“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
I want to say at the outset that this is not about “the names of Jesus,” or “the names of Christ,” though it certainly overlaps that discussion greatly. Furthermore, it’s not so much about specific titles or names at all, as two of the three categories here offers multiple options.
The two times I attended Young Life meetings, the speaker said it’s quite important when looking at the Jesus narrative to see the different people taking place in each scene; even to imagine yourself as part of the action. In one story, there’s a blind man, his parents, the Pharisees, Jesus, the disciples, the crowd, etc. You can read the story through the eyes of the crowd, and then go back to the beginning reading the story through the eyes (no pun intended) of the blind man.
We see that even generalizations about ‘the crowd’ are difficult. In one scene they are throwing down palm branches to welcome his unusual entrance into Jerusalem; in the next scene they are shouting, “Crucify, Crucify.” But is the ‘they’ the same in both cases? Many a sermon has been preached about how fickle the masses can be, and how when the tide of opinion about Jesus shifted after his arrest, they turned against him. However, this is important: Were those the same people?
There’s a lot more going on in that story. Why did the people just happen to be lined up along the road? Why did they just happen to be carrying palm branches? Do you see the problem? The complexities in the Jesus narrative are huge and this is what makes his life so captivating, and why, if you’re willing to put some effort into it, you can never stop studying him without learning something new each time.
So what are the identities referred to in today’s title?
Last night I watched a short education video about how the 50 American states got their names. There, I learned two new terms: endonym and exonym. The first term is the insider name that a particular place, group, or linguistic community uses as their self-designated name for themselves, their homeland, or their language. Insider terminology. The second is the designation that everyone outside the group or place uses. Wikipedia’s example is that “Deutschland is the endonym for the country that is also known by the exonym Germany in English and Allemagne in French.” The differences aren’t always simply translation. In these racially sensitive times, one would be advised to carefully consider the terms their using for people of a specific ethnicity. In reference to one term, I once heard someone say, “We can say that to each other, but you can’t say that about us.” That’s the endonym/exonym distinction.
I mentioned this to my youngest son in an email last night, and he quickly came back with the terms emic and etic. The former refers to research done on a particular group (their norms, folklore, opinions) from the perspective of someone within the group, or a behaviorist or social scientist who has embedded themself within the group. The latter term is a perspective or conclusions based on research conducted among people outside the group as to how they perceive the group or the group’s involvement in a particular situation.
So naturally, I couldn’t help think of this exchange.
NLT.Matt.16.13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
So first, Jesus asks his closest followers, ‘What’s the word on the street about me?’
Next he gets a rather diplomatic answer. “Some say…” (italics added). Were the Pharisees and Saducees included in that opinion poll? Or were they out when the pollster called? What about those who had been followers in the past, but left after the “hard sayings” or were earlier part of the “he is out of his mind” persuasion? (John 6:60 and Mark 3:31 respectively.) Verse 14b, if it existed might say something like, ‘…and others say your teaching is too stringent, your standards are impossible; and some think you’re either deceived or plain nuts; and the Pharisees are writing blog posts about how they are sure you’re a false teacher.’
So if we look at the crowd identity that Jesus has, there are multiple answers.
Then he asks them, ‘So what about you guys?’
I would expect there might have been some silence between verse 15 and verse 16. They’d seen the miracles, they’d heard the teaching. If the timeline in Matthew is correct, none of them had witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. That happens one chapter and six days later. But we know from the fuller story that Judas isn’t all in and Thomas has a bent to skepticism.
Peter’s response reminds me of the kid in Sunday School who always knows the right answer. In the days that follow, Peter’s declaration will be put to the ultimate stress test. If Peter really believes Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, then what does that mean when the heat is on him personally and the opportunity to distance himself from that messiah presents itself?
So with the crowd and with the disciples we see the potential for a variety of answers.
But what’s the third identity, if we’re saying there are three?
Well, we’ve already covered it. It’s the identity that Jesus has when he speaks of himself. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
The dichotomy of endonym and exonym or emic and etic breaks down here because there is another party to this analysis, Jesus himself; the one who is so “other;” which leads to a discussion of how he is so holy; what he knows about himself, who he is, how he was with God and was God, how he is before all things and in him all things hold together, and how he is about to show three of them some of his glory in the mountain transfiguration which follows in the next chapter.
But instead of titles and names that might terrify those first century followers, he chooses a less threatening-sounding and prophetically significant reference to the Book of Daniel, the Son of Man.
For more on that, you need to check out this 5½ minute video from The Bible Project. (See below.)
So who do you say Jesus is?
The Son of Man
Make it personal: About an hour after creating this, I realized its similarity to another teaching I heard when I was younger. Each of us also has three identities. There is how we see ourselves; how others sees us; and how God sees us. What God thinks of us is singular, but our self-analysis and that of our friends may include a multiple of adjectives depending on how we present ourselves in different situations to different people.
Does the Bible Have Mistayks? | Wretched TV Episode 2660
Todd introduces objections to the Bible which he has encountered for a long time. Atheists object to the Bible with many questions. Todd covers several of them using an animation from Road Trip To Truth. In this episode you’ll learn how to answer objections like:
The original manuscripts and their validity.
“If I see a miracle then I will believe”.
Prepare yourself for objections like these when they come up, because they are repetitive.
In my entire lifetime, this is the worst that drought conditions have ever been in the western half of the country. During the past 20 years, the amount of territory in the West considered to be suffering from exceptional drought has never gone higher than 11 percent until now. Today, that number is sitting at 27 percent. The term “mega-drought” is being thrown around a lot these days to describe what is happening, but this isn’t just a drought. This is a true national emergency, and it is really starting to affect our food supply.
Just look at what is happening up in North Dakota. The vast majority of the state is either in the worst level of drought or the second worst level of drought, and ranchers are auctioning off their cattle by the thousands…
“Normally this time of the year, we’re probably looking at 400-600 head and a lot of times would be every other week,” said former auctioneer Ron Torgerson.
On Sunday and Monday, more than 4,200 head of cattle were sold at Rugby Livestock and Auction.
Needless to say, ranchers in North Dakota don’t want to get rid of their cattle, but the drought has pushed prices for hay and corn so high that many of them simply have no choice.
One of those that has already been forced to sell a large number of cattle is rancher David Bohl…
As the drought continues, the price of hay and corn has gone way up. It’s more expensive for ranchers to try and supplement feed than it is to sell the cattle.
Bohl has already sold 200 of his head in the last month.
“Everybody is in the same situation, they’re going to have to sell probably 25 to 50% of them because there’s nowhere to go with them we just got no food to feed them,” Bohl said.
As cattle herds shrink all over the western half of the country, this is going to push beef prices significantly higher than they are right now.
And in many areas, they are already at ridiculous levels.
Meanwhile, the drought continues to push the water level in Lake Mead into the danger zone. According to CBS News, Lake Mead will soon hit the “lowest level ever recorded”…
For more than eight decades, the iconic Hoover Dam has relied on water from Nevada’s Lake Mead to cover up its backside. But now, at age 85, it finds itself uncomfortably exposed. Much of the water the dam is supposed to be holding back is gone.
“This is like a different world,” said Pat Mulroy, the former head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. She told CBS News senior national and environmental correspondent Ben Tracy that Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, is on track to soon hit its lowest level ever recorded.
Since the year 2000, the water level in Lake Mead has declined by a whopping 30 feet, and it is currently at just 37 percent of capacity.
The dam’s hydropower output has already been reduced by about 25 percent, and once the water level gets low enough it will stop producing electricity completely.
For the first time ever, the federal government is expected to declare a water shortage on the lower Colorado River later this summer. That will force automatic cuts to the water supply for Nevada and Arizona starting in 2022. Homeowners have higher priority and, at first, won’t feel the pain as badly as farmers.
Dan Thelander is a second-generation family farmer in Arizona’s Pinal County. The water to grow his corn and alfalfa fields comes from Lake Mead. “If we don’t have irrigation water, we can’t farm,” he said. “So, next year we are going to get about 25% less water, means we’re going to have to fallow or not plant 25% of our land.”
Unless something changes, Thelander and other farmers in the region could potentially have all water cut off in 2023.
That is just two years away.
Of course there are many farmers in California that have already been informed that they will not be getting any water allocated to them at all here in 2021. It is being projected that farmers in the state will not grow anything on 500,000 acres this year, and that is really bad news because California grows more than a third of our vegetables and two-thirds of our fruits and nuts…
Along with wildfire risks, short water supply is putting immense pressure on the state’s agricultural industry, which grows over a third of the country’s vegetables and supplies two-thirds of the fruits and nuts in the US. Already farmers are culling crops and fallowing fields in anticipation of water shortages. Karen Ross, California’s food and agriculture secretary, told the California Chamber of Commerce that she expected 500,000 acres would have to sit idle this year.
So what are we going to do if this mega-drought persists several more years and agricultural production in California is dramatically reduced for an extended period of time?
I am sure that some wise guy will post a comment after this article about importing more fruits and vegetables from South America, but South America is experiencing a historic drought too.
Needless to say, the droughts that we are witnessing are setting the stage for many of the things that I have been warning about, and the future of agricultural production in the western hemisphere is looking quite bleak for the foreseeable future.
In the short-term, this crisis is going to result in substantially higher prices at the grocery store. I know that grocery prices have already risen to painful levels, but the truth is that food prices will never be as low as they are right now.
So I am encouraging everyone to stock up while they still can.
As I have said so many times, we really struggle to feed everyone in the world during the best of years, and 2021 is definitely not one of the best of years.
Global food supplies are getting tighter and tighter, and this definitely has enormous implications for our future.
Anyone who claims that Jesus was a meek and mild religious teacher who simply told everyone to be nice and just get along with one another has obviously never read a word of the gospel accounts. Yes, he was a teacher, and yes, he could be gentle and lowly. But he was also a bold truth teller who confronted and challenged people, and routinely offended people.
Indeed, it was exactly because he spoke truth unflinchingly that he offended so many people, enraged so many people, and constantly divided the crowds. Some loved him and some hated him. But it seems no one could just remain indifferent or neutral in regard to Jesus. He was a polarising figure.
In my own personal concordance I have gathered at least 75 passages from the four gospels that speak about how Jesus caused division, upset people, stirred things up, and brought offense. So any views that we have of Jesus as a kind, loving person (which he was) must be balanced with this aspect of his character.
Because he was holy and righteous, because he was God incarnate, he hated sin and wickedness and always proclaimed truth. That will always get folks bent out of shape. So let me offer just a very small sampling of some of these passages:
Matthew 8:34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Matthew 10:34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Matthew 11:4 “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Matt 13:57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
Matthew 15:12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
Mark 3:21 ” When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Mark 6:3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Luke 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel.”
Luke 4:28-29 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.
Luke 7:23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.
Luke 8:37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
Luke 9:53a but the people there did not welcome him
Luke 12:51 “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
John 7:5-7 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do.The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.
John 7:12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.”
John 7:20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered.
John 8:40 “but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.”
John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided.
John 10:19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided.
John 11:53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
John 19:15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
And of course Jesus repeatedly told his disciples that just as the world hated him and took offence at him, the world would have the same reaction to them. So we must expect the very same treatment that Jesus got. If we are not causing offence, we may need to ask if we are truly following and representing Jesus.
I could offer plenty of commentary here, but let me stick with just one well-known commentator. R. C. Sproul. Commenting on John 11:45-12:8, he puts it this way:
We American Christians have become very artful in conflict avoidance. In the pages of the New Testament, we see the passion of the apostle Paul as he went on his missionary journeys and proclaimed the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In the midst of paganism, he unashamedly declared monotheism. The response of people in some places was to throw Paul and his compatriots into jail, to beat them, or even to stone them. But we have learned to avoid that sort of thing; we say that it just isn’t practical to be too bold in the proclamation of the gospel today. In other words, we have embraced expediency.
It has been said that the church in the United States of America has been placed on a reservation. We’re still allowed to exist; we’re still allowed to practice our faith; we’re still allowed to pray in our churches. But we are tacitly forbidden from moving off the reservation and into the public square to make public proclamations of faith.
He goes on to speak about how both Pilate and Caiaphas put pragmatism and expediency ahead of all else, resulting in the crucifixion of Jesus. Sproul continues:
Do you realize how much like Caiaphas we are? We often make decisions out of fear. We don’t want to be nonconformists; we don’t want to have people think that we’re marching to a different drumbeat; we don’t want to provoke the hostility of the world. So we remain silent….
Every time the gospel has been proclaimed boldly and accurately in church history, there has been persecution. Every time the church speaks out to confront ungodliness in the culture, there is a backlash. I have no desire to go looking for persecution and conflict, but the fact that I live so free of persecution makes me question my commitment to the things of God. I don’t like conflict, but I hate to stand among people like Caiaphas.
As I say, what is true of the master is true of the disciple. Jesus boldly and lovingly spoke truth, and for that he caused offense, he divided the crowds, and he aroused fierce enmity and animosity. If we proclaim biblical truth to a dark and needy world, we will get the very same reaction.
Sure, we are not to go out of our way looking for trouble. We are not to be unwise, ungracious and unloving as we share truth. But as I keep having to remind folks, Jesus was the wisest, most gracious, and most loving person to walk the earth. Yet in spite of this, he still received plenty of hatred, opposition and rejection.
In fact, they hated him so much they sent him to the cross. We will not escape similar reactions if we fully and fearlessly proclaim Christ and the biblical gospel. Let me offer one closing quote from Owen Strachan:
Stop twisting yourself in knots to make Christianity inoffensive. Christianity IS offensive. It comes from heaven and it rebukes our sinful world. Christ was not celebrated. He did not go out to white-glove banquets and listen to elegant dinner speeches. He preached the truth in love, he obeyed the Father, and then he was brutally crucified, hung naked as a public spectacle and a Roman warning to any dumb enough to follow him. I am so very tired of evangelicals who try to make the Christian faith palatable to the natural man. Should we be offensive and mean and obnoxiously weird as believers? No. Be a normal, well-functioning Christian human being. But please, for the love of all that is good in the world, stop presenting the Christian faith like a QVC commercial. The Christian faith is not of this world; it is divine. As such it is an offense to human pride and a stench to human self-reliance. People naturally hate it. Stop pretending otherwise. Be who you are. And let Christianity be Christian.
Politics makes a terrible substitute for a complete, thoughtful worldview.
“God has filled his world full of pleasures,” wrote C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least. Sleeping, walking, eating and drinking. It’s only when these things are twisted, Lewis argues, that they become sinful.
Now, there used to be many things we could do all day long without otherpeople minding in the least: eating fast food chicken for example, flying an American flag from your porch, rooting for a particular professional sports team or athlete, watching a certain TV network, or watching the other certain TV network.
Today all of these things are politically loaded, as is so much of life in a culture that pretends that we can’t know any real answers absolutely. To the deep, ultimate questions of life, we’re still a culture searching for the answers.
Of course, we’re a people in need of answers. Instead of finding them in the Church or in something transcendent, our culture looks largely elsewhere.
More and more we choose to find our answers in politics. I define politics here as more than just the process by which we decide how to govern. The way we understand politics today is more like a game, complete with teams—good guys, bad guys, opponents, fandom, celebrities. All of this is a problem. Politics isn’t big enough to answer the questions that we’re expecting it to.
For starters, politics certainly doesn’t tell us the truth about real people. It’s common now to think that based on who a person voted for we know everything we need to know about them. And making the problem even worse is what we do with the assumptions we make about people based on who they voted for.
It’s common now to treat another person’s politics as grounds for our acceptance and love for them, or to excuse, or dismiss, or deny their personhood. Or even hate them.
Just a few weeks ago, a New York Times opinion writer argued that violent anti-Semitic attacks in the U. S. and abroad were problematic, not because people were being attacked, but because those attacks made it more politically difficult to criticize Israel. In this view, the victims of those attacks were pawns, not people.
Just a few days after that, I shared a commentary from my friend Gerald McDermott on BreakPoint about President Biden’s speech impediment. We received many positive comments about the commentary, but we also received many many negative ones from listeners asserting that we shouldn’t give any cover whatsoever for Biden in any form. That Biden’s terrible politics somehow excuses us from having to treat him with dignity and compassion. In this, too, he became a pawn, not a person.
We have to note that a person with the right politics doesn’t have any more human dignity or deserve our love any more than someone with the wrong politics. Our politics don’t determine who we are. It’s that we’re made in the image and likeness of God. Our politics aren’t what makes us human. It’s who we were created to be that does.
And of course, our politics don’t tell us the full truth about ideas. Right now our government and public health experts around the world are trying to decide whether COVID-19 first leaked from a lab in China. That theory has been proposed all along—as early as last spring. But it was categorically dismissed by most of the world’s media. Not based on any information, not based on any investigation, not based on any facts, but simply because President Trump said that it might be true. Because of his politics that was treated as proof that it wasn’t true. And if we’re being fair, many others thought that because President Trump said it, that was proof that it was true.
It is culturally and personally dangerous to either unquestioningly accept or dismiss ideas merely because of their political context. Politics doesn’t determine reality. And of course, politics can’t tell us the whole truth about the world either. This should be perfectly obvious.
Politics are powerfully shaped by cultural taste. What was politically unthinkable 10 years ago, for example giving sterilizing cross-sex hormones to a pre-teen, is nearly politically unquestionable today. In other words, politics is just as trendy as fashion is. It’s certainly not any rock on which we can build our worldview or our ethics.
Politics first and foremost is merely a process. It’s a way to do things. It cannot give us the purpose of life. Our political views don’t make us human so they shouldn’t be the basis of determining who we are willing to do life with or are willing to forgive, or willing to learn from, or are willing to love. Having the right politics isn’t the fullness of our calling as followers of Jesus any more than having the wrong ones is eternal condemnation.
Our politics today is merely a show, a reality show that doesn’t give us the reality about us, or about the world. And let’s be honest, the show is getting embarrassing. On the other hand, the way of Jesus is abundant life, and it’s not single-pixel, one-dimensional, or fake.
Over the years, I have attempted to educate youth, college students, and adults about the need to move from a privatized faith to a public faith. In other words, when we present the Gospel, almost all of us talk about how people can have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus the Messiah. While our faith is certainly about our relationship with Jesus the Messiah, unfortunately, many Christians stop there. Thus, they don’t see their faith as a worldview. We will talk about how we move beyond having a “private”, “personal” relationship with the Lord” to viewing our faith as a gateway to an entire restructuring of one’s worldview (the way we view reality). We discuss this topic here.
“Where’s God in all of this?” Many of us have asked this question recently. Where do we turn when life seems out of control? Join us on Truth For Life as Alistair Begg examines a powerful king’s discovery of who’s ultimately in charge.
* GOD’S GIFT OF “ETERNAL LIFE” IS GIVEN TO ALL WHO SIMPLY BELIEVE IN JESUS THE CHRIST! TRUE OR FALSE? NEW – 2012 Edition
If 1 it is true, what exactly must one do to receive this gift of eternal life? In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, verse 647, the Apostle John recorded his eyewitness testimony of what Jesus Himself said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me2has everlasting life.” NKJV (everlasting life and eternal life are synonymous terms in the Bible). Jesus clearly states in this verse that anyone who believes (trusts) in Him receives eternal life. But, what is it that we need to believe about Jesus? The Apostle John makes it clear in John 20:30-31: …that Jesus is the Christ (Christ means Messiah), the Son of God; and that believing you may have life (eternal life) in His Name. (italics added); in other words, to believe in Him is equivalent to believing that He is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God. Now, notice again what Jesus said in John 6:47: “he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” He did not say will have, He said has. Simply put, God’s gift of eternal life (Ephesians 2:8) is given to believers instantaneously at their moment of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; in other words, the very second a person is persuaded of the truth about what God’s Word says a person must do to receive eternal salvation (like when the Jailer asked the Apostle Paul and Silas inActs 16:30-31 – 30…“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31So they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…) and then simply believes in Jesus Christ, he/she instantaneously possesses everlasting life [John 6:47] (it’s really that simple—nothing more and nothing less). Therefore, the correct answer to the opening question is: True!
Furthermore, the mental act of believing in Jesus Christ is all that’s needed to be saved. The very second anyone crosses the line from unbelief to belief in Jesus Christ, they are saved (that is, saved from the great white throne judgment of all unbelievers at the end of time and from being cast into the lake of fire which would be eternal separation from GodRevelation 20:11-15; John 5:24). In other words, the new believer now actually possesses God’s gift of eternal life; meaning he or she is guaranteed: 1) unending life (meaning, the believers eternal relationship with God will never end, not even at physical death); 2) resurrection to a new glorified physical body that will be immortal; and 3) eternal participation in the world to come 3(Titus 3:4-7; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20-21; John 6:38-40), all this plus much, much, much more comes with simply believing in Jesus Christ. And, it is literally impossible to ever lose your eternal life or have it taken from you (John 10:28-29), not even if you later change your mind and stop believing (if that were to happen, the born-again believer will most likely experience serious discipline from God and lose some or all of any temporal and/or eternal rewards [1 Corinthians 3:11-15] that person may have accumulated from any good works he/she had accomplished while 7in the Spirit, but you can never change the fact that you once believed; therefore, eternal life can never be lost or taken from you, no matter what!). Another way to think of it would be, if you could lose eternal life, God would not have used the words “eternal” or “everlasting” life. How long is eternal life? Forever!
It is Jesus the Christ (Messiah), who is both true humanity and undiminished deity as the Son of God in one person who is the object in the eternal salvation of the unbeliever; for all who by simple faith alone believe in Him alone, the result to the one who believes will be the instant gift of eternal life 4(John 20:30-31). It’s important to understand that belief in Him is truly a mental act of believing that Jesus’ promise of everlasting life is true and then it’s entirely up to you to believe in Him for it, when you have believed mentally in Him, that is the actual point of saving faith. In other words, the point of saving faith, the mental act of believing actually occurs before you are able to formulate in your mind what to say to God in audible words (like when you learned something new in school, you believed in your mind first then you formulated the words, in thought only, “I get it”, believing always happens in the mind first, never audibly. Therefore, the magnificence of God’s infinite knowledge 7(Omniscience) hears the unbelievers thought of belief in Christ instantly as he or she thinks it and just as instantly that unbeliever is saved (given eternal life). Hallelujah!
So far, we have reviewed what is required of the unsaved individual in order to receive eternal life. Since there is so much confusion and false teaching regarding the core of what is required of us to be saved, we need to also review what is not required. As has already been made clear, receiving God’s absolutely free gift of “eternal life” does not require anything other than to believe in Jesus Christ (Messiah), the Son of God. Therefore, one does not need to repent of one’s sins before believing in Christ (now read carefully what I am going to say next; repentance is not prohibited—it is totally OK to be repentant of your sins before and/or after one believes but the point is, it is not a necessary condition or requirement to be eternally saved—fact is, the doctrine of repentance is never even mentioned in the Gospel of John which is the only book in the Bible written primarily to those who have not yet believed in Jesus Christ; this would include those who have been deceived or are totally confused by false teaching and today’s confusing Christian rhetoric often included in alleged gospel messages in tracts & from the pulpit). If you would like a much broader explanation regarding the subject of repentance not being a requirement or condition to be eternally saved, I urge you to read the following article by Zane Hodges: Repentance.
What about water baptism? Contrary to popular thought, it too is not a necessary condition or requirement to be eternally saved. It certainly is OK to be water baptized but failure to be water baptized after one has believed in Jesus Christ does not affect the gift of eternal life in any way. An example of a reason to be baptized after one is eternally saved would be to express one’s faith publicly to his/her circle of friends and relatives; or simply just as an expression of one’s faith publicly; or like when someone intends to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, (Matthew 28:19).
Robert N. Wilkin, Th.M., Ph.D. Dallas Theological Seminary; Founder and Executive Director of the Grace Evangelical Society explains it very well in his journal article titled: He Who Believes And Is Baptized Will Be Saved – Mark 16:16. Here’s a quote from that article: In verse 16b: “Jesus didn’t say, ‘He who is not baptized will be condemned.’ Neither did He say, ‘He who does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned.’ Rather, He said, ‘He who does not believe will be condemned.’ By this our Lord made it clear that faith alone in Christ alone was necessary to avoid eternal condemnation. He said the same thing in John 3:18: ‘He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God;’ NKJV (see also John 5:24; John 6:47).” For further clarification, I urge you to read the entire article, to do so, just click the title link above. Also, I encourage you to review another excellent article with a little more detail titled: Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation? by G. Michael Cocoris
Furthermore, receiving eternal salvation does not require feeling sorry for one’s sins or to change one’s behavior before or after believing in Christ, (again, these things are not prohibited—it is OK to do so, but again, the point is they are not a condition or requirement to be eternally saved); nor is it necessary to commit the rest of one’s life to Jesus before or after believing or even to ask Jesus to come into one’s heart before or after believing. These phrases and conditions are not in the bible; when false teachers and false evangelists add to or replace what the Word of God says, it ultimately confuses at best and even can persuade the unsaved to think they are necessary conditions or requirements that he or she must do in addition to faith alone in Jesus Christ alone to be eternally saved [that is, to receive the gift of eternal life].
By adding the above mentioned extra requirements and conditions (what the Bible calls “works”), that would make salvation the result of “faith” and “works” together which is false doctrine. Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:4-5and Romans 11:6are quite clear that salvation comes by “faith alone” and not “works.” Many false teachers (Galatians 1:7-9; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15) today, in their quest to be creative in their gospel presentation, in effect are actually adding to scripture (even well intentioned pastors have adopted the use of these catchy words and phrases rather than emphasizing what the Bible says), but in reality, they are elevating their words above the Words of God (To emphasize the seriousness of adding to or subtracting from the Book of Revelation, in its closing verses, the Apostle John gave a strong warning against doing such a thing. (Revelation 2:18-19)). It is tragically unfortunate for the unsaved responder that 100’s or even 1,000’s of pastors today have picked up on these popular gimmick phrases and use them, because it only adds confusion about God’s Word regarding their eternal salvation.
It is the inspired word “believe” that the Apostle John used nearly 100 times in the Gospel of John that we need to use (e.g., John 6:47— “…he who believes in Me, has everlasting life.” and, John 3:16—“…that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”); then the 7convincing ministry of God the Holy Spirit who causes the individual unbeliever to comprehend Gospel truths, will make the information clear to anyone who responds positively to the gospel.
Sometimes we don’t realize the subtleties of our great enemy Satan (1 Peter 5:8) but we need to be constantly aware that he and his horde of demons 7(fallen angels) are extremely active in the world today. These demons are the ones whose responsibility it is to carry out Satan’s counterfeit deceptions; consequently, they target the very core of the gospel message of the Lord Jesus Christ, because they want to blind the unsaved to the truth of the saving gospel message (2 Corinthians 11:3; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15), and also, to distract born-again believers from fulfilling God’s plan of pursuing and reaching spiritual maturity. I cannot think of a better way to deceive the unsaved than by influencing well intending preachers and evangelists to alter what scripture says about what we must do and believe to be eternally saved. (1 Timothy 4:1)
Ask yourself this question: How often do I look up sermon support passages at home after church or from articles like this one? Many communicators of God’s Word quote scripture related to the gospel correctly from the pulpit but then turn right around and say in their “invitation” at the end of their sermon something like the following): “you can be saved right now, right where you sit, all you need do is, “ask Jesus to come into your heart,” or they might say: “first repent of your sins and then invite Jesus into your heart;” or even “invite Jesus to become the Lord of your life—to rule and reign in your heart from this day forward.” Many times, the responder is so emotionally charged by this kind of alter call, he/she just does what the preacher says to do and when they do it, they then get even more emotionally charged and joyfully think they are now born-again. To the responder’s misfortune, if a person is led to believe that they need to do three things or even two things rather than simply believing in Christ for everlasting life, they have been given false information. In other words, the added conditions and requirements may persuade the unbeliever to actually believe the false doctrine they’ve just been told about how to be saved, therefore, the person is still unsaved. Sadly, the responder does not realize it, they think, based on the conditions the preacher or evangelist said they must do is the complete truth, but in fact, it is not; it is counterfeit doctrine, like what “1 Timothy 4:1” is referring to; adding to scripture by means of demon influence is what makes the doctrine false. We are born-again (saved) when we simply “believe” by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, the result will be the gift of eternal life (salvation); again, what did Jesus say in John 6:47? “…he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” [NKJV—New King James Version]. Hopefully, if the above scenarios were to happen to somebody in real life, that is, those who were originally told a counterfeit gospel, the true gospel message was presented to them accurately sometime soon after, and believed it, if they did, they would now be born-again (saved). With many people, the actual moment of faith in Christ can be a long time in coming, months or even years, before that little light (so-to-speak) in their head clicks on—like when you completely understand something you had not fully comprehended before and you think to yourself—Wow! I get it! I was one of those, I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ right away but I did what the preacher told me to do and walked the aisle at his altar call and I was very emotionally charged. I think it was around two years after I had responded to the counterfeit gospel alter call (I don’t even know the actual date I was saved), during that time period, I thought I was saved at the altar call but it wasn’t until I understood, I needed to simply believe by faith alone in Christ alone to receive His promised “eternal life” and did so and was saved.
Some unbelievers might ask: Why would a good understanding of John 6:47be of any importance to an unbeliever (e.g., agnostics, atheists, those who are totally confused, or even those of other religions)? A reasonable answer would be, because when he or she passes into the eternal future (i.e., the afterlife, the hereafter), the unbeliever will reside wherever he or she lands “forever”—that’s right “forever.” (I think even an agnostic or atheist might agree that “forever” is a long time). The Word of God tells us the human race has free-will (God will never interfere or coerce man’s free will) and all can choose to be with God forever in His 7heaven, or they can choose to remain separated from Him forever (Revelation 20:11-15)—spending eternity in the 7lake of fire, which is the final destination of all unbelievers and the fallen angels. Odd as it may sound to some, the choice is real and ours to make. However, if we don’t cognitively make the choice to believe in Jesus Christ and receive His promised eternal life during our physical lifetime, the automatic default is separation from Him and God (John 3:18), forever.
However, there are limited exceptions to the automatic default; we discern from two of God’s attributes (“Justice and Love”) that each individual human being, beginning at their 7age of mental account-ability, is volitionally responsible and will be held accountable for what they have believed in time regarding Jesus Christ and His offer of salvation. However: babies (2 Samuel 12:23), young children and those born severely mentally handicapped (Jonah 4:11) are automatically saved and will go to heaven when they die since they lack the mental capacity to reach God-consciousness [recognizing the existence of a supreme being, and able to understand the Gospel], they cannot be held accountable for their decisions, all others are without excuse.
On other discussion boards, many have expressed their views and beliefs with sincerity and respect regarding the afterlife. Many people question whether there is life after this one. Others firmly believe this is all there is and we just cease to exist at physical death. It is my contention that everyone has a faith belief in something, even the atheist and agnostic. Everyone who has expressed their beliefs in other forums that I have read say they believe in something; is not believing there is no God, a belief? Or believing we all cease to exist when we die, a belief? Or believe that mankind evolved from a single cell billions of years ago, also a belief? There are many, many beliefs. To that end, I think it is reasonable and makes good sense for an unbeliever to devote some serious time to checking out what the Word of God has to say about God’s gift of salvation and their eternal future and to do so before one’s time runs out. If one is not a believer in Jesus Christ, there is much to gain if one were to be persuaded by God the Holy Spirit’s 7convincing ministry that their long-held belief has been wrong, so there is really nothing an unbeliever can lose by seriously checking it out. According to God’s Word, when an unbeliever enters into the afterlife, it will be too late (Luke 16:22-31), belief in Jesus Christ must occur before physical death. The rich man who had died and was buried and now was in torments (5Hades—temporary hell) mentioned in the Luke verses was now very much aware of where he was now located but he could do nothing about it.
Would it not be entirely reasonable that a “just” and “fair” God would provide adequate, easily attainable, accurate and understandable information for unbelievers about Jesus’ promise of eternal life so they could make an informed decision, “for” or “against” Him? Of the 66 books of the Bible, the “Gospel of John” is the only book in the Word of God written primarily to those who have not yet believed in Christ (John 20:30-31); again, this includes those who are confused by false religious rhetoric, false religious doctrines, and/or have been persuaded to believe false information about how to receive eternal salvation. If someone has been given false salvation doctrine, believed it and is now relying on that belief for eternal life, that would make that person still not saved, would it not?
What someone chooses to believe about Christ is entirely between them and God the Father, that’s freedom of choice. However, a core purpose of this discussion group, if you decide to join, is to help provide people on the fence with accurate information (i.e., offer them key verses in scripture, provide links to articles, papers and/or audios & videos by recognized Christian scholars and through objective discussion). If those on the fence are truly open minded to God’s Word and are willing to seek the Truth and seriously consider the Word of God as that Truth, it will be God the Holy Spirit who will make it clear in the minds of the unbeliever as to whether or not the salvation information being presented to them is correct. Then, an individual will have the perfect right to decide “for” or “against” the promised salvation offer because it is their God given right to simply believe by faith alone in Christ Jesus alone and so doing, receive God’s gift of eternal life or reject Him and His promise.
Therefore, I encourage anyone who is not absolutely certain about their eternal future, not to take just my word for it, but go directly to the authoritative source, the Word of God, and read the Gospel of John, when the page opens, click on the word “more” to start at the beginning of the book; (it’s only a click away—if you’re a slow reader, consider reading a chapter a day), especially if you have never read it. It is an “eye witness” testimony of what the Apostle John actually witnessed himself about Jesus’ signs, miracles and teachings (John 20:30-31; John 21:24-25). You may not fully grasp some of the more technical words or phrases, but you should definitely get the big picture of what John’s testimony is clearly communicating. I personally favor the “New King James Version”; however, I think the New American Standard Bible is also excellent. As you read through the Gospel of John, you will read the recorded words of Jesus Christ [Christ means: Messiah], the uniquely born Son of God who became both man and God at the same time, who was crucified and resurrected to guarantee eternal life to all believers, who paid the penalty for the sins of the entire world (past, present and future) so all mankind would have the opportunity to receive the “free gift” of eternal life. The message of eternal life is proclaimed throughout the Book of John, here are just a few more examples: John 3:14-16; John 3:36; John 5:20-24; John 6:47, 35, 40, 68-69; John 20:31.
Another thought, if you are not an avid reader, is to watch the full-length feature movie: the Gospel of John (film) is a 2003 movie that is the story of Jesus’ life as recounted by the Apostle John. It is a motion picture that has been adapted for the screen on a word-for-word basis from the American Bible Society’s – Good News Bible [GNB]. This three-hour epic feature film follows John’s Gospel precisely, without additions to the story from other Gospels, nor omission of complex passages. It’s really a fantastic movie. If you want to watch it, you can do it on YouTube for free (the playlist below will take you through it non-stop—it’s a three hour movie so try to pick a time to see it through in one sitting if possible), if you have a capable monitor you can view it in HD and Full Screen, just left click the box with the arrows in the bottom right corner of the YouTube player. Or, rent it at your favorite video store. After you’ve seen the movie, then do your best to actually read the entire Gospel of John, (here’s the web address of the bible used for the movie if you want to read it on the internet:GNB – John 1:1), you will be amazed how much clearer the reading will be with your frame-of-reference able to recall the scenes from the movie. Do you remember the movie “The Ten Commandments?” Whenever you read or hear about the parting of the Red Sea, what image pops into your mind? That is how your recall will be if you read John’s Gospel after you have seen the movie. Enjoy!
If this article has sparked your interest and left you with a desire to learn more about what the Word of God says about eternal life or you wish to be a Christian contributor in our discussions, I invite you to join this group.
End Notes and acknowledgements:
* This article is an overhaul of a previous one written in early 2008 titled: “God gives the gift of eternal life to all who believe in Jesus Christ for it. True or False?” Due to substantial additions and numerous other revisions, I felt it would be best to post it as if it were a new article.
1) The word “if” has four different uses, in this case it is a first-class conditional clause which assumes the reality of the premise: “If, and it is assumed to be true.”
2) NU-Text omits in Me: NU-Text = These variations from the traditional text generally represent the Alexandrian or Egyptian type of text; they are found in the Critical Text published in the twenty-sixth edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and in the United Bible Societies’ third edition (U), hence the acronym, “NU-Text.” [From The Nelson Study Bible, copyright 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.]
3) Zane C. Hodges; KERUGMA, INC., Mesquite, TX – in his book: “Did Paul Preach Eternal Life? – Should We?” – pages: 9; 18-21, 31.
4) John states the purpose of this book. His purpose was to convince his readers that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah who fulfilled God’s promises to Israel. Jesus is the Son of God in the flesh. By believing these things, a person obtains eternal life (John 1:12). [From The Nelson Study Bible, page 1808, notes 20:31, copyright 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.]
5) Torments: the temporary subterranean holding cell which remains the place of abode for all dead unbelievers from all eras of human history, until the 7great white throne judgment; after their judgment, the unbelievers will be transferred to the 7lake of fire(or Gehenna) (Revelation 20:15). Chafer Theological Seminary—Glossary of Terms.
6) All Bible verse hover pop-up and hyperlinks are from BibleGateway.com and are all New King James Version (NKJV) unless otherwise noted at end of verse (only the first verse, John 6:47 is marked).
7) Word & phrase explanation hover pop-ups and hyperlinks are from Chafer Theological Seminary, Chafer Seminary’s Topical Notebook – http://www.chafer-cstn.org/home.html, December 2011.
8) The Gospel of John – Movie is from YouTube via a YouTube video player and may be subject to removal if the person who uploaded it makes changes, revisions or there are web address changes, etc. It is assumed that the up loaders of the movie have proper copyright permission to post it on YouTube.
The following link is an additional gospel message describing how one can receive God’s free gift of eternal life: Ticket to Heaven was written for anyone not absolutely certain about their eternal future.
This data file is the sole property of Mark W. Miller. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as “freeware,” without charge. All reproduction of this data file must contain the copyright notice (i.e., “Copyright 2008, 2010, 2012 by Mark W. Miller)
Jesus Has a World Made for Him Isaiah 66:22; Romans 5:14; Revelation 5:10
As Adam had a world made for him, so shall Jesus Christ, this second Adam—Adam being a type of him that was to come—have a world made for him. This world was not good enough for him; he has a better appointed than that which old Adam had, a new heaven and a new earth, according to the promise, where the saints shall reign.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Keep Alert While Passions Slumber Romans 6:12; Galatians 5:24; Ephesians 2:3; Titus 2:12; 3:3; 1 Peter 1:14; 2:11
It often happens that our passions slumber and become torpid, and if, while they are in this state, we do not lay in a supply of strength to enable us to fight and resist them when they wake up again, we shall be worsted in the battle.
FRANCIS DE SALES
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Imagine a circle that represents the character of mankind. Now imagine that if someone sins, a spot—a moral blemish of sorts—appears in the circle, marring the character of man. If other sins occur, more blemishes appear in the circle. Well, if sins continue to multiply, eventually the entire circle will be filled with spots and blemishes. But have things reached that point? Human character is clearly tainted by sin, but the debate is about the extent of that taint. The Roman Catholic Church holds the position that man’s character is not completely tainted, but that he retains a little island of righteousness. However, the Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century affirmed that the sinful pollution and corruption of fallen man is complete, rendering us totally corrupt.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about just what the Reformers meant by that affirmation. The term that is often used for the human predicament in classical Reformed theology is total depravity. People have a tendency to wince whenever we use that term because there’s very widespread confusion between the concept of total depravity and the concept of utter depravity. Utter depravity would mean that man is as bad, as corrupt, as he possibly could be. I don’t think that there’s a human being in this world who is utterly corrupt, but that’s only by the grace of God and by the restraining power of His common grace. As many sins as we have committed individually, we could have done worse. We could have sinned more often. We could have committed sins that were more heinous. Or we could have committed a greater number of sins. Total depravity, then, does not mean that men are as bad as they conceivably could be.
When the Protestant Reformers talked about total depravity, they meant that sin—its power, its influence, its inclination—affects the whole person. Our bodies are fallen, our hearts are fallen, and our minds are fallen—there’s no part of us that escapes the ravages of our sinful human nature. Sin affects our behavior, our thought life, and even our conversation. The whole person is fallen. That is the true extent of our sinfulness when judged by the standard and the norm of God’s perfection and holiness.
The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened. (Proverbs 10:27)
There is no doubt about it. The fear of the Lord leads to virtuous habits, and these prevent that waste of life which comes of sin and vice. The holy rest which springs out of faith in the Lord Jesus also greatly helps a man when he is ill. Every physician rejoices to have a patient whose mind is fully at ease. Worry kills, but confidence in God is like healing medicine.
We have therefore all the arrangements for long life, and if it be really for our good, we shall see a good old age and come to our graves as shocks of corn in their season. Let us not be overcome with sudden expectation of death the moment we have a finger-ache, but let us rather expect that we may have to work on through a considerable length of days.
And what if we should soon be called to the higher sphere? Certainly there would be nothing to deplore in such a summons but everything to rejoice in. Living or dying we are the Lord’s. If we live, Jesus will be with us; if we die, we shall be with Jesus.
The truest lengthening of life is to live while we live, wasting no time but using every hour for the highest ends. So be it this day.
That’s discrimination! What immediately comes to mind when you hear that phrase? It’s almost always a pejorative in the modern vernacular, and never confused with a compliment. To be accused of discrimination nowadays is overwhelmingly synonymous with the sin of partiality—showing preference for people on the basis of gender, skin color, wealth, or social standing. But the word itself is not negative.
“And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23
Have you ever tried so desperately hard to make something happen or work? You knew you should have left it up to God, but you couldn’t resist trying to fix things. That’s exactly what Rebekah was faced with. God had already promised that her youngest son would receive the blessing, yet here she was, decades later, trying to make it happen in her timing.
The irony of the situation was that if she had sat back and watched God work, she would have seen his master plan unfold without any issues. But instead, Rebekah decided to take matters into her own hands, which seemed to make the situation worse. After all, Jacob had to flee his brother’s intense wrath — such hatred that Jacob’s life was in danger. Sure, Rebekah and Jacob received what they wanted, but at the cost of committing sin and risking death. Imagine how things might have been had Rebekah done as God wanted and just watched and waited to see him work!
We can apply the same response to our lives. Perhaps God will allow us the desires of our heart — but in his timing, not ours. Instead of getting in the front seat to work things out, let God do the work. Trust in his timing. When we try to do things our way, it never pans out quite well, but when we leave it up to God, the ending is beautiful.
Dear Lord, help me to respond appropriately to every situation, knowing you will work things out. Let me trust in you.
Ask God to give you the strength and wisdom to refrain from intervening when you know he simply wants you to wait on him.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!: 2 Corinthians 5:17
December 1967, history was made when surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant in South Africa. Since then, science has advanced and the list of transplant options has grown. The science of and frequency of joint replacement has also advanced. What’s next?
What if you could have a character transplant? Who in history would you like to emulate? I’ve always been drawn to strong leaders: Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Moses and Jesus. I admire each of these men.
But wait, a character transplant is not something of the future, it already exists! This is the real nature of being a Christ-follower. It’s not an attempt to emulate Christ through self-effort but it is a spiritual relationship with God where the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in persons who place their faith in Christ. This character transplant happens as we allow God’s Spirit, the master surgeon, to remove our anxiety and replace it with peace, take our sadness and replace it with joy. The Bible has a list of transplant options. They are described as the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Just as in physical surgery, our part is realizing our need, being willing to change and trusting the surgeon’s skill. A difference is that we have 24-hour, 7-day-a-week access to the master transplant specialist, who responds to our willingness immediately. He promises to continue the work of transformation till we see him face to face!
Lord Jesus, I want to be like you. I know I need your skilled work in my life to transform my character to be like yours. Thank you that you are not only capable of doing so, but love me and desire to grant me the blessing of your continual attention each day, each moment. Thank you! Amen.
Is there an area that you would like to see God’s Spirit change? An area you know needs the touch of his skilful hands? Invite him to do a transplant. Read The Spirit Filled Life.
What some call providential openings are often powerful temptations. The heart, in wandering, cries, “Here is a way opened before me”; but, perhaps, not to be trodden, but rejected.
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Not Affirming Anything Outside the Faith 1 Timothy 6:20–21; 2 Timothy 2:18–19
I hope, by God’s grace, that I am truly a Christian, not deviating from the faith, and that I would rather suffer the penalty of a terrible death than wish to affirm anything outside of the faith or transgress the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Large fire in Jerusalem hills continues to spread, threatening nearby towns Two wildfires that broke out near Neve Ilan and Abu Gosh on the outskirts of Jerusalem Wednesday are now threatening the town of Abu Gosh and Yad Hashmona Kibbutz west of the capital. Firefighting crews are working to extinguish the flames, with four firefighting planes assisting with the effort and an additional 21 teams headed to the scene.
Rounds of violent storms to threaten north-central US meteorologists warn that the full spectrum of severe weather is possible, including tornadoes, from two rounds of violent storms taking aim at the northern Plains of the United States this week. The severe weather will occur as two potent storm systems swing out from the northwestern U.S. and slide eastward across the northern tier of the Central states. Because of the strength of the Tuesday and Thursday storm systems and the wide open spaces in the region, wind gusts may reach 80 mph in some of the storms. “Gusts with some of the storms on Thursday afternoon and night might even exceed 100 mph,
More than 100,000 acres have burned in Arizona wildfires Two growing wildfires in eastern Arizona have burned more than 109,000 acres as of Monday afternoon, according to officials at the interagency Incident Information Center. “It is a fast moving and dynamic fire,” the center’s website (InciWeb) says. Growth is attributed to the winds and the brush, such as chaparral, the center said.
Ilhan Omar equates aggressors and victims: ‘A new low’ Omar wrote “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.” former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman questioned: “How did we reach the point where a member of Congress can equate those who fight terrorism with the terrorists themselves? A new low.”
Global glitch: Swaths of web go down after outage Multiple websites went offline briefly across the globe Tuesday after an outage at the cloud service company Fastly, revealing how critical a handful of companies running the internet’s plumbing have become. (June 8) Video
Drought Conditions Favorable for Toxic Cyanobacteria Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can produce toxins that are harmful to livestock, wildlife and people. The growth of this bacteria is aided by high temperatures. Some species of cyanobacteria can be toxic when livestock and wildlife ingest them. Toxicity is dependent on the species consuming the water, the concentration of the toxin or toxins and the amount of water ingested. …cyanobacteria can be toxic to humans.
Something definitely wrong with Nasrallah,’ ex-Mossad chief says Nasrallah’s health has been rumored to be steadily deteriorating. In his recent televised speech, he looked frail and was coughing incessantly. “I don’t know if he contracted the coronavirus or not, but something is definitely wrong,” Cohen said, adding Israeli intelligence agencies were “trying to find out what’s going on.”
Tropical threat may brew by mid-June A phenomenon known as the Central American Gyre is anticipated to develop in this area later this week and this weekend. An atmospheric gyre is a large circular zone of lower air pressure that slowly spins. The Central American system can encompass thousands of square miles and sometimes overlap waters in the western Caribbean, the eastern Pacific and even the southwestern part of the Gulf of Mexico.
60 Congress members hacked, locked out of databases for weeks At least 60 members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have been unable to access their constituent data for weeks after they were targeted in a recent ransomware attack, reports first revealed Tuesday. The ransomware attack targeted iConstituent, a tech vendor used by dozens of House offices that enables lawmakers to provide constituent outreach.
Researchers identify gene linked to congenital heart disease New insight on the link between a gene called SORBS2 and congenital heart disease has been published, with findings that may help explain the cause of the disease in some patients. Some people with congenital heart disease are missing part of the long arm of chromosome 4, otherwise known as chromosome 4q.
World Vision Training Course Says Native Americans Shouldn’t Have to Repent from Idolatry World Vision, which used to be a charity organization to help fight poverty around the world, has now become nothing more than another woke organization advocating for the destruction of Christianity and its influence and the continuance of ethnocentric pagan idolatry. This guy says that all of the different ethnic groups had their own covenants with God … and that none of these groups, including Native Americans, needed to repent of their Pagan practices because they were already “very close” to Christianity.
Are We Getting Close To A Major Seismic Event On The West Coast? We haven’t seen this much seismic activity along the west coast in quite a long time, and many are concerned that this could be leading up to something really big. At this moment, scientists are carefully monitoring the area around the Salton Sea. According to the USGS, in one 24 hour period over the weekend more than 600 earthquakes of at least magnitude 1.0 shook that area of southern California… More than 600 small earthquakes have been recorded this weekend in a rural area near the Salton Sea in Southern California, with the largest having a magnitude of 5.3, a US Geological Survey geophysicist told CNN.
Hamas admits it hid military behind civilians; UNRWA finds terror tunnel under its school the IDF was tasked with protecting Israelis from a genocidal attack of over 4,000 rockets fired from Gaza targeting civilians. Recent revelations show that this task was made even more difficult by Hamas intentionally inserting military hardware and terrorists inside civilian structures in Gaza. The horrific lengths they went to were emphasized when UNRWA admitted that one tunnel used by the terrorists ran directly under one of their schools.
North Korea accuses Israel of war crimes North Korea, one of the worst human rights offenders in the world, came out with a statement condemning Israel for “killing children.” This blood libel coincided with a day established by the UN 40 years ago as another attempt to smear Israel for human rights offenses that, like the atrocities in the recent conflict, had actually been carried out by the “Palestinians.” “Israel’s horrific crime of killing the bud-like children, yet to be bloomed, is a severe challenge to the future of humankind and a crime against humanity,”
Massive sinkhole shocks Jerusalem while Israel recites Torah portion of Korah A large sinkhole suddenly opened up on Monday afternoon in a parking lot adjacent to Shaarei Tzedek (the gates of mercy) Hospital in Jerusalem. Several cars were swallowed up, falling into the sinkhole. Emergency services were called to the site and after a search, it was determined that the cars were empty when they fell into the hole. It is interesting to note that this week, Jews around the world are reading the section of the Torah describing the rebellion of Korach and the ensuing divine retribution.
‘Bennett is evil – there will be a war against him’ Haredi lawmakers railed against Yamina chairman and Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett Tuesday afternoon, claiming the new government will threaten Israel’s future as a Jewish state. Shas chief and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri accused the incoming national unity government of planning to “uproot religion” from the country. “The Jewish state is in danger,” said Deri. “It will uproot religion from the country. The new government is going to destroy the Jewish character and identity of the country which has allowed us to live together.”
Saddleback’s Rick Warren Announces He Will Step Down Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), is stepping down from his position as lead pastor of the megachurch. (Screengrab image: via CBN News) “For 42 years, Kay and I have known this day would eventually arrive and we’ve been waiting for God’s perfect timing,” Warren announced in a video to the church.
“Do not come. Do not come,” said Vice President Kamala Harris in Guatemala on Monday. It was a feeble attempt to stem the erosion of her reputation as a potential U.S. president, and an even feebler attempt to stem the humanitarian and national-security non-crisis that she and her boss, Joe Biden, have created.
“We will discourage illegal migration,” the border czar continued. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border. There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur but we, as one of our priorities, will discourage illegal migration and I believe if you come to our border you will be turned back.” Suuuuure they will, Kamala … sure they will.
One wonders whether she knows how ridiculous she sounds. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley knows, and she reminded us of the Jesse Jacksonian jingle Harris tweeted out in 2017: “Say it loud, say it clear, everyone is welcome here.”
“After years of telling migrants to come and bashing border security, Kamala Harris is now saying ‘do not come,’” Haley tweeted yesterday. “Too little, too late: over 170,000 migrants crossed our border last month. This is a crisis and her words helped create it.”
There’s an old saying — one we’re not allowed to utter any longer because of its all-too-obvious gynophobic, homophobic, and transphobic implications — that behind every successful man is a woman. But we wonder: What’s behind a doddering ol’ dolt of a man?
Joe Biden is fast finding out. As political analyst Kyle Smith writes:
Kamala Harris is playing a historic role in 2021: the nation’s first black, Asian, female vice president to serve as a sacrificial lamb.
Like many other women before her, Harris has been tasked with coming in late to clean up a mess made by her boss. Joe Biden probably wouldn’t do too well in a ‘Jeopardy!’ contest, or even on a circle-a-word puzzle, but he’s smart enough to know that when you’ve got a problem you can’t solve, you should grandly announce a plan to deal with it by … fobbing it off on someone else.
Harris, of course, was charged by Biden to stem the migrant surge at our southern border — a surge whose numbers are already the most since 2006, according to preliminary Customs and Border Protection data. So far, she’s failed miserably and predictably.
Perhaps it’d help if she actually visited the real estate she’d been charged with protecting.
Yesterday, Harris said that she plans to drop by the U.S.-Mexico border at some point, although it’s been 77 days — and counting — since Biden appointed her as border czar.
“Yes, I will and I have before,” she said during a media availability in Mexico City after meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. “Listen, anybody, especially if you’re from California you know, I’ve spent a lot of time on the border both going there physically and aware of the issues.”
That might be true. But not in her capacity as vice president. Harris is clearly over her head, clearly not ready for prime time. She couldn’t even handle a simple question from a friendly face like NBC’s Lester Holt.
“I want to be very clear,” said Harris yesterday in Mexico City, “that the problem at the border in large part if not entirely, stems from the problems in these countries. I cannot say it enough.”
Oh, yes, she can say it enough.
The “problem at the border” isn’t “root causes,” as she’s been reflexively saying the past few days. The problem is the open-borders immigration policies of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Another relic of the COVID-19 outbreak may soon be on its way out.
Seeing the success of states that have opened up their economies and are putting the brakes on the federally backed enhanced unemployment benefits, Joe Biden announced he won’t seek another extension to the program when it expires in September.
Speaking from the beach enclave of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware — a town where, much like the rest of America, employers are practically begging for applicants — Biden said that ending the unemployment program “makes sense.” Never mind that clearer heads have been saying this for months now.
Back in Washington, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki echoed her boss, saying Friday, “I think the question is, do you think Americans, given seven million are still out of work or more than that, could benefit from eight more weeks or 10 more weeks of these $300 unemployment benefits? Our view is they can and they should.” This was their reaction to a second consecutive month of disappointment on the jobs front, as expectations went unmet once again.
Seven million still out of work? Well, as The Washington Free Beacon reports, “U.S. job openings reached a record high [of 9.3 million] in April, a reflection of the ongoing labor shortage that economists blame in part on the Biden administration’s enhanced unemployment benefits.”
Even Democrats are beginning to see the connection. Business owners “want to make money, they want to be open, but they’re having a problem getting people” due to expanded unemployment benefits, said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) last month. “Every single business owner that I know that has reached out to me has talked about this as their number one issue.”
Perhaps that’s why Biden may be taking the cue of more than half the states, which have already announced an early end to the payouts. The plays to emotion and blaming of “cruel” Republicans notwithstanding, Americans seem to innately understand that we’re not fully recovered from the China virus until we regain full pre-pandemic employment — and we remain roughly seven million jobs short.
It’s likely, however, that the recalcitrant states that have Democrat governors are using the extra federal COVID funding to fatten their coffers and build their welfare system back better. As an added bonus to Democrats, this is artificially driving up wages toward their fanciful dreams of $15 an hour. In fact, The Wall Street Journal recently quoted three economists who came up with a shocking factoid: “Economists Casey Mulligan, E.J. Antoni and Steve Moore estimate in a new study that in 21 states households that qualify can receive a maximum wage equivalent of $25 an hour in cash without working. In 19 states, the maximum benefit is the equivalent of $100,000 a year in salary for a family of four with two unemployed parents. Not working is a rational economic choice.”
Needless to say, it’s a gravy train the Left would like to keep rolling.
Not only do the expanded unemployment benefits discourage people from returning to work, but they’re placing businesses already strained by the uneven recovery in an untenable position of trying to compete against generally non-taxable benefits with inflationary wages. Using the aforementioned Rehoboth Beach as an example, employers there are concerned about the sustainability of the recovery and the impact of increased wages on their bottom line. It’s a sign of a tight labor market when a convenience store chain resorts to both sign-on bonuses and free food to entice workers. (Or that they could work at a craft brewer nearby for a free case of a coveted variety of beer as a bonus.)
Come September, we’ll find out just how willing Americans are to work. By that point, schools should be back to normal and offices will be opening up to bring back the life we knew just 18 months ago. No more excuses, either for them or from an administration whose overall goals may have been thwarted by governors unafraid to trust the real science of common sense.
Carol Anderson, a leftist historian, recently released her latest book titledThe Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America. Obviously, the provocative title indicates her preconceived conclusion. “One of the things that I argue throughout this book is that it is just being Black that is the threat,” she asserts. “And so when you mix being Black as the threat with bearing arms, it’s an exponential fear.” She dubiously adds, “This isn’t an anti-gun or a pro-gun book. This is a book about African Americans’ rights.”
As Shakespeare once put it, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
While Anderson may claim her book is not an anti-gun tome, her thesis — that the Second Amendment is “racist” — belies such denials. Anderson attacks the Second Amendment by arguing that its language was intentionally crafted to ensure that slave owners had access to firearms in order to put down any potential slave rebellions, while slaves were denied the same right. She insists that the Second Amendment was “not some hallowed ground but rather a bribe, paid again with Black bodies.”
That’s spurious and ahistorical conjecture. Anderson fraudulently injects nefarious racial motives into the creation of the Second Amendment that are not supported by the plain language of the text, or by recorded debate at the time.
As David Harsanyi puts it, “This is wishful thinking. The Second is an attempt — much like the 1619 Project — to reimagine history in purely racial terms. The result is [a] tendentious polemic that suffers not only from a paucity of historical evidence, but from a dishonest rendering of the facts we do know.”
Anderson is not presenting any serious scholarship. Instead, she’s pushing a clearly biased and erroneous rewriting of history, all through the lens of “wokeness.” The result is nothing more than pure leftist propaganda passed off as “scholarship.”
Furthermore, the historical record shows that it was not Second Amendment advocates who have a history of advocating racism, but rather the proponents of gun-control. As our own Louis DeBroux notes, “Lost in all of the race-baiting recriminations is that fact that gun control laws have racist origins.” White Democrats didn’t want even free blacks to own guns, so they made it illegal.
Besides, one famous gun-toting Republican slave-freer was certainly not opposed to the Second Amendment. As her biographer Kate Clifford wrote, “Harriet Tubman carried a small pistol with her on her rescue missions, mostly for protection from slave catchers.”
The historical record is clear. The intention of the Founders in creating the Second Amendment was to codify in the Bill of Rights what was the long-held belief regarding an individual’s rights based upon English common law, including the right to bear arms to defend oneself and one’s property. This was understood to be a universal human right.
Not only is Anderson’s book dismally lacking historical accuracy, it is in fact an attack against the very concerns she claims to be seeking to protect.
Sometimes billionaires don’t pay income taxes. That’s an overstatement, but not by a lot, at least according to a supposedly blockbuster report by ProPublica. It’s a sordid tale of hypocrisy and illegal activity that seems to be as juicy a news story as one could hope for, and ProPublica aims to slow-drip the information over the coming weeks — in a transparent effort to keep generating traffic and revenue for itself.
The nonprofit journalism site reports that it “obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing.”
The top-line information is indeed astounding:
In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.
Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.
Predictably, the conclusion ProPublica reaches is that the Democrat narrative about taxes is correct:
Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.
Oddly enough, however, the billionaires strung up by ProPublica advocate Democrat policies, and spend loads of their own money to bring them to fruition. Warren Buffett in particular has advocated higher taxes while doing everything the law allows to avoid them himself. Or, as ProPublica wryly puts it, “No one among the 25 wealthiest avoided as much tax as Buffett, the grandfatherly centibillionaire. That’s perhaps surprising, given his public stance as an advocate of higher taxes for the rich.”
The hypocrisy is certainly jarring. “The difference between conservatives and progressives,” says Bill Whittle, “is conservatives say we should be paying as little tax as possible, progressives are saying we should be paying as much tax as possible, and then both sides go out and try to pay as little tax as possible.”
More than the hypocrisy, though, these socialist billionaires hate America as it was founded and are funding the destruction of Liberty.
There’s no love lost here for these guys, but let’s point out the real illegal activity — obtaining these records. ProPublica’s journalists know this, though they try mightily to cast aspersions on the billionaires instead. “The ultrawealthy,” they say, “avoid taxes, exploit loopholes and escape scrutiny from federal auditors.”
But those deductions are perfectly legal, and there’s nothing to indicate truly illegal activity on the part of these tax-filers. It is, however, against the law for the IRS to expose this private information, so either someone in the IRS illegally leaked it or someone outside the agency illegally hacked it. The IRS says it’s investigating. Either way, ProPublica swears the source was truly anonymous, and the organization has no idea about the motives of its source.
“Allow us to fill in that last blank,” write the editors of The Wall Street Journal. “The story arrives amid the Biden Administration’s effort to pass the largest tax increase as a share of the economy since 1968. The main Democratic argument for a tax hike is that the rich should pay their ‘fair share.’ The ProPublica story is a long argument that somehow the rich don’t pay enough. The timing here is no coincidence, comrade.”
Indeed, the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday began with Ron Wyden (D-Taxman) using this very story to argue that “the country’s wealthiest … have not been paying their fair share.”
Remember too that Barack Obama weaponized the IRS to hurt his political opponents. Just because Lois Lerner took an early retirement doesn’t mean there aren’t deep state actors within the IRS still leaking this kind of information to wage political warfare.
What do Democrats want to do? Joe Biden wants to further weaponize the IRS in order to crack down on fraud and tax avoidance. He claims $80 billion in greater funding for agency enforcement over a decade will help fund his radical leftist agenda with perhaps $700 billion in more revenue over that timeframe.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, want a wealth tax to rectify the inequities highlighted by this conveniently timed ProPublica story. Something tells us, however, that the tax bill for the socialists named here won’t change much even under the Warren-Sanders plan, though we also believe that plan is just the beginning of their effort to confiscate ever more money from ever more Americans.
In service to this agenda, the ProPublica story deliberately conflates income with wealth.
Ultimately, the real story boils down to the most basic motivation for the Left: envy. Leftists are perpetual victims, griping that someone else has more or better than they. If proving it means publishing illegally obtained private information, well, these fat cats had it coming. And the Democrats who want to extract the “fair share” from every American are just the ones to “fix it.”
Food for thought: “Chinese officials mishandled research and misrepresented and misinformed the public. But they did so under pain of punishment, even death, in a system designed to suppress that kind of information. In this country, constitutionally protected, free and independent scientists, bureaucrats, journalists and others did the same. What’s their excuse?” —Gerard Baker
Upright: “We continue to fall into the trap of viewing the joblessness epidemic in strictly financial terms, as if a job were only a means to a paycheck. A paycheck is important, but we know that work is about so much more. It’s one of the best pathways in life to achieving a sense of pride, purpose, and meaning because it connects us to something larger than ourselves.” —Randy Hicks
Kamala don’t care: “I — at some point — you know — we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border. So this whole — this whole — this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border. … I mean, I don’t — I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.” —Kamala Harris when challenged to answer why she still hasn’t gone to the border
Unity™: “To transgender Americans across the country — especially the young people who are so brave — I want you to know your President has your back. During Pride Month — and all the time.” —Joe Biden
Hate America first I: “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.” —Ilhan Omar, U.S. representative
Hate America first II: “I was on Long Island this weekend and … I was really disturbed. I saw you know, dozens and dozens of pick-up trucks with expletives against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and in some cases just dozens of American flags, which, you know, is also just disturbing because essentially the message was clear. It was: ‘This is my country, this is not your country, I own this.’” —New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay
Circling the wagons: “New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay’s comments … have been irresponsibly taken out of context. Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith.” —The New York Times
And last: “The single best thing Americans can do to fight the left-wing destruction of the country is to withdraw from the ‘educational’ system that is actively, deliberately miseducating them by the tens of millions.” —Dennis Prager