Daily Archives: January 10, 2021

Nunes: Tech CEOs Should Be Prosecuted Criminally For Coordinated Attack On Parler | Video | RealClearPolitics

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told FOX News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that Amazon, Apple and Google’s suspension of Parler is “clearly a violation” of antitrust, civil rights and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

REP. DEVIN NUNES: The effect of this is that there is no longer a free and open social media company or site for any American to get on any longer, because these big companies, Apple, Amazon, Google, they have just destroyed a — what was likely — Parler is likely a billion-dollar company. Poof, it’s gone.

But it’s more than just the financial aspect to that. Republicans have no way to communicate. If — and it doesn’t even matter if you’re a Republican or conservative. If you don’t want to be regulated by left-wingers that are at Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, where you get shadowbanned, nobody gets to see you — nobody gets to see you, they get to decide what’s violent or not violent, it’s preposterous.

So, I don’t know where the hell the Department of Justice is at right now or the FBI. This is clearly a violation of antitrust, civil rights, the RICO statute. There should be a racketeering investigation on all the people that coordinated this attack on not only a company, but on all of those like us, like me, like you, Maria.

I have three million followers on Parler. Tonight, I will no longer be able to communicate with those people. And they’re Americans.

And, by the way, unlike the fake social media sites, we know that everybody that’s on Parler, because you get certified, there’s a number, it’s actually very — a very, very safe platform.

And if you break the law on Parler, the FBI can subpoena to get — to find out who those people are. If you break crimes on Facebook and Twitter, good luck — good luck trying to find out who they are.

So, Parler has went above and beyond. It’s one of the reasons why — I didn’t go to Parler eight months ago because it was a Republican platform. I didn’t know if it was Republican or not. I went there because I knew that I could express my thoughts freely and that I knew that my — that the list, as I post something, was going to be there, and that Fakebook and Twitter weren’t going to be manipulating it.
— Read on www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/01/10/nunes_tech_ceos_should_be_prosecuted_criminally_for_coordinated_attack_on_parler.html

Parler CEO John Matze To Bartiromo: Google, Apple, Amazon Targeted Us, They Can Target Anyone | Video | RealClearPolitics

Parler CEO John Matze joined FNC’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that Google, Apple and Amazon banning his app from app stores and from using server space “would put anyone out of business.”

“They are trying to falsely claim that we were somehow responsible for the events that occurred on the 6th,” he said.

JOHN MATZE, CEO, PARLER: Well, thank you for having me on.

Well, it’s devastating, is what it is. And it’s an assault on everybody. I mean, they all worked together to make sure at the same time we would lose access to not only our apps, but they are actually shutting all of our servers off tonight, off the Internet.

So, they made an attempt to not only kill the app, but to actually destroy the entire company. And it’s not just these three companies. Every vendor, from text message services, to e-mail providers, to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day. And they are trying to falsely claim that we were somehow responsible for the events that occurred on the 6th.

BARTIROMO: This is absolutely extraordinary, that you see this coordinated effort on the same day that the president is banned on Twitter.

You have got Google and Instagram removing Parler. And now last night late, Apple removes Parler as well.

What are you going to do? John, can this put you out of business?

MATZE: Oh, I mean, it would put anybody out of business. I mean, this — they could destroy anybody. If they did this to any app, any company, it would completely destroy them.

And we’re going to try our best to get back online as quickly as possible. But we’re having a lot of trouble, because every vendor we talk to says they won’t work with us, because, if Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t.

And they have given us no legitimate remedy. They have tried to ask us for — to cooperate with them on a few things. We have tried to give them everything that they wanted, of course, without sacrificing our principles, but there weren’t remedies to do it, and they just don’t care.

They just don’t want us on the Internet. They just want to get rid of us.

BARTIROMO: So, what is the reason that they are saying that they want you out?

I know that the company has been incredibly successful, as many people have called out social media for censorship, for censoring news. Twitter would not run the Hunter Biden story during an election. They locked out The New York Post from Twitter. Google has created algorithms potentially that will also censor information.

There’s been attacks on Parler because of your open free speech approach. What is the reason that they’re giving you for shutting you down?

MATZE: Well, they — like I said, they claim that we somehow were responsible for the — the — what they call the insurrection on the 6th, which we have never allowed violence.

We have never allowed any of this stuff on our platform. And we don’t even have a way to coordinate an event on our platform. So, they somehow want to make us responsible. And this seems to me like an excuse to just basically eliminate free speech at a convenient time for them.

And it does, because we have grown so much. We were number one on the App Store the day that we were removed for — quote, unquote — “violence” and the same day that horrible violence was trending on Twitter.

And so it’s an obvious double standard. It’s obvious collusion. And they’re doing it to stifle free speech and competition in the marketplace. And this could happen to literally anybody.

BARTIROMO: It’s just unbelievable.

And I know that, as the lead-up to this, President Trump was saying that these companies are way too powerful, and he wanted to find a way to rollback Section 230, which, of course, gives them immunity from any lawsuits. It protects them, their liability.

And all throughout that, you said, no, no, no, we shouldn’t pull back Section 230, it would hurt everybody.

And now we see how powerful these companies truly are, John?

MATZE: Yes.

And it was actually about a week or two ago that I — we actually changed our stance on 230, due to some new knowledge that we had from our legal team, who actually just fired us over this, too. So, we — I totally see the danger here.

I mean, what they’re doing and the amount of power they have, it is not just frightening. It’s actually extremely scary.

BARTIROMO: So, you’re saying it’s not just Apple taking you off the App Store; there’s also movement to just shut down your servers, pretty much shut you down?

MATZE: Yes.

Yes, Amazon is the largest cloud storage vendor in the world. And we use them to host our servers, hundreds of them, hundreds of servers. And they gave us basically — they said, you have 24 hours to get all of your data and to find new servers.

So, where are you going to find 300 to 500 servers in a 24-hour window? And how can you send all of the data from everybody out to them in a 24-hour period? It’s an impossible feat that we’re going to handle as best we can to get back online as quickly as possible.

— Read on www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/01/10/parler_ceo_john_matze_google_apple_amazon_targeted_us_they_can_target_anyone.html

Sunday Political Shows Shift From Coronavirus To Impeachment

The Sunday shows reflected how another impeachment attempt is already reducing media attention to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s apparently served its usefulness.

Big Tech Oligarchs Collude To Ban Parler From Internet And Phones

Parler will be offline by midnight after Amazon yanked the free-speech social media platform off its web hosting service this weekend.  

— Read on thefederalist.com/2021/01/10/big-tech-oligarchs-collude-to-ban-parler-from-internet-and-phones/

The Grand Merger Of Big Tech And Big Pharma: It’s About The Data| Technocracy News

It’s not that Big Pharma and Big Tech were never on the same page, but the Technocrats in both are now obviously seen in a collaboration to capture the health data of all citizens. Technocrats are addicted to data and there is no such thing as “enough.”

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As pandemic countermeasures obliterate the middle class and civil rights, Silicon Valley’s billionaire robber barons are cashing in on the global economic collapse and the rise of the surveillance state.

Now, one of these tech titans — a man with deep ties to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — has claimed the golden ring: the key contract to manage all the personal, health and financial data that will allow government and industry to keep us in line as they build their New World Order.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will curate the vast datasets that house our medical, financial and personal information enabling Big Brother to track and trace our movements, our purchases, our preferences and our vulnerabilities, and use that information to control civil populations, suppress dissent and punish disobedience.

Ellison, whose estimated net worth of $87.7 billion makes him the seventh-richest individual in the world, has just achieved a long-sought milestone. On Dec.15, Oracle, the tech company Ellison founded in 1977 with help from the CIA, issued a press release announcing it “will serve as the CDC’s [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] central data repository for all vaccination data in the U.S. This ‘national clearing house’ system will receive data from all U.S. jurisdictions administering vaccinations.”

— Read on www.technocracy.news/the-grand-merger-of-big-tech-and-big-pharma-its-about-the-data/

Surprise! Biden has ties to 5 major tech companies | WND

By Chuck Ross
Daily Caller News Foundation

  • Joe Biden has hired at least 14 current or former executives from five major tech firms to serve in his administration or advise his transition team. 
  • The firms — Apple, Google, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook — have all clamped down this week on President Trump and Parler, a social media site popular with conservatives. 
  • Conservatives have long expressed concern over Biden and Democrats’ close ties to the major tech companies. 
  • Apple’s top lobbyist is a longtime Biden adviser. Former executives from Twitter and Facebook are also joining the Biden White House.

At least 14 people who President-elect Joe Biden has picked to serve either in his administration or to advise his transition have worked for the Big Tech firms that cracked down earlier this week on President Donald Trump and a social media site popular with conservatives.

Apple’s top lobbyist was a chief adviser to the Biden transition team. A former Facebook executive will serve as staff director in the Biden White House, and a former Twitter executive will serve as chief spokesperson for the National Security Council under Biden.

Current and former executives at those firms and two others, Google and Amazon, fill out other positions in the incoming Biden administration, or his transition team.

The five tech giants all took action this week against Trump and Parler, the social media site, in response to riots at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Twitter permanently banned Trump over what it called violent rhetoric in the wake of riots at the U.S. Capitol building. Trump supporters breached the Capitol building to protest a vote to confirm Joe Biden as president.

Five people died in the mayhem, including U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. Ashli Babbit, a Trump supporter from San Diego, was also fatally shot by a police officer while trying to enter a restricted area of the Capitol building.

Parler, a social media company popular with conservatives who have grown disenchanted with Twitter, was also targeted in a sweeping crackdown by the tech companies.

Apple and Google removed Parler from its app stores, meaning that users will not be able to access it on their iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones.

Apple said on Friday that Parler had “not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.” Google removed Parler from its app store on Thursday.

Amazon plans to take even more drastic measures, according to BuzzFeed News. The tech giant notified Parler that it would cut the site off from its cloud hosting service, Amazon Web Services, on Sunday, meaning that Parler would be offline unless it finds another web host.

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, appeared to celebrate the removal of his company’s chief competitor in a tweet on Saturday night. He posted a photo showing that Parler was no longer the most popular app in Google Play’s store, as it had been before its removal.

While many Republicans have criticized Trump and his mob of supporters over the Capitol riots, the social media purge has stoked concerns that the major tech companies have too much control over communications platforms.

Conservatives are especially concerned that they will be targeted even further under a Biden administration due to the tech companies’ closer ties to Democrats.

There is no indication that the Biden transition team was involved in the tech companies’ decisions to suspend Trump or Parler.

Reuters reported last month that major tech firms like Amazon, Facebook and Google were lobbying the Biden transition team to place executives in various administration roles.

According to Reuters, the executives were seeking positions in the Commerce, State and Defense Departments, as well as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs.

In September, Politico reported that Biden tapped Cynthia Hogan, Apple’s top lobbyist, to serve full time on his transition team. Hogan is a longtime adviser to Biden, having worked for him when he served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Biden has hired at least one Facebook and one Twitter executive to serve in his White House.

Jessica Hertz, who was a director for Facebook’s regulatory team, will serve as White House staff director. Emily Horne, who was head of global policy communications for Twitter, will be the director of press and spokesperson for the National Security Council, according to the Biden-Harris transition website.

David Recordon, a former developer for Facebook, will serve as director of technology for the Office of Management and Administration. Austin Lin, a former program manager at Facebook, will serve as Recordon’s deputy.

Jeff Zients, a former Facebook board member who served in the Obama administration, is Biden’s Covid-19 czar.

Tony Blinken, who Biden tapped as his secretary of state, provided advisory services to Facebook through his consulting firm, WestExec Partners, according to financial disclosures he submitted to the Office of Government Ethics.

Executives from the big tech firms have also joined Biden’s transition to help review nominees to fill spots at federal agencies in the Biden administration, according to a database maintained by the Biden-Harris team.

Tom Sullivan and Mark Schwartz, who are executives at Amazon, are on the agency review teams for the Department of State and Office of Management and Budget, respectively.

Deon Scott, a program manager in Google’s Global Business Operations, is on the review team for the Department of Homeland Security.

Three Facebook executives, Zaid Zaid, Rachel Lieber and Christopher Upperman are on the transition review team. They are advising nominations for the Department of State, Intelligence Community and Small Business Administration, respectively.

Reuters reported that Erskine Bowles, another former Facebook board member, is a Biden transition team adviser.

A lobbying firm co-founded by Biden’s top White House counselor, Steve Ricchetti, also inked a lobbying deal with Amazon on Nov. 13. The firm, Ricchetti Incorporated, will lobby the White House and Congress on health care issues for Amazon, which is forming a health care business.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

— Read on www.wnd.com/2021/01/surprise-biden-ties-5-major-tech-companies/

Pelosi Is Officially Launching Second Trump Impeachment, Will Also Activate 25th Amendment | ZeroHedge

Update (1900ET): In a letter sent late on Sunday, Nancy Pelosi confirmed that the coming week will be focused entirely on removing Trump out of office, when she informed colleagues that the House will pass a resolution calling on Pence to invoke the 25th amendment. This will be followed by impeachment.

Her full letter below:

Dear Democratic Colleague,

On this Sunday, as we pray that God will continue to Bless America, I write to inform you of our next actions, which will be made with the great solemnity that this moment requires.

I want to call to your immediate attention the action to be taken tomorrow morning, when Majority Leader Hoyer will request Unanimous Consent to bring up the Raskin resolution. This resolution calls on the Vice President to convene and mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to declare the President incapable of executing the duties of his office, after which the Vice President would immediately exercise powers as acting President. The text of the resolution can be found here.

If we do not receive Unanimous Consent, this legislation is planned to be brought up on the Floor the following day. We are calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours.

Next, we will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation to the Floor.

In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both. As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.

I look forward to our Caucus call tomorrow. I am grateful to all Members for the suggestions, observations and input that you have been sending. Your views on the 25th Amendment, 14th Amendment Section 3 and impeachment are valued as we continue. I am answering your communications in chronological order and will do so into the night.

Thank you for your patriotism.

Prayerfully,

In other words, the second impeachment of Trump will begin on Tuesday if Pence refuses to invoke the 25th amendment, for which Pelosi has given the VP 24 hours.

There are just a few caveats: as the Constitution Center explains, to forcibly wrest power from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence would have to be on board, according to the text of the amendment. Pence would also need either a majority of Trump’s Cabinet officials to agree the President is unfit for office and temporarily seize power from him. Neither is very likely.

Next, Trump could dispute their move with a letter to Congress. Pence and the Cabinet would then have four days to dispute him, Congress would then vote — it requires a two-thirds supermajority, usually 67 senators and 290 House members to permanently remove him. This too is unlikely.

Congress could also appoint its own body to review the President’s fitness instead of the Cabinet. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during the last Congress, introduced a bill to create a congressional body for this purpose, but it was not signed into law.

* * * * *

Democratic efforts to impeach President Trump for a second time are well underway, with a senior Democratic lawmaker telling Bloombergthat a House vote on articles of impeachment could come as soon as Tuesday, which would then be held for several months before they send them to the Senate in order to avoid triggering an immediate trial.

According to House Majority Whip James Clyburn, Democrats are “working hard” on an article of impeachment which demonstrates that Trump is “unqualified to be president.”

I think that will come probably Tuesday and maybe Wednesday,” Clyburn told “Fox News Sunday.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave Trump an ultimatum last week; resign immediately, or face impeachment 2.0 for encouraging supporters to march on Capitol Hill last Wednesday – when a mostly peaceful protest against the counting of Electoral College votes turned into what the left is calling an ‘insurrection’ after law enforcement oddly opened the doors to the building, allowing protesters to ‘storm’ the Capitol.

According to Bloomberg, Pelosi is moving cautiously despite internal pressure from her caucus to punish Trump – while President-elect Joe Biden has made clear that he isn’t interested in a Trump impeachment sideshow while his administration is trying to focus on their agenda.Pelosi has told lawmakers to be “prepared to return to Washington” this week for a potential impeachment vote or some other type of formal response to Trump’s alleged role in encouraging the breach on Capitol hill that left five people dead (despite the fact that he told supporters to peacefully assemble and to peacefully leave following the incident).

According to Clyburn, however, any successful impeachment in the House could be held for 100 days or more to avoid upstaging Biden.

Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running, and maybe we’ll send the articles some time after that,” he said.

At least 195 House Democrats have signed on to one of the impeachment articles, and some Republicans have said they believe Trump conduct is impeachable, although they question how the process would play out with less than two weeks left in his term.

In a letter to fellow Democrats Saturday, Pelosi stopped short of saying she intended to move forward with impeachment or another process aimed at removing Trump from office before his term expires on Jan. 20, yet she insisted that he be held responsible in some fashion. –Bloomberg

It is absolutely essential that those who perpetrated the assault on our democracy be held accountable,” said Pelosi in a Saturday letter. “There must be a recognition that this desecration was instigated by the president.”

Meanwhile, a small group of House Republicans led by Colorado Rep. Ken Buck are trying to encourage Biden to persuade Pelosi to back off a Trump impeachment – warning in a Saturday letter that doing so would inflame Trump supporters and derail Biden’s plans to ‘unify the country’ (as social media giants engage in politically-driven cancel spree against Trump and his supporters).

As far as Trump leaving office now? Biden suggests letting the presidential transition occur so his administration can “get our agenda moving as quickly as we can.”

“It’s important we get on with the business getting him out of office. The quickest way that that will happen is us being sworn in on the 20th,” Biden said during a Wilmington, Delaware press conference last week. “I am focused now on us taking control as president and vice president on the 20th, and to get our agenda moving as quickly as we can.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/political/house-impeachment-vote-could-come-soon-tuesday-according-senior-democrat

The ‘Woke’ Purge Has Begun | ZeroHedge

Authored by Brendan O’Neill via Spiked-Online.com,

Twitter’s suspension of Donald Trump is a chilling sign of tyranny to come…

Cancel culture doesn’t exist, they say. And yet with the flick of a switch, billionaire capitalists voted for by precisely nobody have just silenced a man who is still the democratically elected president of the United States. With the push of a button in their vast temples to technology, the new capitalist oligarchs of Silicon Valley have prevented a man who won the second largest vote in the history of the American republic just two months ago — 74million votes — from engaging with his supporters (and critics) in the new public square of the internet age.

Not only does cancel culture exist — it is the means through which the powerful, unaccountable oligarchies of the internet era and their clueless cheerleaders in the liberal elites interfere in the democratic process and purge voices they disapprove of. That’s what Twitter’s permanent suspension of Donald Trump confirms.

The new capitalists’ cancellation of the democratically elected president of the United States is a very significant turning point in the politics and culture of the Western world. We underestimate the significance of this act of unilateral purging at our peril. It demonstrates that the greatest threat to freedom and democracy comes not from the oafs and hard-right clowns who stormed the Capitol this week, but from the technocratic elites who spy in the breaching of the Capitol an opportunity to consolidate their cultural power and their political dominance.

Twitter’s ban on Trump is extraordinary for many reasons. First, there’s the arrogance of it. Make no mistake: this is the bosses vs democracy; corporates vs the people; exceptionally wealthy and aloof elites determining which elected politicians may engage in online discussion, which is where most political and public debate takes place in the 21st century. Those who cannot see how concerning and sinister it is that a handful of Big Tech companies have secured a virtual monopoly over the social side of the internet, and are now exploiting their monopolistic power to dictate what political opinions it is acceptable to hold and express in these forums, urgently needs a wake-up call.

Secondly, there is Twitter’s deeply disturbing justification for why it suspended Trump. It says Trump’s account ran the ‘risk’ of ‘inciting violence’. And yet the two tweets of his that it cites do nothing of the sort. In one, Trump describes his voters as ‘great American patriots’ and insists they will have a ‘GIANT VOICE’ in the future. In the other he confirms that he will not be attending the inauguration of Joe Biden. That’s it. In what warped moral universe can such standard, boastful Trump-made statements be interpreted as calls for violence?

In the warped moral universe of pre-emptive, precautionary censorship being built by our tech overlords, that’s where. Strikingly, Twitter says its censorship of the president is based on how other people might read and interpret his words. It says its censorious motivation is ‘specifically’ the question of ‘how [Trump’s tweets] are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter’. Trump’s comments ‘must be read’ in the broader context of how certain statements ‘can be mobilised by different audiences’, Twitter decrees. So Trump’s words, strictly speaking, are not the problem; it’s the possibility, the risk, that someone, somewhere might interpret them in a particular way.

This sets a terrifying precedent for the internet age. It legitimises a new regime of online censorship which doesn’t only punish inflammatory speech — which would be bad enough — but which punishes normal, legitimate political speech on the grounds of how other, unnamed people or groups might respond to it.

There would be no end to what could be censored. 

Trans-sceptical feminists, already victims of Silicon Valley’s woke purges, would be completely wiped out on the basis that some idiot might interpret their intellectual, non-bigoted critiques of genderfluidity as an instruction to bash a trans person. Christians sceptical of gay marriage, pro-life campaigners furious about abortion, radical leftists who say ‘smash the system’ — all could potentially fall foul of this new diktat that says we are not only responsible for what we ourselves think and say, but also for the myriad interpretations that everyone else, from the man in the street to the weirdo incel, makes of what we think and say.

On this basis the White Album should be banned, given its songs ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Piggies’ were ‘mobilised by different audiences’ to terrible ends — the killings carried out by Charles Manson’s Family. Catcher in the Rye? Censor it. Don’t you remember how it ‘mobilised’ Mark David Chapman to kill John Lennon? As for the Bible, the Koran and any number of political texts and anthems — the risks of ‘mobilisation’ that they pose are clearly too great, so, to be on the safe side, let’s scrub those too.

It isn’t just Twitter. Mark Zuckerberg (zero votes) had already indefinitely suspended Trump (74million votes) from Facebook. Reddit has scrubbed its Donald Trump thread. All social-media accounts that promote the mad Qanon conspiracy theory are being suspended. Mike Flynn and Sidney Powell have been banished from Twitter. YouTube is now banning any video and account that says the American election was fraudulent. This shows how ideological Silicon Valley oligarchs have become. For four years leading members of the media and cultural elites in the US and the UK have said the American presidential election and the EU referendum of 2016 were frauds. That they were meddled with, illegitimate, should be overthrown. You’ll find tens of thousands of videos on YouTube featuring people saying the vote for Brexit was a fit-up by Ruskies or an ‘advisory’ vote fraudulently turned into an instructional one. They won’t be taken down. Because our tech overlords are engaged in acts of openly political censorship.

And then there’s Parler, the libertarian alternative to Twitter. Google this week removed the Parler app from its store on the basis that it doesn’t control its users’ inflammatory speech strictly enough. Apple is threatening to do likewise. All those who said ‘Just make your own social-media platform’ clearly underestimated the tyrannical determination of the woke elites to erase ‘offensive speech’ from every quarter of the internet. This is a full-on purge of any voice that significantly runs counter to the worldview of the anti-populist elites.

That the left is cheering this on is cretinism of the most remarkable kind. They are green-lighting the most thorough assault on freedom of speech that the capitalist elites have ever carried out. They are sanctioning the control of speech by billionaires. They are celebrating as corporate oligarchies interfere directly in the democratic process. They are making a fetish of private property rights, insisting that the corporate rights of virtual monopolies like Twitter and Facebook, in this case their right to throw people off their platforms, override the social, democratic good of free public debate.

I know this is unlikely anytime soon — given the entirely bullshit and pseudo ‘leftish’ posturing of the Silicon Valley elites — but imagine if at some point in the future the tech overlords decide that Bernie Sanders or some rabble-rousing organiser of protests outside Google’s HQ might ‘mobilise audiences’ to do something bad and decide to ban them? What will the left say? Nothing, presumably. Or nothing that should be taken seriously, given they will have helped to create this web of tyranny. They have forgotten the cry of the true radical Thomas Paine: ‘He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.’

There is danger in the current moment. It comes not from horn-helmeted idiots and racist scumbags who paraded through the Capitol Building for an hour, but from those who wish to turn that despicable incident into the founding myth of a new era of woke authoritarianism. The business and political elites, determined to crush the populist experiment of recent years, will busily launch wars on ‘domestic terrorism’, clamp down on inflammatory speech, purge from the internet and from workplaces anyone with ‘incorrect’ thoughts, and blacklist those who believe populism is preferable to technocracy. They’re already doing it. The Biden administration isn’t even in power yet and this is already happening. Imagine how emboldened the new oligarchies and their woke mobs will become once Biden and Co are ruling. Brace yourselves; the purge is only beginning.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/political/woke-purge-has-begun

Without Freedom Of Speech, What Is Going To Happen To America? — The Economic Collapse

It is quite ironic that many of those that are always telling us that we need “diversity” in our society are also some of the strongest voices against a “diversity of viewpoints” on social media.  The founders of this nation wanted to make sure that nobody would ever take the right to freedom of speech away from us, and that is why it was enshrined in the Bill of Rights.  Unfortunately, courts have greatly eroded that right over the last several decades, and now we are facing an all-out assault on freedom of speech that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before.  And once freedom of speech is completely gone, all of our other rights will soon follow, because there will no longer be any way to defend them.

When the United States was established, government was really the only major threat to free speech.  In early America, corporations were severely limited in size and scope, and that is because our founders were determined not to let them get too big or too powerful.

Our founders knew that enormous concentrations of money and power would be great threats to freedom, and that has definitely turned out to be the case.

In the old days, if you wanted to express yourself you could grab a soapbox and head down to a local street corner.  The reason why we use the term “marketplace of ideas” today is because people literally used to gather in marketplaces and town squares and exchange ideas with one another.

In our time, the Internet has become the place where we all gather to exchange ideas, but unfortunately control of all of the most important gathering spaces is in the hands of a very small group of colossal tech corporations.

When Facebook, Twitter and others were first growing, they generally allowed people to say pretty much what they wanted to say, and information flowed pretty freely.

But censorship has escalated dramatically over the past four years, and it reached a crescendo the other day when Twitter announced that it would be permanently suspending President Trump’s account.

How would our founders feel about that?

Tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter now have more money than many entire countries do, and in many ways they also have the same level of power that many national governments possess.

Just think about this – President Trump could never take away your ability to express yourself, but Facebook and Twitter can.

Of course big corporations dominate just about every other aspect of our society as well.  These collectivist institutions have become extremely dangerous, and they are really starting to throw their weight around.

Until the power of the big corporations is addressed, we will never have a truly free society again.

Just like leftist governments, big corporations seek to gather as much money and as much power under a single umbrella as possible.

Our founders wanted to empower the individual, and that is why they wanted to limit the size of government and that is why they also wanted to limit the size of corporations.

Sadly, it wasn’t just President Trump that got booted off Twitter in recent days.  Hordes of conservative accounts have been wiped out, and this has led many to use the word “purge” to describe what has been happening.

On my Twitter account, I have literally lost more than a thousand followers in just a few days.  Others have lost a lot more.

Many conservatives have been fleeing to Parler, but over the past several days the big tech giants teamed up to take that entire platform down

Parler will likely go offline for “a while” Sunday evening given Amazon Web Services’ decision to suspend the upstart social media platform after Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riot, executives said Sunday.

“We are clearly being singled out,” Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff told “Fox & Friends Weekend” one day after Apple suspended Parler from its App Store even as it surged to the No. 1 spot in the free apps section earlier in the day.

I was absolutely stunned when I heard that had happened.

These people are not playing games.

For the moment, Gab.com is still up, and their traffic has surged more than 750 percent in just the last few days…

Gab.com, the free speech friendly social network, says traffic has increased by more than 750 percent in the past few days, following the blacklisting of President Donald Trump from most mainstream tech platforms.

“Our traffic is up 753% in the past 24 hours. Tens of millions of visits,” said Gab in response to a question about slow loading speeds.

But how long will it be before Gab is taken down as well?

The big tech companies don’t want diversity, they don’t want competition and they don’t want dissent.

What they want is complete and total domination.

Cancel culture is not good for our society.  If everyone with viewpoints that are not “politically correct” is eventually “canceled” we will have a society that looks a whole lot like communist China.

And I suppose that is precisely what a lot of people out there truly want.

It is not always easy to listen to viewpoints that you consider to be offensive.  Personally, I do not like most of what my fellow citizens are saying in 2021.

But in the United States we are not supposed to silence opposing viewpoints that we do not like.  Instead, we are supposed to strive for victory in the marketplace of ideas by showing that our viewpoints are better.

Unfortunately, the big tech companies have decided that millions of Americans should no longer be allowed to participate in the marketplace of ideas because their viewpoints are just too offensive.

Ironically, many of those that are doing the censoring have the most offensive and the most dangerous viewpoints of all.

Needless to say, if we stay on the path that we are currently on there is no future for America.

Without free speech, the system of government that our founders established simply won’t work.

What is the point of even having elections if we can only express one point of view?

In China, no dissent is allowed and one political party runs everything on a permanent basis.

America appears to be heading in the same direction, and there are millions of people in this country that are actually quite thrilled that this is happening.

Without Freedom Of Speech, What Is Going To Happen To America? — The Economic Collapse

Dealing With Those Who Differ — CultureWatch

How are we to deal with those who strongly differ with us?

This is a topic that comes up often, so it is something that I write about now and then. Here I want to discuss two sorts of differences that can arise (and I deal with Christians and their differences in this piece). The first concerns doctrinal differences and the like, where believers disagree with one another over how a passage is to be understood and interpreted.

Let me discuss this matter before mentioning the second. In regards to this, I recently did an article on eschatology, tribulation and related matters. In it I said that Christians can legitimately differ on these things, and we need not all have the same theological stance on such things.

As I do, I posted a link to this piece on the social media. There one gal replied and gave her preferred view on the tribulation. She then went on to say this:

But you’re right everyone interprets the bible the way they want to interpret it
It’s funny how we all claim to be christians yet have different interpretations of the bible yet we are supposed to be filled with the same spirit (the Holy Spirit)
Hmmm I really wonder if we are all filled with the same spirit ? Coz if we were we would all agree on the same thing and interpret the bible the same way

‘Yes and no’ is what I said to her in response. Since I have dealt with these issues before, I directed the gal to this article where I cover such things in some detail: billmuehlenberg.com/2006/09/26/in-defence-of-theology/

Here is one of the 20 points that I had raised therein:

Eighteen. If the Bible really is so clear and simple to understand, then presumably the meaning of the following passages and ideas should be apparent to all:

What is baptism for the dead? 1 Cor. 15:29
Should women teach? 1 Tim. 2:11-12
Who are the spirits in prison that were preached to? 1 Pet. 3:19
How do you explain the Trinity?
How can people make free choices if God knows the future in every detail?
Can God create a rock so big that even he can’t lift it?

I dare say that if just one of these passages were given to a group of twenty people, and they were told to go away and come back with the meaning, there may well be twenty different understandings and interpretations of the passage given. Being a spirit-filled Christian, in other words, is no guarantee that one will always interpret Scripture properly. The tools of theology help us as we approach God’s word.

But a few more things can be said on this. Even as Christians, we are STILL three things: fallen, finite and fallible. We do not become perfect in every way just because we become a Christian and are given the Holy Spirit. We are all works in progress. We are all – hopefully – gradually developing, maturing and becoming more Christlike. And hopefully that means gaining maturity in our understanding – including our understanding of God’s Word.

Moreover, despite the various calls in the New Testament for unity among God’s people, that does NOT mean God wants us all to be clones of each other. Cookie-cutter Christianity is not what is being called for here. God made each and every one of us unique and distinct. We are all different.

So we will have plenty of differences – different tastes and preferences and likes and so on. And that also means we will have some differences when it comes to how we understand Scripture. We do NOT need to all have the exact same views – certainly when it comes to secondary doctrines and beliefs.

If you have a strong adult baptism stance, for example, while another believer is committed to infant baptism, well, there can be room to move there. We do not all need to have the exact same views on such matters. The same with so many other less vital doctrinal matters.

Sure, on the core beliefs, such as the deity of Christ, and salvation only in Christ, etc., then we should have much more agreement. Yes, we may differ in varying degrees on some fine details of these key biblical truths, but we should more or less be of one mind on them. So we can think differently while being Spirit-led Christians.

Now let me briefly speak to a second sort of difference – one that involves actual animosity and/or enmity between believers. For whatever reason, a falling out has occurred, and one or both parties are angry with each other, or are not talking to each other, or are wanting nothing to do with each other.

So how do we proceed in those sorts of situations? This too I have dealt with from time to time. As I have said before, some relationships we just need to let go of. That may be the wisest course of action. But often we should seek for reconciliation when and where possible.

As an example of the need to seek such reconciliation and forgiveness, I had posted the following on the social media just recently:

In Genesis 32-33 we read about how Jacob feared his brother Esau would still be angry with him after many years. But he was not. That was a good outcome. But I know of too many folks who claim to be Christians who still harbour hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness about things and people many years after something happened. They need to seriously consider 1 John 4:20: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

I got a few responses to that post. One person who is a professional counsellor replied by saying that sometimes it may take years of counselling and therapy to help a person get to that place of dealing with the hate and anger. This is what I wrote in response:

Thanks ****. Yes, certainly in some hardcore cases (rape, eg) there may well be need for lengthy counsel and therapy before any breakthroughs in healing and forgiveness can occur. But I guess what I had in mind here really had to do with much lesser incidents; eg., a FB friend disagrees with you on some political or theological point, gets angry, and unfriends you. Years later you learn this person STILL hates on you and is bitter and resentful. That is the scenario I mainly had in mind. And in that case, the normal and biblical way to proceed is for that embittered person to get on his face before Almighty God, repent, and ask the person that was hated on for so long for forgiveness. That is why I included that Bible verse: real-deal Christians can NOT claim to love God if they continue to hate their brothers and sisters in the Lord. But thanks again for your thoughts.

So yes, in some really dramatic and heavy-duty cases, there may need to be periods of counselling and so on to help that person get over the devastation and hurt they have suffered. But again, what I had in mind was much more your everyday garden variety of cases; people who get ticked off with you and bear grudges often over rather frivolous things.

Just because I happen to have a different slant on eschatology, or the Trump presidency, does not mean a fellow Christian should go on a hate bender and treat me like dirt for years on end. They need to get over it and repent and start acting like a genuine Christian.

(BTW, as a relevant aside, as I was writing this, a person who had gotten upset with me on one social media platform some years ago and unfriended me just sent me a friend request on another social media platform. While I immediately recalled that unfortunate spat of some years ago, it took me about five seconds to accept his new friend request. My choice was simple: harbour a grudge or forgive and move on.)

The Bible makes it clear: those who prefer to remain in bitterness and unforgiveness are in a very precarious place indeed. It is not just John who warned about this, but Jesus himself. Just one well-known verse on this: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).

So Christians need to take these things seriously. An unforgiving spirit is a good indication of a person not really being a forgiven Christian. That is a scary place to be in. But this too I have written about before. Those wanting more on this can see this piece for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/07/10/on-forgiveness/

In that article I quoted from Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “The man who knows he has been forgiven, only in and through the shed blood of Christ, is a man who must forgive others. He cannot help himself. If we really know Christ as our Savior our hearts are broken and cannot be hard, and we cannot refuse forgiveness. If you are refusing forgiveness to anybody I suggest that you have never been forgiven.”

In sum, Christians can and will differ from each other on a whole range of things – including our understanding of various biblical passages. There is a place for diversity in our thoughts and beliefs. We need not all have the exact same views on many matters – including some Scriptural matters.

As to differences that involve animosity and resentment against others, those things really need to be dealt with. They cannot be allowed to simmer and stew and fester and get out of control. Christ showed us mercy, grace and forgiveness even when we did not deserve it. We need to be willing to do the same to others.

Dealing With Those Who Differ — CultureWatch

Christian Options Living Under a Marxist Regime — The Aquila Report

What are Christians to do?  How do we handle fear?  How do we handle anger? I am sure the answer to these questions will vary greatly in Christian circles because of the multitude of theological presuppositions.  I suspect the issue will divide the church even more in the future than it already has.  However, in order to promote a helpful discussion, I thought it might be beneficial if I listed the most common responses (I’ve chosen nine) to these questions that you will hear in coming days.  

The elections are over and the political left has taken over the national government in the United States.  They own the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House.  The tyranny of the Cancel Culture is now in total power, and their agenda is to crush all opposition.

With the departure of Donald Trump, don’t be betrayed by the language of unity and reconciliation.  It is a red herring.  We are in spiritual warfare.  The battle has never been purely political because politics is downstream from culture, and culture is downstream from religion. The U.S. has enjoyed the blessings of a Christian culture for many years, but I fear that it has now come to an end.

What are Christians to do?  How do we handle fear?  How do we handle anger? I am sure the answer to these questions will vary greatly in Christian circles because of the multitude of theological presuppositions.  I suspect the issue will divide the church even more in the future than it already has.  However, in order to promote a helpful discussion, I thought it might be beneficial if I listed the most common responses (I’ve chosen nine) to these questions that you will hear in coming days.  Finally, I will offer my own views. What then will be these responses?

  1. Escapism Option – The most prominent reaction in the Christian Church will be to ignore politics and wait for the second coming of Christ. This view is popular because of the prominence of the Theology of Dispensationalism.  It will also be popular in R2K churches where there is a radical kingdom separation between religion and politics. Maintain pure worship and wait for persecution.  The suffering in the Apostolic Age has become the template for all generations. The idea of Christendom is a pipe-dream.  The cross has preeminence over glory (as if you could separate them), and we must suffer faithfully unto death. This is your calling in life and this will be your joy in death.
  2. Conciliation Option – “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live in peace with all men (Rm 12:18).” If we deny the serious character of the war, we can live in peace with Marxist ideology.  Afterall, there has been mistreatment of blacks in the past.  The Church has had a bad attitude toward homosexuals.  Some people are just born with in the wrong bodies.  We need to align ourselves with the just tenets of Cultural Marxism and work together to right the wrongs of the past.  Christianity and Marxism are compatible.  This appears to be the avenue taken by the evangelical elite in our churches.
  3. Vigilantism Option – The more Marxists push their agenda, the angrier the opposition becomes. If there is no justice, then furious men must take the law into their own hands.  There will be war between Marxists and the opposition. There will be bombs in the buildings and blood in the streets.
  4. Civil Disobedience Option – This is not violent but peaceful. It will be civil disobedience or civil resistance when the time comes.  This could take the form of refusing to remain quiet or refusing to obey unjust laws. Expect many protests and Christians being carried off to jail.
  5. Secession Option – Since the Civil War ended, there has been only small discussions about states leaving the Union. The federal government has become the great Leviathan and the states have become feudal subjects.  Washington, D.C. controls everything from the money supply to education.  The states are so dependent financially on the federal government that it is almost impossible to talk about secession, but it may be still viable.
  6. Supreme Court Option – We must take a signature case all the way to the Supreme Court seeking to regain free speech, especially in the university and the workplace. Even though the Supreme Court has been disappointing in many respects, in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic it has been favorable to churches in regard to the free exercise of religion.  Before any packing can take place on the Court, a free-speech win may impede the censorship that is so prevalent in our Cancel Culture.
  7. Trumpism Option – Trump may be back to run for President again, even though he is growing older. While he is out of office, he will be the leader of at least 75 million American voters.  He may very well create alternatives to Twitter and Facebook.  He is still a hero to many Americans and, even with all his personal problems, his followers have never seen a man stand up to the Swamp, the Deep State, and the Mainstream Media as he has.  To many Americans, Trump stands out as a great giant.  Continuing to hear the voice of Trump will help many Americans endure this crisis.  Maybe it verges on idolatry, but it is real.  This is the Trump Option.
  8. State’s Rights Option – We all know very-well now that the state legislators have the right to choose the members of the Electoral College who consequently chooses who will be President of the United States. We have forgotten how much power resides in the state legislators.  Prior to the Civil War, state governments were considered more important than the federal government.  For many Americans, the hope for the political future resides in the state governments. Expect to see more discussion about such powers as nullification and the powers of the lesser magistrates.  Trump was the only shield between us and Cultural Marxism, and therefore we should now expect the state legislatures and state governors to take his place.  In two years, the states can clean-up the election process.  State governments also have power to protect their borders from illegal immigration.  So, the States must take back the power granted to them originally in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.  Before we can take back America, we must take back the States. Watch for much more activity around state capitols.
  9. The Sovereignty Option – In the long run, we know that God is in total control. Nothing happens apart from his good pleasure.  Even the events of the past few months have been ordained by God.  All things work together for a good purpose in the end.  This is always our fallback position.  Even if we must suffer loss in the short-run, God will win the victory for us on this earth before he returns again.  The glory and knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.  There is hope for the future because God is on his throne, and he will distribute justice fairly.  Those who perpetrate fraud, unless they repent, will pay the price, not only on the Day of Judgment, but in this life too.  This is a great comfort in time of trial. The sovereignty of God is not just one option but indeed our great comfort.

There you have it, nine options, and there are probably more.  My own assessment of our predicament is probably a combination of these options.  I obviously don’t believe in escapism.  The church must begin speaking to the cultural issues of the day.  Our people must be taught how to think biblically.  I think conciliation is a betrayal of Christ. We cannot bury our heads in the sand.  Vigilantism is lawlessness. Violence is only acceptable in a just-declared war or in self-defense. Civil disobedience may come to be an option in the future.  Secession is far-fetched today, even though I think it was a right originally inherent in statehood.  I think, with a majority of conservatives on the Supreme Court, if we act fast, we might be able to salvage some of our free-speech rights.

I believe the time has come to encourage state civil magistrates to recapture the powers given to them in the Constitution.  They will need to stand against federal encroachment, and they will need our support.  With Trump gone I am now depending on them to protect me from the ravages of Cultural Marxism and the Cancel Culture.  This will require a re-education of our leaders as they are floundering now with newly discovered powers they have.

In conclusion, I will not forget that God is sovereign and that all things work according to his own will.  Be faithful to your church and pray.  I have an optimistic eschatology and thus I have a great hope for the future.  God is just and God is fair.  He will cause all the nations to turn to him and bow before his holy name.  The love of his law will dwell in men’s hearts and they will cry out for leaders to implement the word of God in all areas of life.  Then, Christ will return to a victorious church and we shall be with him in a new heavens and a new earth where only righteousness dwells.  My prayer is that Jesus might come quickly and accomplish this.  I know he will at the right time, and thus I have a way to handle my anger and fear in the midst of the rise of rampant Marxism in my homeland.

Larry E. Ball is a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is now a CPA. He lives in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Christian Options Living Under a Marxist Regime — The Aquila Report

January 10 Evening Quotes of the Day

Awareness of Death Focuses Efforts
John 9:4; 1Corinthians 15:31–34; 2 Timothy 4:6

The face of death, and nearness of eternity, did much convince me what books to read, what studies to prefer and prosecute, what company and conversation to choose. It drove me early into the vineyard of the Lord, and taught me to preach as a dying man to dying men.

RICHARD BAXTER

Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Fear of Death and Fear of the Dark
Judges 6:23; Psalm 23:4; Hebrews 2:15

Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.

FRANCIS BACON

Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

January 10 Evening Verse of the Day

28:30–31 The book of Acts ends in an unexpectedly open-ended fashion. Paul remained a prisoner two whole years. During this time he lived at his own expense and was allowed to have visitors to whom he proclaimed his message boldly and without hindrance. Church tradition has long held that Paul was beheaded during the persecution instigated by the Roman emperor Nero (AD 64 or 65). It is possible that Paul was executed in Rome after the “two whole years,” though church historian Eusebius believed Paul was released from Roman imprisonment, only to be rearrested at a later date, sent to Rome, and executed. The fact that Luke does not write of Paul’s execution leads some scholars to conclude that Luke wrote the book of Acts previous to Paul’s execution, though it is possible that Luke chose not to discuss the details of Paul’s death because his aim was to show that God had fulfilled his purpose in Paul: taking the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul’s preaching day and night in the seat of the pagan Roman Empire ensured that Christianity would become an international phenomenon, not just a regional religious anomaly.[1]


28:30–31 Acts ends with Paul still a prisoner after two years of captivity, during which time he lived at his own expense and was allowed to have visitors, to whom he proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. The book of Acts ends at this point, and it may be that he was convicted and died in Rome at this time. There is testimony from other early church writers, however, that Paul was released, presumably because his case was either dismissed or found to be without merit, and that he engaged in active ministry for another several years before he was re-arrested and sent to Rome, where he died under the persecution of Nero.[2]


28:30, 31 From a.d. 60–62 Paul was under house arrest preaching and teaching to anyone who wanted to hear. His subject is summarized as the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ. At the end of Acts, Paul has not yet been tried before Nero, as the Lord said was going to happen (27:24). It appears that Paul expected to be acquitted and released (Phil. 1:25; 2:24; Philem. 22). This must have occurred before a.d. 64, when Nero set fire to Rome and accused Christians of that crime. When released, Paul seems to have taken up his ministry again, going as far as Greece (Nicopolis, Titus 3:12; Thessalonica, 2 Tim. 4:10), Crete (Titus 1:5), and Asia Minor (Ephesus, 2 Tim. 1:18; 4:12; Troas, 2 Tim. 4:13; Miletus, 2 Tim. 4:20). Possibly he went as far west as Spain (Rom. 15:23, 24, 28), as the first-century writing 1 Clement may indicate. About a.d. 67, Paul was imprisoned again by Nero and executed. In 2 Tim. 4:6–8, Paul anticipates the end of his life.

28:31 with all boldness and without hindrance. For Paul, Luke, and those who followed, the message about Jesus and the glorious kingdom of God was to go on in triumph.[3]


28:31 without hindrance No one stopped Paul’s ministry, and even though he was essentially under house arrest he continued his ministry with complete freedom. Luke (the narrator) concludes by reasserting a major theme of Acts: The progress of the gospel cannot be stopped.[4]


28:30–31 For Paul’s provision of his own quarters, cf. v. 16. His sharing the gospel with all who came to him would have included both Jews and Gentiles (cf. note on v. 28). This situation continued for two whole years (a.d. 60–62), at which time Luke’s account ends. Information as to what happened beyond that time comes from extrabiblical sources and from hints in the last few of Paul’s letters. First Clement 5.7 (written a.d. 95, perhaps the earliest known orthodox Christian writing after the NT) speaks of Paul preaching in “the limits of the west,” which probably indicates his fulfilling his desire to preach in Spain (see Rom. 15:24). That would point to his release from the first Roman imprisonment. The church historian Eusebius, writing in a.d. 325, cites the tradition that Paul was freed from confinement and carried on a further ministry until he was arrested and placed in a second Roman imprisonment, at which time he was martyred (Ecclesiastical History 2.22). In God’s sovereignty, Paul’s time in prison was not wasted, for it was during his Roman imprisonment that he wrote the letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. The time after Paul’s release from his first imprisonment (mid-60s) would be when he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus. He probably wrote his last letter, 2 Timothy, during his second imprisonment, as he awaited execution (cf. 2 Tim. 4:6–8).[5]


28:31 with all openness, unhindered. Helped by his loyal fellow workers (cf. Col 4:10; Phm 24), Paul evangelized Rome (cf. Php 1:13; 4:22).[6]


28:31 Luke does not reveal what happened to Paul’s case. Apparently it had not yet been decided when Luke finished Acts. There are good reasons for believing that Paul was released, since he had been found innocent by all Roman officials up to this point. Ancient tradition tells us that Paul actually went to Spain as he desired (Rom. 15:24). In his captivity letters, Paul expressed his hope of being released (Philem. 22) and his confidence that he would be released (Phil. 1:25). Paul’s Pastoral Epistles contain items that cannot be fitted into the Book of Acts, suggesting that they were written later. For instance, Titus 1:5 implies that Paul ministered on the island of Crete, something that is not reported in the Book of Acts. Paul most likely resumed his missionary travels for two more years before being rearrested, retried, condemned, and executed as a martyr some time between a.d. 64–67.[7]


28:31. Luke describes Paul as preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ. These twin themes comprised the essence of Paul’s message. They evidenced the biblical hope in the future messianic kingdom which the Lord Jesus Christ will establish at His return. The apostle thus carried out his ministry with all confidence, no one forbidding him. Both his message and his method—boldly and freely—help validate his integrity. Theophilus could take heart in that he had not believed in vain and that he could continue to build his faith on the apostle’s teaching. God had proven His faithfulness to Paul, and Paul had demonstrated his faithfulness to God. Theophilus could confidently imitate Paul’s following of Christ and his openness of belief.[8]


28:31 He enjoyed a considerable measure of liberty, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

Thus the Book of Acts closes. Some think it ends with a strange abruptness. However, the pattern outlined at the outset had now been fulfilled. The gospel had reached out to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and now the Gentile world.

The events in the life of Paul after the close of Acts can only be inferred from his later writings.

It is generally believed that after his two years in Rome, his case came before Nero and the verdict was acquittal.

He then embarked on what has come to be known as his Fourth Missionary Journey. Places which he probably visited on this trip, though not necessarily in this order were:

  1. COLOSSE and EPHESUS (Phmn. 22).
  2. MACEDONIA (1 Tim. 1:3; Phil. 1:25; 2:24).
  3. EPHESUS (1 Tim. 3:14).
  4. SPAIN (Rom. 15:24).
  5. CRETE (Titus 1:5).
  6. CORINTH (2 Tim. 4:20).
  7. MILETUS (2 Tim. 4:20).
  8. Winter spent in NICOPOLIS (Titus 3:12).
  9. TROAS (2 Tim. 4:13).

We have no information as to why, when, or where he was arrested, but we do know he was brought to Rome as a prisoner a second time. This imprisonment was much more harsh than the first (2 Tim. 2:9). He was deserted by most of his friends (2 Tim. 4:9–11), and knew that the time of his death was at hand (2 Tim. 4:6–8).

Tradition says he was beheaded outside Rome in A.D. 67 or 68. For Paul’s eulogy, read his own words in 2 Cor. 4:8–10, 6:4–10, and 11:23–28 along with our commentary on these inspiring summaries.[9]


28:30–31. These verses are Luke’s final “progress report” (cf. 2:47; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20). With freedom in his own rented quarters Paul … preached God’s kingdom. This eschatological expression indicates not only that Jews and Gentiles alike are justified by faith but also that Gentiles with Jews will participate in the millennial kingdom (cf. comments on 28:23).

One question commonly raised pertains to Paul’s activities after this two-year captivity. What happened? Perhaps no charges were filed in Rome and Paul was released. The Jews would know they had no case against Paul outside of Judea and so would be reluctant to argue their cause in Rome.

Probably Paul returned to the provinces of Macedonia, Achaia, and Asia and then turned west to Spain according to his original plans (Rom. 15:22–28). Then he ministered once more in the Aegean area where he was taken prisoner, removed to Rome, and executed.

During this two-year period Paul wrote what are commonly called his “Prison Epistles”—Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians (see the chart “Paul’s Epistles, Written on His Journeys and During His Imprisonments,” at Acts 13:6–25).

While Paul was in Rome during this incarceration the gospel was not bound. He spoke boldly (cf. comments on Acts 4:13). The last word in the Greek text of Acts is the adverb akōlytōs which means without hindrance. Men may bind the preachers, but the gospel cannot be chained!

And so it was that the kingdom message under God’s sovereign control went from Jew to Gentile, and from Jerusalem to Rome.[10]


30–31 The situation remained as in 28:16, with Paul under ‘house arrest’ but free to witness to anyone who came within earshot. The phrase for two whole years prompts the reader to wonder what might have happened after that. It is likely that Paul was eventually executed by the Romans, but probably not at this point. What seems most likely is that the present case against Paul failed, he was released and travelled and wrote some more letters (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) before being rearrested and executed in ad 64. Why then did Luke end the account here? We may never know the answer to this, but the simplest answer remains a strong possibility. Luke finished the way that he did because he had brought the reader up to date. He was writing the book during Paul’s imprisonment and did not write about his trial or further adventures because they had not happened yet. The long road over Luke’s two books had brought the Christian story from its very beginnings, in the mysterious eastern capital Jerusalem, right up to what were to him and his readers ‘modern times’ and the centre of the world empire, Rome.[11]


28:31. Acts ends on a note of triumph. The Word of God was being proclaimed with all openness (boldness), unhindered in Rome, the capital of the empire. As Paul testified during his second imprisonment, the messenger may be chained but not the message (2Tm 2:9).

The book of Acts also ends as it began, with the proclamation of the kingdom of God. In Ac 1, the resurrected Lord taught His followers about the kingdom of God. The setting was Jerusalem. Thirty years later, Paul taught about the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. The setting was different. Now, it was Rome. Jesus’ witnesses did as He commanded. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they proclaimed the gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the entire world.

Luke did not reveal what happened to Paul, indicating that the book was likely written before Paul’s release. The circumstances of his imprisonment suggest he was innocent of the charges of sedition. He was not a zealous revolutionary. He was a devoted and courageous follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was Luke’s personal hero but only because God was with him. Bock is correct. In reality “God is the hero of Acts …” (Acts, 760). The Lord Jesus Christ is building His church, and all the forces of hell cannot overpower it.[12]


28:31 “preaching … teaching” The early, post-apostolic church made a distinction between these two ways of presenting truth. The body of sermons recorded in Acts (Peter, Stephen, Paul) is called the Kerygma (proclamation, cf. 20:25; 28:31; Rom. 10:8; Gal. 2:2; 1 Cor. 9:27; 2 Tim. 4:2), while the teaching of Jesus interpreted in the Epistles is called the Didache (teaching, cf. 2:42; 5:28; 13:12; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 14:20).

28:31 “the kingdom of God” This was the subject of Jesus’ preaching. It refers to the reign of God in man’s hearts now that will one day be consummated on earth as it has been in heaven. This passage also shows that the topic is not only for Jews. See Special Topic at 2:35.

“the Lord”“Lord” is the translation of the Hebrew term adon, which meant “owner, husband, master, or lord.” The Jews became afraid of pronouncing the sacred name YHWH lest they take it in vain and break one of the Ten Commandments. Whenever they read the Scriptures, they substituted Adon for YHWH. This is why our English translations use all capitals Lord for YHWH in the OT. By transferring this title (kurios in Greek) to Jesus, the NT authors assert His deity and equality with the Father.

“Jesus”“Jesus” is the name given to the baby in Bethlehem by the angel (cf. Matt. 1:21). It is made up of two Hebrew nouns: “YHWH,” the covenant name for deity, and “salvation” (i.e. Hosea). It is the same Hebrew name as Joshua. When used alone it often identifies the man, Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary (ex. Matt. 1:16, 25; 2:1; 3:13, 15, 16).

“Christ”“Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah (i.e. an Anointed One). It asserts Jesus’ OT title as YHWH’s promised One sent to set up the new age of righteousness.

 

NASB

 

“with all openness, unhindered”

 

NKJV

 

“with all confidence, no one forbidding him”

 

NRSV

 

“with all boldness and without hindrance”

 

TEV

 

“speaking with all boldness and freedom”

 

NJB

 

“with complete fearlessness and without any hindrance from anyone”

 

This verse shows that the Roman authorities did not consider Christianity subversive or dangerous. The Greek text ends with the ADVERB “unfettered” or “unhinderedly.” This seems to emphasize the ongoing nature of the task of proclamation and the power of the Spirit.

Many have assumed, based on Acts 1:1 use of “first,” which implies more than two, that Luke planned to write a third volume. Some even think that this third volume may be the Pastoral Letters (I Tim., II Tim. And Titus).

For the Greek term (parrhēsia), translated “openness” by NASB, see Special Topic at 4:29.[13]


30. Paul stayed for two full years in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to him. 31. Boldly and unhindered he was preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • “Paul stayed for two full years.” With the time reference, Luke provides the last biographical note on Paul. He fails to disclose Paul’s release, subsequent travels, second imprisonment, and death. We know from his epistles that Paul expected to be released from prison (see Phil. 1:19, 25; 2:24) and would need lodging in Colosse (Philem. 22). The pastoral Epistles include references to places that are not mentioned in Acts. Hence we conclude that Paul must have traveled to Ephesus and Macedonia (1 Tim. 1:3; 3:14), Nicopolis (Titus 3:12), and Troas (2 Tim. 4:13). And finally, in his last epistle he writes that his execution is at hand (2 Tim. 4:6).

If Luke had known of Paul’s return to the congregation at Ephesus, he certainly would have written a different ending to the emotional farewell of the Ephesian elders (20:38). Luke apparently composed Acts during Paul’s imprisonment and completed it soon after his release (see the Introduction for the date of Acts).

We are unable to say why Paul was imprisoned for two years in the capital city. Scholars have suggested that, because his accusers failed to come to Rome for Paul’s trial within a two-year period, Paul was released. But we have no evidence that his case was dropped by default. “Roman tradition … is that the prosecutor must prosecute. The protection of the accused person lay not in any provision for an automatic release if his accusers were absent, but in the severity of the sanctions against defaulting prosecutors.”41 Further, in case of a “just cause” or the death of a prosecutor, the accused could request dismissal of the charges against him. Even then, Roman lawmakers were reluctant to cancel charges. In other words, if Paul’s accusers never presented themselves in Rome, Paul would remain a prisoner. At the end of the two years, Nero may have released him.

  • “[Paul stayed] in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to him.” Another translation reads “at his own expense” (RSV). The Vulgate has the same rendering: in suo conducto (on his own resources). The crux of the matter lies in the Greek word misthōma, which means either “rent” (active) or “what is rented” (passive).

Luke writes that Paul stayed and not that he lived, by which he implies that Paul remained a prisoner in separate living quarters. Paul fulfilled his task of preaching and teaching the gospel to all the people who came to visit him. He simply lacked the time to supply his financial needs, for which, we presume, he depended on his friends.

  • “Boldly, he was preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.” Luke completes the Book of Acts on a note of triumph. Paul preaches the kingdom of God and teaches about Jesus to anyone coming to his house. In addition to some of the Jews in Rome, numerous Gentiles came to him. Indeed, he was the appointed apostle to the Gentiles.

The word boldly signifies that Paul enjoyed complete freedom to preach and teach Christ’s gospel. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he could speak with authority to all his visitors and expect to see results in his ministry. The two clauses (“preaching the kingdom of God” and “teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ”) are synonymous and support each other. With the combination Lord Jesus Christ, Luke gives voice to the early Christian confession that Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3), in opposition to the Roman maxim Caesar is Lord. And with respect to the Jews, he testifies that Jesus is the Christ.

  • “Unhindered.” This word, the last in the original text, is telling. Luke suggests that the Roman government placed no restrictions on the spread of the gospel throughout Rome and the empire. With this word, which because of its place in the Greek text is emphatic, Luke describes the openness of the state toward the church. Paul was vindicated and the charges leveled against him by the Jews were false. From Paul’s rented house the gospel went forth to the end of the world. And after his release, he continued his travels for the sake of the gospel.[14]

His confinement in the city (vv. 30, 31). Luke intimates that Paul’s trial was delayed, and that during this time he remained in Rome as a prisoner. For “two whole years” he lived “in his own hired house” (v. 30a; “in a house which he rented for himself” tcnt; “at his own expense” (niv), preaching to them the kingdom (reign) of God and teaching them about the Lord Jesus “with all boldness” (v. 31b, asv; “utmost freedom,” Phillips; “openly,” Goodspeed) and “without hindrance” (Rotherham; “none forbiding him,” asv; “unmolested,” tcnt). The Romans apparently did not consider the Gospel to be subversive, and the preaching of it was not deemed illegal.

These verses (30, 31) describe what traditionally has been called Paul’s “first Roman imprisonment,” the suggestion being that at the end of the two-year confinement in Rome the apostle was released. During the period of the first imprisonment he wrote Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, and Philippians, and those letters should be read for supplementary information about Paul’s activities, plans, and fellow-workers. The first three (Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon) were written at about the same time, were carried by the same messenger (Tychicus), and were dispatched to the same part of the world (Asia). Philippians was probably the last of the four to be written.

It is widely held that Paul, after his supposed release and while engaged in further missionary endeavor, wrote letters to Timothy (First Epistle) and Titus. About the year a.d. 67, the theory states, Paul was arrested on orders from Nero and returned to Rome. On this occasion he was placed in the dungeon; from it he wrote his “last will and testament,” the Second Epistle to Timothy. Shortly thereafter he was executed by the Roman authorities.[15]


Paul welcomes all who visit him (28:30–31)

In these last two verses of the Acts there is no mention of either Jews of Gentiles, as there has been in the previous paragraphs. The most natural explanation of this is that the ‘all’ who came to see Paul included both. The terrible verses from Isaiah 6 meant neither that no Jews were converted, nor that those Jews who believed would be rejected. Nevertheless, the emphasis of Luke’s conclusion is on the Gentiles who came to Paul, who were symbols and precursors of the vast, hungry Gentile world outside. They will listen! Paul had predicted (29). And listen they did. For two whole years they came to him and listened to him, as he stayed on in Rome, in his own rented accommodation, or ‘at his own expense’ (rsv, neb). Probably he resumed his tent-making, in order to pay his way. But when visitors came to see him, he laid aside his manual labour for evangelism. And what did he talk to them about? He again spoke about ‘the kingdom of God’ and ‘the Lord Jesus Christ’ (as in verse 23), especially in relation to each other. He ‘preached’ the former and ‘taught’ the latter, Luke says. This seems to mean that he proclaimed the good news of the breaking into human history of God’s gracious rule through Christ and that he linked this with ‘the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ’ (neb), which he also taught, the facts of his birth and life, words and works, death and resurrection, exaltation and gift of the Spirit. It was through these saving events that the kingdom of God had dawned. Probably, however, the distinction between ‘preaching’ and ‘teaching’ has been over-pressed, for all Paul’s preaching had a doctrinal content, while all his teaching had an evangelistic purpose.

The final words of the book (which the niv misplaces) are the adverbial expression meta pasēs parrēsias, ‘with all boldness’, and the adverb akōlutōs, ‘without hindrance’. Parrēsia has been a characteristic word of Acts ever since the Twelve exhibited boldness and prayed for more (4:13, 31). And Paul had asked the Ephesians to pray that his ministry might bear the same mark. Parrēsia denotes speech which is candid (with no concealment of truth), clear (with no obscurity of expression) and confident (with no fear of consequences). ‘Without hindrance’ means that, although the military surveillance continued, there was no ban by the authorities on Paul’s speaking. Though his hand was still bound, his mouth was open for Jesus Christ. Though he was chained, the Word of God was not. Together Luke’s two adverbs describe the freedom which the gospel enjoyed, having neither internal nor external restraint. In consequence, we may be sure that many were converted, including the runaway slave Onesimus.[16]


30–31 This was a blessed season to the Church at Rome, which the Lord Jesus granted them. And, from the awful character of the then emperor Nero, under whose cruelty afterwards, both Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom, we can only ascribe it to the Lord Jesus, that he lulled this wretched prince asleep, while Paul thus for two whole years was preaching to the people of God. Supposing, what is generally believed, that Festus detained Paul a year; Felix, we know, confined him two; Acts 24:27. and, here again, two years at Rome; the whole made five. But, it was the Church’s mercy, that during the last confinement, he had not only time to preach, but leisure and direction from the Lord, to write those blessed Epistles, which have been made so blessed to the Church, and will be, till time shall be no more. The Epistle to the Ephesians, was evidently written at this time, see Ephes. 3:1. and the date at the end. Collossians also, chap. 4:18 and date. To Philemon, 9, 10 and date. Philippians, chap. 1:7, 1:16. and date. And, it is more than probable, that it was at the same time he wrote, and sent his Epistles to Galatia and the Hebrews. See the date of each. Some have supposed, that Paul at the end of the two years, was brought to trial, and suffered martyrdom. But this could not be. For his Epistle to Philippi speaks of the confidence he had of being freed. Philip. 1:25 and chap. 2:16–24. And his second Epistle to Timothy was written two years after, and is said in the date, to have been written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time. And in this Epistle, Paul then speaks of his expectation of death. Chap. 4:6.[17]


FREELY AND WITHOUT HINDRANCE

Acts 28:30–1

For the space of two whole years, Paul remained there, earning his own living; and it was his custom to receive all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching them the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ—with complete freedom of speech and without let or hindrance.

To the end of the day, Paul is Paul. The Authorized Version is misleading on one point. It says that for two years he lived in his own rented house. The real meaning is that he lived at his own expense, that he earned his own living. Even in prison, his own two hands supplied his needs; and he was not idle in other respects. It was there in prison that he wrote the letters to the Philippians, to the Ephesians, to the Colossians and to Philemon. Nor was he ever altogether alone. Luke and Aristarchus had come with him, and Luke remained to the end (2 Timothy 4:11). Timothy was often with him (Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; Philemon 1). Sometimes Tychicus was with him (Ephesians 6:21). For a while, he had the company of Epaphroditus (Philippians 4:18). And sometimes Mark was with him (Colossians 4:10).

Nor was it wasted time. He tells the Philippians that all this has happened for the furtherance of the gospel (Philippians 1:12). That was particularly so because his imprisonment was known throughout all the praetorian guard (Philippians 1:13). He was in his own private lodging, but night and day a soldier was with him (Acts 28:16). These headquarters soldiers were members of the hand-picked troops of the emperor, the praetorian guard. In two years, many of them must have spent long days and nights with Paul; and many of them must have gone from guard duty with a heart filled with Christ.

And so the Book of Acts comes to an end with a shout of triumph. In the Greek, without let or hindrance is one word—and that one word rises like a victor’s cry. It is the climax of Luke’s story. We wonder why Luke never told us what happened to Paul, whether he was executed or released. The reason is that this was not Luke’s purpose. At the beginning, Luke gave us his plan for Acts when he told how Jesus commanded his followers to bear witness for him in Jerusalem and all over Judaea and Samaria and away to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Now the tale is finished; the story that began in Jerusalem rather more than thirty years earlier has finished in Rome. It is nothing less than a miracle of God. The Church, which at the beginning of Acts could be numbered in tens, cannot now be numbered in tens of thousands. The story of the crucified man of Nazareth has swept across the world in its conquering course until now without interference it is being preached in Rome, the capital of the world. The gospel has reached the centre of the world and is being freely proclaimed—and Luke’s task is at an end.[18]


28:30–31 / By way of illustration of this theme, Luke leaves us with a picture—not unlike the series of cameos in the earlier chapters that depicted the steady growth of the church (see disc. on 2:42–47)—of Paul doing the work of an evangelist among all who came to see him in his rented rooms (v. 30). For two years he continued thus—himself a prisoner, but the word of God unfettered (cf. 2 Tim. 2:9). The closing words of the book: Boldly and without hindrance he preached (see disc. on 4:13), underline both Paul’s personal confidence (cf. Phil. 1:20) and the scope he enjoyed in preaching the kingdom of God and … about the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 31; see disc. on 1:3 and notes and the disc. on 8:12). These two things—the preacher’s boldness and the proclamation to all—are among the lasting impressions of this book. They stand, perhaps as a reproach, certainly as a challenge and a charter to all who now read it. Luke bids us follow Paul and the others in mission and devotion in the work of establishing “one body of Christ” in all the world.[19]


31 During these two years, however—and this is what was important in Luke’s eyes—the gospel was proclaimed freely in Rome through the lips of its chief messenger. The apologetic value of this fact was great. It is unlikely, Luke implies, that if the gospel were illegal and subversive propaganda, it could have been proclaimed for two years at the heart of the empire by a Roman citizen who had appealed to Caesar and was waiting under guard for his case to be heard. The authorities must have known what he was doing all that time, yet no obstacle was put in his way. The program mapped out by the risen Lord in 1:8 has been carried out with Paul’s residence in Rome, where he bears his witness “unhindered.” Luke’s final word is a legal expression; with it the record of Acts closes on a triumphant note. “Victory of the word of God,” says J. A. Bengel: “Paul at Rome, the apex of the gospel, the end of Acts.… It began at Jerusalem; it finishes at Rome. Here, O church, thou hast thy pattern; it is for thee to preserve it and to guard the deposit.”84[20]


Summary Statement (28:31)

OVERVIEW

Luke’s instinct in closing the second volume of his work as he did was completely correct. He was not writing a biography of Paul, even though he included many biographical details about his hero. Rather, he was setting out how the good news of humanity’s redemption had swept out from Jerusalem, across Palestine, into Asia Minor, then on throughout Macedonia and Achaia, and how it finally entered Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. The gospel Jesus had effected in his ministry from Galilee to Jerusalem (as told in Luke’s gospel) had reached its culmination in its extension from Jerusalem to Rome (as told in Luke’s Acts). So when the story was told, his writing was finished. Nonetheless, it may be said that in seeming to leave his book open-ended, Luke may also be implying, under divine direction, that the apostolic proclamation of the gospel in the first century began a story that will continue until the final consummation of the kingdom in Christ (Ac 1:11).

Commentary

31 This summary statement has often been viewed as only an amplification of v. 30 that indicates the nature of Paul’s ministry during his two years of detention at Rome. But to judge by Luke’s practice in his other five summary statements in Acts (6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20), we are evidently meant to take it as the summary statement for the whole of panel 6 (19:21–28:31). In all of his prison experiences at Jerusalem, Caesarea, and Rome, Luke is saying that Paul “boldly [meta pasēs parrēsias, lit., “with all boldness”—which connotes “publicly,” “candidly,” and “forcefully”] … preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” And he did this, Luke goes on to insist, “without hindrance” (akōlytōs, GK 219). By so saying, Luke suggests something of the tolerance of Rome at that time toward Christianity and the proclamation of the gospel—a tolerance that Luke passionately desired would continue and hoped to promote through his writing of these last chapters. Furthermore, since the final word of Acts is the crisp adverb akōlytōs, we may say with reasonable confidence that it was Luke’s desire to close his two-volume work on this victorious note, namely, that the apostolic proclamation of the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, despite all difficulties and misunderstandings, had moved forward throughout the Jewish homeland and into the Roman Empire “without hindrance.”[21]


[1] Sills, M. D. (2017). Opportunities and Challenges in Global Missions. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1771). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 1677). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1607). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ac 28:31). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2145). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ac 28:31). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1419). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[8] Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Acts of the Apostles. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 615). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[9] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1665). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Toussaint, S. D. (1985). Acts. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 431). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[11] Gempf, C. (1994). Acts. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1107). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[12] Marty, W. H. (2014). Acts. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 1740). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[13] Utley, R. J. (2003). Luke the Historian: The Book of Acts (Vol. Volume 3B, pp. 290–291). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[14] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 966–968). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[15] Vaughan, C. (2009). Acts (pp. 155–156). Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press.

[16] Stott, J. R. W. (1994). The message of Acts: the Spirit, the church & the world (pp. 400–401). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[17] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s New Testament Commentary: Acts–Ephesians (Vol. 2, p. 232). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[18] Barclay, W. (2003). The Acts of the Apostles (3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., pp. 227–228). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.

[19] Williams, D. J. (2011). Acts (p. 454). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[20] Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Book of the Acts (p. 511). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[21] Longenecker, R. N. (2007). Acts. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 1101). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

5 Signs Your Church Might be Heading Toward Progressive Christianity | Cross Examined

Several years ago, my husband and I began attending a local Evangelical, non-denominational church, and we loved it. We cherished the sense of community we found among the loving and authentic people we met there, and the intelligent, “outside the box” pastor who led our flock with thought-provoking and insightful sermons. Sadly, the church started going off the rails theologically, and after about a year and a half, we made the difficult decision to leave. Today that church is a self-titled “Progressive Christian Community.”

5 Signs Your Church Might be Heading Toward Progressive Christianity

Back then I had never heard of “Progressive Christianity,” and even now it is difficult to pin down what actually qualifies someone as a Progressive Christian, due to the diversity of beliefs that fall under that designation. However, there are signs—certain phrases and ideas—that seem to be consistent in Progressive circles. Here are 5 danger signs to watch for in your church:

 1. There is a lowered view of the Bible

One of the main differences between Progressive Christianity and Historic Christianity is its view of the Bible. Historically, Christians have viewed the Bible as the Word of God and authoritative for our lives. Progressive Christianity generally abandons these terms, emphasizing personal belief over the biblical mandate.

Comments you might hear:

  • The Bible is a human book…
  • I disagree with the Apostle Paul on that issue…
  • The Bible condones immorality, so we are obligated to reject what it says in certain places…
  • ​The Bible “contains” the word of God…

2. Feelings are emphasized over facts

In Progressive churches, personal experiences, feelings, and opinions tend to be valued above objective truth. As the Bible ceases to be viewed as God’s definitive word, what a person feels to be true becomes the ultimate authority for faith and practice.

Comments you might hear:

  • That Bible verse doesn’t resonate with me…
  • I thought homosexuality was a sin until I met and befriended some gay people…
  • I just can’t believe Jesus would send good people to hell…

3. Essential Christian doctrines are open for re-interpretation

Progressive author John Pavlovitz wrote, “There are no sacred cows [in Progressive Christianity]….Tradition, dogma, and doctrine are all fair game, because all pass through the hands of flawed humanity.” Progressive Christians are often open to re-defining and re-interpreting the Bible on hot-button moral issues like homosexuality and abortion, and also cardinal doctrines such as the virgin conception and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. The only sacred cow is “no sacred cows.”

Comments you might hear:

  • The resurrection of Jesus doesn’t have to be factual to speak truth…
  • The church’s historic position on sexuality is archaic and needs to be updated within a modern framework…
  • The idea of a literal hell is offensive to non-Christians and needs to be re-interpreted…

​4. Historic terms are re-defined

There are some Progressive Christians who say they affirm doctrines like biblical inspiration, inerrancy, and authority, but they have to do linguistic gymnastics to make those words mean what they want them to mean. I remember asking a Pastor, “Do you believe the Bible is divinely inspired?” He answered confidently, “Yes, of course!” However, I mistakenly assumed that when using the word “inspired,” we both meant the same thing. He clarified months later what he meant—that the Bible is inspired in the same way and on the same level as many other Christian books, songs, and sermons. This, of course, is not how Christians have historically understood the doctrine of divine inspiration.

Another word that tends to get a Progressive make-over is the word “love.” When plucked out of its biblical context, it becomes a catch-all term for everything non-confrontative, pleasant, and affirming.

Comments you might hear:

  • God wouldn’t punish sinners—He is love…
  • Sure, the Bible is authoritative—but we’ve misunderstood it for the first 2,000 years of church history…
  • It’s not our job to talk to anyone about sin—it’s our job to just love them…

​5.  The heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice

There is no doubt that the Bible commands us to take care of the unfortunate and defend those who are oppressed. This is a very real and profoundly important part of what it means to live out our Christian faith. However, the core message of Christianity—the gospel—is that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and resurrected, and thereby reconciled us to God. This is the message that will truly bring freedom to the oppressed.

Many Progressive Christians today find the concept of God willing His Son to die on the cross to be embarrassing or even appalling. Sometimes referred to as “cosmic child abuse,” the idea of blood atonement is de-emphasized or denied altogether, with social justice and good works enthroned in its place.

Comments you might hear:

  • Sin doesn’t separate us from God—we are made in His image and He called us good…
  • God didn’t actually require a sacrifice for our sins—the first Christians picked up on the pagan practice of animal sacrifice and told the Jesus story in similar terms…
  • We don’t really need to preach the gospel—we just need to show love by bringing justice to the oppressed and provision to the needy…

Conclusion:

Identifying the signs is not always obvious—sometimes they are subtle and mixed with a lot of truth. Progressive Christianity can be persuasive and enticing but carried out to its logical end, it is an assault on the foundational framework of Christianity, leaving it disarmed of its saving power.

We shouldn’t be surprised to find some of these ideas infiltrating our churches. Jesus warned us, “Watch out for false prophets” who “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15). So if you spot any of these 5 danger signs in your place of worship, it might be time to pray about finding fellowship in a more biblically faithful church community.

Recommended resources related to the topic:

Letters to a Young Progressive by Mike Adams (Book)

Jesus, You and the Essentials of Christianity – Episode 14 Video DOWNLOAD by Frank Turek (DVD)


Alisa Childers is an American singer and songwriter, best known for being in the all-female Christian music group ZOEgirl. She has had a string of top ten radio singles, four studio releases, and received the Dove Award during her time with ZOEgirl. In later years, Alisa found her life-long faith deeply challenged when she started attending what would later identify as a Progressive Christian church. This challenge pushed Alisa toward Christian Apologetics. Today you can read, listen and watch Alisa’s work online as well as purchase her recently published book on Progressive Christianity titled Another Gospel.

Original Blog Source: https://cutt.ly/Ijk76DJ

Source: 5 Signs Your Church Might be Heading Toward Progressive Christianity

January 10 Afternoon Quotes of the Day

Expect to Be Tempted
1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:12–14

Man’s great work is to lay his guilt upon himself before God, and to expect to be tempted to the end of his life.

ANTONY OF EGYPT

Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The Purpose of the Incarnation
John 8:12; 9:5

The only purpose and cause of the Incarnation was that He might enlighten the world by the light of His wisdom and inflame it with love of Him.

PETER ABELARD

Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

January 10 Afternoon Verse of the Day

27:25 — “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.”

When times get hard, those who do not have a relationship with God can take courage from those who do—if believers maintain and display their trust in the Lord. Paul’s faith encouraged many unbelievers.[1]


27:25. He then comforts them on the basis of God’s encouragement to him (see 2 Cor 1:3–11). “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” Every message from God merits absolute belief. He cannot lie.[2]


27:25 Paul’s admonition of v. 22, “to keep up your courage,” a PRESENT INFINITIVE, is repeated, “keep up your courage,” which is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE.

“for I believe God” Paul’s encounter with the living Christ enabled him to trust God’s word (“it will turn out exactly as I have been told” PERFECT PASSIVE INDICATIVE). Faith is the hand that receives the gifts of God—not only salvation, but providence.

Robert B. Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament has a great statement and quote from Romaine, Life of Faith.

“We now approach the N.T. with a clear distinction between faith on the one hand, and trust and hope on the other. Faith is the taking God at His word, while trust and patience and also hope are the proper fruits of faith, manifesting in various forms the confidence which the believer feels. A message comes to me from the Author of my existence; it may be a threat, a promise, or a command. If I take is as ‘yea and amen,’ that is Faith; and the act which results is an act of amunah or faithfulness God. Faith, according to Scripture, seems to imply a word, message, or revelation. So the learned Romaine says in his Life of Faith:—‘Faith signifies the believing the truth of the Word of God; it relates to some word spoken or to some promise made by Him, and it expresses the belief which a person who hears it has of its being true; he assents to it, relies upon it, and acts accordingly: this is faith.’ Its fruit will vary according to the nature of the message received, and according to the circumstances of the receiver. It led Noah to build an ark, Abraham to offer up his son, Moses to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, the Israelites to march round the walls of Jericho. I believe God that it shall be even as it has been told me—this is a picture of the process which the Bible calls faith” (pp. 104–105).[3]


25. “Therefore, men, be courageous, for I believe in God that it will happen exactly as I have been told. 26. But we must run aground on some island.”

For the second time (see v. 22) Paul urges his listeners to be courageous. He links courage to faith when he declares that he believes in God. Implicitly Paul invites the men to follow his example and trust God, who controls not only the weather but also everything else. He affirms that he fully trusts God to save both himself and everyone else aboard, but that the ship itself will be lost. Here is a man who demonstrates his unshakable faith in his God. Paul’s faith was anchored in God. Priscilla J. Owens communicates this thought in these words:

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,

When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?

When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,

Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,

Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,

Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

Paul reveals that the ship will run aground on some island. This cannot be a guess on his part. It is revelation given to him by the angel of God, so that no one can say later that the landing at Malta was by chance. As God’s representative, Paul vouches that the prediction he has received will come true.[4]


25–26. So Paul could encourage his hearers to take heart and in effect to share his faith that what God promised to him would come to pass. Paul’s prophecy went beyond a general hope of safety to a particular statement that they would all be cast ashore on an island; if there was to be a loss of the ship (verse 22), then some such turn of events would be needed to save the people on board.

This speech of Paul again stands under critical suspicion. Yet it fits in with Paul’s own experience of visions from God (2 Cor. 12:1, 9); it is entirely natural that Paul should have shared his assurance with his fellow travellers, and the story is based on eyewitness testimony; we need not doubt that Paul said something like this. Haenchen (p. 709) is sceptical that Paul could deliver a set speech in storm conditions on board ship, but his conception of Paul behaving like a public orator is inappropriate to the circumstances.[5]


25. For I believe God. Paul telleth them again whence he had such boldness, that he affirmeth that though they be amidst infinite gulfs of the sea, yet shall they all come safe to the haven, namely, because God had promised it should be so; in which words the nature of faith is expressed, when there is a mutual relation made between it and the Word of God, that it may strengthen men’s minds against the assaults of temptations. And he doth not only exhort the mariners, by his own example, to believe, but doth, as it were, take upon him the office of a promiser, that he may win credit to the oracle. That which followeth immediately touching the isle is a latter sign, whereby it may more plainly appear after the end of the matter, that this their sailing was not uncertain, otherwise it had been to no end for the mariners to know how they should escape. Therefore, we see how God doth give that safety which he promised, a mark that it may not seem to come by chance. Notwithstanding, we must note, that God kept them still in some doubt, partly that he may exercise the faith of his servant, partly that they may all know that Paul learned that of the Holy Ghost, which he could not as yet comprehend by man’s reason. Notwithstanding, Luke teacheth in the text itself, that he was not believed for all this. For, seeing the mariners thought that there began some country2 to appear unto them, it did not agree with the promise made touching their arriving in an isle. Therefore, we see how that they were scarce enforced, even by experience, to think that he spake the truth.[6]


25–26 Having received this communication from heaven, Paul was completely persuaded (such was his faith in God) that things would turn out exactly as he had been told. The ship would go down, but the people on board would be saved: they would be cast up or washed ashore on some island or other. The island, in the event, proved to be Malta. Since there was no chance of a landfall on Sicily (in view of the direction of the drift), Malta was the next best hope. But Paul could scarcely have known this: his reference to “some island” was an expression of faith. If they missed Malta, there would have been nothing for it but to hold on for 200 miles until they struck the Tunisian coast, and no one could have expected the ship to survive that long.[7]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ac 27:25). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Acts of the Apostles. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (pp. 610–611). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[3] Utley, R. J. (2003). Luke the Historian: The Book of Acts (Vol. Volume 3B, p. 283). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 931–932). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 431). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (2010). Commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 2, pp. 402–403). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[7] Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Book of the Acts (p. 488). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Gab Picking Up 10,000 Users Per Hour, CEO Claims, After Trump’s Twitter Ban

The CEO of Gab, a conservative-friendly social media site, claims it’s picking up 10,000 users an hour following Twitter banning President Trump. “The traffic just keeps growing hang tight, even more servers on the way today,” Gab CEO Andrew Torba wrote on the site Saturday. 10,000+ new Gab users every hour. — Gab.com (@getongab) January 9, 2021 He also wrote: “500,000+ new users today. 18 million visits.

Source: Gab Picking Up 10,000 Users Per Hour, CEO Claims, After Trump’s Twitter Ban

Free Speech Platform Gab Reports 753% Surge In Traffic In 24 Hours | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

Social media platform Gab reported on Saturday a huge increase in traffic as users migrate from Twitter amid widespread bans.

“Our traffic is up 753% in the past 24 hours. Tens of millions of visits,”Gab said in a social media statement, responding to a user who said he wasn’t able to make an account.

“Please be patient, we aren’t going anywhere. Spinning up 10 new servers tonight. This takes time,” Gab added.

The company also reported over 500,000 new users on Saturday.

Twitter on Friday permanently banned President Donald Trump and a slew of other users, including attorney Sidney Powell and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. That triggered an exodus to alternative sites such as Gab and Parler.

Parler is facing immense pressure to implement harsher moderation policies. Google and Apple removed the application from their online stores and Amazon plans to remove Parler from its web hosting service. Parler CEO John Matze told The Epoch Times that the company is prepared to take legal action.

Gab is pushing for people to use its platform, noting that Trump is already on there. The president is not yet on Parler.

A screenshot shows the social media platform Gab on Jan. 10, 2020. (Screenshot/Gab)

The company has also noted that it was removed from Apple and Google stores years ago and doesn’t rely on a third-party cloud hosting provider, such as Amazon.

“Over the past four years we have been banned from multiple cloud hosting providers and were told that if we didn’t like it we should ‘build our own.’ So, that’s exactly what we did,” CEO Andrew Torba wrote in a blog post last year.

“Gab isn’t just building an alternative social network. We’re building an alternative internet. From hosting infrastructure to web browsing and more: Gab is the market leader when it comes to defending free speech against Silicon Valley tyranny online.”

In a new statement on Saturday, Torba said:

“If your business is built on the backs of Silicon Valley tyrants (Apple, Google, et al) they can and will attempt to destroy you if and when you become a threat to their interests. They did this to Gab. Then Fortnite. Now Parler.

“Terrible content of all kinds is available on Twitter and Facebook. Everyone on the planet knows this fact. Yet both companies are on both App Stores. Apple banning Parler is not the neutral implementation of some objective standard, but rather a cynical, politically motivated gesture and evidence of Silicon Valley elites’ disdain for ordinary Americans. The solution, as always, is not government. It is to build your own. People mock this meme, but Gab lives it. While others whine, we build,” he added.

Apple and Google didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Google said in a statement when it banned Gab that “social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people,” to remain on its online store. Apple initially said the ban was because Gab didn’t automatically censor pornographic content but after Gab made changes on that matter, the company said it would uphold the ban because Gab “includes content that could be considered defamatory or mean-spirited.”

In a letter to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, responding to his request to preserve data, Torba said Gab does moderate speech. He said it has a zero-tolerance policy towards threats of violence and unlawful speech but safeguards speech that may be controversial but is legal.

Source: Free Speech Platform Gab Reports 753% Surge In Traffic In 24 Hours

ACLU Breaks with Liberal Establishment, Warns America of Big Tech’s ‘Unchecked Power’ After Ban of Trump and Conservatives

Liberals who rejoice over the Big Tech hammer that came down on President Donald Trump last week are missing the point, according to an organization that has made its disdain for the president crystal clear. On Friday, Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s personal Twitter account, then followed that up by doing the same with his government… The post appeared first on The Western Journal .

Source: ACLU Breaks with Liberal Establishment, Warns America of Big Tech’s ‘Unchecked Power’ After Ban of Trump and Conservatives