Daily Archives: October 9, 2020

October 9th The D. L. Moody Year Book


He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be My son.—Revelation 21:7.

AFTER the Chicago fire I met a man who said,

“Moody, I hear you lost everything in the Chicago fire.”

“Well,” I said, “you understood it wrong; I didn’t.”

He said, “How much have you left?”

“I can’t tell you; I have got a good deal more left than I lost.”

“You can’t tell how much you have?”


“I didn’t know that you were ever that rich. What do you mean?”

“I mean just what I say. I got my old Bible out of the fire; that is about the only thing. One promise came to me that illuminated the city a great deal more than the fire did. ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’ ”

You ask me how much I am worth. I don’t know. You may go and find out how much the Vanderbilts are worth, and the Astors, and Rothschilds, but you can’t find out how much a child of God is worth. Why? Because he is a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.

Why are you going around with your head down, talking about your poverty? The weakest, poorest child of God is richer than a Vanderbilt, because he has eternal riches. The stuff that burned up in Chicago was like the dust in the balance. Joint-heir with Jesus Christ! That is what the eighth of Romans teaches us.[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.) (pp. 178–179). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

October 9 Life-Changing Moments With God


You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful.

Lord God, You are not slack concerning Your promise, as some count slackness, but are longsuffering toward me, not willing that I should perish but that I should come to repentance. Your longsuffering is salvation.

Paul said that he obtained mercy, so that in him first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Whatever things were written before were written for my learning, that I through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Lord God, do I despise the riches of Your goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that Your goodness leads me to repentance? I rend my heart, and not my garments; I return to You, Lord God, for You are gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and You relent from doing harm.

Loving people with Your love, Lord, means extending the kind of patience, kindness, forgiveness, and grace that You have extended to me. Enable me to love like that.

Nehemiah 9:17; 2 Peter 3:9; 2 Peter 3:15; 1 Timothy 1:16; Romans 15:4; Romans 2:4; Joel 2:13[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 304). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 9, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Promise of Eternal Blessing

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself. (2:11–13)

A fourth motivation for faithfulness to Christ is the promise of eternal blessing.

Paul uses the phrase It is a trustworthy statement five times in the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus), but it is found nowhere else in the New Testament. He seems to have used it to introduce a truth that was axiomatic, a truism in the early church that was commonly known and believed. The long sentence beginning For if we died with Him and continuing through verse 13 may have been used as a creed in the early church. Its parallelism and rhythm suggest that these two verses (like 1 Timothy 3:16) may have been sung as a hymn, and it is for that reason that some Greek texts and several modern translations set it in verse form.

If we died with Him may refer to the spiritual death of which Paul speaks in Romans. “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death,” he explains, “in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, … for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Rom. 6:4–5, 7–8).

But the context of 2 Timothy 2:11 seems to suggest that Paul here has martyrdom in mind. In that case, if someone has sacrificed his life for Christ, that is, has died with Him, that martyrdom gives evidence that he had spiritual life in Him and will live with Him throughout eternity. The martyr’s hope is eternal life after death.

In the same way, if we endure persecution and hostility without being killed, we give evidence that we truly belong to Christ and that we shall also, therefore, reign with Him. That is also the hope of believers who live in difficulty—the eternal kingdom. Basileuō means literally to rule as a king (basileus). The verb here is the compound sumbasileuō, which means to reign with. The other side of that truth is that those who do not endure give equally certain evidence that they do not belong to Christ and will not reign with Him.

Although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,” Paul explained to believers at Colossae, “yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister” (Col. 1:21–23). Only if Christ is Lord of a life, can He present that life before His Father “holy and blameless and beyond reproach.” The only life that can endure is an obedient life. A life that will not serve Him will never reign with Him.

Jesus promised the Twelve, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28; cf. Luke 22:29–30). Believers also have positions of authority in the millennial kingdom, as 1 Corinthians 6:2–3 indicates: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life?” (1 Cor. 6:2–3). Speaking of all Christians in the final glory, Paul declared, “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

To endure, or persevere, with Christ does not protect salvation, which is eternally secured when a person trusts in Him as Savior and Lord. We can no more ensure salvation by our own efforts or power than we first gained it by our own efforts or power.

The next two conditions and promises are negative and are parallel, at least in form, to the preceding positive ones.

First, Paul says, If we deny Him, that is, Jesus Christ, He also will deny us. The Greek verb rendered deny is in the future tense, and the clause is therefore more clearly rendered, “If we ever deny Him” or “If in the future we deny Him.” It looks at some confrontation that makes the cost of confessing Christ very high and thereby tests one’s true faith. A person who fails to endure and hold onto his confession of Christ will deny Him, because he never belonged to Christ at all. “Anyone who … does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). Those who remain faithful to the truth they profess give evidence of belonging to God.

“What about Peter’s denial?” we may ask. “Can a true believer deny the Lord?” (cf. Matt. 26:69–75; Mark 14:66–72; Luke 22:54–62; John 18:16, 25–27). Obviously believers like Peter can fall into temporary cowardice and fail to stand for the Lord. We all do it in various ways when we’re unwilling to openly declare our love for Christ in a given situation.

Confronted by the cost of discipleship, Peter was facing just such a test as Paul had in mind. Did he thereby evidence a lack of true saving faith? His response to the denial, going out and weeping bitter tears of penitence (Matt. 26:75), and the Lord’s restoration of him in Galilee (John 21:15–17) lead one to conclude that Peter was truly justified, though obviously not yet fully sanctified. And until Pentecost, Peter did not have the fulness of the Holy Spirit. After the Spirit came to live in him in New Covenant fullness, however, his courage, boldness, and willingness to face any hostility became legendary (cf. Acts 1:5, 8; 2:4, 14–36; 3:1–6, 12–26; 4:1–4, 8–13, 19, 21, 31). Peter died a martyr, just as Jesus had foretold he would—faithful in the face of execution for his Lord (John 21:18–19). Tradition holds that, by his own request, he was crucified upside down, because he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.

So perhaps the answer to the issue of Peter’s denial is that his was a momentary failure, followed by repentance. He did not as yet have the fullness of the Spirit, but during the rest of this life after Pentecost he boldly confessed Christ, even when it cost him his life.

Jesus Himself gave the sobering warning, “Whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33). There is a settled, final kind of denial that does not repent and thereby evidences an unregenerate heart. After the lame man was healed near the Beautiful gate of the temple, Peter testified to the seriousness of denying Christ. “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus,” he said, “the one whom you delivered up, and disowned [denied] in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned [denied] the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses” (Acts 3:13–15).

The most dangerous of those who deny Christ are “false teachers … who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them” (2 Peter 2:1). They are, in fact, no less than antichrists. To those who claim to belong to God as Father without belonging to Christ as His Son, John unequivocally says, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:22–23).

In the present text, however, Paul’s warning could include those who once claimed Christ but later deny Him when the cost of discipleship becomes too high. Such were the “disciples [who] withdrew and were not walking with Him [Jesus] anymore” (John 6:66). It is about such false Christians that the writer of Hebrews says: “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame” (Heb. 6:4–6).

Later in 2 Timothy, Paul describes such false Christians as “lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (3:2–5). In his letter to Titus, he says of such people that “they profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16). Continual disobedience inevitably confirms faithlessness by eventuating in denial.

The second negative condition and promise are: If we are faithless, Christ remains faithful. In this context, apisteō (are faithless) means lack of saving faith, not merely weak or unreliable faith. The unsaved ultimately deny Christ, because they never had faith in Him for salvation. But He remains faithful, not only to those who believe in Him but to those who do not, as here. God’s divine assurance to save “whoever believes in Him [Christ]” (John 3:16) is followed almost immediately by another divine assurance that “he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). Just as Christ will never renege on His promise to save those who trust in Him, He also will never renege on His promise to condemn those who do not. To do otherwise would be to deny Himself, which His righteous and just nature cannot allow Him to do.

It was on the basis of Christ’s absolute faithfulness that Paul declared earlier in this letter, “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). It was on that basis that the writer of Hebrews admonished, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,” and then exulted, “for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).[1]

11 “If we died with him, we will also live with him.” The language and thought is thoroughly Pauline, resembling especially Romans 6:8: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (cf. 6:5; Gal 2:20). In light of these parallels, “died with him” likely refers to the believer’s spiritual union with Christ rather than to martyrdom (cf. Knight, 403), though readiness for martyrdom may be implied on a secondary level. Likewise, “live with him” does not refer primarily to the believer’s eternal state but his present possession of spiritual life (cf. Knight, 404).[2]

11 As we approach what appears to be a theological affirmation, it is important to bear in mind that we are still in the midst of a section of parenesis. The theological material that follows in vv. 11–13 is both supportive and illustrative of the command “remember” given in v. 8. Although Timothy (and other readers/hearers) could deduce from the command and the descriptions of Jesus and Paul where the instructions were headed, this insertion of theological affirmations makes the obligation to join in suffering impossible to miss and too serious to dismiss. Before we examine the contents and their implications, however, some matters of structure and logic need to be considered.

The introductory phrase “here is a trustworthy saying” calls attention to the authority and possibly traditional character of the material about to be rehearsed by (see 1 Tim 1:15 Excursus). Assuming the formula is meant as a preface, its relation to the lines that follow is loose (cf. 1 Tim 4:9), and its effect within the flow of the passage is abrupt and thus more emphatic. The first line of the “saying” is connected to what precedes with the conjunction gar (“For if we died with him …”);  the connection thus forms a logic that bypasses the introductory formula, and suggests that the series of conditional statements (vv. 11b–13) draws out the ethical implications of vv. 8–10 (or some part thereof).

Some of the material in vv. 11b–13 does reflect the influence of traditional sources (see below), but it has all the marks of having been shaped by Paul for insertion here: (1) the compound form of the verb “died with” Corresponds closely to the “participation in suffering” motif already established and expressed with the similar compound “suffer with” (2:3; 1:8); (2) the vocabulary is typical of the letters to Timothy; and (3) the resonance of the two parts of the passage (vv. 8–10 and vv. 11b–13) and of vv. 11b–13 to the rest of the letter is manifest. All of this is simply to say that while Paul gives the contents of the faithful saying a “formulated,” symmetrical look, it is more because of the rhetorical role it plays within this passage than because he is citing a well-known piece verbatim.

The Greek connective intends to link vv. 11b–13 with what has gone before, in order to ground the parenetic illustrations (Jesus and Paul) and the model of suffering and endurance in well-known, accepted theological affirmations and warnings. The extent of the preceding material grounded in this way is also debated. But whether we take vv. 11b–13 to be providing a basis for all of vv. 8–10 or just v. 10a, we have already seen how vv. 8–10 form a complex unity, so that v. 10a cannot be easily divided from the preceding; indeed, if we disconnect the command to “remember” (v. 8a) from the illustrations and rationale that follow (vv. 8b–10), the exhortatory nature of the teaching is lost. Paul is not inserting the traditional material simply to remind himself why he “endures” (v. 10a), but to provide a theological basis for the behavior Timothy must seek to emulate.

Paul’s symmetrical presentation of the material in vv. 11b–13 gives it rhetorical impact and gravity. Four conditional statements (“if—then”) are made in succession, with only the final condition departing from the form in that it supplies a reason for the apodosis (the “then” phrase). The form is similar to 1 Cor 15:12–19, in which a forceful argument is mounted by means of a succession of conditional statements. Johnson compares the function of the statements made here with “sentences of holy law” that emphatically reminded readers that human actions call forth appropriate divine responses. In combination with the solemn introductory formula, this genre emphasizes the certainty of the promises and warnings spelled out for Timothy.

The first line of the material enters the mysterious region of “dying and rising” with Christ: “If we died with [him], we will also live with [him].” The carefully balanced compound verbs of each half of the condition (“died with,” “will live with”) require the inclusion of the implied participant, which, as v. 8 (as well as the tradition) makes manifest, is Jesus Christ. In fact within the broader section, this line forms an interpretive link with the statement about Jesus Christ’s resurrection in v. 8; i.e. it points to the promise of vindication that Paul wants Timothy to associate closely with the reality of Christian suffering. Strengthening these connections is the conscious interplay of this line with the parallel statement in Rom 6:8 (“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that”) with which Timothy (and, in some form or another, probably any Pauline community) was almost certainly familiar (Rom 16:21). The meaning of the line hinges on the answers to two questions.

The initial verb means “to die with [someone].” It has been taken in two senses. First, in the present context, where Paul’s suffering has been a focal point (vv. 9–10) and Timothy is called to follow in that pattern (2:3; 1:8, 12; 4:5), it has been popular to understand the verb to refer to a martyr’s death. Typically, this teaching is seen as a post-Pauline application of the Romans passage, which is designed to present Paul here as the martyr whose martyrdom is then elevated to a central place within the gospel. But the past tense of the verb and the time sequence from the first to second lines (past—present) speak against this interpretation and suggest instead a metaphorical “death with Christ.”49 This is not to say that death may not accompany the one who “endures” in the gospel ministry (in fact that possibility is very much in view), but the thought of martyrdom (or the canonization of Paul’s death) as such is not in this text. It is far more likely that the thought of Rom 6:8 is a better guide to the sense intended here. There, Paul introduces the idea of “death with Christ” (as a past act, aorist) as a way of identifying the symbolic significance of the baptism-initiation-conversion experience. The aorist tense of the verb in the present text corresponds equally to a past event such as entrance into the faith and the community initiatory event of baptism that signifies participation in Christ’s death to sin (Rom 6:6, 7, 12).

As in Rom 6:8, death with Christ is followed by the promise of life with him. For this the antonym of the preceding verb (in future tense) gives the sense “we will live with [him].” The second question involves the time reference in the future tense—whether it refers solely to the eschatological future,51 or also includes the believer’s present experience “in Christ,” as in Rom 6:8. With the thought of Christ’s vindication/resurrection in mind as a model for Timothy (v. 8), the eschatological aspect of this promise is probably uppermost in mind, though this accent need not exclude the implicit understanding that present Christian living is “union with Christ” in his death and resurrection. Nevertheless, the requirements of the parenesis determine the emphasis on the certainty of resurrection as a solid foundation for Timothy’s present endurance; moreover, the “futurity” of this promise’s full realization may have served as an antidote to the misconceptions surrounding resurrection being spread by the false teachers (2:18). The first line of the saying portrays the entire scope of Christian existence, from conversion to glorification, in terms of “dying and rising” with Christ.[3]

2:11–13 / As a way of wrapping up this segment of the argument (appeal), and thereby reinforcing the appeal itself (which now includes God’s people), Paul “cites” a fifth (and last) trustworthy (“faithful”) saying. On the formula itself, see the discussion on 1 Timothy 1:15 (cf. 1 Tim. 3:1; 4:10; Titus 3:8).

Because the saying in this instance begins with a connective gar (“for,” untranslated in the niv), some have argued that the saying is actually verse 8 or 10 or that logos does not mean saying here but refers back to God’s word in verse 9 or that the “for” was an original part of a borrowed saying that was thus incorporated by Paul, but without meaning for the present context. However, the rhythmic balance of the four lines that follow gives them the clear character of a “saying” (perhaps an early Christian poem or hymn, more likely from Paul himself or from his churches). The gar is probably explanatory—and thus intentional—but does not refer to this is a trustworthy saying. Rather it goes back to all of the appeal in verses 1–10. “Take your share of suffering,” Paul says; “keep in mind your risen Lord,” he further reminds him, “because if we have died with him, we shall also live with him,” and so on.

The poetic nature of the saying can be easily seen. It is a quatrain of conditional sentences. Each protasis (“if”-clause) deals with the believers’ actions (all in the first person plural, the language of confession); each apodosis (“then”-clause) gives the results in terms of Christ, with the final apodosis having an additional explanatory coda. It may be that couplets are intended, since the first two lines deal with positive actions and the second two with negative. However, there is also a progression of tenses (past, present, future) and ideas in the first three lines, whereas the final line exhibits some remarkable shifts (both verbs are present; no also in the apodosis; a surprising turn to the apodosis).

The most likely interpretation of the first three lines is that they progress from Christian conversion (line 1) through perseverance and its eschatological prize (line 2) to a warning about the dire consequences of apostasy (line 3). Although there are considerable differences among scholars about line 4, it probably responds to line 3 as a word of hope. Our faithfulness or disloyalty cannot alter the greater reality of Christ’s faithfulness (to us, being implied).

Before examining each line, one should note that the language and thought of the whole is thoroughly Pauline—to the detail. If he did not compose it, then it was certainly composed in his churches. In the final analysis there is no reason to think that the man who wrote 1 Corinthians 13 and Romans 8:28–39 could not also have written this marvelous piece.

Line 1: If we died with him, we will also live with him. This clearly mirrors Romans 6:8 (cf. Col. 2:20; 3:1), and there is no reason to think that it means anything different here from what it does there. Using baptismal imagery, Paul is reflecting again on Christian conversion as a dying and rising with Christ. The future, we will also live with him, has primarily to do with life in Christ in the present (as it does in Rom. 6:8–11), although such language always has latent in it the thought of the eschatological fulfillment yet to be realized. After all, the present life with him is the result of his resurrection, the primary eschatological event that has already set the future in motion.

In the present context, however, the language of dying and living in Christ is perhaps also to be heard with the broader implications of Christian martyrdom. What was true figuratively at one’s baptism would also be true of a “baptism” of another kind. One might well guess that the implication of this was not lost on Timothy.

Line 2: If we endure, we will also reign with him. This line is the basic reason, along with its warning counterpart in line 3, for citing the saying. It speaks directly to the concern throughout the whole appeal (1:6–2:13) that Timothy remain loyal, even in the face of suffering. The verb to endure, although it clearly implies persevering, is especially used by nt writers of holding one’s ground patiently in trouble or affliction (cf. Mark 13:13; Rom. 12:12). That is certainly the sense here.

The apodosis also speaks directly to the context, namely, the promise of the eschatological victory alluded to in the three analogies in verses 4–6. To reign with Christ is a Pauline way of expressing the “eternal glory” that awaits those who are faithful to the end (cf. 1 Cor. 4:8; cf. also Rev. 3:21).

Line 3: If we disown [lit., “shall disown”] him, he will also disown us. With this line there is a shift to negative actions of believers. The content stands in clear contrast to line 2 as its opposite. Therefore, it also almost certainly presupposes the context of suffering and persecution (i.e., “being ashamed” of Christ in the time of trial). Thus it is both warning—to Timothy and “the elect” (v. 10; hence the future tense) and judgment—on those such as the Asians of 1:15 who have already deserted.

The language of this line precisely reflects the saying of Jesus found in Matthew 10:33 (par. Luke 12:9). Thus the subject in the apodosis changes from “we” to an emphatic he (Gk. demonstrative pronoun, “that one”).

Lines 2 and 3 together, therefore, form the basic reason for the citation: promise and warning attached to a call for endurance in the face of suffering and hardship.

Line 4: If we are faithless, he will remain faithful (cf. Rom. 3:3). This line is full of surprises, and it is also the one for which sharp differences of opinion exist regarding its interpretation. Some see it as a negative, corresponding to line 3. If we are faithless (i.e., if we commit apostasy), God must be faithful to himself and mete out judgment. Although such an understanding is possible, it seems highly improbable that this is what Paul himself intended. After all, that could have been said plainly. The lack of a future verb with the adverb “also,” as well as the fact that God’s faithfulness in the nt is always in behalf of his people, also tend to speak out against this view.

What seems to have happened is that, in a rather typical way (cf., e.g., 1 Cor. 8:3), Paul could not bring himself to finish a sentence as it began. It is possible for us to prove faithless; but Paul could not possibly say that God would then be faithless toward us. Indeed, quite the opposite. If we are faithless (and the context demands this meaning of the verb apistoumen, not “unbelieving,” as kjv, et al.), this does not in any way affect God’s own faithfulness to his people. This can mean either that God will override our infidelity with his grace (as most commentators) or that his overall faithfulness to his gracious gift of eschatological salvation for his people is not negated by the faithlessness of some. This latter seems more in keeping with Paul and the immediate context. Some have proved faithless, but God’s saving faithfulness has not been diminished thereby. So Timothy and the people should continue to endure that they might also reign with him. Thus all four lines cohere as an exposition of “the salvation that comes through Christ Jesus and brings eternal glory” (v. 10).

The final coda simply explains why the final apodosis stands as it does: because he cannot disown himself. To do so would mean that God had ceased to be. Hence eschatological salvation is for Paul ultimately rooted in the character of God.

With this great affirmation, in the context of equally severe warning, this first appeal to loyalty comes to a conclusion. The defections in Asia, the warnings in this text, plus the raising of his sights in verse 10 to include “the elect,” all coalesce to turn Paul’s attention one final time to the false teachers (see 1 Tim. 1:3–11, 18–20; 4:1–5; 6:3–10) and Timothy’s responsibilities (2:14–3:9).[4]

The Song Of The Martyr

2 Timothy 2:11–13

This is a saying which can be relied upon:

If we die with him,

we shall also live with him.

If we endure,

we shall also reign with him.

If we deny him,

he too will deny us.

If we are faithless,

he remains faithful

For he cannot deny himself.

This is A particularly precious passage because in it is enshrined one of the first hymns of the Christian Church. In the days of persecution, the Christian Church put its faith into song. It may be that this is only a fragment of a longer hymn. Polycarp (To the Philippians, 5:2) seems to give us a little more of it when he writes: ‘If we please Christ in the present world, we shall inherit the world to come; as he has promised to raise us from the dead, and has said:

“If we walk worthily of him,

So shall we reign with him.” ’

There are two possible interpretations of the first two lines—‘If we die with him, we shall also live with him.’ There are those who want to take these lines as a reference to baptism. In Romans 6, baptism is likened to dying and rising with Christ. ‘Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.’ ‘But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him’ (Romans 6:4, 6:8). No doubt the language is the same; but the thought of baptism is quite irrelevant here; it is the thought of martyrdom that is in Paul’s mind. Martin Luther, in a great phrase, said: ‘Ecclesia haeres crucis est’, ‘The Church is the heir of the cross.’ Christians inherit Christ’s cross, but they also inherit Christ’s resurrection. They are partners both in the shame and in the glory of their Lord.

The hymn goes on: ‘If we endure, we shall also reign with him.’ It is the one who endures to the end who will be saved. Without the cross, there cannot be the crown.

Then comes the other side of the matter: ‘If we deny him, he too will deny us.’ That is what Jesus himself said: ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven’ (Matthew 10:32–3). Jesus Christ cannot vouch in eternity for someone who has refused to have anything to do with him in time; but he is always true to those who, however much they have failed, have tried to be true to him.

These things are so because they are part of the very nature of God. We may deny ourselves, but God cannot. ‘God is not a human being that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind’ (Numbers 23:19). God will never fail those who have tried to be true to him; but not even he can help someone who has refused to have anything to do with him.

Long ago in the third century, the Church father Tertullian said: ‘The man who is afraid to suffer cannot belong to him who suffered’ (De Fuga, 14). Jesus died to be true to the will of God; and Christians must follow that same will, whatever light may shine or shadow fall.[5]

2:11. This saying is faithful; for,

if we died with him, we shall also live with him …

Paul here introduces one more ‘faithful’ saying (cf. 1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9). These sayings, as we have seen, were commonly-known expressions in the early church. The structure of verses 11b–13 suggests that this was an early church hymn or confession, as does the constant repetition of the pronoun ‘we’. These verses contain four lines, each beginning with a conditional clause (‘if …’). The first three ‘then’ clauses (apodoses, or main clauses), all contain the word ‘also’. The verbs in the ‘if’ clauses move from past to present to future, and back to present again. The fourth and final line contains an added explanatory clause, indicating that it is the climactic thought in the confession. As a whole, this ‘faithful saying’ expounds on the believer’s union with Christ and its results. Paul employs it here no doubt to pick up on the theme of ‘enduring’ from verse 10 and to encourage Timothy and the church to faithfulness.

The word ‘for’ has caused interpreters some consternation and has led many to suggest that the faithful saying is what has just been said and that verses 11–13 are explanatory. But the rhythmic and confessional nature of these verses suggests otherwise. ‘For’ most likely indicates that what follows is the basis for Paul’s earlier instructions to suffer hardship and to endure.

The first line begins, ‘If we died with him …’ Some have taken this as a reference to martyrdom, which would fit the larger context. But the past tense seems to point to the believer’s death with Christ at conversion, sometimes linked to baptism (Gal. 2:19–20; Rom. 6:3–8; 2 Cor. 5:14). The phrase, ‘we shall also live with him’, is difficult to interpret with certainty. It could refer to the believer’s present life ‘in Christ’, or it could refer to future resurrection. Either way, the point is the certainty of new life with Christ, both now and into eternity.[6]

11–13. Let the Reader particularly attend to the statement here made, for it is most blessed. Here is a presupposed case, the child of God is dead with Christ. And so he is. For by regeneration he is brought forth into spiritual life, proving thereby his being chosen in Christ, before the foundation of the world. Ephes. 1:4, 5. And redeemed by Christ, as a member of his mystical body, Ephes. 1:7. And, regenerated by the Holy Ghost, he is quickened to a new and spiritual life in Christ. Hence he is dead with Christ. For when Christ was crucified, all his members were crucified with him. Gal. 2:20. When Christ died; he died, not in a private capacity, but publicly, as the head of his body the Church whom he represented as their Surety; and consequently each member in the eye of the law, died with him. Coloss. 3:3. So that from that moment the whole body of Christ is dead, in a legal sense to a covenant of works. And therefore it must follow, that as in him they were all crucified, and died; so they are equally from their oneness with him, interested in his life. And, oh! what a faithful saying this is?

Some of God’s children have been not a little alarmed, at what is said of the Lord’s denying them if they deny him. As if Christ’s love of his people depended upon their love of him. But blessed be God! our love of Christ forms no standard for his love of us. 1 John 4:19. It is not the weakness and infirmity of Christ’s dear children, in their daily frail and imperfect walk of faith that is here alluded to, which may truly be said to be a denial of Christ. For when I doubt his word, or call his providences or his promises in question, no doubt that these things proceed from unbelief. Such was the case of the Church. Isaiah, 49:14; Lament. 3:18. But this is not the denial the Apostle had in contemplation. The apostacy of hypocrites, and the false profession of those who call themselves christians, which are so only in name, who deny Christ’s Godhead, redemption by his blood, and the works of the Spirit; these, with others of a like nature, are the points Paul had in view, when speaking of the denial of Christ, which calls for his denial of us. And beyond all question, such denials must be followed with destruction. For so Christ hath said. Matt. 10:32, 33; Mark 8:38.

But what a sweet relief is the following verse, to comfort the feeble minded who would rather die than intentionally deny Christ: If we believe not yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. Reader! cherish the blessed assurance, for it is most blessed. God’s faithfulness doth not depend upon man’s belief. His yea, and Amen, are founded in himself, and not in our improvement. It is indeed blessed and refreshing to the soul, when a regenerated child of God enjoys those love-tokens of God in Christ, by the lively actings of faith upon him. But the Lord’s grace is not founded in human merit; and therefore depends not upon human improvement. Oh! the preciousness of an unchangeable God’s purposes in Christ. Jer. 32:40; Heb. 6:16, to the end.[7]

Ver. 11.—Faithful is the saying for it is a faithful saying, A.V.; died for be dead, A.V. Died; i.e. in baptism (Rom. 6:8), as denoted by the aorist. But the death with Christ in baptism is conceived of as carrying with it, as a consequence, the daily death of which St. Paul speaks so often (Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 15:31; 2 Cor. 4:10), as well as the death to sin.[8]

11. A faithful saying. He makes a preface to the sentiment which he is about to utter; because nothing is more opposite to the feeling of the flesh, than that we must die in order to live, and that death is the entrance into life; for we may gather from other passages, that Paul was wont to make use of a preface of this sort, in matters of great importance, or hard to be believed.

If we die with him, we shall also live with him. The general meaning is, that we shall not be partakers of the life and glory of Christ, unless we have previously died and been humbled with him; as he says, that all the elect were “predestinated that they might be conformed to his image.” (Rom. 8:29.) This is said both for exhorting and comforting believers. Who is not excited by this exhortation, that we ought not to be distressed on account of our afflictions, which shall have so happy a result? The same consideration abates and sweetens all that is bitter in the cross; because neither pains, nor tortures, nor reproaches, nor death ought to be received by us with horror, since in these we share with Christ; more especially seeing that all these things are the forerunners of a triumph.

By his example, therefore, Paul encourages all believers to receive joyfully, for the name of Christ, those afflictions in which they already have a taste of future glory. If this shocks our belief, and if the cross itself so overpowers and dazzles our eyes, that we do not perceive Christ in them, let us remember to present this shield. “It is a faithful saying.” And, indeed, where Christ is present, we must acknowledge that life and happiness are there. We ought, therefore, to believe firmly, and to impress deeply on our hearts, this fellowship, that we do not die apart, but along with Christ, in order that we may afterwards have life in common with him; that we suffer with him, in order that we may be partakers of his glory. By death he means all that outward mortification of which he speaks in 2 Cor. 4:10.[9]

11. Another trustworthy saying is added at this juncture, at least if we follow the majority of commentators and attach the formula to what follows. Some have attempted to apply it to the antecedent passage but not convincingly (see Spicq for details). There is so marked a rhythmic pattern in the words that follow, that it must be considered more natural to attach the formula to verses 11–13. A difficulty occurs in the inclusion in the first line of the conjunction gar (for), which niv and rsv It would seem that some back reference is involved, but the explanation may be that part only of the original hymn has been preserved, and that the antecedent is therefore now lost. Most scholars agree that the words here are derived from a Christian hymn, although there is dispute among some scholars whether all of the words are authentic. Since the words form a rhythmic pattern there is no reason to regard them as anything other than a unity.

The connection of thought between the hymn and the preceding passage may possibly be found in the idea of glory. There are great things to look forward to in Christian experience even if hardship is the present lot. Some have seen in this hymn an encouragement to martyrdom (cf. Bernard), but the alternative view which holds that ‘baptismal death’ is in mind is much more likely (cf. Jeremias). This is confirmed by the close connection between this passage and Romans 6:8, in which baptism is used to illustrate the union between the exalted Lord and the believer. The idea is therefore in complete accord with Pauline thought, and seems to be brought in here to illustrate the worthwhileness of enduring everything for the sake of the elect (verse 10).

The tense of the verb translated we died with him (synapothnēskō) indicates that a past event is in view; and if this event was the moment of baptism, the apostle is reminding himself and Timothy of that experience of identification with Christ which forms the basis of Christian living and hence of Christian courage and endurance.[10]

Our common Christian experience (verses 11–13)

Paul now quotes a current saying or fragment of an early Christian hymn which he pronounces reliable. It consists of two pairs of epigrams, which are general axioms of Christian life and experience. They apply equally to all believers. The first pair relates to those who remain true and endure, the second pair to those who become false and faithless.

‘If we have died with him, we shall also live with him;

if we endure, we shall also reign with him’ (11b, 12a).

The death with Christ which is here mentioned must refer, according to the context, not to our death to sin through union with Christ in his death, but rather to our death to self and to safety, as we take up the cross and follow Christ. The former Paul describes in Romans 6:3 (‘do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?’); the latter he expresses both in 1 Corinthians 15:31 (‘I die every day’) and in 2 Corinthians 4:10 (‘always carrying in the body the death of Jesus’). That this is the meaning in the hymn fragments seems plain from the fact that to ‘have died with Christ’ and to ‘endure’ are parallel expressions.

So the Christian life is depicted as a life of dying, a life of enduring. Only if we share Christ’s death on earth, shall we share his life in heaven. Only if we share his sufferings and endure, shall we share his reign in the hereafter. For the road to life is death, and the road to glory suffering (cf. Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 4:17).

‘If we deny him, he also will deny us;

if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself’ (12b, 13).

This other pair of epigrams envisages the dreadful possibility of our denying Christ and proving faithless. The first phrase ‘if we deny him, he also will deny us’ seems to be an echo of our Lord’s own warning: ‘whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven’ (Mt. 10:33).

What then of the second phrase ‘if we are faithless, he remains faithful’? It has often been taken as a comforting assurance that, even if we turn away from Christ, he will not turn away from us, for he will never be faithless as we are. And it is true, of course, that God never exhibits the fickleness or the faithlessness of man. Yet the logic of the Christian hymn, with its two pairs of balancing epigrams, really demands a different interpretation. ‘If we deny him’ and ‘if we are faithless’ are parallels, which requires that ‘he will deny us’ and ‘he remains faithful’ be parallels also. In this case his ‘faithfulness’ when we are faithless will be faithfulness to his warnings. As William Hendriksen puts it: ‘Faithfulness on his part means carrying out his threats … as well as his promises.’1 So he will deny us, as the earlier epigram asserts. Indeed, if he did not deny us (in faithfulness to his plain warnings), he would then deny himself. But one thing is certain about God beyond any doubt or uncertainty whatever, and that is ‘he cannot deny himself’.

The idea that there may be something which God ‘cannot’ do is entirely foreign to some people. Can he not do anything and everything? Are not all things possible to him? Is he not omnipotent? Yes, but God’s omnipotence needs to be understood. God is not a totalitarian tyrant that he should exercise his power arbitrarily and do absolutely anything whatsoever. God’s omnipotence is the freedom and the power to do absolutely anything he chooses to do. But he chooses only to do good, only to work according to the perfection of his character and will. God can do everything consistent with being himself. The one and only thing he cannot do, because he will not, is to deny himself or act contrary to himself. So God remains for ever himself, the same God of mercy and of justice, fulfilling his promises (whether of blessing or of judgment), giving us life if we die with Christ and a kingdom if we endure, but denying us if we deny him, just as he warned, because he cannot deny himself.

Looking back over the first half of this chapter (verses 1 to 13), the apostle Paul seems to have been hammering home a single lesson. From secular analogy (soldiers, athletes, farmers) and from spiritual experience (Christ’s, his own, every Christian’s) he has been insisting that blessing comes through pain, fruit through toil, life through death, and glory through suffering. It is an invariable law of Christian life and service.

So why should we expect things to be easy for us or promise an easy time to others? Neither human wisdom nor divine revelation gives us such an expectation. Why then do we deceive ourselves and others? The truth is the reverse, namely ‘no pains, no gains’ or ‘no cross, no crown’.

It is this principle which took Jesus Christ through a lowly birth and a shameful death to his glorious resurrection and heavenly reign. It is this principle which had brought Paul his chains and prison cell, in order that the elect might obtain salvation and glory. It is the same principle which makes the soldier willing to endure hardship, the athlete discipline and the farmer toil. It would be ridiculous, therefore, to expect our Christian life and service to cost us nothing.

In the second part of 2 Timothy 2 (verses 14–26), Paul continues his vivid portrayal of Timothy in his role of teaching and transmitting the faith, and therefore by derivation of every Christian minister, teacher or worker. He now uses three more metaphors—the ‘workman who has no need to be ashamed’ (15), the ‘vessel for noble use’ (21) and ‘the Lord’s servant’ (24). Each adds a further feature to the portrait.[11]

Vers. 11, 12 If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.

Union with Christ in death and life:—I. The first branch of this “faithful saying” is, “If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.” There seem to be two ways chiefly in which the soul “is dead with Christ.” If we look at the operation of the law as a manifestation of the justice of God, the law was the cause of the death of Christ—that is to say, the law being broken by the Church in whose place Christ stood, He, as a Substitute and a Surety, stood under its curse, and that curse was death. If, then, we are to die with Christ, we must die under the law just as Jesus died under the law, or else there is no union with Christ in His death. But further, Christ died under the weight of sin and transgression. Every living soul then that shall die with Christ spiritually and experimentally, must die too under the weight of sin—that is, he must know what it is so to experience the power and presence of sin in his carnal mind, so to feel the burden of his iniquities upon his guilty head, and to be so overcome and overpowered by inward transgression, as to be utterly helpless, and thoroughly unable to deliver himself from the dominion and rule of it in his heart. But there is another way in which the soul dies with Christ. Christ not only died under the law and died under sin, but He died unto the law, and He died unto sin. But in living with Christ, there will be, if I may use the expression, a dying life, or a living death, running parallel with all the experience of a child of God, who is brought to some acquaintance with the Lord Jesus. For instance, the apostle says, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” II. But we go on to consider another branch of this vital union with Christ. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” There can be no suffering with Christ, until there is a vital union with Christ; and no realisation of it, until the Holy Ghost manifests this vital union by making Christ known, and raising up faith in our hearts, whereby He is embraced and laid hold of. And there is no “reigning with Christ,” except there first be a “suffering with Christ.” I believe that reigning not only signifies a reigning with Him in glory hereafter, but also a measure of reigning with Him now, by His enthroning Himself in our hearts. III. “If we deny Him, He also will deny us,” that is the next branch. The words have a twofold meaning; they apply to professors, and they apply to possessors. There were those in the Church who would deny Him, for there were those who never knew Him experimentally, and when the trial came, they would act as Judas acted. And then there were those who were real followers of Him, but when put to the test might act as Peter acted. (J. C. Philpot.)

Christ and the Christian:—In matters of great worth and difficulty prefaces are used: so here. Whence observe we, that—

  1. Afflictions are not easy to be endured,
  2. God’s Word is faithful.

III. Christ and a Christian are fellow-sufferers.

  1. Christ and a Christian shall live together. (J. Barlow, D.D.)

Dead with Christ:—In the fourth century a young earnest disciple sought an interview with the great and good Macarius, and asked him what was meant by being dead to sin. He said, “You remember our brother who died and was buried a short time since. Go to his grave, and tell him all the unkind things you ever heard of him. Go, my son, and hear what he will answer.” The young man doubted whether he understood; but Macarius only said, “Do as I tell you, my son; and come and tell me what he says.” He went, and came back, saying, “I can get no reply; he is dead.” “Go again, and try him with flattering words—tell him what a great saint he was, what noble work he did, and how we miss him; and come again and tell me what he says.” He did so, but on his return said, “He answers nothing, father; he is dead and buried.” “You know now, my son,” said the old father, “what it is to be dead to sin, dead and buried with Christ. Praise and blame are nothing to him who is really dead and buried with Christ.” (Christian Herald.)

Dead with Christ:—“Believe, my dear Pris, what I am just beginning to learn, and you knew long ago, that the death of Christ is far, very far, more than a mere peace-making, though that view of it is the root of every other. But it is actually and literally the death of you and me and the whole human race; the absolute death and extinction of all our selfishness and individuality. So St. Paul describes it in Rom. 6 and in every one of his Epistles. Let us believe, then, what is the truth and no lie—that we are dead, actually, absolutely dead; and let us believe further that we are risen and that we have each a life, our only life, a life not of you nor me, but a universal life—in Him. He will live in us and quicken us with all life and all love; will make us understand the possibility, and, as I am well convinced, experience the reality, of loving God and loving our brethren.” (F. D. Maurice to his sister.)

Suffering and reigning with Jesus:

  1. Suffering with Jesus, and its reward. To suffer is the common lot of all men. It is not possible for us to escape from it. We come into this world through the gate of suffering, and over death’s door hangs the same escutcheon. If, then, a man hath sorrow, it doth not necessarily follow that he shall be rewarded for it, since it is the common lot brought upon all by sin. You may smart under the lashes of sorrow in this life, but this shall not deliver you from the wrath to come. The text implies most clearly that we must suffer with Christ in order to reign with Him. 1. We must not imagine that we are suffering for Christ, and with Christ, if we are not in Christ. 2. Supposing a man to be in Christ, yet it does not even then follow that all his sufferings are sufferings with Christ, for it is essential that he be called by God to suffer. If a good man were, out of mistaken views of mortification and self-denial, to mutilate his body, or to flog his flesh, as many a sincere enthusiast has done, I might admire the man’s fortitude, but I should not allow for an instant that he was suffering with Christ. 3. Again, in troubles which come upon us as the result of sin, we must not think we are suffering with Christ. When Miriam spoke evil of Moses, and the leprosy polluted her, she was not suffering for God. When Uzziah thrust himself into the temple, and became a leper all his days, he could not say that he was afflicted for righteousness’ sake. If you speculate and lose your property, do not say that you are losing all for Christ’s sake; when you unite with bubble companies and are duped, do not whine about suffering for Christ—call it the fruit of your own folly. If you will put your hand into the fire and it gets burned, why, it is the nature of fire to burn you or anybody else; but be not so silly as to boast as though you were a martyr. 4. Be it observed, moreover, that suffering such as God accepts and rewards for Christ’s sake, must have God’s glory as its end. 5. I must mind, too, that love to Christ, and love to His elect, is ever the main-spring of all my patience; remembering the apostle’s words, “Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 6. I must not forget also that I must manifest the spirit of Christ, or else I do not suffer with Him. I have heard of a certain minister who, having had a great disagreement with many members in his church, preached from this text, “And Aaron held his peace.” The sermon was intended to pourtray himself as an astonishing instance of meekness; but as his previous words and actions had been quite sufficiently violent, a witty hearer observed, that the only likeness he could see between Aaron and the preacher was this, “Aaron held his peace, and the preacher did not.” I shall now very briefly show what are the forms of real suffering for Jesus in these days. (1) Some suffer in their estates. I believe that to many Christians it is rather a gain than a loss, so far as pecuniary matters go, to be believers in Christ; but I meet with many cases—cases which I know to be genuine, where persons have had to suffer severely for conscience’ sake. (2) More usually, however, the suffering takes the form of personal contempt. (3) Believers have also to suffer slander and falsehood. (4) Then again, if in your service for Christ you are enabled so to sacrifice yourself, that you bring upon yourself inconvenience and pain, labour and loss, then I think you are suffering with Christ. (5) Let us not forget that contention with inbred lusts, denials of proud self, resistance of sin, and agony against Satan, are all forms of suffering with Christ. (6) There is one more class of suffering which I shall mention, and that is, when friends forsake, or become foes. If you are thus called to suffer for Christ, will you quarrel with me if I say, in adding all up, what a very little it is compared with reigning with Jesus! “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” When I contrast our sufferings of to-day with those of the reign of Mary, or the persecutions of the Albigenses on the mountains, or the sufferings of Christians in Pagan Rome, why, ours are scarcely a pin’s prick: and yet what is the reward? We shall reign with Christ. There is no comparison between the service and the reward. Therefore it is all of grace. We are not merely to sit with Christ, but we are to reign with Christ.
  2. Denying Christ, and its penalty. “If we deny Him, He also will deny us,” In what way can we deny Christ? Some deny Him openly as scoffers do, whose tongue walketh through the earth and defieth heaven. Others do this wilfully and wickedly in a doctrinal way, as the Arians and Socinians do, who deny His deity: those who deny His atonement, who rail against the inspiration of His Word, these come under the condemnation of those who deny Christ. There is a way of denying Christ without even speaking a word, and this is the more common. In the day of blasphemy and rebuke, many hide their heads. Are there not here some who have been baptized, and who come to the Lord’s table, but what is their character? Follow them home. I would to God they never had made a profession, because in their own houses they deny what in the house of God they have avowed. In musing over the very dreadful sentence which closes my text, “He also will deny us,” I was led to think of various ways in which Jesus will deny us. He does this sometimes on earth. You have read, I suppose, the death of Francis Spira. If you have ever read it, you never can forget it to your dying day. Francis Spira knew the truth; he was a reformer of no mean standing; but when brought to death, out of fear, he recanted. In a short time he fell into despair, and suffered hell upon earth. His shrieks and exclamations were so horrible that their record is almost too terrible for print. His doom was a warning to the age in which he lived. Another instance is narrated by my predecessor, Benjamin Keach, of one who, during Puritanic times, was very earnest for Puritanism; but afterwards, when times of persecution arose, forsook his profession. The scenes at his deathbed were thrilling and terrible. He declared that though he sought God, heaven was shut against him; gates of brass seemed to be in his way, he was given up to overwhelming despair. At intervals he cursed, at other intervals he prayed, and so perished without hope. If we deny Christ, we may be delivered to such a fate. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Deniers of Christ:

  1. Difficult duties are greatly to be pressed.
  2. To conceive the estate of a Christian is to have an eye to his latter end.

III. God’s method and the devil’s differ. He begins with death, ends with life: but Satan the contrary.

  1. Christ is not to be denied.
  2. The deniers of Christ shall be denied. Helps against this sin—1. Deny thyself. 2. Never dispute with flesh and blood. 3. Look not on death as death: but on God’s power, which is manifest in our weakness. 4. Consider the examples of so many martyrs. (J. Barlow, D.D.)

The encouragement to suffer for Christ, and the danger of denying Him:—“It is a faithful saying.” This is a preface used by this apostle to introduce some remarkable sentence of more than ordinary weight and concernment. I shall begin with the first part of this remarkable saying: “If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” 1. What virtue there is in a firm belief and persuasion of a blessed immortality in another world, to support and bear up men’s spirits under the greatest sufferings for righteousness’ sake; and even to animate them, if God shall call them to it, to lay down their lives for their religion. 2. How it may be made out to be reasonable to embrace and voluntarily to submit to present and grievous sufferings, in hopes of future happiness and reward; concerning which we have not, nor perhaps are capable of having, the same degree of certainty and assurance which we have of the evils and sufferings of this present life. Now, granting that we have not the same degree of certainty concerning our future happiness that we have of our present sufferings, which we feel, or see just ready to come upon us; yet prudence making it necessary for men to run this hazard does justify the reasonableness of it. This I take to be a known and ruled case in the common affairs of life and in matters of temporal concernment; and men act upon this principle every day. The matter is now brought to this plain issue, that if it be reasonable to believe there is a God, and that His providence considers the actions of men; it is also reasonable to endure present sufferings, in hope of a future reward: and there is certainly enough in this case to govern and determine a prudent man that is in any good measure persuaded of another life after this, and hath any tolerable consideration of, and regard to, his eternal interest. In the virtue of this belief and persuasion, the primitive Christians were fortified against all that the malice and cruelty of the world could do against them; and they thought they made a very wise bargain, if through many tribulations they might at last enter into the kingdom of God; because they believed that the joys of heaven would abundantly recompense all their sorrows and sufferings upon earth. And so confident were they of this, that they looked upon it as a special favour and regard of God to them, to call them to suffer for His name. So St. Paul speaks of it (Phil. 1:29). If we could compare things justly, and attentively regard and consider the invisible glories of another world, as well as the things which are seen, we should easily perceive that he who suffers for God and religion does not renounce happiness; but puts it out to interest upon terms of the greatest advantage. I shall now briefly speak to the second part of this remarkable saying in the text. “If we deny Him, He also will deny us”; to which is subjoined in the words following, “if we believe not; εἰ ἀπιστοῦμεν, if we deal unfaithfully with Him; yet He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself”; that is, He will be constant to His word, and make good that solemn threatening which He hath denounced against those who, for fear of suffering, shall deny Him and His truth before men (Matt. 10:33). If fear will move us, then, in all reason, that which is most terrible ought to prevail most with us, and the greatest danger should be most dreaded by us, according to our Saviour’s most friendly and reasonable advice (Luke 12:4, 5.) (J. Tillotson, D.D.) If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.

Suffering with Christ:—In the olden time when the gospel was preached in Persia, one Hamedatha, a courtier of the king, having embraced the faith, was stripped of all his offices, driven from the palace, and compelled to feed camels. This he did with great content. The king passing by one day, saw his former favourite at his ignoble work, cleaning out the camel’s stables. Taking pity upon him he took him into his palace, clothed him with sumptuous apparel, restored him to all his former honours, and made him sit at the royal table. In the midst of the dainty feast, he asked Hamedatha to renounce his faith. The courtier, rising from the table, tore off his garments with haste, left all the dainties behind him, and said, “Didst thou think that for such silly things as these I would deny my Lord and Master?” and away he went to the stable to his ignoble work. How honourable is all this! (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Christ’s martyrs:—Christ’s true martyrs do not die, but live. (E. Thring.)

Ennobled in death:—Henry V. on the evening of Agincourt found the chivalric David Gamm still grasping the banner which through the fight his strength had borne and his right arm defended. Often had the monarch noticed that pennon waving in the foremost van of the men of England who that day pierced, broke, and routed the proud ranks of France. The king knighted him as he lay. The hero died, but dying was ennobled!” (S. Coley.)

Cyril, the boy martyr:—Let me tell you of a young soldier of His, who bore much for his Lord. We must go back to the early days of Christianity, and picture a martyr being led to death in the city of Antioch. At the place of execution is the judge surrounded by a guard of soldiers. The man about to die for his love to his heavenly King says to the judge—“Ask any little child here whether we ought to adore the many false gods whom you serve, or the one living and true God, the only Saviour of men, and that child will tell you.” Close by there stood a Christian mother and her boy of ten years old named Cyril. She had brought her son there to see how a true servant of God could die for his Lord. As the martyr spoke, the judge spied the lad, and asked him a question. To the surprise of all, Cyril answered—“There is but one God, and Jesus Christ is one with Him.” At these words the judge was very angry. “Wretched Christian,” he said, turning to the martyr, “it is thou who hast taught the boy these words.” Then more gently, he said to the child—“Tell me, who taught thee this faith?” Little Cyril looked lovingly up to his mother, and answered, “The grace of God taught my mother, and she taught me.” “Well, we will see what this grace of God can do for thee,” cried the judge. He signed to the guards, who, according to the custom of the Romans, stood with their sheaves of rods. They came near and seized the child. Passionately the mother pleaded that she might give her life for that of her son. But none heeded her entreaties. And all that she could do was to cheer her child, reminding him of the Lord who loved him and died for him. Then cruel strokes fell upon the bare little shoulders of Cyril. In a tone of mocking, the judge said—“What good is the grace of God to him now?” “It can enable him to bear the same punishment which his Saviour bore for him,” answered the mother decidedly. One look from the judge to the soldiers, and again the cruel blows fell on the tender flesh of the boy. “What can the grace of God do for him now?” again asked the pitiless judge. Few of the spectators could hear unmoved the mother, who, with heart bleeding at the sight of her boy’s sufferings, answered—“The grace of God teaches him to forgive his persecutors.” The child’s eyes followed the upward glance of his mother, as she raised her pleading for him in earnest prayer. And when his persecutors asked whether he would not now worship the gods they did, that young soldier answered—“No, there is no other God but the Lord, and Jesus is the Redeemer of the world. He loved me, and I love Him, because He is my Saviour.” Stroke after stroke fell upon the boy, and at last he fell fainting. Then he was handed to his mother, and the question was once more repeated: “What can the grace of God do for him now?” Pressing her dying child to her heart, she answered—“Now above all, the grace of God will bring him gain and glory, for He will take him from the rage of his persecutors to the peace of His own home in heaven.” Once more the dying boy looked up and said, “There is only one God, and one Saviour, Jesus Christ—who—loved—me.” And then the Lord Jesus received him in His arms for evermore. The boy martyr went in to be with his King, that Saviour “who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Suffering for Christ rewarded:—Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, once expressed a desire that his friend Caligula might soon come to the throne. Old Tiberius, the reigning monarch, felt such a wish, however flattering to Caligula, to be so little kindly to himself, that he threw the author of it into a loathsome dungeon. But the very day Caligula reached Imperial power, Agrippa was released. The new emperor gave him purple for his rags, tetrarchies for his narrow cell, and carefully weighing the gyves that fettered him, for every link of iron bestowed on him one of gold. Think you that day Agrippa wished his handcuffs and his leg-locks had been lighter? Will Jesus forget the wellwishers of His kingdom, who, for His sake, have borne the burden and worn the chain? His scales will be forthcoming, and assuredly those faithful in great tribulation shall be beautified with greater glory. (S. Coley.)

Happy ending of a suffering life:—We have sometimes watched a ship entering the harbour with masts sprung, sails torn, seams yawning, bulwarks stove in—bearing all the marks of having battled with the storms, and of having encountered many a peril. On the deck is a crew of worn and weather-beaten men, rejoicing that they have reached the port in safety. Such was the plight in which many believers of old reached the haven of rest. They met with dangers and encountered difficulties. But if their course was toilsome, their end was happy. It was their joy to labour and suffer for their Lord’s sake, and they are now sharing His kingdom and His glory. (Bp. Oxenden.) If we deny Him, He also will deny us.Denying Christ:—There are many ways of denying Christ, both by word and action. We may take the part of His enemies, or ignore His supreme claim to our allegiance; we may transform Him into a myth, a fairy tale, a subjective principle, or find a substitute in our own life for His grace; and we may assume that He is not the ground of our reconciliation, nor the giver of salvation, nor the sole Head of His Church. If so, we may reasonably fear, lest He should refuse to acknowledge us when upon His approval our eternal destiny will turn. (H. R. Reynolds, D.D.)[12]

2:11 “if” This is the last of the five “trustworthy statements” in the Pastoral Letters (cf. 1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; Titus 3:8). This one appears to be a quote from a creed or hymn.

  1. a series of four “if” clauses (FIRST CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCES, cf. vv. 11, 12, 13 twice)
  2. the first two are positive; the last two are negative
  3. the third and fourth clauses have an extra line

© “we died with Him” This is one of several syn compounds in II Timothy. It speaks of the biblical metaphor of baptism by immersion (cf. Rom. 6:1–11; Gal. 2:20). This exact form only occurs here, in Mark 14:31 and 2 Cor. 7:3.

© “we shall live with Him” This is another rare syn compound (cf. Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 7:3). This refers to the believers’ confidence of sustained fellowship with Jesus, not only now by faith but one day (and every day) face to face.

The first three “if” clauses end in FUTURE TENSE VERBS which assume an eschatological (i.e. end time) setting. The entire NT has this same already-but-not-yet tension. The kingdom of God has come (inaugurated) in Jesus but it has not been consummated. Believers experience many aspects of the Kingdom now, but others are reserved for the Second Coming.

© “if we endure” This grammatical construction (FIRST CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE) assumes believers will persevere.[13]

11–13. Accordingly, Paul is willing to endure all things—hardship even to bonds, with the prospect of death—in order that through his steadfast ministry the elect may obtain their full, everlasting, Christ-centered salvation (see verses 3, 9, 10). It is necessary to keep this connection in mind. Otherwise what follows may be misinterpreted.

In harmony with what the apostle has just stated, he now introduces the fourth of five “reliable sayings” (see on 1 Tim. 1:15). The opinion that the lines which he quotes were taken from an early Christian hymn, a cross-bearer’s or martyr’s hymn, is probably correct. It is evident that he does not quote the entire hymn (unless γάρ here is not “for”; but in the present case “for” is probably right). Now, the word “for” indicates that in the hymn something preceded. The probability is that the unquoted line which preceded was something like, “We shall remain faithful to our Lord even to death,” or, “We have resigned ourselves to reproach and suffering and even to death for Christ’s sake.” In either case the next line, the first one quoted by Paul, could then be: “For, if we have died with (him), we shall also live with (him).” Note that this feature of the quotation is similar to that which we encountered in connection with the lines quoted in 1 Tim. 3:16. Also in that case something that was not quoted must have preceded the quoted portion. In that case the line which presumably immediately preceded the beginning of the quotation probably ended with the word Logos or Christos or Theos (see on that passage).

Here in 2 Tim. 2:11–13, after the introductory formula (explained in connection with 1 Tim. 3:16):

Reliable is the saying,

the quoted lines are as follows:

For if we have died with (him), we shall also live with (him);

if we endure, we shall also reign with (him);

if we shall deny (him), he on his part will also deny us;

if we are faithless, he on his part remains faithful.

In the first two lines the if-clause describes the attitude-and action which proceeds from loyalty to Christ: we have died with (him), we endure (remain steadfast). In the last two lines the if-clause describes the attitude-and-action which proceeds from disloyalty.

The first two lines are clearly illustrations of synthetic or constructive parallelism. They do not express an identical thought, but there is progressive correspondence between the two propositions. As to the if-clauses, the persons who are assumed to have died with Christ are also the ones who endure, being faithful to death. And as to the conclusions, not only will such persons live with Christ, but they will also reign with him. These two go together. Note that in all the four clauses of these two lines the subject is we (“we … we …; we … we”).

The last two lines, describing the course of disloyalty, differ in form from the first two. Here we have not “we … we,” but twice “we … he.” In the third line (“If we shall deny him, he on his part will also deny us”), the conclusion is the expected one (just as in lines one and two). In the fourth line, however, the conclusion comes as somewhat of a surprise. It takes careful reflection before we realize that the surprising conclusion is, after all, the only possible one. Once we grasp its meaning, we understand that also lines three and four express a parallel thought, and are illustrations of synthetic parallelism.

Before a detailed analysis of these four lines is attempted, it should be stressed that taken as a whole they convey one main thought, namely, Loyalty to Christ, steadfastness even amid persecution, is rewarded, and disloyalty is punished. This is in harmony with the idea of the entire chapter (see the Outline).

The meaning of the individual lines:

Lines 1 and 2

After the connective “For,” which has been explained, line 1 immediately confronts us with a difficulty. There are two main lines of interpretation—there are also others which we shall pass by because even on the surface they are unreasonable—; and the first of these two main lines is subdivided into two main branches or forms:

The first main line of interpretation, in its first form, is as follows: “If we have (that is, “If we shall have,” or, “If at any time we have”) experienced physical death, having been put to death because of our loyalty to Christ, we shall also live with him in glory.” The reference in the if-clause would then be to a violent death, the kind of death Christ also suffered. In the case of believers this would be the martyr’s death.

This interpretation is surely possible. It does not clash with the context. The apostle desires that Timothy be willing to endure bonds along with other faithful servants of God (verse 3). Paul has just stated that he himself is suffering hardship even to bonds as an evil-doer, and that he endures all things for the sake of the elect (verses 9, 10). All this suffering has been imposed from without. Hence, when now in verse 11 he continues, “For if we have died with (him),” he could well have been thinking of that final form of physical affliction (the martyr’s death) which may at any time be imposed upon Christ’s loyal servants.

It is possible, however, that this interpretation is in need of some modification. This brings us to the second form in which the first main line of interpretation presents itself. Here, too, just as in the first form of this main line, the martyr’s death is in the picture. But according to this view the sense would not be that believers (including Paul and Timothy) are pictured as having at any time already experienced the martyr’s death but rather as being fully resigned to it and to all the afflictions which precede it. Paul then would be saying, “For Christ’s sake and in harmony with his example we have given ourselves up once for all to a life that involves exposure to pain, torture, reproach, and finally to the martyr’s death. We have, accordingly, died to worldly comfort, ease, advantage, and honor. If, then, we have in that sense died with (him), we shall also live with (him), here and now, even more by and by in heavenly glory, and especially after the Judgment Day in the new heaven and earth.” Along this line Calvin, Ellicott, and Van Andel (for titles see Bibliography).

In favor of this interpretation are the following considerations:

(1) This also is not in conflict with the context which, as was noted, describes deprivation to which believers are exposed.

(2) It is in complete harmony with the line which immediately follows, for the person who has given up earthly ambition and has resigned himself for Christ’s sake to reproach, suffering, and if need be to violent death, is the very man who “endures,” that is, who “remains steadfast to the end.”

(3) It is in agreement with Paul’s thought as expressed elsewhere. See especially 2 Cor. 4:10: “always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” With this compare 1 Cor. 15:31, “I die daily” (explained by verse 30: “we stand in jeopardy every hour”).

If this be the correct interpretation—and I believe that it has much in its favor—, the thought which Paul, in quoting from the hymn, is conveying, is the one with which we ourselves are familiar. It has been expressed poetically in the beautiful lines:

“Hence with earthly treasure!

Thou art all my pleasure,

Jesus, all my choice.

Hence, thou empty glory!

Naught to me thy story,

Told with tempting voice.

Pain or loss or shame or cross

Shall not from my Savior move me,

Since he deigns to love me.

Hence, all fear and sadness!

For the Lord of gladness,

Jesus enters in.

Those who love the Father,

Though the storms may gather,

Still have peace within.

Yea, whate’er I here must bear,

Thou art still my purest pleasure,

Jesus, priceless treasure.”

(Johann Frenck, 1653; translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1863)

The interpretation given, in either of its two forms, is surely preferable to the second main line of interpretation, according to which here in 2 Tim. 2:11 the apostle is referring in general (without any reference to the martyr’s death) to the process of dying unto sin, that process of conversion and sanctification which is symbolized by the rite of baptism. This is a very popular view, in support of which an appeal is usually made to the similar-sounding passage, Rom. 6:8.

But the present passage, 2 Tim. 2:11, occurs in an entirely different context. Romans 6 deals, indeed, with “death unto sin.” The theme of the beginning of that chapter is that of spiritual renewal (“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live in it?… Our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed,” etc.) And from verse 10 on to the end of that chapter the word sin (noun or verb) or its synonym occurs in every verse!

Accordingly, the contexts of the two passages (Rom. 6:8; 2 Tim. 2:11) are entirely different. The one deals with sanctification in general; in the other cross-bearing and the martyr’s death are in view.—Things which differ should not be confused!

Line 2 is not difficult once line 1 has been correctly interpreted. It means, “If we remain steadfast to the very end (for the meaning of endurance see N.T.C. on I and II Thessalonians, p. 198), we shall be kings in close association with him.”

If Interpretation 1, Form 1, is adopted, the living and reigning would have to refer solely to the believer’s existence after death. If Interpretation 1, Form 2, is preferred, the living and reigning pertains in principle even to the period before death, but comes to fruition immediately after death (cf. Matt. 10:32; Rev. 20:4), reaching its everlasting climax on and after the Judgment Day, when the saints will live and reign with Christ with respect to both body and soul (Dan. 7:27; Matt. 25:34; Rev. 22:5).

To live with Christ means to be with him, to have fellowship with him, to delight in him, to be like him, to love him, and to glorify him (see, for example, John 17:3; Phil. 2:5; Col. 3:1–4; 1 John 3:2; 5:12; Rev. 14:1; Rev. 19:11, 14; 22:4).

To reign with Christ means to experience in one’s own life the restoration of the royal office. By virtue of creation man held the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. As prophet his mind was illumined so that he knew God. As priest his heart delighted in God. As king his will was in harmony with God’s will. This threefold office, lost through the fall, is restored by God’s grace. The joyful response of the believer’s will to the will of Christ, that response which is true freedom, is the basic element in this reigning with Christ. Moreover, even during the period before death Christians rule the world by means of their prayers, in the sense that again and again judgments occur in answer to prayer (Rev. 8:3–5). In heaven they are even closer to the throne than are the angels (Rev. 4:4; 5:11). In fact, they sit with Christ on his throne (Rev. 3:21), sharing his royal glory. And when Christ returns, the saints sit and judge with him (Ps. 149:5–9; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3).

Lines 3 and 4

Having stated in the first two lines what will happen to those who endure or are willing to endure hardship even to violent death, the last two lines of the quoted portion of the hymn take up the case of those who, having confessed Christ (at least with the lips), become disloyal to him. “If we shall deny (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8) him, he on his part will also deny us.” When a person, because of unwillingness to suffer hardship for the sake of Christ and his cause, disowns the Lord (“I do not know the man!”), then, unless he repents, he will be disowned by the Lord in the great day of judgment (“I do not know you”). See Matt. 26:72; then Matt. 25:12; also Matt. 10:33.

To deny Christ means to be faithless. (The parallelism and also the conclusion—“he … remains faithful”—show that here the meaning of the verb used in the original cannot be: to be unbelieving.) Hence, the hymn continues: “If we are faithless, he on his part …,” but obviously the continuation cannot be “will also be faithless.” One can say, “If we shall deny him, he on his part will also deny us,” but one cannot say, “If we are faithless, he on his part will also be faithless.” Nevertheless, the conclusion of the fourth line corresponds in thought with that of its parallel, the third line; for, the clause “he on his part remains faithful” (line four) is, after all, the same (even more forcefully expressed!) as, “he on his part will also deny us,” for faithfulness on his part means carrying out his threats (Matt. 10:33) as well as his promises (Matt. 10:32)! Divine faithfulness is a wonderful comfort for those who are loyal (1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Thess. 3:3; cf. 1 Cor. 1:9; 10:13; 2 Cor. 1:18; Phil. 1:6; Heb. 10:23). It is a very earnest warning for those who might be inclined to become disloyal.

It is hardly necessary to add that the meaning of the last line cannot be, “If we are faithless and deny him, nevertheless he, remaining faithful to his promise, will give us everlasting life.” Aside from being wrong for other reasons, such an interpretation destroys the evident implication of the parallelism between lines three and four.

The final clause of verse 13 is probably to be regarded as a comment by Paul himself (not a part of the hymn): … for to deny himself he is not able. If Christ failed to remain faithful to his threat as well as to his promise, he would be denying himself, for in that case he would cease to be The Truth. See also Num. 23:10; Jer. 10:10; Titus 1:2; Rev. 3:7. But for him to deny himself is, of course, impossible. If it were possible, he would no longer be God![14]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 2 Timothy (pp. 63–66). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 2 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 577–578). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 506–510). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (pp. 248–251). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Barclay, W. (2003). The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (3rd ed. fully rev. and updated, pp. 189–191). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.

[6] Barcley, W. B. (2005). A Study Commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy (pp. 249–250). Darlington, England; Webster, NY: Evangelical Press.

[7] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s New Testament Commentary: Philippians–Revelation (Vol. 3, pp. 161–162). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Timothy (p. 21). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[9] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 217–218). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[10] Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, pp. 162–163). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[11] Stott, J. R. W. (1973). Guard the Gospel the message of 2 Timothy (pp. 63–65). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[12] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Second Timothy–Titus, Philemon (Vol. 1, pp. 173–178). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[13] Utley, R. J. (2000). Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy (Vol. Volume 9, pp. 149–150). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[14] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Vol. 4, pp. 254–260). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

October 9 – Rise and Shine! — VCY America

October 9
Jeremiah 12:1-14:10
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8
Psalm 79:1-13
Proverbs 24:30-34

Jeremiah 12:1 – This is a continual question of the Old Testament. We’ve seen this with Asaph in Psalm 73.

Jeremiah 12:12 – This is the 5th time the phrase “Sword of the LORD” is found in the Bible. David saw three days of the sword in 1 Chronicles 21:12, and seventy thousand men died in just three days.

Jeremiah 12:16 – Obedience, the universal call of God. Yes, God’s mercy extends even unto pagan nations (Jonah 1:2).

Jeremiah 13:9 – This object lesson is a vivid portrayal of how God marred the pride of Judah. God would later tell how long this judgment would be – Jeremiah 25:11-12, and Jeremiah 29:10 show the seventy years of judgment, that Daniel read about (Daniel 9:2).

Jeremiah 13:23 – Human reform falls short. We can try to change our actions, but only God can change our hearts.

Jeremiah 14:8 – The Saviour stands as a stranger in the land, waiting at the door (Revelation 3:20). The hymn Abide With Me is based on this passage – inviting the Savior to come in. Oscar Eliason also wrote a song based on this verse:

Why should He stand as a stranger

Close to your heart’s bolted door?

Graciously, tenderly, pleading,

Gently He knocks o’er and o’er

Why should He stand as a stranger,

He Who can save you from sin?

Peace to your heart Jesus waits to impart

The moment that you let Him in

Oscar Eliason

1 Thessalonians 1:1 – Welcome to a new epistle! No, the epistles were not the wives of the apostles! Here’s from J. Vernon McGee on 1 Thessalonians:

This wonderful epistle is almost at the end of Paul’s epistles as far as their arrangement in the New Testament is concerned. However, it was actually the first epistle that Paul wrote. It was written by Paul in A.D. 52 or 53.

Thessalonica was a Roman colony. Rome had a somewhat different policy with their captured people from what many other nations have had. For example, it seems that we try to Americanize all the people throughout the world, as if that would be the ideal. Rome was much wiser than that. She did not attempt to directly change the culture, the habits, the customs, or the language of the people whom she conquered. Instead, she would set up colonies which were arranged geographically in strategic spots throughout the empire. A city which was a Roman colony would gradually adopt Roman laws and customs and ways. In the local department stores you would see the latest things they were wearing in Rome itself. Thus these colonies were very much like a little Rome. Thessalonica was such a Roman colony, and it was an important city in the life of the Roman Empire.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 – We encounter again the virtue trinity of faith, hope, and love. Paul highlighted this in 1 Corinthians 13:13, referred to this in Colossians 1:4-5, and will reiterate this in 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

1 Thessalonians 1:9 – Paul commended the Thessalonians for turning from idols to the living and true God, while the Jews turned from the living and true God to swearing by Baal (Jeremiah 12:16).

1 Thessalonians 2:2 – Sometimes it’s difficult to continue sharing the gospel when we get shut down. Paul suffered in Philippi but kept preaching in Thessalonica.


1 Thessalonians 2:5-6 – Paul lived his life for “an audience of one.” As he liked quoting Jeremiah, Glory in the Lord! (Jeremiah 9:24, 1 Corinthians 1:31, 2 Corinthians 10:17).

Psalm 79:1 – As we saw earlier, God doesn’t value relics. From Enduring Word:

Psalm 79 is titled, A Psalm of Asaph, though it was clearly written after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian armies. This event was so traumatic and important in the scope of Jewish history that it is described four times in the Hebrew Scriptures: 2 Kings 25, 2 Chronicles 36:11-21Jeremiah 39:1-14, and Jeremiah 52. Since the Asaph most prominent in the Old Testament lived and served during the reigns of King David and King Solomon, this is likely a later Asaph.

Boice (writing regarding Psalm 74) explains the concept of a later Asaph: “Either this is a later Asaph, which is not unlikely since the name might have been perpetuated among the temple musicians, or, more likely, the name was affixed to many psalms produced by this body of musicians. We know that the ‘descendants of Asaph’ were functioning as late as the reign of Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:15).”

Psalm 79:13 – The Psalmist echoes Psalm 100:3, “we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

Proverbs 24:34 – Patch the Pirate had a great song for this: Rise and Shine!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

October 9 – Rise and Shine! — VCY America

October—9 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion


But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.—2 Thes. 2:13.

Some of the sweetest enjoyments in grace, are the freeness and undeserved nature of that grace towards the happy objects of its distinguishing favour: and as the first and ultimate design of all, for which grace is given, is the glory of Jehovah; so the promotion of that glory, in the redemption and sanctification of the Church of Jesus, is the means and end. Now, my soul, sit down this evening, and mark well, in the blessed effects wrought in thine own heart, what the apostle hath here said, that if thou art chosen, it must have been from the beginning thou art chosen to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Pause, and ask thyself: Art thou chosen? Hath this sovereign act of grace passed upon thee? How shall I know? Look at the effects. Art thou humbled to the very dust before God, under the impression of the distinguishing nature of it? Dost thou know, dost thou feel, dost thou stand as one most fully convinced, that the eternal choice of thee was not for aught wherein thou differedst from others, but wholly of the Lord’s own free and sovereign grace? And in the review that such love was shown to thee, when meriting it no more than others; yea, when meriting wrath, instead of receiving grace, as much as others, dost thou lie yet lower in the dust on this account? And in proportion to the astonishing goodness of the Lord, do thine own conscious undeservings make thee continually yet more acquainted with thine own vileness? And as the views of grace rise higher, does the sense of sin make thee fall lower; that where “sin hath abounded, grace should much more abound?” Look at the subject under another point of view, to the same conclusion: As the consciousness of being chosen, from the beginning, to salvation, through the sanctification of the Spirit, becomes the highest and strongest of all possible motives to hide pride from the eyes, and to lay the soul down in the deepest self-abasement before God, so in the same breast, and from the same source, through the sanctification of the Spirit, there will be a most ardent affection towards the gracious author of such distinguishing mercy! Say then, my soul! should Jesus put the question to thee, as he did to Peter, “Lovest thou me more than these?” couldst thou appeal to him, who reads hearts, that he would find love in thine heart, because he himself had put it there? Pause over this great volume of inquiry, and follow up the question, in the numberless methods by which it might be sought and discovered. And, to add no more, if to those two great branches, under which God from the beginning makes choice of all the beloved of the Lord, through sanctification of the Spirit, thou canst add a satisfactory conclusion, in a third instance also of sovereign power; and discover that since God called thee by his grace, and revealed his Son in thee, thou hast been conferring less and less “with flesh and blood,” and by the Spirit hast been “mortifying the deeds of the body, and crucifying the flesh, with its affections and lusts;” oh! what cause wilt thou find also for holy joy in the distinguishing grace of God, and to cry out with the apostle, “I am crucified with Christ:” and, “I am bound to give thanks alway to God, because from the beginning he hath chosen me to salvation, through the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth!”[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 291–292). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Is the Bible Full of Contradictions? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

The Bible is allegedly the inspired “Word of God,” but there are several places where the Gospels seem to contradict one another. How can we trust the Bible when it contains these differences? In this video from J. Warner’s “Quick Shots: Fast Answers to Hard Questions” series on RightNow Media, J. Warner answers this common question related to the claims of Christianity.

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.

Is the Bible Full of Contradictions? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

October 9 Thoughts for the quiet hour


Come and dine

John 21:12

This morning the voice of the Beloved of our soul is heard giving us His invitation.

“Children,” He asks, “have ye any meat?”

We answer, “No; of ourselves we have nothing but hunger and starvation. O God, we cannot feed ourselves!”

Then it is that His own sweet voice replies, “Come and dine!”

W. Hay Aitken[1]


[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

Fantastic Research – Presidential Debate Commission Ideology Exposed – Chairman Connected to Soros, Color Revolution and Steele Dossier Group… — The Last Refuge

Put this in the ‘things that make other things make sense‘ file, and give full credit to Revolver News for the research and citation assembly.

You might have seen Presidential Debate Commission Co-Founder Frank Fahrenkopf on Fox News last night trying desperately to explain and justify why the presidential debates were randomly modified to be a virtual format.

However, a terrific deep investigative dive into the background of Fahrenkopf and the people who make up the debate commission reveals a scale and scope of ideology that is almost jaw-dropping in sunlight; and that research completely explains how and why this group has supported far leftist candidates for decades.

“The nominally Republican Chairman of Presidential Debate Commission, Frank Fahrenkopf, is both a co-founder and current board member of the International Republican Institute (IRI), a top “Color Revolution” propaganda outfit. The IRI was run by Never Trump neoconservative John McCain for decades. It is closely linked to the thoroughly discredited Steele Dossier at the center of the Russia Hoax.”

 ~ Read Full Expose ~

You will want to bookmark that research. Suffice to say, after reading the background of the organization, the Presidential Debate Commission should no longer be considered a valid enterprise.  Unreal…https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1314343118439882752&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F109342143%2Fposts%2F2957104004&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=500px

Fantastic Research – Presidential Debate Commission Ideology Exposed – Chairman Connected to Soros, Color Revolution and Steele Dossier Group… — The Last Refuge

Trump Suggests Nancy Pelosi Will Use 25th Amendment Against Joe Biden | The Daily Caller

‘Crazy Nancy’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump suggested Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to use the 25th Amendment against Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump made the comment on Twitter hours after Pelosi held a press conference announcing a bill that seeks to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office if his health cannot be verified. Trump instead suggested Pelosi plans to use the amendment as a tool to replace Biden with his running mate, Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris, if he wins the election.


“This is not about President Trump,” Pelosi asserted Friday. “He will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.” (RELATED: ‘Rebounding From A Terrible Mistake’: Pelosi Weighs In On Trump Reopening Stimulus Negotiations)

The 25th Amendment pertains to the presidential line of succession, specifically the circumstances under which the vice president could assume the office of president even when the elected president is still alive. To do so without the written consent of the sitting president requires a written letter from the vice president and a majority of “principal officers of the executive department” to be submitted to Congress saying the president is not fit to continue his role.

If the president then asserts in a written statement to Congress that he is in fact able and then the vice president and majority of executive officers again submit a written statement to the contrary, the final say on whether the president will resume or maintain his office goes to Congress.

The amendment also states that the vice president, if he is not able to secure a majority of principal executive officers, may instead secure a majority of some body previously designated by Congress for that purpose. Pelosi’s proposed legislation would create a commission to fulfill that role.

Source: Trump Suggests Nancy Pelosi Will Use 25th Amendment Against Joe Biden

How the Democratic Party Divorced God and the America of 1776 | Biblical Awakening

The Democrat Party’s divorce from God has become final. In 2019, the Democrat National Committee (DNC) unanimously passed a resolution affirming atheism and declaring that neither Christianity nor any religion is necessary for morality or patriotism. In other words, “We don’t need God!”

On August 24 of this year, the DNC doubled down on their rejection of God by passing another resolution praising the values of the “religiously unaffiliated.” That this resolution was affirming atheism is confirmed by the fact that it was championed by the Secular Coalition of America, an organization that lobbies on behalf of atheists, agnostics, and humanists on public policy.

The Democrat Party’s divorce of God should come as no surprise. At the 2012 Democrat National Convention, a majority of the delegates wanted to remove a reference to God from the party platform. When the leaders decided to leave it, the audience loudly booed. They did not want even a superficial reference to God.

Individual politicians may continue to refer to their faith or their prayers, but the actions and official policy statements of their party tell the real story.

In rejecting God, the Democrat Party has rejected the America of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, and King. They have rejected the America of “In God We Trust.” They have rejected the America that is “one nation under God.” They have rejected the America of 1776.

God and America Were Married in the Minds of the Founders

For the first 150 years of America’s existence, no one questioned the axiom America is a Christian nation. This did not mean that everyone was a Christian or that the nation officially sanctioned any denomination or religious sect.

It meant, instead, that the majorty of citzens professed to be Christians and that the nation’s laws and institutions were founded on Christian principles and values.

This fact was stated by the U. S. Supreme Court in 1892 in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States. After examining thousands of historical documents, the nation’s highest Court declared,

There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation . . .. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 6-7).

In rejecting God, the modern Democrat Party has rejected the America of her founders. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin all agreed with James Madison, the nation’s 4th president and chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, who said,

The belief in a God All Powerful, wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 111).

It was their faith in God that gave them hope that America could get through her challenges and rise above her sins. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood this and in his “I Have a Dream Speech” he praised America’s founding documents and declared that he dreamed of a day when Americans of every race would sing together the words of that patriotic hymn,

My country ’tis of Thee, sweet land of liberty, of Thee I sing.
Land where my 
fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

Ben Franklin Would Vehemently Reject the DNC

The Democrat Party’s rejection of God has drawn no criticism from party stalwarts such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, or Joe Biden. They apparently have accepted the statement of the DNC that God and Christianity are unneccesary for the nation’s success.

Contrast their attitude to that of Benjamin Franklin, considered one of America’s most nonreligious founders. When Thomas Paine sent him a manuscript in which he challenged the idea of a prayer-answering God and other aspects of orthodox Christian doctrine, Franklin reacted swiftly and vehemently.

Franklin refused to print the book, and in strong language urged Paine not even to allow anyone else see it. He wrote,

I would advise you, therefore . . . to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion [Christianity], what would they be if without it (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 138).

Franklin may have questioned certain aspects of Christian doctrine during his life, but he was convinced that only Christianity provided the moral teachings for a stable and successful society. He dreaded the thought of what would happen if that influence were removed.

Christian Morality is Absolutely Necessary

Although they did not want an official, state church, America’s founders agreed that only Christianity provided the moral influence that would lead to a stable and prosperous society. Modern research has confirmed their view.

Some years ago, I listened as Charlie Rose (hardly a conservative) interviewed a social scientist who had just led and completed a study of the power of symbols, including religious symbols. One thing he said grabbed my attention.

He said they discovered that a person sitting in a room with a Bible in view, is less likely to tell a lie than if the Bible is not there. They discovered that the very presence of the Bible exudes a positive moral influence. This would also be true of crosses, Bible verses, and Ten Commandment displays.

Sadly, the Democrat Party has supported the removal of Ten Commandment displays, crosses, and other Christian symbols from public property. When President Obama spoke at Georgetown University, a Catholic institution, he demanded that the Christian symbol behind the podium where he was to speak be removed.

Are we not seeing the consequences of these actions? With Bible reading, prayer, and Christian symbols having been banned from schools and public property, their positive influence is no longer felt, and evil runs wild. We need God back in the public life of our nation!

The Consequences of Democrats Gaining Power

If Democrats gain power in November, they will continue to seek the removal of every vestige of God from the public life of this nation. Christians will be persecuted, and the America of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and King will be a thing of the past.

This is why Christians of every denomination and theological persuasion must pray for God’s intervention in our land. Pray that He will visit America once again with another Great Awakening. Then, on November 3 (or before), cast your vote for the party that will welcome God back into the public life of this nation.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, which is available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is also the founder of the “1726 Project” dedicated to informing the nation about America’s birth out of the Great Awakening and calling for prayer for another national, spiritual awakening.

Source: How the Democratic Party Divorced God and the America of 1776

Biden and Harris Both Won’t Admit if They Plan to Pack the Supreme Court

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is refusing to say whether he’s planning to pack the Supreme Court with additional justices if Democrats take the White House and the Senate in November.

Source: Biden and Harris Both Won’t Admit if They Plan to Pack the Supreme Court

Biden Says His Position On Court Packing Is In His Last Will To Be Opened After His Death — The Babylon Bee

PHOENIX, AZ—Presidential candidate Joe Biden has once again deferred on the question of court packing. When asked about it at a recent campaign stop, he said, “You’ll know my campaign’s position when I’m dead and my running mate is president.”

Many weren’t satisfied with this answer, but Biden insisted it was the only one that made sense. “Let’s face it, people want to make my answer the story,” Biden told reporters. “It’s pointless, I tell ya! I’m unlikely to last until January. It doesn’t matter what I think about court packing. It’s all up to that lady — Carly or something. You know, my running mate.”

Biden says he did leave his positions on court packing in his last will to be opened after his death, but he doesn’t remember what they are. Plus, he said, for all he knows, that “cop lady” may just ignore them.

Senator Kamala Harris was also asked about her position on court packing, but she said she couldn’t answer right now because she was busy drinking a soda. She then proceeded to continuously chug a 2-liter bottle of Mr. Pibb until reporters gave up and left.

Biden Says His Position On Court Packing Is In His Last Will To Be Opened After His Death — The Babylon Bee

Greear and Keller Join New Movement to Support ‘Democrat Christians’ — Protestia

It’s no secret that Christianity Today – the publication started by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – is working hard to get Joe Biden elected. They published an Op-Ed by then editor, Mark Gali, calling for Trump’s impeachment last year. Galli has since left evangelicalism altogether, joining the Catholic Church because they have “five minute” sermons.

Christianity Today’s editorial staff is notoriously liberal, featuring regulalry the ‘wokest’ of writers including Ed Stetzer of Wheaton College and Karen Swallow Prior of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Two things are for certain; first, Christianity Today writers hate Donald Trump with the burning hatred of a thousand fiery suns, and secondly, they’re trying as hard as possible to “create space” for a new kind of Christian orthodoxy that makes room for God hating pagans, baby-butcherers, thieves, racial agitators, feminists and Marxists known as Democrats.

The National Association of Evangelicals is a team-member in this effort to move evangelicals to the left, but this nothing new for the NAE. They were created as an ecumenical organization to serve as controlled opposition for the more liberal American Council of Churches, but soon broke left after their original founders – including Bob Jones and John Rice – were out of the picture. Its former president, Leith Anderson, bragged at his recent retirement that the organization has strived to be a “centrist voice” between liberals and conservatives (something that would have made its founders weep). Today, it’s listed among organizations taking cash from George Soros’ political money laundering organizations.

Along with American Awakening – a Dark Money-funded kumbya organization that seeks to bring Christian Democrats and Republicans together – the organizations are launching a new program to either get Christians to vote Democrat or to be okay with those who do.

The First Principles Project has been launched for the purpose of convincing Christians that issues like baby-murder, sodomy, and theft are not big deals and shouldn’t divide authentic believers from those who are alright with the Democratic platform.

The program has the cooperation of noted evangelical leftists including Tim Keller, Andy Stanley, Tony Evans, SBC President J.D. Greear, and Rick Warren, whose sermons will be used with their permission to help ‘broaden the tent’ of evangelicalism to make room for progressive politicos.

The organization will brand itself as simply trying to help Christians be “civil” and be nice despite political differences, but is clearly purposed to convince evangelicals that the Bible doesn’t have to be applied to their worldview.

Regarding this, Christianity Today editor, Timothy Dalrymple, said, “Whatever policies or parties we support, we should all begin from shared commitments on why we engage in public life and how we do so in a manner that reflects the character of Christ.”

Christ would beat Democrats within an inch of their life with a horse whip (if not tie a millstone around their neck and dump them in deep water) for supporting the wholesale slaughter of the unborn.

A press release from Christian newswire says that the above-mentioned leftists (Greear, Keller, Evans, Warren, Stanely, et al) have “prepared easy-to-use original videos, transcripts, outlines and discussion materials based on the best historic and contemporary thinking to encourage a biblical approach to [loving our neighbor].

A review of the material sent to Protestia demonstrates that the propaganda speaks of “justice” in broad terms and applies the concept to welfare, reparations, and immigration reform but not to the unborn.

Greear and Keller Join New Movement to Support ‘Democrat Christians’ — Protestia

Weekly Watchman for 10/09/2020

JB Hixson: God, the Church, and COVID 19

What did JB Hixson mean when he referred to the “Controlavirus scamdemic”? He shares facts and research to back up his comments about the agenda to use this virus to usher in a one-world system. We also discuss top scientists and virologists throughout the world being censored and silenced for speaking out. Should Christians take the COVID vaccine when it comes out, or any vaccine for that matter?
How should the church respond to mandates and lockdowns? Where are we headed and how does all of this relate to Satan’s agenda to usher in a one-world system?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

Steve Smothermon: Prepare for Attacks From All Sides!

Being unashamed of the gospel causes us to speak the truth in love and preach the whole counsel of God. We discuss the attacks that often come against us when confronting evil and sin in our culture – and the fact those attacks can often come from within the church.Steve Smothermon can relate.

Listen to part of his personal experience from 2016 and the fallout resulting from him accepting an invitation to speak and pray at a Trump campaign rally. Steve also shares how his church has handled Covid 19 issues and has continued operating, meeting and ministering despite an ongoing battle with one of the bluest state governors in the U.S.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

ANDY WOODS: If We Lose Religious Freedom, Everything Else Follows

We discuss the Senate confirmation process of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, the big LIE of keeping ‘church and state’ separate; we debate the productivity of presidential debates, and discuss the importance of religious freedom and an originalist approach to the U.S. Constitution.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

If We Hate Evil, Why Don’t We Act Like It?

Burning indignation should seize us because of the wicked! Why? Because we’re better than them? No. because evil affects our culture, our families, and the church. I’ve said this many times and in many ways: We must stand against evil. We must share the gospel and pray for our enemies that God would have mercy on their souls.

But we must show them no mercy politically. Their worldview is anti-Christ and their end is destruction. They want a very dark and different country without the church and Christian influence. They are haters of good, men of depraved mind. They did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer and they hate Him and those who represent Him.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

Mid-Day Snapshot · Oct. 9, 2020


“The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” —Thomas Jefferson (1804)

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Why Biden/Harris CAN’T Reveal Their Court-Packing Plan

Mark Alexander

Joe Biden has repeatedly refused to clarify whether he supports or opposes increasing the number of Supreme Court seats — a.k.a. “packing the court” — in order that it will do the Left’s political bidding. Likewise in this week’s VP debate, arrogant leftist Kamala Harris dutifully refused to answer Mike Pence’s repeated questions about court packing.

For the record, the debate “moderator” never asked Harris the question. Nor was Harris challenged on her erroneous “history lesson” claim that Abraham Lincoln delayed his 1864 SCOTUS nomination. She insisted, “Honest Abe said it’s not the right thing to do.” But Harris is factually completely wrong.

A day after the debate, Biden and Harris were asked the Court question again at a campaign stop, and Biden gave the same scripted answer he has been giving: “The moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that rather than focusing on what’s happening now.” Well, yeah, that’s because it’s a very important question.

However, this time, Biden added, “You’ll know my position on court packing the day after the election.” And again, the Demos’ Leftmedia propagandists let him get away with that obfuscation. C’mon, man!

The problem is not just that Biden and Harris won’t answer the question. The problem for them is they can’t answer the question.


Because a clear majority of Americans don’t support court packing, so Biden and Harris can’t say “Yes” — but they can’t win without their legions of socialists who are depending on them to pack the court, so they can’t say “No.”

For this reason, they need to be challenged on this issue repeatedly.

Notably, in 2016, like many of you, I supported Donald Trump because, as I noted just before the election, in every quadrennial election since I cast my first presidential vote, “I vote for our Constitution — especially for the candidate who is most likely to nominate constitutionally constructionist judges to the Supreme Court, those who will abide by their oaths ‘to support and defend’ our Constitution and promote American Liberty over statist tyranny.”

It never crossed my mind that it was an option for Republicans to expand the number of SCOTUS seats so Trump could pack the High Court. Never.

In the Judiciary Act of 1869, Congress set forth that the United States Supreme Court would be composed of a chief justice and eight associate justices.

But Biden, Harris, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer are now planning to pack the Court, and for that reason, they are now the most formidable cadre of socialists in our nation’s history. They are the enemies of the people, having long ago abandoned their oaths “to support and defend” our Constitution.

For a real history lesson, in 1787, the most definitive expositions on the “terms and conditions” of our Republic’s then-proposed Constitution, The Federalist Papers, published to support its ratification, were written by our Constitution’s principle author, James Madison, and distinguished Founders John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. Written pseudonymously under the name “Publius,” they went to great lengths to be clear about the role of the Supreme Court: “There is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution.”

In other words, the Supreme Court and federal courts were expected to support, first and foremost, Rule of Law (nonpartisan) over the rule of men (partisan).

The future of American Liberty rests on that principle.

As esteemed legal analyst Andrew McCarthy notes: “Court-packing would douse the last rule-of-law embers. It would be an unambiguous, despotic act of directing the judiciary to decide cases politically — and, naturally, in accordance with the political preferences of the radicals who expanded the bench for that explicit purpose.”

Moreover, as then-President Thomas Jefferson affirmed, “The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”

Democrats frame the contest for the Supreme Court as “Right v. Left,” but it’s actually about judicial integrity v. judicial despotism — Liberty v. Tyranny.

In the eight decades since the father of American socialism, Franklin Roosevelt, was rebuffed by Congress for his 1937 attempt to pack the Supreme Court in order to ensure the Court would not interfere with his political agenda, the Democrat Party has managed to grossly politicize the federal judiciary by insisting on political tests for its nominees.

Finally, caveat emptor: In the shadow of the Biden/Harris court-packing plan is an imminent plan to pack the Senate by admitting both Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico as states — perhaps ensuring leftist rule for generations.

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The Whitmer Plot Isn’t What It Seems

Douglas Andrews

Let’s start with the obvious: Michigan is giving militias a bad name.

Whether by a plot to bomb a federal building in Oklahoma City or a plot to kidnap a duly elected governor, the Great Lakes State has given militias an awful name. A repugnant name. A name they don’t deserve. It was a militia, after all, that in 1775 took up arms at Lexington and Concord and took on the world’s most powerful army, thereby setting in motion a revolution that changed the course of history.

As for the bizarre events that came to light yesterday in Michigan, here’s what we know: Federal agents thwarted a plot to violently overthrow the state’s government as well as kidnap or otherwise harm its governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. As The Detroit News reports, “The alleged plot mainly involved six conspirators unhappy in part about Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions, calling her a ‘tyrant.’ They wanted to create a ‘self-sufficient’ society free from what they called unconstitutional state governments and discussed plans to storm the Capitol and take hostages, according to FBI documents filed in court. Organizers allegedly met starting in June, including at a Second Amendment rally in [the state capital of] Lansing and in a Grand Rapids shop basement accessed through a secret door hidden under a rug.”

In addition to targeting the governor, the suspects, who number 13 in all, are also accused of plotting against law enforcement generally. As Fox News reports, “The suspects, now under arrest, are accused of calling on the groups’ members to identify the homes of law enforcement officers in order to target them; making threats of violence to instigate a civil war leading to societal collapse.”

Wait. These guys wanted to target cops, start a civil war, and cause societal collapse? That sounds an awful lot like the modus operandi of antifa, a group of violent far-left anarchists we’ve had our eyes on for years.

The knee-jerk, anti-Republican media narrative is already out there, of course, but at least one of the suspects is actually a Trump-hating anarchist. “You know Trump is not your friend, dude,” said Brandon Caserta, with an anarchist flag as a backdrop. “And it amazes me that people actually, like, believe that, when he’s shown over and over and over again that he’s a tyrant. Every single person that works for government is your enemy, dude.”

Caserta’s YouTube account has been terminated, but his videos were anything but those of a law-and-order Trump supporter. “They are oppressing you for a paycheck,” he said in one video. “If you’re still supporting law enforcement, you are supporting the people who are enforcing slavery on everyone else.” In another, he said, “The Constitution is illegitimate.” In still another: “Authority doesn’t exist, dude, and, like, the law doesn’t exist.”

Dude. Where are those hard-working Pulitzer Prize winners at The New York Times and The Washington Post when we need ‘em?

To no one’s surprise, Democrats and their media brethren were lightning quick to make political hay, however dishonestly and despicably. Almost as soon as the story broke, Whitmer took to the airwaves to blame Donald Trump and, ostensibly, the 63 million Americans who voted for him. “You know, the fact [is] that after a plot to kidnap and to kill me,” she complained to CNN’s Erin Burnett, “this is what they come out with. They start attacking me, as opposed to what good, decent people would do [which] is to check in and say, ‘Are you OK?’ — which is what Joe Biden did. I think that tells you everything that’s at stake in this election. It tells you everything you need to know about the character of the two people on this ballot that we have to choose from in a few weeks.”

In short: You can join me and vote for Gentleman Joe Biden, or you can vote for the Orange Guy who wants me dead.

President Trump, of course, is a counterpuncher. And to no one’s surprise, he did just that: “Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job,” he tweeted. “She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities. The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan. My Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement announced today that they foiled a dangerous plot against the Governor of Michigan. Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist — while Biden and Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa, Anarchists, Looters and Mobs that burn down Democrat run cities. I do not tolerate ANY extreme violence. Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me, is what I will always do as your President!”

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Pelosi Politicizes the 25th Amendment

Thomas Gallatin

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats demonstrated once again that they will use anything and everything in their power to see President Donald Trump removed from office. On Thursday, Pelosi announced legislation to create a commission with the authority “to determine whether the president is mentally or physically unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office.” Pelosi argued, “We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment,” using it to determine whether the president “is unable to discharge the power and duties of his office” because “the public needs to know the health condition of the president.” Besides being another instance of projection for both herself and Joe Biden, this is a cynical pre-election political ad.

Pelosi wasn’t done, further blasting Trump over his bout with COVID-19. “There’s one question that he refused to answer,” she lectured. “When was his last negative test?” Never mind that Trump’s recovery from the coronavirus appears to be progressing quite well; he has remained symptom-free since his release from Walter Reed Hospital on Monday.

Pelosi’s invoking of the 25th Amendment is nothing new, but neither is there any legitimacy to it. Democrats are politicizing an amendment that was expressly designed to avoid such blatant partisanship. The 25th Amendment is akin to the emergency exit door on an aircraft, only to be invoked in a clear emergency situation. Sticking with the analogy, the emergency exit was never intended for use in mid-flight operation just because some of the passengers have decided they don’t like the direction the pilot is flying the airplane.

Democrats know this bill won’t go anywhere, at least not before the election. Neither did a similar bill submitted by Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) in 2017. However, it does serve to highlight just how unhinged and power hungry Democrats have become. As Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) observed, “These people have no limits. They are hungry for power, nothing else. We can’t let them win this.”

The great irony here is that Democrats are the ones guilty of the very charges they level against Trump. It was Hillary Clinton who hired Fusion GPS, which conspired with a suspected Russian agent to produce a bogus dossier to smear Trump as a Russian stooge. It was Joe Biden who engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine’s then-president to ensure that the corrupt dealings of the energy company Burisma, whose board his son Hunter just happened to sit on, weren’t investigated. And it is Biden who has repeatedly displayed declining cognitive acuity but yet refuses to release any health-related information regarding his mental state.

On that note, Mark Alexander argues, “Pelosi’s target is, ostensibly, Trump. But if Biden wins, the case will be to remove him. He may even be complicit in that and, seemingly, acquiesce in order to cover the fact that the real candidate has been Kamala Harris all along.”

As Trump noted in his first debate with Biden, there was no transition of power after he won the 2016 election. The Democrats immediately initiated their “resistance” policy as they worked to remove Trump from the office via a coup. From the Russia-collusion hoax to their impeachment charade, Pelosi and company, with the help of their Leftmedia cohorts, have relentlessly and disingenuously gone after a duly elected president simply because he won. And Pelosi’s latest despicable maneuver demonstrates just how obsessively deranged Democrats have become. Not only are they sore losers, they have become the greatest existential threat to the principles upon which this nation was founded.

After hearing Pelosi’s absurd plan, Trump hit back with the perfect comeback: “Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her Crazy for nothing!”

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Debating the Debate Changes

Michael Swartz

On Wednesday night, the vice-presidential debate went on as scheduled. Given Vice President Mike Pence’s success in taking down Kamala Harris, and considering the disaster that was the first presidential debate, it’s no wonder that changes are afoot.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is promising to instill “additional structure” via rule changes, such as moderator control of candidates’ microphones, even as the scheduled date for the second debate crept up on the calendar — a debate, it was revealed, being moderated by a former intern for then-Senator Joe Biden.

However, thanks to President Donald Trump’s (apparently successful) battle with the China virus, that town-hall-style debate suddenly morphed into a “virtual” event, a CPD-announced change that prompted President Trump to declare that he’s taking a pass. “The commission changed the debate style and that’s not acceptable to us,” said the president. “I’m not going to do a virtual debate. I’m not going to waste my time.” Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, added the obvious: “A virtual debate is a non-starter and would clearly be a gift to Biden because he would be relying on his teleprompter from his basement bunker.”

There would also be the lag time inherent in such a setup, making the type of back-and-forth where we learn the most about candidates nearly impossible to follow. Biden’s campaign is well known for the technical trainwrecks that seem to plague its virtual town halls, making the chances of a watchable debate slim at best.

Instead, the Trump campaign sought a one-week delay in both the second and third debates, pushing the final meeting to October 29, just five days before the election. That delay may not even be necessary, for the president’s personal physician, Dr. Sean Conley, announced Trump can resume in-person events as soon as tomorrow.

The Biden camp threw cold water on that delay proposal, though. “We set the dates. I’m sticking with the dates. I’m showing up. I’ll be there,” said Biden at a rare campaign stop. “And in fact, if he shows up, fine. If he doesn’t, fine.” Instead, if Joe doesn’t put one of his all-too-frequent “lids” on that day, Biden’s campaign scheduled a solo town hall with ABC News in Philadelphia for October 15, with the friendly moderation of former Clintonista George Stephanopoulos.

With the CPD seemingly set on a virtual event despite the president’s improving health, a widening circle of observers are making the case that the current regimen of presidential debates has outlived its usefulness. “Televised presidential debates are an artifact of the television age,” writes journalist Bruce Thornton. “As a creation of an entertainment medium, the debates have never been about informed questions, answers, and rebuttals over policies or governing philosophies. They are political ads and gotcha tournaments, with the audience keeping score over who makes a gaffe, misspeaks, blatantly lies, avoids the question, or personally attacks his opponent. Like professional wrestling, each contestant has his or her fan base whose minds will not be changed, and whose estimation of points scored will be mostly subjective.”

The romantic idea of a presidential debate stems back to the Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas series of debates held in 1858, when Lincoln was running to oust Douglas from his Senate seat in Illinois. These three-hour affairs were grueling, as the participant opening the debate had 60 minutes to speak before the opponent delivered his 90-minute rebuttal, leaving 30 minutes for the initial speaker to rebut and close his argument. Given Trump’s weakened physical state and Biden’s deteriorating mental state, it’s unlikely either of those prizefighters could finish such a bout today. Such a debate would also take the media prize of being moderator out of the picture, which would likely in this day and age be an instant boost for the Republican candidates who routinely face a tag team between the Democrat candidate and the CPD-selected moderator.

There are other criticisms with the CPD as well, particularly its exclusion of other candidates on the ballot. In this election, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen is on the ballot in all 50 states and the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins is on all but a handful. Yet no minor-party candidate has crashed the debate stage since Ross Perot put the Reform Party on the map briefly in the 1990s. That devotion to the duopoly becomes more understandable when we’re reminded that the CPD was created by the GOP and Democrats back in 1987 for the purpose of putting on these spectacles every four years, and it’s not in their interest to allow others to take the stage regardless of the merit of their ideas.

Here in 2020, we live at a time where, like it or not, practically everyone who’s voting has already made up his or her mind. It’s either carry on the many successes of Donald Trump or vote for Joe Biden because “Orange Man Bad.” The only winners of the debate are the spinmeisters and talkingheads who get to have their say for days afterward. The voters are the ones who lose.

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The President Keeps a Promise on Immigration

Brian Mark Weber

Donald Trump’s big issue during the 2016 presidential campaign was immigration. In fact, many political observers believe his tough stance propelled him into the White House. So why is almost no one talking about it in 2020?

On Monday, June 22, the president took another significant step in the right direction. He issued an executive order declaring, in part, that “temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, many of whom also compete against American workers” and “under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.”

As Fox News reported at the time, “The order may not have a noticeable effect immediately as routine visa services have been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the administration estimates that the order will affect around 600,000 jobs before Dec. 31.” Furthermore, “As the election season moves forward, it is also a move that is likely to motivate Trump’s base who have urged him to stick to his promise of putting ‘America First.’ But it is also likely to re-stoke criticism from Democrats that Trump is running on an anti-immigrant agenda.”

The president’s proclamation was well received by Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “For the most part,” Stein said, “the president withstood intense pressure from powerful business interests that continue to demand more cheap foreign labor, even as they have laid-off an unprecedented number of American workers over the past three months.”

Since that executive order, however, President Trump has talked little about the immigration issue other than broad references to building the border wall.

That all changed this week.

“The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a new rule designed to make it much more expensive to employ an H-1B visa holder,” writes Stuart Anderson at Forbes. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a new regulation to limit H-1B visas by introducing restrictive definitions of a specialty occupation and an employer-employee relationship, and limiting H-1B approvals to one year for work at customer locations.” He adds, “Memos and executive orders can be withdrawn, but regulations are more difficult to unwind. That is another reason for the rush to publish new H-1B rules toward the end of the administration’s fourth year.”

The changes are welcomed by critics of our nation’s H-1B visa policy, which they argue has been abused by companies and industries that seek to keep wages low.

As expected, there are some exemptions, including those for healthcare and agricultural workers, but the overall scope of the new order is significant and will allow Americans struggling in the COVID economy to get back to work.

It’s not a surprise that Democrats oppose the measure, but so do some businesses who claim to rely on foreign workers to fill openings. But, truth be told, those businesses also like paying cheaper wages to H-1B workers. The new rules have addressed this issue, making sure Americans seeking work here at home have a fair shot at landing a job.

One of the challenges going forward, of course, is that executive orders and proclamations don’t have the staying power of legislation. And with President Trump currently behind in the polls, there’s no doubt these orders will be revoked by a Biden administration. That’s why the regulatory steps taken by Homeland Security and the Department of Labor are so important.

In any case, it’s good to know that President Trump is, once again, keeping his promises and putting American workers first.

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Woke NBA Finals Going for Broke

Thomas Gallatin

The National Basketball Association has quickly become the poster child for the adage “get woke, go broke.” For those who don’t know — which, judging by its ever-shrinking audience, is a lot of folks — the NBA is in the midst of its championship finals, being played between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. If the Lakers win Friday night, the game will be the final one played this season. Black Lives Matter activist LeBron James will have secured his fourth NBA title while at the same time helping to set the dubious record for the least-watched championship in league history.

This year’s NBA Finals have seen a whopping 70% drop in TV audience from last season. Just over five million fans tuned in to watched Game 3. What makes this low number even more significant is the fact that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, when so many folks are stuck at home with more time to watch TV, the NBA has only lost viewers.

No professional sport has embraced the Marxist BLM movement more than the NBA. With BLM painted on the courts and “social justice” messaging emblazoned across players’ jerseys, the NBA and the majority of its players (300 of the league’s 350 players have chosen to wear jerseys sporting “social justice” messaging) made it clear that they would not play without forcing their leftist politics down viewers’ throats. And it appears that a majority of the NBA’s now-former fans have in turn bid the league’s overpaid wokescolds adieu.

While the NBA brass had sought to downplay the massive drop in viewership, owners have hit the panic button, as indicated by Commissioner Adam Silver’s recent comments tentatively conceding that the woke BLM displays were on their way out. “I would say, in terms of the messaging you see on the court and our jerseys,” he explained, “this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer. My sense is there’ll be somewhat of a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor.” If he and the players want the league to continue to exist, they’d better get off their hypocritical and blatantly false high horse and focus on just playing basketball.

The vast majority of Americans don’t want politics shoved in their faces as they watch sports. Silver may have finally gotten the message, admitting, “I understand those people who are saying, ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.’” Yes, “those people” appear to make up the lion’s share of sports fans.

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The Senate Must Be Saved

Douglas Andrews

Lost amid the focus on the presidential campaign is the race for control of the Senate — a race that could be every bit as consequential as the one for the White House.

If the Democrats win the presidency and secure a majority in the Senate, everything changes: statehood for Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, and four guaranteed Senate seats for the Democrats; a Supreme Court illegitimately packed with hand-picked leftist justices to overturn its current balance and composition; and no more Senate filibuster to protect against reckless and ill-conceived legislation. In short, American government as we know it is at stake.

And in terms of Senate electoral cycles, it’s a bad year for the Republicans. They’re defending 23 seats, while the Democrats are defending just 12.

As we’ve noted before, the GOP has a heavy lift. They currently hold a 53-47 majority in the upper chamber, but they’re defending as many as nine seats in competitive races. With Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in the polls, and with his fellow Democrats leading in many of the Senate’s most competitive races, Republicans risk losing the only governmental institution that stands between Liberty-loving Americans and an authentically radical leftist agenda. Of course, the polls have been wrong before…

As for the individual races, let’s start with a bit of good news. That 53-47 Republican lead is really a 54-46 lead. Alabama Democrat Doug Jones is certain to lose his short-lived seat to Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville. So the Democrats really need to flip four seats and the presidency, or five seats without the presidency, as the vice president casts the tie-breaking vote in a 50-50 Senate.

Republican seats are at greatest risk in the following five states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, and North Carolina. Democrats have also put up surprisingly strong challenges in Georgia, Kansas, Montana, and South Carolina, but none of those seats is likely to flip unless everything else flips, too.

State polls are especially unreliable, but with that caveat, here’s a quick rundown of the five crucial races listed above.

Arizona: Republican Martha McSally, a former fighter pilot, is in real trouble against Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of popular former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The RealClearPolitics average of polls has her down seven points.

Colorado: Incumbent Cory Gardner is also in trouble, trailing the state’s former governor, John Hickenlooper. The most recent state poll from a few weeks ago had him closing the gap with Hickenlooper to five points, but Gardner is still the underdog.

Iowa: Republican Joni Ernst would seem to be in the strongest position among these five Republicans, but outside interests are pouring a lot of money into this race to unseat her. The RCP average has businesswoman Theresa Greenfield leading Ernst by five points. A “hold” by Joni Ernst is crucial.

Maine: Longtime moderate Republican incumbent Susan Collins is trying to survive a tough challenge — and a lot of outside money — from Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, who’s up nearly four points in the RCP average.

North Carolina: Here, finally, Republicans might be catching a break. Democrat challenger Cal Cunningham has been leading consistently in the polls against Republican incumbent Thom Tillis, but the events of the past week have likely changed all that. Cunningham, who’s married with children, is now under investigation by the Army Reserve for an extramarital affair — an affair that he’s admitted to. Not only that, but he reportedly cheated on his mistress. (If a guy’s mistress can’t trust him, who can?) He’s since done the requisite “apology” thing, but with a campaign built around themes like duty and honor, Cunningham’s self-inflicted wound has likely turned the race in Tillis’s favor. A Republican “hold” here is all but essential to keeping control of the Senate.

One other Senate race, though, bears watching. Republican challenger John James is giving incumbent Gary Peters all he can handle in Michigan. Any doubt as to the fears he’s generating among Democrats should be dispelled by the $5.4 million recently pumped into his campaign by the PAC of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. James, 39, is black. He’s also a successful businessman and a former Army helicopter pilot. He’s been bucking nationwide trends toward the Democrats, and his campaign’s internal polling has him within the margin of error against Peters, who’s little more than a mediocrity.

Needless to say, an upset here would be a big blow to the Democrats’ senatorial designs. With the Republicans sure to flip one seat in Alabama, a win by James in Michigan would mean a 55-45 Senate, which would allow the GOP to lose four of the above-listed seats without losing control of the upper chamber even if President Trump loses. And that would mean no packing the Supreme Court, no politically motivated statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, and no getting legislatively steamrolled by a hard-left Senate devoid of the filibuster.

Elections do indeed have consequences. Huge consequences. And on November 3, Liberty-loving Americans will have a lot more at stake than merely the presidency.

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The Political Unicorn: The Black Conservative

Willie Richardson

How does a black person end up becoming a Republican? Stupid question. Better question: Why aren’t more black Americans Republicans? I have lost family members and friends just because I decided that my values didn’t line up with my previous vote.

I used to be a default Democrat, but last weekend I voluntarily attended an event with Charlie Kirk. He gave me his phone number. True story. He opined about strong families and strong fathers, something I grew up in. He spoke about the purpose of going to college or skipping college debt and gaining a trade. He was transparent about politics and religion. Charlie is young, courageous, and full of wisdom. He is also a conservative Christian.

So, what’s wrong with that? What’s the issue with black people that they cannot allow another black person to have their own political opinion? Thinking outside the political Left box in my world gets you ridiculed, insulted, mocked, and sometimes persecuted. It’s like being a Christian in a communist nation. Being a black liberal gets you access to the “black card,” including affirmative action, Section 8, minority scholarships, laissez faire with accountability with police, and a lifetime supply of victimology.

I guess it’s good to be black and liberal in America. Yeah, if you consider slavery a step up in life rather than a step back. Growing up, most of what I heard was “the white man is holding us down,” or “you can’t trust them.” Even with President Donald Trump unveiling the “Platinum Plan” for black Americans two months before the election, black people (still) call him racist over comments he has disavowed years ago.

Trump’s Platinum Plan for black Americans includes:

  • Pledging to increase access to capital for African American communities by $500 billion.
  • Making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
  • Building efforts to bolster black economic prosperity.

Donald Trump contrasted his plan for the African American community with Joe Biden’s proposals, arguing the former vice president “inflicted” damage on the black community over the last 47 years. President Trump stated, “I’ve done more in 47 months than Joe Biden has done in 47 years.” If all of this is true, and it is, then why am I getting ridiculed for supporting a president that has a plan for the minority community? I do not have the politically correct answer, so I’m going to tell it like I see it. It’s PTSD (Post Traumatic Slave Disorder). Even the Biblical account says that the Israelite slaves preferred “free food” in Egypt, even if it meant returning back to back-breaking slavery. Go figure.

“The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost — also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.’” —Numbers 11:4-5

I have come to the conclusion that slaves love slavery. Yes, you read that right. Slavery is more demeaning to the mind than it is to the backside.

Election season is upon us and the usual political debate mixed with left- and right-wing rhetoric is in the news. Political pundits are talking about who’s leading the polls all while there is a particular minority voter that’s going to vote left no matter how many right facts or how much right evidence I provide. The Black Conservative will forever be the pink unicorn in the voting booth.

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Endorsing Trump — and the Future of Liberty

B.B. Bell

Duty, Honor, Country — those are the ideals that motivate and inspire America’s military. I was inspired by these words every day of my almost four decades of service to our country. Understanding these three words in the context and clarity of my faith leads me to enthusiastically add my endorsement of President Donald Trump’s reelection to the list of more than 200 of my fellow senior officers.

President Trump is fully committed to ensuring that God remains at the center of our public square, as affirmed by our Constitution and envisioned by our Founders. The clear desire of the Democrat Party and its Joe BidenKamala Harris ticket is to reject the eternal rights of the people as “endowed by our Creator” and supplant those with only the “rights” dictated by the state.

President Trump has demonstrated a deep and abiding duty to restore the foundation of American Liberty as articulated by our Founders and enshrined in our Constitution. Democrats desire to interpret the Constitution as a function of today’s meanderings of an increasingly lost society.

President Trump honors our nation by working relentlessly to end the export of American jobs offshore while rebuilding the “Made in America” manufacturing base that produced the most powerful country in the world. The Democrats and Biden favor an unfair global marketplace where American jobs are sacrificed to overseas big business stockholder interests.

President Trump’s America is a marvelous melting pot of great peoples, cultures, and races, each with equal access to opportunity. The Democrat Party brands every American as a member of some institutionally disadvantaged group — the identity politics of hatred and division — each of which must become dependent on Democrats in order to succeed. Of course, those people never do succeed because Democrats must perpetuate this dependency to remain in power. The division, corruption, and cultural destruction caused by identity politics is the centerpiece of their perpetual political playbook.

God, Duty, Honor, Country. President Trump’s America. May God lead him to victory and service for the next four years as our president and commander-in-chief.

B.B. Bell, General, U.S. Army (Ret), is a member of The Patriot Post’s National Advisory Committee. He served in uniform for almost four decades, including extended deployments overseas in both peace and war. His final assignments as a four-star General included Commander, U.S. Army, Europe; Commander, NATO Land Component Command; and Commander, United States and Allied Forces, Republic of Korea.

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Jordan Candler

Top of the Fold

  • Hurricane Delta tracking toward the Louisiana coast; landfall later today (TWC)
  • Deadline runs preempted story that Pence has COVID (Post Millennial)

Elsewhere in Politics

  • Pelosi says no stand-alone aid for airlines without bigger stimulus bill (CNBC)
  • China censored Pence when he criticized it (Just the News)
  • Kamala Harris’s top five lies from the VP debate (Bongino.com)
  • Trump will guest host “The Rush Limbaugh Show” today (Daily Caller)

Annals of the “Social Justice” Caliphate

  • Portland DA rejects over 540 riot-related cases (Post Millennial)
  • BLM mob smashes windows on Wisconsin residential street (Disrn)

Around the Nation

  • Enrollment is dropping in public schools around the country (NPR)
  • Texas Democrat House candidate hasn’t lived in TX for years (WFB)
  • Religious groups sue New York over new COVID restrictions on worship (NR)
  • Police documents shine light into Breonna Taylor investigation (Fox)

The Latest on COVID-19

  • Wisconsin becomes America’s new hotspot (Daily Mail)
  • CDC: Being overweight, not just obese, makes you more susceptible (Daily Mail)
  • New study confirms remdesivir’s effectiveness as a treatment (Time)

Business & Economy

  • U.S. to collect tariffs on $1.96 billion worth of aluminum sheet goods (Fox)
  • Nearly eight times more women than men left workforce in September (Disrn)
  • DOJ sues Yale University for discriminating in admissions (Power Line)

National Security

  • Trump: Troops will be out of Afghanistan by Christmas (Military Times)
  • Election politics aren’t slowing down border security efforts (Daily Signal)

Stranger Than Fiction

  • Colin Kaepernick’s new project imagines a utopia without police or prison (Disrn)
  • Amazon faces pregnancy discrimination suit from “transgender” worker (Disrn)
  • 44% of “Christians” believe the Bible’s “ambiguous” on abortion (Disrn)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: How Trump restored welfare reform (Daily Signal)
  • Policy: What’s wrong with a wealth tax (Manhattan Institute)
  • Humor: Harris’s ratings plummet as people realize they’d have to listen to her voice for next four years (Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

The Patriot Post is a certified ad-free news service, unlike third-party commercial news sites linked on this page, which may also require a paid subscription.

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Rise of the Biden Preppers — What’s Plan B if we don’t reelect President Trump? Bill Whittle and Scott Ott discuss.

Humor: Yard Politics War — A virtue-signaling tit for tat, parodied by John Crist.




For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.


Insight: “It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.” —Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954)

Nailed it: “I really felt how much @KamalaHarris values ‘great investigative journalism’ when her 11 armed CA DOJ agents were traipsing through my apartment, seizing my undercover footage but ignoring high-dollar invoices for fetal body parts.” —David Daleiden

For the record: “They’re trying to protect Biden. Everybody is.” —Donald Trump on the virtual debate rules

Non compos mentis, Part I: “When you think about the very deliberate, concerted effort by one political party to basically try to own Christianity and it overlooks the role of the African American church, it overlooks … a lot of theology, a lot of history. It also overlooks this moment in time. You know, Black Lives Matter I view as, you know, very profoundly as a theological statement.” —Hillary Clinton

Missing the forest for the trees: “A lot of young people are leaving the church, in part because the way they understand what Christianity has become is, you know, so judgmental, so alienating that they think to themselves, ‘Well, I don’t need that. I don’t want to be part of that.’ So this should also be a time for the church to take a hard look at itself and try to figure out how it can be a real partner in this moment of moral awakening.” —Hillary Clinton (While there’s an element of truth to this, it’s unequivocally also true that many young people are leaving orthodox churches because they don’t like what the Bible has to say about repentance and living a moral life.)

And last… “If Trump is somehow responsible for the Whitmer terror attempt, then Bernie is responsible for the Congressional baseball shooting, and Obama is responsible for the Dallas police massacre. This is a stupid and dangerous game.” —Ben Shapiro

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



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

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Debate Moderator, Former Biden Intern Steve Scully Publicly Asks Trump Hater Scaramucci For Advice On Going After Trump

Despite Scully’s history working for Joe Biden and Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, the Commission on Presidential Debates chose him to moderate the second presidential debate in Miami.

Source: Debate Moderator, Former Biden Intern Steve Scully Publicly Asks Trump Hater Scaramucci For Advice On Going After Trump

650 Million Child Brides Worldwide Says Gospel for Asia | Christian Newswire

Special report coincides with International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11.

650 MILLION CHILD BRIDES: Girls face greater exploitation than ever, with more than 650 million “child brides” in the world today, a startling new report reveals. Rewriting the Tragedies of Girlhood — a special report by Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org) — coincides with the U.N. International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11.

Gospel for Asia
Oct. 9, 2020

WILLS POINT, Texas, Oct. 9, 2020 /Christian Newswire/ — Girls face greater exploitation than ever, with 650 million child brides in the world today, a shocking new report reveals.

As women’s rights take center stage in the U.S. and many parts of the world, the reality for millions of girls worldwide is sexual exploitation and forced marriage before the age of 13.

The horrific treatment of girls — including sex trafficking, sex-selective abortions, and denial of education — is exposed in a special report titled Rewriting the Tragedies of Girlhood, released by Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org) to coincide with the U.N. International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11.

In 2014, the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists grabbed the headlines, but rampant abuse of girls across Africa and Asia continues largely under the radar:

  • In Bangladesh, a survey of 375 sex workers revealed nearly half of them were child brides, married as young as 11, and trafficked into prostitution
  • In China, sex-selective abortions resulted in a national shortage of women, fueling demand for child brides and sex workers
  • North Korean girls who escape across the border to China are forced to stay “invisible” and often end up in brothels and the cybersex trade
  • Girls in Asia as young as nine are forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams, live-streamed to a pay-to-view global audience

“Globally, millions of girls — nearly double the entire U.S. population, in fact — are trapped in a web of exploitation,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “Girls living in areas of political instability, conflict, or oppression are especially vulnerable to forced marriage and sex slavery.”

In China, girls are trafficked from neighboring countries, lured by the promise of jobs. Victims are forced to cohabit with men who don’t speak their language, keep them locked in tiny rooms, and rape them at will. Often, girls are beaten and drugged.

UNICEF — the U.N. children’s agency that stages the annual International Day of the Girl every October to raise awareness — estimates there are 650 million child brides globally, including women who married in childhood. Girls are often forced to marry early because their parents don’t want them, placing a far higher value on boys.

‘You Should Have Been A Boy’
One of four sisters, Ruth was treated cruelly by her father who flew into a rage when she was born. “You should have been a boy,” he later told her. When Ruth decided to go to Bible college, she knelt at her father’s feet to get his blessing. Instead, he kicked her in the face.

“While Ruth was at college, her father’s heart softened and he came to know the love of Jesus,” said Yohannan. “When she traveled home and stepped off the bus, her father ran to hug her. Change happens when people see every single girl is precious because she’s created by God in his image.”

Giving girls the opportunity to pursue education is key in the battle against exploitation and child marriage — with GFA World’s Bridge of Hope program providing schooling and safety for tens of thousands of at-risk girls in Asia.

When 13-year-old Krupa realized she was being roped into a childhood marriage, she alerted workers at the Bridge of Hope center she attended. Within minutes, “they arrived at our house like angels” and intervened to stop the ceremony, she said. Today, Krupa has achieved her goal of becoming a teacher — and married of her own choice when she was 20.

GFA World’s full special report is at https://gfa.org/special-report/child-marriage-child-trafficking-girl-problems/.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.

SOURCE Gospel for Asia

CONTACT: Gregg Wooding, 972-567-7660, gwooding@inchristcommunications.com

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Source: 650 Million Child Brides Worldwide Says Gospel for Asia

The Woke Religionists Are All Wrong on Individual Rights — Protestia

You Cannot “Love Your Neighbor” by Using the Government to Do to Him the Things God Forbids.

(The Christian Intellectual) Leaders of the major world religions seem to agree that individual rights are not absolute.

For instance, consider Pope Francis: “The Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property.”

Consider Timothy Keller: “Property rights are not absolute,” he says in a discussion of the Old Testament law. “The Bible’s vision for interdependent community, in which private property is important but not an absolute, does not give a full support to any conventional political-economic agenda. It sits in critical judgment on them all,” Keller says on Twitter.

Here is Russell Moore on video: Every right that we have in society is never absolute.” (See our earlier analysis here and here.)

Pope Francis, Keller, and Moore Are Badly Mistaken

What follows is an introduction to what the Bible says about individual property rights. Use these concepts in your Sunday school, your writing, or your interactions with Bible-abusers such as the three men above. First, I will overview the Bible’s concept of inviolate, individual rights. Then I will show some of the Scripture passages that demonstrate this concept.

Individually, the verses speak for themselves. But I will ask you to consider them in connection with one another in order to better understand the many ways in which the Bible both teaches and takes for granted the concept of inviolable individual rights.

As a guiding principle when looking at these verses, understand that you cannot “love your neighbor” by using the government to do to him the things God would forbid you from personally doing. This principle requires some explanation.

What God Forbids to the Individual, He Forbids to the Collective of Individuals

The actions that a government may justly take are a small subset of the actions that an individual may rightly take. No kinds of actions that are unjust when committed by an individual become just by virtue of being committed by a group.

God commands us not to steal; therefore, having a group do the stealing for us is out of the question. Or, to state the same idea in a more general and complete form: The Bible teaches that each person has an inviolable right to his own life and property (unless he forfeits that right by committing certain actions against others); therefore, it is out of the question to join with others and use the power of the group to deprive a person of his life or property. In fact, to join together with others to overwhelm and plunder the innocent is a great sin (Prov. 1:10–15).

Some may ask: “Isn’t there some special exception when talking about actions of groups — and especially governments? Couldn’t it be that it would be wrong for me as an individual to take away my neighbor’s property by threat of force, but it is perfectly justifiable in some situations for a government to do so?”

What is at stake when we ask this question? What we are really asking is: Are individual property rights absolute?

It is no surprise that leaders of world religions balk at the idea of individual property rights being absolute, because to do so would be to go against the prevailing assumptions about the nature and powers of government that extend back for millennia. “Surely, the governor has the right to collect tribute and dole it out in the form of bread, circuses, and state-managed healthcare,” such intellectuals comfort themselves — “that’s the way things have always been done.”

But have they really? Is that the system God created for his chosen people under Moses? Is that the system taught by the relevant passages throughout Scripture?

Limited Government

As you consider the selected passages below, notice that many refer not only to the relationship between a man and his neighbor, but also to the relationship between a man and his government. As history (especially the 20th Century) shows, there is great danger if a society is not careful to keep a government’s role limited.

The government does have a God-given role and power: punishing the evildoer. Even this single power is not one that somehow accrues only to the collective (and not to the individuals from which it is constituted).

A forceful response to evildoers is a right that all men naturally have. They merely delegate that right to a governing system in order to make it possible that people may live together in a society. The individuals never lay down even that one right that the state picks up. Even here, in the one area that all agree the government has a special prerogative, the government’s power comes from the consent of the governed, who are each themselves the parties that finally possess the rights.

Punishing the evildoer (specifically, the person who initiates action that harms others) is the Bible’s reason for the government’s existence — and it is the Bible’s limit on its power. The moral use of force is not unique to the government, but it is held by the government in a unique way, in situations in which civil society exists. So no, there is no special exception by which groups have the moral right to take actions that would, naturally, be morally forbidden to the individual. That includes the taking of property by threat of force.

Suppose all of the above is granted. It then becomes obvious what is wrong with the question: “How big should the government be?” or “How much power should the government have?” A government will have different sizes and different “amounts” of power, depending on the size of its population. But “how much” power is the wrong way to ask the question. Instead, ask “which” powers the government should have.

The Bible gives us the answer. It tells us exactly where the respective powers should lie. A man has the power over his own life unless he violates the rights of others. The government’s only role is to punish the evildoer and to praise the righteous man— that is, to judge between the man who has violated the right of another and the man who has not, and to use force to punish the rights-violator.

Thus, the government, the agent of force, should manage the legal system, the police, and the military. That is all it can do, according to the biblical principle of individual rights. And that is exactly what we see the government doing in the passages and principles we are about to explore.

Inviolable Individual Rights in the Bible

You find inviolable individual rights in Ex. 20:13 and Ex. 20:15: “You shall not murder” and “you shall not steal.”

You find inviolable individual rights in the principle of justice in Gen. 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.”

You find inviolable individual rights in the principle of selecting judges in Ex. 18:21: “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.”

You find inviolable individual rights in the principle of just governance in 1 Peter 2:14, which says governors are sent by God “to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.”

You find inviolable individual rights in Romans 13:3–4, which gives the governor the same role as 1 Peter: to punish those who do evil and praise those who do good: “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

You find inviolable individual rights in the many passages describing the things that people have a right to.

Consider Acts 5:4a: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal?” Ownership means the ability to dispose of a thing as you chose.

Likewise, the master in Matthew 20:15a says: “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?”

Many other passages likewise support the idea that individual people have an inviolable right to their possessions.

For instance, if there were no such right, and if “needs” constituted just claims on others, could Paul have said in 2 Thess. 3:10: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat”?

If the state were designed as a tool to end poverty, could Jesus have said in Matt. 26:11: “The poor you will always have with you”?

If it were God’s will that the state redistribute personal property of individuals in this generation to make up for wrongs committed in prior generations, could God have said in Ez. 18:20: “The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child”?

If God were pleased by the state taxing the people and doing great projects to “help” the nation, could Samuel have had such a distain for what the future kings of Israel would do, saying they would take “the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants”?

Samuel goes on: “He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves.”

Indeed, Solomon made use of forced labor, to the point that the people rebelled against his son in 1 Kings 12:4: “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.”

If individual property rights were not inviolable, why would the Bible speak of the maintenance of such rights as the essence of justice? And why would it speak of the denial of such rights as the essence of oppression or injustice?

Psalm 82:3 cries to us that individual rights should remain inviolable and that governors should uphold them: “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.”

Isaiah 10:1–2 likewise considers the violation of property rights to be a form of wicked plunder and spoil, often committed by the very governors who had been entrusted to protect against such injustice: “Woe to those who enact evil statutes and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice and rob the poor of My people of their rights, so that widows may be their spoil and that they may plunder the orphans.”

Are these passages telling us that God cares more about justice for the poor than for the rich? Not at all. Exodus 23:3 and 23:6 make it clear that God cares about justice in procedure: “… nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.” It continues: “… You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit.” Partiality in either direction is thus prohibited.

Possessions matter. The government is in a position to be able to dispossess people, but it must not do so. Ez. 45:9 makes it clear: “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Enough, you princes of Israel; put away violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness. Stop your expropriations from My people,’ declares the Lord God.”

You cannot “love your neighbor” by using the state to do to him the things God forbids.

I will share a final passage. Lev. 19:13–15 makes God’s standards clear.

“Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.

“Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.

“Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.

“Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”

Why does anyone think he can do better than the standards God has set? Why does anyone think these commands apply to individuals but not to the collective? Why does anyone think these principles can be ignored by a government?

Today, the religious leaders want to ease your conscience as you vote to support policies that take us further and further from the idea of inviolable individual rights. Such men — from Pope Francis, to Timothy Keller, to Russell Moore — are leading people away from Scripture and toward hateful, envious doctrines of demons, suitable only for cowards and thieves.

Editor’s Note. The following article was written by Cody Libolt and published at the New Christian Intellectual

The Woke Religionists Are All Wrong on Individual Rights — Protestia

Why Progressive Christianity is “Another Gospel?” — The BreakPoint Podcast

According to recent survey, nearly a third of self-described evangelicals do not believe that Jesus Christ is truly God. Arianism, as it turns out, is a heresy that plagues multiple generations of the church, not just the one of the third century.

Well, over and over the church has, in various times and ways, ruled that some beliefs are not acceptable alternatives within Christianity. Adherents are, in fact, outsiders to the faith. For example, nearly 100 years ago, in a book entitled Christianity and Liberalism, Presbyterian scholar J. Gresham Machen argued, in an extensive scholarly treatment, that liberal Christianity was not a version of the one, true faith handed down once and for all to the saints. Liberalism was, he argued, a completely different religion from Christianity.

The Liberal Christianity of Machen’s day focused on a social-reform agenda, fueled by feelings and informed by secular thought, barely draped in religious language. The God it preached was not sovereign over creation and providential over the affairs of men; did not really come in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, who did not really perform miracles or physically rise from the dead. The Bible was not really the fundamental and decisive revelation of God, nor the final authoritative source for morality, but must be understood according to our evolving scientific knowledge and political agendas.

Today, there is also an effort to update Christianity, to adapt and re-form it according to the spirit of the age. From church pulpits to the Christian blogosphere, from once-reliable Christian publishing houses to the campuses of Christian colleges that are Christian in name only, from beautiful and historic churches decorated with gay pride flags and pastored by ordained ministers who “bless” abortion clinics to the “exvangelicals” who become self-styled spokespersons for “what Jesus would really say and do,” there is, in our day too, a Christianity that is no Christianity at all.

Devoid of the truth claims and moral teachings of historic Christianity, what is today called “progressive Christianity” is not another side of the same coin. It is a different religion founded on a different worldview.

Machen’s crucial insights were presented in a largely academic book written for a largely academic audience. Since the progressive Christianity of our day is far more populist than the liberalism of his, I am pleased that a new book, theologically robust and very accessible, is now available to address the ideas deceiving so many Christians. The book is titled Another Gospel: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity.

Alisa Childers grew up in the church and eventually became a member of the very successful Christian pop group “Zoe Girl.” Despite that pedigree, as she told my colleague Shane Morris on his Upstream podcast, she was completely unprepared when she learned her pastor was a skeptic, and confronted her with questions and counterclaims about the reliability of Scripture, the morality of the atonement, whether God answers prayer, or cares about our sexual choices, or even exists.

Flailing in doubt Childers went to work to find answers, studying Scripture, church history, great apologists for the Christian faith (past and present), and critiques of the claims of progressivism. In the process, she found that her beliefs had rock-solid foundations, and answers to the toughest questions. A “progressive Christianity” that denies the divinity of Christ, treats His incarnation and resurrection from the dead as myths, and reimagines human nature away from God’s created design and according to sexual libertinism isn’t just another take on the faith. It’s another gospel entirely.

Childers’s book Another Gospel is an incredibly valuable resource. Every week it seems, I talk with pastors, youth pastors, parents and grandparents watching the next generation buy into a false gospel and questioning the historic truth claims of Christianity. Using the framework of Childer’s story, Another Gospel provides a thorough, rigorous, and entirely readable take-down of progressive Christianity, and a reliable introduction to the non-negotiables of the Christian faith.

During October, we’ll send you a copy of that book, “Another Gospel,” with your gift of any amount to BreakPoint and the Colson Center. Come to BreakPoint.org to get your copy.

Why Progressive Christianity is “Another Gospel?” — The BreakPoint Podcast