“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.Mark 3:7-8
We have difficulty grasping the size of this crowd. This was not just a few people, or even a few thousand. There were literally tens of thousands of people, undoubtedly, in this crowd. They came from all over this country and beyond. They flocked out from all the cities to hear this amazing prophet who has risen in Galilee and was saying such startling things.
You can see how Mark traces the emphasis upon the crowd throughout this division. In verse 20 he says, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. Then, in verse 32: a crowd was sitting around him. And in chapter 4, verse 1: Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the Lake… And then, in verse 36, Mark says, Leaving the crowd, they went across to the other side of the lake. In chapter 5, verse 21: When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. And in verse 24: A large crowd followed and pressed around him. So this is the period when Jesus is pressed by the great masses of people, the period of His greatest popularity.
For many, this has been the measure of Jesus’ success, as it would often be in evaluating a successful person today. Anybody who can achieve a great crowd-following is regarded as a success. Today we call these people stars—there are star actors, star athletes, star singers, star politicians—various people who have attained what in our day is a mark of success. No wonder the title of one of today’s most popular musicals is Jesus Christ, Superstar. He is the one who drew all these great multitudes out from the cities of His day.
But as you read this account through, you see that Mark’s intention is to underscore the weakness of popularity; the empty, hollow worthlessness of being popular; and how much damage and danger popularity produced in our Lord’s ministry. One of the worst things that can happen to us, as this account makes clear, is to become caught up in a popular movement. False forces arise out of it. That is the whole thrust of this section. Mis-emphases easily spring into being—and wrongful attitudes arise readily in a popular movement. Popularity, therefore, ought to be watched carefully. And when a movement is popular, as Christianity is popular in many places today, we must be careful that we are listening to the voice and the Spirit of God.
Father, thank You for the truth as it is in Jesus. Help me to beware of the perils of popularity.
Do we evaluate success by our audience’s size and applause? What can we learn from our Lord’s own life and death about the shallowness and peril of popularity?
7Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.
13Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15and to have authority to drive out demons. 16These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter 17James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
20Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
22And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
23So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. 28I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
30He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”
31Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
33“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
34Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Not Pride, but a Due Estimation Proverbs 4:7; 16:16; 23:33; James 4:10
Humility does no more require that a wise man think his knowledge equal with a fool’s, or ignorant man’s, than that a sound man take himself to be sick. When a wise man values the useful knowledge which God has given him above all the glory and vanities of the world, which are indeed of lower worth, this is not pride, but a due estimation of things.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Grace, Justice, and Free Will Luke 7:30; James 1:13–15; 1 Peter 2:16
That teacher obtains my highest approbation who ascribes as much as possible to divine grace, provided he so pleads the cause of grace as not to inflict an injury on the justice of God, and not to take away the free will to that which is evil.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7
It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel, “He cares for me.” Christian, do not dishonor religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight that your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden would be to Him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to
Lie passive in God’s hands, And know no will but His.
O child of suffering, be patient; God has not passed you over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows will also furnish you with what you need. Do not sit in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who cares for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and His omnipotent hand shall bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if you are one of His family, will bind up your wounds and heal your broken heart. Do not doubt His grace because of your tribulation, but believe that He loves you as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence!
With a little oil in the cruse and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why do you need to care too? Can you trust Him for your soul and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens; He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! Say good-bye to anxiety and leave all your concerns in the hand of a gracious God.
It is very proper to sum up our prayers in that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
20:32 Paul committed the Ephesian Christians to God’s grace, which strengthens disciples in their earthly tasks and provides eternal inheritance to the sanctified—those made holy by God.
20:32sanctified This term usually refers to the process of God transforming a person’s life to make them holy (set apart) for Him. Here it seems to refer to believers in Jesus in general who have been made holy because of Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf.
20:32 word of His grace. The Scriptures, the record of God’s gracious dealings with mankind. build you up. The Bible is the source of spiritual growth (1Th 2:13; 2Ti 3:16, 17; 1Pe 2:2) for all Christians. And since the church is “the pillar and support of the truth” (1Ti 3:15), its leaders must be familiar with that truth. inheritance.See note on 1Pe 1:4.
20:32. Paul concluded his exhortations and commended the leaders “to God and to the word of His grace.” The phrase the word of His grace probably refers to the message of grace both as eternal salvation by faith alone (Acts 15:6–12) and to grace as the essential principle of the Christian life as opposed to legalism (Acts 15:13–31). The same word of this grace that would edify them in the present also guaranteed them “an inheritance among all those who are sanctified,” a reference to all believers (cf. Acts 26:18).
20:32 Paul’s great resource now was to commend them to God and to the word of His grace. Notice that he did not commend them to other human leaders, or to supposed successors of the apostles. Rather he entrusted them to God and the Bible. This is an eloquent testimony to the sufficiency of the inspired Scriptures. It is they which are able to build up the believers and to give them an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
20:32. Paul then committed them first to God and then to the Word of His grace. Though trust in God is essential, it must be accompanied by obedience to His Word. This will lead to edification (it will build you up) and to an inheritance among all those who are sanctified (cf. 26:18; Eph. 1:18; Col. 1:12; 1 Peter 1:4).
20:32. Paul committed the elders to God’s care. Though Paul would no longer be with them, they would not be alone. God would be with them, and by His grace they would receive their promised inheritance. Inheritance (kleronomian) is their eternal salvation that is safeguarded in heaven for believers (1Pt 1:4).
20:32. Three major themes surface in this one brief verse: grace which appears everywhere in Paul’s writings; Christian nurture (1 Cor. 8:1; 10:23; 14:4, 17; 1 Thess. 5:11); and the inheritance (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:18; Eph. 1:14; 5:5; Col. 3:24). We should not miss the strong statement that church leaders stand under the Word of God and not over it. God’s Word, not the personalities of human leaders builds, up God’s people.
20:32 “commend you to God” This means “entrust to” (cf. 14:23). We are responsible to God for the gospel we have been entrusted with (cf. 1 Tim. 1:18). We are responsible to pass it on to others who will pass it on (cf. 2 Tim. 2:2).
The name “God” is found in MSS P74, א, A, C, D, and E. The term “Lord” is found in MS B. UBS4 gives Theos a “B” rating (almost certain).
“and to the word of His grace” See note at v. 24. This is a synonymous phrase for “the gospel.”
“able to build you up” Notice that it is the person and truth of God (the gospel) that leads to maturity (cf. 9:31). Paul uses this metaphor often. This Greek word can be translated both “build up” or “edify” (cf. 1 Cor. 14). This is the goal of the gospel, not just the maturity of the individual believer, but of the whole church.
“and to give you the inheritance” In the OT God was the inheritance of the Levites and Priests. In the NT God is all believers’ inheritance because believers are God’s children through the person and work of Christ (cf. Rom. 8:15, 17; Gal. 4:1–7; Col. 1:12).
“among all those who are sanctified” This is a PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE. See Special Topic: Sanctification at 9:32.
32. “And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace which is able to build you up and give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Paul is making his concluding remarks and commits his audience both “to God and to the word of his grace.” Similarly, Paul commended the elders in the churches of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe to the Lord (14:23). Reporting Paul’s gospel preaching in Iconium, Luke notes that the Lord himself “testified to the message of his grace” (14:3). The concept grace is typically Pauline, for Paul uses the word about one hundred times in his epistles. Simply put, the expression the word of his grace is a synonym for “gospel” (see v. 24).
The gospel of Christ has innate power to strengthen and establish the Ephesian elders in their faith. By implication, we understand that the gospel receives its authority from the Lord Jesus. He demonstrates his power by confirming the believers through the spoken and written word (compare Rom. 16:25). To be precise, it is the gospel to which Paul commits the elders, and this gospel gives them a legacy. The church already had the Old Testament canon, but in due time it also received and acknowledged the New Testament books as canonical and thus inherited the word of God’s grace.
When Paul alludes to the inheritance, he addresses the entire church. Notice he says that the gospel is able to “give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” The key word in this phrase is the preposition among, for Paul does not say that the word of grace will give an inheritance to the Ephesian elders. He says that these particular saints, who are entrusted to God and his Word, receive an inheritance among all the believers who are sanctified (see, e.g., 1 Cor. 1:2). That is, Paul emphasizes “the corporate nature of the Church within which these believers have their place.” Hence Paul stresses the unity of the body of Christ.
32. Paul’s final step is to commend the leaders to the care of God. This action should not be regarded as some kind of rite of ordination to their office as overseers of the flock, since they already had this status (verse 17). It is Paul’s handing over to God of the responsibility which he has borne for the church, and represents a farewell act as in 14:23. The leaders are put in the hands of God and placed under the word of his grace, i.e. the gospel of grace (verse 24). Grace is a particularly Pauline word, to express the free unmerited favour of God in virtue of which he saves sinners; Luke also uses it frequently, especially to refer to the gospel message (Luke 4:22; Acts 14:3), so that his vocabulary and that of Paul come together here, although the precise expression is Luke’s. It is the Word which builds up Christians, i.e. makes them mature (cf. 1 Cor. 3:9–15; Eph. 4:12), and gives them an inheritance among all his holy people (cf. Rom. 8:17). This obscure phrase (perhaps based on Deut. 33:3f.) appears to refer to God’s gift of a share in the blessings of his kingly rule which Paul’s hearers will enjoy along with God’s people as a whole. It is significant that these blessings come through commitment to the Word: Paul and Luke know nothing of the idea that church leaders stand over the Word committed to them (2 Tim. 1:14) and are in control of it; on the contrary, they stand under it.
32. I commend you to God. He useth a prayer which, in an oration serving to move the hearers greatly, ought not to be counted absurd. For he did not pass for dividing his sermon into parts as the Rhetoricians use to do, seeing no words were sufficient to express the vehemency of the affections wherewith he was inflamed. He had intreated already of great matters and weighty, which did far exceed man’s ability.
Therefore, he turneth himself unto prayer, and by little and little draweth toward an end of his speech, though it be rather an expressing of a desire than a direct prayer; as if he should have said, that they be unable to bear so great a burden; but he doth wish to them new help from heaven, whereto they may trust and overcome all temptations. And it is not to be doubted, though he speak unto the pastors alone, but that he doth also comprehend the whole Church. First, he commendeth them to God; secondly, to the word of his grace. Notwithstanding, it is all one commendation; but Paul meant to express the means whereby the Lord doth defend the salvation of his, which (as Peter saith) is kept by faith, (1 Pet. 1:5;) and the means of this keeping dependeth upon the word, lest it come in hazard amidst so many dangers. And it is very expedient for us to know how God will keep us. For because his majesty is hid from us, until we come unto him by his word, we look to and fro, being in doubt.
Therefore, so soon as he receiveth us to be kept, he maketh his word the instrument to keep our salvation, in which sense, he addeth the adjunct “grace,” (for the genitive case, after the manner of the Hebrews, doth signify an effect,) to the end the faithful might the more safely rest in the word, where God doth show forth his favour. This exposition is plain and apt; for whereas some understand it of Christ, it is too much racked.
Who is able to build farther. The participle, δυναμενος, is to be referred unto God, not unto his word. And this consolation is added for this cause, lest they faint through the feeling of their infirmities. For so long as we be environed with the infirmities of the flesh, we be like to an house whose foundation is laid.2 All the godly must be grounded indeed in Christ, but their faith is far from being perfect. Yea, though the foundation continue stable and sure, yet some parts of the building be like to fall and quail. Wherefore, there is great need both of continual building, and also now and then new props and stays be necessary. Nevertheless, Paul saith that “we must not faint,” because the Lord will not leave his work unfinished; as he doth likewise teach in the first chapter to the Philippians, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of the Lord,” (Philip. 1:6.) Whereto that of the Psalm (Psalm 138:8) answereth, “Thou wilt not forsake the work of our [thy] hands.”
That which is added immediately concerning the inheritance of life appertaineth unto the very enjoying of life. So soon as Christ hath appeared to us, we pass indeed from death to life; and faith is an entrance into the kingdom of heaven; neither is the Spirit of adoption given to us in vain; but Paul promiseth in this place to the faithful a continual increase of grace until they see the possession of the inheritance whereunto they have been called, which is now laid up for them in heaven. He calleth it “the power of God,” not as we use to imagine it, without effect, but which is commonly called actual. For the faithful must so lay hold upon it, that they may have it ready, like to a shield, or buckler, to hold up against all assaults of Satan. As the Scripture doth teach that we have aid enough in the power of God, so let us remember that none are strong in the Lord save those who, abandoning all hope and confidence of their own free will, trust and lean to him, who, as Paul saith very well, is able to build farther.
20:32 / Finally, he commended them to God and to the word of his grace (see disc. on 13:43). Here the genitive is objective. It is “the message about grace.” This message is able to build … up the believer, that is, to bring the believer to maturity in Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 3:9–15; Eph. 4:12) and to give him or her an inheritance among all those who are sanctified (cf. Rom. 8:17). The language is that of the Old Testament, which spoke of Israel’s inheritance, first, in the land of Canaan, but beyond that, in God himself (cf., e.g., Ps. 16:5). But the themes are characteristically Paul’s (for “building up,” cf. Eph. 2:20f.; 4:12, 16, 29; for “inheritance,” cf. Eph. 1:14, 18; 5:5). Notice that the leaders, no less than the rest of the congregation, are subject to the authority of God’s message (the Scriptures).
32 Now he was leaving them: they could no longer count on his personal presence for pastoral guidance and wise instruction. But, though Paul might go, God was with them still, and so was God’s word which they had received—the word that communicated his redeeming and sanctifying grace. (There is no appreciable difference between the “gracious word” here and the “good news of God’s grace” in verse 24.) To God, then, and to his word (with the grace which it proclaimed) Paul committed them. By that word, as they accepted and obeyed it, they would be built up in faith and love together with their fellow-Christians; by that word, too, they were assured of their inheritance among all the people of God, all whom he had set apart for himself. In due course Paul, with all the apostles, passed from earthly life; but the teaching which they left behind to be guarded by their successors as a sacred deposit, preserved not only in their memory but eventually in the New Testament scriptures, remains to this day as the word of God’s grace. And those are most truly in the apostolic succession who receive this teaching, along with the rest of Holy Writ, as their rule of faith and life.
32 Paul concludes his address with a blessing committing them “to God and to the word of his grace.” Though Paul must leave them, God was with them and so was his word—the word of grace that was able to build them up, give them an inheritance, and sanctify them. Again, the expressions used in Luke’s précis of Paul’s blessing comprise a catena of Pauline terms: “grace” (which appears in almost all of his salutations and benedictions, as well as being at the heart of his expositions); “build up” (cf. 1 Co 8:1; 10:23; 14:4, 17; 1 Th 5:11); “inheritance” (cf. Ro 8:17; Gal 3:18; Eph 1:14; 5:5; Col 3:24); and “sanctified” (cf. Ro 15:16; 1 Co 1:2; 6:11; 7:14; Eph 5:26; 1 Th 5:23).
Study and Pray
And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (20:32)
If an undershepherd is to feed and protect his flock, he must be a student of the Scriptures and devoted to prayer. Only then will he have true knowledge and the wisdom to apply that knowledge. This dual priority of ministry goes back to the example of the apostles, who declared in Acts 6:4, “We will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Those exercises are the heart of a leader’s effectiveness.
Here is another illustration of Paul’s constant practice to commend believers to God in prayer (Rom. 1:9–10; Eph. 1:15–16; Phil. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:2–3; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:3; Philem. 4). Though not specifically a call for pastors to pray, it is surely a reminder of the centrality of prayer in Paul’s life. The church in Acts lived in a constant atmosphere of prayer (1:14; 2:42). It prayed when choosing Judas’s successor (1:24), when facing persecution (4:23–31; 16:25); at the choosing of seven men to administer the church’s relief efforts (6:6), for Peter’s release from prison (12:5, 12), at the sending of Paul and Barnabas to the mission field (13:2), when appointing elders in local churches (14:23); in short, every aspect of the life of the early church was bathed in prayer.
There is no substitute for prayer, for prayer acknowledges dependence on God and lines us up with His purposes. Prayer also allows God to glorify Himself by answering (John 14:13). Without it the undershepherds’ attempts to feed, lead, and guard the flock will be in vain. Good intentions, good ideas, or good programs cannot overcome the effects of prayerlessness.
Study of the Word is the other foundational pillar of ministry, since it is the word of His grace that is able to build believers up and to give them the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. In 1 Peter 2:2, Peter echoed Paul’s thought: “Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” Paul told Timothy that the church was “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), thus requiring that its leaders know that truth.
The Word is the source of spiritual growth (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16–17; 2 Pet. 3:18). The Word is also the source of assurance, convincing believers that they have an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Weak, struggling believers who lack assurance of salvation need to be fed the Word of God that they might “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).
Prayer and the ministry of the Word must be the main occupation of the shepherd. If the undershepherd ignores these elements, both he and his flock suffer greatly.
In this week’s lessons, we are reminded of the importance of sound doctrine if the church is to function properly and be protected from false teaching.
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:1-11
Yesterday we concluded by listing the first bad consequence of Gnosticism. We continue our study today by looking at the second consequence.
The second result is that there was no basis for ethics because what a person did with their body did not matter because the body was considered evil and would be split from the intellectual part of human beings in salvation. So as long as the mind is pure through Gnostic teaching, the body can do anything it wants. You can practice all kinds of immorality and then retreat into your little intellectual world and say, “Well, my mind at least is uncontaminated by what my body does.”
But we know that kind of thinking is completely false. There is a connection between the mind and body. What happens to the one does affect the other. Where do we learn this most clearly? We know it from what Jesus taught in the Bible. Jesus did not teach about the salvation only of the mind or soul alone, but a salvation that is by God’s grace, received by faith, that touches all of the person, including the body. True salvation from God causes both our thinking and our actions to be transformed.
This is what Paul is combatting against as he writes to Timothy, and yet we have modern forms of this same kind of thing. You have it in liberalism, with its denial of literal miracles such as the virgin birth, which is the biblical doctrine of how God became man. You also see it in neo-orthodoxy. I recall some years ago when John Gerstner was preaching at one of the Philadelphia Conferences on Reformed Theology. He told of something that happened during his student days, when he was doing a doctorate at Harvard University. At the time, Reinhold Niebuhr was preaching and receiving a hearing. The theological faculty at Harvard invited Niebuhr to come from New York to speak. The lecture hall was packed with students and others who came to hear this well-known theologian.
Niebuhr decided to preach about Jesus Christ. He preached that Jesus Christ was no mere man, and did so in a very powerful way that would have made Jonathan Edwards proud. After Niebuhr had concluded, there was a question and answer period. Some of the students stayed around to ask questions, and one of them stood up and said, “Dr. Niebuhr, you have made perfectly clear in your address tonight that Jesus Christ was no mere man. Do you mean to say by that that therefore Jesus Christ was God?”
Niebuhr replied that, no, he did not mean that because he certainly did not mean to teach that Jesus Christ was of the essence of God. Another student stood up and said, “Well then, Dr. Niebuhr, you have made it perfectly clear that Jesus Christ is no mere man, and you have made it perfectly clear that Jesus Christ is not God, at least in the traditional Christian sense. What do you mean when you use the word ‘God’ of Jesus?” as he had done in his address. Niebuhr replied that what he meant is that Jesus Christ is symbol.
Well, the students didn’t know what that meant, and Gerstner didn’t know what that meant. In fact, to this day Gerstner doesn’t know what that means, and neither do I or anybody who really thinks about it. It is a kind of teaching that seems to appeal to some people’s intellect but which is divorced from truth.
What is the second consequence of Gnosticism?
How do liberal forms of Christianity promote false teaching?
Prayer: Pray that your own church will remain faithful to biblical truth and not fall into any kind of false teaching.
Let Us Not Be Ashamed to Confess Sin Psalm 32:5; 38:18; Proverbs 28:13; Daniel 9:20; Mark 1:5; James 5:16; 1 John 1:9
Let us then not be ashamed to confess our sins unto the Lord. There is indeed shame when each makes known his sins, but that shame, as it were, ploughs his land, removes the ever-recurring brambles, prunes the thorns, and gives life to the fruits that he believed were dead.
AMBROSE OF MILAN
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Virtues and Vices Contrasted Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:13–14, 16–24
There is labor in vice, there is rest in virtue; there is confusion in lust, there is security in chastity; there is servitude in covetousness, there is liberty in charity.
AELRED OF RIEVAULX
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Rev. Franklin Graham speaks at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 (RNC video screenshot)
The American vote system, the 2020 results of which remain under challenge in multiple courts, first apparently gave the office of president to Democrat Joe Biden, whose recent epiphany about abortion now has him supporting the killing of the unborn almost without limit.
Now voters in Georgia, based on preliminary totals, apparently have given two Senate seats to Democrats who are part of the “demonic-driven abortion agenda.”
The result, according to Franklin Graham, chief of the worldwide Christian ministry Samaritan’s Purse?
“God’s judgment is coming.”
On social media, even as the final counts for the Georgia Senate runoff elections were being continued, he wrote, “The votes are in, but is the election over? I have no clue. I guess we just have to wait and see. But I do know that we need to pray for our nation.
“We are in trouble,” he continued. “I believe God’s judgment is coming, for the sins of our nation are great and they are a stench in the nostrils of our Creator.”
He earlier had urged voters to reject that “demonic-driven abortion agenda” of the Democratic Party.
Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue faced challenger Jon Ossoff in one race, and incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler faced Raphael Warnock in the other.
Graham was responding to Planned Parenthood’s praise of Warnock. The abortion-industry giant called him a champion for reproductive rights.
“Truthfully translated, that means Raphael Warnock champions the killing of babies in the safety of a mother’s womb through abortion,” Graham wrote on Facebook.
“I hope the church and all Georgians will see through this demonic-driven abortion agenda,” he said. “This is not just a political issue, it is a moral and biblical issue. We need leadership in our nation that sees the wisdom in defending life.”
Noting the impact of the race on the whole nation, he urged Americans to join him “in praying that candidates who support life – note the murder of babies in the womb – will be elected.”
Graham, the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, noted Warnock tweeted he supports “reproductive justice.”
“Justice? What an ironic term to use. Abortion represents the biggest, most significant INJUSTICE of our time in history—genocide of entire masses of babies,” Graham said.
Earlier, Graham urged people to believe President Trump when he charges that the 2020 election was stolen.
After all, when Trump said he was spied on by the Barack Obama administration, he was right, the evangelical leader wrote on Facebook.
And when he said there was no collusion with Russia, he was right.
“When President Trump says that this election has been rigged or stolen, I tend to believe him. He has a track record of being right. Pray for President Trump, pray for Joe Biden, and pray for our nation—that we will get through this, and for God’s will be done,” Graham said.
Congress took up the issue of the Electoral College votes, which remain under challenge in the courts, on Wednesday.
Graham noted Trump said the government was spying on him.
“The media said that he was paranoid. The Obama administration and the Democrats said that this was an absolute lie and that Donald Trump was not fit to be president, only for us to find out later that the U.S. government did spy on Donald Trump, and what he had said was in fact true,” Graham said.
“Then we spent the next two years with the president under investigation for collusion with the Russians. The president said there was no collusion, but night after night, the media and the Democrats said there was collusion. After an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, it turned out to be false—there was no collusion. President Trump was right again.
“Then the Democrats impeached him over a phone call. The president has been maligned, falsely accused, and attacked on every front since before the election in 2016,” he said.
Regarding Biden, Graham has urged his social media followers to pray for him.
“As we approach a transition in the leadership of our government in Washington, it is critically important for followers of Jesus Christ to pray for those who will be making decisions that impact the future of our nation,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Just because we might not have voted for someone doesn’t mean that we get a pass to not pray for them. The Bible instructs us to pray for all of our leaders—’all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior’ (1 Timothy 2:2-3). We must not give up or waver,” Graham wrote.
“Pray for President-elect Joe Biden, that he would not be swayed by the voices of self-interest, but that he would listen to the still small voice of Almighty God,” he said.
Graham said he’s thankful for the accomplishments of the past four years.
“People have asked if I am disappointed about the election,” he said on Facebook. “When I think about my answer, I have to say honestly, that I am grateful—grateful to God that for the last four years He gave us a president who protected our religious liberties; grateful for a president who defended the lives of the unborn, standing publicly against abortion and the bloody smear it has made on our nation; grateful for a president who nominated conservative judges to the Supreme Court and to our federal courts; grateful for a president who built the strongest economy in 70 years with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years before the pandemic; grateful for a president who strengthened and supported our military; grateful for a president who stood against ‘the swamp’ and the corruption in Washington; grateful for a president who supported law and order and defended our police.”
“Now we take Georgia, and then we change America,” proclaimed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer after the general election, laying out his Georgia path to tyranny through the state’s two runoff contests for Senate seats. This morning greets us with news that Leader Schumer will get to put “Majority” in front of that title as Democrats are set to take full control of Washington. The race has been called for Democrat Raphael Warnock, and his fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff is almost certain to win as well, leading by 16,000 votes and awaiting resolution of “technical issues” counting votes in the Democrat stronghold of DeKalb County. Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have not conceded, though both Democrats claim victory.
As Mark Alexander says, “The only line of defense between Liberty and Schumer are the military ballots yet to be counted in the Perdue-Ossoff race. But there are not likely enough of those votes to surmount Ossoff’s lead.”
So, the Biden-Harris ticket put the state in the blue column for the first time since 1992, and the state apparently now has its first Democrat senator(s) in 15 years.
How did this happen?
How did a more attractive version of Jeremiah “God D—n America” Wright, the pastor Barack Obama was forced to socially distance from in 2008, win a Senate seat … in the South? How did an inheritance welfare liberal who’s barely had a real job, done nothing of substance, and gets massive funding from California somehow secure Georgia’s other Senate seat?
Several reasons, really. So let’s hit a few highlights.
First and most important is the strong Democrat ground game — the push to register and turn out new voters. Former and future gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams led this effort, and she has to be smiling like the cat that ate the canary this morning. We warned yesterday that she had registered more voters since November than Ossoff’s first-round deficit to Perdue. (Loeffer’s race had a similar R vs. D split, but among 20 candidates in a “jungle” primary contest.) Abrams’s efforts paid off.
That’s largely because Georgia allows voters to request absentee ballots for any reason. All Abrams had to do was register every Democrat in an Atlanta apartment complex and then make sure they all received and returned ballots. Lather, rinse, repeat. No wonder Georgia Republicans are looking at ending this practice.
This is to say nothing of the massive potential for fraud with such ballots and the laughable efforts to “verify” those signatures. Abrams actually bragged about undermining the requirement to match signatures.
Just to be clear, the Democrat Party insists that voters shouldn’t have to provide legitimate signatures, present voter ID, or even show up at the polls.
The other hugely important factor was a divided GOP, and like it or not, the lion’s share of the blame for that goes to President Donald Trump. He is the leader of the party, is he not?
The president did head down to Georgia to rally for Loeffler and Perdue, but he spent far too much time grinding his own axe. It’s certainly hard to make the case for Perdue and Loeffler as a check against a Biden-Harris administration if you can’t even acknowledge a Biden-Harris administration without getting mean-tweeted (or worse) by President Trump. He attacked and threatened Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, forcing Perdue and Loeffler to take sides within their own party. And whether you’re mad at these Republicans or those Republicans, such anger is hardly motivating to go vote Republican — especially when some of Trump’s backers were literally out there telling Republicans not to vote because the system’s rigged.
Fratricidal infighting wasn’t limited to the election. Trump undercut Senate Republicans with his after-the-fact demand for $2,000 relief checks instead of the $600 version Congress had already passed. Would Perdue and Loeffler support more money for Georgia voters? They eventually said they would, but they’d be swimming upstream in a GOP-controlled Senate. Warnock and Ossoff will gladly jump aboard the Trump-Schumer-Pelosi train and provide Democrats with the votes to do it.
All this division almost certainly depressed the Republican vote. For example, while overall turnout of 4.6 million shattered previous runoff records, the heavily Republican northwest Georgia district now represented by Marjorie Taylor Greene, who like Trump insists (only) the (presidential) election was stolen, saw turnout at just 86% of November’s. That might have made the difference in the razor-thin Perdue-Ossoff race.
Furthermore, the two campaigns issued an emergency press release mid-afternoon Tuesday to get their supporters to the polls. Perhaps they saw the turnout writing on the wall. In any case, Democrats were certainly motivated. Black turnout seems to have been up across the state, and it is nigh inarguable that Trump drove as much or more Democrat turnout as he did Republican.
Finally, Loeffler herself was divisive. Kemp appointed her a year ago to fill the seat of the retiring Johnny Isakson, but it was over Trump’s preference for Representative Doug Collins. Kemp believed Loeffler would play better in the Atlanta suburbs, though it didn’t turn out that way — particularly after allegations of insider trading against both Loeffler, already the wealthiest member of Congress, and Perdue. (Both were exonerated, but that mattered little in the age of suppressed news.) Buoyed by the intra-party fight, Collins challenged Loeffler in November, weakening an already weak candidate.
Now Democrats have a much clearer path for their agenda — higher taxes, more regulation, leftist judicial nominees, packing the Supreme Court, adding states (and Democrat senators), and so much more. Meanwhile, the GOP will be left weakened, divided, and bitterly arguing over whose fault it is.
The only possible silver lining is that Warnock faces voters again in 2022 for a full term, but then again he’ll do so with Abrams’s turnout machine benefiting from her own likely repeat candidacy for governor. Georgia’s population is growing, too, and it’s not conservatives moving there from Alabama or Oklahoma; it’s liberals coming from California.
Mike Pence is in a tough spot. The toughest of spots. He’s been an exemplary vice president and the unsung hero of the Trump administration. He’s been loyal to the letter and dignified at every turn, and his selection by Donald Trump was the best decision that then-candidate Trump ever made.
Now, however, at a joint session of Congress, Pence is being asked to do the impossible: reject the electors chosen by certain states during today’s roll call, and thereby singlehandedly upend the 2020 presidential election.
“States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval,” tweeted President Trump this morning. “All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”
“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” President Trump tweeted yesterday. But Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s personal attorney and lead outside counsel during the impeachment hearings, disagrees.
“Some have speculated that the vice president could simply say, ‘I’m not going to accept these electors,’ that he has the authority to do that under the Constitution,” Sekulow said Tuesday during an in-depth discussion on his radio show. “I actually don’t think that’s what the Constitution has in mind. If that were the case, any vice president could refuse any election. It’s more of a ministerial procedural function.”
In short, Vice President Pence has the constitutional power to open the envelopes containing each state’s slate of electors. The clerk, however, does the counting. As the Washington Examiner’s Mica Soellner reports, “Pence will preside over a roll call of states. … If at least one senator and one House member object to the results from a state, a debate up to two hours long can take place regarding the results. Each chamber will then vote separately to certify or object to those results.”
Beyond simply presiding over the events, however, Mike Pence is powerless under the Constitution.
A more substantive approach is the Electoral Commission being called for by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and 10 Senate colleagues. In a joint statement issued Sunday, the senators noted the “unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities” that poisoned the 2020 presidential election.
They also noted the troubling reality of recent polling: “39% of Americans believe ‘the election was rigged.’ That belief is held by Republicans (67%), Democrats (17%), and Independents (31%).” (Let those numbers sink in, and try to contemplate the deeply divided nation that a Biden-Harris administration will attempt to govern.)
The senators’ proposal cites the disputed 1876 Hayes-Tilden presidential race as precedent, when, “following serious allegations of fraud and illegal conduct … Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy. Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission-consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices-to consider and resolve the disputed returns.”
The senators continue: “Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.”
Cruz and his colleagues are realistic about their chances, but a 10-day audit could at least deliver some much-needed transparency to our broken election system — a system in which at least 39% of the American people have no confidence.
We’re not sure whether the senators’ efforts will come to any good, but a constitutionally dubious procedural gambit by Vice President Pence certainly isn’t the answer.
“Mike Pence is a man of honor, character and honesty,” President Trump said in 2016, as he introduced his running mate. We agree wholeheartedly, regardless of how today’s events unfold.
They’re calling it the “Save and Defend” plan. The 26 Republican state attorneys general have banded together with an organized and determined agenda to oppose the radical agenda of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. As Republican Attorneys General Association Executive Director Adam Piper put it, “If we lose the Senate, we are not the last line of defense; we are the only line of defense. It’s going to be first and goal at the half-yard line, and we are going to have to hold the line.” And following the apparent results of the Georgia runoff election, it’s looking likely that Piper is right.
However, this is not new territory for Republican state AGs, as they have the recent experience of countering the Obama-Biden administration. In fact, GOP AGs had a 60% success rate in their lawsuits against that regime’s tyrannical diktats.
And given the likelihood that a Biden-Harris administration will emulate Barack Obama’s “phone and pen” strategy, Georgia AG Chris Carr explained that Republicans are now ready for it. “We know there will be holdovers from those years invited back to the Biden administration. We know the playbook of relying heavily on executive orders,” Carr stated. “By getting out in front, launching the initiative and getting a coalition of Republican AGs thinking about these issues, we can be prepared to be the last line of defense.”
While Carr noted that over the last four years Democrat AGs have essentially thrown everything including the kitchen sink toward challenging every single action President Donald Trump took — and more often than not successfully thanks to left-leaning judges — the Republicans plan a more strategically targeted approach given the fact that many of the courts still lean left. “The [Biden-Harris] administration is going do things through executive orders that it is not allowed to do, and that is where we as state attorneys general have a chance to step in and be the guardrails for the rule of law and principles of federalism.”
Specifically, The Washington Times reports, “Republicans will largely target Mr. Biden’s efforts to enact the Green New Deal, reverse Mr. Trump’s immigration policies, reduce or redirect law enforcement funding, and any response to the coronavirus crisis that might infringe on the Constitution.”
It’s a source of hope that Republican AGs are already gearing up to engage in a years-long fight against the radical agenda of the extreme leftists who have taken over the Democrat Party — extremists who are pulling the strings behind the Biden-Harris administration.
It seems that Joe Biden picked the most appropriate person to rise to the presidency when he’s done in the next few months. Given his own history of plagiarism, the same sin committed by Kamala Harris comes as no surprise and “qualifies” her to take his place.
Harris, who managed to attract somewhere in the neighborhood of 1% support during her own presidential bid, is not exactly winsome. That hasn’t stopped the media from attempting a makeover. In October, Elle magazine ran a hagiographic profile of Harris that began with a supposed anecdote from her childhood:
Senator Kamala Harris started her life’s work young. She laughs from her gut, the way you would with family, as she remembers being wheeled through an Oakland, California, civil rights march in a stroller with no straps with her parents and her uncle. At some point, she fell from the stroller (few safety regulations existed for children’s equipment back then), and the adults, caught up in the rapture of protest, just kept on marching. By the time they noticed little Kamala was gone and doubled back, she was understandably upset. “My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing,” Harris says, “and she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’ And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.’”
So cute. And so deceitful. Aside from the laughable assertion that any Democrat advocates freedom (or “fweedom,” for that matter), a strikingly similar story has been told before:
I never will forget a moment in Birmingham when a white policeman accosted a little Negro girl, seven or eight years old, who was walking in a demonstration with her mother. “What do you want?” the policeman asked her gruffly, and the little girl looked him straight in the eye and answered, “Fee-dom.” She couldn’t even pronounce it, but she knew. It was beautiful!
Martin Luther King Jr. claimed that memory in a 1965 interview with Playboy magazine, another noted intellectual journal just like Elle. Let’s just say the stories are too similar to be believable.
Thus, not only did Kamala seemingly imitate Joe in plagiarism but also in self-serving autobiographicallies. (What is it with Democrats? They create oppressed identity groups and then make up stories out of whole cloth to better identify with or benefit from said group. Ask Elizabeth Warren.)
More recently, Harris claimed, “Our Kwanzaa celebrations are one of my favorite childhood memories.” We suppose that’s possible. A black radical and FBI tool named Ron Karenga had invented the fake holiday two years after Kamala was born. But it’s highly unlikely that her family was quickly on board celebrating it, given that Kwanzaa is a made-up celebration supposedly of African culture, while Kamala’s parents are Indian and Jamaican.
As Matt Walsh brutally concludes, “Kamala Harris is a pathological liar and mediocre political talent who slept her way to power, flunked out of the primaries after garnering close to zero support, and was given the VP nod thanks solely to her race and gender. Other than that, she’s an inspiration.”
Thanks in large part to one man and his dogged pursuit of the truth, the Russian-collusion narrative that was seeded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and perpetuated by Barack Obama’s Justice Department was exposed for the hoax it was. If it wasn’t for Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) and his insistence on getting to the truth, Donald Trump’s presidency may not have survived the Democrats’ orchestrated efforts to see him removed from office. If it wasn’t for Nunes, Americans may have never learned the truth behind the infamous Christopher Steele dossier and the FBI’s abusive use of it to gain FISA surveillance warrants to spy on Carter Page.
On Monday, Trump awarded Nunes with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His “courageous actions helped thwart a plot to take down a sitting United States president,” said the White House. “Devin’s efforts led to the firing, demotion or resignation of over a dozen FBI and DOJ employees. He also forced the disclosure of documents that proved that a corrupt senior FBI official pursued a vindictive persecution of [former National Security Advisor] Gen. Michael Flynn — even after rank and file FBI agents found no evidence of wrongdoing.”
Despite opposition from Democrats, the mainstream media, and even some of his Republican colleagues, Nunes stuck to his guns and refused to back down from the truth. And one of Nunes’s biggest opponents was Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who repeatedly over the course of three years lied about the Russia hoax, falsely asserting that he had evidence proving the charge of collusion. The media chose to believe Schiff’s lies and parrot them over and against Nunes. And even after the Robert Mueller investigation found no evidence to support the charge of Russian collusion, Schiff continued to insist it was a fact while refusing to release transcripts from the House Intelligence Committee pertaining to its investigation of the collusion allegations after he assumed the committee chair in 2019.
Nunes’s investigation and findings were eventually vindicated. As the Washington Examiner noted, “DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report in December 2019 largely vindicated the Nunes memo, criticizing the Justice Department and the FBI for at least 17 ‘significant errors and omissions’ related to the FISA warrants against Page, for concealing potentially exculpatory information from the FISA Court related to denials by a number of Trump associates, and for the bureau’s reliance on the Democratic-funded, discredited dossier by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.”
So, while Democrats and the Leftmedia still clinging to the debunked collusion hoax lamented Trump’s awarding of Nunes, Americans owe him a debt of gratitude for holding the line and not backing down from what he knew to be true.
In her 2011 book Demonic, Ann Coulter explores the mob mentality of the Left throughout history. She also drives home a point that hardly needs to be driven home: Political violence comes overwhelmingly from the Left.
While progressives and their Big Media enablers constantly warn us of the looming threat of widespread violence on the Right, it never seems to materialize. And while they strain mightily to make agnostic Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh a Christian conservative (which he never was), we in the reality-based world can point to “a century of violence from the Ku Klux Klan, the labor unions, the communists, the anarchists, the anti-war protesters, the Weathermen, the SDS, the Black Panthers, Jim Jones’s People’s Temple,” and more, as Coulter points out.
Not content to rest on their laurels, however, today’s Left brings us Black Lives Matter, antifa, and an assortment of lesser-known thuggish groups, one of which terrorized the wife and baby daughter of Republican Senator Josh Hawley on Monday night.
“Tonight while I was in Missouri,” Hawley tweeted, “Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can’t travel. They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door. Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence.”
There are at least two sides to every story, of course, and The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis dutifully rose to tell the mob’s side of things, defending its disturbance of a quiet suburban neighborhood after dark. “’Antifa scumbags’ = ShutDown_DC,” he tweeted, in an apparent effort to make the people terrorizing Hawley’s wife and baby girl seem somewhat less menacing. “They described their protest as an ‘hour long vigil.’”
DeBonis then tweeted out the far-left group’s statement, which began, “This evening around a dozen activists with ShutDownDC held an hour long vigil at the Virginia home of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) to demand that he drop his baseless contestation of the 2020 presidential election results. Hawley was the first of 12 Republican senators who pledged to join more than 100 Republican House members in their plan to derail Congress’ acceptance of Joe Biden’s election win on January 6.”
The Post’s Teo Armus offered a similarly sympathetic take: “The activists said they had staged a peaceful vigil Monday night to protest a GOP plan to object to Congress’s certification of the presidential electoral vote this week. On the sidewalk in a Northern Virginia suburb, a group of 15 people chanted while holding candles and signs reading, ‘Protect democracy.’”
Somehow, though, both DeBonis and Armus missed the bullhorns.
DeBonis did, however, smugly share a 51-minute video of the entire event, which began innocently enough with an almost comical non-threatening group organizing in a local parking lot. “Seems they taped the whole thing!” tweets DeBonis triumphantly. And for the first 30 minutes of the video, we get the impression that maybe he’s right, and maybe Senator Hawley and his wife simply overreacted. But then “the vigil” takes a loud and ugly turn, as further footage makes clear.
As Hawley put it, “Now ‘vigil’ means screaming threats through bullhorns, vandalizing property, pounding on the doors of homes and terrorizing innocent people and children.”
The senator is right. There’s a line of decency that today’s Left seems utterly uninhibited from crossing — a line that’s been pushed far beyond the bounds of simple free speech and peaceful political protest. As Coulter puts it, “The Democratic Party activates mobs, depends on mobs, coddles mobs, publicizes and celebrates mobs — it is the mob.”
California leads the nation with a population of roughly 39.5 million, according to the Census Bureau. But even if we add three million to that calculation, it would still fall short of the 42.7 million preborn souls that were exterminated in their mothers’ wombs globally in 2020.
“Data provided by Worldmeter revealed that as of December 31, there were 42.7 million unborn babies killed by abortion in 2020,” says Disrn’s Jenny Mount. “That number far outpaced cancer, which came in at 8.2 million, smoking at 5 million, COVID-19 at 1.8 million, and HIV/AIDS with 1.7 million deaths. Worldwide, abortion caused more deaths than cancer, smoking, alcohol, HIV/AIDS, malaria, automobile accidents, and COVID-19 combined.”
For anyone with even an ounce of integrity, this is nothing short of astounding. Yet it’s merely a (completely ignored) statistic among a good chunk of the general populace both here and abroad, even if global abortion amounts to essentially wiping out a state greater than the size of California in any given year. Read that stat again: “Worldwide, abortion caused more deaths than cancer, smoking, alcohol, HIV/AIDS, malaria, automobile accidents, and COVID-19 combined [emphasis added].” In other words, it’s a pandemic far greater than the cumulative effect of said diseases and misfortunes.
Here’s another troubling reality: Democrats here in America want not only to do way with the Mexico City policy but also repeal the Hyde Amendment. Both of these actions would add insult to injury by further padding the number of abortions not just here but around the world — on the taxpayer dime.
The results of two impactful decisions are coming in today. We know some Georgia runoff results — the radical “Reverend” Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, though the race between GOP incumbent David Perdue and Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff has not yet been called. (Ossoff leads and will likely win.) We do not yet know the result of the Electoral College vote later today. Both of these outcomes will have an impact on our nation, one way or the other.
I want to look beyond the elections and consider the State of the Union, if you will. There is more to be concerned about that is far more critical to the future of our country than the elections, and that’s the moral condition of our nation. If you’re a Patriot, you may already be aware of what I am going to share, but it needs repeating and remembering!
America, as founded, was a Republic form of government. Too many today freely use the term democracy. The problem with a democracy is that if you get a majority of people to agree with you, it can become mob rule. In 1787, Alexander Tyler, a professor of history at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, explained the fall of the Athenian Republic 2,000 years prior:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith
From spiritual faith to great courage
From courage to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependence
From dependency back into bondage
Where do you believe we stand right now in this cycle? I believe we are at the end of apathy and very close to dependency. Leftists keep encouraging people to depend on them. We’ll take care of you! Trust us!
The Left has succeeded in dividing us into “tribes,” pushing us into fights over issues that need to be discussed, but the Left NEVER solves problems; it only creates them. Then leftists tell you if you vote for them, they will fix the problems they created. How has that worked out for us, especially if you live in one of the leftist-run inner-city plantations where nothing ever changes, except for the body count of far too many young people?
You may not have liked Donald Trump’s personality, but you probably benefited from his policies. America has lasted longer than any other Republic because of our faith and trust in God. Faith is the glue that holds us together with a common cause and purpose.
Ever since 9/11, Christians around the nation have seen what our leaders either don’t see or are too cowardly to speak about. If America does not experience a spiritual revival, we too will become a statistic in the list of failed Republics!
Insight: “It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.” —Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)
The bottom line: “The problem with Trump has always been his highly personal view of the presidency, wherein institutions, constitutional principles and sheer propriety take a backseat to the felt needs of his ego. At times in his presidency, this failing has been made to serve worthy ends, e.g. stoking economic growth and confirming record numbers of conservative judges as bragging points. Since the election, though, this tendency has been particularly stark and unredeemed. His personal inability to accept the sting of defeat has led him, shamefully, to wage war on a legitimate election.” —Rich Lowry
The bottom line, continued: “Republicans have likely lost control of the Senate, but will have the consolation prize of being able to marinate for hours tomorrow in delusional schemes to indulge the conspiracy theories of the man who did more than his share to lose these races.” —Rich Lowry
Voter suppression: “Republicans in Georgia in November won 51% of all votes cast for congressional races; 53% for state house races; and 54% for state senate races. Then the President and the State GOP Chairman spent two months telling Republicans the game was rigged and the election was stolen.” —Erick Erickson
For the record: “Pandemics are primarily urban diseases. If you want to minimize your health risks, get out of the big cities like Chicago or New York.” —Stephen Moore
Nailed it: “The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society. It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled.’ It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn. So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.” —actor Rowan Atkinson
Friendly fire: “It’s the height of hypocrisy for people who claim to be the champions of rights for women to deny the very biological existence of women. … It’s mind-blowing because it shows just how out of touch with reality and the struggles of everyday Americans people in Congress are.” —Rep. Tulsi Gabbard regarding Pelosi’s bizarre House rules
Non compos mentis: “[I am] deeply disappointed that my prayer has been misinterpreted and misconstrued by some to fit a narrative that stokes resentment and greater division among portions of our population. Rather than reflecting on my faithful requests for community healing and reversion from our increasingly tribal tendencies, it appears that some have latched on to the final word of this conversation in an attempt to twist my message to God and demean me personally.” —Rep. Emanuel “Amen and Awoman” Cleaver
And last… “Our mandate moving forward has to be for a single national voting day, with the sole exceptions for early or mail-in voting being those that are truly, strictly necessary (active-service military, bed-ridden elderly, etc.). Republicans must pound this every day until it happens.” —Josh Hammer
Dry winter shows potential for a drought this upcoming growing season Higher temps are coming with lower than average snowfall amounts, right after an historically dry fall. Some spots by the Canadian border are the driest they have been in 100 years. “Any less precipitation, any less snow is going to exacerbate the conditions coming into next spring,” he said.
Lockdown Measures Catastrophic for Recovering Addicts, Mental Health Depression has “skyrocketed” since the lockdowns began, Royce said. Recovering addicts are struggling even more now due to boredom, inability to see family and friends, and lack of social activities. I was dealing with relapses every single day of the week … heavily, heavily from June all the way until about October. It was non stop. It was definitely more than normal, there’s no doubt about that.” Nationally, drug overdose deaths are at historic highs.
More than 100 state legislators ask Pence to delay certification of electoral votes by 10 days More than 100 state legislators from contested battleground states have asked Vice President Mike Pence to delay by 10 days the congressional certification of the elections in their states so they can have more time to investigate irregularities and illegalities. The dramatic requests, delivered in various letters on the eve of a joint session of Congress, added intrigue and drama to a process that normally is pro forma.
More desert locust swarms to hit parts of Ethiopia, Kenya in January: FAO The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday warned that more desert locust swarms will arrive during January and spread throughout southern Ethiopia and parts of Kenya. “More swarms will arrive during January and spread throughout southern Ethiopia and northern, central, and eastern counties of Kenya where they will mature and lay eggs that will hatch and give rise to hopper bands from late January onwards,” the FAO said in a statement issued on Monday.
Hurricane Season 2021 – A Preview of What Louisiana Can Expect So, are you ready? As of now, Colorado State is not issuing a “number” as far as named storms and hurricanes. They will offer guidance on the number of named storms and hurricanes later this year. They are only suggesting that conditions indicate another active season for the tropical Atlantic. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Risk has released numbers with their preseason outlook, and as you might imagine their forecast is on the high side as well.
Why are so many Iranians – well over 1 million so far – leaving Islam and becoming followers of Jesus Christ? In his day, Billy Graham – an American Evangelical from a Southern Baptist background – emerged as the most watched, listened to and respected evangelist in the world. Today, Shariat – an Iranian Shia Muslim convert to Christianity – is far and away the most watched and most influential Iranian evangelist in the world. He is the founder of Iran Alive Ministries and a 24/7/365 satellite TV network that broadcasts the Gospel into Iran and the Farsi-speaking world. To be sure, Muslim conversion to Christianity is a very sensitive and controversial topic. But given that so many Muslims are heading down this road – particularly in Iran – it is a subject worth examining carefully.
Catholic archbishop: Biden ‘irreparable disaster’ as president “It would be an irreparable disaster if Joe Biden, who is heavily suspected of being complicit with the Chinese dictatorship, would be designated as president of the United States,” he said in an interview with Steve Bannon, the host of “War Room” and a former chief White House adviser.
California’s 55 electoral votes for Biden suddenly targeted in brand-new action While more than 60 lawsuits have been filed following the Nov. 3 general election on behalf of President Trump, the complaint goes further, challenging the entire election procedure in California. It also is significant because it requires the decertification of California’s November election results, a move that by itself, could deprive Joe Biden of the presidency.
The Revolution Will Not be Televised For those of you not familiar with Talkradio, they are (according to them) the UK’s fastest growing radio station. They’ve gathered this audience primarily because they’re the only UK media outlet willing to question the British government’s Covid policy. Presumably, this is also why they were today shut down by YouTube, on which they broadcast their show live as well as hosting clips from their shows. YouTube has accused them of violating it’s community standards; it has previously said that it will delete any videos which go against the Covid orthodoxy.
Israel-Europe ties improving, warming up to Abraham Accords – exclusive “For years, European states connected developing relations with Israel to the conflict with the Palestinians,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said Monday in a video conference with Israeli ambassadors in Europe. “The ministry’s goal has been to reduce the tension and the connection and continue advancing bilateral dialogue while dealing with the Palestinian issue.”
2020: 3,168 Jews from US, Canada, make Israel their home on Aliyah The 41st and final Nefesh B’Nefesh group flight of 2020 landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Dec. 30 with 48 new immigrants joining the 3,168 individuals who made aliyah from North America in the last year—2,625 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
FBI probing Soleimani-related ‘threat’ to fly plane into US Capitol The FBI is probing the breach of an air traffic control system after a broadcast from an unknown source threatened to fly an aircraft into the US Capitol building late Tuesday as revenge for the assassination of a top Iranian official a year ago. The story was first reported by CBS news, but confirmed by other US media. However, most…believe that the specific threat…is a hoax.
Rep. Scalise Reacts to ‘Soviet Style’ House Rules Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) stood up on the House floor on Monday to “strongly object” to the Democrats’ new House rules package. Among the provisions are the weakening of the motion to recommit, which allows members to amend a bill before it’s voted upon. Now, it can only be used as a “motion to delay consideration” of a bill. “It is all designed to take away the voice of 48 percent of this House chamber,” Rep. Scalise argued.
National security law: Mass arrests among Hong Kong pro-democracy camp Hong Kong has arrested dozens of pro-democracy activists and politicians, accusing them of trying to “overthrow” the city’s government. The group, arrested under a controversial new security law, were involved in an unofficial “primary” vote to select opposition candidates ahead of postponed 2020 elections. Hong Kong’s security secretary has said their actions were “subversive”.
Deadly flash floods tear through Bolivia’s Sucre city Flash floods have killed at least four people in the Bolivian city of Sucre, police say. Following a heavy hailstorm which lasted about half an hour, some of the city’s steep streets became fast-flowing rivers. Water rushed down the streets dragging along cars, buses and market stalls.
Bill by Algerian lawmaker looks to criminalize promoting peace with Israel An Algerian lawmaker announced in a social media post that she intends to submit a bill to parliament seeking to criminalize “the… promotion of normalization with the Zionist entity,” referring to Israel…Amira Selim said that the bill aims to “prevent the promotion of normalization with the Zionist entity through mass media and social media, to the National People’s Assembly (Parliament).”
Shallow M6.2 earthquake hits Kermadec Islands region A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.2 hit the Kermadec Islands region at 06:20 UTC on January 6, 2021. The agency is reporting a depth of 26.1 km (16.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.2 at a depth of 30 km (18 miles). The epicenter was located 882 km (548 miles) SSW of ‘Ohonua, Tonga and 1 105 km (687 miles) NE of Whangarei, New Zealand.
Heavy snow engulfs Jammu and Kashmir, cuts it off from the rest of the country, India Heavy snow closed the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and Mughal Road on January 2, 2021, stranding nearly 4 500 vehicles. Though the road was cleared of landslides, snow on the north portal of Jawahar Tunnel in Lower Munda hampered the movement of traffic. Meanwhile, flight operations at Srinagar airport are suspended for the third consecutive day, leaving Kashmir cut off from the rest of the country.
Tropical Cyclone “Imogen” brings floods and disruptions to Queensland, Australia Tropical Cyclone “Imogen” brought heavy rains, flooding, and disruptions to Queensland, Australia, after making landfall over Karumba around 13:00 UTC (23:00 LT) on Sunday night, January 3, 2021. It generated 105 km/h (65 mph) winds, dumped more than 200 mm (7.8 inches) of rain, and left 1 400 residents without power.
Fukushima Radiation Levels: ‘Worse’ than Previously Thought Nuclear regulators in Japan recently revealed the radiation levels found inside the damaged reactor buildings at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are “exceedingly high” and worse than previously thought, the Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday.
ELECTION Manipulation: A Global Affair When reading what I would label the alternate media, ie MSM, from around the world one would think that the US election debacle was simply an anomaly, a blip, a bubble. Every country is convinced ‘their’ elections are perfectly perfect, and it is only the US that is manipulated. What an amazingly narrow shrewish view.
“When we are tempted to trust in some particular person or political party to provide deliverance and security, we have a vain hope. The God who made heaven, and earth, the sea and all that is in them, is the One who provides deliverance and security for His people. This God has secured a city that has foundations–a lasting city–for His people.”
(Nicholas Batzig – Feeding On Christ) Like many other Christians, I am deeply concerned about the direction in which our country has been moving and the speed at which it continues to move. The murder of the unborn, the celebration of every form of sexual immorality, the increase in public acts of violence, perpetual discrimination, sex trafficking, and a rise in religious intolerance certainly top the list….
If the outrage and anger we witnessed in 2020 is any indicator of things to come, the future looks bleak. Along with the decay of the moral fabric of our society is the inevitability of opposition to Christ and His church. This rightly leaves believers unsettled in heart and mind. However, so many scramble to get behind a political leader in order to alleviate fears. Conspiracy theories abound to justify in the minds and hearts of the fearful why they should be fighting for a political solution. However, when fears or concerns rise up in our minds and hearts, what does God call us to do? Thankfully, He has given us all that we need in His word. The Psalms alone provide us with enough encouragement to trust in the God who made the heavens and the earth, when everything around us seems bleak. Consider, for instance, Psalm 124. View article →
WASHINGTON D.C.—“Freedom is over!” Biden announced to the press as the red flag of the Chinese Communist Party flew over the Capitol, marking that the Democrats now have control of the presidency, Senate, and House.
“The Bill of Rights is gone,” Biden continued. “Free markets will end. Now that we have a slim majority in the House and Senate, liberty shall be destroyed! …As long as we can get Joe Manchin to agree.”
Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has submitted a number of designs for new gulags she drew in crayon, which will be for people who don’t announce their pronouns, and the designs are expected to pass the new Congress easily.
Some Democrats are concerned that the Supreme Court could stop their plans since the conservatives there interpret the Constitution as not allowing the government to destroy all freedom, but there are plans to pack the court with five hundred members of Antifa.
President Donald Trump assures everyone, though, that he actually won the presidency and Republicans did win the House and Senate and he’ll get that all cleared up in the next week or so.
4:8 The great evangelist and theologian also faced great discouragements.
4:8Hard pressed is translated afflicted in 1:6. In the Greek text, an identical expression occurs in 7:5, where it is rendered “troubled on every side.” But in 7:5 Paul adds, “Outside were afflictions, inside were fears.” Thus, every side means “inside and outside.” Yet Paul was not crushed, a compound Greek word from the words for narrow and space. Perplexed is derived from two Greek words: the word for no plus the word for way. Thus, perplexed means “to be at a loss.” One is perplexed when one sees no way out. Yet Paul was not in despair, which means “utterly at a loss.” As believers, we will face trials. But we must remember that God controls trials and uses them to strengthen His people. God’s glory is manifested through broken vessels, through people who endure troubles by relying on His power.
4:8 The apostle now goes on to explain that because the treasure has been committed to earthen vessels, there is seeming defeat on the one hand, yet perpetual victory on the other. There is weakness to all outward appearance, but in reality incomparable strength. When he says, We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed, he means that he is constantly pressed by adversaries and difficulties, yet not completely hindered from uttering the message freely.
Perplexed, but not in despair. From the human standpoint, Paul often did not know there could possibly be a solution to his difficulties, and yet the Lord never allowed him to reach the place of despair. He was never brought into a narrow place from which there was no escape.
8. While we are pressed on every side. This is added by way of explanation, for he shows, that his abject condition is so far from detracting from the glory of God, that it is the occasion of advancing it. “We are reduced,” says he, “to straits, but the Lord at length opens up for us an outlet; we are oppressed with poverty, but the Lord affords us help. Many enemies are in arms against us, but under God’s protection we are safe. In fine, though we are brought low, so that it might seem as if all were over with us, still we do not perish.” The last is the severest of all. You see, how he turns to his own advantage every charge that the wicked bring against him.2
we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; (4:8–9)
Paul’s humility and weakness did not cripple or destroy him but instead strengthened him. Paradoxically, he found encouragement in his frailty, because then the power of God flowed unhindered through him. Far from being a liability to his ministry, an honest assessment of his spiritual limitations was his greatest asset.
Paul was a mercilessly battered clay pot, whose many enemies sought to shatter him completely. In 1:5 he wrote that “the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance.” In verses 8 and 9 he added, “We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.” He endured “afflictions … hardships … distresses … beatings … imprisonments … tumults … labors … sleeplessness … hunger” (6:4–5), and knew what it was to be “hungry and thirsty … poorly clothed … roughly treated, and … homeless” (1 Cor. 4:11). In addition to all the physical suffering Paul endured (cf. 1 Cor. 11:23–27), he constantly carried the heavy burden of “concern for all the churches” (11:28). Yet despite all his suffering, there was an aura of confidence about this noble servant of God, because though he lacked strength, the power of God flowed through him.
Paul’s humanly unimposing persona posed an unanswerable question for his opponents: How could they explain the undeniable impact of his life? Since he did not have the power in himself to accomplish what he had accomplished, the power must have come from God. And if Paul ministered in the power of God, he was a true servant of heaven, and his opponents’ accusations against him were false. Paul’s impact despite his lack of human giftedness was a powerful rebuttal to the false allegations leveled against him.
By a series of four contrasts, the apostle demonstrated that his inabilities did not cripple his ability to minister. First, he was afflicted in every way, but not crushed. Afflicted is from the verb thlibō and refers to being under pressure. As noted above, Paul was under constant physical and spiritual pressure—so much so that he wrote earlier in this epistle, “We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves” (2 Cor. 1:8–9). But despite that pressure, Paul was not crushed. Crushed is from the verb stenochōreō, which refers to being confined to a narrow, tight place. The pressure he faced could not keep Paul’s ministry bottled up.
Second, Paul was perplexed, but not despairing. The Greek text contains a play on words; the participles translated perplexed and despairing are from the verbs aporeō and exaporeō, respectively. Paul was at a loss but not at a total loss. He was at his wit’s end, but there was still a way out; he was at the brink of defeat but not defeated.
Third, the apostle was persecuted, but not forsaken. Persecuted is from diōkō, which means “to pursue,” or “to hunt.” Paul’s many enemies stalked him day in and day out (cf. Acts 9:23–24, 28–29; 14:5–6, 19; 20:3; 23:12). But despite that, Paul was not forsaken, deserted, or abandoned. His Lord never left him to face an impossible difficulty on his own.
Finally, Paul was struck down, but not destroyed. Struck down is from kataballō and means “to strike down,” as with a weapon, or “to throw down,” as in a wrestling match. Destroyed is from apollumi, which could also be translated “ruined,” “lost,” or even “killed.” In modern boxing terms, Paul may have been knocked down, but he was not knocked out. He triumphed not by escaping adversity but by successfully enduring it.
No one could withstand such an onslaught in his own strength and still maintain his joy and peace, let alone do the work of the ministry. The power of God made Paul fearless and formidable. Nothing his enemies could do would destroy him. Even killing him would only usher him into the Lord’s presence (Phil. 1:21). God’s sustaining power enabled this otherwise weak man to triumph over his difficulties and his enemies (cf. 2 Cor. 2:14).
8–9 Now follows a series of four vivid antitheses that illustrate both the weakness of Paul in discharging his commission and the power of God in preserving his life and his spirit. Each metaphor may reflect gladiatorial or military combat. Paul was “hard pressed on every side,” but not completely cornered or without room for movement, never driven to surrender. He was “bewildered, but never at our wits’ end” (REB), “near-desperate but not wholly desperate” (M. E. Thrall), or (as an attempt to retain the wordplay of the Greek) “at a loss, but never totally at a loss.” He was hounded by the foe, but not left to his mercy, or, “but never abandoned by God” (Barclay). He was knocked to the ground, but not permanently “grounded.”
8–9 These sentences are framed by “in every way,” a phrase that governs the four statements following, as well as “always” in v. 10. These universals also appear in the paradoxical triumph/antitriumph metaphor, with which the excursus on new covenant ministry began (2:14). Verses 8–9 represent the first of the “tribulation lists” (peristaseis) found within 2 Corinthians (see also 6:3–10; 11:23b-33; 12:7–10; cf. 1:5–11; 2:14–17).
What follows is one of the more powerful rhetorical moments in the Pauline corpus, although comparable to similar antitheses in 1 Cor 4:10, 12–13 and 2 Cor 6:9–10. Each clause follows the same pattern: a passive participle expressing an aspect of suffering is contrasted by “but not,” followed by another passive participle cognate with, but more severe than, the first (e.g., “hard pressed but not crushed”). At the same time each of the two paired participles expresses a suffering more extreme than the corresponding participle in the line preceding it. Thus:
The first pair, “hard pressed” and “crushed,” are virtual synonyms in contemporary Greek. The former (“hard pressed”) is probably used first because of its significant and early use in 2 Corinthians (see on 1:4); the latter (“in a narrow space,” “constricted”) is found in the NT only in 6:12. The rhetorical context determines that the latter has the more severe meaning.
The next pair are a wordplay (paronomasia) impossible to reproduce in translation (aporoumenoi and exaporoumenoi, the second word an intensification of the first). Literally rendered it is: “at a loss but not absolutely at a loss.”
In the third pair, the first participle, “persecuted,” is used elsewhere by Paul for the specific assault on Christians, whether his prior hounding of believers (Gal 1:13, 23; Phil 3:6) or his own sufferings at the hands of others. The second, “forsaken,” has a rich background in the OT (LXX) for Yahweh’s determination not to forsake his people (e.g., Gen 28:15; Deut 31:6, 8; Josh 5:1). This is the word from the mouth of the Crucified, quoting Ps 22:1 (Mark 15:34). Here the word implies an eschatological intent; God will not abandon his chosen ones whom he has redeemed.
The final pair reflect an extremity of suffering. The first passive—“struck down”—employs a verb not used elsewhere by Paul, but in contemporary literature it means “laid low” (as by a weapon), “bullied” or “stricken.” With it is contrasted “but not destroyed,” which like its corresponding predecessor (“but not forsaken”) has an eschatological thrust, “perishing” (cf. 2:15; 4:3). The suffering apostle will not be forsaken by God, nor “lost” from him.
The trend toward intensified suffering may be seen in the following table (my translation):
These words must be read against the background of the benediction at the beginning of the letter. While the first word in each line expresses vividly the “sufferings of Christ,” which “overflow into our [i.e., the apostles’] lives” (1:5), the “but not” followed by words for even more dire circumstances expresses the “deliverance” from distress by “the God who raises the dead” (1:10). This is the “comfort” God gives to his suffering messengers, which overflows from them to the people of God (1:6).
4:8–9 / On the tribulation catalogues in Rom. 8:35; 1 Cor. 4:10–13; 2 Cor. 4:8–9; 6:4–10; 11:23–33; 12:10; and Phil. 4:12, see Niels Willert, “The Catalogues of Hardships in the Pauline Correspondence: Background and Function,” in The New Testament and Hellenistic Judaism (ed. Peder Borgen and Søren Giversen; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1997), pp. 217–43.
The phrase that the niv translates on every side(en panti) is literally translated “in everything” or “in every way,” and may apply to all four of the following antitheses. Compare the pleonastic use of pas (“all, every”) in 1:3, 4; 6:4; 7:5, 11, 16.
How can we explain the apparent tension between our text (perplexed, but not in despair) and 1:8, where the apostle states that he “despaired even of life” during his tribulation in Asia? Perhaps our passage reflects Paul’s normal response to various kinds of affliction, whereas the severity of the situation in Asia caused a momentary lapse.
4:8–9We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed … struck down, but not destroyed. Amplifying the clay jar symbolism of 4:7, Paul explains that his constant experience (Greek, en panti: “in everything,” “at all times”; NIV: “on every side”) in ministry is God’s strength expressing itself in circumstances of weakness and affliction. The first element of each antithetical pair depicts a seemingly overwhelming hardship, while the second element emphasizes God’s provision to endure. Paul’s perspective is that his suffering—far from invalidating his apostolate—is decisive proof of God’s call through a demonstration of divine power. To some in Corinth, strength and weakness are incompatible; for Paul they constitute the divine paradox and paradigm of true gospel ministry.
8–9. The general principle enunciated in verse 7 is here illustrated by a series of four paradoxical statements. These reflect the vulnerability of Paul and his co-workers on the one hand and the power of God which sustains them on the other. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. The participles translated hard pressed (thlibomenoi) and crushed (stenochōroumenoi) are similar in meaning, but in this context the latter clearly represents an intensification of the experience of affliction referred to in the former. Paul’s point is that, while God allows him to be hard pressed, by his power at work in Paul’s life God saves him from being completely crushed.
Perplexed, but not in despair. The participle translated perplexed is aporoumenoi, and that translated in despair, exaporoumenoi, is a compound form of the same participle and expresses an intensification of the former. Paul’s point again is that while he is often perplexed, because of God’s power at work in his life he does not succumb to despair. Commenting on the apparent contradiction between this statement and Paul’s reference to despairing of life itself in 1:8, Thrall (pp. 327–328) suggests he may have learnt from the past experience referred to in 1:8 not to despair completely, as he says in 1:9, ‘this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God’.
Persecuted, but not abandoned. The verb ‘to abandon’ (enkataleipō) is used by Paul of Demas who abandoned him when he was in prison (2 Tim. 4:10) and of those who abandoned him at his first defence before Caesar (2 Tim. 4:16). It is also the word Jesus used when abandoned by God on the cross (Matt. 27:46). Paul’s point is that, while he was often persecuted in the course of his ministry, he was never abandoned by God.
Struck down, but not destroyed. The allusion here may be a military one—a soldier struck down but not killed by his opponent. Paul may be referring to physical violence he experienced, but insisting that even so, God had not allowed him to perish (cf. 1:10; Acts 14:19–20). For a catalogue of the sorts of experiences reflected in these four antitheses, see 11:23–33.
The intruding ministers in Corinth apparently spoke of power and triumph in the Christian life. Down the centuries many have eagerly listened to impressive-sounding preachers who have raised the hopes of their hearers that they too, like the speaker, can enter new and high levels of religious experience. Some who embrace these hopes so much want them to be true that they feel unable to admit to any problem or even a ‘down’ mood. Paul, however, is emotionally honest. He does not cover up his difficulties, but, as one conscious of being a ‘jar of clay’, reveals something of his sufferings and hardships. In speaking of being hard pressed he is referring to those pressures’ which impinge on him because he is a Christian. Being perplexed means a feeling of being ‘cornered’. He says he is persecuted or ‘hounded’, doubtless on account of his ministry. Finally, he confesses to being struck down, which probably means, in our language, ‘depressed’.
While most of these problems arose from his particular calling, many will recognize and identify with his feelings. Most readers know, to some degree, what he means by these things. Ordinary people will be encouraged to know that their difficulties were also shared by the great apostle. Yet along with each of these problems mentioned in verses 8 and 9 he adds but not. ‘Pressured’ but not crushed; ‘distressed’ but not in despair; ‘hounded’ but not abandoned; ‘depressed’ but not destroyed. If the fourfold difficulties show that he is ‘a jar of clay’, the fourfold but not is evidence that the ‘all-surpassing power is from God’ (verse 7).
It seems probable that in each of the four seemingly hopeless situations Paul had prayed to God for help (see 1:8–9). He identified his problem in prayer to God. Then as the answer from God became apparent he could say but not.… The fourfold but not encourages us to pray specifically about our own personal areas of distress and difficulty. According to Hughes, Paul is ‘speaking the language of experience …—the experience simultaneously of his own incapacity and of God’s transcending power which transforms every situation’.
8. In every way we are afflicted, but we are not hard pressed. We are perplexed, but we are not thoroughly perplexed. 9. We are persecuted, but we are not abandoned. We are struck down, but we are not destroyed.
These verses echo an earlier passage in which Paul describes the hardships he experiences: “To this present time, we are hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, beaten, and homeless. We toil with our own hands; when we are scorned, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we answer with kind words. We have become like the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now” (1 Cor. 4:11–13). And this is not all, for in four other passages Paul recounts his hardships for the sake of Christ’s gospel (1:8–10; 6:4–10; 11:23–27; 12:10).
Paul continues his discourse by contrasting four sets of dissimilarities in two verses. He describes four adversities that he qualifies with four negative phrases (“but we are not”), each of which is followed by a verb.
“In every way we are afflicted, but we are not hard pressed.” I have supplied the noun way, which is versatile, because Paul was afflicted in many ways: physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially. The basic meaning of “afflicted” is to be in a situation in which one bears the pressures of the surrounding world. But Paul is not dismayed, for he states that he is not driven into a narrow place (6:4).
“We are perplexed, but we are not thoroughly perplexed.” In Greek Paul writes a play on words that in transliteration is clear in form: aporoumenoi (being perplexed) and exaporoumenoi (being in despair). The second Greek participle is stronger than the first. I have tried to capture the same sounds and meaning in English with “perplexed, but not thoroughly perplexed.” In fact, when Paul says that he despairs not, he voices an optimism that he earlier lacked. When he described a severe affliction he had endured in the province of Asia, Paul wrote that he despaired even of life (1:8). That was a single incident and not a continual threat to his life.
“We are persecuted, but we are not abandoned.” Paul portrays himself as a fugitive hunted down by his adversaries, yet at the last moment he is able to escape. Apart from the missionary work and his voyage to Rome, recorded by Luke in Acts, we know little about the frequent suffering Paul bore. But the apostle is not disheartened, for he knows that the Lord never abandons his own. Indeed, God’s promise to the Israelites is true: “The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). Joshua was also told that God would never leave him or forsake him (Deut. 31:8; Josh. 1:5; see Heb. 13:5).
“We are struck down, but we are not destroyed.” The meaning of the first verb, a technical term, is plain: as a wrestler throws his opponent to the floor, so Paul is lifted up and thrown down. Again his confidence is telling, for Paul states that he is not yet passing away.
The list of the eight Greek participles in verses 8 and 9 shows an increasing degree of severity from being afflicted to not being destroyed. All the participles are in the passive voice with the implication that adversaries are the agents. Yet Paul is able to overcome all his trials because he knows that God grants him extraordinany power (v. 7).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 142–143). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 469). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
“Faith Ought to Go before Understanding” John 10:30; 17:21; Hebrews 11:3
You have heard what the Lord God, Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, born of God the Father without any mother, and born of a Virgin mother without any human father, said, “I and My Father are One.” Receive this, believe it in such a way that you may attain to understand it. For faith ought to go before understanding, that understanding may be the reward of faith.
AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Toward Higher Degrees of Good Romans 12:21; Colossians 3:5–17
Let us imagine, if we can, the effect of the total extinction of evil in any one of our minds. How many energies, now tied and bound with the chain of sin, would spring upward into action! How many imprisoned yearnings would burst their bonds, and carry us onward to higher degrees of good!
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
2:9 Salvation belongs to the Lord. Like Joshua before him (Josh. 24:14, 15), Jonah declares his loyalty to the Lord and extols Him as the only source of salvation and deliverance. In imparting salvation to Jonah, the Lord moved the prophet from disobedience to repentance; in imparting salvation to the Ninevites, He will move them from idolatry to faith (3:5–10); in imparting salvation to the Gentiles now He sovereignly moves them to faith and repentance (Acts 11:17, 18).
2:9a voice of This term is used in the sense of “sound,” probably to indicate thankful singing.
will sacrifice to you Jonah intends to offer a sacrifice in the temple when he returns to Jerusalem (see Jonah 2:4).
I will fulfill what I have vowed Jonah may have vowed to offer a sacrifice to Yahweh when he prayed for deliverance (see v. 2), or the reference may be to the first half of the verse and Jonah is at that moment making a vow to Yahweh.
Deliverance belongs to Yahweh The Hebrew word used here, yeshu’a, meaning “salvation,” is used in the sense of deliverance.
2:9 I have vowed. Jonah found himself in the same position as the mariners: offering sacrifices and making vows (cf. 1:16). In light of 3:1–4, Jonah’s vow could well have been to carry out God’s ministry will for him by preaching in Nineveh (Pss 50:14; 66:13, 14).
2:9I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving: This vow of praise is common in the Psalms (Pss. 13:6; 142:7). I will pay what I have vowed: Jonah declares that he will keep his promise, a pledge both to sacrifice and to acknowledge God’s help (Job 22:27; Pss. 22:25; 50:14; 66:13; 116:14, 17; see also Rom. 6:13, 19; 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:5). Salvation: It is the Lord who delivers His people. God acts on behalf of His creation and the redeemed community to insure a relationship with them (Ex. 15:2, 17, 18; Pss. 88:1; 89:26; 140:7; Is. 12:2). Chapters 1 and 2 both end with vows of sacrifice and thanksgiving.
Ver. 9. I will pay that that I have vowed.—A forgotten vow:—
I heard of a sea-captain who had been wrecked, and with whose ship most of the crew and passengers were lost. He himself had only saved his life by holding on to a plank, and had for a considerable time been completely at the mercy of the waves, but fortunately had been rescued, and was then travelling in the stage-coach to rejoin his family. He told his fellow-passengers his sad story, and all of them pitied him, but wondered why a man so recently saved from imminent danger should end almost every sentence with an oath. The coach stopped to change horses, and one of the passengers proposed to the captain that they should walk on and let the coach overtake them. As they walked together the gentleman said, “You said last night you lost your ship?” “Yes.” “And your life was saved by clinging to a plank? When you were hanging on to that plank, did you not vow that if God delivered you, you would lead a very different life from that which you had formerly done?” “That is no concern of yours,” angrily responded the captain. At the end of the day’s journey, as the travellers were about to take supper together, the captain was obliged to decline, saying he had no money. The gentleman who had spoken to him on the way offered him a goodly sum. The captain refused it at first, but eventually, rather ungraciously, accepted the gift. Next morning the captain surprised the gentleman by holding out his hand and saying, “I did, while on that plank, promise God that I would lead a different life if He would, in His mercy, save me. I had forgotten my vow, but with God’s help I shall keep it from this day forth!” Do not many sinners so treat God? They call upon Him in the day of trouble, but when they are delivered they forget all about Him. (J. Hamilton.)
Salvation is of the Lord.—Jonah’s praise of God:—
In his words we have a particular favour acknowledged. Jonah evidently had an eye to the wonderful and extraordinary deliverance that God had wrought for him; and indeed the hand of God did so eminently appear in it, that it could not be ascribed to any other. And there is a general truth asserted, “Salvation is of the Lord.” This is certainly true in the most extensive sense. Whether the salvation be of a temporal or spiritual nature, it is of the Lord.
What salvation is of the Lord.
The salvation of the soul, salvation from sin, and from all that misery which is consequential to it. There is a salvation by purchase and a salvation by power, and both are of the Lord.
Temporal salvation is of the Lord. God wrought a temporal as well as a spiritual deliverance for Jonah, and to Him Jonah ascribes the praise of both.
In what respects salvation is of the Lord.
In what respects spiritual salvation is of the Lord.
(1) In respect of contrivance.
(2) In respect of purchase.
(3) In respect of the revelation, exhibition, and offer of it.
(4) In respect of the application of it.
(5) In respect of the progress of it.
(6) In respect of the consummation of it.
Temporal salvation, or deliverance from outward troubles and afflictions, is of the Lord, as it is He alone who works it; and whatever the distress is, He is able to work it. Learn—
Believers in the most afflicted condition have no reason to be cast down, as if their case were altogether hopeless.
Sinners, however guilty and wretched, have no reason to despair of salvation.
Believers are wholly indebted to the grace of God for their salvation, for every spiritual and every temporal deliverance wrought for them.
That when any deliverance wrought for persons has been wrought for them in mercy, they will eye and acknowledge the hand of God in it. (D. Wilson.)
Salvation is of God:—
Observe what happens when the cry rises at sea, “A man overboard!” With others on deck, you rush to the side; and leaning over the bulwarks, with beating heart you watch the place where the rising air-bells and boiling deep tell that he has gone down. After some moments of breathless anxiety you see his head emerge from the wave. Now that man, I shall suppose, is no swimmer; he has never learnt to breast the billows; yet with the first breath he draws he begins to beat the water; with violent efforts he attempts to shake off the grasp of death, and by the play of limbs and arms to keep his head from sinking. It may be that these struggles but exhaust his strength, and sink him all the sooner; nevertheless, that drowning one makes instinctive and convulsive efforts to save himself. So, when first brought to feel and cry, “I perish!” when the horrible conviction rushes into the soul that we are lost, when we feel ourselves going down beneath a load of guilt into the depth of the wrath of God, our first effort is to save ourselves. Like a drowning man, who will clutch at straws and twigs, we seize on anything, however worthless, that promises salvation. Thus, alas! many poor souls toil, and spend weary, unprofitable years in the attempt to establish a righteousness of their own, and find in the deeds of the law protection from its curse. (J. Maclaurin.)
Salvation is of the Lord:—
Take the word “salvation” in its highest and in its lower senses.
In the deliverance of a soul. Comment upon our state of ruin. Salvation is—
Of the Father. In its origin proceeding from the eternal love of God, even before all time.
Of the Son. In its meritorious cause. An obstacle to be removed; justice to be satisfied; our need of an atoning sacrifice. Note the willingness of Christ to offer Himself; and the fulness and sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice.
Of the Spirit. In its personal application. Our aversion to God to be taken away—in conversion, sanctification, perseverance.
In the lesser deliverances of the children of God.
From outward difficulties. Such as Jonah’s case. Jonathan and the Philistines. Children of Israel in the wilderness. David overtaken by Saul. Asa and the Ethiopians. Jehoshaphat and the Moabites.
From bodily afflictions. Hezekiah’s sickness. Psa. 107:17; Job 32:19.
From soul troubles. Temptation. Desertion. Backsliding. What are the legitimate deductions?
(1) The subject checks the pride and vainglory of man.
(2) Raises the hopes of the desponding. (John D. Lawe, M.A.)
What is salvation?—
Let us try to see what salvation means. I take it to be summed up in four things. First, knowledge that God is our Father; second, knowledge of the kind of life we are expected to live; third, reconciliation with ourselves, with our own consciences; fourth, a sense of pardon and communion with God, and knowledge of eternal life within us. If you test these things you will find how true it is that they are not found in any other name or person than Jesus Christ. (R. F. Horton, D.D.)
Salvation is of the Lord:—
This text announces, in general terms, a truth encroached upon by almost all systems of false doctrine, and repugnant to the natural heart.
Salvation is wholly of God in its origin with the Father.
In the will and decree of the Father (see Eph. 1:4).
The Father’s purpose and decree can be referred to nothing but His sovereign pleasure (see Eph. 1:11).
He was under no obligation to save man.
In order to receive salvation we must take the position in which it contemplates us. Condemned, as guilty. Hateful, through sin. The enemies of God, against whom sin is. Powerless to atone or obey.
We must further acknowledge God’s absolute sovereignty in electing to salvation, and providing a Saviour, and in now saving us.
Salvation is wholly of God in its execution by Christ.
Had man been equal to his own salvation, then had Christ not come (Gal. 3:21).
Christ had to meet human opposition. Man opposed his own salvation, according to God’s plan, as soon as practicable.
III. Salvation is wholly of God in its application by the Spirit. Man is dependent on the Spirit for having the truth presented; for being able to understand the truth; for rendering him willing; for faith to receive and rest on Christ; for regeneration; for sanctification; for perseverance unto the end of life in Divine grace. Learn to pray for and rely on the Spirit. (James Stewart.)
The Christian’s rejoicing and glory:—
In the former part of the verse the prophet expresses his determination to bless and praise the Lord. The ground of his doing so was what the Lord had done for him, notwithstanding his grievous crimes and rebellion. That again embraced a twofold mercy, namely, what had been done, or what was about to be done, for his body and for his soul. The prophet had now been taught a lesson which it would be his wisdom never to forget, and which would the better enable him for the arduous work he was called to perform. Some indisputable facts in Christian experience.
That no one knows what salvation means but they who have seen their need of it.
That no one can praise the Lord for salvation but they who have experienced its blessing and power.
That no one can be insensible to the holy feeling of gratitude and praise to whom the grace of God hath brought salvation.
That it is generally through a variety of humiliating and painful discipline we are conducted to such an experience, and formed to such a confession and acknowledgment. This then is the subject of our discourse. Considered in every possible point of view, in its origin, source, revelation, execution, grant, efficiency, continuance, and consummation, “Salvation is of the Lord.”
What does the term “salvation” mean?
What the Lord had done, or was about to do, for Jonah in respect of his body. In this Jonah was a striking type of Christ.
What the Lord had done for him in respect of his soul, in preserving him from hell, and granting him repentance unto life. The word salvation, as applied to souls, does not mean—
(4) Names, sects, or parties. To see what it does mean we must ask, What is the state of man? He is lost, as being guilty, condemned, polluted, and depraved, exposed to many enemies, from which, by his own will and power, he can never escape. Salvation means deliverance from this state of wretchedness and misery, together with an investiture of all the blessings needful for his present peace and everlasting welfare.
Whence does this salvation flow, and by whom is it carried into effect? It does not originate with man. It is not effected by man. It is altogether of the Lord. Consider from Scripture—
The source of salvation.
The provision of the Saviour.
The assignment of His mediating work as the surety of His Church and people.
Look at the execution of this great work. So it is clear that salvation is altogether of the Lord. Consider how, and by whom, the time when, and the manner in which this gracious provision is carried into effect in the sinner’s conversion.
The regeneration of the soul.
The sinner’s pardon and justification.
The believer’s sanctification and adoption.
The believer’s succour, support, and safety.
The believer’s perseverance unto the end, his safe death, and triumphant glory.
III. Wherein does it appear that it is indeed the salvation of the lord?
What hath the Lord spoken on this subject?
What does the state of the case absolútely require?
What does the experience of the people of God abundantly testify and confirm?
If salvation be not of the Lord, then how dark, how cheerless is the prospect set before us!
(1) Take a word of instruction. Lay down this doctrine as a fundamental truth.
(2) Take a word of discovery. How much error, delusion, and false doctrine does this subject bring to light!
(3) Take a word of inquiry. In what way are you seeking your salvation?
(4) Take a word of alarm. Is it not sad to consider how the Lord is slighted by some, and dishonoured by others, in this great work of salvation?
(5) Take a word of encouragement. Can anything be more cheering than this assurance, “Salvation is of the Lord”?
(6) Take a word of gratitude and joy. Is the Lord my Saviour? (R. Shittler.)
9. Having experienced in his own life God’s power to rescue him from the very jaws of death itself, Jonah, as an expression of his gratitude, promises to offer sacrifices and fulfil his vows to the Lord. His words echo the response of the sailors in 1:16. Finally, Jonah brings his psalm of personal thanksgiving to a climax in the wonderful statement, Salvation comes from the Lord. No other words could summarize better Jonah’s appreciation of all that God has done for him. The Lord saves! Ironically, however, it is this very same fact which fills Jonah with intense anger in the final chapter of the book.
9.—But I—who know better than idolaters, and who have learned a new leason of trust in God—I will sacrifice. Pusey notes that the Hebrew denotes rather, “I fain would sacrifice,” as it de pended, not on him, but on God, whether he was able to worship again in the Holy Land. His sacrifice of thanksgiving (Lev. 7:12, etc.) should be offered with prayer and praise (Ps. 42:5). That which I have vowed (Ps. 50:14. 66:13). Salvation is of the Lord. This is the conclusion to which his trial has brought him, the moral of the whole canticle (Ps. 3:8; 118:14, 21; Rev. 7:10). The LXX. and the Vulgate join this clause to the preceding, thus: “That which I have vowed I will pay to the Lord for my salvation.” This is tame, and not in strict accordance with the Hebrew.
In 1734 and 1735, Jonathan Edwards and the congregation at Northampton experienced a revival. So did many other churches in the Connecticut River Valley in the colonies of Connecticut and Massachusetts. In the fall of 1733, Edwards preached some hard-hitting sermons. One of them, preached in November 1733, has been titled “The Kind of Preaching People Want.” Edwards starts his sermon in the Old Testament, observing that God’s people have had no shortage of false prophets, “that always flattered them in their sins.” True prophets rebuke the sinner. False prophets leave sinners “to the peaceable enjoyment of their sins.” He then turns to the desire that people in his own day had for such false prophets. Edwards continues, “If ministers were sent to tell the people that they might gratify their lusts without danger… how eagerly would they be listened to by some, and what good attention they would give.” He adds, “They would like a savior to save them in their sins much better than a savior to save them from their sins.”
Edwards was responding to those of his day who thought they knew better than the Word of God. He also wrote treatises to respond to the academics who thought they knew better than God’s Word. The English academic world of Edwards’ day was enthralled with the new thinking of the Enlightenment. The deists ruled. They believed that God created the world and then backed away, and now He lets it run along all on its own. They rejected the idea that God reveals His will in His Word. They rejected the doctrine of the incarnation and the deity of Christ. They rejected the possibility, let alone the actual occurrence, of miracles. They had “come of age.” The Enlightenment thinkers and the deists were far too sophisticated to submit to some ancient book.
The philosophers had affected the church. In 1727, a group of independent ministers met in London to debate the deity of Christ. These were the exact descendants of the stalwart Puritans of the 1600s. They voted on the deity of Christ, and the deity of Christ lost. These were men who should have known better. They capitulated to the whims of the day.
Edwards kept up with these developments. He was not a backwoods minister. He had the latest books and kept current with the latest ideas. He saw where these ideas would take the church in the American Colonies. He sounded the alarm. He also saw how his congregation could be so easily led astray by the wrong pursuits. He saw how worldliness crouched at the door, ready to overtake those who so willingly gave in.
So, he was not in a Puritan bubble. He responded to his culture and to his congregation. He preached sermons and he wrote books—all defending the Bible.
We are not historically situated at the dawn of the Enlightenment as Edwards was. We find our place at the Enlightenment’s setting sun. We live in the dawn of postmodernism. We live among those who reject the Bible. We live among those who give in to the clutches of worldliness. Sin crouches at our door too.
So what pastoral counsel did Edwards offer? He pointed his congregation to the Bible. He argued against the Enlightenment thinkers and against the deist theologians based on the Bible. He looked to the Word.
As Edwards noted, the Bible belongs to every age. It is not simply the true Word for the first century. It is not simply the authoritative Word for the first century. It is not simply the necessary Word for the first century. It is not simply the sufficient Word for the first century.
It is the true, authoritative, necessary, clear, and sufficient Word for all centuries, including the twenty-first. Theologians sometimes speak of these as the attributes of Scripture. As the attributes of God help us to learn about God, the attributes of Scripture help us learn about Scripture. The first and foremost attribute of Scripture is its authority. Scripture is authoritative. We again hear Peter Martyr Vermigli remind us that it all comes down to “Thus says the Lord.” If Scripture is the Word of God, it’s authoritative.