “The Frozen Chosen” as a term of derision. Guy Richards examines this term for the Ligonier blog in his article, The Frozen Chosen (which he originally wrote for Tabletalk Magazine). He fails to mention how the nickname is used to suggest that those of us in Reformed circles supposedly don’t experience the Holy Spirit, but he does a wonderful job of showing that we’re anything but frozen!

Sobering posts aren’t fun to read, but often they’re essential. Propaganda Being Taught to the Children in Biblical Beginnings confronts us with some uncomfortable realities, but it also balances those hard truths with unexpected encouragement.

via Saturday Sampler: June 30 — July 6 — The Outspoken TULIP

BIG ONE NEXT? Southern California Is Pounded By Back-To-Back Major Earthquakes With Thousands Of Aftershocks Coming Every 24 Hours — Now The End Begins

The earth hasn’t stopped rumbling under Southern California since Thursday, when a powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake rattled Ridgecrest and the surrounding area.

California is in panic mode right now, and not simply because of an earthquake or two, but because of nearly 5,000 quakes that have been registered over the past 48 hours. So scared, in fact, that many Californians are choosing to sleep in their yards rather than be inside their homes. That’s how bad it is. Scientists say it is only going to get worse, what exactly is happening in the land of fruits and nuts?

“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17 (KJV)

The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has declared a state of extreme emergency to exist in his state, and has instructed the State Operations Center to be activated at the ‘highest level’. They are in full panic mode, and rightly so. The Bible tells us that the weather is the greatest weapon God has at His disposal, and He uses it in judgement as we read about in the the book of Revelation during the time of Jacob’s trouble. And earthquakes are one of the ‘heavy hitters’ in God’s closet.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.” Mark 13:8 (KJV)

The word ‘earthquakes’ appears only three times in your King James Bible, one mention each in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and all three times are referring to the time that exists in the lead up to the time of Jacob’s trouble.  Not in the time of Jacob’s trouble itself. What time is that? That time is right now. Just a little something for you to think about.

The earth under Southern California is rumbling with about one aftershock every minute

FROM CNN: The earth hasn’t stopped rumbling under Southern California since Thursday, when a powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake rattled Ridgecrest and the surrounding area.

The quake was followed by more than 1,400 aftershocks, according to scientists. On Friday, an even stronger quake — with a magnitude of 7.1 — rattled the region, leaving residents traumatized, Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden said Saturday morning.

“Many of them are sleeping outside tonight,” Breeden said. “They’re fearful to be in their homes. Many are choosing to just be with their neighbors … in their sidewalks, in their driveways and some of them are in the streets.”

There’s been an average of one aftershock per minute since Friday’s quake in the southern part of the state, according to the United States Geological Survey website.

More than 4,700 quakes have occurred since Thursday, said USGS geophysicist John Bellini.”They are coming in every 30 seconds, every minute,” he said. After Friday’s 7.1 quake, three quakes of magnitude 5 or greater struck within the first hour, he said.

After an earthquake as powerful as the one that hit Friday, residents can expect an aftershock reaching up to a magnitude of 6.0, officials said Saturday, and should even be prepared for a scarier shake.

“I would probably start taking some stuff off the walls if they’re not already down,” Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin said Saturday morning. “Make sure you’re not sleeping under something that’s still hung up.”

The chief warned residents to stay prepared and load up on supplies while stores are still open, “just in case that we have something bigger than we had today.”
He said residents should remain vigilant for the next two weeks.

“This isn’t going to stop in the near future,” he said. “The aftershocks, they haven’t slowed down since the 7.1 (magnitude earthquake). For a period of time there was constant vibration.”

The constant aftershocks are keeping everyone on edge, Ridgecrest resident and Jessica Weston told CNN’s Cyril Vanier Saturday. “It’s fairly frequent, especially since the big one hit this evening it feels like a tiny little earthquake,” Weston said. “Everybody’s on edge obviously because as soon as you feel that little rumble… of course we’re all wondering is this another big one.” READ MORE

Magnitude 6.9-7.1 Earthquake Just Hit California/Los Angeles

Magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocks Southern California

A quake with a magnitude of 7.1 jolted much of California, cracking buildings, setting fires, breaking roads and causing several injuries, while seismologists warned that large aftershocks were expected to continue for days, if not weeks.

Magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocks Southern California

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked Southern California late Friday, just a day after the region was hit with a magnitude 6.4 quake.

via BIG ONE NEXT? Southern California Is Pounded By Back-To-Back Major Earthquakes With Thousands Of Aftershocks Coming Every 24 Hours — Now The End Begins

July 6 Our Heavenly Father

Scripture reading: Luke 20:1–8

Key verses: Matthew 7:28–29

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The authority of Jesus’ teaching staggered the Jews of His day. His miracles of healing and control over nature’s forces awed hearers and disciples. But there was nothing more stunning to His audience than His constant reference to God as Father.

God was revealed in the Old Testament through very reverent and awe-inspiring names such as El Shaddai (God almighty), Elohim (Strong One), and Adonai (Lord of all). The most frequent title given to Him was Yahweh. So sacred was the Jewish concept of this name that the devout Jew would not pronounce it; the scribe who wrote it immediately washed his hands.

Imagine how startled Jesus’ hearers were when the Messiah referred to God as “My Father,” attesting to the deity of Christ and His oneness with God. When conversing with the disciples, Jesus often called God “your Father,” referring to their membership in God’s family and their intimacy with Him.

God is your Father. God is not distant, aloof, or impersonal, but longs for the depth of a Father-child relationship with you—no condemnation, no rejection, just unconditional love and acceptance.

You will not trust God greatly unless you love Him. You will not love Him freely until you come to know His fatherly embrace as a son or daughter.

No condemnation. No rejection. Unconditional love and acceptance. Thank You, Father![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 197). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Beth Moore Sort Of Explains…But Not Really — Alpha and Omega Ministries

Given I spent a good bit of time yesterday going over the words Beth Moore originally wrote on the subject of homosexuality and then had removed recently I think today’s article she posted should be read carefully and fairly.  I will be brief at this point: Mrs. Moore must know by now that there is nowhere to hide on this topic. She can appeal to emotion and feelings for only so long. There are serious, pointed, important questions that everyone knows she must answer, and the longer it takes her to do so, openly and honestly, the more damage she does to herself, and more importantly, to her followers.  Just a few items:

  1. It seems she is saying, along with people like JD Greear, that homosexuality is just “one sin among many.” That it is not, in fact, “particularly satanic.” And yet, Paul specifically laid it out as an example of the depth to which our rebellion goes, even to the point of damaging the core of our being, and God listed it amongst those sins so pernicious and serious that the land vomited out its inhabitants in Leviticus 18:24-25.
  2. She has yet to interact with what, specifically it was about her words that “exceeded Scripture.” She says she “overspoke,” but the only example she gives is an emotionally-derived hypothetical about a 13 year old struggling with “an onslaught of sexual feelings.” This seems to indicate she now embraces the “born this way” perspective as well.  She likewise conflates categories.  Note her words, “comes to the conclusion that he or she is particularly demonic.” Well, if the person thinks they themselves are homosexuality, I suppose, but the point of the Scripture is to warn us of the nature of the sin to which we are tempted and to therefore flee from it to that which is pleasing in God’s sight. Again, more identity confusion seems to be present here.
  3. She says she holds to a “traditional Christian sexual ethic.”  Well, that is great, but what does that mean when applied in this situation?  Those questions she was asked a few weeks ago would, in fact, clarify exactly this, but alas, we have not received any answers to those questions. So it seems she wishes to say that homosexual acts are sinful (since marriage is only between a man and a woman) but that leaves the issue of orientation undefined and the question of whether that desire needs to be mortified unanswered.
  4. I have often spoken of the dangers and errors of fundamentalism in its modern form, and I think with considerably more accuracy of definition and historical development than Mrs. Moore is providing. It is not “hyper-fundamentalism” to ask her to be clear and plain on this topic.

She closes her piece with a citation of Galatians 5:19-21, but not 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, which would have been directly relevant, I would think.  The questions asked a few weeks ago stand, and need to be answered more now than ever. And the questions I asked, drawn directly from the words she wrote, but has now disowned, must be answered.

One last item.  Mrs. Moore says she holds to a traditional Christian sexual ethic.  Almost everyone I have seen abandon that ethic and embrace the LGBTQ(nowP+) revolution has said the same thing, and given the same reasons for their actions. There is a theological foundation for that sexual ethic.  It is not a matter of what 13 year olds feel, or think.  It is rooted in deep theology, deep commitments to the Christian worldview.  It is not normally a part of visions and dreams and impressions and the like.  It abides and remains from generation to generation and is not altered by the trends of culture or fashion. The question is this: upon what foundation does Beth Moore stand?  And given that others have granted to her a position of teaching authority (whether she should possess that or not is yet another important question), the fact is asking for the foundational views of such a person is completely appropriate and, I dare say, necessary.

via Beth Moore Sort Of Explains…But Not Really — Alpha and Omega Ministries

Scholars Say DNA from Philistine Cemetery Helps Solve Biblical Mystery of the Origins of Goliath and the Philistines — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

File – This Tuesday, June 28, 2016 file photo shows an archeologist taking notes at an ancient Phillstine cemetery near Ashkelon, Israel. Human remains from an ancient Philistine cemetery have yielded precious bits of DNA that researchers say helps prove the European origin of the enigmatic nemeses of the Biblical Israelites. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Goliath the Greek? Human remains from an ancient cemetery in southern Israel have yielded precious bits of DNA that a new study says help prove the European origin of the Philistines — the enigmatic nemeses of the biblical Israelites.

The Philistines mostly resided in five cities along the southern coast of what is today Israel and the Gaza Strip during the early Iron Age, around 3,000 years ago. In the Bible, David fought the Philistine giant Goliath in a duel, and Samson slew a thousand of their warriors with the jawbone of an ass.

Many archaeologists have proposed they migrated to the coast of the ancient Near East during a period of upheaval at the end of the Late Bronze Age, around 1200 B.C.

The Philistines emerged as other societies around the eastern Mediterranean collapsed, possibly because of a cataclysmic intersection of climate change and man-made disasters. Philistine ceramics bear similarities to styles found in the Aegean, but concrete evidence of their geographic origins has remained elusive.

Now, a study of genetic material extracted from skeletons unearthed in the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon in 2013 has found a DNA link. It connects the Philistines to populations in southern Europe during the Bronze Age.

The study, spearheaded by researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute and Wheaton College in Illinois, was published Wednesday in the research journal Science Advances.

The biblical account relates that the Philistines originally hailed from a distant isle. An Egyptian temple built by Rameses III bears reliefs of battles with “Sea Peoples” who appeared on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. One group listed in the Egyptian text is strikingly similar to the Hebrew name for Philistines. Excavations of Philistine sites have found ceramics and architecture that differed from those of their neighbors in ancient Canaan.

But archaeologists can’t be absolutely certain that different pots mean different people.

Eric Cline, an archaeologist from George Washington University specializing in the Late Bronze Age in the Near East, said conclusive evidence has eluded scientists until now — even if the material remains have indicated that the Philistines migrated to the Levant from the Aegean around 1200 B.C.

Cline, who was not involved in the study, is the author of “1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed,” which examines the period when the Philistines arrived. He called the paper’s findings “extremely exciting and very important” by helping resolve the long-standing mystery about their origins.

“We were all hoping that it might be possible to get genetic information like this,” he said. “Now we have scientific confirmation from DNA that the Philistines do indeed most likely come from that region.”

The researchers looked at DNA from 10 skeletons excavated from the ancient cemetery in Ashkelon, one of the Philistine seaports.

Using Carbon-14 dating technology, three were determined to be from the centuries before the Philistines’ presumed arrival around 1200 B.C., four were from the period immediately afterward, and three dated to centuries further on, the late Iron Age.

The study found that the remains dating to the early Iron Age — the period associated with many of the stories involving Philistines in the Bible — were genetically distinct from their Levantine neighbors, and had close similarities with populations in southern Europe.

“We see in their DNA a European component from the West that appears in a substantial enough way that we can demonstrate it statistically, we can show that it’s different,” said Daniel Master, an archaeologist with Wheaton College who headed the expedition in Ashkelon. “It basically says the people came from outside, not just the style of pottery.”

He said the findings were “direct evidence” that the cultural change found in Philistine cities “reflected the migration of a group of people.”

The DNA from the later individuals found they had some southern European genes, but appeared much closer to the surrounding Canaanite population.

“There was this pulse of people coming in, and then they kind of mixed in into the local population, so a few hundred years later they are almost indistinguishable” from the surrounding Levantine gene pool, said Michal Feldman, an archeogeneticist at the Planck Institute and one of the paper’s lead authors.

The results point to a possible southern European origin for the Philistines — anywhere from Cyprus to Sardinia — but further study of ancient remains is needed to narrow down the search.

“Until we have more samples from the neighboring regions,” and from the Philistines themselves, said Feldman, “I don’t think we can pinpoint better their homeland or homelands.”


via Scholars Say DNA from Philistine Cemetery Helps Solve Biblical Mystery of the Origins of Goliath and the Philistines — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Beth Moore: Calling Homosexuality a Sin is ‘Exceeding Scripture’ — Christian Research Network

Yet, in one of the rare situations where Beth Moore actually writes something biblically sound and true — a clear position on the sinfulness of homosexuality — she insists that she’s “exceeded Scripture.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  Beth Moore has been under fire lately after a group of female Bible teachers published an open letter to Moore urging her to clarify her doctrinal position on homosexuality. Moore insisted that her doctrinal views on homosexuality have not shifted over the course of her ministry. On page 279 of Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word, originally published in 2009, Moore writes:

Before we proceed to our Scripture-prayers for overcoming sexual strongholds, we are wise to address another deadly sexual assault of the evil one in our society: homosexuality. I have wonderful news for anyone who has struggled with homosexual sin. God indeed can deliver you and anxiously awaits your full cooperation. do not let Satan shame you into not seeking forgiveness, fullness, and complete restoration in Jesus Christ. I know complete transformation is possible not only because God’s Word says so, but because I have witnessed it with my own eyes. I know plenty of believers who have been set free from homosexuality…   View article → 


Beth Moore

Homosexual Agenda

via Beth Moore: Calling Homosexuality a Sin is ‘Exceeding Scripture’ — Christian Research Network

Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics (7-6-2019)

Died: Apologist Norman Geisler, Who Didn’t Have ‘Enough Faith to Be an Atheist’


Washington Post Boosts Elderly “Rational Suicide”

Why This New California Bill is So Dangerous

Amazon stops selling books by Catholic psychologist amid LGBT activist pressure

Doctor breaks down the complexities of human body that prove God

Pastor Summoned to Pay $8.2 Million After Being Imprisoned for Pro-Life Work Recounts How God Miraculously Turned It Around

How Apologetics Can Change a Life

Science Uprising: New Video Series Unmasks Materialism

True grit: The Anglican Church in North America turns 10 as the battle for Biblical fidelity continues

Courage and Godspeed,

Our last edition is here.

via Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

‘Won’t Win!’: Trump Labels Biden a Non-Salvageable ‘Reclamation Project’ | Breitbart News

President Donald Trump took shots at Joe Biden (D) in a tweet posted Saturday, calling the Democrat candidate a “reclamation project” who “won’t win.”

Source: ‘Won’t Win!’: Trump Labels Biden a Non-Salvageable ‘Reclamation Project’

The Curious Mystical Text Behind Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid — Christian Research Network

If you’re unfamiliar with A Course In Miracles, the Christian Research Institute published an essay “A Course In Miracles: Christian Glossed Hinduism For The Masses” that delves into the dangers of the Course. In short, the book “is a masterpiece of spiritual strategy. It claims to be a revelation from Jesus Christ Himself, and it is intelligently organized and simply written. It appeals to personal pride and can become almost addicting emotionally. It is carefully designed for radically restructuring a persons perception against Christian faith and toward New Age occultism.”

Columnist Sam Kestenbaum reveals that “the Christian Research Institute, ominously described the narrator of the Course as not divine at all, but “a demon cleverly impersonating Jesus” bent on turning a “person’s perception against Christian faith and toward New Age occultism.”  Ms. Schucman was hesitant. But with the encouragement of a colleague, William Thetford, she began to write. She came to believe the voice belonged to Jesus. Her spirit channeling unspooled over several years, culminating in a three-volume, 1,300-page tome. It was published in 1976 by the Foundation for Inner Peace.”

Here’s Kestenbaum’s piece over at The New York Times:

In the living room of an apartment near Wall Street last month, a group of supporters huddled around a large television watching as their candidate, Marianne Williamson, made her debut on the debate stage. The host pulled her hair nervously.

Ms. Williamson’s start had been shaky, but there were some breakout moments. Then her dramatic closing. “Mr. President, if you’re listening, I want you to hear me, please: You have harnessed fear for political purposes, and only love can cast that out.”

Ms. Williamson’s debut may have appeared offbeat, a not-so-serious collection of truisms about love. But more was happening here. She was, in fact, drawing directly from a homegrown American holy book called “A Course in Miracles,” a curious New York scripture that arose during the heady metaphysical counterculture of the 1960s.

This is not some homey book of feel-good bromides. Rather, it is taken by its readers as a genuine gospel, produced by a Manhattan doctor who believed she was channeling new revelations from Jesus Christ himself. And stepping into this unusual book’s story, in fact, is the key to understanding Ms. Williamson’s latest venture.    View article →


New Age Movement

via The Curious Mystical Text Behind Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid — Christian Research Network

Sodomites Recruit And Pervert Young Children – With Full Support Of Libraries And Police | The Trumpet Online

July 4, 2019 (Mass Resistance) – Have you ever wondered what REALLY goes on at “gay” high school and middle school clubs and other “youth pride” programs for schoolchildren? We’re constantly told that it’s all about tolerance, anti-bullying, “AIDS education,” and especially feeling “safe.” We’re told that we must trust the adults running these events – who are unsupervised and lacking background checks. Virtually all of these programs take place at schools or offsite locations where parents (and the public) are easily excluded.

The short answer is: It’s a nightmare – and it’s anything but “safe” for children!

‘Teen Pride’ event planned at a public library

But on Saturday, June 22, the local LGBT groups in Renton, Washington scheduled a “Teen Pride” event at the local public library.

In early June when some parents in Renton first noticed the library promotion for the “Teen Pride” event, they were very worried. Among other things, it advertised “safer sex presentations” and a “drag show,” as well as an introduction for kids to local LGBT organizations. They also were shocked that it was advertised for “teens and tweens.” This can include children as young as nine years old and as old as 19.

Of course, there’s no way this was “designed by teens.” It’s all adult driven.

The parents contacted MassResistance for help, and our Washington MassResistance chapter got right to work. The parents first wanted to protest the event. But instead, we told them that the best thing would be to get inside and take photos and video of what happens. They agreed, and we worked with them on planning for that.

In the days leading up to June 22, as word of the event spread, there arose a big pro-family push to force the library to cancel it. In particular, The Activist Mommy Elizabeth Johnston asked her thousands of followers to call and email the library – resulting in a flood of phone calls. But the library refused to relent.

Instead, one of the library employees contacted the Antifa chapter in Seattle and urged them to take action against the local parents opposing it. We’ve already seen that Antifa makes it a point to attack parents who protest Drag Queen Story Hours. Maybe it reflects their own dysfunctional backgrounds, but individual Antifa activists seem very obsessed with protecting those who push homosexuality and other kinds of deviant behavior on children.

The event takes place – here’s what the mothers saw

On the day of the event, there was no pro-family protest outside the library. Instead, three local MassResistance mothers were able to walk inside the event with their cameras. Although the event was for “youth” ages 9-19 – and the room was almost filled with them – there were several other adults there, mostly involved with the presentation.

Our activists said most of the kids looked like they were around 12-15 years old. A few looked like they were about 10. Many looked sadly lost. The main presenters were two women in their 20s.

Surprisingly, the mothers were able to take videos and photos quite openly during the event, in full view of everyone. What they saw was ghastly. It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that people do this with children.

The largest part of the presentation was about helping the kids be comfortable and “safe” while performing homosexual sex acts. This included instructions on using lubricant and condoms for [vile, unnatural acts] , flavored condoms, and dental dams for lesbian [vile acts too disgusting to describe.]

Besides condoms, lubricant, and all the rest, they even gave the kids two types of [male anatomy]-shaped bookmarks.

The presenters led the younger kids through various exercises to introduce and instruct them on the details of how to use their condoms properly. The reason for this was, “if you are performing [various unnatural acts]” It was horrible to watch.

In one exercise, several children along with one adult were lined up with signs describing the steps of using a condom during sex (see photo below). From left to right the signs read:

[graphic step by step instructions on using condoms]

These children (with one adult) were part of a “condom” exercise led by the “Teen Pride” presenter.

Another large part was devoted to transgenderism – making the children comfortable about “changing” to the opposite sex. Planned Parenthood representatives spoke about their “gender reformation services” that involve “giving testosterone and progesterone to young people.” They wanted to let the children know that this was available to them to make their “transitioning” easier. Make no mistake: This is recruitment.

At one point, the presenters gave away “breast binders” to several of the girls. Breast binders are large straps that tightly cram a girl’s breasts flat to her chest – so she can look more like a boy. In fact, it is now recognized that these can cause serious damage to girls’ bodies. But the LGBT movement heavily promotes these to girls who may be “questioning” their “gender.”

Eight girls got gift cards for chest/breast binders, as if this is something they should want to have and use.

There was also an effort to get the children to take an active role in the LGBT movement. There were “pride” buttons and various propaganda pamphlets.

Finally, there was a “drag queen” presentation. Four bizarre men dressed as women performed lewd, sexually provocative dances for the kids. One sang, “If you feel like a girl then you really are a girl … sh*t, f*ck.” Then they talked to the kids about how they can become drag queens themselves. One drag queen revealed that he mentored a current drag queen from the age of 12. All four of them shared their Twitter handles with the children, to follow their “careers.” (That, of course, will lead children right into a triple-X-rated world of depravity and link them up with predators in that “community.”)

Here’s what kids will find when they look at the drag queens’ social media posts. (CAUTION: Disturbing images.)

All of this was portrayed as a normal and positive experience for children by the presenters and the adults working with them, as well as library staff members who were in the area. It was only the three mothers who saw anything wrong at all.

“The big focus seemed to be sex, getting into drag, hating your body and being everything you’re not,” said one of the MassResistance mothers.

At 5 p.m., the presenters suddenly announced that “all adults not accompanying a teen must leave.” This was clearly aimed at the MassResistance mothers who were filming the event. It was hard to tell if the other adults there were parents of any of the kids.

The presenters told the two mothers with cameras that they had to go now. (The third mother who was not filming apparently escaped their notice and was able to stay and watch.) The two mothers said they were refusing to leave because, they said, this is was a public building and this was a public event, and they were concerned about the children.

The police came and forcefully escorted the two mothers out, informing them that they were guilty of “criminal trespass.”

“We didn’t talk to any of the kids, we didn’t harass anybody. We were polite,” one of the mothers said. “I saw kids that looked like they were 10 years old. It was horrifying.” But the police were quite hostile and not interested in their explanation of what the kids were being exposed to. Sadly, this attitude by police has been our experience across the country.

There were four police officers on hand to make sure that these two mothers didn’t go back into the library.

Note: Our advice to the activists prior to the event was to strongly insist on their right to record in a public place, but ultimately to obey the orders of police (and make sure to get their badge numbers, etc.). We certainly understand that in the heat of a situation that doesn’t always happen. Luckily, the library told the police they were not pressing charges and the police let the mothers free once they were outside the building.

The two mothers walked to the parking lot. They were quickly surrounded by four men – Antifa thugs – who began screaming at them and threatening them, calling them vile names. They said they were going to photograph them and their license plates and put it on social media. One began to blow a loud shrieking whistle at them. The mothers had to call 911 for police to come and escort them safely to their cars. Of course, none of the Antifa goons were arrested or charged with anything.

After the two mothers left the event …

The mother who was able to stay until 7 p.m. told us that kids were referred to Lambert House, “community center for LGBT youth” in Seattle, where the kids were told they are “recruiting performers ages 13-22.” The MassResistance mothers have found out that Lambert House has a legal team informing kids of their “rights” – and hosts drag shows and dances for ages 13-22.

Getting the news out!

We train our people not to be intimidated by the Left’s disgusting tactics. Antifa hooligans and thugs will not stop our MassResistance activists! The mothers went right home and began getting the word out about this hideous event.

Within a day, it was covered in one way or another by several national conservative media outlets, from PJ Media to Fox News. Though those media focused on the drag queen part of it, the mothers’ effort was still a success!

Final thoughts

We all hear a lot about what the LGBT movement is doing to the schoolchildren it targets across the country. But it’s rare for parents – or the general public – to see it firsthand. It truly boggles the mind how revolting it actually is.

Sadly, this trend is not new. For many years, MassResistance has been exposing the content of “LGBT youth” events.

But let’s be painfully honest: The most evil people in all of this are the ones we all trust to protect children – the school officials, the elected school board members, the teachers, the library staff, etc. But they are doing just the opposite, actually helping these horrible special interest groups prey on the children. In addition, their efforts recruit vulnerable kids into the perverse LGBT “community.” Good people need to recognize this and act accordingly.

Source: Sodomites Recruit And Pervert Young Children – With Full Support Of Libraries And Police

Biden Threatens To Assault President Trump With A ‘Smack In The Mouth’ | The Federalist Papers

Former Vice President Joe Biden fancies himself as some kind of tough street fighter who could defeat President Donald trump in a fight.

In an interview with CNN host Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time” on Thursday he threatened to hit the president, and it is not the first time.

“You walk behind me in a debate, come here man. You know me too well. The idea that I’d be intimidated by Donald Trump?” he said.

Joe Biden says he’s looking forward to a chance to “slap @realDonaldTrump in the mouth” during a presidential debate.

“You walk behind me in a debate, come here, man. You know me too well. The idea I’d be intimidated by Donald Trump? He’s the bully that I knew my whole life.” pic.twitter.com/QaDVHlSM50

— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 5, 2019

“He’s the bully that I knew my whole life. He’s the bully that I’ve always stood up to. He’s the bully [that] used to make fun [of me] when I was a kid and I stutter and I’d smack him in the mouth,” he said.

He made many threats in the interview, and one of which was directed at his fellow Democrats, in particular Sen. Kamala Harris.

President Trump was informed by reporters of the former vice president’s threat and responded the way a statesman should.

“I don’t think I’m a bully at all. I just don’t like being taken advantage of by other countries, by pharmaceutical companies, by all of the people that have taken advantage of this country,” he said.

“You look at what Joe Biden has done with China, we’ve lost our shirts with China, and now China is dying to make a deal,” he said.

Should Secret Service investigate Biden?

“We’re taking, by the way, billions and billions of dollars in tariffs are coming in and China’s paying for it, not our people,” he said.

“So if you look at what he’s done, and if you look at what we’ve straightened out—I call it the Obama-Biden mess,” he said.

“We’re straightening it out, whether it’s North Korea—You were going to end up in a war with North Korea, as sure as you’re standing there, and now the relationship is a good relationship, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Biden has threatened to hit the president in the past, in one instance he threatened to fight him behind the gym of a school.

Crazy Uncle Joe Biden is at it again, and this time he said he’d like to fight Donald Trump “behind the gym.” Trump responded, “Some things in life you could really love doing,” according to the U.K. Daily Mail.

Biden, who usually has his hands full groping any women and children that are in his vicinity, got upset when asked about comments Trump made 11 years ago on tape about women. Creepy Uncle Joe got so upset when asked if he would like to debate Trump that he said that he wished he could go back to high school because he “could take him behind the gym.”

It seems like Biden’s comments were a skosh defensive, probably because unlike Trump, who just talked about being able to grope women who would be willing because of his star status, Biden is actually on camera groping women and children.

But what does the media do? “Oh that’s just Uncle Joe, he’s harmless. Wait, just don’t sit on his lap, okay? Or get in his van. Isn’t he charming?”

Trump wasn’t too concerned about creepy Joe and his empty threats. At a rally in Florida on Tuesday, Trump responded to gropey Biden’s blowhard comments, courtesy of the U.K. Daily Mail:

Source: Biden Threatens To Assault President Trump With A ‘Smack In The Mouth’

Trump’s Patriotism Vs. The New Anti-Americanism | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

Despite all the grousing and griping about his “politicizing” of the Fourth of July and “militarizing” America’s birthday, President Donald Trump turned the tables on his antagonists, and pulled it off.

As master of ceremonies and keynote speaker at his “Salute to America” Independence Day event, Trump was a manifest success.

A president acting as president is almost always a more effective campaigner than a president acting as campaigner. And Trump, in what he said and did not say, played the president Thursday night.

The crowd on the Mall was huge and friendly, extending from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument. The TV coverage was excellent. Friday, virtually every major newspaper had front-page stories and photos.

Earlier, former Vice President Joe Biden had snidely asked, “What, I wonder, will Donald Trump say this evening when he speaks to the nation at an event designed more to stroke his ego than celebrate American ideals?”

Thursday evening, Joe got his answer.

Despite predictions he would use “Salute to America” for a rally speech, the president shelved partisan politics to recite and celebrate the good things Americans of all colors and creeds are doing, and the great things Americans have done since 1776.

“Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told — the story of America,” said Trump. “It is the epic tale of a great nation whose people have risked everything for what they know is right and what they know is true.”

It was not a celebration of Trump but of America.

“What a great country!” declared the president. “(F)or Americans nothing is impossible.” Ours is “the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.”

The second half of Trump’s speech was given over to tributes to the five branches of the armed forces — Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army — with each tribute ending in a display of air power.

The flexing of America’s military muscle had evoked early howls of protest. But the flyovers of F-22s and F-35s, the B-2 stealth bomber and the Ospreys, and the culmination of the aerobatics with the Navy’s Blue Angels, as the Marine Corps band played and all sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was exhilarating, even moving.

It was positive, uplifting, patriotic. And one imagines that not only Trump’s “deplorables” standing on the Mall loved it.

Still, one wonders: Where is all this negativity, this constant griping and grousing by the left, going to lead? Do these people think America will turn with hope to a party that reflexively recoils at patriotic displays?

Everywhere it seems the left is attacking America’s history and her flawed heroes. Monday, the Charlottesville City Council voted 4-1 to remove April 13, the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, as a paid holiday.

Why? Because our third president was a slave owner. The council’s public comment period featured demonstrators accusing the author of America’s Declaration of Independence with having been a racist and a rapist.

Last week, too, ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick urged his sponsor, Nike, to pull off the market its new Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July sneakers featuring Betsy’s Ross’s first American flag on the heel. Says Nike, Kaepernick told the company he finds the colonial flag offensive, as it was flown when slavery was still legal.

Just how far and fast the Democratic Party is moving left became clear last week with some startling findings of a new poll.

According to Gallup, while 76 percent of Republicans say they are “extremely proud” to be an American, only 22 percent of Democrats say the same, a sharp drop from last year. In 2013, the beginning of Obama’s second term, 56% of Democrats said they were “extremely proud” to be Americans.

Another jolting note: While huge majorities of Americans — 9 in 10 — are extremely proud of the U.S. military and America’s scientific achievements, more than two-thirds of all Americans now say that our political system no longer makes them proud.

This is especially true of Democrats. Only 25 percent, 1 in 4 Democrats, professes to be proud of our political system, our democracy.

A specter of anti-Americanism appears to be rising on the left.

Listening to the Democratic debates, and the depiction of the nation and its economy by the candidates, one would think we were living in the Paris of “Les Miserables” or the London of Charles Dickens.

Demography undeniably favors a millennial-dominant Democratic Party over the middle-aged and seniors party that is the GOP.

Yet how does a party, 3 of 4 of whose adherents profess no pride in its political system, persuade the nation to put it in charge of that system? How does a party, not one-fourth of whom are “extremely proud” to be an American, persuade a majority of Americans to entrust it with the leadership of their nation?

From liberals and progressives, we constantly hear griping, grousing and grievances. When do we hear the gratitude — for America?

Source: Trump’s Patriotism Vs. The New Anti-Americanism

Democracies are on track to lose their global economic dominance as ‘authoritarian capitalism’ rises | CNBC

Within five years at current trends autocratic countries will account for more than half of global income for the first time in more than a century.

GP: President Donald J. Trump Independence Day 190704
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump depart after participating in an Independence Day Fourth of July Celebration ‘Salute to America’ event in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall on Thursday, July 4th, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

This week’s mini-drama over President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July speech, with all its military accompaniment, shouldn’t distract anyone from the far more significant story of global democratic decline on this 243rd anniversary of American Independence.

Dangers are accelerating to the democratic ideals that the American Revolution inspired. If no unanticipated shock disrupts current trajectories – say a democratic uprising in China, a Russian regime change or, still significant, a Venezuelan dictator’s decline – autocratic powers will surpass democracies in their economic size and influence within the coming decade.

And history has shown prosperity often precedes political dominance.

What’s been broadly reported by now is that global democratic freedoms are in their 13th year of decline, a result both of surging autocracies like Russia and China, fraying freedoms in liberal democracies and Western complacency about both. “The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous,” Freedom House reported in its 2019 assessment

Less recognized, but perhaps ultimately more decisive, is that within five years at current trends autocratic countries will account for more than half of global income for the first time in more than a century. That’s based on an analysis of International Monetary Fund figures by political scientists Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk.

That would mark a stunning reversal in fortunes.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations responded successfully to the pioneering Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite, the U.S. and its democratic allies in Europe and Japan were producing some two-thirds of the global economy. As recently as 1990, countries rated “not free” by Freedom House accounted for only 12 percent of global income. Now they produce a full third, matching the level authoritarian-run economies achieved during the rise of European fascism in the 1930s.

That raises some unsettling questions.

How much of democracies’ success came from the attraction of Western values like free speech and individual rights? How much instead was a result of new democracies wanting to hitch their wagons to American and Western European prosperity and extract themselves from the bankruptcy of the Soviet and other, similarly constructed, state-controlled systems?

It was certainly a product of both – but democracies will struggle more in a contest with autocracies if they produce less comparative prosperity over time.

“If the West is to navigate this new world successfully, it will need to understand how the scales tipped so rapidly from democratic dominance to authoritarian resurgence,” write Foa and Mounck. They conclude the more important factor than weakening democracies has been the rise of “authoritarian capitalism.”

Previously, they write, autocratic regimes whose income increased substantially either stopped growing, like the Soviet Union, or became democratic, like South Korea, Spain, Portugal and Greece and other formerly military regimes. The outlier was Singapore, a non-democracy that continued to grow, yet of insufficient size to shape history.

“But a growing number of countries have learned to combine autocratic rule with market-friendly institutions,” write Foa and Mounck, “and they have continued growing economically well beyond the point at which democratic transitions used to occur.”

If there were any doubt that today’s autocrats consider themselves locked in competition with liberal democracies – and believe they are winning – that was dispelled by last week’s ground-breaking interview by Lionel Barber and Henry Foy of the Financial Times with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

On the eve of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Putin said “the liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose.” Said Putin, ”(Liberals) cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades.”

That said, Putin knows better than anyone else that this history isn’t yet fully written.

First, autocracies’ fundamental weaknesses and inflexibility will continue to make them fragile and prone to regular, popular attempts to stretch individual freedoms beyond what their government systems can sustain.

Frida Ghitis in Politico points to three recent events, which though far from decisive, made June a bad month for autocrats.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has faced massive and persistent Hong Kong protests staged against an extradition bill China had wanted to impose on Hong Kong residents. Putin’s Russia dropped all charges against investigative reporter Ivan Golunov following an outpouring of public and media support for the detained journalist.

Beyond that, Turkish democracy showed new life after a rerun of Istanbul mayoral elections produced an even larger, landslide victory for opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, which Ghitis sees as a blowback against President Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule and his slowing economy.

Second, the scales could tip again toward democracies should major countries like India, Nigeria and Indonesia not only stabilize as prosperous democracies but also come to identify themselves more as part of a global community resisting authoritarianism.

Finally, the United States again could embrace its historic role in inspiring, sustaining and expanding democratic rule. That began with its 18th century emergence as a lonely, revolutionary democracy, having thrown off the shackles of monarchical rule, to its role as the post-Cold War leader with Europe of a democratic community of countries that for the first time in history made up the global majority of nations.

Trump may seem an unlikely representative for this American rediscovery of its global purpose. His critics condemn his strongman tendencies and his closeness to autocrats like Xi, Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. However, his record also includes supporting efforts to democratically replace Venezuelan dictator Maduro, his targeting of the unfair trade practices spawned by Chinese state leaders and his opposition to Iran’s mullahs and their Revolutionary Guard Corps.

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this week, he said the right thing.

“As we gather this evening, in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage,” Trump said. “Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories every told – the story of America.”

Democracy was born in Athens in 508 BC, but it was relatively dormant for two thousand years. Robert Kagan reminds us that the U.S. emerged in the 1700s as a democratic republic with “radical liberal principles” that were viewed with alarm in “a world dominated by great power revolutionaries.”

Since then, the U.S. has been at the center of democracy’s story. The U.S. inspired democracies’ expansion following World War I. It then stood by as they declined in the face of European fascism ahead of World War II. It fought for their survival in World War II and for their Cold War victory that was to have democracies’ final triumph.

This new struggle need not be zero sum. That said, if autocratic countries form the largest economic and political bloc, don’t expect them to allow others to write the rules that regulate the future.

Frederick Kempe is a best-selling author, prize-winning journalist and president & CEO of the Atlantic Council, one of the United States’ most influential think tanks on global affairs. He worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than 25 years as a foreign correspondent, assistant managing editor and as the longest-serving editor of the paper’s European edition. His latest book – “Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth” – was a New York Times best-seller and has been published in more than a dozen languages. Follow him on Twitter and subscribe here to Inflection Points, his look each Saturday at the past week’s top stories and trends.

Source: Democracies are on track to lose their global economic dominance as ‘authoritarian capitalism’ rises

Putin Is Right, Liberalism Is Dead, So What Will Replace It? | Russia Insider

Orlov is one of our favorite essayists on Russia and all sorts of other things. He moved to the US as a child, and lives in the Boston area.

He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed ‘The Dystopians’ in an excellent 2009 profile, along with James Howard Kunstler, another regular contributor to RI (archive). These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.

He is best known for his 2011 book comparing Soviet and American collapse (he thinks America’s will be worse). He is a prolific author on a wide array of subjects, and you can see his work by searching him on Amazon.

He has a large following on the web, and on Patreon, and we urge you to support him there, as Russia Insider does.

His current project is organizing the production of affordable house boats for living on. He lives on a boat himself.

If you haven’t discovered his work yet, please take a look at his archive of articles on RI. They are a real treasure, full of invaluable insight into both the US and Russia and how they are related.

Last week’s G20 gathering in Osaka was a signal event: it signaled how much the world has changed. The centerpieces of the new configuration are China, Russia and India, with the EU and Japan as eager adjuncts, and with Eurasian integration as the overarching priority. The agenda was clearly being set by Xi and Putin. May, Macron and Merkel—the European leaders not quite deserving of that title—were clearly being relegated to the outskirts; two of the three are on their way out while the one keeping his seat (for now) is looking more and more like a toyboy. The Europeans wasted their time haggling over who should head the European Commission, only to face open rebellion over their choice the moment they arrived back home.

Of these, the EU seems like the softest target, but even the Europeans somehow managed launch the mechanism that allows them to circumvent US sanctions against Iran. Trump is definitely in a tough spot. What is the author of “The Art of the Deal” to do when nobody wants to negotiate any more deals with the US, now knowing full well that the US always finds ways to renege on its obligations?

And then comes the bombshell announcement. In an interview with Financial Times Putin declares that “the liberal idea… has finally outlived its usefulness” because it no longer serves the needs of the majority of the peoples. Not “people,” mind you, but “peoples”—all different, but all the viable ones united in their steadfast adherence to the principle that family and nation (from the Latin verb nasci—to be born) are über alles. Some might perceive hints of fascism in this train of thought, but that would be akin to arguing that since fascists are known to use toothbrushes, then ipso facto toothbrushes are fascist implements to be outlawed and everyone must go back to cleaning their teeth with twigs and sticks. That Putin was able to utter words to the effect that the liberal idea is dead—something no Western leader would dare say—shows how much the world has changed.

Not that some Western leaders wouldn’t say it, if they only could. “Our Western partners,” Putin said, “have conceded that some elements of the liberal idea are simply not realistic… such as multiculturalism. Many of them conceded that yes, unfortunately it doesn’t work (LOL) and that we must remember the interests of the native population.”

Not that Russia doesn’t have its share of problems related to migrants, due to its open border policy with certain former Soviet republics, but it works to resolve them by demanding competency in Russian and respect for Russian culture and traditions, while “the liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done, that migrants can rob, rape, steal, but that we must defend their rights… What rights? You broke a rule—you are punished!”

The migrant crisis is a perfect example of how liberalism has outlived its usefulness. Liberalism offers two ways forward, both of which are fatal to it. One approach is distinctly illiberal: halt the influx of migrants by any means necessary; insist that the migrants already in the country either conform to a strict set of requirements, including demonstrated competency in the nation’s language, detailed knowledge of its laws and administrative systems, strict obedience to its laws and demonstrated preference and respect for the customs and culture of the native population—or be not so much deported as expelled. The other approach is liberal at first: allow the influx to continue, do not hinder the formation of foreign ghettos and enclaves which native citizens and officials dare not enter, and eventually surrender to Sharia law or other forms of foreign dictate—guaranteeing the eventual death of the liberal idea along with much of the native population. Thus, the choice is between killing the liberal idea but saving the native population or letting the liberal idea die willy-nilly, taking the native population along with it. It offers no solution at all.

“We all live in a world based on traditional Biblical values,” quoth Putin. “We don’t have to demonstrate them every day… but must have them in our hearts and our souls. In this way, traditional values are more stable and more important to millions of people than this liberal idea which, in my view, is ceasing to exist.”

This is true not just of the believers—be they Christian, Moslem or Jewish—but of the atheists as well. To put it in terms that may shock and astound some of you, you don’t have to believe in God (although it helps if you do—to avoid cognitive dissonance) but if you aspire to any sort of social adequacy in a traditional society you have no choice but to sincerely think and act as if God exists, and that He is the God of the Bible—be He Yahweh, Elohim, Jesus and the Holy Trinity or Allah (that’s the Arabic word for “God”).

Putin capped off his argument by ever so gently and politely putting the boot in. He said that he has no clue about any of this “transformer-trans… whatever” stuff. How many genders are there? He has lost count. Not that he is against letting consenting adult members of various minority sexual groups do whatever they want among themselves—“Let everyone be happy!”—but they have no right to dictate to the rest. Specifically, Russian law makes homosexual propaganda among those who are under age illegal. Hollywood’s pro-LGBT mavens must be displeased: their choice is either to redact LGBT propaganda from the script, or to redact it from the finished film prior to its release in Russia (and China).

Here Putin is tapping into something that is fast becoming a political trend everywhere, including that former bastion of liberalism—the West. It is in the nature of democracies that previously repressed minorities tend to clamor for more and more rights up to and often well beyond the point where they begin to impinge on the rights of the majority; but at some point the majority starts pushing back. By now it can be stated with some certainty that in the view of the majority the LGBT movement has gone too far. Opinion surveys attest to this fact: LGBT support crested at well over 50% but has been dropping by roughly 10% per year for several years now.

How far beyond that point has the LGBT movement gone? In some Western countries children as young as three are subjected to “gender reassignment” that follows a sequence of indoctrination, chemical castration and physical castration, even against the wishes of their parents, resulting in a sterile individual. Pray tell, why should any sane parent agree to having their offspring sterilized, thus ending their bloodline? The vast majority of Earth’s population finds such practices appalling, and this is starting to include the home of the now dead liberal idea—the West itself. As a first, timid step of the overwhelming pushback that seems likely ensue, a “heterosexual pride parade” is scheduled to be held in Boston.

Note that the item in question is not “gender” but “sex.” The word “gender” does exist, but the sense in which LGBT activists and feminists use it is an instance of overloading—of linguistic violence. The only sense in which the term is valid is as grammatical gender, which is a feature of most Indo-European languages. In these languages, all nouns are assigned to one of exactly three genders—male, female and neuter—in English identified by the pronouns “he,” “she” and “it” while in Russian they are “on” “oná” and “onó” and, quite typically, “he” (“on”) is the default or unmarked gender while the other two require gender-specific endings (“-a”, “-o”). Male and female nouns and pronouns can denote either animate or inanimate objects, which answer either to “Who?” or to “What?” while neuter nouns and pronouns can only denote inanimate objects, which answer to “What?” (except in poetry, as permitted by poetic license). By the way, this clears away the confusion over alternative “gender-specific” pronouns, be they “ze,” “hir” or “ququuuxx”: in order to function grammatically, they must still make a choice between masculine and feminine, or they indicate that someone is an inanimate being—a “what” rather than a “who.”

The grammatical use of the term “gender” is justified; all others are fanciful efforts to overload the term in a way that does not comport with physical reality. And the reality is this: tissue samples of any specimen of the human species allow the specimen to be readily sexed by looking for an XX or an XY chromosome pair and assigning a corresponding “F” or “M” symbol. In the vast majority of cases, the specimen itself can be sexed by visual inspection, just like a chicken but far more easily—by examining the genitals.

Crucially for the survival of the species, an “F” specimen should generally be capable of giving birth after mating with an “M” specimen. There are various abnormalities and pathologies that lie outside this basic scheme, but they are sufficiently rare as to be considered “in the noise” for most purposes.

The outliers certainly deserve the liberty to engage in any hanky-panky that tickles their fancy, but pretending that they belong to a rainbow of fictional “genders” does not help the rest of us at all. Perhaps referring to them all as “pidor,” as the Russians often do, oversimplifies matters a bit. (The word is short for “pederast” which is from the ancient Greeks, who were famous for pederasty, and which literally means “boy-love.”) On the other hand, with most Russians it would probably be a mistake to try to explain to them the difference between Q1 and Q2 in LGBTQ1Q2 because to them this question is sooo interesting! (Italicized phrase is to be read with a groan, a slack-jawed face and an eye-roll.)

That said, you can certainly go on believing in a rainbow of genders, or in elves, or unicorns, for that matter, and those who are kind and polite will tiptoe around your liberal shibboleths while those who are rude and uncouth will laugh in your face or even shove and slap you around a bit in a vain effort to knock some sense into your head. But we should be kind and polite and, as Putin said, “Let everyone be happy.” In turn, we should probably try to avoid being shoved and slapped around by people whose heads are full of outdated, wooly notions. Some of these heads—notably those belonging to snowflakes, who seem congenitally unable to brook any disagreement—will explode on their own.

Most importantly, we should deny these people any and all access to our children. Here, Putin issued a clarion call that should resound around the entire planet: “Leave the children alone!” His call should resonate with the vast majority of humans, of all ethnicities, cultures and faiths, who take the divine exhortation to “be fruitful and multiply” quite literally and wish for their progeny to do the same. When conditions turn for the worse, as they often do, they drop like flies in autumn, but then death is an essential part of life, and they regenerate and live to swarm again once conditions improve.

As an aside, now that liberalism is dead, those who feel that the planet is overpopulated only have the right to speak for themselves. That is, it may very well be the case that Earth is overpopulated with you, but that, of course, is for you alone to decide. If you feel sufficiently strongly about this matter, you should perhaps take charge and rid the planet of your good self, but please allow the rest of us wait to depart this world in some other, more naturalistic and less ideologically motivated manner.

In the meantime, the rest of us should be able to have as many children as local conditions warrant. Putin had nothing to say on this question; he is the president of Russia, Russia is not overpopulated, and the rest of the planet didn’t elect him. Likewise, now that liberalism is dead, your opinion on Russia’s demographics matters not at all—unless you happen to be Russian, that is.

There is much more to say about the death of the liberal idea, and this is only the first installment—clearing the decks by throwing some useless baggage overboard, if you will. Far more important is the question of what will replace the liberal idea now that it is dead. Free market capitalism is also dead (just look at all of the financial shenanigans, the sanctions and the tariffs!) and Western free-market conservatives and libertarians should note that ideologically they are still liberals and that their ideology is also now dead.

But what is there to replace liberalism? It seems that the choice is between artificially resuscitated Marxism-Leninism (with Leon Trotsky lurking menacingly and Pol Pot sitting Buddha-like atop a pile of rotting corpses) and shiny, high-tech modern Stalinism (with distinctive Chinese characteristics). Intelligent boys and girls, when offered a false choice by being asked “Do you want an apple or a banana” usually respond “No!” I would like to do the same. But then what other choices are there?

Source: Putin Is Right, Liberalism Is Dead, So What Will Replace It?

July 6, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Elements of the Eternal Forming of the Body

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace. (1:4–6a)

These verses reveal the past part of God’s eternal plan in forming the church, the Body of Jesus Christ. His plan is shown in seven elements: the method, election; the object, the elect; the time, eternity past; the purpose, holiness; the motive, love; the result, sonship; and the goal, glory.

the method—election

The Bible speaks of three kinds of election. One is God’s theocratic election of Israel. “You are a holy people to the Lord your God,” Moses told Israel in the desert of Sinai; “the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deut. 7:6).

That election had no bearing on personal salvation. “They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel,” Paul explains; “neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants” (Rom. 9:6–7). Racial descent from Abraham as father of the Hebrew people did not mean spiritual descent from him as father of the faithful (Rom. 4:11).

A second kind of election is vocational. The Lord called out the tribe of Levi to be His priests, but Levites were not thereby guaranteed salvation. Jesus called twelve men to be apostles but only eleven of them to salvation. After Paul came to Christ because of God’s election to salvation, God then chose him in another way to be His special apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Rom. 1:5).

The third kind of election is salvational, the kind of which Paul is speaking in our present text. “No one can come to Me,” Jesus said, “unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). Helkuō (draws) carries the idea of an irresistible force and was used in ancient Greek literature of a desperately hungry man being drawn to food and of demonic forces being drawn to animals when they were not able to possess men.

Salvage yards use giant electromagnets to lift and partially sort scrap metal. When the magnet is turned on, a tremendous magnetic force draws all the ferrous metals that are near it, but has no effect on other metals such as aluminum and brass.

In a similar way, God’s elective will irresistibly draws to Himself those whom He has predetermined to love and forgive, while having no effect on those whom He has not.

From all eternity, before the foundation of the world, and therefore completely apart from any merit or deserving that any person could have, God chose us in Him, “in Christ” (v. 3). By God’s sovereign election, those who are saved were placed in eternal union with Christ before creation even took place.

Although man’s will is not free in the sense that many people suppose, he does have a will, a will that Scripture clearly recognizes. Apart from God, man’s will is captive to sin. But he is nevertheless able to choose God because God has made that choice possible. Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16) and that “everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (11:26). The frequent commands to the unsaved to respond to the Lord (e.g., Josh. 24:15; Isa. 55:1; Matt. 3:1–2; 4:17; 11:28–30; John 5:40; 6:37; 7:37–39; Rev. 22:17) clearly indicate the responsibility of man to exercise his own will.

Yet the Bible is just as clear that no person receives Jesus Christ as Savior who has not been chosen by God (cf. Rom. 8:29; 9:11; 1 Thess. 1:3–4; 1 Pet. 1:2). Jesus gives both truths in one verse in the gospel of John: “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

God’s sovereign election and man’s exercise of responsibility in choosing Jesus Christ seem opposite and irreconcilable truths—and from our limited human perspective they are opposite and irreconcilable. That is why so many earnest, well-meaning Christians throughout the history of the church have floundered trying to reconcile them. Since the problem cannot be resolved by our finite minds, the result is always to compromise one truth in favor of the other or to weaken both by trying to take a position somewhere between them.

We should let the antimony remain, believing both truths completely and leaving the harmonizing of them to God.

Eklegō (chose) is here in the aorist tense and the middle voice, indicating God’s totally independent choice. Because the verb is reflexive it signifies that God not only chose by Himself but for Himself. His primary purpose in electing the church was the praise of His own glory (vv. 6, 12, 14). Believers were chosen for the Lord’s glory before they were chosen for their own good. The very reason for calling out believers into the church was that “the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” (3:10).

Israel was God’s elect, His “chosen one” (Isa. 45:4; cf. 65:9, 22). But she was told, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you” (Deut. 7:7–8). God chose the Jews simply out of His sovereign love.

God’s heavenly angels also are elect (1 Tim. 5:21), chosen by Him to glorify His name and to be His messengers. Christ Himself was elect (1 Pet. 2:6, KJV), and the apostles were elect (John 15:16). By the same sovereign plan and will the church is elect. God “has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Tim. 1:9). In Acts we are told, “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (13:48).

Paul said, “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10). His heart’s desire was to reach the elect, the ones who were already chosen, in order that they might take hold of the faith already granted them in God’s sovereign decree.

Paul gave thanks for the church because it was God’s elect. “We should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).

In his book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J. I. Packer observes:

All Christians believe in divine sovereignty, but some are not aware that they do, and mistakenly imagine and insist that they reject it. What causes this odd state of affairs? The root cause is the same as in most cases of error in the Church—the intruding of rationalistic speculations, the passion for systematic consistency, a reluctance to recognize the existence of mystery and to let God be wiser than men, and a consequent subjecting of Scripture to the supposed demands of human logic. People see the Bible teaches man’s responsibility for his actions; they do not see (man, indeed, cannot see) how this is consistent with the sovereign Lordship of God over those actions. They are not content to let the two truths live side by side, as they do in the Scriptures, but jump to the conclusion that, in order to uphold the biblical truth of human responsibility, they are bound to reject the equally biblical and equally true doctrine of divine sovereignty, and to explain away the great number of texts that teach it. The desire to over-simplify the Bible by cutting out the mysteries is natural to our perverse minds, and it is not surprising that even godly men should fall victim to it. Hence this persistent and troublesome dispute. The irony of the situation, however, is that when we ask how the two sides pray, it becomes apparent that those who profess to deny God’s sovereignty really believe in it just as strongly as those who affirm it. ([Chicago: Inter-Varsity, 1961], pp. 16–17)

Because we cannot stand the tension of mystery, paradox, or antinomy, we are inclined to adjust what the Bible teaches so that it will fit our own systems of order and consistency. But that presumptuous approach is unfaithful to God’s Word and leads to confused doctrine and weakened living. It should be noted that other essential scriptural doctrines are also apparently paradoxical to our limited capacity. It is antinomous that Scripture itself is the work of human authors, yet the very words of God; that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man; that salvation is forever, yet saints must remain obedient and persevere to the end; that the Christian’s life is lived in total commitment and discipline of self, yet is all of Christ. Such inscrutable truths are an encouragement that the mind of God infinitely surpasses the mind of man and are a great proof of the divine authorship of Scripture. Humans writing a Bible on their own would have attempted to resolve such problems.

It is not that God’s sovereign election, or predestination, eliminates man’s choice in faith. Divine sovereignty and human response are integral and inseparable parts of salvation—though exactly how they operate together only the infinite mind of God knows.

Nor is it, as many believe and teach, that God simply looks into the future to see which people are going to believe and then elects them to salvation. Taken out of context, Romans 8:29 is often used to support that view. But verse 28 makes it clear that those whom God foresees and predestines to salvation are those whom He has already “called according to His purpose.” Any teaching that diminishes the sovereign, electing love of God by giving more credit to men also diminishes God’s glory, thus striking a blow at the very purpose of salvation.

We should be satisfied simply to declare with John Chadwick,

I sought the Lord,

And afterwards I knew

He moved my soul to seek Him,

Seeking me! It was not that I found,

O Saviour true;

No, I was found by Thee.

the object—the elect

The object of election is us, not everyone, but only those whom God chose, the saints and “faithful in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). Those whom God elects are those whom He has declared holy before the foundation of the world and who have identified with His Son Jesus Christ by faith. Being a Christian is having been chosen by God to be His child and to inherit all things through and with Jesus Christ.

the time—eternity past

God elected us before the foundation of the world. Before the creation, the Fall, the covenants, or the law, we were sovereignly predestined by God to be His. He designed the church, the Body of His Son, before the world began.

Because in God’s plan Christ was crucified for us “before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 1:20), we were designated for salvation by that same plan at that same time. It was then that our inheritance in God’s kingdom was determined (Matt. 25:34). We belonged to God before time began, and we will be His after time has long run its course. Our names as believers were “written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain” (Rev. 13:8; cf. 17:8).

the purpose—holiness

God chose us in order that we might be holy and blameless. Amōmos (blameless) literally means without blemish, or spotless. Because we are chosen in Him we are holy and blameless before Him. Because Jesus Christ gave Himself for us as “a lamb unblemished and spotless” (1 Pet. 1:19), we have been given His own unblemished and spotless nature. The unworthy have been declared worthy, the unrighteous declared holy. It is Christ’s eternal and foreordained plan to “present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:27).

Obviously Paul is talking about our position and not our practice. We know that in our living we are far from the holy standard and far from being blameless. Yet “in Him,” Paul said in another place, we “have been made complete” (Col. 2:10). All that God is, we become in Jesus Christ. That is why salvation is secure. We have Christ’s perfect righteousness. Our practice can and does fall short, but our position can never fall short, because it is exactly the same holy and blameless position before God that Christ has. We are as secure as our Savior, because we are in Him, waiting for the full redemption and glorious holiness that awaits us in His presence.

And because God declares us and leads us to be holy and blameless, we should strive to live lives now that reflect the holiness and blamelessness that are our destiny.

the motive—love

God elects those who are saved because of His love. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons. Just as He chose Israel to be His special people only because of His love (Deut. 7:8), so He also chose the church, the family of the redeemed.

Biblical agapē love is not an emotion but a disposition of the heart to seek the welfare and meet the needs of others. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” Jesus said (John 15:13). And that is exactly what Jesus Himself did on behalf of those God has chosen to be saved. In the ultimate divine act of love, God determined before the foundation of the earth that He would give His only Son to save us. “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4–5). He loved us, and will eternally continue to love us, according to the kind intention of His will.

the result—sonship

The result of God’s election is our adoption as sons. In Christ we become subjects of His kingdom, and because He is our Lord we are His servants. He even calls us friends because, He says, “All things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). But in His great love He makes us more than citizens and servants, and even more than friends. He makes us children. God lovingly draws redeemed sinners into the intimacy of His own family.

When we become Christians we become children of God. “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear,” Paul says, “but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ ” (Rom. 8:15). Abba was an Aramaic word of endearment somewhat equivalent to Daddy or Papa.

To be saved is to have the very life of God in our souls, His own Spirit enlivening our spirits. Human parents can adopt children and come to love them every bit as much as they love their natural children. They can give an adopted child complete equality in the family life, resources, and inheritance. But no human parent can impart his own distinct nature to an adopted child. Yet that is what God miraculously does to every person whom He has elected and who has trusted in Christ. He makes them sons just like His divine Son. Christians not only have all of the Son’s riches and blessings but all of the Son’s nature.

the goal—glory

Why did God do all of that for us? Why did He want us to be His sons? We are saved and made sons to the praise of the glory of His grace. Above all else, He elects and saves us for His own glory. When Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32), He was affirming the delight of God in putting His glory on display. As Paul further explained, “God is at work in [us] … for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

The apostle Paul interceded for the Thessalonians, praying “that our God may count you worthy of your calling … in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him” (2 Thess. 1:11–12).

Even the beasts of the field will glorify the Lord, Isaiah tells us (43:20), and the heavens tell of the glory of God (Ps. 19:1). The only rebels in the universe are fallen angels and fallen man. Everything else glorifies its Creator. The fallen angels have already been eternally removed from God’s presence, and those fallen men who will not be saved by Jesus Christ will join those angels in that eternal separation.

God chose and preordained the Body before the foundation of the world in order that no human being could boast or take glory for himself, but that all the glory might be His. Salvation is not partly of God and partly of man, but entirely of God. To guarantee that, every provision and every detail of salvation was accomplished before any human being was ever born or before a planet was formed on which he could be born.

The ultimate reason for everything that exists is the glory of His grace. That is why, as God’s children, Christians should do everything they do—even such mundane things as eating and drinking—to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).[1]


Ephesians 1:4–6

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

It is wonderful to be told, as Paul does tell us in the third verse of Ephesians 1, that God “has blessed us … with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” But as soon as that is said we immediately want to ask how such great blessing actually becomes ours. Paul describes it as “spiritual” blessing “in the heavenly realms.” But we are not in heaven; we are on earth. How can we possess the blessings God has for us?

We can imagine a number of wrong ways. The blessings of heaven might be thought to be possessed by force, which is what Satan tried to do. He tried to conquer heaven; he was conquered instead. We might try to earn these great blessings. But with what would we earn them? Heaven’s blessings must be bought by heaven’s coin. We possess no spiritual currency. Perhaps we can inherit them when the owner dies. Alas, the owner is the eternal God, who does not die. Perhaps God is gracious and is only waiting for us to ask him for these blessings. Even this will not work. For according to Scripture, we are not the kind of persons who, unaided by God, will even ask him for blessings. On the contrary, we despise God’s blessings. We want our will and our way and left to ourselves, we would never ask God for anything.

Then how is it that some people receive these blessings, as Paul says they do? The answer is in verses 4–6. It is the result of God’s own sovereign act, election. Paul says, “For [the Greek word is kathōs, meaning ‘just as’ or ‘because’; it links verses 4 and 3, as an explanation] he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

This teaches that the blessings of salvation come to some people because God has determined from before the creation of the world to give them to them—and for that reason only.

Election and Human Depravity

This doctrine is difficult for many persons, of course. But before we deal with their objections we would do well to consider the various views that people hold about election. There are three of them.

The first position is a denial of election outright. No one is saved because of some supreme hidden purpose of God, these objectors say. We can speak of grace, for God chose to reveal himself to fallen men and women and to provide a way of salvation through the death of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That he did so proves him to be gracious. But having spoken of the grace of God in this sense, we must stop there and turn the entire situation over to human beings. God graciously offers salvation, but people must choose this salvation of their own free will. Election simply does not enter into it.

The strength of this view is that it conforms to what we all naturally like to think about our abilities. The difficulty is that, whether we like it or not, the Bible does teach this doctrine. John R. W. Stott calls election “a divine revelation, not a human speculation.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones refers to this teaching as “a statement, not an argument.”2 In his study of election J. C. Ryle begins by listing eleven texts (including Ephesians 1:4) that teach election in the simplest and most undeniable language and urges his readers to consider them well.

It is hard to imagine anyone doing this and then continuing to deny that election is the Bible’s teaching.

According to the second view, election is taught in Scripture but it is election based on foreknowledge. This is a mediating position, held by those who acknowledge that election is taught but who do not want to admit to a doctrine which they consider unjust and arbitrary. They would argue that God elects some to salvation and its blessings but that he does so on the basis of a choice, a response of faith, or some other good that he foresees in them.

This is patently impossible. One problem is that an election like that is not really election. In such a reconstruction God does not preordain an individual to anything; the individual actually ordains himself.

Another, greater problem is, if what the Bible tells us about the hopeless condition of man in sin is true, what good could God possibly see in anyone to cause him to elect that one to salvation? Goodness is from God. Faith is from God. If God is eliminated as a first cause of goodness or faith or a God-directed human choice (whatever it may be), how could there ever be any faith for God to foresee?

Calvin put it like this: “How should [God] foresee that which could not be? For we know that all Adam’s offspring is corrupted and that we do not have the skill to think one good thought of doing well, and much less therefore are we able to commence to do good. Although God should wait a hundred thousand years for us, if we could remain so long in the world, yet it is certain that we should never come to him nor do anything else but increase the mischief continually to our own condemnation. In short, the longer men live in the world, the deeper they lunge themselves into their own damnation. And therefore God could not foresee what was not in us before he himself put it into us.”

When people have trouble with election—and many do—their real problem is not with the doctrine of election, although they think it is, but with the doctrine of depravity that makes election necessary.

The question to settle is: How far did the human race fall when it fell? Did man fall upward? That is the view of secular evolutionists, that we are all getting better and better. Did man fall part way but not the whole way, so that he is damaged by sin but not ruined? That is the view of Pelagians or Arminians. It affirms that we are affected by sin but insists that we nevertheless possess the ability to turn from it and believe in Christ when the gospel is offered—by our own power. Or did man fall the whole way so that he is no longer capable of making even the smallest movement back toward God unless God first reaches down and performs the miracle of the new birth in him? That is the view of Scripture.

The Bible says that we are “dead in … transgressions and sins” (Eph. 2:1).

It says, “There is no one … who seeks God” (Rom. 3:11).

Jesus declared, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

It is written in Genesis: “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5).

What good could God possibly foresee in hearts that are dead in transgressions and sins and inclined only to evil all the time? What good could God anticipate in people who cannot come to him and do not even seek him unless he first draws them to himself? If that is the situation, as the Bible says it is, then the only way any man or woman can be saved is by the sovereign election of God by which he first chooses some for salvation and then leads them to faith.

The third position is election pure and simple. It teaches that we are too hopelessly lost in sin ever to partake of God’s great spiritual blessings on our own. Instead, God in his mercy chose us and then made his choice effectual. First he made our salvation possible by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sin. Then he made us capable of responding to him by sending the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the truth and glory of the gospel. Thus, all the blessings we enjoy must be traced back to this sovereign electing purpose of God toward us in Jesus Christ. And Paul does exactly that in these opening verses of Ephesians.

Arminian Objections

Objections to the Bible’s teaching about election have been around for a long time, and there are many of them. Here I consider two: that election is arbitrary and that it is unjust.

When election is described as arbitrary we need to understand precisely what we are talking about. If we are basing the accusation on any supposed quality in man that is imagined to call forth election, then there is a sense in which election is arbitrary. From our perspective there is no reason why one individual rather than another should be elected. But generally that is not the way the charge is made. Generally the objector means that election is arbitrary, not from our perspective, but from God’s perspective. It amounts to saying that God has no reason for what he does. He is utterly arbitrary in picking one individual rather than another. It could as easily have been the other way around. Or God could have picked no one.

That last sentence indicates the way through this problem. For as soon as we think of the possibility of no one being saved we run against the very purpose Paul talks about in Ephesians 1:6, namely, that salvation is “to the praise of his [God’s] glorious grace.” That is, God purposed to glorify himself by saving some. Since that is so, election is not arbitrary. It has a purpose from God’s point of view.

But why one person rather than another? Why more than one? Or why not everyone? These are good questions, but it does not take a great deal of understanding to recognize that they are of another order entirely. Once we admit that God has a purpose in election, it is evident that the purpose must extend to the details of God’s choice. We do not know why he elects one rather than another, but that is quite a different thing from saying that he has no reasons. In fact, in so great an enterprise, an enterprise which forms the entire meaning of human history, it would be arrogant for us to suppose that we could ever understand the whole purpose. We can speculate. We can see portions of God’s purpose in specific instances of election. But on the whole we will have to do as Paul does and confess that predestination is simply “in accordance with [God’s] pleasure and will” (v. 5).

The second objection is that election is unjust. It is unjust for God to choose one rather than another, we are told. All must be given an equal chance. But is it possible that a person can still so misunderstand what is involved as to think in these categories? An equal chance! We have had a chance, but we have wasted it by rejecting the gospel. And it makes no difference how many “chances” are given, or to how many. Apart from God’s sovereign work no one follows Jesus. So far as justice is concerned, what would justice decree for us, if justice (and nothing but justice) should be done? Justice would decree our damnation! Justice would sentence us to hell!

It is not justice we want from God; it is grace. And grace cannot be commanded. It must flow to us from God’s sovereign purposes decreed before the foundation of the world, or it must not come at all.

Blessings of Election

Election is not the problem some have made it to be. In fact, it is actually a great blessing of the gospel. It is so in at least four areas.

  1. Election eliminates boasting. Critics of election talk as if the opposite were true. They think it is the height of arrogance, something hardly to be tolerated, for a person to claim that he or she has been chosen to salvation. They suppose it is a claim to be worth more or to have done something better than other people. But, of course, election does not imply that at all. Election means that salvation is utterly of God. As Paul says, “he chose,” “he predestined,” “he has freely given,” and this is “to the praise of his glorious grace” and not to our glory.

Only election eliminates all grounds for boasting. Suppose it were otherwise. Suppose that in the final analysis a person could get to heaven on the basis of something he or she had done. In that case, that individual could claim some part (small or large) of the glory. In fact, it would be the critical part, the part that distinguished him or her from those who were not saved. That is why salvation’s blessings have to be ours by election alone.

  1. Election gives assurance of salvation. Suppose it were otherwise. Suppose the ultimate grounds of salvation were in ourselves. In that case, salvation would be as unstable as we are. We might be saved one moment and lost the next. As Calvin says, “If … our faith were not grounded in God’s eternal election, it is certain that Satan might pluck it from us every minute.”

Calvin found security of salvation in the “adoption,” which verse 5 says God’s election provides for us. Adoption means that we are taken into God’s family so that we become his children and he becomes our heavenly Father. Calvin points out that when we pray to God we must call him Father, for that is what Jesus taught us to do (see Matt. 6:9). But how can we do that, he asks, unless we are sure that he really is our Father? If not, then our prayers are mere hypocrisy and the first words we utter in them (“Our Father …”) are a lie. “We must be thoroughly resolved and persuaded in ourselves that God counts us as his children. And how may that be but by embracing his mercy through faith, as he offers it to us in his gospel, and by assuring ourselves also that we are grounded in his eternal election?”

  1. Election leads to holiness. A person might say, “Well, if I am elect, I suppose I’ll be saved regardless of what I do; therefore, I’ll enjoy myself and sin all I please.” Those who say that either are not elect or else are elect but are not yet regenerate. Why? Because, as verse 3 says, election is to holiness. That is, election to salvation and election to holiness go together. They are never separated. So, as John Stott says, “Far from encouraging sin, the doctrine of election forbids it and lays upon us instead the necessity of holiness.” If we are not growing in holiness, we are not elect. We are still in our sins.
  2. Finally, election promotes evangelism. Some think that election makes evangelism unnecessary. “For if God is going to save certain individuals anyway,” the argument goes, “then he will save them, and there is no point in my having anything to do with it.” It does not work that way. The fact that God elects to salvation does not eliminate the means by which he calls those elect persons to faith. One of those means is the proclamation of the gospel to sinners by those who already believe (1 Cor. 1:21). The very Paul who wrote this letter was the first great missionary.

Moreover, it is only as we recognize the importance of election that we gain hope in evangelism. Think about it. If the hearts of men and women are as opposed to God and his ways as the Bible says they are, and if God does not elect people and then call them effectively by means of the Holy Spirit so that they respond in saving faith, what hope could you or I possibly have of winning them? If God cannot call effectively, it is certain that you and I cannot. On the other hand, if God is doing this work on the basis of his prior election of some, then we can speak the word of truth boldly, knowing that all whom God has previously determined to come to faith will come to him.

We do not know who God’s elect are. The only way we can find them out is by their response to the gospel and by their subsequent growth in holiness. Our task is to proclaim the Word boldly, knowing that all whom God has elected in Christ before the foundation of the world will surely come to Jesus.[2]

Christ’s Sanctity (1:4)

The apostle says that God “chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Eph. 1:4). Paul’s wording reveals God’s purpose. God chose us to be “holy and blameless in his sight.” This dual description relates to us the tandem benefits of our union with Christ in terms of our sanctification before God. We have something removed from us and something supplied.

By virtue of our union with Christ we have our blame removed. What shames us and justly condemns us is not held against us any longer. As Christ is without spot, so also we are “blemishless” (the origin of the word “blameless”) by virtue of his work in our behalf.8 Paul will explain this process later in the chapter, but for now he identifies the results of the Savior’s work: our guilt and shame are taken away; we are made blameless.

The effects of shame and blame can be amazingly real and long-lasting. Recently a pastor confided that he discovered that he was great at doing funerals—but he added a strange confession. He said, “I have a knack for being able to distill the character of a person and tie it to the gospel, but I hate visiting the family afterwards. The visit cannot be scripted, and I know that I run the risk of looking bad. This discovery made me realize that I am more concerned with impressing people than helping them.”

The discovery of his need to impress led the pastor to seek wise counsel. And in the course of the conversation with that confidant the pastor said, “The need to impress people became acute in my life after fourth grade. I was always the best student in class, but in fourth grade I got sick and missed material needed for a math quiz. I did poorly on the math quiz, and the teacher wrote my name on the blackboard as one who needed remedial work. When she wrote my name on the board, I got physically sick. My teacher had to take me home, thinking that I was ill, but the problem really was that I blamed myself for being unprepared, and I worked never to be so shamed again.”

Life will not allow any of us to be free of shame. Our weaknesses, the world’s uncertainties, and our sin, all have the potential to shame us before those in earth and heaven. But the glory of the gospel is that our heavenly Father has erased our names from the blackboard—the handwriting that was against us, he took away and nailed it to the cross (Col. 2:14). He no longer blames us for what shames us.

Not only does our union with Christ remove our blemishes; it also supplies his righteousness. We are “holy” and blameless before the Father. The righteousness that was Christ’s through his perfect obedience is imputed to us. The holiness that God requires, he also supplies not by our works, but by our union with his holy Son who shares with us his own status of holiness. This is cause for amazement: God sees me as being as holy as his own Son. Not only do I have my debt wiped away; I have the riches of Christ’s righteousness applied to my account (see also 2 Cor. 5:21). God does not pay our debt and then leave us with a zero balance. Rather than have us destitute, he opens the vaults of heaven to give us the benefits of the storehouse of his grace made full by Christ’s obedience. The Bible says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Having removed our sin, God also supplies whatever is needed out of his entire creation—present or future—to bless us in the best way possible with the riches of the righteousness of his Son. But we question, how could this be since we are so unworthy of such riches? The answer is that God not only gives us the benefits of Christ’s sanctity, he also gives us the status of Christ’s Sonship.[3]

4. According as he hath chosen us. The foundation and first cause, both of our calling and of all the benefits which we receive from God, is here declared to be his eternal election. If the reason is asked, why God has called us to enjoy the gospel, why he daily bestows upon us so many blessings, why he opens to us the gate of heaven,—the answer will be constantly found in this principle, that he hath chosen us before the foundation of the world. The very time when the election took place proves it to be free; for what could we have deserved, or what merit did we possess, before the world was made? How childish is the attempt to meet this argument by the following sophism! “We were chosen because we were worthy, and because God foresaw that we would be worthy.” We were all lost in Adam; and therefore, had not God, through his own election, rescued us from perishing, there was nothing to be foreseen. The same argument is used in the Epistle to the Romans, where, speaking of Jacob and Esau, he says, “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.” (Rom. 9:11.) But though they had not yet acted, might a sophist of the Sorbonne reply, God foresaw that they would act. This objection has no force when applied to the depraved natures of men, in whom nothing can be seen but materials for destruction.

In Christ. This is the second proof that the election is free; for if we are chosen in Christ, it is not of ourselves. It is not from a perception of anything that we deserve, but because our heavenly Father has introduced us, through the privilege of adoption, into the body of Christ. In short, the name of Christ excludes all merit, and everything which men have of their own; for when he says that we are chosen in Christ, it follows that in ourselves we are unworthy.

That we should be holy. This is the immediate, but not the chief design; for there is no absurdity in supposing that the same thing may gain two objects. The design of building is, that there should be a house. This is the immediate design, but the convenience of dwelling in it is the ultimate design. It was necessary to mention this in passing; for we shall immediately find that Paul mentions another design, the glory of God. But there is no contradiction here; for the glory of God is the highest end, to which our sanctification is subordinate.

This leads us to conclude, that holiness, purity, and every excellence that is found among men, are the fruit of election; so that once more Paul expressly puts aside every consideration of merit. If God had foreseen in us anything worthy of election, it would have been stated in language the very opposite of what is here employed, and which plainly means that all our holiness and purity of life flow from the election of God. How comes it then that some men are religious, and live in the fear of God, while others give themselves up without reserve to all manner of wickedness? If Paul may be believed, the only reason is, that the latter retain their natural disposition, and the former have been chosen to holiness. The cause, certainly, is not later than the effect. Election, therefore, does not depend on the righteousness of works, of which Paul here declares that it is the cause.

We learn also from these words, that election gives no occasion to licentiousness, or to the blasphemy of wicked men who say, “Let us live in any manner we please; for, if we have been elected, we cannot perish.” Paul tells them plainly, that they have no right to separate holiness of life from the grace of election; for “whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified.” (Rom. 8:30.) The inference, too, which the Catharists, Celestines, and Donatists drew from these words, that we may attain perfection in this life, is without foundation. This is the goal to which the whole course of our life must be directed, and we shall not reach it till we have finished our course. Where are the men who dread and avoid the doctrine of predestination as an inextricable labyrinth, who believe it to be useless and almost dangerous? No doctrine is more useful, provided it be handled in the proper and cautious manner, of which Paul gives us an example, when he presents it as an illustration of the infinite goodness of God, and employs it as an excitement to gratitude. This is the true fountain from which we must draw our knowledge of the divine mercy. If men should evade every other argument, election shuts their mouth, so that they dare not and cannot claim anything for themselves. But let us remember the purpose for which Paul reasons about predestination, lest, by reasoning with any other view, we fall into dangerous errors.

Before him in love. Holiness before God (κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ) is that of a pure conscience; for God is not deceived, as men are, by outward pretence, but looks to faith, or, which means the same thing, the truth of the heart. If we view the word love as applied to God, the meaning will be, that the only reason why he chose us, was his love to men. But I prefer connecting it with the latter part of the verse, as denoting that the perfection of believers consists in love; not that God requires love alone, but that it is an evidence of the fear of God, and of obedience to the whole law.[4]

4 Paul starts with the conjunction kathōs, which means “even as” (NIV, “for”), probably expressing some causal sense. We know that God has blessed us in Christ because he chose us in him and accomplished all the following actions. Paul uses the common word eklegomai (GK 1721), which means to pick out, select, or choose something or someone (cf. BDAG, 305). Of course, it has deep theological meaning in both Testaments, growing out of God’s selection of Israel as his covenantal people: “But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you” (Isa 41:8–9, emphasis added). As with God’s choice of the nation Israel, Paul expresses believers’ election in corporate terms: God chose us in Christ. Or to put it another way, Christ is the elect one in whom the church is included. Paul does not teach that our “souls” preexisted in the heavens with Christ (a Platonic idea), nor that we as individuals were present physically in some mythological sense prior to creation (as in later Gnostic teaching). Rather, as Schnackenburg, 53, puts it, “If God made his plan of salvation in (the preexistent) Christ, he also included us ‘in Christ’ in his plan.”

In keeping with the dominant theme of unity of Jews and Gentiles in the church, Paul sees the entire body of Christ as the object of God’s pretemporal election. This is not to deny that election is personal: certainly every member of the church shares its election. Paul does not, however, assert here particular or individual election, i.e., that God has selected specific individuals for inclusion in the church. He underscores the church’s corporate election in Christ, who is God’s elect one (Lk 9:35; 23:35). Being incorporated in Christ, the church attains its identity, all of its blessings, and its chosen position. God devised this strategy to bless the church in Christ even before he created the world. “World” (kosmos, GK 3180) here means created universe. There is a more sinister meaning below in 2:2, where I discuss its meanings more carefully.

The goal of God’s choosing appears in the next phrase: “holy and blameless in his sight” (cf. 5:27). These adjectives have a rich background in the OT and describe God’s requirements for animals to be used in sacrifices. “Holy” (recall Paul’s description of the readers as “holy ones” in v. 1) implies separated to God for his purposes. By extension, holy connotes moral purity, an idea brought out more clearly in the companion term. “Blameless” (see Ex 29:1, 37–38; Lev 14:10; 23:18) conveys the senses of sound, whole, without defects, innocent, and pure. God determined in choosing the church in Christ to establish a spotless people (see 5:27 of Christ’s bride) who accomplish his purposes.

The final two words in v. 4, “in love,” could go with either the prior affirmation, “he chose us … to be holy and blameless before him in love” (UBS, 4th ed.; NRSV), or with the next one, “In love he predestined us” (NIV, NASB). Both options make theological sense, so it is treacherous to presume certainty. On balance the former is slightly more likely in Ephesians: the goal of God’s election is a holy, blameless people who live lives characterized by love (4:2, 15, 16; 5:2; cf. 3:17–19).[5]

4  It was in Christ, then, that God chose his people “before the world’s foundation.” This phrase (or a similar one) appears a number of times in the NT, but here only in the Pauline corpus.29 It denotes the divine act of election as taking place in eternity. Time belongs to the created order: believers’ present experience of the blessings bestowed by God is the fulfilment on the temporal plane of his purpose of grace toward them conceived in eternity. As the fulfilment is experienced “in Christ,” so it is in him that the purpose is conceived. If, as Col. 1:16 affirms, it was “in him” that all things were created, so, we are here assured, earlier still it was “in him” that the people of God were chosen. He is the Chosen One of God par excellence; it is by union with him, according to the divine purpose realized in time, that others are chosen. Less than justice is done to the present language when it is debated whether Christ is the foundation or origin, or merely the executor of election. He is foundation, origin, and executor: all that is involved in election and its fruits depends on him.

Calvin regards the phrase “in Christ” as a “second confirmation of the freedom of election” (the first being that it took place before the world’s foundation). “For if we are chosen in Christ, it is outside ourselves. It is not from the sight of our deserving, but because our heavenly Father has engrafted us, through the blessing of adoption, into the Body of Christ. In short, the name of Christ excludes all merit, and everything which men have of themselves; for when he says that we are chosen in Christ, it follows that in ourselves we are unworthy.”

There is a dominant ethical quality about the divine election, as is inevitable in view of the character of the electing God. In 1 Peter 1:15–16, where the wording of our present text is echoed, this lesson is pointed with a quotation from the OT law of holiness: “as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ ” No other way of life is fitting for those who are “chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ” (1 Peter. 1:2). So here, the purpose of God’s choosing his people in Christ is that they should be “holy and blameless” in his presence, both here and now in earthly life and ultimately when they appear before him. The perspective is the same as in Col. 1:22, where the purpose of Christ’s reconciling work is the presentation of his people “holy, blameless, and irreproachable in his presence.” There they appear in the presence of Christ, while here they appear in the presence of God; but it is one and the same appearance: for Paul the tribunal of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) and the tribunal of God (Rom. 14:10) are the same tribunal. The “holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14) is progressively wrought within the lives of believers on earth by the Spirit, and will be consummated in glory at the parousia, the time of the “redemption” anticipated in Eph. 1:14; 4:30. If “holiness” expresses the positive quality, “blamelessness” expresses its negative counterpart: freedom from blemish or fault.

If the phrase “in love” is attached to what precedes (as it is in the Greek text followed in this commentary), then it adds a specific quality to holiness and blamelessness: the consummation of holiness is perfect love. The preposition is best understood as having “comitative” force: the purpose of God is that his people should be marked by holiness and blamelessness, coupled with love.[6]

1:4 / The first specific blessing mentioned is what is known in theological circles as election or predestination. Basically, this doctrine affirms that God has taken the initiative in the “electing” or “choosing” process. In the ot, God chooses Israel from among all the nations of the earth to be his covenant people (Deut. 4:37; 7:6, 7; Isa. 44:1, 2); in the nt, God chooses people to become members of the new covenant, the church (John 15:16; Rom. 8:29; 9:11; Eph. 1:4, 5; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:2); and individuals such as Jeremiah (1:5) and Paul (1 Cor. 15:9–11) believed that even their vocation was destined by God.

Unfortunately, the Christian church has become polarized into theological camps over this doctrine. Some (namely, the Calvinists) have placed all the emphasis upon the sovereign grace of God in matters of salvation; others (namely, the Arminians) have emphasized human free will in the salvation process. Since the Bible does not attempt to harmonize this apparent paradox, it continues to remain one of the more divisive and speculative “mysteries” of the Christian faith.

When dealing with this issue, one should avoid the extremes in theory and practice that so often characterize adherents of one view or another. Election to salvation does not imply that God, therefore, predestines the rest of humanity to damnation; nor should election lead to spiritual pride among the elect. Election simply affirms that personal faith rests upon the prior work (grace) of God, so that, with respect to salvation, God has taken the initiative to claim a people for himself. An individual is free to choose God only because God has already decided for such a person from eternity. Likewise, election should not lead to spiritual complacency; it is a privilege and responsibility that is unto holiness of life and for good works (1:4; 2:10).

The author indicates that God’s intention for the salvation of humanity precedes the creation of the world and the historical process (for he chose us in him before the creation of the world). When Paul, a member of the church and a chosen apostle to the Gentiles, reflects upon the doctrine of election, he may be reasoning in the following way: “How did I, a Pharisee and a former persecutor of Christians, get to be what I am? How is it that the Jews—and now the Gentiles—have become part of God’s family? Surely it is not because of some national merit or personal attainment through faith or good works! This had to be God’s doing. He knew from eternity how he would work in me and in the world; it was not a last-minute decision that the Gentiles were to become heirs of salvation” (3:6). When the apostle writes to the Corinthians about their new existence in Christ, for example, he states: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17–19).

Stott makes a helpful comment by drawing attention to the relationship of the three pronouns in the phrase he chose us in him. God chose us, even before we were created, to be redeemed through the work of Christ that had not yet taken place (Stott, p. 36). Such, however, is the marvel of God’s elective grace toward the human race.

The goal of election is that the believer be holy and blameless before God. This phrase is similar to Colossians 1:2 and may be part of the ot sacrificial language that the nt uses on other occasions (cf. 5:27; Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 1:19; Jude 24). In some cases, the doctrine of predestination has led to moral license rather than personal holiness. Not a few believers have reasoned that since they are “eternally secure,” their ethical life is no longer of concern to God or to other people. This reasoning, however, is unfortunate, because the believers’ standing before God and election (the indicative) are demonstrated by the kind of life that they live ethically (the imperative).[7]

4. hath chosen usGreek,chose us out for Himself” (namely, out of the world, Ga 1:4): referring to His original choice, spoken of as past.

in him—The repetition of the idea, “in Christ” (Eph 1:3), implies the paramount importance of the truth that it is in Him, and by virtue of union to Him, the Second Adam, the Restorer ordained for us from everlasting, the Head of redeemed humanity, believers have all their blessings (Eph 3:11).

before the foundation of the world—This assumes the eternity of the Son of God (Jn 17:5, 24), as of the election of believers in Him (2 Ti 1:9; 2 Th 2:13).

that we should be holy—positively (De 14:2).

without blame—negatively (Eph 5:27; 1 Th 3:13).

before him—It is to Him the believer looks, walking as in His presence, before whom he looks to be accepted in the judgment (Col 1:22; compare Rev 7:15).

in love—joined by Bengel and others with Eph 1:5, “in love having predestinated us,” &c. But English Version is better. The words qualify the whole clause, “that we should be holy … before Him.” Love, lost to man by the fall, but restored by redemption, is the root and fruit and sum of all holiness (Eph 5:2; 1 Th 3:12, 13).[8]

Ver. 4.—Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world; literally, he chose us out, or selected us (ἐξελέξατο) for himself (middle voice). The Father chose the heirs of salvation, selected those who were to be quickened from the dead (ch. 2:1) and saved. He chose them in Christ—in connection with his work and office as Mediator, giving them to him to be redeemed (John 17:11, 12); not after man was created, nor after man had fallen, but “before the foundation of the world.” We are here face to face with a profound mystery. Before even the world was founded, mankind presented themselves to God as lost; the work of redemption was planned and its details arranged from all eternity. Before such a mystery it becomes us to put the shoes from off our feet, and bow reverently before him whose “judgments are unsearchable and his ways past finding out.” That we should be holy and without blame before him in love. This is obviously the design of God’s electing act; εἶναι ἡμᾶς cannot denote the ground, but the purpose, of the choice. God did not choose some because he foresaw their holiness, but in order that they might become “holy and without blame.” These two terms denote the positive and negative sides of purity: holy—possessed of all the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23); without blame, or blemish—marked by no stain or imperfection (see ch. 5:27). The terms do not denote justification, but a condition of sanctification which implies justification already bestowed, but goes beyond it; our justification is a step towards our complete final sanctification. This renewal being “before him,” must be such as to bear the scrutiny of his eye; therefore not external or superficial merely, but reaching to the very heart and centre of our nature (1 Sam. 16:7). The expression further denotes how it is of the very nature and glory of the new life to be spent in God’s presence, our souls flourishing in the precious sunshine which ever beams out therefrom. For, when thus renewed, we do not fly from his presence like Adam (Gen. 3:8), but delight in it (Ps. 42:1; 63:1). Fear is changed to love (1 John 4:18); the loving relation between us and God is restored. It has been much disputed whether the words ἐν ἀγάπῃ ought to be construed with the fourth verse or with προορίσας in the fifth. The weight of authority seems in favour of the latter; but we prefer the construction which is given both in the Authorized and the Revised Version, first, because if ἐν ἀγάπῃ qualified προορίσας, it would come more naturally after it; and second, because the scope of the passage, the train of the apostle’s thought, seems to require us to keep ἐν ἀγάπῃ in ver. 4. We never could come to be holy and without blemish before God unless the loving relations between us were restored (comp. ch. 3:17, “Rooted and grounded in love”). The spirit of love, trust, admiration, directed to God helps our complete sanctification—changes us into the same image (2 Cor. 3:18).[9]

4 καθὼς ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” For the force of καθώς see the comments under Form/Structure/Setting. In elaborating on and grounding the thematic statement of v 3 the great theme of God’s electing purpose is introduced. The writer asserts that God has blessed believers both because and to the extent that he elected them. The number and variety of words used in this passage to describe God’s purpose is impressive: ἐξελέξατο, “chose” (v 4); προορίσας, “predestined,” εὐδοκία, “good pleasure,” θέλημα, “will” (v 5); θέλημα, εὐδοκία, προέθετο, “purposed” (v 9); ἐκληρώθημεν, “appointed,” προορισθέντες, “predestined,” πρόθεσις, “plan,” βουλή, “purpose,” θέλημα (v 11). God’s sovereign purpose in choosing out a people for himself is of course a familiar idea in the OT (e.g., Deut 7:6–8; 14:2), which witnesses to Israel’s consciousness of God’s choice of her in the midst of the twists and turns in her historical fortunes. God had chosen Abraham so that in him the nations of the earth would be blessed, and Israel’s election was not for her own self-indulgence but for the blessing of the nations: it was a privilege but also a summons to service. Christian believers also had this consciousness of being chosen to be the people of God. The new element is signaled by the ἐν αὐτῷ phrase. Their sense of God’s gracious choice of them was inextricably interwoven with their sense of belonging to Christ. God’s design for them to be his people had been effected in and through Christ. They saw him as God’s Chosen One (see below on “in the Beloved,” 1:6). Indeed, Paul in Gal 3 treats Christ as in a sense fulfilling Israel’s election. Christ is the offspring of Abraham par excellence (3:16), and in Christ the blessing of Abraham has come to the Gentiles (3:14) so that they too, because they are Christ’s, are Abraham’s offspring (3:29). The notion of being chosen in Christ here in Ephesians is likely then to include the idea of incorporation into Christ as the representative on whom God’s gracious decision was focused. In respect to that merciful decision of love, which governs God’s plan for his creation, the believing community is aware of its solidarity with Christ. It is by explicitly linking the notion of election to that of being “in Christ” that Ephesians takes further the discussion of election found in the undisputed Pauline letters.

God’s choice of his people in Christ is said to have taken place “before the foundation of the world.” This phrase indicates an element in the thinking about election which cannot be found in the OT and occurs only later in Jewish literature, e.g., Joseph and Asenath 8.9 (A); Midr. Ps. 74.1; Midr. Ps.93.3; Gen Rab. 1.5 (cf. also Hofius, ZNW 61 [1971] 125–27). Elsewhere in the NT the phrase “before the foundation of the world” is used of God’s love for Christ (John 17:24) and his purpose for Christ (1 Pet 1:20), but in regard to believers passages elsewhere in the Pauline corpus provide the closest parallels. In 2 Thess 2:13 the best reading is probably “from the beginning” and its best interpretation is probably as a reference to God’s choice from the beginning of time. In 2 Tim 1:9 grace is said to have been given to believers before eternal times, while in Rom 8:29 the prefix in προγινώσκειν, “to foreknow,” is usually held to indicate that God’s electing knowledge of believers precedes not simply their knowledge of him but the creation of the world. In comparison with Rom 8:28–30 and its eschatological focus, the language of Eph 1:4, by making the pretemporal aspect of election explicit, sets salvation in protological perspective.

Such language functions to give believers assurance of God’s purposes for them. Its force is that God’s choice of them was a free decision not dependent on temporal circumstances but rooted in the depth of his nature. To say that election in Christ took place before the foundation of the world is to underline that it was provoked not by historical contingency or human merit, but solely by God’s sovereign grace. It is the notion of preexistence which makes this formulation possible. If God’s election of believers took place before the foundation of the world in Christ, this could well presuppose the existence of Christ before the foundation of the world (cf. Col 1:15, 16). Schlier (49) speaks of the Christian adaptation of the Jewish theologoumenon of the preexistence not only of the Messiah but also of the people of salvation, but there are grave difficulties with dating the evidence for either concept in Jewish writings before 70 c.e. (cf. J. D. G. Dunn, Christology in the Making [London: SCM, 1980] 70–82; Hofius, ZNW 62 [1971] 123–28). Probably then the notion of the election of believers in Christ has been combined with that of the preexistence of Christ. This does not imply the preexistence of the Church, an idea which can be found later in early Christian writings (cf. 2 Clem 14.1; Herm. Vis. 1.1.6; 2.4.1). It is not the Church but the choice of the Church which precedes the foundation of the world. So if there is to be any talk of the preexistence of the Church, it can only be of “ideal” preexistence, i.e., in the mind or counsel of God (cf. Barth, 112; Gnilka, 70, 71; Hamerton-Kelly, Pre-existence, Wisdom, and the Son of Man [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973] 180–82).

It is significant that the language of election before the foundation of the world occurs here in the context of thanksgiving (cf. also 1 Thess 1:4; 2:13). It is part of an expression of gratitude for God’s inexplicable grace, not a logical deduction about the destiny of individuals based on the immutability of God’s decrees. And, unlike the language of Rom 9:13, 18, 22, Eph 1:4 provokes absolutely no speculation about the negative side of election, reprobation. Overwhelmed by the blessing of being chosen in Christ, the writer does not attempt to find explanations but can only praise the God who is the source of such blessing.

εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ, “to be holy and blameless before him in love.” God’s choice of a people in Christ has a goal—that they should exhibit a particular quality of life, described here in terms of holiness and love. For the reasons for connecting “in love” with the goal of election, see the discussion under Form/Structure/Setting above. In Phil 1:9, 10 and 1 Thess 3:12, 13 Paul prays for these same features to characterize believers’ lives—love in the present and holiness and blamelessness in view of the Parousia. The actual wording of the latter qualities in Ephesians, ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ, is taken from Col 1:22, where, as here, there is no clear connection with the Parousia and the words describe believers’ present lives. If ἅγιος in 1:1 denoted primarily status, here in 1:4 it indicates the moral condition that belongs to such a status. It is closely connected with ἄμωμος and both have a cultic background. That which is separated to God, such as a sacrificial animal (cf. LXX Exod 29:37, 38; Num 6:14; 19:2) must be without defect. Already in the OT such terminology is also used for ethical purity (e.g., LXX Ps 14:2; 17:24). In Eph 1:4 holiness, blamelessness, and love are complementary terms. On its negative side, holiness is the absence of moral defect or sin, i.e., blamelessness, while, on its positive side, as moral perfection, it displays itself in love which is the fulfillment of God’s will. Moral separation from the sinful world and active love are qualities which, in fact, provide a good summary of the ethical exhortation to follow in the second part of this letter. In this reference a theocentric perspective predominates, for a life of holiness, blamelessness, and love has its source in and is a response to the gracious election of God and is lived “before him,” that is, conscious that God’s presence and God’s approval are one’s ultimate environment.[10]

4. Paul continues, just as he elected us in him before the foundation of the world.


(1) Its Author

The Author is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” as has been indicated (see on verse 3). This, of course, by no means cancels the fact that all the activities which affect extra-trinitarian relationships can be ascribed to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, it is the Father who, as here shown, takes the lead in the divine work of election.

(2) Its Nature

To elect means to pick or choose out of (for oneself). Although the passage itself does not indicate in so many words the mass of objects or individuals out of which the Father chose some, this larger group is, nevertheless, clearly indicated by the purpose clause, “in order that we should be holy and faultless before him.” Accordingly, the larger mass of individuals out of which the Father chose some are here viewed as unholy and vile. This interpretation suits the context. It supplies one of the reasons (see Synthesis at end of chapter for more reasons) why the soul of the apostle is filled with such rapture that he says, “Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who … elected us.” He means: us, thoroughly unworthy in his sight! He does not try to explain how it was possible for God to do this. He fully realizes that when men are confronted with this manifestation of amazing grace their only proper response is adoration, not explanation.

(3) Its Object

The object is “us,” not everybody. This pronoun “us” must be explained in the light of its context. Paul is writing to “saints and believers” (verse 1). He says that the Father has blessed “us,” that is, “all saints and believers” (here with special reference to those at Ephesus) including Paul (verse 3). Therefore, when the apostle now continues, “just as he elected us,” this “us” cannot suddenly have reference to all men whatever, but must necessarily refer to all those who are (or who at one time or another in the history of the world are destined to become) “saints and believers”; that is, to all those who, having been set apart by the Lord for the purpose of glorifying him, embrace him by means of a living faith.

It is for this contextual reason (and for others also) that I cannot agree with the contention of Karl Barth that in connection with Christ all men whatever are elect, and that the basic distinction is not between elect and non-elect but rather between those who are aware of their election and those who are not.

(4) Its Foundation

The foundation of the church, of its entire salvation from start to finish, hence surely also of its election, is Christ. Paul says, “He (“the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”) elected us in him.” The connection between verses 3 and 4 hinges on this phrase. One could bring this out in the translation as follows, “God the Father blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as in him he elected us.…” In other words, in time the Father blessed us in Christ, just as from all eternity he elected us in him. Though some maintain that this “just as” denotes no more than correspondence, in the sense that there is perfect agreement between the blessings and the election, for both are “in Christ,” it may well be asked whether this interpretation exhausts the meaning of the word used in the original. Aside from a point of grammar (for which see the footnote), it is the teaching of Paul that election from eternity and the further steps in the order of salvation are not to be considered as so many separate items but rather as links in a golden chain, as Rom. 8:29, 30 makes abundantly clear. Election, then, is the root of all subsequent blessings. It is as Jesus said in his highpriestly prayer, “… that to all whom thou hast given him he might give everlasting life” (John 17:2). See also John 6:37, 39, 44; 10:29. Hence, since election is from eternity, and since it is the foundation of all further blessings, and since it is “in him,” Christ is not only the Foundation of the church but its Eternal Foundation.

The question must now be answered, “How is it to be understood that it was in Christ that saints and believers were chosen?” The answer that is often given is this, that it was determined in the counsel of God that in time these people would come to believe in Christ. Though, to be sure, that, too, is implied, it is not a sufficient answer and fails to do justice to all that is taught by Paul and other inspired writers with respect to this important point. The basic answer must be that from before the foundation of the world Christ was the Representative and Surety of all those who in time would be gathered into the fold. This was necessary, for election is not an abrogation of divine attributes. It has already been established that in the background of God’s decree is the dismal fact that those chosen are viewed as being, at the very outset, totally unworthy, having involved themselves in ruin and perdition. Now sin must be punished. The demands of God’s holy law must be satisfied. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ does not, by means of election, cancel his righteousness or abolish the demands of his law. How then is it ever possible for God to bestow such a great, glorious, and basic blessing as election upon “children of wrath,” and to do so without detriment to his very essence and the inviolability of his holy law? The answer is that this is possible because of the promise of the Son (in full co-operation with the Father and the Spirit), “Lo, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of me; I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:7, 8. Cf. Heb. 10:5–7; Gal. 4:4, 5; Phil. 2:6–8). “In Christ,” then, saints and believers, though initially and by nature thoroughly unworthy, are righteous in the very sight of God, for Christ had promised that in their stead he would satisfy all the requirements of the law, a promise which was also completely fulfilled (Gal. 3:13). This forensic righteousness is basic to all the other spiritual blessings. Therefore,

“To thee, O Lord, alone is due

All glory and renown;

Aught to ourselves we dare not take,

Or rob thee of thy crown.

Thou wast thyself our Surety

In God’s redemption plan;

In thee his grace was given us,

Long ere the world began.”

(Augustus M. Toplady, 1774; revised by Dewey Westra, 1931)

(5) Its Time

This election is said to have occurred “before the foundation of the world,” that is, “from eternity.” Moreover, since it occurred “in him,” this is altogether reasonable, for he is the One who and whose “precious blood as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” were foreknown even before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19, 20). The fixity of God’s eternal plan with respect to his chosen ones was not a Pauline invention. It was the teaching of Jesus himself. It was he who referred to those whom he loved as the given ones (see John 6:39; 17:2, 9, 11, 24; cf. 6:44). The fact that from all eternity he had promised to make atonement for them may well have been an element that entered into the Father’s love for him; cf. the words of the highpriestly prayer, “Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, in order that they may gaze on my glory, which thou hast given me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). In such and similar passages (see also Matt. 13:35; Heb. 4:3) the universe is viewed as a building, and its creation as the laying of the foundation of this building.

The point that should be emphasized in this connection is the fact that if already before the foundation of the world those destined for everlasting life were elected, then all the glory for their salvation belongs to God, and to him alone. Hence, “Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” See 2:5, 8–10.

(6) Its Purpose

The purpose of election is found in the words, that we should be holy and faultless before him. It is worthy of special note that Paul does not say, “The Father elected us because he foresaw that we were going to be holy,” etc. He says, “that [or: in order that] we should be holy,” etc. Election is not conditioned on man’s foreseen merits or even on his foreseen faith. It is salvation’s root, not its fruit! Nevertheless, it remains true that man’s responsibility and self-activity are not diminished even in the least. When the divine decree unto salvation is historically realized in the life of any individual it does not operate by means of external compulsion. It motivates, enables, actuates. It impels but does not compel. The best description is probably that which is found in Canons of Dort III and IV. 11, 12:

“Moreover, when God accomplishes this, his good pleasure, in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only provides that the gospel should be outwardly preached to them, and powerfully illuminates their minds by the Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern what are the things of the Spirit of God, but he also, by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the innermost recess of man, opens the closed, softens the hardened, and circumcises the uncircumcised heart, infuses new qualities into the will, and makes that will which had been dead alive, which was evil good, which had been unwilling willing, which had been refractory pliable, and actuates and strengthens it, that, as a good tree, it may be able to bring forth the fruit of good works.… Whereupon the will, being now renewed, is not only actuated and moved by God, but being actuated by God, itself also becomes active. Wherefore man himself, by virtue of that grace received, is rightly said to believe and repent.” See Phil. 2:12, 13 and 2 Thess. 2:13.

From the stated purpose it is evident that election does not carry man half-way only; it carries him all the way. It does not merely bring him to conversion; it brings him to perfection. It purposes to make him holy—that is, cleansed from all sin and separated entirely to God and to his service—and faultless—that is, without any blemish whatever (Phil. 2:15), like a perfect sacrifice. Nothing less than this becomes the conscious goal of those in whose hearts God has begun to work out his plan of eternal election. It is their goal in this present life (Lev. 19:2), and it attains ultimate realization in the hereafter (Matt. 6:10; Rev. 21:27).

The absolute and undiminished perfection of the ethical goal is given added emphasis by the phrase “before him,” that is, before God in Christ. Not what we are in the estimation of men but what we are in the sight of God is what counts most.[11]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 10–16). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 14–19). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[3] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 22–24). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 197–200). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 48–49). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[6] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 254–256). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[7] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 151–153). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[8] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 341). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[9] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ephesians (p. 2). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[10] Lincoln, A. T. (1990). Ephesians (Vol. 42, pp. 22–25). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[11] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, pp. 74–78). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Dem Congresswoman Sending Staff To Train Migrants To Sneak In To US | The Federalist Papers

A Democrat congresswoman has been accused of using taxpayer funds to send her staff into Mexico in secret to train asylum seekers on how to get around United States immigration laws.

Her staff was sent to the northern border town of Ciudad Juárez to find migrants who were sent back using the “remain in Mexico” policy.

And Rep. Veronica Escobar’s staff is training them to use a loophole in the policy by pretending that they do not know how to speak Spanish, The Washington Examiner reported.

The National Border Patrol Council’s El Paso chapter and several Customs and Border Protection personnel told the Washington Examiner aides to Rep. Veronica Escobar, who took over 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s district, and the local Catholic diocese have interviewed thousands of migrants in Juarez over the past few weeks to find cases where Department of Homeland Security officials may have wrongly returned people.

“What we believe is happening is Veronica Escobar’s office is going … to basically second-guess and obstruct work already done by the Border Patrol,” a senior union official said in an interview with The Examiner.

“What we’re hearing from management is that they’re attempting to return people, and the story was changed in Mexico, where a person who understood Spanish before now doesn’t understand — where a person who didn’t have any health issues before now has health issues,” they said.

“They went through and interviewed everybody, cherry-picked them, brought them back, and now are using them as tag lines. They’re going over there and manufacturing a lot of these issues,” they said.

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The Border officials said that they are concerned that what she is doing is using the interviews to then claim the Border Patrol is not allowing legitimate asylum seekers in.

“We had finally found a happy medium ‘cause we always get crapped on when it comes to immigration laws, and then they’re finding loopholes to bring them back,” another official said.

Should she be prosecuted?

Former immigration judge Mark H. Metcalf said it is “more of a stunt than a genuine threat to the integrity of the process.”

“She’s trying to obviously say these people have been wrongly denied their claims and they’re waiting when they shouldn’t be,” he said.

But, he said, if it is proven that she is coaching migrants to create fake stories to get into the United States she could be prosecuted.

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A Department of Homeland Security official aware of the situation said Democrats, nonprofit organizations, and 2020 hopefuls “are furious that these migrants” are not permitted to “await their court dates in the U.S., where they have the opportunity to disappear and slip into the interior never to be seen again.”

“By opposing a system that assists migrants and speeds wait times, these individuals are exposing a cause that looks more like a cover story for their political motivations.

“Any efforts to subvert and obstruct federal law enforcement operations should receive a full review,” they said to The Examiner.

In one incident, an Escobar aide and diocese official walked a male migrant over the bridge in June and asked for him to be admitted into the U.S. because they had found he had “cognitive disabilities.” Officers took the boy and turned the case over to the Border Patrol, where an agent found a Constituent Information and Privacy Release Form with the U.S. House of Representatives seal on it inside the 17-year-old’s file. Two officials said the paper would have to have been put in his file while he was interviewed in Mexico and was not supposed to have been left there because it would reveal to the Border Patrol that a member of Congress or their staff was meeting with migrants in Mexico.

The boy has since returned to Mexico because the medical condition was not diagnosed by a medical professional but by an aide of the congresswoman, one official said Friday.

“Management saw that form and was like, ‘What is this?’ and reached out to our International Liaison Unit. And ILU said, ‘Yes, Veronica Escobar and several other politicians are in Mexico trying to defeat the MPP program,’” the union said to The Examiner.

“Resources are being diverted into a foreign country in an attempt to reverse already-decided legal action, meaning these people were found inadmissible under a new program and they must remain in Mexico. They’re trying to subvert that,” they said.

Source: Dem Congresswoman Sending Staff To Train Migrants To Sneak In To US