Daily Archives: September 11, 2020

Trump Carefully Composing Tweet That Should Fix Everything — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Noticing all the problems the country has faced this year, from the coronavirus to civil unrest to general disunity, President Donald Trump has become determined to do something. That’s why, sources say, he sat down to carefully compose the perfect tweet that should fix everything.

“I have to get this just right,” Trump was heard muttering to himself as he sent another abandoned tweet to the drafts folder. “I have two hundred eighty characters to nail this and make everything better.”

Trump has tweeted a lot as president, and many have accused his tweets of often making things worse. But this time Trump is determined to use all his tweeting skill to bring the entire country together, meeting the potential of Twitter in a way it has never been used in its entire history.

“I have to get this just right,” Trump said. “Let’s see. ‘To all the losers…’ No. That’s not right. Ah. ‘To all the haters and losers…’ I’m nearly there. I can feel it.”

When Trump was last seen, he was still hard at work on the tweet, demanding complete silence, except for Fox & Friends playing on the TV.

Trump Carefully Composing Tweet That Should Fix Everything — The Babylon Bee

Harvest Bible Chapel & James MacDonald Settle Arbitration & Agree to Keep Details Confidential — Julie Roys

Disgraced celebrity pastor, James MacDonald, and Harvest Bible Chapel have settled their months-long arbitration, and both parties have agreed to a Protective Order, keeping the details of the settlement confidential.

That’s according to court documents filed today by MacDonald’s lawyer. The documents state that the settlement was reached on August 14. 

The documents are part of MacDonald’s defamation lawsuit against Mancow Muller. And the information about the arbitration settlement was included as support for MacDonald’s argument that certain documents requested by Muller’s lawyer should remain confidential.

Read more: Harvest Bible Chapel & James MacDonald Settle Arbitration & Agree to Keep Details Confidential — Julie Roys

Reverend Franklin Graham On 9/11: ‘Only God Can Fix the Problems We’re Facing’ (VIDEO) — American Lookout

On the 19th memorial of September 11th, Reverend Franklin Graham has a reminder for America.

Only God can fix our problems and save us.

It’s an important message that is all too often overlooked by our leaders and our media.

Breitbart reports:

Franklin Graham on 9/11: Pray for the Families and Nation, ‘Only God Can Fix the Problems We’re Facing’

Rev. Franklin Graham commemorated the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and urged Americans young and old to never forget the victims, their families, and heroes who rushed in to save others.

He also asked patriots to pray for the current state of the nation, expressing his belief that “only God can fix the problems we’re facing.”

“19 years ago today, 19 terrorists attacked this nation in the name of Islam, taking the lives of nearly 3,000 American men, women, and children,” he said on Friday.

“Our nation was shocked to the core by the horrific actions perpetrated by these enemies of our country and those behind them. None of us will ever forget where we were at the moment we heard the news. It’s a day I certainly will #NeverForget,” he continued, citing a portion of President Trump’s Proclamation on National Days of Prayer and Remembrance…

Graham has been putting out a similar message on Twitter. He is also holding a prayer march in Washington, DC later in September.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1304183626532356096&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F54167485%2Fposts%2F2907914644&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550pxhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1304518248055144448&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F54167485%2Fposts%2F2907914644&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550pxhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1304449273107492870&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F54167485%2Fposts%2F2907914644&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

This is a message that America needs to hear right now.

Reverend Franklin Graham On 9/11: ‘Only God Can Fix the Problems We’re Facing’ (VIDEO) — American Lookout

September 11 The Outcome Is Confirmed

 

1 Corinthians 15:57

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the United States of America was attacked by hostile forces. The destruction wrought by terrorists in New York City and Washington D.C., was the first time anyone in modern times had brought so serious an attack within the continental boundaries of America.

The U.S. President, George W. Bush, interpreted the attacks as acts of war and immediately declared war on terrorism. The declaration itself is evidence of the changing face of warfare in the modern era. For the first time, war is being declared by America not on an offending nation, but on an “ideology”—the ideology of terrorism. Compared to warfare strategies of the past, this is a new direction—but one wrought out of necessity.

The weapons of war are new. Diplomatic strategies, embargoes, financial tools, trade and social strategies will be used to isolate and ostracize nations in the world community that do not eagerly join the worldwide fight against terrorism. Finally, military might will be employed.

Unlike military conflicts in this world, the outcome of our spiritual warfare is already confirmed: Satan will be defeated and believers in Jesus Christ will reign triumphantly with Him forever.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 266). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

Would Jesus be Prosecuted for Hate Speech? CT — TheWeeFlea.com

This weeks column on Christian Today was ‘inspired’ by John Mason’s speech to the Scottish Parliament in support of the Scottish Government Hate Crime Bill (the new Blasphemy bill).  John is a good man and a fine Christian, but on this one he is being dangerously naive. We had a wee discussion on his FB page where he refused to answer the blasphemy question – that no one in the Scottish Government has dared to answer.  “If an Edinburgh bookseller were to advertise ‘The Koran and other obscene works not sold here’ would he be prosecuted under this new law”.  John refused to answer – I suspect because he is smart enough to know that the answer is yes.  Why is that important?  Because the last time the Blasphemy Act was used in Scotland was 178 years ago when an Edinburgh bookseller was charged for advertising ‘the Bible and other obscene works not sold here”.   John – and Humza Yousaf and the Scottish government know that whereas the old blasphemy law was not used – this new one will be.   I was so disappointed that a Christian MSP would be so naive as to argue that we should all be against hate and therefore we should support this bill.

The irony is – as the article points out below – John was mocked and abused by Patrick Harvie and his allies for suggesting that it was a mark of democracy to be able to disagree about sex and sexuality.  The Hate Crimes bill seeks to prevent that – and John voted for it!  It’s a classic example of turkeys voting for Christmas. Anyway have a read for yourselves and see what you think – to be fair to John – here is the link to his reasoning….https://www.facebook.com/jmasonscot/posts/10208078551878948 

(Photo: Unsplash/Tim Wildsmith)

“You dogs! Snakes! Morons! Fools! Hypocrites! Swine!”

Can you imagine the uproar if a Christian leader were to use such terms on Twitter or Facebook? I suspect a ban would not be far away. At the very least, this could be considered ‘hate speech’ – and it hardly seems very loving. I can imagine the rebukes from fellow Christians accusing the perpetrator of not being very ‘Christlike’. The only problem is that it is Christ who used those words. And he was not done there. Take these strong words from Matthew 23.

“You blind fools!……..You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the inside but are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean……..You snakes, you brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23)

Our notion of moron comes from the word that Jesus used for fool – not just an ignorant person, but a wicked and immoral person.

I thought of these when I heard that the Scottish parliament this week narrowly (by 31 to 30) passed the first stage of the proposed new hate crimes Bill – which is in effect a new blasphemy law. I have written before about the incredible dangers in this Bill – dangers which have been picked up by journalists, police, lawyers and politicians.

But others are enthusiastic, not least the Scottish Justice Secretary and lobby groups like the Equality Network (note that these lobby groups are largely funded by the Scottish Government and tend to lobby the Government to do what the Government intends to do anyway).

But also, some Christians seem unaware of the problems. One Christian MSP, John Mason, spoke in the Parliament in support: “I believe we as a Parliament and as Parliamentarians have a duty to at least restrain hatred in society, even if we cannot actually force anyone to love their enemy.”

At first glance, this seems reasonable. Who is going to disagree with the idea of stopping hatred? But how can we stop hate? Hatred comes from the heart. Powerful as politicians may be, they do not have the ability to change the human heart. In fact, as anyone involved in politics knows, they do not even have the ability to change their own hearts. The political authorities are there to punish wrongdoing (Romans 13:1-7), not wrong thinking! When politicians think they can do what they are unable to do, then trouble usually ensues as their illusions are shattered.

But there is a way that hearts can be changed, and enemies reconciled. I have sat in groups where former enemies who wanted to kill one another embraced each other. IRA and UVF terrorists in Northern Ireland, Serbs and Croats, black and white in South Africa. What caused the dividing wall of partition to be taken down? The Good News and love of Jesus Christ.

Does that mean that if the Scottish Parliament wants to get rid of hatred, they should make Christianity compulsory? Not at all – forced ‘conversion’ is no conversion at all. But the Scottish Government could, if they managed to overcome their ideological bias, do a lot of good by encouraging Christian churches who seek to communicate the goods news. A good Bible-based church in a housing community would do a whole lot more than just a drugs clinic – although ideally, we would have both!

John Mason also said: “So Patrick Harvie (the Scottish Green leader) and I can continue to debate about who should or should not have sex with whom. We can discuss and criticise each other’s views, even though we strongly disagree with each other. That is a sign of a healthy society and a healthy democracy. But what we must not do is seek to have the other and their views removed from the public square.”

The problem is that this law is designed to have opposing views removed from the public square. This is not about equality before the law, but rather about removing views that prove offensive to those in power. For example, concern has been expressed that JK Rowling could be guilty of a crime for her defence of the view that men cannot become women. In an ironic twist, Mr Mason’s comments were roundly condemned and mocked by Mr Harvie’s supporters, who think that Mason’s views have no place in a modern and ‘tolerant’ society.

The trouble is that the legislation seeks to prevent views that are ‘likely to stir up hatred’. Who gets to determine what those views are? Take two stories from the news in the UK this past week. After a man in Birmingham went on a stabbing spree, the police were quick to announce that this was ‘not a hate crime’. Why? How did they know that? I tend to think that anyone who stabs several people, killing one, may have some hate in his actions! What gives the police the right to determine what is and what is not hate crime? I suspect if the man concerned had been a member of a far right group, there would have been no hesitation in (rightfully) pronouncing it a ‘hate crime’.

Then there is the disturbing story of the preacher, Josh Williamson, the Australian pastor of a church in Newquay, Cornwall. After expressing his delight on Facebook that Cornwall Pride was not to go ahead and citing 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, he received a barrage of anti-Christian abuse, threats of violence and a warning that his church would be burnt down. By any standard, those threats should count as ‘hate speech. But what have the police done? Rather than deal with the abuse and threats of violence against Mr Williamson, they have warned him about expressing his views. It is an astonishing indication of just how discriminatory the police have become.

You don’t have to agree with Mr Williamson’s remarks, but he did not attempt to stop Pride, nor did he threaten violence. Yet he is the one who has been warned by the police. The most revealing aspect of this is the quote from one of the organisers of Cornwall Pride: “I respect everyone’s right to practise their religion whatever that may be, but these views are not a part of it.”

In other words, you have a right to practise your religion, but we will tell you what your religion should teach!

The new Scottish Hate Crime Bill is a replacement for the old blasphemy law. But instead of abolishing blasphemy, it will in effect introduce a new secular blasphemy law. The only difference is that this time the law will be used – just as it was 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was crucified for blasphemy. Under this new law, Jesus Christ would be prosecuted for hate speech.  Why should Christians today expect to be treated any differently?

How should we respond? The same way Christ did.

“When they hurled their insults at him he did not retaliate; when he suffered he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)

We are called to be faithful, honest, patient, loving, truthful and prayerful.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

We deal with the hatred of humans by showing the love of Christ.

David Robertson is director of Third Space in Sydney and blogs at www.theweeflea.com

I Hate ‘Hate Speech’

Police Scotland and the Scottish Government Reported for Hate Incident

Would Jesus be Prosecuted for Hate Speech? CT — TheWeeFlea.com

Crackpot Dr. Fauci Calls for Economic Lockdowns Until “At Least the End of Winter” — How Does This Guy Keep a Job? — The Gateway Pundit

Mad Dr. Fauci called for Australia-like lockdowns until “at least the end of winter” due to the coronavirus.

America’s top Infectious Disease Doctor Anthony Fauci has been wrong on the coronavirus pandemic — Almost every step of the way!

The Gateway Pundit previously reported a list of 15 errors, contradictory statements and dangerous gaffes by NIAID Director Dr. Tony Fauci.

UPDATE– THE LIST — Dr. Fauci’s 15 Deadly Mistakes and Contradictions — Including the Devastation of the US Economy Based on a Garbage Model

But still this guy keeps a job.

On Thursday Dr. Anthony Fauci called for Australia-like lockdowns until “at least the end of winter” or until a vaccine.

This is not just wrong and ignorant. This is insane.

Jordan Schachtel reported:

In an appearance Thursday afternoon on a videoconference panel sponsored by Harvard Medical School, Fauci called for further restrictions as part of an attempt to contain the novel coronavirus.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1304483209229619201&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F8941419%2Fposts%2F2907645408&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

Fauci claimed, without evidence, that top-down government edicts are wholly responsible for mitigating the potential impact of the virus and subduing its spread. He said that southern states, such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona are seeing new cases as a result of them reopening too early. However, the longtime bureaucrat did not acknowledge that other areas in countries on similar geographic latitudes, such as much of Mexico, are also facing similar epidemics, regardless of government policies enacted to “stop the spread.” He also raised alarm about the status of Europe, claiming the newfound cases are a result of their reopenings, which happened many months ago in most places.

Fauci warned that the U.S. Midwest is the next area of the country that is sure to see chaos. He took particular shots at states that remained open, such as South Dakota and Iowa, which did not see any particular spike in cases despite never shutting down.

Read the rest here.

Dr. Fauci’s policies have been disastrous for the country and the world.
It really is remarkable that he is held with such esteem when his comments are from illogical to just weird.

For America to heal this guy needs to be escorted from the building.

Crackpot Dr. Fauci Calls for Economic Lockdowns Until “At Least the End of Winter” — How Does This Guy Keep a Job? — The Gateway Pundit

Dolly Parton Tops Christian Charts for the First Time With Zach Williams Duet “There Was Jesus” — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Zach Williams and Dolly Parton’s “There Was Jesus” ascends 2-1 on Billboard’s Christian Airplay chart. | Sony

Country music icon Dolly Parton, along with CCM artist Zach Williams, has topped Christian music charts with “There Was Jesus,” a song bringing hope to millions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to Billboard, the duet increased by 2% to 10.5 million airplay audience impressions in the week ending Sept. 6, topping the Christian AC Songs tally.

Though she has amassed 25 No. 1 hits on Hot Country Songs, seven leaders on Top Country Albums, and two No. 1 hits on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, “There Was Jesus” marks Parton’s first No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian charts.

“Having a No. 1 record at any time is a great thing, but having a No. 1 faith-based record during these crazy times is even greater,” Parton told Billboard. “I feel humbled and blessed to be part of this wonderful song with Zach Williams. It does my heart good to know that we have touched the lives of so many people.”

“I don’t even know hardly what to say about all the No. 1s in all the different fields of music,” Parton said. “Thank you God, thank you fans and thank you everyone who has worked so hard to make this possible.”

Penned by Williams, Casey Beathard and Jonathan Smith, “There Was Jesus” speaks of God’s presence amid difficult times. Lyrics include the lines: “In the fire, in the flood/There was Jesus/Always is and always was.”

Williams previously told The Christian Post he “never in a million years dreamed” that he would be doing a song with Parton.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett

Dolly Parton Tops Christian Charts for the First Time With Zach Williams Duet “There Was Jesus” — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Trump Punched A Baby, California Blackouts, And Squirrels — The BNN Week In Review 9-11-2020 — The Babylon Bee

This is your BNN week in review. Did Trump punch a baby? According to anonymous sources he did. What’s going on with California blackouts? Also, scientists say the squirrels are up to something. Babylon Newsroom Journalists Guy Curtis, Samantha Kurlock, and Stuart Stringer report. These updates and more in our latest video.

Trump Punched A Baby, California Blackouts, And Squirrels — The BNN Week In Review 9-11-2020 — The Babylon Bee

Let’s Not Forget The Other 9/11 When Barack Obama And Hillary Clinton Refused Military Support To The 4 Americans Ambushed In Benghazi — Now The End Begins

On September 11, 2012, al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and others. They made a desperate call for military backup, but denied by Sec’y of State Hillary Clinton, and lied about by President Obama.

Funny thing about everyone posting all those heartrending tweets today about 9/11 back in 2001, because almost no one is remembering that 9/11 2012 was the day that U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was left to die in Benghazi, along with Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs. When the trouble started, they made a desperate call to the Obama government for military support, and were denied. How come no one is remembering them today? They are intentionally forgotten, and for good reason.

“And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.” 2 Samuel 11:14,15 (KJB)

Below you will read an article from 2016, written back when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were still in power. Read it, and remember the true scandal of that on 9/11 day in 2012 when the United States government authorized the murder of its own Benghazi ambassador and 3 others, mostly to cover up its own illegal weapons running operation. Just like the ‘Fast And Furious‘ gun-running operation that also resulted in the death of an US government employee.

Christopher Stevens was not only murdered, his dead body was then sodomized by his Muslim assailants who were allowed to lay siege to the US Embassy in Libya because the Obama government intentionally left them there to die. Then they lied about it. Remember that on this 19th anniversary of 9/11 2001, and the 8th anniversary of 9/11 2012. Because the real 9/11 is not only about tragic events, it’s also about murder and government cover-up.

Let’s never forget that. Benghazi ain’t going away.

45 PAGE ANALYSIS OF REPORT SHOWS CONCLUSIVELY THAT HILLARY MISLED AMERICA ABOUT BENGHAZI MURDERS

All this cloak and dagger activity does not obscure the fact that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens begged Hillary for additional military security at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi weeks before the massacre, and Hillary refused to provide it.

FROM MEDIUM: As we know, there’s nothing Hillary Clinton — a power-crazy politician whose personality borders on sociopathic — won’t say or do to get elected U.S. President. But forget about her greed and the $675,000 in fees she was paid by investment firm Goldman Sachs for three speaking engagements at $225,000 each.

And the millions of dollars inforeign contributions given to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State.

And what about Hillary’s private home e-mail account for State Department communiques allowing her to shirk federal record keeping policies — even though some 60,000 e-mails were involved, including 30,000 she reportedly deleted.

Yes, those activities are appalling and scandalous. But there’s another reason Hillary should be locked in prison for a very long time: Denying repeated requests for help, for additional security for Americans, at our embassy in Benghazi, and then lying to the country, to the American people, about the reasons for the Benghazi massacre, and then the most egregious — lying to the families of the American servicemen who were murdered there…blaming the deaths on an American and his satirical video.

Unbelievable? You bet — But, of course, that’s just what sociopaths do. They are pathological liars. They lack feelings of shame, remorse or guilt. Their emotions are shallow. They need constant stimuli to help fuel their grandiose egos. And they are very charming — and use that charm to gain your trust and achieve their objective — control.

On September 11, 2012, al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and others. But both Hillary and President Obama told us, the country, that the attack, which occurred on the 9/11 anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy, was a response to an anti-Islamic video on YouTube produced by an American!

Hillary Lies as Families Wept

Two days later, the corpses of Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen A. Doherty and Tyrone Woods were returned to the United States for a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base. As the bodies were moved from a military jet to hearses on the tarmac, their families wept.

Hillary Clinton, present at the ceremony with Obama and Vice President Biden, said in her public remarks: “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”

But according to four family members of those killed in Benghazi, Hillary privately told them, “We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son.” (Hillary has since denied that.)

Obama added, “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None.” And, supporting the lie, Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said, “We have no information to suggest that it was a planned attack.”

  • But Judicial Watch.org tells a different story about the Benghazi massacre.

Judicial Watch is a nonprofit organization that assesses accountability and integrity in government. It reported that “previously classified ‘Secret’ documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State revealed that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda-linked ‘Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman’ (BOCAR) and had been planned at least ten days in advance.’” (Note: Rahman is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.)

Secret Documents

Judicial Watch also reported that the secret documents were released in response to a court order resulting from a May, 2014, Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the DOD and State Department. That lawsuit sought “communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.”

“A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency, dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group to kill as many Americans as possible,” Judicial Watch reported.

That document was sent to then-Secretary of State Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The terrorist attack, in part, was to celebrate the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

So Hillary already knew the truth about Benghazi — but she lied anyway.

In his article published in National Review last October, the journalist Deroy Murdock wrote “Clinton issued a statement on the attack at 10:32 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 11, 2012 (the day of the attack). It read, in part: ‘Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.’ But that was a lie. At 11:12 p.m., just 40 minutes later, Hillary e-mailed her daughter, Chelsea, with the truth: ‘Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group.’”

The next day, in a speech at the State Department, Hillary lied again when she said, “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet…America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear — there is no justification for this, none.”

No justification? Really, Hillary? Are you saying the Department of Defense and Defense Intelligence Agency explanation that the attack was retaliation for U.S. imprisonment of terrorist leader Abdul Rahman and to memorialize the World Trade Center attacks was wrong?

Or… Are you just perpetuating the myth — the lie — that an American and his YouTube video was responsible for the massacre?

Benghazi Gun Running

Other watchdog organizations think otherwise, including those that claim Obama’s administration endorsed or managed gun-running operations through the port of Benghazi. For example, The FederalistPapers.org and Fox News reported this:

  • “U.S. Intelligence agencies were fully aware that weapons were moving from the terrorist stronghold in Libya to Syria before the attack that killed four Americans…
  • “September 16, 2012 DIA Memo copied to the National Security Council, CIA, and others concluded the Benghazi terrorist attack was planned at least ten or more days in advance…
  • “The memo also tied the attack to 9–11… No discussion of a demonstration or anti-Mohammad video.
  • “U.S. officials were aware that weapons were being shipped to Syria by the Port of Benghazi.
  • “The theory has long been circulated that the State Department was indeed moving guns off the radar from Libya through Turkey to Syria to support Islamic revolutionary groups there. It has been alleged that this gun running operation is connected to the attacks on the US consulate.”

And here’s the smoking gun:

The Washington Times reported that the existence of an end-use certificate from the State Department’s office of trade defense controls showed that Dolarian Capital, Inc. of Fresno, California, had been licensed to ship to Libya weapons that included rocket launchers, grenade launchers, 7,000 machine guns and eight million rounds of ammunition.

So, who was getting these weapons? Al-Qaida- and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Libyan rebels were getting them — in other words, the same bad guys that America is fighting in the War on Terror. So why was a company in California authorized by the State Department to send weapons through the port of Benghazi to our enemies?

One theory is the U.S. wanted to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the bad guys were trying to bring down his regime.

National Security Disaster

But there is much dispute about this gun-running conspiracy published on the Internet, lots of claims that is it untrue, plus lots of information purported to be true, including statements by Clare Lopez. She is a former operations officer for the CIA who is currently vice president for research at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.

Lopez considers the Benghazi massacre a total and complete national security disaster resulting from lack of leadership by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Lopez said she sees a pattern in Obama’s actions, or inactions, that reveal his blueprint for the Middle East and Northern Africa is to allow the warring jihadi factions — the Sunnis and the Shiites — to divide the region into two spheres of influence, and for the U.S. to withdraw.

“The administration’s plan, I believe, is to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands,” Lopez told WND, an independent news organization.

When WND noted that was exactly what Osama bin Laden had demanded, Lopez pointed out that is the aim of all jihads, “Because that is what Islam demands, that foreign forces be kicked out of Islamic lands.”

All this cloak and dagger activity does not obscure the fact that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens begged Hillary for additional military security at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi weeks before the massacre, and Hillary refused to provide it.

It doesn’t change the fact that Hillary and Obama lied to the entire world and to the families of the people killed in the attack — at the very moments that those families were grieving and most vulnerable. Why did Hillary and Obama lie about Benghazi — and so much else? After all, their priority is supposed to be the safety and security of our country and its citizens. Why did they twist the facts and hide the truth?

Here’s what I think: The fact is that the Benghazi massacre occurred less than one month before the 2012 presidential election. Between the day of the massacre on September 11 and election day in early November, Obama publicly described al Qaeda as being “decimated,” “on the path to defeat,” “on the run” or in similar terms at least 32 times! And Obama was campaigning … remember he had “the JV team on the run.”

And guess who echoed Obama’s claims? The woman who thinks she should be our next President. Indeed. With Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, there’s living proof that “All power corruptsandabsolute power corrupts absolutely.”

None of this corruption is possible without an uninformed electorate. Think about the Democratic presidential candidates — one a socialist, the other a liar who allowed the deaths of four Americans at our embassy in Benghazi, Libya — and she and our president lied about it…without consequences. Their corruption, their crimes, unacknowledged without consequences are absolutely the fault of the electorate. You and me. READ MORE

Hillary Clinton On Benghazi Murders: ‘What difference at this point does it make?’

Let’s Not Forget The Other 9/11 When Barack Obama And Hillary Clinton Refused Military Support To The 4 Americans Ambushed In Benghazi — Now The End Begins

What Islamism And Wokeism Have In Common — The Heidelblog

It never occurred to me that free speech would come under threat in my newly adopted country. Even when I first encountered what has come to be known as “cancel culture”—in 2014 I was invited to receive an honorary degree at Brandeis University and then ungraciously disinvited—I didn’t fret too much. I was inclined to dismiss the alliance of campus leftists and Islamists as a lunatic fringe.

But the power of the illiberal elements in the American left has grown, not just on campus but in the media and many corporations. They have inculcated in a generation of students an ideology that has much more in common with the intolerant doctrines of a religious cult than with the secular political thought I studied at Holland’s Leiden University.

In the debates after 9/11, many people sought materialist explanations for the attacks. American foreign policy in the Middle East was blamed, or lack of education and employment opportunities in the Arab world. I argued that none of these could explain the motivations of the plotters and hijackers, who in any case were far from underprivileged. Their goal was religious and political: to wage jihad against their kin if they didn’t accept a literal interpretation of Islam, to denounce Arab governments as corrupt and their Western allies as infidels, and ultimately to overthrow the established order in the Middle East and establish a caliphate.

… Nineteen years on, we see a similar dynamic, only this time it is within our borders. Naive observers explain this summer’s protests in terms of African-Americans’ material disadvantages. These are real, as are the (worse) socio-economic problems of the Arab world. But they aren’t the main driver of the protests, which appear to be led mainly by well-off white people.

Their ideology goes by many names: cancel culture, social justice, critical race theory, intersectionality. For simplicity, I call it all Wokeism. Read more»

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “ What Islamists and ‘Wokeists’ Have in Common,” The Wall Street Journal September 10, 2020. 

What Islamism And Wokeism Have In Common — The Heidelblog

3 Steps Toward Humble Unity — The Master’s Seminary Blog

3 Steps Toward Humble Unity — The Master’s Seminary Blog

The disciples traveling with Jesus to Jerusalem must have stopped their conversations mid-sentence. A middle-aged woman dropped to her knees before them. They all recognized her immediately as the mother of James and John. When Jesus asked her what she wanted, she replied, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left” (Matt. 20:21). A humble posture betrayed an audacious request.

Matthew writes, “And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers” (Matt. 20:24). The incident was imbedded in Matthew’s mind because he was one of the ten who was infuriated. There were angry exchanges and hot tempers. Had Jesus not intervened immediately this band of disciples could have fractured on the road to Jerusalem.

Jesus responded, “…whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:26–28).

 Christ-like Servanthood is the Key to Unity

Self-centered, self-aggrandizing, self-glorifying pride is the modus operandi of human existence. It is the fuel for division. It is the train operator that derails whole churches from their mission while leaving spiritual carnage scattered across a city. Every local church faces many threats. False teaching and persecution threaten from without. But the one that threatens from within is selfish pride.

The apostle Paul saw just such a threat brewing in Philippi. The church in Philippi was faithful in its partnership with Paul in the gospel. His earnest desire was to see them continue unified in their mission of bringing the gospel to their city. Paul writes to the Phillipians, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). Later in his letter, he directs attention to alleviating this threat before it wreaks havoc in the church: Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).


The model and power of Christian unity is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ


Imitating Jesus’ unparalleled humility will bring unparalleled unity to our homes and churches.

Do you want to defuse explosive divisions? Do you want to find healing for a fractured family? Do you want to see a culture change in your home? Are you at odds with someone in your church or find yourself on one side of a faction? Imitating Jesus will produce the most fruit in bringing harmony and peace.  So, how can we adopt the same mindset as Jesus (Phil. 2:5)? The following are three ways based on Philippians 2. 

Don’t Cling to Your Own Glory

…who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. 
– Philippians 2:6

Jesus did not exploit His supreme position. His journey to atone for our sin on the cross began in heaven in the full glory of His deity, but He did not cling to His deity for selfish ends. The word “form” refers to the outward appearance that displays what something truly is. Jesus existed in the glory and splendor of deity in the second person of the Trinity. He shared the supreme position with the Father and the Spirit, yet He did not exploit it for His own personal interest.  Instead he embraced the mission of the incarnation and accepted the humble mission of the cross.


We must not consider our advantages, position, or gifts 
as something for our glory, but as assets to serve others


Whether you are a founding member, a pastor, a generous giver, or a respected deacon, we cannot resort to “do you know who I am?” in conflict. We don’t demand respect. We don’t refuse menial tasks as “beneath us.” When we think of spiritual gifts, we should remember wisdom from Derek Prime and Alistair Begg: “the purpose of all spiritual gifts is not selfish enjoyment but the profit of other members of God’s family” (On Being a Pastor, 57). Jesus’ incarnation, life, death, and resurrection was to save us from self-glory and deliver us from sinful treasonous idolatry. Christ’s work on our behalf gives us the power to live for the good of others and the glory of God.

Take on the Mindset of a Slave

…but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 
– Philippians 2:7

Jesus took on the lowest status of slave. The Lord and Master over all became the slave of all. The word “emptied” has caused a great deal of debate over the centuries. Better explanations include, “render to no effect” or “laid aside rights and privileges.” To be clear, God cannot stop being God.

The best way to define the word is in its context. Two phrases show us what it means. First, “taking the form of a bond-servant.” We have the same word “form” as in verse 6. The form of the thing is the thing. Jesus became a servant. And the word “bond-servant” is always better translated “slave” from Greek. Jesus did what humans regard unthinkable. Second, he took on human flesh. As the hymn line says, “He the theme of heaven’s praises robed in frail humanity” (Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery, Matt Boswell).


The One who could have rightfully claimed the highest position in human history and justly received supreme honors deliberately sought the lowest position and submitted Himself to extreme humiliation


We may have a high social position in the community, a leadership position in the church, or earned a prestigious degree, but when we look at other believers, our hearts should want to serve them. Again, Jesus is our power. By the indwelling Spirit we can disregard any earthly status and take the attitude of a slave.

Obediently Serve, Even in The Most Belittling Tasks

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 
– Philippians 2:8

Jesus was obedient to the Father in the mission of saving sinners, even to the point of embracing the most shameful situation. For God to take the form of man could be considered a great indignity in and of itself. He, being equal to God, became the slave of God. Yet in the Roman world, the lead slave of a king would still be considered by many to be a great man. While David was king, he was certainly the slave of Yahweh. While Isaiah was a great prophet among men, he was a slave to Yahweh.

But, Christ’s descent continues “by becoming obedient to the point of death.” The self-humbling is the voluntary submission to another. Likewise, obedience is voluntarily doing what someone greater commands.  But, again, many soldiers would give their lives for their country, president, or general. They would run into battle, or if captured they would die rather than betray a secret. Jesus humility went even further when He went to the cross.

The Roman philosopher Cicero said, “To bind a Roman citizen is a crime; to flog him is an abomination; to slay him is almost an act of murder; to crucify him is what? There is no fitting word to describe so horrible a deed” (quoted by G. Walter Hansen in The Letter to the Philippians, 157).


To the Roman citizens of Philippi, the cross would emphasize the absolute degradation of Christ’s humanity


He descended to the lowest rung on the ladder. Down from the position of noble radiance of deity, down from Lordship to slavery, down from creator of flesh to flesh created, down from noble humanity to humble obedience, down from noble obedience to obedience to death, down from noble death to the humiliating death of the cross.

Here is the example that snuffs out the fires of selfish ambition. Jesus, Lord of all, died the most shameful death to save vile and guilty sinners. Here too is the power. If Jesus stooped so low to save me, can I not be fully satisfied in His love and grace in the midst of conflict in which I might be belittled? Can I not eagerly initiate ways to serve that bring me no attention or advance my personal agenda? Paul rounds out the section with the exaltation of Christ (Phil. 2:9–11). We offer this kind of mindset toward others as humble submission and worship to the exalted Savior who did the same for us.

[Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated.]

September 11th The D. L. Moody Year Book

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.—Matthew 7:13, 14.

MANY a man would be willing to enter into the kingdom of God, if he could do it without giving up sin. People sometimes wonder why Jesus Christ, who lived six hundred years before Mohammed, has got fewer disciples than Mohammed to-day. There is no difficulty in explaining that. A man may become a disciple of Mohammed, and continue to live in the foulest, blackest, deepest sin; but a man cannot be a disciple of Christ without giving up sin.[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. 160). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

September 11, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

Committed Christians Love Christ More than Anything Else

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (21:15–17)

The primary mark of the redeemed has always been love for God. The Shema, the great Old Testament confession of faith, declares, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5). Later in Deuteronomy Moses exhorted Israel to manifest that love by obeying God’s commandments (10:12–13; 11:1). When Daniel poured out his heart in prayer for his people, he addressed God as “the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Dan. 9:4). After the exile Nehemiah echoed Daniel’s prayer: “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Neh. 1:5). The theme of loving God was also on the heart of David, who wrote, “I love You, O Lord, my strength” (Ps. 18:1).

The New Testament also teaches that love is the mark of a true believer. When asked to name the greatest commandment of the law, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). In 1 Corinthians 8:3 Paul wrote, “If anyone loves God, he is known by Him.” On the other hand the apostle warned, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed” (1 Cor. 16:22). Only those who love God receive eternal life (James 1:12) and inherit the kingdom (James 2:5). Peter wrote in his first epistle, “Though you have not seen Him [Christ], you love Him” (1 Peter 1:8). Love is also the driving, compelling force that motivates Christian service (2 Cor. 5:14).

Peter learned the hard way what it means to love Jesus Christ. He had vociferously declared his unfailing devotion to Him more than once. At the Last Supper, “Simon Peter said to [Jesus], ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You’ ” (John 13:36–37). A short while later he boldly proclaimed, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away” (Matt. 26:33). Yet when the chips were down, Peter’s self-confessed love failed and he openly denied three times that he even knew Jesus. His vaunted courage proved to be nothing but empty talk when facing a threatening situation.

Peter’s failure highlights the biblical truth that obedience is the essential evidence of genuine love. In John 14:15 Jesus put it plainly: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” In verse 21 He added, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me” (cf. 15:10). In 1 John 5:3 John echoed the Lord’s teaching: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome,” while in his second epistle he added, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it” (2 John 6).

Jesus knew that if Peter was to play the crucial role in the early church that He had chosen him for, he would need to be restored. Peter needed to understand that although he had forsaken Christ, Christ had not forsaken him (cf. Rom. 8:31–39). The Lord had evidently already appeared to Peter privately (Luke 24:34; cf. 1 Cor. 15:5), but Scripture does not record any details of that meeting. Whatever may have happened in Peter’s personal encounter with the risen Lord, since his denials were public knowledge, he needed to be publicly restored. The other disciples needed to hear Peter’s reaffirmation of his love for Christ and Christ’s recommissioning of him, so they would be willing to loyally support his leadership.

As soon as they had finished breakfast (cf. 21:12–13), Jesus initiated the restoration by confronting Peter. That He addressed him as “Simon, son of John” suggests that what followed was a rebuke. Jesus had given Simon the nickname “Peter” (John 1:42), but sometimes referred to him as “Simon” when Peter did something that needed rebuke or correction (e.g., Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31). It was as if our Lord called him by his former name when he was acting like his former self. The Lord’s pointed question, “Do you love Me more than these (i.e., the boat, nets, and other fishing paraphernalia)?” went right to the heart of the issue. As noted in the previous chapter of this volume, Peter, impatient at Jesus’ delay in meeting the disciples and beleaguered by his own failures, had impulsively decided to return to being a fisherman (21:3). That he was sure he could do well—or so he had thought. But Jesus confronted Peter and called him to follow Him and be the fisher of men he was first called to be (Matt. 4:19). “No servant can serve [be a slave to] two masters,” He had previously told them, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Luke 16:13). Jesus challenged Peter to permanently abandon his former life and be exclusively devoted to following Him, based on his love.

Peter replied to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” There is an interesting wordplay in the Greek text. The word Jesus used for love is agapaō, the highest love of the will, love that implies total commitment (cf. 1 Cor. 13:4–8). Peter, painfully aware of his disobedience and failure, felt too guilty to claim that type of love. The brash pronouncements were a thing of the past; broken and humbled and fully aware that his action precluded him from a believable claim to the highest love, Peter answered by using the word phileō, a less lofty term that signifies affection. He also appealed to Jesus’ omniscience, reminding Him, “You know that I love You.”

Accepting Peter’s humble acknowledgement that his love was less than he had claimed and Christ deserved, Jesus still recommissioned him, graciously saying to him, “Tend My lambs.” Tend translates a form of the verb boskō, a term used of herdsmen pasturing and feeding their livestock. The present tense of the verb denotes continuous action. In keeping with the metaphor He introduced in 10:7–16 (cf. Pss. 95:7; 100:3; Ezek. 34:31), Jesus described believers as His lambs, emphasizing not only their immaturity, vulnerability, and need, but also that they are His (cf. Matt. 18:5–10). It is the same responsibility given to every pastor, as Paul pointed out in Acts 20:28 and as Peter himself exhorted in 1 Peter 5:2. Paul instructed the young pastor Timothy that the means to doing this was to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2).

Continuing to reinforce His point on the supremacy of love as the motive to faithfulness, Jesus said to Peter again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Once again He used the verb agapaō, and once again Peter was unwilling to use that word; in his reply, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You,” Peter again used the verb phileō. The Lord then charged him, “Shepherd My sheep.” Jesus chose a different term than the one translated “tend” in verse 15. This word, a form of the verb poimainō, is likely a synonym for the previous verb, both of which are suitable to express the full scope of responsibility that pastoral oversight entails (cf. Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2).

But Jesus still was not through with Peter, so He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” The reason for Peter’s grief was a change in the Lord’s vocabulary. Unlike His two previous questions, this third time Jesus used Peter’s word for love, phileō. He called into question even the less than total devotion Peter thought he was safe in claiming. The implication that his life did not support even that level of love broke Peter’s heart. All he could do was appeal even more strongly to Jesus’ omniscience, saying to Him, “Lord, You know all things (cf. 2:24–25; 16:30); You know that I love You.” For the third time Jesus accepted the apostle’s recognized failure and imperfection (cf. Isa. 6:1–8) and graciously charged Peter to care for His flock, saying to him, “Tend My sheep.” Peter’s restoration was thus complete. As Andreas Köstenberger notes,

Perhaps at long last Peter has learned that he cannot follow Jesus in his own strength and has realized the hollowness of affirming his own loyalty in a way that relies more on his own power of will than on Jesus’ enablement.… Likewise, we should soundly distrust self-serving pledges of loyalty today that betray self-reliance rather than a humble awareness of one’s own limitations in acting on one’s best intentions [cf. 2 Cor. 12:9–10]. (John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004], 598)

Peter remained obedient to the Lord’s commission for the rest of his life. His ministry from that point forward involved not only proclaiming the gospel (Acts 2:14–40; 3:12–26), but also feeding the flock the Lord had entrusted to him (cf. Acts 2:42). Nearing the end of his ministry many years later, Peter wrote,

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1–3)[1]


Christ’s Next-to-Last Word

John 21:17

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

The last two chapters of John’s Gospel contain the parting words of Jesus to his disciples, which I have referred to as “the real last words of Christ.” In doing this, I have contrasted the words spoken after the resurrection with those seven, more commonly studied words, spoken before. These postresurrection words are: (1) “Peace be with you” (20:19, 21); (2) “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (20:21); (3) “Receive the Holy Spirit” (20:22); (4) “Stop doubting and believe” (20:27); (5) “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (20:29); (6) “Feed my sheep” (21:17; cf. v. 15); and (7) “Follow me” (21:19, cf. v. 22). I have spoken of these as: a great bequest, a great commission, a great consolation, a great challenge, a great benediction, a great responsibility, and a great invitation.

As we draw to the end of chapter 21 we come to the sixth and seventh of these “last” words, and we notice something interesting about them. They are each repeated, the sixth (“Feed my sheep”) three times (vv. 16, 17, and, with a slight variation, v. 15) and the seventh (“Follow me”) twice (vv. 19, 22). The repetition grows out of the narrative, but it is significant in itself. When God says something once we should listen. When he says it more than once the words should command our prolonged, rapt, undivided, and obedient attention.

Christ’s Sheep

We notice first that the sheep mentioned here are Christ’s sheep, for he says, “Feed my sheep.” They are his in two ways. First, by creation—he made them. Second, and even more importantly, by redemption. On an earlier occasion the Lord had said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). In speaking to the Ephesian elders just before his final departure to Jerusalem, Paul said, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). If the flock were ours, we could do with it as we wished or as we thought best. But if it is Christ’s, as it is, then we must do as he wishes, recognizing our responsibility to him.

Peter understood this, for years later, when he came to give instructions to the leaders of the church, he spoke of their responsibility to the chief Shepherd as a motivation for the faithful performance of their duties. “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but becasue you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:1–4). There is nothing that will make us more diligent in Christ’s service than the firm recognition that we are only undershepherds of that Chief Shepherd to whom the flock belongs and to whom we are responsible.

The Task Assigned

At this point we have a very big topic. We have “the sheep,” the flock of Christ. We have the shepherd. We have ourselves as undershepherds. Even if we should restrict our attention to our own role as undershepherds, we could consider the many traits of character we must have to be effective in our assigned task or even the areas in which we must operate to fulfill it. As far as traits are concerned, we have the need for humility, hard work, self-control, temperance, gentleness, the proper management of one’s own household, piety, and many other things that the New Testament mentions explicitly. Under the second category, we might consider being examples to the flock, exercising discipline and effective oversight.

But the burden of our text, while not excluding these other matters, is nevertheless more restricted. It tells us that our responsibility as undershepherds is primarily to feed the sheep which have been entrusted to us. How? By teaching, sharing, and in any other way communicating the Word of God. There is nothing else upon which Christians can feed. So our job is to teach the Bible both by word and example.

Here we must be very practical, for the difficulty at this point is generally not one of ignorance of what we should do but rather of how the task should be done. The principles that should govern our responsibility in this area are the same as those that should govern our own personal study of God’s Scriptures. There are five of them.

  1. We should teach the Bible on some regular schedule. We recognize this need in our own study of the Word of God, for one of the things we rightly stress in this area is the need for daily devotions. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to “give us this day our daily bread,” and while it is true that this refers to all our daily needs, physical as well as spiritual, it certainly does not exclude the need for a daily feeding upon God’s Word. For this reason a popular devotional guide is called Daily Bread. Another, which makes the same point, is called Manna in the Morning. A third is Daily Light. Just as we each individually need a daily period of feeding upon God’s Word, so should there be a regular teaching and communicating of the Word by all who are in positions of spiritual authority.

One obvious place for this is the preaching that goes on Sunday by Sunday in a faithful, Bible-teaching church. But that is only one area. Another is some kind of a weekly Bible study or Bible class. Some exercise this responsibility in a less formal way through work with neighbors or fellow employees. The point is merely that this must be regular. An occasional testimony does not fill the bill.

  1. Our teaching or otherwise communicating the truths of the Bible should also be systematic. That is, instead of an occasional or random comment upon the Bible or an occasional, unrelated lesson, there should be an attempt to progress in a deliberate fashion through one or more books of the Bible or even through the Bible as a whole. Many people do not really study the Bible; they do not know how. They merely read it. This is not bad. It is wonderful. But it does leave a special area of responsibility to leaders to teach those passages.

I would suggest this procedure. First, present the book as a whole, reading it carefully together four or five times. Second, divide the work into sections, just as you would divide a contemporary manuscript into chapters (not necessarily the same chapters as in our Bibles), subsections within those chapters and paragraphs. Third, relate these sections to one another, asking: Which are the main sections dealing with the main subjects? Which are introductory? Which are excursions? Applications? This study should lead to a general outline of the book. Fourth, proceed to a more detailed study of the individual sections. Ask: What is the main point of this section? To whom is it spoken? How does it apply? What are the conclusions that flow from it? Finally, study individual phrases and key words. This kind of study will not be possible in every teaching situation, but it should be done by the teacher as preparation for his or her own teaching at the very least. To feed others we must first be fed.

  1. The Bible should be taught as comprehensively as possible. I mean by this that we are not to become specialists in prophecy or Pauline studies or the nature of the flood to such a degree that we neglect the larger picture that those we teach obviously also need to know. The Bible is balanced in its many emphases. Christianity is meant to be balanced. If we do not study and teach the Bible comprehensively, we will become unbalanced and the church will be warped.
  2. We must teach the Bible prayerfully. One obvious lack in the American church today is good systems of effective Bible study. But having said this, it is also necessary to say that we can have good systems, even superb and highly sophisticated systems, and still miss the point of Bible study by failing to ask God to speak to us through it. The scribes were great scholars, but they became mechanical in the working out of their method and so missed the Bible’s main teaching. They failed to recognize the Christ when he came.

In Psalm 119 the author gives expression to the attitude we should have when he writes, “Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (vv. 17–18). What will happen if our study and teaching is preceded by a prayer like this? Several things. First, it will make us conscious that we are actually meeting with God in our Bible study and not merely going through a prescribed religious ritual. Second, we will be sensitive to what God is saying to us and will be able to alter our lives and behavior accordingly. Third, it will make us conscious of the needs of others so that we will be able to teach them effectively. There is nothing more exciting in our fulfillment of Christ’s commission to feed his sheep than to know that God himself is actually speaking to us and through us to his people.

  1. The final point is that we must study the Word of God obediently. When God speaks, he speaks for a purpose. He expects us to obey him. Do we obey him? If we do, our lives and the lives of those for whom we are responsible will be changed. Our churches will be changed, and so will our society.

A Word to Preachers

All this applies quite broadly, for there are very few of us who do not have some degree of responsibility for someone. We are all usually undershepherds in some way. But I want to say a special word to preachers, for the task of teaching the Word of God is particularly their own. The minister has many functions. He must administer, counsel, visit, and do scores of other things. But just as the primary responsibility of a carpenter is to build and a painter to paint, so the primary responsibility of a pastor is to teach the Word of God. Indeed, if he does not, how can he expect the other undershepherds of his flock to fulfill their share of this responsibility?

There is a decline in this area today due to a prior decline in a belief in the Bible as the authoritative and inerrant Word of God on the part of the church’s theologians, seminary professors, and those ministers who are trained by them.

Inerrancy and authority go together, for it is not that those who abandon inerrancy as a premise on which to approach the Scriptures necessarily abandon a belief in their authority. On the contrary, they often speak of the authority of the Bible most loudly precisely when they are abandoning the inerrancy position. It is rather that, lacking the conviction that the Bible is without error in the whole and in its parts, these scholars and preachers inevitably approach the Bible differently from inerrantists, whatever may be said verbally. In their work the Bible is searched (to the degree that it is searched) for whatever light it may shed on the world and life as the minister sees them and not as that binding and overpowering revelation that tells us what to think about the world and life and even formulates the questions we should be asking of them.

The problem is seen in a report of a panel discussion involving a rabbi, a priest, and a protestant minister. The rabbi stood up and said, “I speak according to the law of Moses.” The priest said, “I speak according to the tradition of the church.” But the minister said, “It seems to me.…”

It is hard to miss the connection between belief in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture issuing in a commitment to expound it faithfully, on the one hand, and a loss of this belief coupled to a neglect of Scripture and an inability to give forth a certain sound, on the other.

Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is one who makes this connection. He writes on the decline of preaching: “I would not hesitate to put in the first position [for the decline]: the loss of belief in the authority of the Scriptures, and a diminution in the belief of the Truth. I put this first because I am sure it is the main factor. If you have not got authority, you cannot speak well, you cannot preach. Great preaching always depends upon great themes. Great themes always produce great speaking in any realm, and this is particularly true, of course, in the realm of the church. While men believed in the Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God and spoke on the basis of that authority you had great preaching. But once that went, and men began to speculate, and to theorize, and to put up hypotheses and so on, the eloquence and the greatness of the spoken word inevitably declined and began to wane. You cannot really deal with speculations and conjectures in the same way as preaching had formerly dealt with the great themes of the Scriptures. But as belief in the great doctrines of the Bible began to go out, and sermons were replaced by ethical addresses and homilies, and moral uplift and socio-political talk, it is not surprising that preaching declined. I suggest that this is the first and greatest cause of this decline.”

So here is my word to preachers. You above all men have been given the task of feeding Christ’s sheep by a careful, regular, and systematic teaching of the Bible, but you will never do this unless you are convinced of the truthfulness of every word you find there. So settle this first. Is this book the very Word of God in the whole and in its parts? Has God spoken infallibly in its pages? If not, seek another profession. If he has, then proclaim this Word with all the strength at your disposal.

“Feed My Lambs”

There is one last word based upon a slight variation in Christ’s command between verse 15 and verses 16 and 17. It is a variation between “Feed my sheep” (in the second and third instances) and “Feed my lambs” (in the first).

I admit that this may be only a stylistic variation—many commentators say so. Again, it may only be a suggestion that all Christ’s people are children—“lambs” as well as “sheep.” But when I remember the concern of our Lord for children and the teaching of Scripture that children especially are to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of Christ, I wonder if Jesus is not saying clearly, “And when you are feeding my sheep, do not forget the children; in fact, begin with the children, for the kingdom of heaven is of such as these.”

The church’s best ministers have felt this and have thus spent time with children. I give two examples: Martin Luther and John Wesley. What did Luther do? He produced the Smaller Catechism which was especially for children. It was nonpolemical and presented the gospel clearly. Luther once said that he would be glad to have all his works perish except the reply to Erasmus (The Bondage of the Will) and this catechism. Wesley, who, like Luther, was greatly concerned for children, advised his pastors: (1) where there are ten children in a society, meet them at least an hour every week; (2) talk with them every time you see any at home; (3) pray in earnest for them; (4) diligently instruct and vehemently exhort all parents at their own houses; and (5) preach expressly on education.

Such work is not glorious. It will not capture the world’s attention. But it is a command of Christ, and the one who will do this will have the joy of knowing that in serving “one of the least of these” he has served Christ.[2]


17 When Jesus asks the question for the third time (“Simon son of John, do you love me?”), Peter is distressed, not because Jesus adopts the word for love that Peter has been using, but because the same question has been asked three times. The reason for the threefold repetition arises from Peter’s threefold disowning of Jesus (18:17, 25, 27). Three times Peter repudiated his relationship with Jesus; three times he is called on to reaffirm his love.

Twice Peter had answered, “You know that I love you” (vv. 15, 16). Now, ashamed that he must repeat himself yet again, he says, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Lindars, 635, notes that if in v. 17 there is a distinction in the two words used for “know,” then oidas would indicate knowing as a fact and ginōskeis would be knowing in a feeling and intimate way. Some texts read probata (“sheep”) rather than probatia (“little sheep”) in v. 17 and understand the Lord as committing to Peter’s care the lambs (arnia, v. 15), the young sheep (v. 16), and then the entire flock (v. 17). Unless our understanding of John’s use of synonyms is incorrect, interpretations of this sort go beyond what is written.[3]


17 This third time Jesus changes to Peter’s word for love, though no attention is drawn to this. Peter was very sad, but it was because he was asked the question three times,50 not because of a change of meaning. This appears to be further evidence that there is no real difference in meaning between the words for love. Had there been, Peter would have been asked two different questions, not the one question three times over. His sorrow at the threefold question impelled him to a somewhat fuller reply. But, though his reply is fuller, it lacks the “Yes, Lord” of the two previous replies. Peter does not venture on his own affirmative this time, but relies on the Lord’s intimate knowledge of all things, and specifically his knowledge of his servant. “Lord, you know all things,” he said, a statement with important implications for Christology (cf. 2:25; 16:30). In the context it means at least that Jesus fully understood what went on in people’s hearts, and specifically in Peter’s heart. Incidentally we have another example of variation in vocabulary in that Peter’s word for “know” is different from that in his previous replies. But again, there is no real difference in meaning. Jesus’ final commission, as we saw, combines the verb from the first form with the noun from the second form.52

There can be little doubt but that the whole scene is meant to show us Peter as completely restored to his position of leadership. Three times he had denied his Lord. Now he has three times affirmed his love for him, and three times he has been commissioned to care for the flock. This must have had the effect of a demonstration that, whatever had been the mistakes of the past, Jesus was restoring Peter to a place of trust. It is further worth noting that the one thing about which Jesus questioned Peter prior to commissioning him to tend the flock was love. This is the basic qualification for Christian service. Other qualities may be desirable, but love is completely indispensable (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1–3).[4]


17 Taking his cue from Peter once again, Jesus repeats the question, this time using the same word for “love” that Peter himself had used twice: “He says to him the third time, ‘Simon of John, do you love me?’94 Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he says to him, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus says to him, ‘Tend my sheep’ ” (v. 17). Peter is “grieved” not because Jesus uses a different word for “love” the third time, but simply because there is a “third time.” The use of “the third time,” not once but twice (especially in the wake of the redundant “again a second time,” v. 16), makes this abundantly clear. Moreover, “the third time” echoes the phrase “This third time” in verse 14. The risen Lord, revealed to his disciples for a “third time,” as if to prove beyond doubt the reality of his resurrection, now questions Peter’s love for yet a “third time” as if to elicit proof beyond doubt of the reality of that love.

What is less clear is whether Peter is “grieved” simply because he feels that Jesus does not believe him, or because he remembers his three denials in the courtyard of the Chief Priest (see 18:17, 25, 27). While the denials are not enumerated as first, second, and third, they are predicted (in all four Gospels) as precisely “three” in number (see 13:38; also Mt 26:34//Mk 14:30//Lk 22:34). There can be little doubt that the three questions, with Peter’s three positive answers, are intended by the Gospel writer as a record of Peter’s reinstatement, signaled in advance to the reader by a “charcoal fire” (v. 9) recalling the setting of those three denials (see 18:18, 25). Whether the fire prompts Peter himself to remember the denials, as the crowing of the rooster did in the other Gospels (see Mt 26:75//Mk 14:72//Lk 22:61–62), is uncertain. In any event, Peter answers, even more emphatically than before: “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Oddly, the absence of “Yes” (nai, as in vv. 15 and 16) makes the answer even stronger. It is unnecessary to say “Yes” for a third time because Peter acknowledges not only Jesus’ knowledge of his heart, but his knowledge of “all things,” just as the disciples had done at the end of his farewell discourse: “Now we know that you know all things” (16:30). If he knows “all things,” he knows the answer is “Yes” without Peter having to say it again. Consequently, the command is the same, now for the third time: “Tend my sheep.” Clearly, Jesus is commissioning Peter as shepherd to the flock in his absence, and just as clearly the principle that “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (10:11) is still in effect. Peter’s rash words to Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you!” (13:37), will find a fulfillment of sorts after all. He conspicuously failed to “lay down his life” for Jesus (13:38), but what he failed to do for Jesus he will one day do for his sheep—as Jesus will promptly explain.[5]


Peter Restored

John 21:15–17

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)

Part of what makes the gospel such good news is that sinners can not only be forgiven but also be restored. This idea is so hateful to the devil that he seeks to counter the gospel with deceptive lies. Satan might reluctantly admit that Christians may be forgiven our sins and delivered from judgment. But when it comes to leading a happy and useful Christian life, and especially to being used by the Lord in some important way, Satan whispers to us that our sin has disqualified us forever. This is especially the devil’s message to those who have sinned greatly after becoming Christians. Christians who have sinned, he urges, might as well continue sinning, or at least accept the fact that their failure has bound them to a low plane of Christian existence and service.

The antidote to Satan’s lies is always the Word of God. The antidote to this particular lie is found at the end of the Gospel of John, where we learn of Peter’s restoration not just to salvation but to apostolic service. We would be hard-pressed to commit a sin as grievous as Peter did when he denied Jesus three times on the night of his arrest. Therefore, Peter’s restoration encourages us that we may be restored not only to salvation but also to usefulness to Christ.

Three Questions For Peter

In the first half of John 21, Jesus met the disciples along the shore of the Sea of Galilee after filling their net with fish. Jesus awaited them beside a charcoal fire where a meal was cooking (John 21:9). Learning that it was Jesus, Peter flung himself into the waters and eagerly propelled himself into the Lord’s presence. We can imagine that after the meal began, however, Peter might have become uneasy. He would have looked at the charcoal fire, his mind suddenly turning to another charcoal fire that had burned outside the high priest’s residence on the night of Jesus’ arrest. Peter had huddled there together with some of the temple guard. On the way into the courtyard, the door-maiden asked whether he was one of Jesus’ disciples, and Peter denied it. Then by the fire, one of the guards recognized Peter and said to him, “You also are one of them.” Peter replied, “I am not.” Then a servant to the high priest suggested that Peter had been with Jesus earlier that night. Peter again denied Jesus, at which moment, according to Luke, Jesus “turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:58–61). At that look, the unfaithful disciple went away, weeping bitterly for his failure.

It seems likely that Jesus had arranged for this similar fire to await Peter beside the Sea of Galilee. Taking his own place where the temple guards had sat, Jesus looked at Peter once more, asking three times whether he loved him, one question for each of Peter’s denials.

It is frequently taught that the key to understanding Jesus’ questions and Peter’s answers is found in the different Greek words used in this passage for love. In the first two of Jesus’ questions, he asked for Peter’s love using a verb form of the word agape. This is said to refer to the highest form of love, a divine love that involves the whole will. Peter answered by using the word phileo, which refers to a lower form of love, involving affection and friendship. Under this view, taught by many able teachers of Scripture, Peter was too abashed by his failure on the night of Jesus’ arrest to claim anything but the lower form of love for Jesus. His chastened spirit could no longer assert any claim to a higher love. In his third question, Jesus lowered his demand from agape to phileo, accepting the love that Peter could assert and being willing to work in his disciple to produce the greater love in due time.

The problem with this approach is that the apostle John seems to use these two words for love, agape and phileo, more or less interchangeably. The concepts identified by the two words are valid: there is a divine love of the will, normally identified as agape, and a lower, human love of attraction and affection, associated with phileo. The problem is that John does not tend to use the words agape and phileo in such a technical sense. For instance, in referring to himself as “the disciple whom the Lord loved,” John uses agape in one instance and phileo in another (John 20:2; 21:7). Moreover, John tends to vary his vocabulary for stylistic reasons. In this passage, recounting a conversation that probably occurred in Aramaic, not Greek, John uses two different words for love, two different words for knowing, and two different words for the idea of tending Jesus’ sheep. Therefore, most scholars today doubt that the key to understanding Jesus’ questions lies in the difference between agape and phileo in John’s use.

How, then, do we understand Jesus’ questions? First, we should note that Jesus began not only by asking whether Peter loved him, but by specifying, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15). We remember that earlier on the night of Peter’s denials, Jesus had warned that all the disciples would fall away after his arrest, but that the disciples should await him in Galilee after his resurrection (Matt. 26:31–32). Peter insisted that he would remain true even if the other disciples did not: “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away” (26:33). Now, here they were in Galilee, and Peter had fallen away. “Do you still think that you love me more than the others do?” Jesus inquired. Peter’s answer revealed his chastened spirit: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you” (John 21:15). Jesus then asked Peter twice more: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (21:16–17). Peter repeated his first answer: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you” (21:16). For his third answer, he said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (21:17).

By inquiring about Peter’s love three times, Jesus was not rubbing salt in his wounds but doing the serious work of bringing his disciple to a true repentance. We can be sure that this was painful for Peter. We can imagine that with each question, his mind would have remembered each of the three times he had denied his Lord. John notes that “Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ (John 21:17). This grief was a necessary part of the Lord’s work of prompting repentance for the sake of true restoration. With Jesus homing in on the full extent of his betrayal, Peter could answer only by appealing to the Lord’s omniscience. If Peter loved the Lord, then Jesus would know it because the Lord had himself instilled the love that Peter needed: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (21:17). Peter shows that only a genuine believer can take solace in the Lord’s true knowledge of our hearts.

We can see Jesus’ purpose in bringing Peter to repentance not only in matching his three questions to Peter’s three denials, but also in Jesus’ form of address. In John’s Gospel, ever since this disciple’s calling to follow Jesus, he had been known as Peter, which means “the Rock” (John 1:42). This name refers to Peter’s confession of faith, which was an example of the Great Confession on which Jesus would build his church (see Matt. 16:16–18). Now, Jesus reverts to Peter’s former name, referring to him as “Simon, son of John” (John 21:15). This amounts to a temporary deposing of Peter from his office. Before there could be thought of restoring Peter to his calling as an apostle, they must first retrace the steps by which Peter could be considered even a Christian. So it is for us all: more basic than our calling to service is our calling to salvation through a loving faith in Christ.

Repentance and Restoration

Jesus had already forgiven Peter his sin, promising peace to Peter and the others on the night of his resurrection. So why did Jesus need to drive Peter to so painful a repentance? There are three answers, the first of which was for the sake of Peter’s own conscience. Until Jesus had addressed Peter’s great sin, the matter must continually hang over the disciple’s spirit. Alexander Maclaren explains: “The threefold denial needed to be obliterated by the threefold confession; … every black mark that had been scored deep on the page by that denial needed to be covered over with the gilding or bright colouring of the triple acknowledgment. And so Peter thrice having said, ‘I know him not!’ Jesus with a gracious violence forced him to say thrice, ‘Thou knowest that I love thee.’ ”

Was it cruel of Jesus to require Peter to recall each shameful stage of his betrayal, dragging him, as it were, by the scruff of the neck to turn his face to the very details of his sin? No, it was true kindness to insist on Peter’s repentance: “The Lord wounds only that He may heal.” Unlike the false prophets of Israel who sought to heal the wounds of sin lightly (cf. Jer. 6:14), Jesus demands a thorough healing so as to gain a true peace.

Jesus’ kindness is seen in that at each of Peter’s steps of recalling his denial, Jesus assured him not only of forgiveness but of full restoration. It would have been cruel had Jesus left Peter in doubt as to his acceptance, but Jesus did not leave any doubt. In the light of Christ’s super-abounding grace, Peter was not cast down by his sin but lifted up in the amazing divine love that saved him. This example encourages Christians to seriously examine our sins before God’s presence in prayer. In this way, we will grow in grace through repentance and by recalling the unfailing love that freely suffered death for our redemption. Only against the true depth of our guilt may we measure the height of God’s love for us and glory in the cross of Christ as we ought.

The second reason that Peter needed to be brought to a detailed repentance was to ensure that he learned the lesson from his failure. Beneath Peter’s sin in denying Jesus was a dangerous self-confidence. Peter had boasted of laying down his life for Jesus (John 13:37), when Peter really needed Jesus to lay down his life for him. Indeed, it is evident that the reason Jesus permitted Peter to fall, praying for his faith to be restored but handing him over to his sin (Luke 22:31–34), was the benefit to Peter upon his repentance. A. W Pink explains: “That fall was necessary in order to reveal to Peter the condition of his heart, to show him the worthlessness of self-confidence, and to humble his proud spirit.” We will be blessed if we learn that lesson from Peter’s repentance, not needing to be allowed to fall or to suffer the pain of our own sin and repentance.

The third reason why Peter needed to repent thoroughly was for the sake of his future calling as an apostle. What authority could Peter wield in the matter of faith in Christ if his failure on the night of Jesus’ arrest remained hanging over his head? His betrayal must have “cast a great shadow over his usefulness and, indeed, his credibility in the church and before the world.” This explains why Peter’s repentance must take place in the presence of several other future apostles. His sin pertained to his public office in the church and thus demanded a public repentance and a public restoration by Christ.

This episode speaks directly to the question whether church leaders who fall into sin today can be restored to their office. Most commonly, we learn of pastors who fall to sexual sin and are required to quit the pulpit. In other cases, church leaders may be removed for financial fraud or abuse of spiritual authority. The question is raised whether such a fallen leader can ever be restored to his former position. We know that everyone can be restored to salvation through faith and repentance, but is it possible for a pastor or elder to be restored to office after committing a gross and scandalous sin?

In light of Jesus’ treatment of Peter here, the answer must be Yes. Sins of a sexual or financial nature cannot be considered more grievous than Peter’s denial of Jesus. Jesus shows us, however, that there must be a serious and determined work of repentance and not merely glib confessions or facile apologies. Since it will be harder for us to establish a true change of heart than it was for Jesus, the work of repentance and restoration today is likely to involve a lengthy period of time and a thorough process of confirmation.

Following Jesus’ example in refusing to use Peter’s apostolic name, leaders who grievously sin should first be deposed from office to preserve the honor of Christ and the well-being of his people. Paul says that elders “who persist in sin” must be rebuked publicly before the church (1 Tim. 5:20). From this, we should conclude that the repentance of a fallen church leader should also be expressed publicly before the church. Noting the importance of a deep, thorough, and public process of repentance, however, we should also note that when true repentance has been established—including a genuine repudiation of the sin itself—we should be willing to restore fallen spiritual leaders to their positions of service in the church. Experience might show that such restoration is rare in practice. The reason is not that restoration is impossible but rather that fallen leaders are so seldom willing to humble themselves to make an honest confession and enable the church to establish a credible and true repentance.

It may be objected that a pastor or elder who has greatly sinned cannot be trusted not to sin again. By this logic, however, no one is eligible to serve as a leader in the church, since even the holiest Christians have often sinned and even the strongest spiritual leaders can be led into sin if they are not wary regarding their lives. If we believe in the power of God’s Spirit and if we can have confidence in the grace that God gives in repentance, there is no reason for us to lack confidence in a restored leader’s ability to serve in a godly and effective way. Peter’s example after he was restored, recorded in the book of Acts and reflected in his letters, proves the power of Christ’s restoring grace. For Christians who repent and look anew to Christ, failure is never final.

The Pastoral Calling

As Jesus secured Peter’s repentance with three demands to affirm his love, he also restored Peter with three commissions to the pastoral office. When Peter first answered, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you,” Jesus answered, “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15). When Peter affirmed his love a second time, Jesus said, “Tend my sheep” (21:16). Finally, when Peter answered Jesus’ question by asserting Christ’s knowledge of his love, Jesus concluded, “Feed my sheep” (21:17). In his abounding grace, Jesus did not say, “All right, Peter, you are forgiven. But of course, I can never use you in a place of leadership again.” That might be the way we would reason about Peter, but it is not how Jesus responded. Instead, Jesus publicly restored Peter to his calling as a shepherd over the flock of God.

Observing Peter’s restoration, we can note three important things about the pastoral office to which Peter and the other apostles were called. The first is that those called to spiritual leadership are shepherds over the flock that belongs to Jesus and is precious to the Lord. Notice that Jesus told Peter to serve “my lambs” and “my sheep” (John 21:15–17). Pastors should therefore not be surprised when believers are weak and immature, since Christ calls them “lambs,” nor that the “sheep” are prone to wander and are in need of constant care, proper feeding, and leading. Most importantly, a pastor is to remember that the church is composed of lambs that Jesus says are “mine.” James Montgomery Boice comments: “There is nothing that will make us more diligent in Christ’s service than the firm recognition that we are only undershepherds of that Chief Shepherd to whom the flock belongs and to whom we are responsible.” Similarly, since Christ has no possession more dear to him than the souls of those for whom he shed his precious blood, his confidence in the restored Peter is seen in his committing of these sheep to Peter’s care.

Second, we have in Peter’s restoration a helpful description of the pastoral calling. To what work is a pastor called by Christ? First, Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Next, he told Peter, “Tend my sheep.” Finally, Jesus returned to the initial theme, saying, “Feed my sheep.”

Here we see the two dimensions of the pastoral calling. Like the apostles before them, pastors today are called to the work of feeding the flock of God with the spiritual nourishment of God’s Word and also of shepherding and leading the flock through pastoral care.

There is no warrant for the Roman Catholic dogma that here the church is placed under Peter’s sole authority as the single potentate who rules in the absence of Christ. The book of Acts shows that Peter never claimed or exercised such a lordly rule over the church. Matthew Henry comments: “This charge given to Peter to preach the gospel is by a strange artifice made to support the usurpation of his pretended successors, that fleece the sheep, and, instead of feeding them, feed upon them.”

Paul’s description agrees with that of Jesus in speaking not of princes over the church, but of Christ’s providing “shepherds and teachers” to serve the church (Eph. 4:11). Paul’s description perfectly matches Jesus’ calling to Peter to feed the sheep and tend the flock. Ministers of the gospel are not called to be fund-raisers, program organizers, building custodians, or committee chairmen, but teachers of God’s Word and pastors of Christ’s flock.

Since Jesus places his sheep under the care and feeding of his under-shepherds, this makes membership in a faithful church a matter of urgent concern for every follower of Christ. Decades later, Peter would himself pen the classic description of the kind of faithful shepherd the church needs: “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:2–4).

We must never slight the pastor’s calling to lead the flock, but we should note that Jesus emphasizes the teaching function of his shepherds. Jesus specified the feeding of his sheep first and last to Peter. This tells us that a pastor’s primary responsibility is to feed the flock of Christ. How are Christ’s sheep to be fed? The Bible’s answer: by teaching and preaching the Word of God. To be called by Christ to the pastoral office is therefore to be gifted and prepared to preach and teach the Scriptures with fidelity and power. Called to this work, a faithful pastor must devote a significant portion of his working time to the prayerful preparation of his teaching so as to most wholesomely feed the beloved sheep who belong to Jesus.

Boice suggests five principles for a successful ministry of God’s Word. First, the Bible should be taught on a regular schedule, primarily in “the preaching that goes on Sunday by Sunday in a faithful, Bible-teaching church.” Second, the Bible should be taught in a systematic manner, ideally in the sequential exposition of whole books of Scripture. In this way, the church is fed with a balanced diet of the whole counsel of God. Third, the Bible should be taught as comprehensively as possible. This means that Christians are not to be focused only on prophecy or Pauline theology or creation studies but should be taught from all the kinds of biblical literature. Fourth, pastors must preach and churches must receive God’s Word prayerfully. With David, we must ask the Lord: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Ps. 119:18). Finally, the Bible must be taught obediently. Boice comments: “When God speaks, he speaks for a purpose. He expects us to obey him. Do we obey him? If we do, our lives and the lives of those for whom we are responsible will be changed.”

A final point seen in Jesus’ restoration of Peter is the primacy of love for those who lead Christ’s flock. Indeed, the fact that Jesus confronted Peter over the matter of his love shows the importance of love for the whole of the Christian life. R. Kent Hughes comments:

The abiding principle is that before all things, even service to him, we must love him with all our hearts. That is the highest priority in life. It is the first question for every theologian. It is the essential question for the pastor. It is the supreme question for every missionary. It is the number one question for every one of us who wants to please God. Loving God is the highest priority of our lives.

Love for Christ is preeminently necessary for the shepherds of Christ’s flock. Ligon Duncan tells of an aged saintly woman of the Scottish kirk who said, “The older I grow, the more I love the Lord’s people.” “Isn’t that sweet,” thought the man to whom she spoke. She continued, however, “The older I grow, the more I love the Lord’s people and the less I trust them.” Duncan comments: “The Lord’s people will hurt you. You will seek to serve the Lord’s people; they will let you down. When that happens, you are being given the privilege of reflecting your Savior, because he washed the feet of the disciples who abandoned him.”

It is only love for Christ and his church that empowers us to continue serving Christ’s flock when the church fails us. A. W. Pink observes: “The work is so laborious, the appreciation is often so small, the response so discouraging, the criticisms so harsh, the attacks of Satan so fierce, that only the ‘love of Christ’—His for us and ours for Him—can ‘constrain’ to such work. ‘Hirelings’ will feed the goats, but only those who love Christ can feed His sheep.” Love for Christ’s flock will give a pastor persuasiveness with his congregation, patience for their failings, and an eloquence that mere learning can never supply. When it comes to shepherding the flock of Christ, “other qualities may be desirable, but love is completely indispensable.”13

To Love Thee More

We should not conclude our study of this passage without asking Jesus’ question to Peter of ourselves. “Do you love me?” Jesus asks. It is essential that we be able to answer this question, apart from which no further advance can be made.

Thankfully, Jesus did not say, “Do you love me perfectly?” or “Do you love me as I deserve?”—in which case we must all be turned away, abashed. He simply asks for our love. If we belong to Jesus, then like Peter, even filled with self-doubt and shame, we may answer, “Lord, you know.” “You know all my failings, all my weaknesses, and all my needs. But you also know that, Yes, I do love you.” Implied in that answer, of course, is a desire to love Jesus better and more completely, a longing to love him as he deserves to be adored by his redeemed people. The way to love Jesus more fully is to spend time with him, since we long to be with those we love. So let us be eager to open up Christ’s Word and fervent in opening our hearts in prayer. William Cowper supplies words that will help us to answer Jesus’ plea when we pray:

Lord, it is my chief complaint

That my love is weak and faint;

Yet I love Thee and adore,—

Oh! for grace to love Thee more![6]


Ver. 17.—And now Peter seems to have conquered, by his persistence, the heart of his Lord, and Jesus adopts the very phrase which Peter twice over had substituted for that which he had himself used; for he saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas (John), lovest thou me? (φιλεῖς με;); as if he had said, “Dost thou indeed love me dearly, love me as a friend, love me with the earnestness and fervour that twice over has corrected my word into one more congenial to thee, and more ample and true than that used by myself?” This trait of Peter’s character, which John has hinted on several occasions, is abundantly illustrated in the synoptic narrative and in the Acts of the Apostles. Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? The grief was natural. The repeated question suggests some doubt about his sincerity, and the adoption of the apostle’s own word cut him with a more poignant heart-thrust? He may have thought thus: Jesus seems to distrust the reality of my personal affection, and will not accept my implication that this is more to me than the most thoughtful ἀγαπή, the most deeply meditated and measured reverence. He was grieved because a third time seems like an infinite repetition, and, if repeated thus a third time, it may be asked me again and again every day of my life. He was grieved from the irresistible analogy between the threefold denial of which he had been guilty, and this threefold interrogatory. He does not say as before, “Yea, Lord;” but commences, Lord, thou knowest (οἶδας) all things. Omniscience is freely conceded to the Lord. All things that Peter did, thought, or felt, all his bewilderment, all his mistakes, all his impulsiveness and mixture of motive, all his self-assertion, all his weakness and disloyalty, are known; but so also all the inner springs and lines of his nobler nature, and that though he played the fool, he was a hypocrite in his denials. The Lord knew that his faith did not really fail, though his courage did; and in virtue of this breadth of the Lord’s knowing, he must have come to full cognizance of the entire meaning of Peter’s life. Thou (seest) hast come fully to know that I love thee! Just because thou intuitively knowest all things. The play on οἶδας and γινώσκεις is obvious (see ch. 10:14; 17:3, etc.). Jesus saith to him, Feed my little sheep. It is said by some that, even if this be the true reading, we have simply a renewal of the tenderness and strong emotion which led the Lord to speak of the ἄρνια on the first occasion. Doubtless deep and glowing affection pervades the use of these epithets; but if this be the sole explanation, then the reason of the adoption of πρόβατα in the second commission is not evident, ἄρνια would have answered the purpose. There is distinct progress in the ideas: (1) “Feed my lambs;” (2) “Rule (shepherd) my sheep;” (3) “Feed my little sheep.” First, let Peter, let the apostolic company, let any one of the successors of the apostles, learn the delicate duty of supplying the just and appropriate nourishment to those that are young in years or in graces; then let him also learn to guide, direct, protect from outward foes, the mature disciples, and preserve the discipline of the flock, seeking the lost sheep until it be found; and he will find that then a third duty emerges. The sheep that are young in heart, the old men that are childlike in spirit, the trembling sheep that need even more care than the lambs themselves, are specially thrown upon the shepherd’s care. Was not Peter himself a προβατιόν? Had he not shown that he was a most imperfect master of himself? He was mature in years, but childish as well as childlike in character. He could (for a while) only see one thing at a time, and he was impatient of the future. Mark well his characteristic words, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” “That be far from thee, O Lord!” “Why cannot I follow thee now?” “Thou shalt never wash my feet!” “Not my feet only, but my hands and my head!” “Let us build for thee three tabernacles!” “Not so; I have never eaten anything common or unclean!” These are familiar illustrations of the childishness and infantile simplicity, babyish audacity, of the old disciple. Even after the Lord has risen from the dead, Peter ventures to correct his language. Christ, moreover, accepts his persistent alteration of the word for “love” from the lips of this προβατίον. Thus the Lord summons him to undertake a duty which he would on reflection be specially able to appreciate.[7]


17. Peter was grieved. Peter undoubtedly did not perceive the object which Christ had in view, in putting the same question so frequently; and therefore he thinks that he is indirectly accused, as if he had not answered with sincerity. But we have already showed that the repetition was not superfluous. Besides, Peter was not yet sufficiently aware how deeply the love of Christ must be engraven on the hearts of those who have to struggle against innumerable difficulties. He afterwards learned by long experience, that such a trial had not been made in vain. Those who are to undertake the charge of governing the Church are also taught, in his person, not to examine themselves slightly, but to make a thorough scrutiny what zeal they possess, that they may not shrink or faint in the middle of their course. We are likewise taught, that we ought patiently and mildly to submit, if at any time the Lord subject us to a severe trial; because he has good reasons for doing so, though they are generally unknown to us.[8]


17. Then for the third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ It has often been noted that the verb ‘to love’ (agapaō) used in Jesus’ first two questions is different from the verb ‘to love’ (phileō) used in Peter’s first two answers, but that in the third question and answer phileō is used in both Jesus’ question and Peter’s answer. Sometimes a lot has been made of these differences, but the fact is that agapaō and phileō are used synonymously in the Fourth Gospel. For example, both agapaō and phileō are used of the Father’s love for the Son (10:17; 15:9; 17:23, 24, 26/5:20), Jesus’ love for Lazarus (11:5/11:3, 36), the disciple whom Jesus loved (13:23; 19:26; 21:7, 20/20:2), and the Father’s love for the disciples (14:23/16:27).

One significant difference is the insertion of the editorial comment that Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ Why he was hurt is not explained. Perhaps he felt Jesus was not satisfied with his previous answers. In response, He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Peter’s answer was the same as before, except that he prefaced it with the words ‘you know all things’ to stress that he really meant it when he said ‘you know that I love you’, and that Jesus who knew all things knew the state of Peter’s heart. In response, Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ This time Peter was charged with the responsibility to feed (boske) my sheep (probata), meaning he was to provide spiritual nourishment for believers generally.

Jesus may have given Peter three opportunities to re-express his love for him and recommissioned him three times as well because of his threefold denial (18:15–17, 25–27). The record of Peter’s reinstatement stands as an encouragement for all who might crack under pressure and deny their Lord. This is not the same as cold-blooded apostasy, and is not regarded as such by the Lord.

Two other things call for comment. First, Jesus’ reference to ‘my sheep’ has a parallel in 10:27, where Jesus refers to believers as ‘my sheep’. Here, then, Jesus was giving Peter a pastoral role towards the believers. Second, similar terminology is used in 1 Peter 5:1–4 and Acts 20:28–29 to urge elders to shepherd God’s flock, suggesting that Jesus’ commission to Peter to feed his sheep here in 20:15–17 was not understood to be restricted to Peter in an exclusive way. More recent Roman Catholic scholars rightly point out that it is inappropriate to import questions of the Petrine office in Roman Christianity into the exegesis of this text.[9]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 399–403). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 1641–1646). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 659). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (pp. 771–772). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 1045–1046). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[6] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 2, pp. 703–713). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 2, pp. 506–507). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 2, pp. 291–292). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] Kruse, C. G. (2003). John: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 4, pp. 386–387). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

September—11 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? (and when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away) for it was very great.—Mark 16:3, 4.

My soul! how very often, like these poor women at the door of our Lord’s sepulchre, hast thou been at a loss to think whence help should arise to succour thee in the needed moment! And how often, like them, hast thou found, when looking again, all the difficulties which thou hadst figured to thyself removed! And with thee thy mercy hath been, if possible, yet more striking. For thou not only needest the stone to be rolled away from the door of the sepulchre that thou mightst see Jesus, but to have the stone taken away out of thine heart, that thou mightst love and believe in Jesus to the salvation of thy soul. Is it so then, that whilst, at any time, thou art putting forth the question and inquiry, full of doubt and fear, and misgiving who shall help in this or that difficulty; and when thou lookest again, behold the Lord hath been better to thee than all thy fears, and “every mountain before thy great Zerubbabel is become a plain?” Wilt thou not learn hence, that thy Lord Jesus, with all his benefits, is not only set before thee, and revealed to thee, but made over to thee, to be received, and to be enjoyed, and to be made use of, by thee, for all and every purpose in which his glory and thy salvation are concerned? The stone is indeed very great in every heart, by nature, and unmovable by natural strength. But look again. He that arose from the dead, and broke open the sepulchre, can and will take it away, according to that sweet promise, (Ezek. 36:26.) And if the stone be removed, and the fountain of life broken up, in the person, and glory, and triumphs of Jesus, come, then, my soul, and “draw water out of those wells of salvation.” Oh! how truly blessed is it to see Jesus in all, and to enjoy Jesus in all; for then, whatever great obstructions seem to lie in the way, the Lord himself doth and will remove them. “He brings the blind by a way they knew not. He causeth them to walk in places that they have not known. Crooked things are made straight, and rough places plain: and all his redeemed then see the salvation of our God!”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 266–267). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

How Can I Discern the Will of God? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

How can we discover God’s will for our lives? From one of our Ask Ligonier events, Derek Thomas provides the answer that has helped Christians through the centuries.

Message us for clear, concise, and trustworthy answers to your biblical and theological questions at ask.Ligonier.org.

Read the Transcript

How Can I Discern the Will of God? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

September 11 Life-Changing Moments With God

 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Lord, I endeavor not to follow a crowd to do evil.

I know that friendship with the world is enmity with You, Lord God. If I want to be a friend of the world I make myself Your enemy.

What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? What communion has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? What part have I, a believer, with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? I will not love the world or the things in the world. If I love the world, Your love, Father God, is not in me. The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but if I do Your will I will abide forever.

I once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. I have not learned greedy uncleanness in Christ … for the truth is in Jesus.

The world is tangible and its temptations, powerful. Lord, keep my eyes fixed on You and my heart rooted in Your truth so I love and serve You, not the world.

Romans 12:2; Exodus 23:2; James 4:4; 2 Corinthians 6:14–16; 1 John 2:15, 17; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 4:20–21[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 274). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Powerful Speech – President Trump and First Lady Melania Remember 9/11 – Flight 93 Observance, Shanksville PA – Video and Transcript… — The Last Refuge

President Trump delivered a remarkable tribute to the heroes of Flight #93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania as he and the first lady pay their respects: “The heroes of Flight 93 are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall, and fight back.” – – –  “The only thing that stood between the enemy and a deadly strike at the heart of American democracy was the courage and resolve of 40 men and women.”

“Our sacred task, our righteous duty, and our solemn pledge, is to carry forward the noble legacy of the brave souls who gave their lives for us 19 years ago.” … “In their memory, we resolve to stand united as one American nation, to defend our freedoms – to uphold our values – to love our neighbors – to cherish our country – to care for our communities – to honor our heroes – and to never forget.”

[Full Video and Full Transcript Below]

[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, David, very much. It’s a great honor to be with you.

Nineteen years ago, on this day, at this very hour, on this field, 40 brave men and women triumphed over terror and gave their lives in defense of our nation. Their names and their stories are forever inscribed on the eternal roll call of American heroes.

Today, we pay tribute to their sacrifice, and we mourn deeply for the nearly 3,000 precious and beautiful souls who were taken from us on September 11th, 2001.

To the family members of Flight 93: Today, every heartbeat in America is wedded to yours. Your pain and anguish is the shared grief of our whole nation. The memory of your treasured loved ones will inspire America for all time to come.

The heroes of Flight 93 are an everlasting reminder that no matter the danger, no matter the threat, no matter the odds, America will always rise up, stand tall, and fight back.

To every 9/11 member all across this nation: The First Lady and I come to this hallowed ground deeply aware that we cannot fill the void in your heart or erase the terrible sorrow of this day. The agony renewed, the nightmare relived, the wounds reopened, the last treasured words played over and over again in your minds.

But while we cannot erase your pain, we can help to shoulder your burden. We promise that unwavering love that you so want and need, support, devotion — and the very special devotion — of all Americans.

On that September morning, when America was under attack, the battle turned in the skies above this field. Soon after taking off from Newark, New Jersey, radical Islamic terrorists seized control of United 93. Other hijacked planes struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and then the South Tower, and then the Pentagon.

The terrorists on Flight 93 had a fourth target in mind. It was called: our nation’s capital. They were just 20 minutes away from reaching their sinister objective. The only thing that stood between the enemy and a deadly strike at the heart of American democracy was the courage and resolve of 40 men and women — the amazing passengers and crew of Flight 93.

Donald and Jean Peterson were grandparents traveling to vacation in California. Deora Bodley was a student headed back to college. Richard Guadagno was returning from celebrating his grandmother’s 100th birthday. Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas was three months pregnant with her first child. Every passenger and crewmember on the plane had a life filled with love and joy, friends and family, radiant hopes and limitless dreams.

When the plane was hijacked, they called their families and learned that America was also under attack. Then they faced the most fateful moment of their lives.

Through the heartache and the tears, they prayed to God, they placed their last calls home, they whispered the immortal words, “I love you.” Today, those words ring out across these sacred grounds, and they shine down on us from Heaven above.

When terrorists raced to destroy the seat of our democracy, the 40 of Flight 93 did the most American of things: They took a vote, and then they acted. Together, they charged the cockpit, they confronted the pure evil, and in their last act on this Earth, they saved our capital.

In this Pennsylvania field, the 40 intrepid souls of Flight 93 died as true heroes. Their momentous deeds will outlive us all.

In the days and weeks after 9/11, citizens of all faiths, backgrounds, colors, and creeds came together, prayed together, mourned together, and rebuilt together.

The song “God Bless America” became a rallying cry for the nation. We were united by our conviction that America was the world’s most exceptional country, blessed with the most incredible heroes, and that this was a land worth defending with our very last breath. It was a unity based on love for our families, care for our neighbors, loyalty to our fellow citizens, pride in our great flag, gratitude for our police and first responders, faith in God, and a refusal to bend our will to the depraved forces of violence, intimidation, oppression, and evil.

In New York, Arlington, and Shanksville, people raced into the suffocating smoke and rubble. At Ground Zero, the world witnessed the miracle of American courage and sacrifice. As ash rained down, police officers, first responders, and firefighters ran into the fires of hell.

On that day, more than 400 first responders gave their lives, including 23 New York City police officers, 37 Port Authority workers, and 343 New York City firefighters. Today, we honor their extraordinary sacrifice and every first responder who keeps America safe.

With us today is David DeMato, a retired Chicago police officer and a current officer of the Navy Reserves. On 9/11, he drove from Chicago to Ground Zero. As David says, “While the sights and smells of working at Ground Zero will forever be etched in my mind, what is more profound is the way this country came together afterwards. The police officers and firemen were revered as the heroes they truly are; the military was appreciated in a manner not seen in decades; and common people found new meaning in values like friendship, kindness, and selflessness.”

Thank you, David. Such beautiful words. And thank you to every member of law enforcement who risks their lives to ensure our safety and uphold our peace.

This morning, we also remember the 183 people who were killed in the attack on the Pentagon and the remarkable service members who crawled straight through the raging blaze to rescue their comrades.

We express our undying loyalty to the nearly 6 million young men and women who have enlisted in the United States armed forces since September 11th, 2001.

More than 7,000 military heroes have laid down their lives since 9/11 to preserve our freedom. No words can express the summit of their glory or the infinite depth of our gratitude. But we will strive every single day to repay our immeasurable debt and prove worthy of their supreme sacrifice.

America will never relent in pursuing terrorists that threaten our people. Less than one year ago, American warriors took out the savage killer and leader of ISIS, Al-Baghdadi. Soon after, our warriors ended the brutal reign of the Iranian butcher who murdered thousands of American service members. The world’s top terrorist, Qasem Soleimani, is dead.

Here in Shanksville, this community locked arms and hearts in the wake of tragedy. With us today is Chuck Wagner, a heavy equipment operator who lives just a few miles away. Very soon after the attack, Chuck helped search for the black box. He was so changed by what he experienced that he joined with several members of his church to become what they call “Ambassadors” for the 40 men and women on Flight 93.

Chuck and his neighbors learned about each person, cared for their families, and each day, rain or shine, they took shifts standing vigil over their final resting place.

Long before this place was a national memorial, back when it was marked by a simple wooden cross, Chuck and his fellow Ambassadors were always here waiting to tell visitors about those we lost. Nineteen years later, Chuck says his life is devoted to three things: his family, his church, and preserving the memory of the men and women of Flight 93.

To Chuck, his wife Jayne — (applause) — thank you very much. Thank you very much. To Chuck and his wife Jayne, thank you so much for being here. And to the over 40 Ambassadors with us today, please stand and receive America’s thanks. And this is a very deep thanks. Please. (Applause.) Thank you very much.

Also with us is Marine veteran Jason Thomas, from Long Island. On September 11th, Jason had just retired from the Marines. But he immediately put back on his uniform and raced into the nightmare of ash and debris. At Ground Zero, he found a fellow Marine, Dave Karnes. Together, they began to call out: “United States Marines! United States Marines! If you can hear us, yell, tap. Do whatever you can do. We’re the United States Marines.” Soon they heard a shout for help. Two police officers were trapped beneath 20 feet of rubble. Jason and Dave dug for hours on end knowing that, at any moment, the wreckage could come down on them, crushing them alive. At one point, someone told Jason to stop. Jason replied, “I’m a Marine. I don’t go back. I go forward.”

That day, Jason helped save the lives of those two officers. For years, Jason said nothing about what he did on 9/11. He did not even tell his five children. But when he saw the rescue recounted on TV, he decided to meet those officers. One of them gave him a gift: a steel cross made from a beam that Jason helped lift to free them from the hell on Earth.

As Jason said about the cross, “It means a lot. It’s a symbol of what we are as Americans. Because that day, we all came together and stood as a nation, as Americans. It didn’t matter what race you were, what religion you were. It didn’t matter. We all came together to help one another. I’d die for this country. I’d die for this country.”

Jason, thank you very much for bearing witness to the character of our nation. Jason, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you, Jason.

The men and women of Flight 93 were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives. Nothing could have prepared them for the dreadful events of that morning. But when the moment came, when history called, they did not hesitate, they did not waver. Forty towering patriots rose up, took charge, made their stand, turned the tide, and changed the course of history forever.

Our sacred task, our righteous duty, and our solemn pledge is to carry forward the noble legacy of the brave souls who gave their lives for us 19 years ago. In their memory, we resolve to stand united as one American nation, to defend our freedoms, to uphold our values, to love our neighbors, to cherish our country, to care for our communities, to honor our heroes, and to never, ever forget.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the heroes of Flight 93. God bless all of the families. 9/11 — we’ll never forget. God bless you all, and God bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 10:37 A.M. EDT

Powerful Speech – President Trump and First Lady Melania Remember 9/11 – Flight 93 Observance, Shanksville PA – Video and Transcript… — The Last Refuge

Academy Strips ‘Schindler’s List’ Of Best Picture Award Due To Lack Of Diversity — The Babylon Bee

BEVERLY HILLS, CA—The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has stripped Schindler’s List of its Best Motion Picture award for not having enough LGBTQ+ characters, people of color, and other oppressed groups.

Schindler’s List would have been a great movie if it just had a dozen transgendered characters,” said Le’Jon de Froofroo, spokesperson for the Academy. “As it is, there are just a bunch of Jews and Germans — very privileged races.”

“Also, the movie has Nazis — this is the current year, for goodness’ sake!”

Steven Spielberg has been ordered by the Academy to re-release the film with an unnecessary LGBTQ+ side plot, a gay roommate for Schindler, and a song and dance number set to a Lady Gaga song over the end credits if he wishes to re-earn the Academy Award. Otherwise, it will be re-awarded to Brokeback Mountain.

This is just the first Oscar winner to be stripped of its award, as the Academy has plans to strip the award from over 95% of the winners and give them all to Brokeback Mountain

Academy Strips ‘Schindler’s List’ Of Best Picture Award Due To Lack Of Diversity — The Babylon Bee