Daily Archives: August 5, 2020

August 5 In Partnership

 

For we are laborers together with God.
(1 Corinthians 3:9)

When Robert Morrison sailed as a missionary to China, the captain of his ship was very skeptical of his vision and gave him a rough time. As Morrison was leaving the ship, the captain said, “I suppose you think you’re going to make an impression on China.” Morrison replied, “No, sir, but I believe God will!” There it is: when you’re in partnership with God, your potential for success is unlimited—so make your plans big!

I heard about a youngster who was selling five-cent pencils door-to-door to raise the money for a $30 million hospital in his community. One woman said to him, “Son, that’s a mighty big goal for just one little boy selling pencils for a nickel.” With a big smile he replied, “Oh, no, I’m not alone. See that boy across the street? He’s my partner; we’re really doing it together.” You may smile, but if he had that kind of faith in a partner who was only his equal, shouldn’t you and I have complete confidence in a God who is unequaled—one who’s in partnership with us? Jesus said, “If ye abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). In other words, remain in Him, receive from Him, and you’ll reproduce for Him. Then you can live like a “no limit” person.

 

Next time someone asks you what you work at, tell them, “I’m in partnership with God,” for you are![1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 217). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

August 5 Righteousness Is a Free Gift

 

Romans 10:4

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Christ did in His perfect flesh what the flesh of mortal man could never do—keep the Law of God. There is nothing wrong with the Law—it is just and holy and good (Romans 7:12).

The problem is sinful human flesh. We have no ability to keep God’s holy law. And if one is going to establish his own righteousness it means keeping 100 percent of God’s requirements according to the Law. To break the Law in one point is to break it all (James 2:10). Therefore Christ came into the world to do what we could not do—satisfy the requirements of the Law in order to win righteousness for those who would receive it as a free gift instead of trying to earn it themselves.

Christ is the end of righteousness for all who believe. Are you one who has believed? If so, let your life become an “I love You” to God, thanking Him for what Christ has done for you.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 228). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

Religious Power and Control: Emotional Abuse — Spiritual Sounding Board

Each section of the Religious Power and Control Wheel describes a tactic used by abusers to maintain power and control over their victims. According to Laura Anderson, when the tactics are combined, a system is “designed and intended to exert power and control over others by their rules, requirements, punishments and consequences for not adhering to the specific requirements of the group.”

Many who read here will be able to identify with some or all of these tactics. We discussed isolation here and minimizing, denying, and blaming here.

On the wheel, emotional abuse is described as:

*Name calling (e.g. “sinner”)
*Required to suppress parts of yourself
*Inability to trust yourself
*Reliance on external authority
*Fear of consequences for breaking rules
*Brainwashing/indoctrination
*Possible abandonment for thinking/doing/feeling different
*Devaluing of body and emotions
*Coercion
*Manipulation

Emotional abuse is tricky because we don’t see physical signs of abuse (although the body definitely harbors the abuse in other ways). Because of the lack of physical evidence, victims may minimize the behavior. I think emotional abuse is a more sinister form of abuse because it plays a significant role in physical, sexual, financial, and digital abuse.

Emotional abuse diminishes a persons value, self-worth, and dignity. This usually takes a long period of time and involves specific patterns by the perpetrator that makes the victim feel unable to navigate life on their own. Everyone is susceptible to emotional abuse because it isn’t overtly shown at the beginning of the relationship. The perpetrator (or group) will do everything in their power to be nice, caring, compassionate, or whatever it takes to earn your trust. Once that trust is gained, then behaviors such as name calling, gaslighting, and manipulation are slowly introduced to see how much you will take. By the time this happens, victims are so enmeshed in the group that the behavior is viewed as normal.

Emotional trauma can lead to depression, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders, or other forms of self-harming behaviors. Emotional abuse should not be taken lightly or diminished because it can take years for survivors to heal and recover.

What have you seen from religious leaders, family members, friends, churches, or organizations that would be emotionally abusive? If you’re comfortable with sharing, what experiences have you encountered? How did you recognize it? How did it affect you and how are you healing from it?

via Religious Power and Control: Emotional Abuse — Spiritual Sounding Board

August 5, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

loving money ignores the true gain

But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. (6:6)

This verse is closely connected with verse 5. De (but) could also be translated “indeed.” In that case, Paul would be saying in response to the false teachers who saw their religious activity as a way to get rich, “Indeed, godliness does provide great gain.” The NASB translation reflects an adversative sense of the word. Paul’s meaning then is “But as over against the false understanding of godliness displayed by the false teachers, true godliness does result in great gain.” The apostle’s point is that true godliness is profitable, but not as some think.

Godliness translates eusebeia, a familiar term in the Pastoral Epistles. It means “piety,” “reverence,” or “likeness to God,” and here even “religion,” in the true sense. As such, it describes true holiness, spirituality, and virtue. When accompanied by contentment, such religion or godliness is a means of great gain. Autarkēia (contentment) means “self-sufficiency,” and was used by the Cynic and Stoic philosophers to describe the person who was unflappable, unmoved by outside circumstances, and who properly reacted to his environment (cf. Geoffrey B. Wilson, The Pastoral Epistles [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1982], 85). To be content means to be satisfied and sufficient, and to seek nothing more than what one has.

For the Christian, unlike the Greek philosophers, contentment derives from God. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” In 2 Corinthians 9:8 he adds, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” The apostle gave testimony to his own contentment in Philippians 4:11–13:

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

In verse 19 of the same chapter he adds, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” For the believer, then, contentment is more than a mere noble human virtue. It is based on the sufficiency provided by God the Father and Jesus Christ. Loving money deprives one of that contentment, thus ignoring the true gain provided by true godliness.

True godliness produces contentment and spiritual riches. People are truly rich when they are content with what they have. The richest person is the one who doesn’t need anything else. When asked the secret of contentment, the Greek philosopher Epicurus replied, “Add not to a man’s possessions but take away from his desires” (cited in William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 129). He is richest who desires the least. Proverbs 30:8–9 puts it this way: “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

A godly person is motivated not by the love of money but by the love of God. He seeks the true riches of spiritual contentment that come from complete trust in an all-sufficient God. David said in Psalm 63:1–5,

O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, to see Thy power and Thy glory. Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee. So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips (cf. Ps. 107:9; Isa. 55:2; 58:11).

No amount of money will make up for a lack of contentment. John D. Rockefeller once said, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.” Cornelius Vanderbilt added, “The care of millions is too great a load … there is no pleasure in it.” Millionaire John Jacob Astor described himself as “the most miserable man on earth.” Despite his wealth, Henry Ford once remarked, “I was happier doing mechanic’s work.” And John D. Rockefeller commented, “The poorest man I know is the man who has nothing but money.”

Love of money and contentment are mutually exclusive. As a Roman proverb put it, money is like sea water, the more you drink the thirstier you get (Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, 132). Ecclesiastes 5:10 sums it up, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money.”[1]


6 In the first saying, Paul asserts that the true sign of “godliness” (eusebeia, GK 2354; see comments at 2:2) is “contentment” (autarkeia, GK 894; see 2 Co 9:8; Php 4:11; cf. Ps 34:10); such contented godliness is truly profitable (NIV, “gain,” porismos). Contentment, defined as “self-sufficiency,” was considered a virtue in Greek (Cynic-Stoic) philosophy. Paul, however, did not advocate that version of contentment. Rather, “putting new wine in old wineskins” (cf. Frederick E. Brenk, “Old Wineskins Recycled: Autarkeia in 1 Timothy 6.5–10,” Filologia neotestamentaria 3 [May 1990]:39–52), he “ ‘turned the tables’on the Stoics by declaring that genuine autarkeia is not self-sufficiency but Christ-sufficiency” (Fee, 143). Such true contentment is set in contrast to the greed of always wanting more,which leads to the exploitation of others.

In essence, “godliness” is not an avenue for material gain; as a spiritual virtue, it is “gain” in and of itself. This message has strong countercultural implications in the increasingly materialistic cultures of Western society. Even Christians are frequently drawn into a pattern of excessive debt, consumer spending, and status-consciousness based on material possessions (see “Consumerism,” “Debt,” and “Economics,” in Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, ed. A. S. Moreau [Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000], 224–25, 262–63, 297–99).[2]


6 As indicated by the repetition of the two key terms, “gain” and “godliness,” and the linking “to be” verb (now moved to emphatic position), Paul turns the negative assessment just made inside out to correct (and further condemn) the heretical distortion of values. While the repetition of thoughts is rhetorically significant, it is the expansions he introduces, and the implicit redefinition of “godliness” that results, that shift the direction of meaning.

First, Paul takes the discussion to a higher level than the heretical understanding is able to reach. The “great gain” he associates with “godliness” exceeds the limited material “gain” sought by the opponents.

Second, his repetition of the term “godliness,” bearing the profound meaning of authentic Christian existence, also seeks a higher, spiritual level of meaning. The further qualification of it as “godliness with contentment [or self-sufficiency]” removes godliness from the material limitations of the false teachers’ motives and substantiates Paul’s spiritual thrust. The qualifying phrase contains a term that was essential to Stoic philosophy (and present also in Cynic and Epicurean teaching), where it expressed the notion of “self-sufficiency,” emphasized detachment from things or outside possessions, and stressed independence. Paul was clearly in touch with this theme (Phil 4:11–12; 2 Cor 9:8), but supplied a Christian basis for it. By introducing the counter-materialistic concept of self-sufficiency as an element of “godliness,” there is no room left for the acquisitiveness and financial implications attached by the false teachers. With a slight shift, the term comes to mean the satisfaction or contentment with what one already has. In the present context, both ideas converge (cf. the adjective in Phil 4:11). Godliness is not about acquiring better and more material things; it is instead an active life of faith, a living out of covenant faithfulness in relation to God, that finds sufficiency and contentment in Christ alone whatever one’s outward circumstances might be.[3]


6:6 / This verse stands in immediate contrast to the last words in verse 5, with a striking play on terms. They think godliness “is a way to become rich.” They are partly right. There is great gain (or profit, now used metaphorically) in eusebeia, provided it is accompanied by contentment, that is, if one is satisfied with what one has and does not seek material gain.

The word autarkeia (contentment) expresses the favorite virtue of Stoic and Cynic philosophers, for whom it meant “self-sufficiency,” or the ability to rely on one’s own inner resources. There are some (D-C, Hanson, Brox, et al.) who see that philosophical tradition as lying behind all of verses 6–8, and they translate “if it is coupled with self-sufficiency” (D-C; cf. neb, “whose resources are within him”). But Paul has already used this word in an analogous context in Philippians 4:11; there he “turned the tables” on the Stoics by declaring that genuine autarkeia is not self-sufficiency but Christ-sufficiency. For Paul, therefore, the word means contentment, the empowering Christ gives to live above both want and plenty (Phil. 4:13). Moreover, there is no hint in 1 Timothy that its author considered anything like self-sufficiency to be a virtue. Life for him is all of grace and dependent on God’s mercies (1:12–17), and his ministry comes from Christ who appointed and empowered him for it (1:12).

Paul’s point, of course, is to combat the greed of the false teachers and, incidentally, of any others who might be tempted to lean in that direction.[4]


6:6. Godliness with contentment is great gain …

Paul repeats the word for ‘gain’ from verse 5, tying this new section to the previous one. Here, however, it is spiritual gain, spiritual riches, that he has in mind, as opposed to financial gain. ‘Godliness with contentment’ is the means to true spiritual riches. To put it in the words of Jesus, the issue is the location of our treasure (Matt. 6:21). Do we pursue the things of earth, or do we pursue the goals of heaven, including that holiness without which no one will see the Lord?

Contentment is an essential part of true godliness. Contentment in any and every situation (Phil. 4:11–12) reveals that we truly trust God’s sovereignty in our lives. Jeremiah Burroughs defines Christian contentment as ‘that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition’. Literally, the Greek word for contentment means ‘self-sufficiency’. The biblical idea is not that we are independent, not needing God or others. Rather, it is that our trust in God and our joy in him are not dependent on our outward circumstances. We quietly, graciously accept whatever comes from the hand of the Father. The world seeks contentment, but through illegitimate means, such as material gain. True spiritual contentment, the greatest form of riches, comes by trusting and resting in God’s provision.[5]


6. But godliness with sufficiency is great gain. In an elegant manner, and with an ironical correction, he instantly throws back those very words in an opposite meaning, as if he had said—“They do wrong and wickedly, who make merchandise of the doctrine of Christ, as if ‘godliness were gain;’ though, undoubtedly, if we form a correct estimate of it, godliness is a great and abundant gain.” And he so calls it, because it brings to us full and perfect blessedness. Those men, therefore, are guilty of sacrilege, who, being bent on acquiring money, make godliness contribute to their gain. But for our part, godliness is a very great gain to us, because, by means of it, we obtain the benefit, not only of being heirs of the world, but likewise of enjoying Christ and all his riches.

With sufficiency. This may refer either to the disposition of the heart, or to the thing itself. If it be understood as referring to the heart, the meaning will be, that “godly persons, when they desire nothing, but are satisfied with their humble condition, have obtained very great gain.” If we understand it to be “sufficiency” of wealth, (and, for my own part, I like this view quite as well as the other,) it will be a promise, like that in the book of Psalms, “The lions wander about hungry and famished; but they that seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.” (Ps. 34:10.) The Lord is always present with his people, and, as far as is sufficient for their necessity, out of his fulness he bestows on each his portion. Thus true happiness consists in piety; and this sufficiency may be regarded as an increase of gain.[6]


6. The dictum of the false teachers is first of all admitted, yet with an all-important proviso. The notion of self-mastery inherent in the word translated contentment (autarkeia) is singularly Pauline (the noun occurs elsewhere only in 2 Cor. 9:8 and the adjective in Phil. 4:11). Godliness will only be true gain when independent of circumstances, and the apostle himself provides an admirable pattern of this in Philippians 4:11. To the Stoic notion of self-mastery Christianity brings the essential quality of a contented mind.[7]


6:6. Paul had just shown how the false teachers equated gain, success, and personal well-being with money. They promoted a form of outer godliness and intricate academic systems in order to draw people into their influence and so secure their financial support. Religion brought them prestige and profits.

But … This little qualifier is an important word. Paul negated the premise and goal of the false teachers. Success and personal well-being have nothing to do with rules, crowd adoration, or material prosperity: it is godliness with contentment [that] is great gain.

For Paul, godliness was the entire scope of the faith—correct doctrine combined with new life, truth measured by right living. The spiritual goals and disciplines necessary to progress in Christlikeness are to be the consuming passion of all his followers. This has nothing to do with material wealth or poverty. Material possessions are irrelevant. The human soul was not created to find contentment in the accumulation of stuff. This is a phantom that too many people chase. Personal peace is found in intimate relationship with God—this is great gain.[8]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 1 Timothy (pp. 250–252). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 1 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 553–554). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 398–399). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (p. 143). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Barcley, W. B. (2005). A Study Commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy (pp. 189–190). Darlington, England; Webster, NY: Evangelical Press.

[6] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 157–158). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[7] Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, p. 127). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[8] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 243). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Is Salvation Really a Free Gift? (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast S6E10) — Cold Case Christianity

What is the Christian definition of “saving faith”? Are our good deeds evaluated by God when he offers us eternal life? J. Warner describes three important truths about faith in this episode of the NRBtv Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast.

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

 

via Is Salvation Really a Free Gift? (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast S6E10) — Cold Case Christianity

August—5 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne.—Rev. 3:21.

My soul! let this evening’s meditation be sacred, in contemplating Jesus, even thy Jesus, sitting down on the throne of his Father, having overcome all opposition, and triumphed by his cross, over death, sin, and hell! And in this contemplation, be sure that thou behold Jesus in thy nature; for it is in that nature the victory was obtained. The Son of God, as God, had no throne to obtain by overcoming; neither could a throne be given to him; for all things were his in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost, in the one glorious essence of the Godhead, from all eternity. So that it is in the human nature of Christ, these triumphs are set forth; and as the glory-man Mediator, thou art called upon to behold him, for his victories, and the merits of his redemption-work, as sat down in the throne. Sweet thought! cherish it, my soul, as the first, and best, and most glorious of all thoughts! Thy Jesus, in thy nature, is on his throne. And now, when with an eye of faith thou art viewing him there, next hear the blessed and gracious words which come from him, on his throne: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me.” Blessed Lord! Is it possible that my poor nature can ever arrive to such unspeakable felicity? Can I venture to cherish such a hope? What! shall this poor, feeble, trembling nature of mine, encompassed as it is with sin and temptation, and in the midst of a waste and howling wilderness, shall I one day sit down with my Lord, see him as he is, and dwell with him for ever? Oh! for faith to believe, and for grace in lively exercise, to run with patience the race that is set before me, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher both of faith and salvation! And shall I not, dearest Lord, be continually gathering new strength from thee? Will not Jesus, who hath taken my nature, undertaken my cause, and engaged as my surety, both for grace and for glory, be everything I need, my light and my life, my hope, and strength, and salvation? Yes! thou gracious Lord! thou wilt make me more than conqueror through thy grace upholding me; and, like the redeemed now in glory, I shall overcome “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of thy testimony;” and sit down with thee in thy throne, even as thou hast overcome, and art sat down in thy Father’s throne. Hallelujah. Amen.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 233–234). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

The Image of God Restored — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The whole story of the Bible reveals the way God has prepared to restore His image-bearers to Himself. From our online event Made in the Image of God, Sinclair Ferguson examines the extent of the sacrifice required for this restoration to take place.

Transcript:

Imagine a father who loves his son and so loves his son, he hires the greatest portrait painter in the world to paint a portrait of his son. And suddenly, one night, he hears a sound in the house, the alarm bells are ringing. He puts on the lights, and he sees a man running out of his house with the great portrait under his arm. And he is desolate. He calls the police. The police come; they take fingerprints. The CSI people come; they do all the things that they do on television. And then, three weeks later, a policeman turns up at his house with a great smile on his face and says, “Sir, we have caught the thief.” Now, this father believes in justice, just like you believe in justice. It’s good they caught the thief. But you’re not so interested in the issue of whether they caught the thief. What do you say to the policeman if you’re the father? You say, “Did you get my portrait back?”

And in a way, that’s a parable of the gospel, isn’t it? God, of course, is wholly committed to justice, to judging sin, to overcoming the serpent, Satan, who has been engaged in the theft of God’s image. He just did not have a portrait painted. He Himself created a living portrait. And perhaps we can think about this, that the whole story of the Bible is the way in which God gives expression to the fact that He wants His portrait back. He wants the portrait of His Son that He painted, the living portraits of His Son that He painted. He wants that portrait back.

And the whole story of the Bible is how He prepared the way for that to happen and how it did happen. How did it happen? You know the story well. But the story has tremendous significance in this context, doesn’t it? The way in which He restored the portrait was by sending the original, by sending the original in such a way that the original Himself would be defaced.

via The Image of God Restored — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Mayor: Health Officials Justify Mask Mandates For Political Reasons, Not Science

As the meeting ended, I realized that for the entirety of the call I’d not heard one shred of medical or epidemiological evidence to justify a need for citizens to wear masks.

Source: Mayor: Health Officials Justify Mask Mandates For Political Reasons, Not Science

The final 2? Biden confidants see VP choices narrowing to Kamala Harris and Susan Rice | Axios

Confidants of Joe Biden believe his choices for vice president have narrowed to Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice — and would be surprised if he picks anyone else.

The state of play: This is a snapshot of the nearly unanimous read that we get from more than a dozen people close to him.


  • Of course, it comes with a giant asterisk: Only Biden knows for sure, and the more insiders know, the less they say to reporters.
  • He’s not expected to announce his choice for another week or so — the Democratic convention begins Aug. 17 — so that reality could certainly change.

What’s happening: The campaign is now in methodical mode as it finalizes vetting, looks at internal polling results on potential picks and talks to finalists one-on-one.

  • In third place is Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), who had a faltering performance on the Sunday shows after revelations about her past views on Cuba and Scientology.

The case for Harris: Biden’s brain trust — Steve Ricchetti, Mike Donilon and Ted Kaufman — skew older and have deep and trusting relationships with many of the Obama and Clinton veterans who are advocating for Harris.

  • It rests in part on her prosecutorial skills, which could help her attack the Trump administration with discipline.

The case for Rice: Rice is getting a big bounce from Obama people who claim her presence on the ticket would guarantee the enthusiastic presence of both Barack and Michelle Obama on the campaign trail.

  • If the contest comes down to a popularity contest with Obama alumni, Rice has an edge — and Rice allies point to her White House experience.
  • Her team acknowledges Republicans will trot out her early misstatements about the Benghazi attacks that were based on incomplete intelligence she’d been given, and she wants to defuse that by bringing it up herself.

Source: The final 2? Biden confidants see VP choices narrowing to Kamala Harris and Susan Rice

Trump: Obama spying ‘beyond what anybody ever thought even possible’ | WND

U.S. Attorney John Durham has been investigating the Obama administration’s use of intelligence agencies to spy on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

What’s already known is that the now-debunked Steele dossier, a political opposition research document funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, was used as evidence to obtain surveillance warrants.

Durham’s inquiry has turned into a criminal investigation.

Now President Trump says that what has been uncovered is “breathtaking.”

President Donald J. Trump waves after disembarking Marine One on the South Lawn of the White Wednesday, July 29, 2020, following his visit to Texas. (Official White House photo by Tia Dufour)

Just the News reported the president spoke late Tuesday on the issue.

“I caught them, we caught them spying, using the intelligence apparatus of our country to spy on an opponent or an opposing party’s campaign both before and after the election,” Trump explained in an interview with Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs.

“I do hear it is breathtaking what they found. That’s all I can say, breathtaking. And hopefully it will come out soon. But it is beyond what anybody ever thought even possible,” the president said.

The comments:

The full interview:

Fox News host Sean Hannity recently said Democrats are “scared to death” of what Durham is uncovering in his investigation.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported Attorney General William Barr confirmed that Durham is looking into whether Russian operatives fed disinformation to Steele, who then put it in his report and gave it to Democrats.

“I think that’s one of the most troubling aspects of this whole thing,” Barr said in a recent interview.

The collusion allegations were debunked by the two-years-plus investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.

But Barr said Mueller “ignored” evidence that Russian intelligence operatives might have fed disinformation to Steele.

Durham’s conclusions are expected within months and could come before the November election.

While Barr has said Obama and Joe Biden are not targets of the probe, former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova says the two will be shamed nevertheless.

“I happen to believe that the public shaming of former President Obama and Vice President Biden is far more important than indicting them,” he said in an interview with Boston radio host Howie Carr.

Barr had explained: “There’s a difference between an abuse of power and a federal crime. Not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime.

“Now, as to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others,” Barr said.

Source: Trump: Obama spying ‘beyond what anybody ever thought even possible’

TruthFinder® Background Checks Made Simple – See Why Millions Of People Already Use It — The Gateway Pundit

Online dangers grow by the day. Every week, there’s a new cybersecurity threat, a new credit card hack, and a new way for your private information to fall into the wrong hands.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could discover exactly what people can learn about you online?

That’s possible with . This powerful online tool uncovers data even Google can’t find. You can use it to look up criminal records, phone numbers, aliases, email addresses, home addresses, and deep web photos for almost anyone in the United States — including yourself.

Has your public information been exposed? Here’s how you can find out.

What People Can Learn About You

Unless you literally live off the grid in a cabin in the woods, your personal information is part of the “public record” — local, state, and federal data that is publicly accessible. This data comes from census data, property ownership records, police reports, and other government sources.

crawls through all of this info and shows you exactly what people can learn about you online. Basically, if you have a social security number, a driver’s license, or a mortgage, at least some of your personal information is part of the public record.

What does that mean? Well, if people know where to look, they can find your name, birthdate, home address, phone number, email address, and social media profiles, among other information.

Maybe you don’t care about random strangers finding out where you live. But if you’d rather maintain your privacy, you can take steps to protect yourself.

Find Out What Personal Data Is Available Online

Just enter your first and last name into and hit “search”. The website will compile any available public records data into one easy-to-read report, showing you exactly what people can learn about you online.

Knowing is half the battle. Your report could include the following information:

  • Contact Information: Your personal phone number and email address, including ones you forgot about
  • Location History: Your current and prior addresses, as well as the dates you were first and last seen at those locations
  • Jobs and Education: Your current and prior workplaces, your alma mater, and even your dates of graduation
  • Social Media Profiles: The major ones, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as related links like your blog and Amazon wish list
  • Additional Info: Your public records data could include criminal records, traffic violations, your bankruptcy from years ago, your eviction from your younger years, and more

What’s more, you can use to look up details about your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, exes — basically, almost anyone in the United States. With just their name, you can find incredible amounts of data that you never realized was part of the public record.

People have used TruthFinder to reconnect with estranged family members, find long-lost friends, learn contact details for class reunions, and satisfy their curiosity. This website was designed to help people stay safe online. In the digital age, you never know what you might find.

Plus, when you’re a TruthFinder member, you have unlimited access to background reports.

You never know what you might find. Try TruthFinder yourself.

via TruthFinder® Background Checks Made Simple – See Why Millions Of People Already Use It — The Gateway Pundit

“Why the Hell Would I Take a Test?… Are You a Junkie?” – Joe Biden Lashes Out Black Reporter, Asks if He’s a Junkie After He Is Asked if He’ll Take Cognitive Test (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Joe Biden was asked by Errol Barnett of CBS News if he’d taken a cognitive test during an interview on Wednesday morning. Sleepy Biden lost it.

The longtime politician who has a rough time with black voters recently asked if the black reporter was a junkie.

“No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? C’mon man. That’s like saying you, before you got in this program, if you take a test where you’re taking cocaine or not, what do you think, huh? Are you a junkie?”

Can you imagine if Trump called a black reporter a junkie?

Via 100% Fed Up:

 

via “Why the Hell Would I Take a Test?… Are You a Junkie?” – Joe Biden Lashes Out Black Reporter, Asks if He’s a Junkie After He Is Asked if He’ll Take Cognitive Test (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Jenna Ellis, All-Star Legal Team Join MacArthur’s Fight With the State — ChurchLeaders

After refusing to close its doors for indoor worship, Grace Community Church has been issued a cease and desist letter that threatens both John MacArthur and the church with daily fines of $1,000 or possible arrest. The Thomas Moore Society announced Wednesday that Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri will serve as special counsel for John MacArthur and Grace Community Church.

Nationally renowned constitutional law attorney Jenna Ellis, who is a Senior Fellow at the Falkirk Center for Faith & Liberty, said that “Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community church are not disobeying the Constitution; it is California’s Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti that are defying their constitutional obligation to protect religious freedom and church assembly.”

“This is not about health and safety, it is about targeting churches.”

In the Thomas Moore Society’s announcement, Ellis explained:

Our American system of government specifically recognizes that our individual, fundamental right to free exercise of religion and freedom of assembly is a pre-political, God-given, inalienable right. That right is not given by the government or the Constitution, but rather, government is mandated by the Constitution to preserve and protect it for the church. Grace Community Church has every right to assemble without impossible and unreasonable infringement from the state, and the state has absolutely no power to impose the restrictions it is demanding. Church is essential, and the government has no power to arbitrate whether religious organizations are essential. This is not about health and safety, it is about targeting churches.

Attorney Ellis also serves as an allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, and served on President Trump’s legal team for the 2020 impeachment trial. She is currently the senior legal advisor to the Trump 2020 campaign, as well as private counsel for President Trump.

Constitutional law attorney and freedom expert Charles LiMandri said, “It is unconstitutional for Governor Newsom and the State of California to discriminate against churches by treating them less favorably than other organizations and activities that are not protected by the First Amendment.” He stated that California’s government “has given free rein to protesters,” and isn’t restricting marijuana dispensaries, or abortion providers in the same way they are Grace Community Church. He emphasized, “The government orders are also unconstitutional because there is no compelling need for the onerous restrictions on the churches at this time.”

“Churches are providing an ‘essential’ service to the people.”

LiMandri said, “It is time for Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti to recognize what President Trump has already proclaimed: Churches are providing an essential service to the people. Therefore, they must be allowed to serve the people in the manner in which God has called them.”

Attorney LiMandri serves as special counsel for the Thomas Moore Society.

via Jenna Ellis, All-Star Legal Team Join MacArthur’s Fight With the State — ChurchLeaders

UPDATE: Ready for battle, John MacArthur retains legal counsel — Capstone Report

BREAKING: LA threatens $1,000 per day fines and arrest

BREAKING: Thomas More Society prepares to defend John MacArthur, Grace Community Church from California’s Leftist Tyranny. Jenna Ellis, Charles LiMandri to represent MacArthur, GCC in case.

BREAKING: ‘It is time for Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti to recognize what President Trump has already proclaimed: churches are providing an essential service to the people. Therefore, they must be allowed to serve the people in the manner in which God has called them.’

John MacArthur and Grace Community Church are girding for battle against California and Los Angeles over state orders to close the church. Local government threatened MacArthur and the church with large fines and jail, as previously reported. However, we now know the extent of the threats.

According to the Thomas More Society, MacArthur’s church received a Cease and Desist letter against church assembly. The letter contained a threat of a $1,000 a day fine and possible arrest.

“The City of Los Angeles, through a cease and desist letter, has threatened Grace Community Church and Pastor MacArthur specifically with a daily fine of $1,000 or arrest,” the Thomas More Society said in a statement.

Also, the state is selectively harming churches, according to the statement.

“The State of California is using COVID-19 as a pretext to attempt to force churches to close indefinitely. This illegitimate, over-broad, and unconstitutional order to indefinitely cease assembling, and exercising their religion and sincerely held religious beliefs,” according to the Thomas More Society.

MacArthur and Grace Community Church are represented by the Falkirk Center’s Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri, special counsel for the Thomas More Society.

“Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community church are not disobeying the Constitution; it is California’s Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that are defying their constitutional obligation to protect religious freedom and church assembly,” said Ellis.

It is unconstitutional for Governor Newsom and the State of California to discriminate against churches by treating them less favorably than other organizations and activities that are not protected by the First Amendment,” LiMandri said. “Pastor MacArthur and his church, as well as all churches, are entitled to practice their religion without government interference. This is especially the case when the government has given free rein to protestors, and is not similarly restricting marijuana dispensaries, large retail outlets and factories, and abortion providers.”

The battle in California has huge ramifications for churches around the country. MacArthur’s legal team understands the threat these selective orders represent.

Why are so many Evangelical leaders silent? Why are the Evangelical Elite opposing John MacArthur?

Christians around America must hold government accountable to the Constitution. This is only the beginning of a serious push to limit religious freedom in America.

via UPDATE: Ready for battle, John MacArthur retains legal counsel — Capstone Report

Iran and Hezbollah prepare to attack Israel — VCY America

Listen to Today’s Program Play

JD: David Dolan, our Middle East news update from David and always a very essential report to hear. Jerusalem right now assessing Hezbollah there in the North of the state right there at Lebanese-Israeli border. A new attack they believe possibly very soon, what do we know?

DD: Yes there’s been more tension this week and more build up to conflict there not only along the border between the forces that are still very very beefed up. We have a statement from Hezbollah earlier in the week Jimmy that the incident where they attempted to infiltrate into a Jewish town. They said they would repeat that, that that was not the end of the revenge that they’re seeking for the death of a senior Hezbollah commander in a Israeli air strike south of Damascus in about ten days ago or so now that they will continue to launch attacks and that this isn’t over. So the Israeli’s are taking that statement quite seriously and they are continuing to beef up their forces.
Meanwhile of course in Iran we’ve had more anti-American and anti-Israel drills by the Revolutionary Guard attacking a mock American aircraft carrier. Of course the actually is in that area and can be attacked. And most importantly they show pictures of firing underground missiles for the first time testing underground hidden missiles and firing those out into the sea. In fact a couple of them landed pretty close to US bases making them go on full military alert which the Iranians later boasted about. So a lot of tension there.
Plus we had a report that they launched a cyber attack and the Iranian group on Israeli trains. That occurred in January soon after Soleimani was killed by Israeli aircraft. They said that they hit over 20 train stations and they put out a statement this week about it saying we can do this and we may do it again. We can actually cause the trains to turn around and collide and hit each other and destroy them and kill people. So the war continues.
JD: David Dolan with the details on how Iran and Hezbollah prepare to attack the Jewish state of Israel.
We report this information because it is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.
Dave’s report alerts us to the fact that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are preparing to attack Israel which was actually foretold 2,500 years ago by the ancient Jewish prophet Ezekiel. Prophecy is prewritten history that is playing out in our world today. My proof? Iran and Hezbollah at Israeli’s northern border. God’s word will indeed be fulfilled.

via Iran and Hezbollah prepare to attack Israel — VCY America

On The Same Day Bill Gates Launched Event 201 To War Game COVID-19, The Military World Games Opening Ceremony Was Held In Wuhan China — Now The End Begins

Another amazing coincidence is Bill Gates, self-proclaimed ‘virology expert’, boldly predicting that the next global situation would not be with missiles but with microbes. Blink your eyes and “presto!”, here’s a global pandemic from China with the very same virus that Bill Gates and Event 201 planned for. Astonishing.

Life is filled with unpredictable twists and turns, and sometimes the most amazing coincidences can take place. What an amazing coincidence it was that Andrew Breitbart died of a ‘heart attack’ mere hours before he said he was going to release damaging video evidence on Barack Obama and his links to the Communist Party. What an amazing coincidence it was that Jeffrey Epstein ‘committed suicide’ mere hours after telling his lawyer he was ready to open up his black book and talk with the feds. Yes sire, life is chock full of amazing coincidences, isn’t it?

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” Ecclesiastes 1:9,10 (KJB)

Here’s another amazing coincidence for you to consider. On the very same day, October 18th, 2019, when Bill Gates was running Event 201, a global coronavirus pandemic outbreak exercise that handed out COVID-19 plush toys to the attendees, China held the Military World Games Opening Ceremony…in Wuhan. Now what are the chances of those two events happening on exactly the same day? Pretty slim, I know, but it gets worse.

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and Bill Gates hosted Event 201, a COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic exercise.

Another amazing coincidence is Bill Gates, self-proclaimed ‘virology expert’, boldly predicting that the next global situation would not be with missiles but with microbes. Blink your eyes and “presto!”, here’s a global pandemic from China with the very same virus that Bill Gates and Event 201 planned for. Astonishing.

Prepare yourself for COVID-19 immunity passports using coronavirus vaccinations, blockchain, nanotechnology and digital identification from ID2020. It's the Mark of the Beast 666 system.

From here it takes so many twists and turns it becomes all but impossible to sort out, but just as God showed Daniel the interpretation of the king’s dream, He showed us the intricacies of all these end times shenanigans from the global elites. He showed us how Bill Gates, calling for a digital Immunity Passport to go with the global vaccine, had already created ID2020 to implant microchips into every human on earth. He showed us how Anthony Fauci, who changes his mind more than Johnny Carson changed suits, had already been in league with Gates for over a decade in the master plan to vaccinate and microchip the world. Who was the one who called for the lockdown? Fauci. Who was the one that called for mandatory masks? Fauci.

Now, if you would like to think that all these events, all happening on the same day, are all just an incredible series of random coincidences, go ahead and think that. But here we are, 4 months into the ‘15-day window to flatten the curve‘ and people are being arrested for trying to reopen their businesses. Churches are being shut while rioting in the streets encouraged. You are not allowed to hold a funeral for your loved ones, but George Floyd got 5 public funerals with packed audiences. John Lewis got a very public funeral with no social distancing required, while you were not allowed to hold the hand of your mother as she lay dying in the hospital.

cdc-joint-venture-pentagon-department-defense-vaccine-delivery-military-troops

But I’m sure this is all just crazy coincidence. One more thing, when you hear that knock on your door, and you open it to see medical and military personnel from the Pentagon with a COVID-19 injection and digital ID labelled with your name, that won’t be a coincidence. That’s the plan.

UN Troops Featured in World Military Games in Wuhan China Weeks Before Coronavirus Outbreak

In this report we take a closer look inside the World Military Games opening ceremony held in Wuhan China weeks before the Coronavirus outbreak. Is it just a coincidence that a UN themed pandemic simulation of a global coronavirus outbreak took place the same day, as the UN themed opening ceremonies in Wuhan, ground zero for the outbreak? We also examine which nation will fill the vacuum now that the worlds biggest economy has been crippled by the outbreak.

Meet Bill Gates

If you only watch one video on who Bill Gates really is, watch this one. 

Giggling Bill Gates “We take GMO organisms & shoot them right into kids veins”

via On The Same Day Bill Gates Launched Event 201 To War Game COVID-19, The Military World Games Opening Ceremony Was Held In Wuhan China — Now The End Begins

8 Tips to Discuss Politics, Race, Religion and Other Controversial Topics — Cross Examined.org | Christian Apologetics Organization | Dr. Frank Turek

Who has not been exposed to or may be even involved in discussions of controversial topics these days?

8 Tips to Discuss Politics, Race, Religion and Other Controversial Topics

It seems that talk of politics, race, religion, and a whole host of other controversial topics are swirling around us everywhere we go. Some topics we can ignore and avoid, and others we get sucked into. Some discussions we get reluctantly and others we get into too eagerly. There are numerous pitfalls to having these discussions that we all want to avoid, so today, I want to offer eight tips for discussing controversial topics that will hopefully help your discussions be more productive and respectful. Being that the USA is in an election year (2020), politics seems to be on everyone’s mind, so let’s start with this quote from a book that I reviewed a few years ago entitled “Before You Hit SEND: Avoiding Headache and Heartache” by Emerson Eggerichs to set the stage:

“Some people enter politics because they derive personal fulfillment from the ‘gotcha’ approach to issues. It isn’t about what is true but about the political chess game. The key is to put a better spin on a matter than the other candidate and to put the opposition in checkmate…In political circles the rule of thumb is never admit a mistake or that you don’t know something. Thus, keep talking in an interview to sound like an expert, all the while aware that you don’t know. Feeling on the hot seat, and determined never to be wrong, but fully cognizant that the information is insufficient or incorrect, keep moving your lips, weaving and ducking as best as your polemical skills permit.”

If this sounds all too familiar to you and you’re tired of it, keep on reading!

Controversial Topic Discussion Tip #1: You Could Be Wrong

It is important to recognize that we could be wrong about what we believe about reality. Interestingly enough, a challenge could actually be a blessing in disguise. It could be an opportunity for us to let go of false beliefs and acquire true ones. Of course, challenges do not always result in a changed belief; they can also result in a more nuanced and more strongly defended belief. But regardless of the ultimate result of a challenge, when we see it as an opportunity, we give the other person a respect that is often missing from discussions today.

When we demonstrate that we can have a rational discussion where arguments are presented and granted when they are sound, we demonstrate that we are committed to truth. We demonstrate that we understand that we are not perfect and do not necessarily have everything figured out. We also demonstrate that we are willing to hear others out, understand the reasons that they hold the other view and carefully consider those reasons. Greg Koukl summarizes this quite well in his book “Tactics: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions“:

“A commitment to truth — as opposed to a commitment to an organization — means an openness to refining one’s own views. It means increasing the accuracy of one’s understanding and being open to correction in thinking. A challenger might turn out to be a blessing in disguise, an ally instead of an enemy. An evangelist who is convinced of her view, then, should be willing to engage the best arguments against it.”

Controversial Topic Discussion Tip #2: Find Common Ground

This is so important. Regardless of who you are discussing a controversial subject with, you can find some sort of common ground with them. The very fact that we are all created in the Image of God provides a strong set of commonalities that we can begin with. If we hold to the same worldview, in general (this discussion just being one of working out the details), then it is important to recognize that up front. Even if you remain in disagreement at the end of the conversation and agree to pick up the conversation again later, it is important to affirm where agreement exists. Again, Greg Koukl offers wisdom here from “Tactics“:

“As a general rule, go out of your way to establish common ground. Whenever possible, affirm points of agreement. Take the most charitable read on the other person’s motives, not the most cynical. Treat them the way you would like others to treat you if you were the one in the hot seat.”

Controversial Topic Discussion Tip #3: Assume Good Will

Speaking of charitable motives, always assume this. No one likes to have their character attacked, particularly when they know that they are not deserving of such an attack. Even if we do not attack one’s character verbally in our discussion, we may still be doing so in our minds as the conversation progresses (or regresses). It is important that we focus on the person’s claims and arguments for the claims rather than their motives because their motives logically have no bearing on the truth of their claims.

Further, when we assume good will, we are more willing to understand where someone is coming from. When we understand where they are coming from, it gives us an opportunity to address a deeper concern that they have with our opposing view- we can offer them a logically, rationally, and evidentially supported alternative that takes into account their deeper commitment. When we understand that the other person ultimately has good intentions, it allows us to show kindness while we speak and defend truth. In his book “Before You Hit SEND: Preventing Headache and Heartache,” Emerson Eggerichs lists out the important reasons why kindness in controversial topic discussions is vital:

“Kindness eases others, which enables them to hear the substance of our concern. Kindness demonstrates and builds trust. Kindness affects the emotions, which is key when seeking to inform or persuade. Kindness maintains a relationship, and relationship determines response. My communication kindly demonstrates who God is.”

Controversial Topic Discussion Tip #4: Listen To Understand

Listening is vital to the discussion. If we are truly there to defend a position and, hopefully, convince the other person that our view more closely matches reality than the one they presently believe, we have to be able to properly understand their current view. It does us no good to argue against a view that the person does not hold. If we have soundly defeated a view and offered ours as an alternative, but the view that we have defeated is not what the other person holds, we have not given them a reason to abandon their view in favor of ours. We’ve given them reasons to not accept that other view, yes, but we have not given the reason to change from the view that they currently hold. Listening takes patience. We cannot always be eager to sneak in a rhetorical jab or present the next logical “gotcha!” We need to focus on what the other person is saying in order to understand to ensure that what we are about to present actually addresses and applies to their claims.

Controversial Topic Discussion Tip #5: Ask Honest Questions

One of the great ways to listen is not just being quiet and focusing but asking clarifying questions. Questions like “what do you mean by that,” or “how do you get from X to Y in your logical thinking” helps us to learn about other views and the reasons why people hold those views. Asking honest questions in order to learn demonstrates that we are willing to consider and engage other views (Tip #1) as they actually are rather caricatures of those views.
Some people may have even considered the views that they espouse more deeply. Foundations and implications may not have crossed their minds. This is also where asking honest questions can be helpful. Jonathan Morrow speaks to the wisdom of asking questions:

“People may not ask…questions of their own beliefs or think carefully about the way they view the world, but they still have a worldview. And it affects every area of their lives. Every person–knowingly or not– filters the information that enters their minds through their worldview. They then make sense of that information based on their worldview. This process is automatic and the filtered information shapes their beliefs and influences how they function in society, including the smallest decisions they make.”

Asking honest questions demonstrates to the other person respect and demonstrates a spirit of humility a heart of a student. Listen, understand, and appropriately critique in a loving and kind manner. I will refer you to both of the books already mentioned above for more on this tip.

Controversial Topic Discussion Tip #6: Get Your Facts Right

This cannot be emphasized enough. It is important that our claims match reality, meaning that we need to get our facts right. This affects the persuasiveness of our presentation in multiple ways. First, if we do not have our facts right, then any conclusions that we draw from those incorrect claims will be questionable. We simply cannot use false claims about reality to come to true conclusions about reality. It is not logical, and no one would be reasonable to accept a conclusion that is dependent upon something false for its truth.

Second, when we do not have our facts right, it appears that we do not value truth enough to verify claims. This could be because we are gullible, lazy, or simply just want to believe that our conclusion is true, so we’re looking for any confirmation of it. When we do not check the claims we make for truth before we use them to persuade someone to our view, it demonstrates that we are more committed to a view than to what is true.

Third, if we value a particular view over what is true, why should anyone trust us about anything else that we claim? Getting our facts right is not just an issue of making a sound argument, but an issue of personal character and trust. If we do not take the time to investigate our claims before using them, we should not be trusted. I’ll quote Eggerichs again, here:

“Perhaps in many cases we didn’t know it was untrue. No harm, no foul. Even so, an honest error in judgment does not make it okay, especially when we repeatedly make such mistakes. The real point here is to the lazy and neglectful individuals who keep making mistakes and claim they did not know the truth. They may be innocent, but one becomes guilty of carelessness and inattentiveness. We must aggressively get our facts straight to avoid a routine of ‘honest’ mistakes.”

Controversial Topic Discussion Tip #7: Avoid or Qualify Speculation

Part of getting our facts straight is to communicate the difference between what we understand to be facts and what we are speculating about what those facts mean for the future. Speculation can get quite emotional because it tends towards two extremes: either a “best-case scenario” or a “worst-case scenario.” The first gives people a utopianistic feeling and expectation. The second gives people a fearful feeling and expectation. Both of those are strong drivers of strong action and rhetoric, but they are only founded in speculation. We do not want to give someone a false impression and cause them to react according to that falsehood.

Speculations about all sorts of things take place in conversations, but it seems that speculations about future events and individuals’ motives tend to be the most damaging. Obviously, no one can see the future. We can certainly look to history and notice a pattern of certain conditions preceding or coinciding with certain events, but because we are not omniscient and may be overlooking an key condition that may change the whole outcome, speculating about the future needs to be done carefully and with qualification. Some people may choose to just avoid it altogether.

Obviously, too, no one can see the heart of another individual. When we speculate about the “pure evil” or “purely altruistic” motives someone may have for defending a particular political policy or view of the world, we tread on dangerous territory here, as well. We do not want to be guilty of encouraging character assassinations or character glorifications. The character of a person has no logical bearing on the truth of their claims, so we need to focus not on their character but on the claims being made to argue for or against their truth. It is wise to simply avoid speculating about motivations for holding a particular view.

Controversial Topic Discussion Tip #8: Learn to Use Reason Well

Communicating truth to those we wish to persuade is only part of the discussion. The other important part is using truths together to come to reasonable and true conclusions and to avoid using truths together to come to unreasonable and false conclusions. We may present a series of true statements, but if we present them together in such a way that they do not connect logically, then we run the risk of believing and promoting unreasonable or false conclusions. We also run the risk of being unable to identify where another’s reasoning has gone wrong even though we know that their conclusion is incorrect.

Norman Geisler describes logic like this:

“Logic is a way to think so that we can come to correct conclusions by understanding implications and the mistakes people often make in thinking.”

Going back to speculation for a moment: Speculation often results from the mistakes using of true claims to support implications that do not follow. The reciprocal error is made, as well: an implication (conclusion) that either necessarily follows from the true propositions and the valid reasoning or true propositions when taken together yield a high probability of or are all best explained by an implication are accused of being speculation. This error often results from the misunderstanding of logic and mistakes in thinking. But when true claims are used correctly, logic is understood correctly and we adjust our thinking to match both, both errors regarding the acceptance of speculations and rejection of implications can be avoided.

There are numerous fallacious ways to reason using true claims that will lead us and others to false conclusions. We need to learn not only how to use logic (connect true claims together) correctly, but we also need to learn how to avoid fallacies in our attempts to connect one true claim to another true claim. When we learn these, we not only can guard our communication, guide our discussion, and clearly present our case, but we can also analyze others’ claims and be able to respectfully and lovingly ask questions that will guide the other person to see the error that they are making.

As a bonus, learning to reason well gives the first tip I offered in this post (recognize that you could be wrong) a solid and reasonable foundation. The first tip is not a call to be malleable in your thinking simply because we don’t want to offend or we all want to get along; it is a call to recognize that we all hold wrong beliefs about this world and that those wrong beliefs can be positively identified, removed from our worldview, and replaced with true beliefs about the world. Learning to reason well gives us the tools to adjust our beliefs to match reality and to communicate that knowledge to others. Finally, if you want to learn how to reason well, I highly recommend the book “Come, Let Us Reason” by Norman Geisler for its introductory view of logic that is easy to follow for anyone who desires to learn.

Recommended resources related to the topic:

American Apocalypse MP3, and DVD by Frank Turek

Correct, NOT Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone (Updated/Expanded) downloadable pdfBookDVD SetMp4 Download by Frank Turek

The Case for Christian Activism MP3 SetDVD Setmp4 Download Set by Frank Turek

You Can’t NOT Legislate Morality mp3 by Frank Turek

Fearless Generation – Complete DVD SeriesComplete mp4 Series (download) by Mike Adams, Frank Turek, and J. Warner Wallace

 


Luke Nix holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and works as a Desktop Support Manager for a local precious metal exchange company in Oklahoma.

Original Blog Source: https://bit.ly/2BkId3m

via 8 Tips to Discuss Politics, Race, Religion and Other Controversial Topics — Cross Examined.org | Christian Apologetics Organization | Dr. Frank Turek

August 5th The D. L. Moody Year Book

 

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.

NOTICE that the covetous are named between thieves and drunkards. We lock up thieves, and have no mercy on them. We loathe drunkards, and consider them great sinners against the law of God as well as the law of the land. Yet there is far more said in the Bible against covetousness than against either stealing or drunkenness.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 133). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

Donald Trump’s Lawyer to Represent John MacArthur in California Church Shutdown Against Gov. Newsom — Christian Research Network

“Grace Community Church, its Elder Board, and Pastor MacArthur have been the target of unconstitutional religious discrimination by the City of Los Angeles and the State of California, amid the state’s order to cease in-person church assembly indefinitely.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte) Quite literally, Donald Trump has been more of a friend to Christianity than most Evangelical leaders today….

While Evangelicals and Southern Baptists are standing in line to write the next hit piece against John MacArthur for daring to stand against the unconstitutional shutdown orders mandated by Communist California governor, Gavin Newsom, Donald Trump is lending his personal attorney, Jenna Ellis, to represent him.

Ellis represented Donald Trump during the ridiculous 2020 impeachment trials and has been a staunch advocate for churches during the coronavirus crisis.  View article →

via Donald Trump’s Lawyer to Represent John MacArthur in California Church Shutdown Against Gov. Newsom — Christian Research Network