Day three of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU), including a speech from Former president Donald J. Trump
— Read on www.youtube.com/watch
Day three of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU), including a speech from Former president Donald J. Trump
— Read on www.youtube.com/watch
[TRANSCRIPT] – Well thank you very much CPAC. Do you miss me yet? Do you miss me? A lot of things going on to so many wonderful friends, Conservatives and fellow citizens in this room all across our country.
I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we begun together we went through a journey like nobody else. There’s never been a journey like it, there’s never been a journey so successful. We began it together four years ago and it is far from being over. And you know what this is? The hardest working people, hard working American patriots, it’s just getting started and in the end we will win. We will win.
We’ve been doing a lot of winning. As we gather this week, we’re in the middle of a historic struggle for America’s future, America’s culture and America’s institutions, borders, and most cherished principles. Our security, our prosperity, and our very identity as Americans is at stake, like perhaps at no other time.
So no matter how much the Washington establishment and the powerful, special interests may want to silence us, let there be no doubt we will be victorious and America will be stronger and greater than ever before.
I want to thank my great friends, Matt and Mercedes Schlap, Matt, thank you. Mercedes, thank you very much. And the American Conservative Union for hosting this extraordinary event. They’re talking about it all over the world man, I know you don’t like it [inaudible 00:05:19] okay. All over the world.
I also want to pay my love and respect to the great Rush Limbaugh who is watching closely and smiling down on us. He’s watching and he’s loving it and he loves Catherine. Catherine, thank you for being here. So great. Thank you Catherine. He loved you Catherine, I will tell you that. Fantastic. Thank you Catherine very much.
To each and every one of you here at CPAC I am more grateful to you than you will ever know.
We are gathered this afternoon to talk about the future of our movement, the future of our party and the future of our beloved country. For the next four years, the brave Republicans in this room will be at the heart of the effort to oppose the radical Democrats, the fake news media and their toxic cancel culture, something new to our ears, cancel culture. And I want you to know that I’m going to continue to fight right by your side.
We will do what we’ve done right from the beginning, which is to win. We’re not starting new parties. They kept saying, “He’s going to start a brand new party.” We have the Republican party it’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before.
I am not starting a new party. That was fake news, fake news.
No. Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote so that you can never win. No, we’re not interested in that. Mr. McLaughlin just gave me numbers that nobody’s ever heard of before, more popular than anybody. That’s all of us, it’s all of us.
Those are great numbers and I want to thank you very much. Those are incredible numbers. I came here and he was giving me 95%, 97%, 92%. And I said, “They’re great.” And I want to thank everybody in this room and everybody all throughout the country, throughout the world if you want to really know the truth.
Thank you President Trump!
Thank you, darling. Thank you. We will be united and strong like never before, we will save and strengthen America. We will fight the onslaught of radicalism, socialism, and indeed it all leads to communism once and for all. That’s what it leads to.
You’ll be hearing more and more about that as we go along, but that’s what it leads to. You know that. We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us even imagined just how bad they would be and how far left they would go. He never talked about this. We would have those wonderful debates, he would never talk about this. We didn’t know what the hell he was talking about actually.
His campaign was all lies. Talked about energy, I said, “This guy actually he’s okay with energy.” He wasn’t okay with energy, he wants to put you all out of the business. He’s not okay with energy. He wants windmills, the windmills. The windmills that don’t work when you need them.
Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any President in modern history, that’s true. Already the Biden administration has proved that they are anti-jobs, anti-family anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women, and anti-science. In just one short month we have gone from America first to America last.
Think about it, right? America last. There is no better example than the new and horrible crisis on our Southern border. We did such a good job. It was all worked, nobody’s ever seen anything like we did and now he wants it all to go to hell. When I left office just six weeks ago, we had created the most secure border in U.S. history.
We had built almost 500 miles of great border wall that helped us with these numbers because once it’s up, they used to say, “The wall doesn’t work.” Well you know what I’ve always said? Walls and wheels, those are two things that will never change.
The wall has been amazing. It’s been incredible and little sections of it to complete, they don’t want to complete it. They don’t want to complete little sections in certain little areas, they don’t want to complete. But it’s had an impact that nobody would have even believed.
It’s amazing considering that the Democrats’ number one priority was to make sure that the wall would never, ever get built, would never, ever happen, would never get financed. We got it, financed. We ended catch and release, ended asylum fraud and brought illegal crossings to historic lows. When illegal aliens trespass across our borders, they were prominently caught, detained and sent back home and these were some rough customers, I want to tell you. Some rough customers entering our country.
It took them the new administration only a few weeks to turn this unprecedented accomplishment into a self inflicted humanitarian and national security disaster.
By recklessly eliminating our border security measures, controls, all of the things that we put into place, Joe Biden has triggered a massive flood of illegal immigration into our country the likes of which we have never seen before. They’re coming up by the tens of thousands. They’re all coming to take advantage of the things that he said that’s luring everybody to come to America. And we’re one country, we can’t afford the problems of the world as much as we’d love to. We’d love to help but we can’t do that. So they’re all coming because of promises and foolish words.
Perhaps worst of all, Joe Biden’s decision to cancel border security has single handedly launched a youth migrant crisis that is enriching child smugglers, vicious criminal cartels, and some of the most evil people on the planet. You see it every day, just turn on the news, you’ll see it every day.
Under my administration, we stopped the child smugglers, we dismantled the criminal cartels. We greatly limited drug and human trafficking to a level that nobody actually thought was possible and the wall helped us a lot and we protected vulnerable people from the ravages of dangerous predators and that’s what they are. Dangerous, dangerous predators.
But the Biden administration is put the vile coyotes back in business and has done so in a very, very big way under the new administration, catch and release has been restored. Can you imagine? We worked so hard. Catch, you know where that is? You catch them, you take their name, they may be killers, they may be rapists, they may be drug smugglers, you take their name and you release them into our country. We did the opposite. We not only didn’t release them, we had them brought back to their country.
Illegal immigrants are now being apprehended and released along the entire Southern border, just the opposite of what it was two months ago. They weren’t coming because they couldn’t get in. Once they think they can get in, they’re coming and they are coming at levels that you haven’t even seen yet. By the hundreds of thousands, by the millions they’ll be coming.
The Biden administration is now actively expediting the admission of illegal migrants, enabling them to lodge, frivolous asylum claims and admitting them by the thousands and thousands and thousands a day, crowded together in unsanitary conditions despite the ongoing economic and public health crisis, COVID-19, or as I call it the China virus.
There’s no masks, there’s no double masks, that was a new one that came out two weeks ago. First Fauci said, you don’t need masks, no masks, no good, now he wants double masks. No social distancing, no nothing, no nothing. That together and I say it actually and I say for them, and I say it for our country, what the Biden administration is doing to push young migrants into the hands of human traffickers and coyotes is dangerous, immoral and indefensible, hard to believe it’s happening.
Biden has failed in his number one duty as chief executive, enforcing America’s laws. This alone should be reason enough for Democrats to suffer withering losses in the midterms and to lose the white house decisively four years from now.
USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
Actually, as you know, they just lost the white house, but it’s one of those. But who knows? Who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time, okay? Joe Biden defunded the border wall and stopped all future construction even on small open sections that just needed to be finished up, routine little work it’s already been bought.
Wait until the contractors get to them and they say, “No, it costs this much more money not to finish the small sections then if we finished it,” that’s going to be nice. Wait until you see those bills start pouring in. He revoked the executive order cracking down on deadly sanctuary cities. He has effectively ordered a shutdown of ICE, halting virtually all deportations, everyone, murderers, everybody, no more. Let’s not deport people. And restricting our law enforcement professionals and they are great professionals, you have many of them represented here today, from conducting almost any immigration enforcement of any kind.
The Biden policy of releasing criminals into the U.S. interior is making America into a sanctuary nation where criminals, illegal immigrants, including gang members and sex offenders are set free into American communities.
They have no idea and remember with the caravans, these countries, not only the three of them, but many, many countries all over the world, they’re not giving us the best and their finest because they’re intelligent.
They’re not giving us their best and their finest, remember I said that? I said that a long time ago when I made the first remarks, when I came down the escalator with our great future first lady, who says hello. Who loves you as much as I love you. I said that a long time ago, and we turned out to be 100% correct.
Biden’s radical immigration policies aren’t just illegal, they’re immoral, they’re heartless and they are a betrayal of our nation’s core values. It’s a terrible thing that’s happening
The Republican party must hold Joe Biden and the Democrats accountable. They ripped up the diplomatic agreements we negotiated with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to shut down illegal immigration.
They got a fortune, they got paid $500 million a year. When I came into office, those countries were refusing to take back illegal alien gang members, including MS13, the most vicious probably of them all. No matter where you go in the world, MS13, they do things that even the worst don’t think about.
So I asked, “How much do we pay these countries? How much do we pay them?” Sir, we pay them approximately $500 million a year. That’s a lot of money. I mean, it’s peanuts compared to the way other countries rip us off but that’s a lot of money. I said, “Okay, we aren’t going to pay them anymore because they wouldn’t take back the criminals.” And this was true with the Obama administration, it was true for many, many years.
So we’d catch a murderer we’d want to bring them back to Guatemala or Honduras or El Salvador, they wouldn’t take them back. No, we don’t want them. We’d fly them in, they wouldn’t let the plane land, we’d bus them and they wouldn’t let the buses get anywhere near the border. And I said, “We’re not going to pay them anymore.” So after I said that, and I stopped payment, like a term that we use in the world of business, let’s stop payment.
So we stopped payment, they were delinquent. We stopped payment and they very quickly came to the table and we made a deal very quickly. We still kept the money. We still didn’t pay it but we made a deal. And when illegal aliens came across our border they were rapidly deported and lovingly accepted by those countries from where they came and it worked, so they accept the people and we ultimately got along very well with those countries, those three countries, and many countries throughout the world, because they respected us again.
They didn’t respect us. They couldn’t believe what they were getting away with. But now Joe Biden has wrecked this great deal, wrecked it. And they’re already doing what they were doing before, and they’re taking the money and that’s just a small portion of what’s going on.
To top it all off, the Biden people are pushing a bill that would grant mass amnesty for millions of illegal aliens while massively expanding chain migration. That’s where you come in and everybody comes in, your grandmother, your father, your mother, your brother, your cousins, they come in so easily. So crazy, so crazy. It even requires that the U.S. government provide a illegal border crossings with taxable funded lawyers, lawyers.
Anybody need a good lawyer? You can’t have one. They get the lawyers, they lawyers. They’re probably very good to.
The Democrat immigration bill is a globalist corp. You take a look at the corporatists, big tech attack on hard working citizens of every race, religion, color, and creed and Republicans must ensure that it never is allowed to become federal law, which is what they want to do. We must stand tall in the party. We have to do this. We have to stand tall as the [inaudible 00:22:10] for law abiding Americans and others when they’re in our country.
Border security is just one of the many issues on which the new administration has already betrayed the American people. He didn’t talk about this stuff. I debated him. He wasn’t talking about this. What he signed with those executive orders. They weren’t things that were discussed. We didn’t know all about him and the press because they’re fake news. They’re the biggest fakers there are.
But the press refused to ask the questions and when I asked the questions on television, on the debate, Chris Wallace, in this case, and others refused to let him answer. They refused to let him answer the questions. Maybe we could have found something, or if the media did its job, which they don’t.
Their callous indifference to working families is equally clear when it comes to the critical matter of getting Americans’ children back to school. And they must get back and get back right now, right now. Crazy. Terrible. Terrible. The Biden administration is actually bragging about the classroom education they are providing to migrant children on the border while at the same time, millions of American children are having their futures destroyed by Joe Biden’s anti-science school closures.
Think of it. We’re educating students on the [inaudible 00:23:55] but our own people, children of our citizens, citizens themselves are not getting the education themselves; are not getting the education that they deserve. There’s no reason whatsoever why the vast majority of young Americans should not be back in school immediately.
The only reason that most parents do not have that choice is because Joe Biden sold out America’s children to the teacher’s unions.
His position is morally inexcusable. You know that. Joe Biden has shamefully betrayed America’s youth and he is cruelly keeping our children locked in their homes, no reason for it whatsoever, they want to get out.
They’re cheating the next generation of Americans out of the future that they deserve. And they do deserve this future. They’re going to grow up and they’re going to have a scar. It’s a scandal of the highest order and one of the most graven acts by any president in our lifetimes.
It’s the teacher’s union, it’s the votes and it shouldn’t happen. And I have, nobody has more respect for teachers than I do. And I’ll bet you a lot of the people within that union, they agree with everything I’m saying. Even the New York Times is calling out the Democrats.
The mental and physical health of these young people is reaching a breaking point. Tragically suicide attempts have skyrocketed and student depression is now commonplace and at levels that we’ve never seen before.
The Democrats now say we have to pass their $1.9 trillion boondoggle to open schools, but a very small part of it has to do with that. You know where it’s going. It’s going to bail out badly run Democrat cities. So much of it. But billions of dollars for schools remain unspent from the COVID relief bills that were passed last year. So on behalf of the moms, dads and children of America, I call on Joe Biden to get the schools open and get them open now. It’d be a great thing to do.
When I left office, and we’re very proud of this because this was something that they said could not be done. The FDA said it, everybody said it, any article that you read said it. Couldn’t be done. It would be years and years. I handed the new administration what everyone is now calling a modern day medical miracle. Some say it’s the greatest thing to happen in hundreds of years, hundreds of years. Two vaccines produced in record [inaudible 00:26:51] others on the way, including the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that was approved just yesterday.
And therapeutic relief, also, if you’re sick. If you’re sick, we have things now that are incredible. What has taken place over the last year under our administration would have taken any other president at least five years. And we got it done in nine months. Everyone says five years, five years.
Can you imagine if you had to go through what all of the countries of the world who are now getting the vaccine or soon will be getting it from various companies. But can you imagine if all of those countries had to go through what they’ve been going through over the last year? You’d lose hundreds of millions of people.
I pushed the FDA like they have never been pushed before. They told me that loud and clear. They have never been pushed like I pushed them. I didn’t like them at all. But once we got it done, I said I now love you very much. What the Trump administration has done with vaccines has in many respects, perhaps saved large portions of the world. Not only our country, but large portions of the world.
Not only did we push the FDA far beyond what the bureaucrats wanted to do, we also put up billions and billions of dollars, 10 billion, to produce the vaccines before we knew they were going to work. It was called a calculated bet or a calculated risk. We took a risk because if we didn’t do that, you still wouldn’t have the vaccines. You wouldn’t have them for a long time.
So think of that. We took this bet, we made a bet because we feel we’re on a certain track. But you’d be starting to make them right now. It’d be a long time before you ever saw. It takes 60 to a hundred days to manufacture and inspect new doses. And that means that 100% of the increased availability that we have now was initiated by our administration. 100%.
In fact, the director of national institutes of health, Francis Collins, he’s Fauci’s boss, actually. I think he’s a Democrat too, by the way. Recently said that our operation warp speed was absolutely breathtaking. And that the Trump administration deserves full credit. Which we do. And as conservatives and Republicans, never forget that we did it.
Never let them take the credit because they don’t deserve the credit. They just followed now, they’re following our plan, but this has been something that they really call it an absolute miracle.
Joe Biden is only implementing the plan that we put in place. And if we had an honest media, which we don’t. They would say it loud and clear. By the time I left that magnificent house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, almost 20 million Americans had already been vaccinated. 1.5 million doses were administered on my final day alone. 1.5 million in a day. Yet Biden said just a few days ago that when he got here, meaning the white house, there was no vaccine. He said there’s no vaccine. Oh good. Say it again, Joe.
Now I don’t think he said that, frankly, in a malicious way. I really don’t. I actually believe he said that because he didn’t really know what the hell was happening. But never let them forget, this was us. We did this. And the distribution is moving along according to our plan. And it’s moving along really well.
We had the military, what they’ve done, our generals and all of the people what [inaudible 00:31:30] incredible. But remember, we took care of a lot of people. Including, I guess on December 21st, we took care of Joe Biden, because he got his shot. He got his vaccine. He forgot. It shows you how unpainful that vaccine shot is. So everybody go get your shot. He forgot. So it wasn’t very traumatic, obviously. But he got his shot. And it’s good that he got his shot.
Last year, I predicted to you that the extremist corruption and incompetence of the Biden administration would be literally unprecedented in American history. Unfortunately, he has proven me 100% right. Already, as president, Biden has urged [inaudible 00:32:19] legislation shredding your second amendment. Your second amendment is in far bigger trouble than you know. And for four years, I fought like hell to save your second amendment. And we saved it 100&. We saved it.
We signed an order to conduct politically correct, far-left indoctrination trainings in every department of the federal government, including the U S military, after I had terminated these horrible things that were being preached to our military. And he wants it to go forward. It’s insane.
Within his first few hours Biden eliminated our national security travel bans on nations plagued by terrorism. His first priority was to open up borders to unvetted travelers from Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia [inaudible 00:33:14] other countries where strict vetting cannot occur. Countries that have tremendous problems. Countries with tremendous terrorism problems.
We did a travel ban. It was a real achievement. We told those countries, sorry, straighten out your act. We don’t want people coming in where they had an ideology or a problem. We just couldn’t have it. And it was incredible. How it worked was incredible. And he terminated it.
We had to get it approved. It went all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United States. We got it approved and he terminates it. In addition, he’s already increased refugee admissions by nearly 10 times. But in effect, it will soon be hundreds of times as millions of people flow up through our soon to be open borders. And by the way, the border patrol and ICE are some of the great heroes of our country. These are incredible people. I got to know them very well.
Your family still cannot go out to eat at local restaurants, but Joe Biden is bringing in thousands upon thousands of refugees from all over the world, people that nobody knows anything about. We don’t have crime records. We don’t have health records. What are they bringing in with them? When I left office, we had virtually ended the endless wars. These endless wars, they go on forever. They go on forever.
I would go to Dover and I would see caskets, coffins coming in. I’d see the parents and wives and husbands. I would see the kids. Endless wars. 19 years in Afghanistan, we have it down to almost [inaudible 00:35:00] left and I hear they might want to go back in. Iraq. Remember I used to say don’t go in, but if you’re going to go in, keep the oil [inaudible 00:35:09] but we didn’t keep the oil. We had made historic peace deals in the Middle East like nobody thought were even possible. There’s not a drop of blood shed.
And by the way, not one American soldier has been killed in Afghanistan in over a year. Think of that. Not one. Those troops have largely come home. At the same time, the new administration unilaterally withdrew our crippling sanctions on Iran, foolishly giving away all of America’s leverage before negotiations have even begun. Leave the sanctions, negotiate.
Does anybody understand what I’m saying here? Are there any good business people? You don’t have to be a good. Are there any bad business people? They took off of the sanctions. They took off the sanctions. They said, well, we’re going to not have any sanctions. Let’s negotiate a deal. I don’t know, Matt Schlapp, I don’t think you would have done that. Do you think so, Matt? I don’t think so. Mercedes wouldn’t have.
No, you do that, you make a deal, and then you do what they wanted. I will tell you something. And I said it. Had we had a fair election, the results would have been much different, and we would have had a deal. We would have had a deal with Iran within [inaudible 00:36:51].
They wanted those sanctions off of… Took them off for nothing. For nothing. Now you watch how tough they negotiate. In another horrendous surrender, he agreed to get back into the World Health Organization. For approximately $500 million a year, which is what we were paying.
When I withdrew from the WHO, and you know the whole story with that, they called it badly. They really are puppets for China. They called and they wanted us to stay in. I said how much are we paying? Approximately $500 million. How much is China paying? A much larger in terms of population country. Sir, they’re paying $39 million. I said why are we paying 500 million and they’re paying 39. I can tell you why. Because the people that made the deal are stupid. That’s why.
And I had no idea how popular was… I didn’t even know if I would be able to politically because people were so happy when I did get out. But I said, so if we went in, we could get it for 39 million, which is what China, not 500 million, which is what we were stupidly paying. And they said, we can make a deal. We want you to go in. We can make a deal. Okay. And I decided not to do it. But we could have had it for 39. We could have had it for the same as China. And they decide, now to go back into the World Health Organization and pay 500 million. What the hell is wrong with that?
No, no. This is just emblematic. It’s a tremendous amount of money. But compared to trillions, it’s not. But it’s a tremendous amount of money. Why would China pay 39 million and we’re paying almost 500 million? Why? So we could have made the same deal that China had. 39 million. And they just say, we’re going back in. We’re going back into the World Health Organization. They go back in, they pay 500. It is so sad.
Just like the Iran and the World Health Organization, Joe Biden put the United States back into the very unfair and very costly Paris climate accord without negotiating a better deal. They wanted us so badly back in. I’ll tell you they wanted us. I was getting called from all of the countries. You must come back into the Paris accord. I said, tell me why. Give me one good reason.
First of all, China doesn’t kick in for 10 years. Russia goes by an old standard, which was not a clean standard. And other countries, but we get hit right from the beginning. Would have cost us hundreds of thousands and millions of jobs. It was a disaster. But they go back in.
I could have made an unbelievable deal and got back in, but I didn’t want to do that. Surrendering millions of jobs and trillions of dollars to all of these other countries. Almost all of them that were in the deal. So they have favorable treatment. We don’t have favorable treatment. And we just said, we’re going back in. To go back in, they wanted us so badly, you could’ve negotiated. If you wanted to go back in [inaudible 00:39:58] the cleanest air, the cleanest water and everything else that we’ve ever had. So I don’t know why we have to.
And what good does it do when we’re clean, but China’s not, and Russia’s not, and India’s not. So they’re pouring fumes. You know, the world is actually a small [inaudible 00:40:18], right? They’re pouring fumes and we’re trying to protect everything and building products for three times more than [inaudible 00:40:26] say no. They could have made a great deal. If they were going to go back in, that’s fine. But they could have made a great deal instead of just saying we’re back in. These [inaudible 00:40:35].
And in one of his first official acts, which was incredible, because again, he talked about energy. He never said he was going to do this. He canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline. Destroying [inaudible 00:40:47] or the 9,000 or the 11,000 jobs that you hear. But 42,000 great paying jobs. On just about day one, right? He never talked about that during a debate because he wouldn’t have gotten away with it. Well, he would have because they cheated so much it probably wouldn’t have mattered.
No, but that was not a topic of conversation. Remember? Fracking. You could track. Oh, we love fracking. During the primary, no fracking. As soon as he got through that, he said, no, of course everybody can frack. No fracking. You wait till you see what happens with your gasoline. Wait till you see what happens and we cannot let this stuff continue to go on. One of my proudest accomplishments as president was to make America energy independent.
The United States became the number one energy superpower. Number one. Became number one, bigger than Saudi Arabia, bigger than Russia by a lot. We left them all in the dust. They were all on [inaudible 00:42:02]. But if the Democrats have their way, we are heading from energy dominance to energy disaster. That’s what’s happening. You have to see what’s going on. Everything’s being closed up. It’s a disaster.
The blackouts we saw in California last summer and all the time. The windmill calamity that we’re witnessing in Texas. Great state of Texas. We love Texas. But it’s so sad when you look at it. That’ll just be the start.
How bad is wind power? So I talk about it all the time at CPAC, right? We went to CPAC. Remember last year, I said, we’re going to watch the president. Alice, the wind isn’t blowing. I don’t believe we’ll have any electricity. Remember we would kid, but I wasn’t actually kidding. It’s such an expensive form of energy. It’s so bad for the environment. It kills the birds. It destroys the landscapes. And remember, these are structural columns with fans on them. They wear out. And when they wear out all over the country, you see them, nobody takes them down. They’re rotting. They’re rusting.
How this is environmentally good for our country. And it costs many, many times more than natural gas, which is clean. It costs many more… And can fuel our great [inaudible 00:43:20]. We can’t do that.
And solar, I love solar but it doesn’t have the capacity to do what we have to do to make America great again. Sorry it just doesn’t have it. Under the radical Democrat policies, the price of gasoline has already surged 30% since the election. And we’ll go to $5, $6, $7 and even higher. So enjoy that when you go to the pump.
They’ll say, that’ll be about $200 to fill up your van. You’ll go to the… Remember they used to go to the little small vans. They got away from the big ones that everybody wanted. They went to the small ones. Well, you know what? Probably a good investment. As long as these guys have their say, because you know, it’s a shame what’s happening. Energy prices are going to go through the roof. And that includes your electric bills. That includes any bill having to do with energy. Our biggest cost.
We will now be relying on Russia and the Middle East for oil. And they talked about Russia, Russia, Russia. What’s better than what this guy has done for Russia? I had oil where they were actually paying you to take it. Okay. You know, I was… Remember they were going to give you 37 a barrel, but you got to take it away.
You had free oil almost for a period of time and one way I was proud of it, but we also had to save the energy industry and it worked out well. And I dealt with Russia [inaudible 00:44:39] and they cut back on production. And we got it back up. But now it’s going the opposite because now they’re taking this incredible energy independence away from the people of our country. And you’re going to see costs go like you have never seen them go before. It’s a very sad and very stupid thing that they’re doing. The Biden policies are a massive win for other oil producing countries. And a loss for the United States and our great citizens.
Joe Biden and the Democrats are even pushing policies that would destroy women’s sports. A lot of new records are being broken in women’s sports. Hate to say that ladies, but got a lot of new records, they’re being shattered. [inaudible 00:45:28] the weightlifting.
Every ounce was like a big deal for many years. All of a sudden somebody comes along and beats it by a hundred [inaudible 00:45:36]. Young girls and women are in sex that they are now being forced to compete against those who are biological males. It’s not good for women. It’s not good for women’s sports, which worked so long and so hard to get to where they are. The records that stood for years, even decades, are now being smashed with [inaudible 00:46:00]. Smashed. If this does not change, women’s sports, as we know it, will die. They’ll end. It’ll end.
What coach, if I’m a coach, I want to be a great coach. What coach, as an example, wants to recruit a young woman to compete if her record can easily be broken by somebody who was born a man. Not too many of those coaches around, right? They are around, they won’t be around long because they’re going to have a big problem when their record is… We’re 0 and 16, but we’re getting better. No, I think it’s crazy. I think it’s just crazy what’s happening. We must protect the integrity of women’s sports. So important. Have to.
And I don’t even know, is that controversial? Somebody said well, that’s going to be very controversial. I said, that’s okay. You haven’t heard anything yet. As you can see, the early weeks of the Biden administration of nothing less than they’ve been a catastrophe for American workers and for American families. [inaudible 00:47:23] of our mission. And for us, it’s our movement.
As I said, a movement, like has never been seen. I think we can probably say, never been seen anywhere in the world. And nobody’s ever seen a movement like this. I’d grow out and I’d watch somebody who came in second in New Hampshire or first in Iowa and that was the end and they became famous for the rest of their lives. We won the election twice. I mean you know think about it. The task for our movement and our party is to stand up to this destructive agenda with confidence and with resolve.
… this destructive agenda with confidence and with resolve. The future of the Republican Party is as a party that defends the social, economic, and cultural interests and values of working American families of every race, color, and creed. That’s why the party is growing so rapidly and is becoming a different party. And it’s becoming a party of love. You have to see outside the streets. I mean, there’s such love. The flags … Amazing.
Audience: USA. USA. USA. USA. USA. USA.
That’s right. Now it’s a party that’s incredible. The people, the spirit, and there are, as you probably heard a little while ago, I mean, there’s more spirit now than there’s ever been, including even before the election. More spirit now than we’ve ever seen, because people are seeing how bad it can be. And again, I want to thank Rush and Kathryn because what he did to get the word out has been incredible. Some people are irreplaceable as Sean Hannity would say, and he said, “Rush is replaceable,” but his spirit lives on and that’s something that we need and we love.
Republicans believe that the deeds of every citizen must come first. In fact, America must come first. We don’t put it first. They don’t put it first. Over the past four years my administration delivered for Americans of all backgrounds like never before, like never before.
We built the strongest economy in the history of the world, raised wages, and achieved the lowest African American, Hispanic American, Asian American unemployment rates ever, ever, ever recorded. It was so great for everybody of all backgrounds that even after the China virus, we are leading the world, nobody’s even close. We’re leading it in the comeback. Our economic comeback has been incredible. That’s because the financial and economic foundation we built was so strong that unlike other countries, who are having a hard time, we didn’t break. We came roaring back and now our stock market and your 401ks are again at record levels, higher than ever before actually.
Many people have asked what is Trumpism, a new term being used more and more. I’m hearing that term more and more. I didn’t come up with it, but what it means is great deals, great trade deals, great ones, not deals where we give away everything, our jobs, money. Like the USMCA replacement of the horrible NAFTA.
NAFTA was one of the worst deals ever made, probably the worst trade deal ever made. And we ended it. You know, a lot of people forget, we ended it. Now we have the USMCA, Mexico, Canada. It’s incredible what it’s done for our farmers who are doing fantastically. Did you see grain prices and grain sales are at an all time high? Wheat, all time high. So many elements of farms and farmers, and they love me. And remember, it’s going to be very close in Iowa. Well, it wasn’t close. We won a landslide, Iowa, because our farmers know, and they put up with it and we did a lot of work with the tariffs and all these things that we had to do to get it, and now the farmers are doing great. But they’re setting records.
It means low taxes and eliminated job killing regulations, Trumpism. It means strong borders, but people coming into our country based on a system of merit. So they come in and they can help us as opposed to coming here and not being good for us, including criminals, of which there are many, it means no riots in the streets.
It means law enforcement. It means very strong protection for the second amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. It means support for the forgotten men and women who have been taken advantage of for so many years. And they were doing great, they were doing great before that horrible thing from China came in and hit us. And now they’re starting to do really well again. If you think about it, we built the economy twice. We built a then and then like every other country in the world, it went down and then we built it again. Now it’s higher in many ways, certainly in the stock pocket, it’s higher in many ways than it was before. That’s because of the foundation and no country comes even close to competing with our comeback.
And it means a strong military and taking care of our vets, but a strong military, which we have totally rebuilt, we have rebuilt it. And our military has never been stronger than it is today. It was tired, it was depleted, it was obsolete. And now we have the best brand new equipment ever made and it was all produced right here in the USA. Isn’t that nice? And we take care of our vets.
We had a call recently just before leaving office, the vets had a 91% approval rating for the way we took care of them. It’s the highest number in the history of the polls. The vet polls. On top of all of that, we have even created the Space Force, the first new branch of the United States in nearly 75 years.
The mission of the Democrat Party is to promote socialism. They want to promote socialism, ultimately leading unfortunately to communism. And that will happen. If you look at Venezuela, you look at some of these countries, that’s why some of our biggest supporters are from South America, Latin America, because they’ve seen what goes on with all of this cancel culture and you can’t speak it, and let’s cut them off, and let’s not give them words.
The mission of our movement and of the Republican Party must be to create a future of good jobs, strong family, safe communities, a vibrant culture, and a great nation for all Americans. And that’s what we’re creating. Their party is based upon unvarnished disdain for America, its past, and its people. You see that happening. It’s horrible the way they treat the legacy of our country, the culture of our country. Our party is based on love for America and the belief that this is an exceptional nation blessed by God.
We take great pride in our country. We teach the truth about history. We celebrate our rich heritage and national traditions. We honor George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and all national heroes. And of course, we respect our great American flag. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Audience: We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you.
Audience: We love you. We love you. We love you. We love you.
Thank you very much. So nice. I started that hearing, we really where … we’re getting word of that, hearing that during some of the rallies, especially the latter rallies where we set records. We had 56 unbelievable packed rallies. And nobody’s ever had anything that we had. And we started hearing, “We love you.” And I asked somebody because we really like Ronald Reagan, right? He was a great president. We had others. But I said, “Did anybody ever say that to Ronald Reagan or to any of our great … .” And to the best of all of these political professionals’ knowledge and pollsters. Nobody’s ever heard that yet before, man. So it’s an honor. Believe me, it’s an honor. Great honor. That’s a great honor.
When you think about, we love you. When you’re saying that about … I hate to say it, am I a politician? I don’t know. Maybe I’m a politician. I hate to admit it, but it’s an honor that you would say.
We believe in patriotic education and strongly oppose the radical indoctrination of Americans youth. It’s horrible. We are committed to defending innocent life and to upholding the Judeo-Christian values of our founders and our founding. We have raised free thought, we stand up to political correctors, and we reject left wing lunacy. And in particular we reject cancel culture.
We know that the rule of law is the ultimate safeguard. And we affirm that the constitution means exactly what it says, as written, as written. They want to change it. They want to change it. They want to get rid of it, frankly. We believe in law and order and we believe that the men and women of law enforcement are heroes who truly deserve our absolute support. We don’t defund the police. We are not defunding the police.
We believe in standing up to China, shutting down outsourcing, bringing back our factories and supply chains, and ensuring that America not China dominates the future of the world. So it’s going to happen. And by the way, we took in hundreds of billions of dollars from China during my administration, hundreds of … and they never gave us 25 cents. It was a one-way street. We took in hundreds of billions and during negotiations, they would say, “Look, the one thing, we don’t want any more of these tariffs.
These tariffs … .” Those tariffs, we took in so much money. And what happened is they became competitive. So what happened with the people, they wouldn’t go to China. They built a lot of it back in our country. They would make it here instead. And in addition to that, we were taking in billions and billions and billions of dollars from China.
But in all fairness to China, we made a trade deal with them, this was prior to COVID. And once COVID happened, I no longer cared so much about the great deal, because what happened with that was just disgraceful. But that’s one of the things, that’s one of the reasons that right now our farmers are doing so good. I used to tell China, “Look, look, go and get lot of wheat. Get a lot of different things. All of the things we just talked about, you better go out and do it because this country has not been treated fairly by you for many, many years. Many, many years.” We used to lose $504 billion trade deficit with China. 500, not million, $504 million is a lot, right? You know that through the World Health Organization. Now take 504 million, make it $504 billion. We had deficits with China.
It was absolutely insane that this could keep going on. It’s amazing that you still have a country left. The people that did this to our country, they should be ashamed of themselves. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Companies that leave America to create jobs in China and other countries that have ripped us off for years, should not be rewarded. They should be tarriffed, fined, and punished. They should not be rewarded. And that’s what the Biden administration is doing. But of course, as you know, they have a very close, personal relationship with China. So I don’t expect much to happen. It’s a shame because it really is a threat. It’s a tremendous economic threat. And thank God we’ve rebuilt our military, but it’s a tremendous economic threat. Never forget it.
These are the convictions that define our movement today and must define the Republican Party in the years ahead. Very simple, it’s really quite simple, isn’t it?
Another one of the most urgent issues facing the Republican Party is that of ensuring fair, honest, and secure elections. Such a disgrace. Such a disgrace. Such a disgrace. We must pass comprehensive election reforms and we must do it now.
The democrats use the China virus as an excuse to change all of the election rules without the approval of their state legislatures, making it therefore illegal. It had a massive impact on the election. Again, you have to go to the legislatures to get these approvals. This alone would have easily changed the outcome of the election at levels that you wouldn’t have even believed. Even with COVID, even with all of the things, the numbers are staggering. We can never let this or other abuses of the 2020 election be repeated or happen again. Can never let that happen again.
You see what’s going on. We’ve been set back so greatly with other countries and with the world. We need election integrity and election reform immediately. Republicans should be the party of honest elections that can give everyone confidence in the future of our country. Without honest elections, who has confidence? Who has confidence?
This issue is being studied and examined, but the reality is you cannot have a situation where ballots are indiscriminately pouring in from all over the country, tens of millions of ballots, where are they coming from? They’re coming all over the place. We’re illegal aliens and dead people are voting, and many other horrible things are happening that are too voluminous to even mention. But people know. I mean it’s being studied and the level of dishonesty is not to be believed.
We have a very sick and corrupt electoral process that must be fixed immediately. This election was rigged and the supreme court and other courts didn’t want to do anything about it.
Audience: You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won. You won.
Audience: You won. You won. You won. You won. You won.
If you just take that one element where they didn’t go through a legislature, it’s illegal, you can’t do it. It’s in the constitution. They didn’t have the courage, the supreme court, they didn’t have the courage to act, but instead used process and lack of standing. I was told the President of the United States has no standing. It’s my election, it’s your election. We have no standing. We had almost 25 … if you think of it … we had almost 20 states go into the supreme court so that we didn’t have a standing problem. They rejected it. They rejected it.
They should be ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done to our country. They didn’t have the guts or the courage to make the right decision. They didn’t want to talk about it. We had the case led by the great State of Texas. 18 States went in. “You don’t have standing.” Let’s not talk about it. They didn’t have the guts to do what should be done.
And that’s on top of all of these other forms of cheating, but this is the most basic of all. They would have local courts and local politicians change the rules in some cases a day or two before the election. This should never be allowed to happen to another presidential candidate or presidential race, should never be allowed to happen.
Today I want to outline the steps that we must take to have an election system in this country that is honest, fair, and accurate. We need one election day, not 45, 30. One day, like it’s been. And the republicans don’t get this, and the other things I’m going to say, that you should, like the supreme court, be ashamed of yourselves.
One day. One day. And the only people that should be allowed to vote by mail are people that can be proven to be either very sick or out of the country or military where they can’t do it. One day. They have millions and millions of ballots sitting around all over the place for long periods of time. Gee, I wonder what happens with those ballots? I wonder what happens. It’s common sense. It’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace.
There should be a legitimate reason for someone to vote absentee, has to have a reason. We should eliminate the insanity of the mass and very corrupt mail-in voting. We must have voter ID. voter ID. To get into the Democratic National Convention, when they had the convention, you needed voter ID. You needed an ID card. You couldn’t get it unless you had an ID. So many people told me, “You can’t get in that place. You need ID. Nobody had ID.” You need voter ID. They know that. This is a con job. They’re conning everybody. They know that. They know the wall was good. They knew the wall would work, but didn’t want to have it because we wanted. I made one big mistake in the world. I should have said, “We will not have a wall.” And then they would have said, “Let’s build a wall.” I made a big mistake. I made a big mistake. I’m sorry. It took us a year and a half extra because of that mistake. “We will not have a wall.” “We need a wall immediately,” said Chuck Schumer.
We need universal signature matching. They want to pass a bill where you don’t have to match signatures, where signatures don’t mean anything. Now they know it’s … just like with the wall, just like with voter ID, when you need to go into anything that’s Democrat run, you need it. But for voting, which is our most sacred institution, they don’t want to let you have it.
There should be a 100% requirement to verify the citizenship of every person who votes and there must be a chain of custody protections for every ballot. Every ballot. And you saw what happened in Detroit and Philadelphia and many other places, swing states mostly. All over, but swing states mostly. You saw what happened. You saw what was going on. You saw that more people … you take a look at the votes, when you have more votes than you have people, that’s a problem, right? Is that a problem?
We have a little problem adjusting in Detroit. We seem to have more votes than we have people, a lot more votes, and election changing number. We’re not talking about a number where you can’t … no, these aren’t election changing numbers. In Pennsylvania, they had hundreds of thousands of more votes than they had people voting. What’s that all about? What’s that all about? Cheating they say. Yeah, I’d say so.
In the history of our country, and it has taken place for years in Pennsylvania and Detroit and various other places. But there’s tremendous, never like this, because they used COVID as a way of cheating. That’s what happened. And everybody knows it. Hundreds of thousands and millions of ballots. They used it as a way of getting what they’ve wanted for many years. And the republicans have to do something about it. They better do something about it. Our election process is worse than that in many cases of a third world country.
You know that, you saw what was going on. Even if you consider nothing else, it is undeniable that election rules were illegally changed at the last minute in almost every swing state with the procedures rewritten by local politicians … you’re not allowed to do that … and local judges. They want more time, they want this, they want that. All done by local politicians or local judges, as opposed to state legislatures as required by the Constitution of the United States. And these are just numbers that are massive.
These aren’t little numbers, these are numbers that in each state is a transformative number. It changes the outcome of the election. And it’s not close. Regardless of your political views, this should concern you as a constitutional matter. And the supreme court, again, didn’t have the guts or the courage to do anything about it. And neither did other judges. And democrats even admitted in Time-
And Democrats even admitted in Time Magazine, which is, I would say on the liberal side. They just couldn’t hold it in. They had to brag about it, because what they did, they had to brag about it. They couldn’t do it. You’ve got to read this story. It’s a disaster. It’s a disaster for our country that we can allow something so corrupt to happen. Read that article. I really encourage you. You read that article. Yet all of the election integrity measures in the world will mean nothing if we don’t have free speech and that’s where we’re at now.
If Republicans can be censored for speaking the truth and calling out corruption, we will not have democracy and we will have only left wing tyranny. And we can do this. We can do this. We’re smarter than they are. We’re tougher than they are. For some reason we just don’t… we don’t get it done. We let them attack our businesses and we don’t attack their businesses. I believe your numbers are bigger than their numbers, but you’re nicer than they are. You’re not as vicious as they are.
In the past, we would debate. I would have it. I debate. You’ve seen me for many years. They throw something. I debate. They debate. Who knows who wins? People go. They vote. They see what happens. But they would have an idea. They would disagree. The public would hear it. The debate and discourse would take place. And then somebody would make a decision. You would win. You would lose. The public would make up its mind. But now there isn’t a debate because they refuse to allow our side to even speak or be heard. They don’t want debate because we have easy victories in a debate, very easy victories. It’s called common sense. It’s called other things, but it’s called common sense. So they don’t want to debate.
The time has come to break up big tech monopolies and restore fair competition. Republicans, conservatives must open up more platforms and repeal Section 230 Liability Protection. And if the federal government refuses to act, then every state in the union where we have the votes… which is a lot of them… Big tech giants, like Twitter, Google and Facebook should be punished with major sanctions whenever they silence conservative voices. And Governor Ron Desantis of Florida, and in Texas and other states are doing this. If they do what they’re doing, Florida… And that legislation will pass and Texas and others will have tremendous power to do what’s right and what’s fair.
We have no time to waste. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress are racing to pass a flagrantly unconstitutional attack on the First Amendment and the integrity of our elections known as HR One. Do you know what HR one is? It’s a disaster.
Their bill would drastically restrict political speech, empower the federal government to shut down dissent and turn the federal election commission into a partisan political weapon. In addition, it virtually eliminates voter ID requirements nationwide. Effectively ends all registration deadlines. Can you believe this? Requires states to give ballots to felons. Automatically registers every welfare recipient to vote and puts unaccountable unelected bureaucrats in charge of drawing congressional districts. That’s going to be a lot of fun. This monster must be stopped. It cannot be allowed to pass.
Now more than ever is the time for tough, strong, and energetic Republican leaders who have spines of steel. We need strong leadership. We cannot have leaders who show more passion for condemning their fellow Americans than they have ever shown for standing up to Democrats, the media and the radicals who want to turn America into a socialist country.
Instead of attacking me and more importantly, the voters of our movement, top establishment Republicans in Washington should be spending your energy and opposing Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, and the Democrats. I’ve said to some of them, I said, “You know, during the Obama years, and now during Biden, if you spent the same energy on attacking them, you’d actually be successful as you do on attacking me in many cases.”
The Democrats don’t have grand-standers like Mitt Romney, little Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Toomey; and in the House, Tom Rice, South Carolina, Adam Kinzinger, Dan Newhouse, Anthony Gonzalez. That’s another beauty. Fred Upton, Jamie Herrera Butler, Peter Meyer, John Katko, David Valadeo. And of course the warmonger, a person that loves seeing our troops fighting, Liz Cheney. How about that? The good news is in her state, she’s been censured. And in her state, her poll numbers have dropped faster than any human being I’ve ever seen. So hopefully, they’ll get rid of her with the next election. Get rid of them all.
Democrats are vicious. Remember this. It’s true. Democrats are vicious. He said evil. Well, there is evil there, but they’re vicious. They’re smart. And they do one thing. You’ve got to hand it to them. They always stick together. You don’t have Mitt Romney’s in the group. They always stick together.
Fortunately for the Republican party, the Democrats have horrible policies like open borders, sanctuary cities, defunding the police and the ridiculous, totally ridiculous Green New Deal. So they stick together. They’re smart. They’re vicious. They’ve got everything going, but their policies are no good. So hence we have, congratulations, the Republican Party. After this, they may not stick with those policies. We have to be careful. No, their policies are horrible. Think of it. Defund the police. How did that work out?
But the Republicans do not stick together. The RINOs that we’re surrounded with will destroy the Republican Party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself. The RINOs, Republican in name only. But the Republican Party is united.
The only division is between a handful of Washington, DC, establishment, political hacks, and everybody else all over the country. I think we have tremendous unity. When you look at the crowds outside that want your seat so badly. They will take your seat in two seconds. They want your seat. Congratulations. Congratulations on getting in, by the way. I’m very proud.
And that’s why I’m announcing that I will be actively working to elect strong, tough and smart Republican leaders. Speaking of that, I heard Jim Jordan did a great job. I heard that from Mark Meadows. I heard it. Oh, there he is. Look at that. Hi Jim. I heard you were great. In fact, I hated to follow you. I want to follow other people. I could name them too. I like to follow other people. I heard you were great. Thank you, Jim, very much. Jim Jordan, great, great athlete. People don’t know he was a great wrestler, tremendous numbers of victories. The NC… He was a champion. He was college champion for a long period of time. He’s a winner and a leader and he doesn’t play games. He likes to win. He likes to win. And we have a lot of people in our party that like to win, Jim. Right? But I heard you were great. Thank you very much.
We want Republican leaders who are loyal to the voters and who will work proudly for the vision that I’ve laid out today. And what is it? So simple. So simple. Military, law and order, great trade deals, great education. So simple. I don’t know. Does anybody get it? What are they doing? Does anybody get it?
It has just been stated that President Trump’s endorsement is the most powerful asset in politics. You believe that? Who would’ve thought that was going to happen? Who would’ve thought that was going to happen, Jim? In last year’s congressional primaries, 120… Listen to this. It’s crazy. 120 of 122 candidates I endorsed won… 120. That’s almost as good as Jim’s wrestling record. And the two that lost were beaten by people claiming to be more Trump than their opponent. So I like those two people very much also.
In the Senate, I was undefeated in endorsements with a record of 21 and 0. My endorsement of Mitch McConnell, at his request… It’s all right. It’s all right. He made a request. He asked for my endorsement. Brought him from one point down to 20 points up and he won his race in the great state and actually the great Commonwealth of Kentucky. And he won it. And he won it very easily. And I said, “I wonder if I’m doing the right thing here?” But you know what? I did… I did what I did. But he went from one point down to 20 points up very quickly, immediately actually. And he won his race. And if you compare that to his other elections, I’m sure you’ll see something interesting. But you know what? We got a Republican elected. And now we have to use Republicans to take care of the election frauds and all of the other things that are happening that shouldn’t be allowed to happen in our country. It’s very simple.
Because of my efforts campaigning, we had huge gains in the House. And I helped keep many senators in their seats and they will admit it. So that it’s now 50/50, instead of Republicans being down anywhere from eight to 10 seats. And they’ll admit it. We’d be down eight to 10 seats if I didn’t campaign. We held rallies for some of the senators that went down and nobody talks about that. Nobody wants to talk. The press doesn’t talk about it. With me at the top of the ticket, not a single Republican member of Congress lost their race. For the first time in decades, we won 26 of 26 toss up races, toss ups.
Think of that, 26 of 26. And those are toss ups. Those are races that could go any way. We were expected to lose 25 seats. And instead we won 15 seats and almost… Oh, why couldn’t we have done a couple of more? Almost cost Crazy Nancy her job. We’ll do that the next time around.
I received almost… Listen to this number. Because the fake news doesn’t ever talk about these numbers. I just heard this one for the first time. I received almost 1.5 million more votes than all of the Republican House candidates combined. So how the hell is it possible that we lost? It’s not possible. I got more votes. I got more. And which it isn’t just me. When I say, “I,” I am talking about we.
We, we got more votes than any incumbent, any incumbent president in the history of our country, almost 75 million votes. And that doesn’t include the votes and ballots they threw out. If you include them, you’ll see numbers that are much different. We did even better in the second election than we did in the first. I won the first. We won the second. We did much better. Sort of strange, right? “How did you do?” “Well we did much better the second time.” “Oh, you did, really?”
What a disgrace, what a disgrace to our country. I got over 11 million, very close to 12 million more votes than we got in 2016. And I was told by John McLaughlin that if… a great poster… That if you get to si- we had 63 in 2016, 63 million. “Sir, if you get to 66 million you have it made.” We got to almost 75 million and what the hell happened? What happened? What happened when they closed all of the counting booths? What happened at three o’clock in the morning? What happened at 3:02 in the morning? What happened?
No President has ever lost an election after carrying Florida, Ohio, and Iowa. And I won them all and I won them by a lot, by a lot. I won 94% of the primary vote. No incumbent President who received more than 75% of the primary vote has ever lost an election. I had a record number. And no President has ever, ever… We’re talking about a much lower number than we got… Has ever lost an election.
Thanks to my coattails… Thank you. We have to have a sense of humor. Thanks to my coattails, democrats failed to flip a single state legislature… Think of it… Or a legislative chamber because Republicans came out to vote for me. Now they say it differently. The press, the fake news spins it differently. They say, “Despite how well they did, Trump didn’t win.” That’s such a lie. And many legislators, many legislators told me, they said, they’re going to lose their race. Wasn’t going to happen.
And then what happened is one in particular told me from a great swing state said, “You know, I thought I was going to lose my position, lose my race. And I went out with my wife the night before the election. And I saw all these Trump signs and the American flags and the spirit on the streets. I said, ‘You know, darling, I think we’re going to win.’”He said, “But you were far, far, far more popular than me.” They do lots of polls. “You were way, way ahead of me, sir. And the next day I was right.” He said he won the election by a lot, “And you lost the election. And sir, it’s not possible that you lost because you’ve got a lower number than I did. And you were so far ahead of me. You are the person that brought everybody out to vote.” And I happen to agree with that 1,000%. Never forget that conversation. He couldn’t believe it. And I’ve it from more than one.
And in November, 18 of 19 Bellwether County’s… You heard about the Bellwether County’s… 18 of 19 Bellwether County’s that have correctly predicted every Presidential election for decades, many decades, voted for Trump, not for Biden. And it was a shocker to those people that go for the stats. It was a shocker. They voted for Trump. 18 of 19 voted for Trump. There’s never been anything like that. And yet, did Biden win? No.
If you want to help us take back the future of our country, go to donaldjtrump.com. I don’t do this. I’ve never done this. But it’s time that we have to put forces together because these people with their big tech and the fake news media right back there. Okay. And when you talk about election, they turn off. When you talk about… They probably have them going, because they also care about ratings. But when they talk about election, they turn off the cameras. You know why? It’s a very sore subject. Okay? They don’t like that subject.
There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts, to elect America first Republican conservatives. And in turn, to make America great again. And that’s through Save America PAC and donaldjtrump.com. So go out there and do whatever you can because we’re going to help a lot of great people.
We know the right people to help. We need your help to win and to fight big tech and the radical left and the DC establishment. We need to save your Second Amendment, which is under siege. We need to help protect funding for our military and for our great vets. And that’s what we’re doing. As we discussed earlier, we’re in a struggle for the survival of America as we know it. This is a struggle. This is a terrible, terrible, painful struggle.
The path ahead will not be easy, but we will win. We are going to win. Ultimately we always win. And when we do, history will show that this was the moment when we could have given up, when we could have despaired, but instead we chose to keep on pushing forward. The greater the challenge and tougher the task, the more determined we must be to pull through to triumph. We have to have triumph. We have to have victory.
With the talent and dedication of everyone here today… And you have tremendous, not only dedication, tremendous talent in this room. I know many of you. That is exactly what we will do. We will go on to victory. We will summon the spirit of generations of American patriots before us, like those heroes who crossed the Delaware, conquered the Rockies, stormed the beaches, won the battles and tamed the unknown frontiers. We will persist and we will prevail. We’re tougher than they are. We’re stronger than they are. Together, in the coming years, we will carry forward the torch of American liberty.
We will lead the conservative movement and the Republican Party back to a totally conclusive victory. And we’ve had tremendous victories. Don’t ever forget it. With your help, we will take back the House. We will win the Senate. And then a Republican President will make a triumphant return to the White House. And I wonder who that will be? I wonder who that will be. Who, who will that be? I wonder.
Standing before you today, I am supremely confident that for our movement, for our party and for our country, our brightest days are just ahead. And that together we will make America prouder, freer, stronger and greater than it ever has been before.
Thank you, CPAC. God bless you and God bless America.
Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you.
Former President Donald Trump teased a possible 2024 run and bashed the Biden administration at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday as he delivered his first public speech since leaving the White House less than six weeks ago.
Trump was greeted with a standing ovation as he took the stage in Orlando to declare that “our movement … is just getting started.”
“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” Trump told the enthusiastic crowd.
“Our movement of proud hardworking American patriots is just getting started,” he said. “And in the end we will win!”
While making clear that he intends to remain a force in the Republican party, Trump hinted at a possible 2024 run for president.
Referring to Democrats, he said: “I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” drawing deafening cheers from attendees.
Trump also said he would be working to get “strong, tough” Republicans elected and slammed rumors that he planned on starting a new political party as “fake news.”
“We have the Republican Party,” Trump said. “It is going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”
“We’re not starting new parties. You know, they kept saying, ‘he’s going to start a brand new party.’ We have the Republican Party, it is going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news. Fake news. No. Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote, so that you can never win. No we’re not interested in that.”
Trump later repeated his claims that the 2020 election was “rigged,” drawing chants of “You won!” from the crowd.
He claimed that the US Supreme Court “didn’t have the courage to act” on lawsuits challenging the results, adding: “They should be ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done to our country. They didn’t have the guts or the courage to make the right decision.”
He also took shots at his successor, claiming that President Biden has had the “most disastrous first month than any president in modern history.”
“We all knew the Biden administration was going to be bad, but no one knew how bad they would be,” Trump said.
“There’s no better example than the new and horrible crisis on our southern border,” he continued. “In just one short month, we have gone from America first to America last.”
Trump argued that Biden’s immigration policy would cost Democrats the next two federal elections.
“We’re one country. We can’t afford the problems of the world,” he said. “As much as we’d love to — we’d love to help. We can’t do that. So they’re all coming because of promises and foolish words.”
The ex-president also called for reopening the nation’s schools amid the pandemic, charging that Biden had “sold out America’s students to the teachers unions.”
“Joe Biden has shamefully betrayed America’s youth, and he is cruelly keeping our children locked in their homes, no reason for it whatsoever, they want to get out,” Trump said.
“They are cheating the next generation of Americans out of the future that they deserve and they do deserve this future,” he continued. “They’re going to grow up, and they’re going to have a scar… the mental and physical health of these young people is reaching a breaking point.”
“On behalf of the moms, dads and children of America, I call on Joe Biden to get the schools open and get them open now,” Trump said, to applause.
He also touted his administration’s work in getting a coronavirus vaccine ready, saying: “Never let them take the credit, they’re just following our plan.”
Trump bashed the Biden administration over claims that it was “starting from scratch” to develop a national vaccine distribution plan because the former president had left them with nothing.
“Biden said we didn’t have the vaccine. Now, I really think he said that because he didn’t know what the hell was going on,” Trump quipped.
He also slammed “big tech,” calling on the break up of monopolies and for “fair competition” to be restored.
“Big Tech giants like Twitter, Google and Facebook should be punished with major sanctions whenever they silence conservative voices,” Trump said.
Trump returned to the national spotlight to cap the four-day annual conference in Orlando as Republicans hope to regain majorities in the House and Senate in the midterm elections 2022 and win the White House in 2024.
He used his speech to unify Republicans, while slamming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats, saying that “Their party is based upon unvarnished disdain for America.”
“Our party is based on love for American and the belief that this is an exceptional nation blessed by God.”
“We respect our great American flag!” Trump said, drawing a prolonged chant of “We love you” from the audience.
The ex-president said it was “an honor” to get the crowd’s adoration, before continuing to describe the GOP as “committed to defending innocent life and uploading the Judeo-Christian values” of America’s founders.
“We embrace free thought.. and we reject left-wing lunacy and in particular, we reject ‘cancel culture,’” he said. “We believe in law and order… we don’t ‘defund the police.’”
He also noted the rise of the term “Trumpism,” saying, “I didn’t come up with it but what it means is great deals,” as well as low taxes, strong borders, Second Amendment protections and “support for the forgotten men and women who have been taken advantage of for so many years.”
At the same time, the former president went after anti-Trump Republicans, calling out the “grandstanding” lawmakers by name, including many who voted to impeach him in the House and Senate.
“Top establishment Republicans in Washington should be spending their energy in opposing Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and the Democrats,” Trump said. “I’ve said to some of them I said, ‘You know, during the Obama years and now during Biden, if you spent the same energy on attacking them, you’d actually be successful as you do on attacking me in many cases.’”
Trump dubbed GOP lawmakers who oppose him “RINOs” or “Republicans in Name Only” as the crowd booed them in turn.
“Get rid of them all,” Trump said.
He pointed out his endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, eliciting more loud boos from the crowd.
“Democrats always stick together, you don’t have Mitt Romneys in the group. Fortunately for the Republicans, the Democrats have terrible policies,” Trump said. “So hence we have, congratulations, the Republican party.”
“But if Republicans don’t stick together, the RINOs that we’re surrounded with will destroy the Republican party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself.”
“Now more than ever is the time for tough, strong and energetic Republican leaders who have spines of steel. We need strong leadership,” Trump said.
Leading up to Trump’s eagerly-awaited remarks, a parade of possible Republican presidential hopefuls — including Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz — served as opening acts over the weekend to fire up the CPAC crowd for the one-time commander-in-chief.
Since leaving office on Jan. 20, Trump has been at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, meeting with former campaign officials and Republican lawmakers as he lays the groundwork for a political comeback for himself and the GOP.
Trump ended his speech at CPAC by saying: “We will first take back the House and then a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House. I wonder who that will be?”
God Has Made No Promise of Late Repentance
Acts 3:19; 17:30; Hebrews 12:17
God, who has made a promise to late repentance, has made no promise of late repentance; and though true repentance is never too late, yet late repentance is seldom true.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Atrocious to Destroy a Fetus in the Womb
Exodus 21:22; Jeremiah 1:5
The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
12:2 Do not be conformed … be transformed by the renewal of your mind. The Christian’s mind-set is to be determined and reshaped by knowledge of the gospel, by the power of the Spirit, and by the concerns of the age to come (8:5–9; 13:11–14), rather than by the passing fashion of this age (2 Cor. 4:18; 1 John 2:17). Only by such sanctifying renewal is the Christian made sufficiently sensitive to “discern” the behavior that is God’s will in each situation.
12:2 this age Refers to the present evil age (see note on Gal 1:4), the time prior to Christ’s return.
renewal of your mind Refers to mental conformity to the truth of God. This renewal results in a transformation in the life of the believer.
perfect will of God Describes the purpose of renewal and transformation. Israel had failed to recognize God’s will and purposes—that He was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ (2 Cor 5:19). Paul provides this instruction so that the Roman believers will not do the same.
12:2 The present evil age still threatens those who belong to Christ, so they must resist its pressure. Their lives are changed as their minds are made new (contrast 1:28), so that they are able to “discern” God’s will. By testing you may discern translates Greek dokimazō, which often has the sense of finding out the worth of something by putting it to use or testing it in actual practice (cf. Luke 14:19; 1 Cor. 3:13; 2 Cor. 8:22; 1 Tim. 3:10).
12:2 do not be conformed. “Conformed” refers to assuming an outward expression that does not reflect what is really inside, a kind of masquerade or act. The word’s form implies that Paul’s readers were already allowing this to happen and must stop. this world. Better translated, “age,” which refers to the system of beliefs, values—or the spirit of the age—at any time current in the world. This sum of contemporary thinking and values forms the moral atmosphere of our world and is always dominated by Satan (cf. 2Co 4:4). transformed. The Gr. word, from which the Eng. word “metamorphosis” comes, connotes a change in outward appearance. Matthew uses the same word to describe the Transfiguration (Mt 17:2). Just as Christ briefly and in a limited way displayed outwardly His inner, divine nature and glory at the Transfiguration, Christians should outwardly manifest their inner, redeemed natures, not once, however, but daily (cf. 2Co 3:18; Eph 5:18). renewing of your mind. That kind of transformation can occur only as the Holy Spirit changes our thinking through consistent study and meditation of Scripture (Ps 119:11; cf. Col 1:28; 3:10, 16; Php 4:8). The renewed mind is one saturated with and controlled by the Word of God. good … acceptable … perfect. Holy living of which God approves. These words borrow from OT sacrificial language and describe a life that is morally and spiritually spotless, just as the sacrificial animals were to be (cf. Lv 22:19–25).
12:2 — And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
God does not want us to try hard to sin less, but to depend upon His Spirit to be transformed into people who love to please God through willing obedience. That transformation begins with the mind.
12:2 Conformed means “to form” or “mold.” World is the normal word for “age” or “era.” Instead of being molded by the values of this world, the believer should be transformed, that is, changed by the renewing of the mind. Spiritual transformation starts in the mind and heart. A mind dedicated to the world and its concerns will produce a life tossed back and forth by the currents of culture. But a mind dedicated to God’s truth will produce a life that can stand the test of time. We can resist the temptations of our culture by meditating on God’s truth and letting the Holy Spirit guide and shape our thoughts and behaviors.
V 2, while grammatically parallel to v 1, really explains in more detail how this giving of ourselves as sacrifices is to be carried out. What is required is nothing less than a total transformation in world-view. No longer are we to look at life in terms of this world, the realm of sin and death from which we have been transferred by God’s power (see 5:12–21), but in terms of the new realm to which we belong, the realm ruled by righteousness, life and the Spirit. Living in the world, we are nevertheless no longer ‘of the world’ (Jn. 17:15–16). The essence of successful Christian living is the renewing of our minds so that we might be able to approve what God’s will is—that is, to recognize and put into practice God’s will for every situation we face. God has not given to Christians a set of detailed commandments to guide us. He has given us his Spirit, who is working to change our hearts and minds from within, so that our obedience to God might be natural and spontaneous (see 7:6; 8:5–9; Je. 31:31–34; 2 Cor. 3:6–7; Eph. 4:22–24).
12:2a. The person who has truly sacrificed himself or herself to God will be distinguished by one overriding characteristic that informs the rest of life. That characteristic is the unwillingness to be conformed to the pattern of this world. Or, as J. B. Phillips put it in his widely-known translation of this verse, “Don’t let the world … squeeze you into its mold.” Paul gives the offensive key to this defensive posture—but first a closer look at that which the believer is committed to avoiding.
The NIV rendering of aion by world is not quite as telling as its primary translation, “age.” The NIV’s pattern is not in the Greek text. It is an expansion of the verb suschematizo, to conform to. Literally, the verse says: “Do not be conformed to this age.” “Age” carries with it a sense of the beliefs, the philosophies, the methodologies, and the strategies of the fallen world in which we live. It is not just the world and its people in their fallen state. It is the worldviews and practices that derive from the fallen state that define the age in which humans live at any time in history.
Paul elsewhere calls this age “evil” (Gal. 1:4), and says that “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” to the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). This age has wise men, scholars, and philosophers who believe that their answers to life are to be preferred over God’s (1 Cor. 1:20), but whose wisdom will lead them to nothing (1 Cor. 2:6). Paul warns believers against being deceived into measuring true wisdom by “the standards of this age,” and suggests instead that believers become “fools” with regard to this age so that they might become truly wise (1 Cor. 3:18). This age (world) is a dangerous place: “We know … that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
If we do not allow ourselves to be conformed (present passive imperative of suschematizo), then we will not be one with (sun) the schemes (schema) of the age in which we live. While the same word for schemes is not used in the Greek text (schema), the same sense is implied by Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 2:11 and Ephesians 6:11 where he makes reference to Satan’s schemes and strategies against believers. If Satan is the god of this world (and he is), and if the whole world lies in his power (and it does), then the believer must resist the pressure to conform morally, intellectually, and emotionally—and ultimately behaviorally—to Satan’s schemes for life. We are not to act like the “wise” of this age—those who follow their own satanically-inspired will and practices rather than God’s.
And what offensive measure keeps the believer from being conformed to this present evil age? The consistent and deliberate renewing of the mind. To make new (Paul here uses the noun, renewal, anakainosis, instead of the verb anakainoo, to make new) is a combination of “new” (kainos) and “again” (ana). Paul uses the verb form in 2 Corinthians 4:16 where he says “we are being renewed day by day,” and in Colossians 3:10 where he says that the new self “is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Both of these uses of the verb shed light on his use of the noun here, especially the Colossians reference where he highlights a renewal of knowledge “in” (kata, according to) the image of God. In other words, believers are coming out of Satan’s domain where lies and depravity are the language and currency and depraved minds (Rom. 1:28) are the norm. Therefore, our minds must be renewed in knowledge according to the image of God, not the age in which Satan rules.
The ongoing, repetitive nature of the renewal is drawn from the present passive imperative of metamorphoo, to change form. It is from this Greek word that our “metamorphosis” derives—“a transformation; a marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function” (American Heritage Dictionary). The English definition describes perfectly the “metamorphosis” which took place before the disciples’ eyes as Jesus was transfigured (metamorphoo) before them: “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Matt. 17:2), “whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them” (Mark 9:3).
These dramatic images are a picture of how different the believer is to become as, day after day, he or she is being transformed by the renewing of the mind. Instead of being conformed to the present evil age, believers are to be transformed into the image of God insofar as knowledge and behavior are concerned. Paul has already stated that it is God’s ultimate goal for believers “to be conformed to the likeness of [God’s] Son” (Rom. 8:29). But in this verse, the “conformation” is of a different sort than the “conformation” to the world that we are warned against in our present verse. We are warned against being shaped into (suschematizo) the patterns and schemes of the world, system in which we live.
On the other hand, Paul says that we are being “made like” Christ. Here the word conformed is summorphos, made up of sum (with) and morphe (shape or form). The former word for conformed has to do with exterior structures and designs, things which are changeable, not permanent. The latter word, suggesting how we are being conformed to Christ, has to do with being made like something else in essence or in form, something that is durable and not just an exterior structure. W. E. Vine clarifies, saying “Suschematizo could not be used of inward transformation” (Vine, p. 122).
12:2b. But how exactly is the renewing to take place? What is to “fuel” the metamorphosis that takes place in the believer’s life? Transformation (“conformation” to the image of Christ) happens when the renewed mind begins to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. It is the will of God—his standards, his desires, his motives, his values, his practices—which gradually pull the monarch butterfly of the believer out of the world’s cocoon into which he or she has been squeezed. It is a knowledge and practice of the will of God that leads to spiritual growth and maturity in the Christian’s life.
Ultimately, the will of God is all that matters, as Martin Luther King, Jr., so eloquently said, “Like anybody else, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will” (Ward, p. 282).
Test and approve in the NIV is actually one word, dokimazo, which means to test and (by implication or extension) to approve. Both words can be subsumed under the idea of “prove,” as rendered by the NASB—“that you may prove what the will of God is.” The idea here is that the renewed mind can discover and put into action—thereby proving or demonstrating—the will of God. His will is good, pleasing and perfect, and in doing his will, the believer demonstrates sacrificial living.
That is, when a person chooses to sacrifice the preferences of the flesh (the normal human disposition), and chooses to do the will of God instead, the life of sacrifice is seen. It is as the seventh-century Spanish archbishop and scholar Isidore of Seville said: “The whole science of the saints consists in finding out and following the will of God” (Ward, p. 45). And is one whose safety was threatened on many occasions said, “The centre of God’s will is our only safety” (Betsie ten Boom, sister of Corrie ten Boom, in Ward, p. 239).
This concludes Paul’s introductory exhortation following eleven chapters of doctrinal foundation. It would not be off the mark to say that all of Romans 1–11 could be summarized under the rubric of “the mercy of God.” Starting with the initial chapters when the utter sinfulness of humans is revealed, it quickly becomes obvious that mercy is all that can save the human race. By the time we get to the end of chapter 11, Paul declares that God’s grand purpose is to have mercy on all (the elect) without exception. Therefore, when Paul says in Romans 12:1, “in view of God’s mercy,” he is saying, “in view of Romans 1–11”; “in view of your sin, God’s salvation, your sanctification, and God’s sovereignty, it really is a spiritually reasonable thing for you to sacrifice yourself for him.” That is Paul’s conclusion to Romans 1–11 and his introduction to Romans 12–16.
If the first eleven chapters of Romans demonstrate God’s mercy, the next four chapters are how believers respond to God’s mercy by demonstrating sacrificial living. In the rest of chapter 12, sacrifice is expressed and evidenced in the body of Christ and in personal relationships. In chapter 13, sacrifice is seen as believers submit to civil authorities and to the dual commands to love God and neighbor. And finally, in chapters 14 and 15, sacrifice is seen as believers give up their personal preferences in the church so as not to cause a weaker Christian to stumble and sin.
To return to the point made in the introduction to this chapter, the contents of the next four chapters contain much practical advice for Christian living. But to disconnect these chapters from Romans 1–11 is to disconnect them from their power source, for the motivation to sacrifice in the Christian life is the mercy of God.
12:2 “do not be conformed” This is a PRESENT PASSIVE IMPERATIVE (or PERFECT MIDDLE) with the NEGATIVE PARTICLE which usually means to stop an act already in process. There is a contrast to v. 2 similar to the one in Phil. 2:6–8, between the outward changing form (schema, 2:8) and the inner unchanging essence (morphe, 2:6–7). Believers are exhorted not to continue to be like the changing, fallen world system (the old age of rebellion) of which they are still physically a part, but to be radically changed into Christlikeness (the new age of the Spirit).
© “to this world” This is literally the term “age.” The Jews saw two ages (cf. Matt. 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 20:34–35), the current evil age (cf. Gal. 1:4; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2) and the age to come (cf. Matt. 28:20; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 2:15–17). Believers live in the tension-filled time in which these ages have surprisingly been overlapped. Because of the two comings of Christ, believers live in the “already and not yet” tension of the Kingdom of God as both present and yet future.
Ver. 2. And be not conformed to this world.
Conformation and transformation:—1. “World” has various meanings. (1) Time. (2) An age—the Messianio, e.g., as contrasted with the Jewish, or the past as opposed to the present or coming age. (3) A state, as the present in distinction from the future in antagonism with the good. (4) “Worldliness,” a spirit or principle of evil pervading the world. It is this to which we must not be conformed. 2. It is well to define the term in order to avoid two extremes. (1) That which regards the world as a mere abstraction, something incidental to those early Christian ages, but of which nobody is in danger now. (2) That exaggeration which confounds it with almost every transaction of our lives. 3. We must be vigilant against this spirit precisely where it is the most subtle and concealed, e.g., (1) We may say that delight in the visible world is legitimate. “Surely this is not the world against which the apostle warns us.” No; but suppose that nature becomes to us all in all, and cheats us into the belief that there is nothing higher than that which serves our senses. (2) We say indisputably that we ought to love our fellow-men; but what if with this there blends an influence that moves us to defer to their customs, and live merely upon the level of their ideals! (3) Even our religion may be worldly in its spirit. The objects of our faith in another state of existence may be sensuous, and the grounds of our obedience to God mercenary. 4. “The world,” then, is a spirit, that is everywhere around us and within, and the injunction is most needed precisely where this spirit is most likely to be confounded with something that is good and true. Proceeding upon this assumption, let us examine the forms and achievements of our modern civilisation.
Conformed and transformed:—I. The man who is in conformity with this world is not the man who understands it best, or who admires its beauties most; nor can he adapt himself best to all its circumstances. He is too much a slave of the things he sees to look into the meaning of them; too much shut up in the habits of the society into which he is thrown, to have any power of entering into what lies beyond. The word “conformed” implies that he takes his form from the things about him, that they are the mould into which his mind is cast. Now this St. Paul will not for an instant admit to be the form which any man is created to bear. Man is created in the image of God; and the form of his mind is to be derived from Him and not from the things which are put in subjection under Him. The heathen was resisting the conscience which told him that he was God’s offspring, and the very things he saw which testified to the invisible power of God in worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator. But we who have been redeemed out of this worship are striving far more directly and consciously against this spirit; we are choosing a false way when we admit the world to govern and fashion our minds according to its pleasure, when we submit to receive its image and superscription. That image and superscription will vary in each new age, in each new locality; it is the very nature of the world to be continually changing. That is the reason why it is so ignominious a thing for a man to be conformed to it; he must become merely a creature of to-day; he must be fluctuating, capricious, insincere—a leaf carried about by every gale, floating down every current. How is it possible that such a one can know anything of the will of God, which is fixed and eternal? What signifies it that you give to such a one the Bible and persuade him it is a Divine book? You may persuade him of that as easily as of anything else; if it is the current opinion of course he receives it until the fashion alters, and then he will scoff at it. But while he embraces it what does he gather from it? Just what his worldly spirit wishes to gather and no more.
III. The process of this transformation is the renewing of the mind. Such a phrase at once suggests the change which takes place when the foliage of spring covers the bare boughs of winter. The substance is not altered, but it is quickened. The alteration is the most wonderful that can be conceived of, but it all passes within. The power once given works secretly, probably amidst many obstructions from sharp winds and keen frosts. Still that beginning contains in it the sure prophecy of final accomplishment. The man will be renewed according to the image of his Creator and Father, because the Spirit of his Creator and Father is working in him. (F. D. Maurice, M.A.)
Conformed and transformed:—If we pour into a mould a quantity of heated metal, that metal as it becomes cool takes the shape of that mould. If we soften a lump of wax, and then press a signet upon it, on its surface is left the impression of the seal. Just so our nature, susceptible at present of being moulded to one character or another, is now undergoing this process. According to the tastes we cultivate, the acts we do, the society we keep, the subjects that engross our interest, we are becoming conformed to the world or to Christ; we are being made into “vessels unto dishonour,” or into “vessels meet for the Master’s use.” The process may be very gradual; but it is not on that account the less fatal and the less sure. Like that insidious disease consumption, the first beginnings of it are hardly perceptible; but though it only destroys life as it were by inches, the raging fever is not in the end more deadly. How many are there who, because they are not raging in the fever-fits of open sin, never dream that they are dying of worldly conformity, and who consider, though the Bible and their consciences sometimes speak to the contrary, that there can be no great harm in living to the world a little, provided that they keep within bounds! But the Word of God says plainly, “Be not conformed to this world.” And if we would fall in with this requirement we must strive to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” We all know what a complete change is signified by the word “metamorphosis,” which is the one here used. In describing this process we must go back one step further in the metaphors than in the case to which we before alluded. We must suppose the metal to have been cast into some faulty shape first, and then to have been melted down and re-cast. Just so our hearts, our wills, our tastes, in short our whole “mind” must be first of all softened by God’s Spirit; then we must be transformed into a “vessel made to honour,” and finally “sealed unto the day of redemption.” In vain shall we seek to transform ourselves; we may give up this or that worldly pleasure or worldly pursuit; but unless we really, earnestly, perseveringly seek by prayer the power of God’s Spirit we never shall be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (W. H. Etchers, M.A.)
Conformity to the world:—
III. The consequences of this conformity. 1. The destruction of all spirituality. It is impossible to live near to God and yet to be conformed to the world. The Spirit is grieved and quenched. 2. The obliteration of the distinction between the Church and the world, and the consequent enervation of the former. What becomes of Christian profession when Christians are as sordid, gay, and unscrupulous as other men? 3. Identity of doom. They who choose the world will perish with it.
Conformity to the world:—
Conformity to the world:—
Conformity to the world:—
III. Why it should be avoided. Because this is—1. Good in itself. 2. Acceptable to God. 3. Beneficial to man. (J. Lyth, D.D.)
Conformity to the world: its folly:—A member of his congregation was in the habit of going to the theatre. Mr. Hill went to him and said, “This will never do—a member of my Church in the habit of going to the theatre!” Mr. So-and-so replied that it surely must be a mistake, as he was not in the habit of going there, although it was true he did go now and then for a treat. “Oh!” said Rowland Hill, “then you are a worse hypocrite than ever, sir. Suppose any one spread the report that I ate carrion, and I answered, ‘Well, there is no wrong in that; I don’t eat carrion every day in the week, but I have a dish now and then for a treat!’ Why, you would say, ‘What a nasty, foul, and filthy appetite Rowland Hill has, to have to go to carrion for a treat!’ Religion is the Christian’s truest treat, Christ is his enjoyment.”
Nonconformity to the world:—1. There is no command in Scripture about which there is more debate than this. Are we required to separate ourselves from all who are not Christians, and avoid all employments except those of devotion? This is manifestly impossible. Are we then to abstain from those practices which are common among irreligious persons? Then the question arises, What practices? Where shall we draw the line? Many draw for themselves a line within which they keep; but unfortunately each person draws it differently. To some, this world means profligacy and sin; to others, great luxury; to others, certain fashionable amusements, or dress; to others, the use of secular music, or the reading of light literature. Each believes himself in the right, and blames his neighbours for going beyond or not coming up to the line he has drawn for himself. Each is alternately accuser and accused; while the ungodly consequently declare that it is quite impossible to say what is and what is not worldly. 2. Now all this arises from overlooking the fact that the precepts of the gospel are addressed to our new and inner nature; that they supply principles and motives on which we are to act always, not laws applying to any particular act or set of acts. “Be not conformed to the world” is defined by “Be ye transformed,” &c. It is clear, then, that that conformity is forbidden which interferes with our being transformed. Now that into which we are transformed is the image of God (2 Cor. 3:18). 3. Now, the rule of the renewed man is simple, always applicable—“The one thing I am to seek is conformity to God’s image, and in order to that, constant communion with God; whatever, then, I find to interfere with this, however good it may seem, is the world to me.” Now the application of this rule is matter of personal experience, and it is impossible to draw a line; for what is the world to one person is not the world to another; and the question is not so much where you are as what you are. To lay down a rule for all lives is as difficult as to prescribe a diet for all constitutions. If you ask us whether certain food will agree with you, we answer—That depends upon your constitution; we can only give you the broad rule—eat nothing that you find to disagree with you. So we lay down the broad rule—whatever disagrees with your soul’s health you must avoid. 4. This is a rule which we would plead with worldly people. Christians are often perplexed when asked—Why do you not join in this or that amusement? (1) If they answer—Because they are sinful, they say what they cannot prove. Sin is the transgression of a law, and they can cite no law which expressly forbids such things. And then if we call them sins, we may induce others to consider sins as not much worse than amusements. (2) If they say, we object to these things because they are worldly, then they will be asked, What is the essential difference between the amusement in question, and some other which they hold lawful? (3) Now if in all such cases the Christian would be content to say—I refrain because I find I cannot enjoy it and afterwards have communion with God, he would give an answer which, if not understood, could certainly not be gainsaid. To ask for a law when this reason is given would be as unmeaning as to ask for a law of the land forbidding all imprudence in our diet, or exposure to the weather, or to the risk of infection. We cannot prove these acts to be crimes, but they are dangerous, and all come under the general principle which makes it wrong for a man to injure himself. 5. In this way we should deal with all cavillers on this subject. Worldly men set down the objections of ministers to prejudice or envy. “Of course, clergymen abuse theatres, &c., but where is the harm? Where are they forbidden in Scripture?” We answer this question by another: “What is the state of your soul? Are you the possessor of a spiritual life? If not, then you cannot possibly understand our objection; for we object to these things as injurious to that which you tell us you have not got, namely—life in the soul. To understand a spiritual precept you must be spiritual yourself. 6. But there are those in whom this spiritual life is as the tender blade, or as the just kindling fire, who ask, anxiously, What is the danger? To show this, we will take—(1) The theatre. If we are asked, Is there any sin in a theatrical representation? We answer—There is no more sin in a person presenting to your eyes a certain character than there is in writing a description or painting a picture of it. But what we have to consider is, not the abstract idea of a theatre, but what it practically is. Now not to enlarge upon the evils connected with the stage, to which you give your countenance and aid by attendance and payment for admission: we will admit that these are not essential to the stage, though somehow they are always found connected with it. We are willing to allow all that can be said for it, and will not ask whether, in the course of the play, vice is not often made attractive, and whether the recollection of the pleasure of sin does not outlast the impressions made by the moral at the end, when the vicious characters meet with that punishment which we so rarely see them visited with in real life. We will suppose every play to have its moral, and the audience to be duly impressed with it. Yet we must ask, What character would you be conformed to if you followed out the lessons there taught? Would it be to the image of God? Is the good man of the stage the good man of Scripture? Who would venture to produce upon the stage one in whom was the mind of Christ? Would such a character crowd houses? Men would throng to the playhouse to hear sentiments which they do not care to study in their Bibles, or to witness a display of qualities which, in real life, they hold in contempt. Our objection to the stage, then, is this: it sets up a false and worldly standard of morality; and he who desires to be transformed to the image of God will find here another image set before him. (2) The card table. Is there any sin in moving about pieces of painted pasteboard? Certainly not. And yet it becomes a cause of sin; because, however small the stake, it excites, in however slight a degree, that desire of gain which is of this world. In proof of this note the greater zest with which men enjoy the game when some small stake is played for, “just to give an interest to the game.” And by indulging in this we hinder that renewing of our mind which we should cultivate so carefully. (3) The ball-room. Is there any harm in the act of dancing? No more than in any marching to the sound of music. But is there not temptation there for the indulgence of vanity, frivolity, envy, and evil speaking? We ask whether one renewed in the image of God would find himself a welcome guest there?—whether his spiritual life would be strengthened, and his conformity to Christ increased, by constant attendance?—and whether the guest as he returns is in that frame of mind which best fits him for communion with God? In short, in all these matters we ask you simply to use your own judgment. Try honestly the effect of these amusements upon your own spiritual life; and if you be really renewed in the spirit of your mind, you will find that their atmosphere is injurious to the new life, which you desire to cherish. 7. But we must not forget that the principle may be applied in an opposite direction. There are others who need to be told that what is forbidden is worldliness of heart; viz., those who are sure they do not conform to the world, because they never enter a theatre, &c. Their idea of unworldliness is the abstaining from these things, and a few others, e.g., display in entertainments and equipage. Add to this, becoming members of religious associations, frequenting religious society, and attending a gospel ministry, and their definition of unworldliness is complete. Now it is possible to do all this, and more, and yet still be conformed to the world. Worldliness can no more be excluded by a fence of conventional rules and habits than a fog or a miasma by a high wall: it is in the atmosphere. They avoid the theatre, and eschew fiction: to what purpose, if they are daily acting out the characters they will not see represented, or read depicted? They will not gamble. Are they the better for this, if they indulge the covetous spirit elsewhere? They will not frequent the ball-room. Are they any gainers, if they indulge the same spirit of display, &c., in a quiet party, or in a religious meeting? They will not wear fashionable dresses; to what purpose, if they are secretly as proud of their plain dress? Conclusion: To attack at once the worldliness of the religious and the irreligion of the world, is to risk the displeasure of both. But the world and the fashions of it are passing fast away; a few short years, and we shall all be where the applause or censure of men shall be alike indifferent to us—upon our dying beds. Then the question to be decided shall be, not how far may I go in my enjoyment of the world, or where must I fix a limit to my pleasures, for the world can be enjoyed no longer, and death is fixing the last limits to its pleasures, and there remains but one act more of conformity to the world—that last act in which all flesh conforms itself to the law of dissolution; but this shall be the great question:—Am I fitted for that world which I am about to enter? Am I, or am I not, “transformed in the renewing of my mind”? Ask yourselves this question now, as you must ask it then. (Abp. Magee.) Nonconformity to the world may be seen—
Nonconformity to the world:—
III. Why should we not be conformed? 1. We are separated from the world to God (1 Pet. 2:9–12). 2. We have put on Christ. 3. All that is in the world is not of the Father (1 John 2:16), and is contrary to the love of Him (1 John 2:15). 4. The fashion of this world passeth away (1 Cor. 7:31). Conclusion: Conform not to this world. 1. You have higher things to mind (Col. 3:1–3; Phil. 3:20). 2. This world cannot satisfy you (Eccles. 1:8). 3. You must give an account of what you do here. (Bp. Beveridge.)
Nonconformity to the world:—
III. How it may be prevented. By—1. The renovation of your natures. 2. The exercise of daily prayer. 3. Guarding against temptation. 4. A constant dependence upon God. (Biblical Museum.)
Nonconformity to the world:—There will arise in the Christian’s course, from time to time, occasions on which he will be in doubt as to some points of his duty in relation to social intercourse and amusements. Well, in such cases he turns to his chart—on that chart (his Bible) though he find not every rock and shoal and quicksand, marked down by name—he finds it laid down plainly and decisively that the whole coast is dangerous, i.e., he finds a general principle, “Be not conformed to this world”—“The friendship of the world is enmity with God.” By whom is the amusement patronised? Are they those who are the votaries of other and less dubious pleasures? Are they those who wear the world’s badge and have its mark stamped on their foreheads? Then let the Christian pause—let him fear to find himself surrounded by crowds of worldlings, drinking with them of the same cup. It must be at best but a suspicious cup that meets tastes which should be opposite—it must be at best a suspicious path in which, even for a moment, the Christian walks hand in hand with the man of this world. Be quite sure the world would not be drinking of that cup, if it were not in some way spiced to their taste. Alas! it is far, far more likely that the Christian should have stepped out of his narrow path, than that the worldling should have forsaken his, to walk, even for a moment, with the Christian. And remember that in such cases there is great need that you watch against self-deception. The remark of Jeremy Taylor is but too true: “Most men choose the sin, if it be once disputed whether it be a sin or no.” Although grace teaches and inclines you to distaste the world, yet corruption remains, and to that corruption sin and the world are but too palatable. See to it, then, that while you are professing to inquire into the lawfulness or unlawfulness of such an action, your mind is not biased beforehand, and you have not a secret desire to find the Word of God on your side—a secret determination to make it out, if possible to be so. Beware, too, of that religion which is anxious to take up its lodging next door to the world. If you are determined to go as far as you can you are not safe—you will very soon be on the other side of the line. And if, after all, a given case seemed doubtful, remember, religion, not the world, is to have the benefit of the doubt. It is better to abstain from mistaken scrupulosity from a hundred lawful things than to run the risk of one unlawful act of conformity to the world, or of throwing one stumbling-block in the way of another. (Canon Miller.)
Nonconformity to the world:—There are two words for world, αἰών and κόσμος. The former regards time, the latter space. Once they are combined (Eph. 2:2), “in accordance with the time-state of this matter-world.” … The direction, therefore, is, “Be not like the men of this world, whose all is the present. Wear not the garb of time: live for eternity.” (Dean Vaughan.)
Nonconformity to the world—inward:—As the mother of pearl fish lives in the sea without receiving a drop of salt water, and as towards the Chelidonian Islands springs of fresh water may be found in the midst of the sea, and as the fire-fly passes through the flames without burning its wings, so a vigorous and resolute soul may live in the world without being infected with any of its humours, may discover sweet springs of piety amidst its salt waters, and fly among the flames of earthly concupiscence without burning the wings of the holy desires of a devout life. (Francis de Sales.)
Nonconformity to the world—outward:—The bird of paradise, which has such a dower of exquisitely beautiful feathers, cannot fly with the wind; if it attempts to do so, the current being much swifter than its flight, so ruffles its plumage as to impede its progress, and finally to terminate it: it is, therefore, compelled to fly against the wind, which keeps its feathers in their place, and thus it gains the place where it would be. So the Christian must not attempt to go with the current of a sinful world: if he does, it will not only hinder, but end his religious progress; but he must go against it, and then every effort of his soul will be upward, heavenward, Godward. (M. Davies, D.D.) The world is fallen human nature acting itself out in the human family; moulding and fashioning the framework of human society in accordance with its own tendencies. It is fallen human nature making the ongoings of human thought, feeling, and action its own. It is the reign or kingdom of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God. Wherever that mind prevails, there is the world. (R. S. Candlish, D.D.)
The world an atmosphere:—It is like the dense atmosphere which on a November day hangs over your vast metropolis, the product of its countless homes and the proof of its vast industrial efforts; and yet the veil which shuts out from it the light of heaven, destroys the colour on its works of art—the dark unwholesome vapour which clogs vitality and undermines health, and from which a Londoner escapes at intervals with a light heart, that he may see the sun, and the trees, and the face of nature as God made them, and feel for a few months what it is to live. Even thus the world hangs like a deadly atmosphere over every single human soul, brooding over it, flapping its wings like the monstrous evil bird in the fable, or penetrating and entering into it like a subtle poison, to sap the springs and sources of its vigour and its life. (Canon Liddon.)
The world, danger of:—As you love your souls, beware of the world: it has slain its thousands and ten thousands. What ruined Lot’s wife?—the world. What ruined Achan?—the world. What ruined Haman?—the world. What ruined Judas?—the world. What ruined Simon Magus?—the world. What ruined Demas?—the world. And “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
The world: difficult to define:—The world cannot be clearly marked out as if it were a kingdom on a map, and every year makes it more difficult to draw any line of demarcation or to lay down any hard and fast lines upon the subject, because society is being leavened by Christian principles, the moral conscience of the nation quickened, and a public opinion, on the whole of a healthy character, making itself powerfully felt. And, further, what is the world to one person is not the world to another. The fact that the world cannot be defined as to locality is an advantage, not a disadvantage: for it calls forth from us a constant spirit of inquiry and watchfulness before we enter upon our pursuits, form our connections, or enter into society. The believer should at all times test every relationship into which he is brought, to see whether beneath its possibly plausible and pleasant surface there may not lurk the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The Christian, too, should examine not only what is without, to see whether the place he is entering is the world, but also what is within himself, and whether he is not converting even what is the kingdom of God into the world by the worldly spirit which he brings with him. We may infect as well as be infected. (C. Neil, M.A.)
The world: spirit of:—The spirit of the world is for ever altering, impalpable; for ever eluding, in fresh forms, your attempts to seize it. In the days of Noah the spirit of the world was violence. In Elijah’s day it was idolatry. In the day of Christ it was power, concentrated and condensed in the government of Rome. In ours, perhaps, it is the love of money. It enters in different proportions into different bosoms; it is found in a different form in contiguous towns, in the fashionable watering-places, and in the commercial city; it is this thing at Athens, and another in Corinth. This is the spirit of the world, a thing in my heart and yours to be struggled against, not so much in the case of others as in the silent battle done within our own souls. (F. W. Robertson, M.A.)
Worldliness: its spirit permanent, its forms changeful:—The world in our days is not a heathen world, as it was in the days of the apostle; but it is not a whit less “the world that lieth in wickedness.” The outward developments are different, but the inward character, principles, and spirit are the very same: changing a few of the mere external circumstances, the apostle’s description of the “world” of his own day is equally applicable to the “world” of ours. There are now, indeed, no idolatrous banquets, no savage gladiatorial conflicts in the blood-stained arena of the amphitheatre, no midnight orgies to some disgraceful deity. The world, perhaps, now, at least the world of the upper classes of society, is not quite so rough, but more polished in its sinfulness; but its scenes of amusement, its theatres, its luxurious tastes and habits, its nightly revels, and too lavish entertainments, partake as essentially of the elements of worldliness as the less advanced indulgences of a ruder age. In its thirst after wealth, in its restless strivings after fame and glory, in its grasping selfishness, in its love of splendour and show, we question whether the world, as it presents itself to the Christian of the nineteenth century wears any materially different aspect from that of the world of the apostle’s days. But, when we speak of worldliness, either as it is developed in business or pleasure, let it not be for a moment supposed that worldliness exists only in these developments: these are only indices or marks of an inward and rooted principle, innate in every man born into this world, and dominant in every man, without exception, who has not been “born again of water and of the Spirit.” (W. H. Etchers, M.A.)
But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Transformation:—This word is used to denote the Lord’s transfiguration, when His body was seen invested with the glory in which He is to appear at His second coming. You will then see Him thus transfigured, and the result will be your own transfiguration (Phil. 3:21). For He is to “change your vile bodies,” &c. But there is a transfiguration in the life that now is (2 Cor. 3:18) also into the image of the Lord; and therefore it is a transformation into glory, but not into the glory that was seen on the Mount, but what was seen in the manger, in the wilderness, in Gethsemane, and on the Cross. Note:—
III. Examine whether you be transformed or no. Look to your heads (2 Cor. 13:5); your hearts (Prov. 4:23); your lives (Matt. 12:33). Note the reasons for this examination. 1. Many are mistaken about it, and think they are renewed, because turned—(1) From one sin to another. (2) From one sect to another. (3) From debauchery to mere morality. 2. This is the most dangerous of all mistakes. 3. If you never examine yourselves, you have the more cause to fear your condition.
The Christian life a transfiguration:—In the preceding verse the apostle gathers the whole sum of Christian duty into one word. And so in this. As all is to be sacrifice, so all is to be transformation. Mark:—
III. The ultimate consequence which the apostle regards as certain, from this inward change; unlikeness to the world around. “Be not conformed,” &c. 1. The more we get like Jesus Christ, the more certainly we get unlike the world. For the two theories of life are clean contrary—the one is all limited by time, the other lays hold on the eternal. The one is all for self, the other is all for God. So that likeness and adherence to the one must needs be dead in the teeth of the other. 2. And that contrariety is as real to-day as ever it was. Paul’s “world” was a grim, heathen, persecuting world; our “world” has got christened, and goes to church and chapel, like a respectable gentleman. But for all that it is the world still, and we have to shake our hands free of it. 3. How is the commandment to be obeyed? (1) Well, of course there are large tracts of life where the saint and the sinner have to do the same things, feel the same anxieties, weep the same tears, and smile the same smiles. And yet “there shall be two women grinding at a mill,” the one shall be a Christian, the other not. They push the handle round, and the push that carries the handle round half the circumference of the millstone may be a bit of religious worship, and the push that carries it round the other half may be a bit of serving the world and the flesh and the devil. Two men shall be sitting at the same desk, two boys at the same bench at school, two servants in the same kitchen, and the one shall be serving God and glorifying His name, and the other shall be serving self and Satan. Not the things done, but the motive, makes the difference. (2) And there are a great many things in which not to be “conformed to the world” means to have nothing to do with certain acts and people. Have nothing to do with things which in themselves are unmistakably wrong; nor with things which have got evil inextricably mixed up with them, like the English stage; nor with things which, as experience shows you, are bad for you. This generation of the Church seems to be trying how near it can go to the world. It is a dangerous game, like children trying how far they can stretch out of the nursery window without tumbling into the street; you will go over some day when you miscalculate a little bit. (3) Rather “be ye transfigured,” and then you will find that when the inner mind is changed, many of the things that attracted tempt no more, and many of the people that wanted to have you do not care to have you, for you are a wet blanket to their enjoyments. The great means of becoming unlike the world is becoming like Him, and the great means of becoming like Him is living near Him and drinking in His life and Spirit. 4. And then, “as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” But we must begin by opening our hearts to the leaven which shall work onward and outwards till it has changed all. The sun when it shines upon a mirror makes the mirror shine like a little sun. “We all with open face, reflecting as a mirror does the glory of the Lord, shall be changed into the same image.” (A. Maclaren, D.D.)
Transfiguration:—One master word, for the whole Christian life is sacrifice, self-surrender, and that to God. Paul here brackets, with that great conception of the Christian life, another equally dominant and comprehensive. In one aspect, it is self-surrender; in another, it is growing transformation. The inner man, having been consecrated as a prince, by yielding of himself to God, is called upon to manifest inward consecration by outward sacrifice; an inward “renewing of the mind” is regarded as the necessary antecedent of transformation of outward life.
2. Do not be conformed to this world. This ‘world’ or ‘age’ (aiōn, as in 1 Cor. 1:20; 2:6; 3:18; 2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 1:4) is distinguished from the age to come (cf. Eph. 1:21). While it is called ‘the present evil age’ (Gal. 1:4), whose ‘god’ blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4), yet it is possible for people living temporally in this age to conduct themselves as heirs of the age to come, the age of renewal and resurrection. On them ‘the end of the ages has come’ (1 Cor. 10:11); for them, because they are a ‘new creation’ in Christ, ‘the old has passed away, behold, the new has come’ (2 Cor. 5:17). It is by the power of the indwelling Spirit, the pledge of their inheritance in the world to come, that they can resist the tendency to live according to the standards of ‘this world’.
Be transformed. The same verb (metamorphoō) is rendered ‘transfigured’ in the transfiguration narratives of Matthew 17:1–2 and Mark 9:2. The only other place where it occurs in the New Testament is 2 Corinthians 3:18, of believers being ‘changed’ into the likeness of Christ ‘from one degree of glory to another’ by the operation of ‘the Lord who is the Spirit’—a passage which is a helpful commentary on the present one.
2. And conform ye not to this world, &c. The term world has several significations, but here it means the sentiments and the morals of men; to which, not without cause, he forbids us to conform. For since the whole world lies in wickedness, it behoves us to put off whatever we have of the old man, if we would really put on Christ: and to remove all doubt, he explains what he means, by stating what is of a contrary nature; for he bids us to be transformed into a newness of mind. These kinds of contrast are common in Scripture; and thus a subject is more clearly set forth.
Now attend here, and see what kind of renovation is required from us: It is not that of the flesh only, or of the inferior part of the soul, as the Sorbonists explain this word; but of the mind, which is the most excellent part of us, and to which philosophers ascribe the supremacy; for they call it ἡγεμονικὸν, the leading power; and reason is imagined to be a most wise queen. But Paul pulls her down from her throne, and so reduces her to nothing by teaching us that we must be renewed in mind. For how much soever we may flatter ourselves, that declaration of Christ is still true,—that every man must be born again, who would enter into the kingdom of God; for in mind and heart we are altogether alienated from the righteousness of God.
That ye may prove, &c. Here you have the purpose for which we must put on a new mind,—that bidding adieu to our own counsels and desires, and those of all men, we may be attentive to the only will of God, the knowledge of which is true wisdom. But if the renovation of our mind is necessary, in order that we may prove what is the will of God, it is hence evident how opposed it is to God.
The epithets which are added are intended for the purpose of recommending God’s will, that we may seek to know it with greater alacrity: and in order to constrain our perverseness, it is indeed necessary that the true glory of justice and perfection should be ascribed to the will of God. The world persuades itself that those works which it has devised are good; Paul exclaims, that what is good and right must be ascertained from God’s commandments. The world praises itself, and takes delight in its own inventions; but Paul affirms, that nothing pleases God except what he has commanded. The world, in order to find perfection, slides from the word of God into its own devices; Paul, by fixing perfection in the will of God, shows, that if any one passes over that mark he is deluded by a false imagination.
12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind … to test and approve what God’s will is. This verse gives the means and result of commitment to Christ. The means for doing so is not to be conformed (syschēmatizō) to this age but rather to be transformed (metamorphoō) to the age to come (implied) by the renewing (anakainōsis) of the mind. The two verbs are imperatives. While older scholarship distinguished these verbs as outward conformity and inward transformation, recent scholarship rightly rejects such a distinction. Rather, both verbs suggest a total commitment. Thus, Christians should continually reject this age in favor of the age to come. “Renewing” (anakainōsis) is similar to kainos (“new”) with reference to the age to come (2 Cor. 3:6; 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:15; 4:24). The renewed mind is, in effect, the renewed heart of obedience envisioned by the new covenant. The result of being a living sacrifice is that the Christian discovers and does the will of God (12:2b). “Test and approve” translates dokimazō, not in the sense that God needs our approval for his will to be good, but rather that we experience in practice that his will is good. The will of God is worth discovering, for it is good, acceptable, and perfect. God’s will, the ethic of the new covenant, steers the right path between legalism and libertinism. In other words, for the Christian, God’s will is no longer dictated by the Torah but is instead found in Spirit-guided discernment.
2 By using the vague conjunction kai (usually translated “and”; see KJV and NASB), Paul leaves open the exact relationship between vv. 1 and 2 (it is appropriately not directly translated in most English versions). The two verses could be coordinate, issuing two parallel but separate exhortations. But v. 2 is probably subordinate to v. 1, giving the means by which we can carry out the sweeping exhortation of v. 1. We can present our bodies to the Lord as genuinely holy and acceptable sacrifices only if we “do not conform to this world” but “are transformed by the renewing of the mind.”58 The salvation-historical framework that is so basic to the development and expression of Paul’s understanding of the Christian life (see particularly Rom. 5–8) comes to the surface very plainly here. “This world,” or “this age,”60 is the sin-dominated, death-producing realm in which all people, included in Adam’s fall, naturally belong. But it is “to deliver us from the present evil age” that Christ gave himself (Gal. 1:4); and those who belong to Christ have been transferred from the old realm of sin and death into the new realm of righteousness and life. This transfer, while decisive and final, does not isolate us from the influence of the old realm. For while belonging to the new realm, we continue to live, as people still in the body,62 in the old realm. Paul’s command that we “not conform to this world,” then, builds on the theology of Rom. 5–8 (and of Rom. 6 especially) and calls on us to resist the pressure to “be squeezed into the mold” of this world and the “pattern” of behavior that typifies it (see 1 Cor. 7:31).
Because the verb “conform” is in the present tense, many scholars think that Paul wants his readers to “stop conforming” to this world. But Paul’s generally positive attitude toward the Romans’ spirituality (see 15:14) makes this doubtful. Also uncertain is the voice of the verb and its significance. It could be passive—“do not be conformed” (most versions)66—or middle, with a reflexive idea—“do not conform yourselves”—but, perhaps most likely, whether middle or passive in form, it has a simple (“intransitive”) active significance—“do not conform” (NIV).67
The second, positive, imperative in the verse, however, has a clearly passive meaning: “be transformed.” The neat verbal paronomasia found in most English translations (conformed/transformed) is not present in Greek, where verbs from two separate roots are used. Most older commentators and many recent ones are sure that this change in root signifies a change in meaning also. They argue that the verb translated “conform” connotes a superficial resemblance, whereas the verb translated “be transformed”69 refers to an inward and genuine resemblance. As Morris puts it, then, “Paul is looking for a transformation at the deepest level that is infinitely more significant than the conformity to the world’s pattern that is distinctive of so many lives.” However, as Barrett notes, “conformity to this age is no superficial matter.” More important, the lexical basis for the distinction is not solid. Therefore the shift in root probably reflects no difference in meaning; and, somewhat ironically, the use of the same root to translate both verbs in English reflects closely enough the meaning of the Greek terms. The tense of the verb is again present; and in this case the fact that the renewing of the mind is a continuing process justifies us in thinking that Paul uses this tense to stress the need for us to work constantly at our transformation.
“The renewing of your mind” is the means by which this transformation takes place. “Mind” translates a word that Paul uses especially to connote a person’s “practical reason,” or “moral consciousness.” Christians are to adjust their way of thinking about everything in accordance with the “newness” of their life in the Spirit (see 7:6). This “reprogramming” of the mind does not take place overnight but is a lifelong process by which our way of thinking is to resemble more and more the way God wants us to think. As N. T. Wright has put it: “If the ekklēsia of God in Jesus the Messiah, in its unity and holiness, is to constitute as it were its own worldview, to be its own central symbol, it needs to think: to be ‘transformed by the renewal of the mind,’ to think as age-to-come people rather than present-age people.” In Rom. 1:28 Paul has pointed out that people’s rejection of God has resulted in God’s giving them over to a “worthless” mind: one that is “unqualified” (adokimos) in assessing the truth about God and the world he has made. Now, Paul asserts, the purpose of our being transformed by the renewing of the mind is that this state might be reversed; that we might be able to “approve” (dokimazō) the will of God. “Approving” the will of God means to understand and agree with what God wants of us with a view to putting it into practice: “discern-and-do the will of God.” That Paul means here by “the will of God” his moral direction is clear from the way Paul describes it: this will is that which is “good,” “acceptable [to God],” and “perfect.”77
Paul’s teaching about the Christian’s source for finding the moral will of God in v. 2 deserves attention. Paul has made clear earlier in the letter that the Christian no longer is to look to the OT law as a complete and authoritative guide for conduct (see Rom. 5:20; 6:14, 15; 7:4). What, Paul’s first readers and we ourselves today might ask, is to be put in its place? Paul answers: the renewed mind of the believer. Paul’s confidence in the mind of the Christian is the result of his understanding of the work of the Spirit, who is actively working to effect the renewal in thinking that Paul here assumes (see Rom. 8:4–9). And it is important to note that Paul’s confidence in our ability to determine right and wrong is not unbounded. He knows that the renewal of the mind is a process and that as long as we are in these bodies we need some revealed, objective standards against which to measure our behavior.79 Hence Paul makes clear that Christians are not without “law,” but are under “the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2; 1 Cor. 9:21). This law has its heart in Jesus’ own teaching about the will of God, expanded and explicated by his appointed representatives, the apostles. But Paul’s vision, to which he calls us, is of Christians whose minds are so thoroughly renewed that we know from within, almost instinctively, what we are to do to please God in any given situation. We need law; but it would be to betray Paul’s call to us in these verses to substitute external commands for the continuing work of mind-renewal that is at the heart of God’s New Covenant work.
2 The dedicated life is also the transformed life. Whereas v. 1 has called for a decisive commitment, v. 2 deals with the maintenance of that commitment. The stress provided by the present tenses in this verse points to the necessity of continual vigilance, lest the original decision be vitiated or weakened. The threat to Christians comes from “this world,” whose ways and thoughts are so prevalent and powerful. Paul here uses aiōn (GK 172), essentially a time word meaning “age,” but it has much common ground with kosmos (GK 3180), the more usual term for “world.” Christians have been delivered from this “present evil age” (Gal 1:4), which has Satan for its god (2 Co 4:4). They live by the powers of the age to come (Heb 6:5), but their heavenly calling includes residence among sinful people in this world, where they are to show forth the praises of him who called them out of darkness into God’s wonderful light (1 Pe 2:9). They are in the world for witness but not for conformity to that which is a passing phenomenon (1 Co 7:31).
The positive call is complementary to the negative call. That is, with the command to avoid conformity to the pattern of this world comes the command to “be transformed.” (The striking verb is metamorphoō [GK 3565], used of the transfiguration of Jesus [Mk 9:2 par.] and applied to the Christian in 2 Co 3:18.) The two processes are viewed as going on all the time, as the present tenses indicate—a continual renunciation and renewal. Our pattern here is Jesus, who refused conformity to Satan’s solicitations in the temptation but was transformed to the doing of the will of God and to acceptance of the path that led to Calvary. As the mission of Jesus can be summarized in the affirmation that he had come to do the Father’s will (Jn 6:38), so too the service of Christians can be reduced to this simple description. They are in the present age to “live a new life” (6:4), to “live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1 Th 2:12), to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Eph 4:1). But they must “test” what is in accord with the will of God, refusing the norms of conduct employed by the sinful world and reaffirming for themselves the spiritual norms befitting the redeemed. Only from Christ do the redeemed “finally obtain the criteria for that which in the world can be called good, well-pleasing, and perfect” (Stuhlmacher, 189).
Crucial to the process of being transformed is “the renewing of your mind” (tē anakainōsei tou noos, GK 363, 3808)—which seems to indicate the necessity of setting one’s mind on the theological truths of the faith—to the basis of one’s original commitment, reaffirming its necessity and legitimacy in the light of God’s grace. It is by means of this use of the mind that transformation and renewal take place. In this activity, the working of the Holy Spirit should no doubt be recognized (cf. Tit 3:5, where the Holy Spirit is the agent of renewal). It appears from the context that the believer is not viewed as ignorant of the will of God but as needing to avoid blurring its outline by failure to renew the mind continually (cf. Eph 5:8–10). Dedication leads to discernment, and discernment to delight in God’s will. That there is an intimate connection between certifying the will of God and making oneself a living sacrifice is indicated by the use of “pleasing” in each case (cf. Php 4:18; Heb 13:16). For the Christian, the will of God is “good” (agathon, GK 19), “pleasing” (euareston, GK 2298), and “perfect” (teleion, GK 5455).
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Some verses in the Bible are enriched when we read them in several translations, and Romans 12:2 is one of them. In the New International Version the first part of Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.”
This verse has two key words: world, which in Greek is literally age (aiôn, meaning this present age, in contrast to “the age to come”), and do not conform, which is a compound having at its root the word scheme. So the verse means “Do not let the age in which you live force you into its scheme of thinking and behaving.” This is what some of the translations try to bring out. The New American Catholic Bible says, “Do not conform yourselves to this age.” The Jerusalem Bible says, “Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you.” The Living Bible reads, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.” Best known of all is the paraphrase of J. B. Phillips, which states, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.”
The idea in each of these renderings is that the world has its ways of thinking and doing things and is exerting pressure on Christians to conform to them. But instead of being conformed, Christians are to be changed from within to be increasingly like Jesus Christ.
What Is Worldliness?
The first phrase of verse 2 is a warning against worldliness. But as soon as we say worldly we have to stop and make clear what real worldliness is. When I was growing up in a rather fundamentalist church I was taught that worldliness was following such “worldly” pursuits as smoking, drinking, dancing, and playing cards. A Christian girl would say:
I don’t smoke, and I don’t chew,
And I don’t go with boys who do.
That is not what Romans 12:2 is about, however. To think of worldliness only in those terms is to trivialize what is a far more serious and far more subtle problem.
The clue to what is in view here is that in the next phrase Paul urges, as an alternative to being “conformed” to this world, being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This means that he is concerned about a way of thinking rather than merely behaving, though right behavior will follow naturally if our thinking is set straight. In other words, the worldliness we are to break away from and repudiate is the world’s “worldview,” what the Germans call Weltanschauung, a systematic way of looking at all things. We are to break out of the world’s way of thinking and instead let our minds be molded by the Word of God.
In our day Christians have not done this very well, and that is the reason why they are so often “worldly” in the other senses too. In fact, it is a sad commentary on our time, verified by surveys, that American Christians in general have mostly the same values and behavior patterns as the world around them.
Secularism: “The Cosmos Is All That Is”
If worldliness is not smoking, drinking, dancing, and playing cards, what is it? If it is a way of thinking, what is a worldly worldview? There is no single word that perfectly describes how the world thinks, but secularism is good for general purposes. It is an umbrella term that covers a number of other “isms,” like humanism, relativism, pragmatism, pluralism, hedonism, and materialism. Secularism, more than any other single word, aptly describes the mental framework and value structure of the people of our time.
The word secular also comes closest to what Paul says when he refers to “the pattern of this world.” Secular is derived from the Latin word saeculum, which means age. And the word found in Paul’s phrase in verse 2 is the exact Greek equivalent. The NIV uses the word world, but the Greek actually says, “Do not be conformed to this age.” In other words, “Do not be ‘secularist’ in your worldview.”
There is a right way to be secular, of course. Christians live in the world and are therefore rightly concerned about the world’s affairs. We have legitimate secular concerns. But secularism (note the “ism”) is more than this. It is a philosophy that does not look beyond this world but instead operates as if this age is all there is.
The best single statement of secularism I know is something Carl Sagan said in the television series Cosmos. He was pictured standing before a spectacular view of the heavens with its many swirling galaxies, saying in a hushed, almost reverential tone of voice, “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” That is bold-faced secularism. It is bound up entirely by the limits of the material universe, by what we can see and touch and weigh and measure. If we think in terms of our existence here, it means operating within the limits of life on earth. If we are thinking of time, it means disregarding the eternal and thinking only of the now.
We have it expressed in popular advertising slogans like “You only go around once” and Pepsi’s “Now Generation.” These slogans dominate our culture and express an outlook that has become increasingly harmful. If now is the only thing that matters, why should we worry about the national debt, for example? That’s not our problem. Let our children worry about it. Or why should we study hard preparing to do meaningful work later on in life, as long as we can have a good time now? Most important, why should I worry about God or righteousness or sin or judgment or salvation, if now is all that really matters?
R. C. Sproul writes, “For secularism, all life, every human value, every human activity must be understood in light of this present time.… What matters is now and only now. All access to the above and the beyond is blocked. There is no exit from the confines of this present world. The secular is all that we have. We must make our decisions, live our lives, make our plans, all within the closed arena of this time—the here and now.”
Each of us should understand that description instantly, because it is the viewpoint we are surrounded with every single day of our lives and in every conceivable place and circumstance.
Yet that is the outlook to which we must refuse to be conformed. Instead of being conformed to this world, as if that is all there is, we are to see all things as relating to God and to eternity. Here is the contrast, as expressed by Harry Blamires: “To think secularly is to think within a frame of reference bounded by the limits of our life on earth; it is to keep one’s calculations rooted in this-worldly criteria. To think Christianly is to accept all things with the mind as related, directly or indirectly, to man’s eternal destiny as the redeemed and chosen child of God.”
Humanism: “You Will Be Like God”
There is a proper kind of humanism, meaning a proper concern for human beings. Humanitarianism is a better word for it. People who care for other people are humanitarians. But there is also a philosophical humanism, which is a way of looking at people, particularly ourselves, apart from God, and this is wrong and harmful. This is a secular way of looking at them, which is why we so often speak not just of humanism but of “secular humanism.”
The best example of secular humanism I know is in the Book of Daniel. One day Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon, was on the roof of his palace looking out over his splendid hanging gardens to the prosperous city beyond. He was impressed with his handiwork and said, “Is this not the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:30). It was a statement that everything he saw was “of” him, “by” him, and “for” the glory of his majesty, which is humanism. Humanism says that everything revolves around man and exists for man’s glory.
God would not tolerate this arrogance. So he judged Nebuchadnezzar with insanity, indicating that this is a crazy philosophy. Nebuchadnezzar was then driven out to live with the beasts and acted like a beast until at last he acknowledged that God alone is the true ruler of the universe and that everything exists for his glory rather than ours.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.
His dominion is an eternal dominion.…
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
Humanism is opposed to God and hostile to Christianity. This has always been so, but it is especially evident in the public statements of modern humanism: A Humanist Manifesto (1933), Humanist Manifesto II (1973), and The Secularist Humanist Declaration (1980). The first of these, the 1933 document, said, “Traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival.”
The 1973 Humanist Manifesto II said, “We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural” and “There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body.”5
Humanism leads to a deification of self and, contrary to what it professes, to an utter disregard for other people.
In deifying self, humanism actually deifies nearly everything but God. Several years ago Herbert Schlossberg, one of the project directors for the Fieldstead Institute, wrote a book titled Idols for Destruction, in which he showed how humanism has made a god of history, mammon, nature, power, religion, and, of course, humanity itself. It is brilliantly done.
As far as disregarding other people, well, look at the best-sellers of the 1970s. You will find titles like Winning through Intimidation and Looking Out for Number One. These books say, in a manner utterly consistent with secular humanism, “Forget about other people; look out for yourself; you are what matters.” What emerged in those years is what Thomas Wolfe, the social critic, called the “Me Decade.” And the 1970s gave way to the 1980s, which others have aptly called the “Golden Age of Greed.”
Remember, too, that this is the philosophy (some would say religion) underlying public school education. This is ironic, of course, since humanism is an irrational philosophy. How so? Because it is impossible to establish humanistic or any other values or goals without a transcendent point of reference, and it is precisely that transcendent point that is being repudiated by the humanists. Frighteningly, the irrationalism of humanism is appearing in the chaos of the schools, where students are using guns to kill other students and threaten teachers.
In the fall of 1992 an ABC Prime Time Live television special, featuring Diane Sawyer, reported that in this country one in five students come to school with a handgun somewhat regularly and that there are ten times as many knives in schools as there are guns. This is as true of the suburbs as it is of the inner city. In Wichita, Kansas, which calls itself mid-America, students must pass through metal detectors in order to enter school, and there are still guns and other weapons in the buildings.
For humanism as well as for secularism, the word for Christians is “do not conform any longer.” We remember that the first expression of humanism was not the Humanist Manifesto of 1933 or even the arrogant words of Nebuchadnezzar spoken about six hundred years before Christ, but rather the words of Satan in the Garden of Eden, who told Eve, “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).
Relativism: “A Moral Morass”
While we are talking about humanism we also have to talk briefly about relativism, because if man is the focal point of everything, then there are no absolutes in any area of life and everything is up for grabs. Some years ago Professor Allan Bloom of the University of Chicago wrote a book called The Closing of the American Mind, in which he said on the very first page, “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.”
What that book set out to prove is that education is impossible in such a climate. People can learn skills, of course. You can learn to drive a truck, work a computer, handle financial transactions, and do scores of other things. But real education, which means learning to sift through error to discover what is true, good, and beautiful, is impossible, because the goals of real education—truth, goodness, and beauty—do not exist. And even if they did exist in some far-off metaphysical never-never-land, it would be impossible to find them, because it requires absolutes even to discover absolutes. It requires such absolutes as the laws of logic, for example.
Is it any wonder that with such an underlying destructive philosophy as relativism, not to mention secularism and humanism, America is experiencing what Time magazine called “a moral morass” and “a values vacuum”?
Materialism: “The Material Girl”
The final “ism” to which Christians are not to be conformed is materialism. This takes us back to secularism, since it is a part of it. If “the cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be,” as Carl Sagan says, then nothing exists but what is material or measurable, and if there is any value to be found in life, it must be in material terms. Be as healthy as you can. Live as long as you can. Get as rich as you can.
When today’s young people are asked to name their heroes or heroines, what comes out rather quickly is that they have no people they actually look up to except possibly the rich and the famous—people like Michael Jordan and Madonna. And speaking of Madonna, isn’t it interesting that she is referred to most often not as a singer or entertainer or even a sex symbol but as “the material girl.” That is, she represents the material things of this world, clothes (or the lack of them), money, fame, and above all, pleasure. And this is what today’s young people want to be like! They want to be rich and famous and have things and enjoy them. They want to be like Madonna.
The poet T. S. Eliot wrote an epitaph for our materialistic generation:
Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls.
How different the Lord Jesus Christ! He was born into a poor family, was laid in a borrowed manger at his birth, never had a home or a bank account or a family of his own.
He said of himself, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20).
At his trial before Pilate he said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight … My kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36).
When he died he was laid in a borrowed tomb.
If there was ever an individual who operated on the basis of values above and beyond the world in which we live, it was Jesus Christ. He was the polar opposite of “the material girl.” But at the same time no one has ever affected this world for good as much as Jesus. It is into his image that we are to be transformed rather than being forced into the mold of this world’s sinful and destructive “isms.”
No One But Jesus
In the next few studies we are going to explore another aspect of the problem presented by today’s world and begin to look at the solution proposed in Romans 12:2. But I want to close this study by looking ahead one phrase to what Paul says we are to be: not conformed but transformed by the renewing of our minds. There is a deliberate distinction between those two words. Conformity is something that happens to you outwardly. Transformation happens inwardly. The Greek word translated transformed is metamorphoô, from which we get metamorphosis. It is what happens to the lowly caterpillar when it turns into a beautiful butterfly.
This Greek word is found four times in the New Testament: once here, once in 2 Corinthians 3:18 to describe our being transformed into the glorious likeness of Jesus Christ, and twice in the gospels of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain where he had gone with Peter, James, and John. Those verses say, “There he was transfigured before them” (Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:2). The same word used by Paul to describe our transformation by the renewing of our minds so that we will not be conformed to this world is used by the gospel writers to describe the transfiguration of Jesus from the form of his earthly humiliation to the radiance that Peter, James, and John were privileged to witness for a time.
And that is why Paul writes as he does in 2 Corinthians, saying, “We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
In 2 Corinthians Paul says, “It is happening.” In Romans 12 he says, “Let it happen,” thus putting the responsibility, though not the power to accomplish this necessary transformation, upon us. How does it happen? Through the renewing of our minds; and the way our minds become renewed is by study of the life-giving and renewing Word of God. Without that study we will remain in the world’s mold, unable to think and therefore also unable to act as Christians. With that study, blessed and empowered as it will be by the Holy Spirit, we will begin to take on something of the glorious luster of the Lord Jesus Christ and become increasingly like him.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
In the last chapter I referred to Harry Blamires, an Englishman who wrote an important Christian book in 1963 titled The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? Blamires was a student of C. S. Lewis. His book’s main thesis, repeated over and over in chapter 1, is that “There is no longer a Christian mind,” meaning that in our time there is no longer a distinctly Christian way of thinking. There is to some extent a Christian ethic and even a somewhat Christian way of life and piety. But there is no distinctly Christian frame of reference, no uniquely Christian worldview, to guide our thinking in distinction from the thought of the secular world around us.
Unfortunately, the situation has not improved over the past thirty years. In fact, it has grown worse. Today, not only is there little or no genuine Christian thinking, there is very little thinking of any kind. The Western world (and perhaps even the world as a whole) is well on its way to becoming what I have frequently called a “mindless society.”
Since Christians are called to mind renewal—our text says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”—this cultural mindlessness is a major aspect of the “pattern of this world” that we are to recognize, understand, repudiate, and overcome. We are to be many things as Christians, but we are especially to be thinking people. We are to possess a “Christian mind.”
America Has Been “Vannatized”
There are a number of causes for our present mindlessness—Western materialism, the fast pace of modern life, and philosophical skepticism, to name a few—but I believe that the chief cause is television.
I began to study television as a cultural problem several years ago, and the thing that got me started was a 1987 graduation address at Duke University by Ted Koppel of ABC’s Nightline. Following this address Koppel was frequently quoted by Christian communicators because of something he said about the Ten Commandments. He was deploring the declining moral tone of our country and reminded his predominantly secular audience of the abiding validity of this religious standard. He said that they are Ten Commandments, not “ten suggestions,” and that they “are,” not “were” the standard. But to me the most interesting thing about Koppel’s address was his opening sentence, in which he said that America has been “Vannatized.”
Koppel was referring to Vanna White, the beautiful and extraordinarily popular hostess of the television game show Wheel of Fortune. Vanna White is something of a phenomenon on television. Her actual work is simple. She stands on one side of a large game board that holds blocks representing the letters of words the contestants are supposed to guess. As they guess correctly, Vanna walks across the platform and turns the blocks around to reveal the letters. When she gets to the other side she claps her hands. It is simple work, but Vanna seems to like it. No, “like” is too mild a term, as Koppel notes. Vanna “thrills, rejoices, adores everything she sees.” People respond to her so well that books about her have appeared in bookstores, and she is well up on that magical but elusive list of the most admired people in America.
But here is the interesting thing. Until recently Vanna never said a word on Wheel of Fortune, and Koppel asked how a person who says nothing and who is therefore basically unknown to us can be so popular. That is just the point, he answered. Since we do not know what Vanna White is actually like, she is whatever you want her to be. “Is she a feminist or every male chauvinist’s dream? She is whatever you want her to be. Sister, lover, daughter, friend, never cross, non-threatening, and non-judgmental to a fault.” She is popular because we project our own deep feelings, needs, or fantasies onto the television image.
Koppel does not care very much about Wheel of Fortune’s success, of course. He was analyzing our culture. And his point is that Vanna White’s appeal is the very essence of television and that television forms our way of thinking or, to be more accurate, of not thinking. It has been hailed as the great teaching tool, but that is precisely what it does not do, because it seldom presents anything in enough depth for a person actually to think about it. Instead, it presents thirty-second flashes of events and offers images upon which we are invited to project our own vague feelings.
If all we are talking about is game shows and other forms of television entertainment, none of this would matter very much, except for the amount of time our children spend watching these banal, mind-numbing diversions rather than disciplining their minds by serious study. But if television is really conditioning us not to think, as Koppel and I maintain, then television is a serious intellectual, social, and spiritual problem.
Amusing Ourselves to Death
A more academic study of the negative impact of television on culture has been provided by Neil Postman, a professor of communication arts and sciences at New York University, in a book called Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.
Amusing Ourselves to Death was published in 1985, one year after 1984, the year popularized as the title of George Orwell’s futuristic novel, with its dark vision of a society controlled by fear. In Orwell’s novel Big Brother rules everything with a ruthless iron fist. But Postman reminds us that there was another novel written slightly earlier with an equally chilling but quite different vision of the future: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. In Huxley’s novel there is no need for Big Brother, because in this ominous vision of the future people have come to love their oppression as well as the technologies that strip away their capacities to think:
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.… As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for diversions.”
Obviously, as Postman suggests, the Western cultures have succumbed to the second of these two oppressions, just as the communist countries fell victim to the first.
The first half of Postman’s book is a study of the difference between what he calls “the age of typography” and our present television age, which he calls “the age of show business.” Typography refers to words in print, and it concerns the communication of ideas by newspapers, pamphlets, and books. It is rational and analytic, because that is the way written words work. He writes:
To engage the written word means to follow a line of thought, which requires considerable powers of classifying, inference-making and reasoning. It means to uncover lies, confusions, and over-generalizations, to detect abuses of logic and common sense. It also means to weigh ideas, to compare and contrast assertions, to connect one generalization to another. To accomplish this, one must achieve a certain distance from the words themselves, which is, in fact, encouraged by the isolated and impersonal text. That is why a good reader does not cheer an apt sentence or pause to applaud even an inspired paragraph. Analytic thought is too busy for that, and too detached.
He illustrates the strength of the age of typography by public attention to the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of the mid-eighteen hundreds, which people were capable of hearing, understanding, and forming opinions about, even though they lasted three to seven hours. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries “America was as dominated by the printed word and an oratory based on the printed word as any society we know of,” Postman says. The country could think.
Unfortunately, television does not operate by rational means of communication but by images, as Ted Koppel pointed out, and as a result we are becoming a mindless culture.
News on Television: “Now … This”
A great deal of what Postman develops in his book is reinforcement for what I have been describing as mindlessness. So let me review three specific areas of bad influence, as he sees it.
A chapter in the book that deals with news on television is entitled “Now … This.” That is because these are the words most used on television to link one brief televised news segment—the average news segment on network news programs is only forty-five seconds long—to the next news segment or commercial. What the phrase means is that what one has just seen has no relevance to what one is about to see or, for that matter, to anything. Rational thought requires such connections. It depends on similarities, contradictions, deductions, and the development of probable consequences. It requires time. It is what books and other serious print media give us. But this is precisely what television does not give. It does not give time for thought, and if it does not give time for thought or promote thought, what it essentially amounts to is “diversion.”
Postman says that television gives us “news without consequences, without value, and therefore without essential seriousness; that is to say, news as pure entertainment.” In other words, it is not only mindless, it is teaching us to be mindless, to the point at which we even suppose that our ignorance is great knowledge.
Reach Out and Elect Someone
A second area of bad influence is politics. Postman calls this chapter “Reach Out and Elect Someone.” Ronald Reagan once said, “Politics is just like show business.” But if this is so, then the object of politics on television is not to pursue excellence, clarity, or honesty, or any other generally recognized virtue, but to appear as if you are pursuing these things.
After the 1968 presidential campaign, in which Richard Nixon finally won the White House, a political writer named Joe McGinniss wrote a book titled The Selling of the President 1968. In it he described the strategy of the Nixon advisors who felt that their candidate had lost the 1960 election to John Kennedy because of Kennedy’s better television image. He reports William Gavin, one of Nixon’s chief aids, as advising, “Break away from linear logic: present a barrage of impressions, of attitudes. Break off in mid-sentence and skip to something half a world away.… Reason pushes the viewer back, it assaults him, it demands that he agree or disagree; impression can envelop him, invite him in, without making an intellectual demand.… Get the voters to like the guy, and the battle’s two-thirds won.”
How do campaign managers get their candidates elected today? Not by discussing issues, because that is a sure way to get defeated—any position on any issue, unless it is utterly meaningless, is certain to offend somebody. The way to win elections is to present a pleasant television image and to keep the candidate out of trouble for as long as possible.
That is why Ronald Reagan won in 1980 and even more decisively in 1984. It was not his positions, though they were substantially different from those of his predecessors and were, in my opinion, generally right. There really was “a Reagan revolution.” But this was not why he won. He won because he had a long career in movies and was a master of the television medium. He projected an image of a strong decent man we could trust.
The 1988 presidential election, in which George Bush defeated Michael Dukakis, involved issues about which every intelligent voter should have been carefully informed. Television is supposed to be the medium through which this is done. But a discussion of the issues is precisely what the voters did not get. Where did George Bush and Michael Dukakis differ in their politics? In regard to domestic programs such as Social Security, child care, education, taxes, abortion? In international affairs? The military? Relations with Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Japan? It was only specialists in government who knew the true answers to those questions, not the voters, because those were not the issues of the campaign.
What were the issues then? Actually, there was only one issue, and it was this: Is George Bush a “wimp”? That question was raised because he looked like a wimp on television; he is thin, seems to be frail, and held his head slightly to one side in a way that looked deferential. If the Dukakis camp could encourage voters to think of Bush that way, they would vote for Dukakis, because no one wants a wimp for president. On the other hand, Bush’s task was to convince the voters that he would actually be a strong president, and the strategy of his camp was therefore to wage a strong, aggressive—many said unfair and nasty—campaign against Dukakis.
The media complained! Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings were predictably self-righteous and offended. They called it the least substantial, meanest campaign in memory. But how hypocritical! It was mindless, but it was mindless precisely because that is what television demands. It demands images and not thought.
The campaign of 1992 is another example. I said from the beginning that Bill Clinton would win the election, not because he might have a better program for getting this country out of debt or even because the electorate was unhappy with America’s slow rate of economic growth in the previous two years, but because Clinton looks better on television. Clinton is the perfect television candidate, and so he won.
Marshall McLuhan, the television “guru,” was right when he said, “The medium is the message.” The campaign managers have learned that, which is why they organize the kinds of campaigns they do.
I know someone will say, “But Reagan was a decent, strong man.” Or, “George Bush really is a wimp (or ‘is not a wimp’).” Or, “Bill Clinton is the stronger candidate.” But my point is that we do not actually know those things and cannot know them, at least from television, until events perhaps support or fail to support our perceptions. The most serious thing of all perhaps is not that we do not know, but that we think we do know because of television.
Religion as Entertainment
The third area of bad influence is religion. Postman’s chapter on religion is called “Shuffle Off to Bethlehem.” Religion is on television chiefly in an entertainment format. With the possible exception of Billy Graham, who has an international following quite apart from the television medium, and some other teaching pastors such as Charles Stanley and D. James Kennedy, the religious television stars are mostly entertainers. Pat Robertson is a master of ceremonies along the lines of Merv Griffin. Jimmy Swaggart is a piano player and singer as well as having been a vivacious and entertaining speaker. Even televised church services, like those of Jerry Falwell and Robert Schuller, contain their requisite musical numbers and pop testimonies, just like variety shows on secular television. The proper name for them is vaudeville.
Nearly everything that makes religion real is lost in the translation of church to television. The chief loss is a sense of the transcendent. God is missing. Postman says:
Everything that makes religion an historic, profound and sacred human activity is stripped away; there is no ritual, no dogma, no tradition, no theology, and above all, no sense of spiritual transcendence. On these shows, the preacher is tops. God comes out as second banana.…
CBS knows that Walter Cronkite plays better on television than the Milky Way. And Jimmy Swaggart plays better than God. For God exists only in our minds, whereas Swaggart is there, to be seen, admired, adored. Which is why he is the star of the show.… If I am not mistaken, the word for this is blasphemy.
An observer who likes such religious entertainment might object, “Well, what harm is done as long as genuine religion is still to be found in church on Sundays?” I would argue that so pervasive and normalizing is the impact of television that pressures have inevitably come to make church services as irrelevant and entertaining as the tube.
In the vast majority of church services today there are virtually no pastoral prayers, while there is much brainless music, chummy chatter, and abbreviated sermons. Preachers are told to be personable, to relate funny stories, to smile, and above all to stay away from topics that might cause people to become unhappy with the church and leave it. They are to preach to felt needs, not necessarily real needs. This generally means telling people only what they want to hear.
Your Mind Matters
This is the point at which we need to talk about genuine mind renewal for Christians, which is what I will continue with in the next study. But I close here by mentioning a helpful little book by John Stott, the Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church in London, titled Your Mind Matters. It deals with six spheres of Christian living, and it argues that each one is impossible without a proper and energetic use of our minds: Christian worship, Christian faith, Christian holiness, Christian guidance, Christian evangelism, and Christian ministry. We need to think.
Stott argues that “anti-intellectualism … is … part of the fashion of the world and therefore a form of worldliness. To denigrate the mind is to undermine foundational Christian doctrines.” He asks pointedly, “Has God created us rational beings, and shall we deny our humanity which he has given us? Has God spoken to us, and shall we not listen to his words? Has God renewed our mind through Christ, and shall we not think with it? Is God going to judge us by his Word, and shall we not be wise and build our house upon this rock?”
They are important and helpful questions, if you think about them.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
In each of the last two studies dealing with what it means to think as a Christian rather than in a worldly or secular way, I have mentioned Harry Blamires, an Englishman who has written two good books on this subject: The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? (1963) and Recovering the Christian Mind: Meeting the Challenge of Secularism (1988). In each of these books Blamires encourages us to reject the world’s thinking and begin to think as Christians. This is what Paul is writing about in our text from Romans 12: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (v. 2). This means that our thinking is not to be determined by the culture of the world around us but rather that we are to have a distinctly different and growing Christian worldview.
But what does it actually mean to have an outlook like that? How are we to experience mind renewal in our exceedingly mindless age?
Thinking Christianly and Thinking Secularly
The one thing this does not mean is what most people probably assume it does, and that is to start thinking mainly about Christian things. We do need to think about Christian subjects, of course. In fact, it is from that base of revealed doctrine and its applications to life that we can begin to think Christianly about other matters. I am going to pursue exactly that line of thought in this study. But to think Christianity itself is not a matter of thinking about Christian subjects as opposed to thinking about secular subjects, as we suppose, but rather to think in a Christian way about everything. It means to have a Christian mind.
This is because, by contrast, it is possible to think in a secular way even about religious things. Take the Lord’s Supper, for instance. For most Christians the Lord’s Supper is probably the most spiritual of all spiritual matters, and yet it is possible to think about even it in a worldly manner. For example, a trustee of the church might be thinking that he forgot to include the cost of the communion elements in the next year’s budget. Another person might be looking at the minister and criticizing his way of handling the elements. “He’s so awkward,” this person might be thinking. Still another person might be reflecting on how good it is for people to have spiritual thoughts or to observe religious ceremonies. “This is good for people,” he might be reflecting. Each of these persons is thinking secularly about the most sacred of Christian practices.
On the other hand, it is possible to think Christianly about even the most mundane matters. Blamires suggests how we might do this at a gasoline station while we are waiting for our tank to be filled with gas. We might be reflecting on how a mechanized world with cars and other machines tends to make God seem unnecessary for people, or how a speeded-up world in which we use our cars to race from one appointment to another makes it difficult to think deeply about or even care for other people. Even further, we might be wondering, do material things like cars serve us, or are we enslaved to them? Do they cause us to covet and therefore break the tenth commandment? How do they impact the environment over which God has made us stewards?
Blamires says, “There is nothing in our experience, however trivial, worldly, or even evil, which cannot be thought about Christianly. There is likewise nothing in our experience, however sacred, which cannot be thought about secularly—considered, that is to say, simply in its relationship to the passing existence of bodies and psyches in a time-locked universe.”
The God Who Is There
So I ask again, Where do we start? How do we begin to think and act as Christians? There is a sense in which we could begin at any point, since truth is a whole and truth in any area will inevitably lead to truth in every other area. But if the dominant philosophy of our day is secularism, which means viewing all of life only in terms of the visible world and in terms of the here and now, then the best of all possible starting places is the doctrine of God, for God alone is above and beyond the world and is eternal. Even more, the doctrine of God is a necessary and inevitable starting place if we are to produce a genuinely Christian response to secularism.
What does that mean for our thinking?
Well, if there is a God, that very fact means that there is literally such a thing as the supernatural. Supernatural means over, above, or in addition to nature. In other words, to go back to Carl Sagan’s popular credo, the cosmos is not all there is or was or ever will be. God is. God exists. He is there, whether we acknowledge it or not, and he stands behind the cosmos. In fact, it is only because there is a God that there is a cosmos, since without God nothing else could possibly have come to be.
If anything exists, there must be an inevitable, self-existent, uncaused first cause that stands behind it.
Several years ago at the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology Professor John H. Gerstner was talking about creation and referred to something his high school physics teacher once said: “The most profound question that has ever been asked by anybody is: Why is there something rather than nothing?”
Gerstner said that he was quite impressed with that at the time. But later, as he sharpened his ability to think, he recognized that it was not a profound question at all. In fact, it was not even a true question. It posed an alternative, something rather than nothing. “But what is nothing?” Gerstner asked. “Nothing” eludes definition. It even defies conception. For as soon as you say, “Nothing is …” nothing ceases to be nothing and becomes something. Gerstner referred to Jonathan Edwards, who is not noted for being funny but who was at least a slight bit humorous on one occasion when he said, “Nothing is what the sleeping rocks dream of.”
So, said Gerstner, “Anyone who thinks he knows what nothing is must have those rocks in his head.”
As soon as you ask, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” the alternative vanishes, you are left with something, and the only possible explanation for that something is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), which is what Christianity teaches.
“He is There and He is Not Silent”
The God who exists has revealed himself. This is the doctrine of revelation. Francis Schaeffer titled one of his books He Is There and He Is Not Silent to make this point. God is there, and he has not kept himself hidden from us. He has revealed himself—in nature, in history, and especially in the Scriptures.
In chapter 185 I mentioned four “ism”s that are part of the pattern of this age: secularism, humanism, relativism, and materialism. The doctrine of God is the specific Christian answer to secularism. Revelation is the specific answer to relativism. If God has spoken, then what he has said is truthful and can be trusted absolutely, since God is truthful. This gives us absolutes in an otherwise relative and therefore ultimately chaotic universe.
That God has spoken and that God’s Word to us can be trusted has always been the conviction of the church, at least until relatively modern times. Today the truthfulness of the Bible has been challenged, but with disastrous results. For without a sure word from God all words are equally valid, and Christianity is neither more certain nor more compelling than any other merely human word or philosophy.
But notice this: If God has spoken, there will always be a certain hardness about the Christian faith and Christians. I do not mean that we will be hard on others or insensitive to them. Rather, there will be a certain unyielding quality to our convictions.
For one thing, we will insist upon truth and will not bow to the notion, however strongly it is pressed upon us, that “that’s just your opinion.”
Several years ago when I was flying to Chicago from the West Coast I got into a conversation with the woman seated next to me. We talked about religion, and whenever I made a statement about the gospel she replied, “But that’s just your opinion.” She was out of the relativistic mold.
I hit upon a way of answering her that preserved the hardness of what I was trying to say and yet did it nicely. I said, “You’re right; that is my opinion, but that’s not really what matters. What matters is: Is it true?”
She did not know quite what to say to that. So the conversation went on, and after a while she replied to something else I was saying in the same way: “But that’s just your opinion.”
I said, “You’re right; that is my opinion, but that’s not really what matters. What matters is: Is it true?” This happened about a dozen times, and after a while she began to smile and then laugh as she anticipated my comment coming. When I got home I sent her a copy of Mere Christianity.
Another thing the doctrine of revelation will mean for us is that we will not back down or compromise on moral issues. You know how it is whenever you speak out against some particularly bad act. If people do not say, “But that’s just your opinion,” they are likely to attack you personally, saying things like, “You’d do the same thing if you were in her situation” or “Do you think you’re better than he is?” We must not be put off by such attacks. Our response should be something like this: “Please, I wasn’t talking about what I would do if I were in her shoes. I’m a sinner too. I might have acted much worse. I would probably have failed sooner. I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about what is right, and I think that is what we need to talk about. None of us is ever going to do better than we are doing unless we talk about it and decide what’s right to do.”
“What the secular mind is ill-equipped to grasp is that the Christian faith leaves Christians with no choice at all on many matters of this kind,” writes Blamires. We are people under God’s authority, and that authority is expressed for us in the Bible.
The West’s Spiritual Exhaustion
Now let’s return to some implications of the doctrine of God. First, if there is a God and if he has made us to have eternal fellowship with him, then we are going to look at failure, suffering, pain, and even death differently than non-Christians do. For the Christian these can never be the greatest of all tragedies. They are bad. Death is an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). But they are overbalanced by eternal matters.
Second, success and pleasure will not be the greatest of all goods for us. They are good, but they will never compare with salvation from sin or knowing God. Jesus said it clearly: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). Or, from the other side, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but who cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
That leads to a Christian response to materialism. There are two kinds of materialism, a philosophical materialism like that of doctrinaire communism and a practical materialism that is most characteristic of the West. We have been raised with a false kind of syllogism that says that because we are not communists and communists are materialists, therefore we are not materialists. But that is not necessarily true. Most of us embrace a practical materialism that warps our souls, stunts our spiritual growth, and hinders the advance of the gospel in our time.
The best critique of Western materialism that I know was presented by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the well-known Soviet dissident and writer, in an address given to the graduating class of Harvard University in 1978. Up to that point Solzhenitsyn had been somewhat of an American hero. He had suffered in the Soviet Union’s infamous gulag prison system and had later defected. That’s why he was invited to speak at Harvard. But in this address he was so blunt in his criticism of the West that his popularity vanished almost overnight, and he was almost never heard from, though he continued to write voluminously from a retreat in New England.
Solzhenitsyn’s address was no defense of socialism. Quite the contrary. He celebrated its ideological defeat in Eastern Europe, saying, “It is zero and less than zero.” But he declared, “Should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively.… Through intense suffering our own country has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive.” He maintained that “after the suffering of decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor and by intolerable music.”
According to Solzhenitsyn, the West has pursued physical well-being and the acquiring of material goods to the exclusion of almost everything spiritual.
“We Do Not Mind That We Die”
In 1989 Westerners were astounded by the political changes in Eastern Europe. Country after country repudiated its seventy-two-year communist heritage and replaced its leaders with democratically elected officials. We rejoiced in these changes, and rightly so. But we need to remember two things.
First, while the former communist lands have moved in a more democratic direction, we have moved in the direction of their materialism, living as if the only thing that matters is how many earthly goods we can acquire now. We marveled at the moving scenes of East Germans passing through the openings in the infamous Berlin Wall. We saw them gazing in amazement at the abundance of goods on West Berlin shelves. But what is the good of their being able to come to the West if all they discover here is a spiritual climate vastly inferior to their own?
And that is the second thing we need to remember. Though the American media with its blindness to things spiritual did not acknowledge it, the changes in the Eastern Bloc came about not by anyone’s will, that of Mikhail Gorbachev or any other, but by the spiritual vitality of the people.
The strength of the Polish Solidarity movement, where the breakthrough first came, is that of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II was a strong supporter of the people’s faith and dreams.
Faith and spiritual strength also lay behind the changes in East Germany. Conventional wisdom in Germany has it that the turning point was on October 9, 1989, when seventy thousand demonstrators marched in Leipzig. The army was placed on full alert, and under normal circumstances it would have attacked the demonstrators violently. But the protesters’ rallying cry was, “Let them shoot, we will still march.” The army did not attack, and after that the protests grew until the government was overthrown.
In Romania, where President Nicolae Ceauşescu just weeks before had declared that apple trees would bear pears before socialism should be endangered in Romania, the end began in the house of a Protestant pastor whose parishioners surrounded him, declaring that they were willing to die rather than let him be arrested by the state police.
Josef Tson, founder and president of the Romanian Missionary Society, was in Romania just after the death of Ceauşescu and reported the details of the story. The pastor was from the city of Timisoara, and his name was Laszlo Tokes. On Saturday, December 16, 1989, just a few days before Christmas, hundreds and then thousands of people joined the courageous parishioners who had surrounded his house trying to defend him. One was a twenty-four-year-old Baptist church worker who decided to distribute candles to the ever-growing multitude. He lit his candle, and then the others lit theirs. This transformed the protective strategy into a contagious demonstration, and it was the beginning of the revolution. The next day, when the secret police opened fire on the people, the young man was shot in the leg, and the doctors had to amputate it. But on his hospital bed this young man told his pastor, “I lost a leg, but I am happy. I lit the first light.”
The people in Romania do not call the events of December 1989 a national revolution. They say rather, “Call it God’s miracle.” The rallying cry of the masses was “God lives!” That from a former fiercely atheistic country! The people shouted, “Freedom! Freedom! We do not mind that we die!”
Willing to die? Ah, that is the only ultimately valid test of whether one is a practical materialist at heart or whether one believes in something greater and more important than things. Do we? No doubt there are Westerners who are willing to die for things intangible. The people who were willing to die for civil rights during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s are examples. But today the masses of individuals in America no longer share this high standard of commitment and sacrifice. In 1978, during President Jimmy Carter’s abortive attempt to reinstate draft registration for the young, newspapers carried a photograph of a Princeton University student defiantly waving a poster marked with the words: “Nothing is worth dying for.”
“But if nothing is worth dying for, is anything worth living for?” asks Charles Colson, who comments on this photograph in Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages. If there is nothing worth living for or dying for, then the chief end of man might as well be cruising the malls, which is the number one activity of today’s teenagers, according to the pollsters.
Solzhenitsyn summarizes our weak thinking at this point when he says of today’s Americans: “Every citizen has been granted the desired freedom and material goods in such quantity and of such quality as to guarantee in theory the achievement of happiness, in the morally inferior sense which has come into being during [these last] decades.… So who should now renounce all this? Why and for what should one risk one’s precious life in defense of common values?”
Christianity has the answer to that, and Christians in past ages have known it. It is to “gain a better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35), which means to do what is right because what is right pleases God and that is what ultimately matters. But those who do it must be thinking Christians.
In the last study I introduced the Christian doctrines of God and revelation as the biblical answer to secularism, humanism, relativism, and materialism, but I did not write about humanism in detail. The answer to humanism is the Christian doctrine of man.
Humanism is the philosophy to which human beings inevitably come if they are secularists. Secularism means eliminating God or anything else that may be transcendent from the universe and focusing instead on only what we can see and measure now. When God is eliminated in this process, man himself is left as the pinnacle of creation and becomes the inadequate and unworthy core for everything. In philosophy we usually trace the beginnings of this outlook to the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Protagoras. Protagoras expressed his viewpoint in Greek words that have given us the better known Latin concept homo mensura, which means “Man, the measure” or, as it is often expressed, “Man is the measure of all things.” The idea is that man is the norm by which everything is to be evaluated. He is the ultimate creature and thus the ultimate authority.
This seems to elevate man, but in practice it does exactly the opposite. It deifies man, but this deification always debases man in the end, turning him into an animal or even less than an animal. Moreover, it causes him to manipulate, ignore, disparage, wound, hate, abuse, and even murder other people.
What’s Wrong with Me?
In the last twenty years something terrible has happened to Americans in the way we relate to other people, and it is due to the twisted humanism about which I have been writing. Prior to that time there was still something of a Christian ethos in this country and people used to care about and help other people. It was the natural thing to do. Today we focus on ourselves and deal with others only for what we can get out of them. This approach is materialistic and utilitarian.
In 1981 a sociologist-pollster, Daniel Yankelovich, published a study of the 1970s titled New Rules: Searching for Self-Fulfillment in a World Turned Upside Down. This book documented a tidal shift in values by which many and eventually most Americans began to seek personal self-fulfillment as the ultimate goal in life rather than operating on the principle that we are here to serve and even sacrifice for others, as Americans for the most part really had done previously. He found that by the late 1970s, 72 percent of Americans spent much time thinking about themselves and their inner lives.2 So pervasive was this change that as early as 1976 Tom Wolfe called the seventies the “Me Decade” and compared it to a third religious awakening.
But isn’t this a good thing? Shouldn’t thinking about ourselves make us happy? If we redirect our energy to fulfilling ourselves and earn as much as we can to indulge even our tiniest desires, shouldn’t we be satisfied with life? No! It doesn’t work that way. It fails on the personal level, and it fails in the area of our relationships with other people also.
In 1978 Margaret Halsey wrote an article for Newsweek magazine titled “What’s Wrong with Me, Me, Me?” Halsey referred to Wolfe’s description of the seventies as the “me” generation, highlighting the belief that “inside every human being, however unprepossessing, there is a glorious, talented and overwhelmingly attractive personality [which] will be revealed in all its splendor if the individual just forgets about courtesy, cooperativeness and consideration for others and proceeds to do exactly what he or she feels like doing.”
The problem, as Halsey pointed out, is not that there are not attractive characteristics in everyone (or at least in most people) but that human nature consists even more basically of “a mess of unruly primitive elements” which spoil the “self-discovery.” These unruly elements need to be overcome, not indulged. And this means that the attractive personalities we seek really are not there to be discovered but rather are natures that need to be developed through choices, hard work, and lasting commitments to others. When we ask “What’s wrong with me?” it is the “me, me, me” that is the problem.
This affects our relationships with other people too, because it makes our world impersonal. Charles Reich in his best-selling book The Greening of America wrote:
Modern living has obliterated place, locality and neighborhood, and given us the anonymous separateness of our existence. The family, the most basic social system, has been ruthlessly stripped to its functional essentials. Friendship has been coated over with a layer of impenetrable artificiality as men strive to live roles designed for them. Protocol, competition, hostility, and fear have replaced the warmth of the circle of affection which might sustain man against a hostile environment.… America [has become] one vast, terrifying anti-community.
The Christian Doctrine of Man
The Christian answer to this is the biblical doctrine of man, which means that if we are to have renewed minds in this area, we need to stop thinking about ourselves and other people as the world does and instead begin operating within a biblical framework.
When we turn to the Bible to see what it has to say about human beings, we find two surprising things. First, we find that man is a uniquely valuable being, far more important than the humanists imagine him to be. But, second, in his fallen condition we also find that he is much worse than the humanists suppose.
Let’s take the fact that human beings are more valuable than humanists imagine first. The Bible teaches this at the very beginning of Genesis when it reports God as saying, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). We are then told, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (v. 27).
In ancient times books were copied by hand with rough letters. There was no typesetting, so it was not possible to emphasize one idea over another by such devices as italics, capital letters, boldface, and centered headings. Instead emphasis was made by repetition. For example, when Jesus wanted to stress something as unusually important, he began with the words “verily, verily” or “truly, truly.” We have the same thing in the first chapter of Genesis with the phrases “in our image,” “in his own image,” and “in the image of God.” That idea is repeated three times, which is a way of saying that man being created in God’s image is important. It is what makes man distinct from the animals. He is to value this distinction greatly.
Just a few chapters later in Genesis, the fact that man is made in God’s image is given as the reason why we are not to murder other people and why murderers should be punished by death, since they devalue another individual’s life, taking it lightly: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Gen. 9:6).
Bible students have debated the full meaning of what it means to be made in the image of God for centuries. This is not surprising since being made in God’s image means to be like God and God is above and far beyond us, beyond even our full understanding. Nevertheless, we can know a few things:
Perhaps at this point we are beginning to see why secular humanism is so bad and not just a less attractive option than Christianity. Humanism sounds like it is focusing on man and elevating man, but it actually strips away the most valuable parts of human nature. As far as personality goes, it reduces us to mere animal urges, as Sigmund Freud tried to do. Regarding morality, instead of remaining responsible moral agents, which is our glory, we are turned into mere products of our environment or our genetic makeup, as B. F. Skinner asserts. As far as spirituality is concerned, how can we maintain a relationship to God if there is no God and we are made the measure of all things?
To refer again to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in humanism “things higher, warmer, and purer” are drowned out by “today’s mass living habits and TV stupor.” We can make engrossing five-minute TV videos or commercials, but we no longer build cathedrals.
The Doctrine of the Fall
What is the problem, then? If human beings are more important and more valuable than the humanists imagine, why is it that things are so bad? The answer is the Christian doctrine of sin, which tells us that although people are more valuable than secularists imagine, they are in worse trouble than the humanists can admit. We have been made in God’s image, but we have lost that image, which means that we are no longer fully human or as human as God intends us to be. We are fallen creatures.
Here I think of something I wrote about in the first volume of these studies, when I was looking closely at Romans 1. Romans 1 is about human beings falling down a steep slippery slope when they abandon God, and I pointed out that the conceptual framework for this downbound slide is found in Psalm 8. Psalm 8 both begins and ends with the words: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth” (vv. 1, 9). In the middle it talks about the created order. So the beginning and ending teach that everything begins and ends with God, rather than with man, and that if we think clearly we will agree with this.
Then it describes men and women particularly:
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field.
These verses fix man at a very interesting place in the created order: lower than the angels (“the heavenly beings”) but higher than the animals—somewhere in between. This is what Thomas Aquinas saw when he described man as a mediating being. He is like the angels in that he has a soul. He is like the beasts in that he has a body. The angels have souls but not bodies, while the animals have bodies but not souls.
But here is the point. Although man is a mediating being, created to be somewhere between the angels and the animals, in Psalm 8 he is nevertheless described as being somewhat lower than the angels rather than as being somewhat higher than the beasts, which means that he is destined to look not downward to the beasts, but upward to the angels and beyond them to God and so to become increasingly like him. But if we will not look up, if we reject God, as secularism does, then we will inevitably look downward and so become increasingly like the lower creatures and behave like them. We will become beastlike, which is exactly what is happening in our society. People are acting like animals, and even worse.
Over the last few decades I have noticed that our culture is tending to justify bad human behavior on the ground that we are, after all, just animals. I saw an article in a scientific journal about a certain kind of duck. Two scientists had been observing a family of these ducks, and they reported something in this duck family that they called “gang rape.” I am sure they did not want to excuse this crime among humans by the comparison they were making, but they were suggesting that gang rape among humans is at least understandable given our animal ancestry. The inference comes from the evolutionary, naturalistic worldview they espoused.
A story of a similar nature appeared in the September 6, 1982, issue of Newsweek magazine. It was accompanied by a picture of an adult baboon holding a dead infant baboon, and over this there was a headline that read: “Biologists Say Infanticide Is as Normal as the Sex Drive—And That Most Animals, Including Man, Practice It.” The title is as revealing in its way as Carl Sagan’s “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” It identifies man as an animal, and it justifies his behavior on the basis of that identification. The sequence of thought goes like this: (1) Man is an animal, (2) Animals kill their offspring, (3) Therefore, it is all right (or at least understandable) that human beings kill their offspring.
The argument is fallacious, of course. Most animals do not kill their offspring. They protect their young and care for them. But even if in a few instances some animals do kill their offspring, this is still not comparable to the crimes of which human beings are capable. In the United States alone we kill over one and a half million babies each year by abortion—usually just for the convenience of the mother. And the number of outright murders is soaring.
The Doctrine of Redemption
My point in these last two studies has been that renewing our minds begins with understanding and applying the great Christian doctrines, and thus far we have at least touched on four of them: the doctrines of God, revelation, man, and the fall. This is a proper starting place for our thinking if we are serious about what Paul is urging upon us in our text from Romans, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
In the next study I will move on to the final phrase of verse 2 to ponder what it means to “test and approve what God’s will is.” But before I do that I want to mention the doctrine of redemption, without which nothing in either of these last two studies would be complete.
The doctrine of redemption—the fact that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)—infinitely intensifies everything I have been saying about man being both more valuable than the humanists can imagine as well as also being worse than they can possibly suppose.
The doctrine of redemption intensifies man’s value because it teaches that even in his fallen state, a condition in which he hates God and kills his fellow creatures, man is still so valuable to God that God planned for and carried out the death of his own precious Son to save him. At the same time, this doctrine teaches that man’s state is indescribably dreadful, because it took nothing less than the death of the very Son of God to accomplish it.
I want to close this study by referring again to what I regard as the greatest single piece of writing produced by the great Christian scholar and apologist C. S. Lewis. It was preached as a sermon in the summer of 1941, but it is known to us as an essay called “The Weight of Glory.” Lewis begins by probing for the meaning of glory, recognizing that it is something of the very essence of God that we desire. It is something “no natural happiness will satisfy.”8 At the same time it is also something from which we, in our sinful state, have been shut out. We want it. We sense that we are destined for it. But glory is beyond us—apart from what God has done to save us and make us like himself.
At the end of the essay, Lewis applies this to how we should learn to think about other people. We should understand that they are either going to be brought into glory, which is a supreme and indescribable blessing, or else they are going to be shut out from it—forever. Here he says, “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.… There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
What Lewis is doing in that essay is helping us to develop a Christian mind about other people, and his bottom line is that we will treat others better only if we learn to think of them in these terms.
Some time ago the staff of the Bible Study Hour prepared a brochure that compared the world’s thinking and the Bible’s teaching in six important areas: God, man, the Bible, money, sex, and success. The differences were striking, but what impressed me most as I read over the brochure was how right many of the world’s ideas seemed if not considered critically and biblically. We hear the world’s approach given out so often, so attractively, and so persuasively, especially on television, that it’s imperative that we think critically about it.
Here are some of the world’s statements we printed:
“I matter most, and the world exists to serve me. Whatever satisfies me is what’s important.”
“If I earn enough money, I’ll be happy. I need money to provide security for me and my family. Financial security will protect me from hardship.”
“Anything is acceptable as long as it doesn’t hurt another person.”
“Success is the path to fame, wealth, pleasure, and power. Look out for number one.”
How about the Christian way? From the world’s perspective the Christian way does not look attractive or even right. It says such things as:
“God is in control of all things and has a purpose for everything that happens.”
“Man exists to glorify God.”
“Money cannot shield us against heartbreak, failure, sin, disease, or disaster.”
“Success in God’s kingdom means humility and service to others.”
Because we are so much part of the world and so little like Jesus Christ, even Christians find God’s way unappealing. Nevertheless, we are to press on in that way and prove by our lives that the will of God really is good, pleasing, and perfect in all things.
I find it significant that this is where Paul’s statements about being transformed by the renewing of our minds—rather than being conformed to the patterns of this world—end. They end with proving the way of God to be the best way and the will of God to be perfect. This means that action is needed: God is not producing hothouse or ivory-tower Christians. He is forming people who will prove the value of God’s way by conscious choices and deliberate obedience.
This point was expressed well by Robert Candlish, one of the best Scottish exegetes of the last century. He wrote, “The believer’s transformation by the renewing of his mind is not the ultimate end which the Holy Spirit seeks in his regenerating and renovating work. It is the immediate and primary design of that work, in one sense. We are created anew in Christ Jesus. That new creation is what the Holy Spirit first aims at and effects. But ‘we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them’ (Eph. 2:10). The essence of a good work is the doing of the will of God. The proving of the will of God, therefore, is a fitting sequel of our ‘being transformed by the renewing of our mind.’ ”
God Has a Will for Each of Us
This last part of Romans 12:1–2 is not difficult to handle because the points are obvious. The first is this: God has a good, pleasing, and perfect will for each of us. Otherwise, how would it be possible for us to test and approve what that will is?
But this requires some explanation. Today when Christians talk about discovering the will of God what they usually have in mind is praying until God somehow discloses a specific direction for their lives—who they should marry, what job they should take, whether they should be missionaries, what house they should buy, and so forth. This is not exactly what proving the will of God means, nor is it what Romans 12:2 is teaching. The will of God is far more important than that.
You may recall that I discussed the matter of knowing the will of God earlier in this series, when I was writing on Romans 8:27, the verse that speaks about the Holy Spirit interceding “for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” I pointed out that Garry Friesen, a professor at Multnomah School of the Bible, and J. Robin Maxson, a pastor from Klamath, Oregon, had written a very good book on that subject entitled Decision Making and the Will of God. They distinguished between three meanings of the word will: first, God’s sovereign will, which is hidden and is not revealed to us except as it unfolds in history; second, God’s moral will, which is revealed in Scripture; and third, God’s specific will for individuals, which is what people are usually thinking about when they speak of searching for or finding God’s will. These authors rightly accepted the first two of these wills, but they disagreed with the idea that God has a specific will for each life and that it is the duty of the individual believer to find that will or “live in the center of it.”
My evaluation of this book was that it is helpful in cutting away many of the hang-ups that have nearly incapacitated some Christians. Its exposure of the weakness of subjective methods of determining guidance is astute. Its stress on the sufficiency of Scripture in all moral matters is essential. My only reservation was that it does not acknowledge that God does indeed have a specific (though usually hidden) will for us or adequately recognize that God does sometimes reveal that will in special situations.
We may not know what that specific will is, and we do not need to be under pressure to “discover” it, fearing that if we miss it, somehow we will be doomed to a life outside the center of God’s will. We are free to make decisions with what light and wisdom we possess.
Nevertheless, we can know that God does have a perfect will for us, that the Holy Spirit is praying for us in accordance with that will, and that this will of God for us will be done—because God has decreed it and because the Holy Spirit is praying for us in this area.
Still, having said all this, I need to add that this is not primarily what Romans 12:2 is talking about when it speaks of God’s will. In this verse will is to be interpreted in its context, and the context indicates that the will of God that we are encouraged to follow is the general will of offering our bodies to God as living sacrifices, refusing to be conformed to the world’s ways, and instead being transformed from within by the renewing of our minds. It is this that we are to pursue and thus find to be good, pleasing, and perfect, though, of course, if we do it, we will also find ourselves working out the details of God’s specific will for our lives.
Good, Pleasing, and Perfect
The second obvious point about the ending of Romans 12:2 is that the will of God is good, pleasing, and perfect. It teaches about the nature of God’s will for us.
But there are also many specifics. The Ten Commandments contain some of these. It is God’s will that we have no other gods before him, that we do not worship even him by the use of images, that we do not misuse his name, that we remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, that we honor our parents, that we do not murder or commit adultery or steal or give false testimony or covet (Exod. 20). The Lord Jesus Christ amplified upon many of these commandments and added others. It is God’s will that we be holy (1 Thess. 4:3). It is God’s will that we should pray (1 Thess. 5:17). Above all Jesus taught that we are to “love each other” (John 15:12).
These things often do not seem good to us, because we are far from God and are still thinking in the world’s way. Nevertheless, they are good, which we will discover if we will obey God in these areas and put his will into practice. As one of the great Romans commentators, Robert Haldane, says, “The will of God is here distinguished as good, because, however much the mind may be opposed to it and how much soever we may think that it curtails our pleasures and mars our enjoyments, obedience to God conduces to our happiness.”
I was talking with a Christian man whose mother was dying. The mother was not a Christian, and she had become very bitter, although she had not been a bitter person before. She felt that everyone was turning against her, even her children, who actually were trying to help her. This man said to me, “I am convinced that Christians and non-Christians come to the end of their lives very differently. Those who are not Christians feel that they do not deserve to end their lives with failing health and pain, and they think their lives have been wasted. Christians are satisfied with what God has led them through and has done for them. It is better to die as a Christian.”
I think that is exactly right. It is what Paul is saying.
To put this in negative form, it means that if we reach the end of our lives and are dissatisfied with them, this will only mean that we have been living in the world’s way and have been conformed to it rather than having been transformed by the renewing of our minds. We will have been living for ourselves rather than for God and others.
We Need to Check It Out
The third obvious point of this verse is that we need to prove by our experience that the will of God is indeed what Paul tells us it is—good, pleasing, and perfect. We need to check it out. It is by checking it out that we will begin to find out what it actually is.
This is the exact opposite of our normal way of thinking. Usually we want God to tell us what his will for us is, and after that we want to be able to decide whether it is good, pleasing, or perfect, and thus whether or not we want to do it. Romans 12:2 tells us that we have to start living in God’s way and that it is only as we do that we will begin to know it in its fullness and learn how good it really is. Robert Candlish says, “The will of God … can be known only by trial.… No one who is partaker of a finite nature and who occupies the position of a subject or servant under the authority of God, under his law, can understand what … the will of God is otherwise than through actual experience. You cannot explain to him beforehand what the will of God is and what are its attributes or characteristics. He must learn this for himself. And he must learn it experimentally. He must prove in his own person and in his own personal history what is … ‘that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.’ ”
God’s Creatures and Probation
One of the most valuable parts of Candlish’s study is the way he follows up on this idea, noting that the idea of proving the will of God experimentally goes a long way toward explaining the Bible’s teaching about probation. This word is derived from the word prove and refers to a trial or test. According to Candlish, every order of free and intelligent being has been called upon to stand trial in the sense that ultimately it was created to prove that the will of God is good, pleasing, and perfect—or, if the creature should reject that will and fail the test, to prove that the contrary will of the world is disappointing and defective. Candlish reminds us of the following biblical examples.
Candlish speculates that the specific issue of that trial may have been the command to worship the Son of God: “When God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him’ ” (Heb. 1:6). But whether or not this was the specific matter the angels of God were to prove good, pleasing, and perfect, it is clear that many did not regard God’s will as such. It is why they rebelled against it. And even those who did adhere to God’s will must have done so not knowing then the full goodness, satisfaction, or perfection of what they were being called upon to do. They have been learning it since by their doing of it; that is, they have been learning it experimentally (cf. Eph. 3:8–11).
Candlish argues that if Adam and Eve had kept the will of God, though it did not seem desirable at that stage of their lives, “They would have found by experience that what God announced to them as his will was really in itself, as the seal of his previous covenant of life and as the preparation for the unfolding of his higher providence, fair, reasonable [and] good.… They would have learned experimentally that it was suited to their case and circumstances, deserving of their acceptance, sure to become more and more pleasing as they entered more and more into its spirit and became more and more thoroughly reconciled to the quiet simplicity of submission which it fostered.”
But they did not prove it to be such and therefore brought sin, judgment, and death upon the race.
In the garden Jesus prayed that the cross might be taken from him, adding, “Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). The author of Hebrews says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Heb. 5:7–8). In the Book of Philippians Paul speaks of Jesus humbling himself and becoming “obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:8).
Writes Candlish, “It must have been, it often was, with him a struggle—an effort—to do the will of God. It was not easy, it was not pleasant. It was self-denial, self-sacrifice, self-crucifixion throughout. It was repulsive to the highest and holiest instincts of his pure humanity. It laid upon him most oppressive burdens; it brought him into most distressing scenes; it involved him in ceaseless, often thankless toil; it exposed him to all sorts of uncongenial encounters with evil men and evil angels. But he proved it. And in the proving of it, and as he was proving it, he found it to be good and acceptable and perfect.”
Who is to do that? You are, and you are to do it in the precise earthly circumstances into which God has placed you.
How are you to do it? You are to do it experimentally—that is, by actually putting the revealed will of God to the test.
When are you to do it? Right now and tomorrow and the day after that. You are to do it repeatedly and consistently and faithfully all through your life until the day of your death or until Jesus comes again.
Why are you to do it? Because it is the right thing to do, and because the will of God really is good, pleasing, and perfect.
Candlish says this:
Of the fashion of the world, it may be truly said that the more you try it, the less you find it to be satisfying. It looks well; it looks fair, at first. But who that has lived long has not found it to be vanity at last?
It is altogether otherwise with the will of God. That often looks worst at the beginning. It seems hard and dark. But on! On with you in the proving of it! Prove it patiently, perseveringly, with prayer and pains. And you will get growing clearness, light, enlargement, joy. You will more and more find that “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” For “wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward.”
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, (12:2a)
The third element of our priestly self-sacrifice is that of offering Him our minds.
It is in the mind that our new nature and our old humanness are intermixed. It is in the mind that we make choices as to whether we will express our new nature in holiness or allow our fleshly humanness to act in unholiness.
Be conformed is from suschēmatizō, which refers to an outward expression that does not reflect what is within. It is used of masquerading, or putting on an act, specifically by following a prescribed pattern or scheme (schēma). It also carries the idea of being transitory, impermanent, and unstable. The negative mē (not) makes the verb prohibitive. The verb itself is passive and imperative, the passive indicating that conformation is something we allow to be done to us, the imperative indicating a command, not a suggestion.
Paul’s gentle but firm command is that we are not to allow ourselves to be conformed to this world. We are not to masquerade as a worldly person, for whatever the reason. J. B. Phillips translates this phrase as “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.” We must not pattern ourselves or allow ourselves to be patterned after the spirit of the age. We must not become victims of the world. We are to stop allowing ourselves to be fashioned after the present evil age in which we live.
New Testament scholar Kenneth Wuest paraphrased this clause: “Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world, an expression which does not come from, nor is representative of what you are in your inner being as a regenerated child of God” (Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955], 1:206–7).
World translates aiōn, which is better rendered “age,” referring to the present sinful age, the world system now dominated by Satan, “the god of this world (aiōn)” (2 Cor. 4:4). World here represents the sum of the demonic-human philosophy of life. It corresponds to the German zeitgeist (the spirit of the age) and has been well described as “that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale” (G. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973], pp. 217–18).
It is not uncommon for unbelievers to mask themselves as Christians. Unfortunately, it also is not uncommon for Christians to wear the world’s masks. They want to enjoy the world’s entertainment, the world’s fashions, the world’s vocabulary, the world’s music, and many of the world’s attitudes—even when those things clearly do not conform to the standards of God’s Word. That sort of living is wholly unacceptable to God.
The world is an instrument of Satan, and his ungodly influence is pandemic. This is seen in the prideful spirit of rebellion, lies, error, and in the rapid spread of false religions—especially those that promote self and come under the broad umbrella of “New Age.” “We know that we are of God,” John wrote nearly two thousand years ago, “and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). It clearly still does.
Instead, Paul goes on to say, you should rather be transformed. The Greek verb (metamorphoō) connotes change in outward appearance and is the term from which we get the English metamorphosis. Matthew used the word in describing Jesus’ transfiguration. When “He was transfigured [metamorphōtheē] before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matt. 17:2), Christ’s inner divine nature and glory were, for a brief time and to a limited degree, manifested outwardly. Our inner redeemed nature also is to be manifested outwardly, but as completely and continually as possible, in our daily living.
Like the preceding verb (be conformed), be transformed is a passive imperative. Positively, we are commanded to allow ourselves to be changed outwardly into conformity to our redeemed inner natures. “We all,” Paul assured the Corinthians believers, “with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Although we are to aspire to this outward change, it can be accomplished only by the Holy Spirit working in us, by our being “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
The Holy Spirit achieves this transformation by the renewing of the mind, an essential and repeated New Testament theme. The outward transformation is effected by an inner change in the mind, and the Spirit’s means of transforming our minds is the Word. David testified, “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:11). God’s own Word is the instrument His own Holy Spirit uses to renew our minds, which, in turn, He uses to transform our living.
Paul repeatedly emphasized that truth in his letter to Colossae. As he proclaimed Christ, he was “admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28). By receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, we “have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (3:10). Consequently, we are to “let the word of Christ richly dwell within [us], with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in [our] hearts to God” (3:16).
The transformed and renewed mind is the mind saturated with and controlled by the Word of God. It is the mind that spends as little time as possible even with the necessary things of earthly living and as much time as possible with the things of God. It is the mind that is set “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). Whether good or bad, when anything happens in our lives, our immediate, almost reflexive response should be biblical. During His incarnation, Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations by hurling Scripture back into His adversary’s face (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). Only the mind that is constantly being renewed by God’s Spirit working through God’s Word is pleasing to God. Only such a mind is able to make our lives “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual service of worship.”
The Will Must Be Given to God
that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (12:2b)
An implied fourth element of presenting ourselves to God as a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice is that of offering Him our wills, of allowing His Spirit through His Word to conform our wills to the will of God.
The Greek construction makes that you may prove a purpose/result phrase. That is to say, when a believer’s mind is transformed, his thinking ability, moral reasoning, and spiritual understanding are able to properly assess everything, and to accept only what conforms to the will of God. Our lives can prove what the will of God is only by doing those things that are good and acceptable and perfect to Him.
In using euarestos (acceptable), Paul again borrows from Old Testament sacrificial language to describe the kind of holy living that God approves, a “living sacrifice” that is morally and spiritually spotless and without blemish.
Perfect carries the idea of being complete, of something’s being everything it should be. Our wills should desire only what God desires and lead us to do only what He wants us to do in the way He wants us to do it—according to His will and by His power. Our imperfect wills must always be subject to His perfect will.
A transformed mind produces a transformed will, by which we become eager and able, with the Spirit’s help, to lay aside our own plans and to trustingly accept God’s, no matter what the cost. This continued yielding involves the strong desire to know God better and to comprehend and follow His purpose for our lives.
The divine transformation of our minds and wills must be constant. Because we are still continuously tempted through our remaining humanness, our minds and wills must be continuously transformed through God’s Word and by God’s Spirit.
The product of a transformed mind is a life that does the things God has declared to be righteous, fitting, and complete. That is the goal of the supreme act of spiritual worship, and sets the stage for what Paul speaks of next—the ministry of our spiritual gifts.
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 Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (pp. 453–455). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 773–777). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
 Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 183–184). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
A Pilot Steers Our Ship
Genesis 15:1; Joshua 1:9; Psalm 56:4; Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4; 1 Peter 3:14
Although we may be severely buffeted hither and thither by many tempests, yet, seeing that a pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
First Love God, Then Love Neighbor
Matthew 22:37–40; Mark 12:29–31; Luke 10:27
In order that love for our neighbor be entirely right, God must have His part in it; it is not possible to love our neighbor as we ought to do, except in God. Now he that does not love God can love nothing in Him. We must therefore begin by loving God, and so love our neighbor in Him.
BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Twenty-four hours of Iran’s total war in Yemen, Iraq and Syria
Iran is supporting its Houthi rebel allies and proxy in Yemen to conduct an increasing war against Saudi Arabia, the Saudi-led Coalition, and also against Yemen government forces in Marib. Twenty four hours have seen an increased offensive against Marib in Yemen, a reported ballistic missile attack on Saudi Arabia on Saturday night and an attack on a ship in the Gulf of Oman.
Gantz secretly met Jordan’s King Abdullah – report
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and King Abdullah II of Jordan recently held a secret meeting, according to a report by the Hebrew website Ynet. Last Friday, in a Zoom call with Blue and White Party activists, Gantz hinted: “I have a continuous and ongoing relationship with the Jordanian king and other Jordanian officials,” adding that “it is possible to advance ties with the nation.”
Boston Public Schools Will Suspend Advanced Classes Because Too Many Students In Them Are White Or Asian
Fourth, fifth, and sixth graders will not be accepted into advanced classes in Boston for the next year because a majority of students in those classes are white or Asian. GBH News reported that the selective program, called Advanced Work Classes, will suspend enrollment in part because of the pandemic but also because of “concerns about equity.”
Algorithmic Warfare: Spending on Quantum Tech on the Upswing
Investments in quantum technology — which use the manipulation of neutrons, photons, electrons and protons to perform tasks — are increasing worldwide and will reach $10 billion by 2024, according to an expert. “The security implications of quantum technologies, as well as the expected advantage in computing and sensing have caught the interest of the world’s governments,” said Gabe Lenetsky…
World Economic Forum Hails ‘Quieter’ Cities as Businesses Collapse During Lockdown
The World Economic Forum (WEF) faced a barrage of criticism before deleting a social media video which praised coronavirus lockdowns for “quietly improving cities around the world”. In the video, the WEF said that as a result of people using less public transport and factories closing down during the lockdown, noise and air pollution fell in cities throughout the world.
Myanmar coup: Deadliest day of protests as police open fire
Police have fired on protesters in Myanmar killing at least 18, the UN human rights office says, on the deadliest day of anti-coup rallies. Deaths were reported in several cities including Yangon, Dawei and Mandalay as police used live rounds and tear gas. Security forces began the violent crackdown on Saturday, after weeks of largely peaceful protests against the 1 February military takeover.
New UAE ambassador expected in Israel on Monday
The new United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador to Israel Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah will arrive to take up his post on Monday…The appointment of Al Khajah, who is both a high-ranking diplomat and a member of the UAE royal family, is seen in Jerusalem as a sign of the great importance the Emiratis attribute to their new relationship with Israel.
Israel Says Iran Behind Blast On Israeli-Owned Ship In ‘Initial Assessment’
“Iran is looking to hit Israeli infrastructure and Israeli citizens,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.
Care home “Covid” deaths have increased by 240% since Vaccinations began
The miraculous Covid “vaccine” roll-out began on the 8th December 2020, prioritising care home residents and staff. By the 27th January the UK Government announced that 95% of all care home residents had been vaccinated, with Matt Hancock announcing on Twitter that more than 80% of the over-80’s had received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Oxford jab.
PELOSI’S FAULT: Speaker Pelosi told Sgt. at Arms to Deny National Guard at Capitol Due to Optics – Left Building Unprotected then Lied About it- MUST RESIGN!
What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it? As reported back in mid January — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell refused National Guard support before the announced protests on January 6th.
7 Radical Demands in the Equality Act
House Democrats have passed the radical Equality Act once again, claiming it will merely amend federal civil rights law to ensure sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes, even though the Constitution already provides protection for the rights of all American citizens, regardless of their “identity group.”
UK Knife Crime Hits Record High Under Tories, 50K+ Offences Logged
Knife crime in Britain has doubled in the previous six years, rising above 50,000 incidents in a one-year period in England and Wales for the first time in the recorded history.
Muslim population of England smashes three million mark for first time ever, figures reveal ENGLAND’S Muslim population has smashed the three million mark in 2019. Some parts of London are now almost 50 per cent Islamic, according to analysis from the Office for National Statistics.
Famed Christian evangelist confronts pandemic of suicide
..”Suicide and depression were already at epidemic levels, and with the nationwide lockdowns, they’re only getting worse. And now domestic abuse, drug and alcohol problems, and anxiety (especially among children) are skyrocketing,” he said.
Financial regulators in Biden admin launch attack on digital money
Amidst the regulatory blitz of President Biden’s first few weeks, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) quietly took further steps to regulate cryptocurrencies. While the White House was busy freezing all other pending rules, FinCEN was moving forward with the extension of a new rule that would require banks and money services businesses (MSB’s) to record and disclose the identities of individuals involved in crypto transactions.
U.S. diplomat openly calls for Christian nation-states, rails against Jews
A State Department official for several years has been publicly calling for the establishment of Christian nation-states, warning that white people face “elimination” and railing against Jews as well as Black Lives Matter and other social movements.
Israel says initial assessment is Iran behind explosion on Israeli-owned ship
Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday his “initial assessment” was that Iran was responsible for an explosion on an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman.
Back In 2019 We Warned You That A Global Tax Connected With The Appearing Of Antichrist Was Coming, And Joe Biden Just Signed Off On It
FUN FACT: At the first advent of Jesus Christ, there was a global tax in place that was instituted by Caesar Augustus, who was a type of Antichrist. We read about that in Luke chapter 2 in your King James bible. Another fun fact comes to us from the prophet Daniel who tells us clearly that prior to the second advent of Jesus Christ, a second global tax will be in place with the appearing of Antichrist. The Biden administration, the only remaining holdout to a digital global tax that was rejected under President Trump, just signed off on it. We told you back in 2019 this was coming.
Democrats’ $1.9T Covid relief has over $100 million for transportation projects in N.Y., Calif.
The $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that the Democratic-led House is expected to vote on Friday contains millions of dollars in taxpayer funding for transportation projects in New York and California.
Source: 28 Feb 2021 – Rapture Ready
Gutfeld examines mainstream media’s coverage of Trump, Biden’s migrant facilities for children.
We get this every day because we are successful and trustworthy in our reporting and the communist Democrats hate it. They hate it when their lies and corrupt acts are spelled out in print or in the Big Media. Cheaters, liars, and thieves always hate getting caught.
In November we reported on a situation in multiple states where late on Election Night, in the early morning hours, hundreds of thousands of ballots were dropped for Joe Biden. Then after that point, nearly every reporting of the election results were reported at the same ratio. We created a short video to make this point.
Of course, the Democrats couldn’t let it stand so they came out with bogus articles and arguments trying to justify the obvious questionable acts right in front of us.
One such entity was factcheck.org. They posted an article where they addressed the drop and roll along with other reported potential election fraud events.
After arguing that states routinely stop counting like was done on Election Night (which was nonsense to suggest what was done this election in swing states was normal), the fact-checker next claimed the following about the large ballot drops that occurred for Biden Election Night:
Claim: “Statistically abnormal vote counts were the new normal when counting resumed. They were unusually large in size (hundreds of thousands) and had an unusually high (90 percent and above) Biden-to-Trump ratio.”
Facts: This vague claim could either be suggesting that votes were switched (a conspiracy theory we’ve repeatedly debunked and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has said is false) or that the mail-in ballots counted after Election Day were illegitimate.
Neither is true.
Since we’ve already addressed the vote-switching conspiracy theories, we’ll focus on the ballot-box stuffing suggestion.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some states made voting by mail easier in 2020. Most states normally don’t start counting mail-in ballots until Election Day, and mail-in ballots tend to favor Democrats in presidential elections. Also, in the run-up to the election, President Donald Trump repeatedlydiscouraged their use.
So there’s nothing unusual about post-Election Day votes favoring Biden.
The Spectator story might have oversold the degree to which those votes favored Biden, though.
In two swing states that keep track of the type of ballot cast for each candidate, Biden garnered more mail-in votes than Trump, but he didn’t win 90% of them. In Pennsylvania, Biden won 76% of the mail-in vote. In Georgia, he won 65% of the absentee mail-in vote.
Also, CISA has weighed in on two types of ballot-box stuffing claims, explaining that states have a variety of measures to protect against the submission of counterfeit mail-in ballots and that the number of overseas military ballots is so small — fewer than 1,000 in most states — that an influx would be easily detectable.
This is perhaps the weakest response to an issue ever made by a fake fact-checker, and here’s why:
Later the ‘fact checker’ made this claim about the ‘roll’ part of the ‘drop and roll’:
Claim: “Statistical anomalies. In Georgia, Biden overtook Trump with 89 percent of the votes counted. For the next 53 batches of votes counted, Biden led Trump by the same exact 50.05 to 49.95 percent margin in every single batch. It is particularly perplexing that all statistical anomalies and tabulation abnormalities were in Biden’s favor. Whether the cause was simply human error or nefarious activity, or a combination, clearly something peculiar happened.”
Facts: There was no anomaly.
The claim appears to be based on a post from the Gateway Pundit, a partisan website, which published data it characterized as “inconceivable” and indicative of “fraud.”
The data showed that, as the Spectator story says, Biden maintained a lead with 50.05% of the vote while Trump held 49.95% over the course of about an hour of ballot counting in Georgia.
But that’s to be expected, Charleen Adams, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told FactCheck.org in an interview.
“What they’re calling an anomaly is statistically normal,” Adams said. She examined similar claims that misinterpreted the same type of data about other states.
In the Georgia example, the data — for which Gateway Pundit didn’t disclose the source — shows information for batches of ballots counted on the night of Nov. 6.
That’s three days after the election, when most of the counting was complete. With cumulative data like this, it’s normal to see small differences in the percent shares of votes between candidates at that late point in the process, Adams explained.
In contrast to the earlier days of counting — when there are relatively few votes included in the total and there can be wide fluctuations in the lead or deficit held by a certain candidate as new batches of ballots are counted — the later days show the cumulative, almost complete vote total when the margins between the candidates have tightened and each new batch of ballots has a shrinking impact on the total balance.
The Gateway Pundit data shows tallies from one of the later days, when 89% of Georgia’s ballots had been counted and each new batch of votes did little to shift the already established balance.
“So, there’s not an anomaly in the data,” Adams said. “They’ve misinterpreted cumulative data.”
The entire rebuttal for this case comes from a fellow at Harvard, Ms. Adams. Her response shows why parents should never send their children to institutions like Harvard. Here’s why:
Ms. Adams’ overriding assumption is that there is no fraud and therefore these numbers are “normal”. But what she doesn’t consider is what if there is fraud? If there is fraud then the same activities would not be considered normal.
Ms. Adams doesn’t address the fact that votes aren’t reported as individual votes (integers) but as percents when being supplied to the media. This method is used across the country for reporting. This allows for vote manipulation.
The percents of votes for each candidate and total votes are the only values provided in the reporting data. Therefore, to determine the number of votes for each candidate you have to multiply the total number of votes by the candidate’s percentage of votes. To determine the number of votes in each reporting period for each candidate you must subtract the total number of calculated votes for each candidate from the prior reporting period from the current reporting period and the difference is the change in votes. This entire method provides for vote manipulation. This major key point is not addressed by Ms. Adams. Why are we reporting votes in a national election as percents rather than as whole numbers?
Here is an example we provided from Virginia:
Below is what was reported for Virginia on election night through the New York Times/Edison election data feed. Total Votes and %Trump and %Biden are basically all that were provided. President Trump was way ahead until the middle of the night when three 300,000 ballot dumps for Biden occurred with two dumps being reversed. (There is no logical reason for these entries – they appear to be fraudulent activities of providing Biden the lead). Overall 851,000 votes were added to Biden’s totals and only 318,000 were awarded to President Trump between 11:14 pm (Eastern) on November 3rd and 5:00 am November 4th. This resulted in over half a million more votes net and 73% of the votes going to Biden during this timeframe.
After these crazy entries, Biden was given the lead. After that point, nearly every vote recorded was at the same percent as noted below:
Here’s where Ms. Adams is wrong. She never even considers that recording and reporting votes by percentages is reasonable! She ignores this and claims, “So, there’s not an anomaly in the data,” Adams said. “They’ve misinterpreted cumulative data.” Why are we using this method in the first place?
It’s also highly suspect that the votes recorded after the large ballot drop in Virginia of half a million votes net for Biden were at the same ratio. Three entries were negative votes for both candidates, but mostly for President Trump. The only way this could happen would be if voters returned to their precincts and asked to change their votes and this just doesn’t happen in the real world. By reporting all the votes at the same percentage late in the counting, the result is not normal and the real counts are hidden in the manipulated percent of votes recorded.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., argues that the majority of the proposed package addresses ‘non-COVID’ goals.
ANALYSIS: TRUE. “Biden is not so much presiding over Obama’s third term as he is the doddering passenger riding in first class while Obama’s faithful pilots navigate. Democrats did not yearn for a President Biden; they yearned to beat President Trump and restore the status quo ante. Biden’s job is to give his people what they want: Obama policy and practice.” Which is why: Merrick Garland Heralds Return of the Obama Justice Department — Radical as Ever.
To sum up Biden’s first month in office:
Now, it’s just scary.
On Saturday, Joe Biden did it again. While attempting to list off the names of several Democrats, even he was surprised by his own forgetfulness.
“… and Representatives Shir-Shirley Jackson Lee, Al Greene, Sylvia Garcia, Lizzie Penelley, ugh, uh, excuse me, Pannill, and, ugh, what am I doing here? I’m gonna lose track here,” Biden wondered aloud. Her name is Sheila Jackson Lee… and she’s hardly forgettable. But his remark, “What am I doing here?” was very telling. Of course, we’ve all been wondering that for weeks. What is Joe Biden doing there in the most powerful position in the world?
Okay, obviously he wasn’t referring to the presidency there, but still, that off-hand remark was a stunning admission from Biden himself that he was aware of his scattered mind.
As Bonchie over at RedState noted, “there’s a reason his wife has to do joint interviews with him at an unheard-of rate.”
There’s also a reason why even Democrats aren’t comfortable with Joe Biden having the sole power to launch a nuclear attack.
Now it seems that Joe Biden is (somewhat) aware of his cognitive decline, despite repeated claims that he was mentally fit to serve. Last year, Biden fought back against questions about his mental acuity from the Trump campaign. “Look, all you gotta do is watch me, and I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against,” he said back in June.
Has Joe Biden been tested since taking office? As American citizens, we all have the right no know if he has, and what the results were.
Sky News Australia host Cory Bernardi has just taken a flamethrower to the global elite, telling us we need to be mindful “of any organization with the term “world” in their name” in a monologue which would never see the light of day in most Western nations.
After flaying the World Health Organization (WHO) for ‘giving China a free pass on the Wuhan Flu,‘ while banking $500 million on pandemic bonds, Bernardi demolishes the World Food Program, the World Meteorological Organization, the World Tourism Organization, and the World Trade Organization – for lies, misinformation and climate-related pretzel logic to justify policy.
“All these authorities are pushing an agenda – it’s the same agenda, to decarbonize, deindustrialize, and disempower the Western world. They are part of a concerted plan to redesign capitalism in a new image,” Bernardi says, adding: “That image of course is socialism.”
Spearheading this effort is the World Economic Forum (WEF) that meets annually in Davos, Switzerland.
“The WEF is the architect of the Great Reset, and the fourth industrial revolution. They coined the “build back better” hashtag, that is actually proving so popular with big government elites right across the globe,” says Bernardi. “Under the WEF vision, the Davos attendees will own what you’ll be renting. And trust me on this, it’s not gonna be a philanthropic enterprise.”
“By reducing you to a mere user rather than an owner, the world does actually become more equal, because it will concentrate power, authority and money in the hands of a tiny few, while the rest of us become mere economic vassals for these oligarchs.”
Full transcript below (emphasis ours):
There are certain warning signs that we all need to be mindful of. You know, it’s like when someone appears in your life and says ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.’ Well, another warning sign is any organization with the term “world” in their name. So let’s start with a couple. Perhaps the World Health Organization to kick it off. That’s the body that gave China a free pass on the Wuhan Flu, while at the same time banking $500 million through issuing pandemic bonds. That’s right, the World Health Organization was scheduled to repay investors around $500 million in early 2020, unless of course, a pandemic was declared. The investors lost all their money that became the World Health Organization’s gain.
Then of course there’s the World Food Program. It too is part of the United Nations and it actually won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. Now all that sounds pretty impressive, until you remember that Barack Obama won it in 2008 just for having the right skin color. And despite spending $8 billion every year on hunger and strengthening resilience against climate change, there are still 850 million undernourished people in the world, and around 780 million obese people. Clearly we need more food socialism.
Then we also have the World Meteorological Organization. It has a crew of 200 and it publishes an annual status of the world climate report, casting horror scenarios about greenhouse gasses, climate change, sea level rise, and sea ice. The 2019 report is a beauty – it essentially says that the Australian bush fires of that year were due to climate change, and makes no mention of the arsonists, or the greens’ insistent on terrible land management policies. By the way, according to the WMO, climate change is also responsible for drought, floods, storms and weather-related damage. Now that made me wonder, what caused them before the Industrial Revolution, or before mankind for that matter.
But we’re also fortunate enough to have the World Tourism Organization, which has “a one planet vision for responsible tourism.” These include the vital buzzwords “social inclusion” and “climate action.” It even has some pretty cool hashtags; #responsiblerecover and #buildbackbetter. And it boasts that by shutting down the world economy this past year, it reduced carbon dioxide emissions by a whopping eight percent. That means there’s only 92% to go before we’re back to living in caves! But saving the planet while we do it.
And of course we shouldn’t forget the World Trade Organization, with lofty goals espousing free trade. Its real mission seems not to be holding China to the same integrity requirements as the rest of the world when it comes to intellectual property protection, trade tariffs and barriers, etc. Thank goodness it has the goal to reduce inequality, which is socialist speak for “taking from the productive and giving to the non-productive.” Someone needs to tell them about history. It shows it never works.
But, for those that are unable to sustain the rigor of the real world, there is always a refuge in the World Vegetable Center. That’s right, a world vegetable center. This esteemed body devoted 20 years to researching the sweet potato before giving it away because the costs of doing that research were too high. It now focuses on “looking to the wild relatives of domesticated crops to save the human diet from climate change.” Wowee, if only we never cultivated crops the world would be better off, and the climate wouldn’t be changing!
Hey but, what about those hungry people I mentioned earlier? Wouldn’t they be even hungrier?
Well, all these authorities are pushing an agenda – it’s the same agenda, to decarbonize, deindustrialize, and disempower the Western world. They are part of a concerted plan to redesign capitalism in a new image. That image of course is socialism. And it’s spearheaded by the grand daddy organization of them all – the World Economic Forum. The WEF is the architect of the Great Reset, and the fourth industrial revolution. They coined the “build back better” hashtag, that is actually proving so popular with big government elites right across the globe. And they even predict that by 2030, you’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy. They call this ‘servitization,’ which is a term and an agenda that looks a lot like servitude to me. The WEF claim that this servitude – I’m sorry, I mean ‘servitization’ will save the planet, and assist the post-COVID-19 recovery.
However, servitization begs the question; if you don’t actually own anything, who will own what you’re renting? Well the answer lies within the WEF premiere forum – that’s at Davos. Davos is the gathering of global elites including big business CEOs, industry chiefs, government leaders, bureaucrats, and multi-billionaires with political agendas. Under the WEF vision, the Davos attendees will own what you’ll be renting. And trust me on this, it’s not gonna be a philanthropic enterprise. They’ll all be looking to make more money than they currently do, and actually to take more control of your life under the guise of equality. By reducing you to a mere user rather than an owner, the world does actually become more equal, because it will concentrate power, authority and money in the hands of a tiny few, while the rest of us become mere economic vassals for these oligarchs.
So make no mistake – servitization is just a new name for economic slavery. It’s socialism on a global scale.
Congress will consider the Equality Act, which its proponents indicate would ban discrimination toward people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While discrimination toward people created in the image of God should, indeed, be opposed, the Equality Act does so in ways that significantly disregard religious liberty concerns.
Just how far remains to be seen.
In all likelihood, based on a briefing I received yesterday, this won’t pass the Senate. However, since it will be global news today, it is still important now that we articulate our concerns.
The Equality Act will, eventually, pass. The question is what the final version will be.
I’ve spoken to members of Congress in the House and Senate, and to senior leaders in the Biden administration. Many (not all) assure me that there will be accommodations for the sincerely held religious beliefs of evangelicals, but also for Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and people of no faith for that matter.
However, that’s not the rhetoric we are hearing and seeing today, in the halls of Congress and online. And, honestly, I think there is some naivety from some that their more progressive colleagues will actually want to find a compromise.
In October 2019 following the CNN Equality Town Hall meeting I tweeted this:
2009: How is my gay marriage going to hurt you? We just want marriage equality. 2019: We want the tax-exempt status of the churches, charities, and colleges revoked for your failure to change your views on gay marriage.
As I said in an article then, in the span of one decade the goal posts have been changed from “we just want equality” to “affirm the new orthodoxy on same sex marriage––or lose tax exempt status.”
Let me be clear, I am not talking about churches losing tax exempt status, though that is exactly what some are requesting (and I was responding to Beto O’Rourke’s comment in that tweet).
Yet, it is important to note, stripping churches of their tax exempt status would not make it through Congress now or anytime in the near future. However, the Equality Act would indeed impact religious liberty and Christian mission at multiple points.
Let me explain.
Impact on Evangelicals
The Equality Act would have a significant impact on evangelical practice and mission in multiple contexts.
An article by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) stated in May 2019, “If the measure became law, many religious schools and charities would have to change their faith-based policies and practices, or face sanctions that could force them to close their doors.”
At the time, NAE president Leith Anderson wrote a letter to congress arguing the following are likely outcomes if this becomes law:
Houses of worship and other religious spaces will be turned into places of “public accommodation”; Federal funds will be denied to thousands of houses of worship, schools and charities that currently receive them; Religious adoption and foster care providers would be devastated, harming innocent children and families; Many privately funded shelters for the homeless and victims of domestic violence would be rendered illegal, ripping a hole in the social safety net; Core rights would be stripped from religious colleges and universities; Houses of worship, religious charities, and religious individuals will lose the protection of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; and Religious individuals would be forced to take part in weddings and funerals that violate their religious beliefs.
As I wrote after the Town Hall meeting:
At Wheaton College where I serve, we have a community covenant that aligns our life and beliefs. We affirm the biblical teaching that marriage is designed and created for one man, one woman, and one lifetime.
The Equality Act would in essence say that our beliefs are unacceptable and that we must change.
Not Only Evangelicals Are Impacted
But evangelicals––though making up a significant percentage of the United States citizenry––are not the only group concerned about the Equality Act.
Click here to read more.
Source: Church Leaders
Robbert Unanue, a U.S. corporate leader who experienced cancel culture firsthand in a significant way last year, became one of the first business executives to stand up and fight against a leftist mob that tried to boycott his products. “I’ve come to realize that a lot of what we’re doing is canceling God,” Unanue, an executive at the U.S. Hispanic-owned food company, Goya Foods Inc., told “American Thought Leaders” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday. “We need a reason to get up in the morning.
#LionelNation #Truth #DeathOfFreeSpeech Freedom of speech, thought, expression and belief. Unfettered, unencumbered and unplugged.
We live in unprecedented times of governmental, bureaucratic and authoritarian overreach. It is no surprise that The Federal Reserve, with its extreme counterfeiting of money and credit has also extended itself way beyond what anyone could have imagined. The Fed has sown the wind, and will reap a whirlwind of inflation. Central planning always fails. This time will be no different.
This is because the current vaccines being used in the U.S. have not been formally approved by the FDA. Rather, they’ve only received an emergency use authorization (EUA) while clinical trials continue. “While organizations are certainly free to encourage their employees, students, and other members to be vaccinated, federal…