Daily Archives: August 17, 2021

Where Is the Power of God? | Ligonier Ministries

The last sermon Martin Luther preached was in the second week of February 1546 in his hometown of Eisleben. Two days later, he would become ill and soon after perish. In this last sermon, Luther preached with passion about his concern for Germany. He observed that after the gospel had been rediscovered—after light had dawned and pushed aside the darkness that had eclipsed it during the Middle Ages—people were now becoming somewhat jaded to the gospel. They could hear it from virtually every pulpit in Germany, but it was no longer something that ignited fire in their bones. Instead, peasants were journeying to see relics throughout various villages in Germany, which signified a return to the system of medieval Roman Catholicism.

The peasants were going to these villages because in one town, they boasted the possession of the trousers of Joseph, and another one had a vial of milk from the breast of the Virgin Mary. And so, people flocked to these places just to get a glimpse of the pants of St. Joseph and the milk of Mary the Mother of Jesus. Luther was very upset about this. He wondered, “Why in the world would peasants anywhere make an arduous journey just to see a piece of cloth that was worn by Joseph?” The answer was very simple: they were looking for power. They believed that the relics of the saints contained power—power to heal, power to forgive, and power to transform their lives.

In his dying sermon, Luther pled with the people not to be fooled by impotent articles that weren’t the real thing. He implored them not to seek after these things as if they were an improvement to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The problem that Luther had identified is that the people were departing from the power of God.

When Paul introduces himself at the beginning of his epistle to the Romans, he says that he is “set apart for the gospel of God” (1:1). That’s the first mention of the gospel in his epistle, an epistle that is itself an exposition of the gospel. Notice whose gospel it is: he is set apart to the gospel of God. Paul is saying that the gospel is God’s possession. He owns it. He is its author.

This gospel is the very gospel of the kingdom crystallized into a message about its King. The gospel is objectively about the person and work of Jesus. That’s God’s gospel. And anyone preaching any other gospel is not preaching God’s gospel. My personal testimony may be meaningful to somebody, but it’s not the gospel. The content of the gospel is Jesus.

Paul continues speaking about his indebtedness for having been set apart to preach this gospel. He’s a debtor to the Jew and to the Greek, to the wise and to the unwise, to the cultured and to the barbarian, to every place that he goes (Rom. 1:14–15). He has a debt to pay. He has an obligation to fulfill to preach that gospel.

But what he says next is what we most need to understand: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel.” Why? “For it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16).

That’s what Luther was trying to say in his last sermon. Where’s the power? It’s in the Word, and we’re looking for it everywhere else. I doubt if any of us have relic collections, but some churches seek power in adding a coffee shop to their church or pursuing the latest trendy church-growth method. These things don’t have power. There is a formula for a prosperous and successful ministry, and that formula is in preaching the Word of God in season and out of season.

Adapted from the 2008 Ligonier Ministries Pastors Conference message from Dr. R.C. Sproul titled “Preach the Word.”

Source: Where Is the Power of God?

The Cure for a Lack of Fruit in Our Christian Lives | Ligonier Ministries

The Westminster Confession of Faith insists that Christians may be “certainly assured that they are in the state of grace” (18:1) and goes on to assert that this “infallible assurance of faith” is “founded upon” three considerations:

  1. “the divine truth of the promises of salvation”
  2. “the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made”
  3. “the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are children of God” (18:2).

The possibility of “certain” and “infallible” assurance is set against the backdrop of medieval and post-Reformation Roman Catholic views that paralyzed the church with an “assurance” that was at best “conjectural” (wishful thinking), based as it was on rigorous participation in a sacramental treadmill. Few epitomized the contrast more starkly than Cardinal Bellarmine (1542–1621), the personal theologian to Pope Clement VIII and ablest leader of the Counter-Reformation, who called the Protestant doctrine of assurance “the greatest of all heresies.” What, after all, could be more offensive to a works-based and priest-imparted system of salvation than the possibility that assurance could be attained without either? If Christians can attain an assurance of eternal life apart from participation in the church’s rituals, what possible outcome could there be other than rampant antinomianism (the belief that God’s commandments are optional)?

But what exactly did the Westminster divines mean when they implied that our assurance is “founded upon” inward evidence? Behind this statement lies a practical syllogism:

(major premise) True believers demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.
(minor premise) The fruit of the Spirit is present in me.
(conclusion) I am a true believer.

It should be obvious that the subjectivity of this argument is fraught with difficulty. While the certainty of salvation is grounded upon the (objective) work of Christ, the certainty of assurance is grounded upon the (objective) promises God gives us and the (subjective) discovery of those promises at work in us. And it is this latter consideration that gives rise to one or two problems.

Theologians have made a distinction between the direct and reflexive acts of faith. It is one thing to believe that Christ can save me (direct act of faith). It is another thing to believe that I have believed (reflexive act of faith). Apart from the first consideration (that Christ is both willing and able to save) there can be no assurance of faith. Indeed, it is pointless to move forward with the discussion about assurance apart from a conviction of the truthfulness of this statement: “Christ is able to save those who believe.”

Assuming, then, that there is no doubt as to the ability and willingness of Christ to save those who believe, how may I be assured that I have this belief? The answer of the New Testament at this point is clear: there is an “obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5; 16:26). True faith manifests itself in outward, tangible ways. In other words, the New Testament draws a connection between faithfulness and the enjoyment of assurance. True believers demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, and this fruit is observable and measurable.

Four Ways of Knowing

The Apostle John addresses this very issue in his first epistle: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Apart from belief “in the name of the Son of God,” there is no point in furthering the discussion about assurance. The question at hand is, “How can I know if my belief is genuine?” And John’s answer emphasizes four moral characteristics of the Christian life.

First, there is obedience to the commandments of God. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:2–3). True faith is not and can never be antinomian.

Second, there is practicing righteousness: “You may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him” (1 John 2:29). Those who have a genuine faith will display a life of faith, a life molded and shaped by the obedience of faith. They demonstrate a desire for godliness.

Third, there is a radical breach with one’s former life. John expresses it radically (by employing a relative contrast in absolute terms): “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning” (1 John 5:18; cf. 3:6, 9). The explanation of this admittedly difficult language requires more space than is allotted here, but it is clear enough that a true and genuine faith is incompatible with a continuation in the pattern of sinful behavior that characterizes the life lived in unbelief.

Fourth, there is walking in love: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death . . . whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 3:14; 4:7). Loving our brothers and sisters is something dear to the Apostle John’s heart. After all, according to tradition, the elderly Apostle in Ephesus, carried by the arms of his disciples, was heard to repeat, “Little children, love one another.” And when asked why he kept repeating it, he answered: “It is the Lord’s command. And if this be done, it is enough.”

These four marks then collectively contribute to an assurance that our faith in Christ is genuine. But what if I cannot discern these outward evidences in myself and wonder if they are lacking? Should I then conclude that my faith is hypocritical or insincere? Yes, that is a possible conclusion. But it is not necessarily the correct conclusion, because our assessment of the evidence of outward faith in these four marks may be faulty. We may be too hard on ourselves. We may doubt what others can clearly see. Satan may cloud our thinking. The lack of consistency may lead us to conclude that no evidence at all is present. And personality and disposition may lead us to negative assessments when a more objective scrutiny deduces a different conclusion. But the possibility exists that our faith may be insincere. What then?

Faith in Evidence or Faith in Christ?

And it is here that differences of counsel appear. A predictable counsel might be, “Try harder.” It is a comment I most remember from annual school reports—“Could do better.” A person who doubts the genuineness of his faith due to inconsistency of behavior would then be urged to “be more consistent.” Read more Scripture, pray with greater fervency, love with greater altruism, and so on. But what would such counsel achieve? First of all, it is doubtful that someone predisposed to read the presence of fruit negatively would fare any better in his evaluation simply by increasing effort. But more importantly, such counsel is predisposed to commit the fatal error of viewing the fruit of the faith as the root of faith. It is fundamentally predisposed to appeal to self-justification—something for which we are all hardwired.

The counsel to “do more” in the belief that works provide the ground of assurance rather than the evidence of assurance is the path to legalism—and legalism in its proper sense. In his book The Whole Christ, Sinclair B. Ferguson urges a “gospel logic” to the effect that “there is no assurance of faith that can be experienced apart from faith.”

And it is here that one perceives a counterintuitive counsel that must be given to the one lacking assurance. To look to works (and the counsel to “do more works”) as a means of gaining assurance is essentially counterproductive and pastorally deadly. Only Christ can save us, and assurance, when lacking, must be found by looking to Him. Apart from faith in Christ, no work on our part will assure us of anything except Pharisaism.

Far from being a counsel to laxity, what this counsel intends to secure is an understanding that faith gives rise to obedience rather than obedience’s giving rise to faith. And the difference is crucial. One gives rise to legalism; the other to evidentiary, evangelical (gospel-based) works.

Abiding in Christ

Is not this counsel (to look first to Christ) precisely what Jesus said in His final word to the disciples in the Upper Room?

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5) Bearing fruit, something that Jesus identifies as keeping His commandments (15:10), is intimately related to abiding in Him. It is in the sphere of abiding in Christ and not apart from it that fruit emerges.

There is only one cure for a lack of fruit in our Christian lives. It is to go back to Christ and enjoy (yes, enjoy) our union with Him. The “love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14). The Greek verb translated here as “controls” is elsewhere rendered as “surrounds” and “hems in” (Luke 8:45; 19:43). That’s what the experience of abiding in Christ does—it hems us in to obedience. From such gracious love, compliance with His commands emerges. Disobedience drives Him away. But when we enjoy His presence, we also desire to “please him” (2 Cor. 5:9). And as we bear the fruit of this union, assurance grows.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

Source: The Cure for a Lack of Fruit in Our Christian Lives

August 17 Evening Quotes of The Day

Talk Less and Pray More
Philippians 4:6–7; James 4:2

If we would talk less and pray more about them, things would be better than they are in the world; at least, we should be better enabled to bear them, and undergo our portion in them with the more satisfaction.

JOHN OWEN

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

The Importance of Limiting Desires
Exodus 16:31–35; Numbers 11:4–6; 21:5

The people of Israel did not perceive the sweetness of every taste in the manna, though it was there, because they would not limit their desires to it alone. The sweetness and strength of the manna was not for them, not because it was not there, but because they longed for other meats beside it. He who loves any other thing with God makes light of Him, because he puts into the balance with Him that which is infinitely beneath Him.

JOHN OF THE CROSS

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

What Is Our Theology? | Ligonier Ministries

Several important convictions drive Tabletalk magazine just as they have driven the entire history of Ligonier’s ministry. One of these convictions was expressed some five hundred years ago by Martin Luther—who else?

All are theologians; that means every Christian. All are said to be theologians, so that all may be Christians.

But what is theology? And, in particular, what is our theology?

Theology

Theology is God-talk (in the best and highest sense)—thinking and speaking about God in a coherent, logical way. And for the Christian believer, that means a theology rooted in and expressive of the revelation God has given. There is therefore a right sense in which we are called to have a “theology of everything” because in one way or another the entire cosmos—the unfolding of history, the discoveries we make—are all part and parcel of the unfolding of God’s self-revelation in creation, providence, redemption, and consummation. As Abraham Kuyper noted, nothing in the cosmos is atheistic in the absolute sense. Or to cite a higher authority, “From him and through him and to him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). This is why omnes sumus theologi—all are theologians—whether we are nuclear physicists, astronauts, literature-lovers, gardeners, trash collectors, or even for that matter “theologians.” This is the privilege, the challenge, the romance of our lives—in every conceivable calling. Ultimately, to borrow Paul’s words, we are doing only one thing (Phil. 3:13). Was Paul ever doing only one thing? Surely not. But yes, he was doing only one thing but in a thousand different activities. So with ourselves. In all things we are theologians because we know that all of life is for knowing God.

But how does theology work? Perhaps an illustration may help. There is a program on BBC television I enjoy. It is called The Repair Shop, and—in the midst of so much on TV that is depressing or immoral or both—it is the ultimate feel-good show. Ordinary people bring their damaged, decayed, distorted, and well-nigh destroyed heirlooms for repair. They often tell profoundly moving stories—of why the article (which may be of little value in itself) is so important to them because of its connection to a loved one. We then watch the extraordinary skills of craftsmen and -women—experts in woodwork and metalwork, mechanical work and furniture work, musical instruments and mechanisms, soft and hard items—working what seems to be magic. Whereas people like me patch up and hope for the best, they first deconstruct and only then reconstruct and restore the long-lost glory to the precious objects. Then the wonderful denouement: we witness (and share) the various owners’ overwhelming gratitude, their praise, and often their joy as they are moved to tears as the restored object is unveiled in all its finished glory—usually from underneath a very ordinary blanket (how suggestive of a greater restoration).

Theology is the gospel repair shop. Its various “loci” or topics (God, creation, fall, providence, redemption, glorification) are, as it were, so many departments of experts that first deconstruct our personal damage and then reconstruct us until the original vision in our creation is realized. In this way, what our forefathers called the theology of pilgrimage, in which we see in a mirror dimly, becomes the theology of vision in which we will see face-to-face. Having been created in the image of God to glorify and enjoy Him forever, we will at last be made like Him.

What, then, is the content of our theology?

Our Theology

As Thomas Aquinas is reported to have said, theology comes from God, teaches us about God, and leads us to God. And since eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (and we do this only through the Spirit; John 17:3; see 14:23, 25) our theology begins (and ends) with God. It tells us who He is—one God who is three persons, the ever-blessed Trinity, in the eternal fellowship of His tripersonal being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Such theology leads to knowing His wonderful unified, simple character, which in our limited capacity we manage to grasp aspect by aspect in what we call His attributes. These are in fact only so many ways of describing His perfection, His Godness, His infinite and glorious deity.

So, our theology is a theology of the triune God who is sufficient to Himself and in Himself and who in all His self-manifestations is holy love. It is not surprising then that our theology is driven by the twin visions of the Prophet of Holiness and the Apostle of Love—in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4–5. It is a striking fact that in these two visions the whole of our theology seems to be summarized.

They reflect the Godness of God “who was and is and is to come” (Rev. 4:8) and the story of creation (v. 11): that all things in heaven and earth were made by the triune God, “the Father Almighty the Creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible” (the Nicene Creed), through His Word the Eternal Son, and by the ordering, filling, completing ministry of the Spirit who hovered over the original waters.

They provide us with a mirror in which we see our created destiny lying behind us almost unrecognizable. We were made by God for His glory and to enjoy Him—in a word, for fellowship with Him and doxology to Him. But now we find ourselves Isaiah-like overwhelmed by the discovery of who God is—the holy One—and we realize we are, like an ancient Scottish castle that has become a ruined heirloom, destroyed by the assaults of Satan. We are derelict, incapable of self-restoration, undone, and unclean. None of us is capable of opening a scroll that might contain a plan for our salvation and restoration (Rev. 5:4).

But this is not how our theology ends. God wants His image back. True, we must discover we are ruined before we can see our need for restoration work. But then our Isaianic-Johannine theology tells us that it is not a different God, but one and the same thrice-holy God whose messenger brings restoration through an altar-of-sacrifice burning coal that first incinerates and then restores. And this biblically crafted theology tells us that in his vision Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord Jesus (John 12:41). Then, since our theology holds that revelation is both progressive and cumulative, we understand that the person to whom Isaiah’s vision points is none other than the Lion of Judah, the slain Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (Rev. 5:6–10). And as we delve deeper to “learn Christ” (Eph. 4:20), we contemplate His one divine person in His two natures united in that one person, in His two states of humiliation and exaltation, and in His three offices as Prophet, Priest, and King—one Lord Jesus Christ.

In this context, we discover that something happens to us: by the seraphic Spirit, our lives are brought into living contact with Christ in His atoning sacrifice. We are forgiven and justified from the guilt of sin. And in that same moment the burning away of sin in us is inaugurated. It cannot be any other way, for as Calvin regularly noted, to think that we can have Christ for justification without having Him for sanctification is to rend Him asunder since He has been given to us for both. The Spirit unites us to one Christ who is both “righteousness and sanctification” to us (1 Cor. 1:30). Therefore, the sinner who is justified also and simultaneously shares in His death to the dominion of sin and His resurrection to a new life to God (Rom. 6:2–4). To have any other theology is to misunderstand how grace reigns “through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (5:21).

No wonder that the transcendent vision of Isaiah ends in unconditional obedience: “Here am I! Send me” (no matter how rough the road; Isa. 6:8–13). And no wonder that the vision of Isaiah echoes in John’s experience of the heavenly chant: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Rev. 4:8); and climaxes in endless adoration: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever” (5:13). It is no accident that Ligonier National Conferences traditionally end with the singing of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Yes, this is our theology. It has been Ligonier’s heartbeat from the earliest days of “The Teaching Fellowship of R.C. Sproul”—expressed now for fifty years in a multitude of ways. Here we all become part of that teaching fellowship. And this theology, our theology, becomes the divine repair shop, bringing us from ruin through redemption to final restoration. Soli Deo gloria!

This article was published in the August 2021 issue of Tabletalk magazine. You can read the entire issue for free this month on TabletalkMagazine.com.

Source: What Is Our Theology?

What Does the Atonement Mean for You? — Southern Equip

Central to the why our triune God created humans is that he created us to know him in covenant relationship and to display his glory in the world as his kings and queens (Gen. 1:26–28; Ps. 8).

But given human sin, how does God’s purpose still stand? In our sin, we—who were created to know, love, and obey the God of all glory—stand guilty and condemned before him; we cannot save ourselves. How will God forgive us, especially since “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:10)? Adam’s sin turned the created order upside down and brought on all of humanity the sentence of death (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23).

Humans, who were made for covenant relationship with God and for each other, are now under God’s righteous judgment as his enemies and objects of his wrath (Eph. 2:1–3). What hope is there for us? Our only hope is that our triune God, who does not need us, takes the initiative in grace to redeem, justify, and transform us (Eph. 2:4–7).

Contrary to non-Christian thought, we cannot save ourselves. We must never forget that the gospel message is not about self-help or our doing good for the betterment of society. No doubt, as a result of the gospel, our lives are transformed and we begin to act properly towards God and one another.

The Atonement and the Beauty of God

But, first and foremost, the gospel is about the majesty, glory, and beauty of our triune God and what he has done to redeem, justify, and reconcile moral rebels against him—who deserve nothing but judgment—and to make all things new. Apart from God’s acting in sovereign grace, the human race is completely lost and without hope. This point is especially reinforced when we remember who we have sinned against.

Given that our triune Creator and Lord is holy and just (Isa. 6:1–4; Rev. 4:8–11), the moral standard of the universe, he cannot simply overlook our sin. Think of God’s holy justice (Gen. 18:25). God is not like a human judge, who adjudicates laws external to himself; God is the law. What is true, good, and beautiful is measured against the standard of God’s own perfect nature and will.

This is why our sin is no small matter! In our willful rebellion against God, we have not sinned against an abstract force or an impersonal law, nor is our sin only viewed horizontally, that is, against one another. Above all, our sin is against God. David, for example, sinned against many people in his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and all that resulted from it, but David also rightly knew that his sin was first against God (Ps. 51:4). For this reason, Scripture reminds us that God’s forgiveness of our sin is not cheap. Instead, for God to forgive us, given who he is as the holy and just one, he must remain true to himself. He must act to satisfy his own righteous demand against us (Rom. 3:25–26).

A Crucial Central Question

But this raises a crucial question that runs from Genesis 3 throughout the entire Bible: In the forgiveness of our sin, how will God demonstrate his holy justice, covenant love, remain true to himself, and justify the ungodly (Rom. 4:5)? Scripture is clear: it is only in Christ alone, the eternal Son made flesh (John 1:1, 14) that our triune God has satisfied his own righteous demand against sinners and secured our reconciliation, justification, and redemption by his obedient life and substitutionary death (Rom. 5:1; Rom. 8:1).

To undo, reverse, and pay for Adam’s sin, our Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can do this for us. In his humanity, he is the only one who can obey for us as our covenant head. As the divine Son, he is the only one able to satisfy God’s own demand against us by paying the penalty for our sin (Rom. 6:23). Apart from his obedient life and atoning death, we have no Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:12–21; Heb. 2:5–18). But, thankfully and gloriously, because of the divine Son’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, we have an all-sufficient Redeemer who meets our every need (Heb. 7:23–28).

There is no greater news than this: Christ Jesus, as God the Son incarnate, perfectly meets our need before God by his obedient life and substitutionary death. In Christ, the triune love of God is gloriously revealed because in Christ, we receive the gift of righteousness which is now ours by faith in him. In covenant union with his people, Christ, as our covenant representative and head, obeys in our place, dies our death, and satisfies divine justice—indeed, his own justice—which is evidenced in his glorious resurrection, ascension, and pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2).

As a result, by faith alone, in Christ alone, his righteousness is ours, now and forever (Rom 8:1; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13). By faith-union in Christ, we stand complete: justified before God by the forgiveness of our sins and clothed in his righteousness (Rom. 4:1–8; 5:1–2).

All of this is to say that in fully understanding who Jesus is and what he has done for us, we see anew how God is at the center of his universe, not us. By thinking about Christ’s atoning work for us, we are reminded that our triune God of grace has planned our redemption from eternity and achieved it on the stage of human history. From beginning to end, God alone acted in majestic power and grace to provide, achieve, and accomplish our salvation by the Father’s initiative, in and through the Son, and the Spirit’s work to unite us to Christ so that his entire work is now ours (Eph. 1:3–14).

Living as Justified and Reconciled People in Christ

In light of what our triune God has done for us in Christ, what practical effect does this have on our lives? Many applications could be made, but my focus is on one specific one. As we think of God’s forgiveness of our sin in Christ and our justification before God, this puts into perspective people’s sin against us, as horrendous as they may be, and it allows us to forgive one another.

In the Lord’s Prayer, we are told to petition God for the forgiveness of our sins and to forgive others who have sinned against us (Matt. 6:12). Jesus makes it even stronger when he says: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14–15). Many have struggled with this statement as if Jesus is giving us a tit for tat relationship, but this is not what he means. Instead, we have to set the Lord’s Prayer in light of its context in Matthew, and in light of the achievement of Christ’s cross.

When we do this, we realize that our Lord is teaching his people about how we rightly relate to one another and the relationship between God’s forgiveness of our sin and our forgiveness of others.

We could say it this way: since, in Christ, we have been forgiven of our horrendous sin against the God of all glory, and that, in Christ, everything we have received is by grace, then if God has forgiven us of our treason against him, then we can certainly forgive others of their sin against us! God has done the greater thing in our forgiveness, and human sin against us is not the same as our rebellion against God.

In other words, what is assumed is that all of us have the same sin problem; namely, we stand equally under God’s wrath and judgment. Thus, before we consider what others have done to us, we must never forget what we have done to God!

Furthermore, as we consider our justification in Christ: our sin has been fully atoned and we stand clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness—which we have received by grace! (Eph. 2:8–10) As we relate to others, we must learn to forgive them because of what God, in Christ, has done for us.

Think of how this point is reinforced later in Matthew’s gospel. As Peter comes to Jesus and asks him how often he should forgive his brother who has sinned against him, Jesus answers: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:22), thus underscoring our need to forgive our brother’s sin against us over and over again. Why? Because first, God has forgiven us of the greater sin—namely, our sin before him—and we are to reciprocate in the forgiveness of the lesser—namely, human sin against us. This is not to minimize the awful nature of human sin against us. Instead, it is to remember that our greatest problem as humans is first our sin before God, our Creator and Lord, who is worthy of all our love, devotion, and obedience.

Why Are We Forgiven?

Another way we can think of this is by asking ourselves the question: If we have difficulty forgiving those who have sinned against us, do we first think of our sin before God and God’s glorious and gracious justification of our sin in Christ Jesus? Unless we see that our problem is first against God and that we have been forgiven much, we will always struggle to forgive others.

Sadly, today in the church, it seems that we can focus on what someone has done against us—either in the past or present—and not first focus on our sin before God and our justification in Christ. If you are struggling with forgiving others, first think of what God has done for you!

Editors’ note: This article originally appeared at the Crossway Blog.

What Does the Atonement Mean for You? — Southern Equip

August 17 Evening Verse of The Day

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4:24 The emphasis lies on Spirit as God’s essence. He is free from the limitations of time and space. No idols and no images need assist us in worship. True worshipers worship in spirit and truth. Truth is the ultimate reality, which only God can fully know.[1]

4:24 must worship in spirit and truth. “True” worship is contrasted with the worship regulated by the temporary provisions of the law, especially the separation of Jews and Gentiles and the requirement of temple worship at Jerusalem. The ceremonial and sacrificial aspects of the law were not false; they were temporary and provisional. Worship “in spirit” is worship in the Holy Spirit. He continues the work begun by Jesus (14:16–18; Acts 2:33). Prominent marks of the age of the Spirit are the removal of the barrier between Jews and Gentiles, and the ability of Christians to worship without the need for a temple of any kind.[2]

4:24 God is spirit means that God is not made of any physical matter and does not have a material body but has a more wonderful kind of existence that is everywhere present (hence worship is not confined to one place, v. 21), is not perceived by the bodily senses (cf. 3:6, 8), and yet is so powerful that he brought the universe into existence (cf. 1:1–3, 10; 17:5). Because “God is spirit,” the Israelites were not to make idols “in the form of anything” in creation as did the surrounding nations (Ex. 20:4).[3]

4:24 God is spirit. This verse represents the classical statement on the nature of God as Spirit. The phrase means that God is invisible (Col 1:15; 1Ti 1:17; Heb 11:27) as opposed to the physical or material nature of man (1:18; 3:6). The word order of this phrase puts an emphasis on “spirit,” and the statement is essentially emphatic. Man could never comprehend the invisible God unless He revealed Himself, as He did in Scripture and the Incarnation. must worship. Jesus is not speaking of a desirable element in worship but that which is absolutely necessary. in spirit and truth. The word “spirit” does not refer to the Holy Spirit but to the human spirit. Jesus’ point here is that a person must worship not simply by external conformity to religious rituals and places (outwardly) but inwardly (“in spirit”) with the proper heart attitude. The reference to “truth” refers to worship of God consistent with the revealed Scripture and centered on the “Word made flesh” who ultimately revealed His Father (14:6).[4]

4:24 God is Spirit … worship Him … in spirit and truth: God is not limited by time and space. When people are born of the Spirit, they can commune with God anywhere. Spirit is the opposite of what is material and earthly, for example, Mount Gerizim. Christ makes worship a matter of the heart. Truth is what is in harmony with the nature and will of God. It is the opposite of all that is false. Here the truth is specifically the worship of God through Jesus Christ. The issue is not where a person worships, but how and whom.[5]

4:24 God is Spirit is a definition of God’s being. He is not a mere man, subject to all the errors and limitations of humanity. Neither is He confined to any one place at any time. He is an invisible Person who is present in all places at one and the same time, who is all-knowing, and who is all-powerful. He is perfect in all His ways. Therefore, those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. There must be no sham or hypocrisy. There must be no pretense to being religious, when inwardly one’s life is corrupt. There must be no idea that in going through a series of rituals, God is thereby pleased. Even if God instituted those rituals Himself, He still insists that man approach Him with a broken and a contrite heart. Two more “musts” are found in this chapter—“must” for the winner of souls (4:4) and “must” for the worshiper (4:24).[6]

4:24. God is Spirit is a better translation than the KJV‘s “God is a Spirit.” God is not one Spirit among many. This is a declaration of His invisible nature. He is not confined to one location. Worship of God can be done only through the One (Jesus) who expresses God’s invisible nature (1:18) and by virtue of the Holy Spirit who opens to a believer the new realm of the kingdom (cf. 3:3, 5; 7:38–39).[7]

4:24 “God is spirit” There are several short clauses in John’s writings which describe the character of God: (1) God is love; (2) God is light; (3) God is spirit. This can mean (1) not physical; (2) not limited to one locality; (3) not related to time sequence or (4) heavenly vs. earthly.[8]

24. The necessity for distinctly spiritual worship is rooted in the very being of God: God is Spirit. In the original (πνεῦμα ὁ θεός) the subject, God, stands last and is preceded by the article. The predicate, Spirit, is the first word of the sentence, and is not preceded by the article. (Cf. our remarks on the grammatical construction of the third clause of 1:1.) The predicate is placed first for the sake of emphasis: completely spiritual in his essence is God! He is not a stone-deity or tree-deity, neither is he a mountain-deity so that he has to be worshiped on this or that specific mountain; e.g., Gerizim! He is an independent, incorporeal, personal Being. Hence, those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. Genuine worshipers not only will worship the Father in spirit and truth; they must do so. Jesus places his own must over against that of the woman (cf. 4:24 with 4:20). (See comments on verse 23 for the meaning of “worship in spirit and truth.”)[9]

24. There is another reason why this new form of worship is necessary: God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. The evangelist is not defining the essence of God; rather he is showing that God is of a different order from human beings (cf. Exod. 20:4 and the prohibition of making images of God in the likeness of people or animals): he is ‘spiritual’ (cf. Isa. 31:3) and therefore worship must be in the Spirit and in truth. To say this reinforces Jesus’ words to Nicodemus—that to see/enter the kingdom of God, one must be born of the Spirit. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Only as people are born of the Spirit, only as they receive the gift of the Spirit, can they worship God who is spirit.[10]

24. God is a Spirit. This is a confirmation drawn from the very nature of God. Since men are flesh, we ought not to wonder, if they take delight in those things which correspond to their own disposition. Hence it arises, that they contrive many things in the worship of God which are full of display, but have no solidity. But they ought first of all to consider that they have to do with God, who can no more agree with the flesh than fire with water. This single consideration, when the inquiry relates to the worship of God, ought to be sufficient for restraining the wantonness of our mind, that God is so far from being like us, that those things which please us most are the objects of his loathing and abhorrence. And if hypocrites are so blinded by their own pride, that they are not afraid to subject God to their opinion, or rather to their unlawful desires, let us know that this modesty does not hold the lowest place in the true worship of God, to regard with suspicion whatever is gratifying according to the flesh. Besides, as we cannot ascend to the height of God, let us remember that we ought to seek from His word the rule by which we are governed. This passage is frequently quoted by the Fathers against the Arians, to prove the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, but it is improper to strain it for such a purpose; for Christ simply declares here that his Father is of a spiritual nature, and, therefore, is not moved by frivolous matters, as men, through the lightness and unsteadiness of their character, are wont to be.[11]

24 Worship “in Spirit and truth” does not necessarily mean non-liturgical or noninstitutional worship, nor does it favor “inward” individual worship over “outward” corporate worship. Rather, it is worship appropriate to the nature and character of God, and if God’s nature is revealed only in “God the One and Only, the One who is right beside the Father” (1:18), then such worship is impossible until “the One and Only” has come. Now that the Revealer is present in the person of Jesus, such worship can and will become reality. The pronouncement “God is Spirit” (v. 24) is a rare instance in which Jesus actually reveals something about God, and not just that he himself is the Revealer. What he reveals is not new (although it is never explicitly stated in the Hebrew Bible or LXX). To say “God is Spirit” is not so different from saying God is invisible (1:18; 6:46), incorruptible, not to be worshiped in the form of idols or images (Rom 1:22; Acts 17:29), and that God does not live in temples made with human hands (Acts 7:48–49; 17:24). Because he has just implied that Jews know this and Samaritans do not (v. 22), Jesus’ words at one level sound like a continuation of his polemic in favor of Judaism. Yet it is more, for he is summoning Jew and Samaritan alike to a new kind of worship, and this can only mean through a new Mediator. Small wonder that when the woman replies, her first words will be, “I know that Messiah is coming, who is called Christ” (v. 25).

This new kind of worship is not something Jesus is urging on the woman, as if to say, “This is the way I would like you to worship.” It is not an option, but something that “must” occur (dei, v. 24) in the near future, just as surely as a Jew at present “must” (v. 20) worship in Jerusalem. A Jew whose worship is centered other than in Jerusalem is defining himself as something other than a Jew, and someone who worships other than “in Spirit and truth” is no “true worshiper.” The question for the woman is not “How shall we worship?” but “Who are the true worshipers?” Not the Jews and not the Samaritans, but those who “worship the Father in Spirit and truth.” They are “the kind the Father is looking for [zētei] to worship him,” Jesus adds (v. 23). This pronouncement is crucial, for by now it is self-evident to the reader that only those “born of the Spirit” (3:5, 6, 8) worship “in Spirit and truth.” It is Jesus’ way of repeating to this woman and the Gentiles what he had already said to Nicodemus and the Jews, that they must (3:7) be “born from above.” He is not so much giving advice as stating a divine necessity or inevitability. Yet there is an element of appeal here that was not present in the conversation with Nicodemus. Those who worship “in Spirit and truth” are “the kind the Father is looking for” (v. 23). God wants those who are “born from above” (3:3, 7). God wants to be their “Father,” and God wants their worship. Jesus may have implied this to Nicodemus, but he never said it explicitly. As we saw, all he gave Nicodemus was a series of impossibilities. Now he is on a mission in a sense in which he was not before. If “the Father” is actively seeking (zētei) “true worshipers” to worship “in Spirit and truth,” so too is Jesus “the Son.” Without using the imagery of shepherd and sheep, he anticipates here his role as Shepherd, bringing in “other sheep, not of this fold” (10:16), gathering into one the scattered “children of God” (11:52). This he will call a “harvest” (vv. 35–38), and he will bring it to completion in two days (vv. 40, 43). The mission is not an end in itself, but part of God’s plan for gaining “true worshipers” and true worship (see v. 34).

In just four verses, Jesus has used the verb “worship” seven times and the noun “worshipers” once. He picks up the verb from the woman’s two uses of it in her question to him as “prophet” (v. 20) and repeats it again and again. The verb “worship” (proskynein) will occur only twice more in the entire Gospel (9:38; 12:20), and seems ill suited to this exchange because it means to fall down or prostrate oneself, as before a visible object of worship (see 9:38). Such a meaning makes more sense in the woman’s question (v. 20) than in Jesus’ answer (vv. 23–24). While by no means an “oxymoron,” his answer reminds the Samaritan woman that “worship” (in the sense of falling down and prostrating oneself) is a metaphor for a state of the heart. In the prophetic tradition of “Rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:13), he is saying that “the true worshipers” are known not by their bodily posture (any more than by their place of worship), but by the Spirit’s presence among them. Readers are expected to recognize themselves in these “true worshipers,” and in so doing see themselves no longer as Jews or Gentiles, but as Christians, a “new race,” or “third race” who worship “in a new way.” This will mean worshiping God as “the Father” (vv. 21, 23) through Jesus the Son.[12]

24 We should omit the indefinite article, which some translations (e.g., KJV, Knox) place before “Spirit.” Greek has no such article, and we insert it or not in English as the sense requires. Here Jesus is not saying, “God is one spirit among many”; rather his meaning is “God’s essential nature is spirit.” The indefinite article is no more required than it is in the similar statements, “God is light” (1 John 1:5) and “God is love” (1 John 4:8). We must not think of God as material, or as bound in any way to places or things. The word order puts an emphasis on “Spirit.” The statement is emphatic. Since he is essentially spirit it follows that the worship brought to him must be essentially of a spiritual kind. Notice the word “must.” Jesus is not speaking of a merely desirable element in worship. He is speaking of something that is absolutely necessary. In view of the references to living water (which symbolizes the life-giving Spirit) in the context it is probable that this verse contains an allusion to the life-giving activity of God. This is all the more likely in that when the Old Testament refers to the Spirit of God, the usual idea is that of divine activity, not of opposition to things material. John not infrequently combines the ideas of Spirit and life (cf. 6:63). God is the living God. He is ceaselessly active as the life-giving Spirit, and he must be worshiped in a manner befitting such a Spirit. People cannot dictate the “how” or the “where” of worship. They must come only in the way that the Spirit of God opens for them.[13]

24 It is because “God is spirit” that those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. That God is spirit should not be taken as a metaphysical definition of God. Although God is a spiritual being, this statement is best understood in connection with two similar ones in John’s epistles. God is “spirit” in the same sense that he is “light” (1 Jn 1:5) and “love” (1 Jn 4:16). He relates himself to the world not only as one who brings illumination and gives himself for the benefit of the human race but also as one who carries out his purposes in the realm and through the power of the Spirit. It is precisely because God is spirit that those who would worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.[14]


[1] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Jn 4:24). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1516). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (pp. 2028–2029). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jn 4:24). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1323). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1485–1486). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 286). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] Utley, R. J. (1999). The Beloved Disciple’s Memoirs and Letters: The Gospel of John, I, II, and III John (Vol. Volume 4, p. 45). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[9] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Vol. 1, p. 168). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[10] Kruse, C. G. (2017). John: An Introduction and Commentary. (E. J. Schnabel, Ed.) (Second edition, Vol. 4, p. 151). London: Inter-Varsity Press.

[11] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 1, p. 164). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[12] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 253–255). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[13] Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (p. 240). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[14] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 413–414). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The Beginning of Wisdom — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is  understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

Thought

We look for wisdom in so many worthless and futile places. But ultimate wisdom is found only when we intentionally humble ourselves before our incredible God, giving him the reverence and worship he deserves.

Prayer

Magnificent and awesome God, the great expanse of space and the incredible intricacies of the things in your creation that are so small humble me to silence. Please forgive my lapses into ignorant arrogance and lead me in the way of your wisdom. In Jesus name. Amen.

By Phil Ware
Used by Permission
Phil’s Daily Devotions  http://www.verseoftheday.com


Further Reading

•  Wisdom and Knowledge of God
•  How Big is God?
•  Salvation Explained

The Beginning of Wisdom — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Wisdom of God — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.” 1 Corinthians 3:19

During my Bible reading I began to reflect on how little any one person knows and how limited one person’s wisdom is.

Each of us have some insights, knowledge and wisdom, but the scope is usually fairly narrow and limited to our sphere of influence and knowledge. Our world. We are good at what we do and have gained wisdom and knowledge regarding our special interests and experience. But if we were suddenly placed in a new, unfamiliar position or found ourselves in a foreign city unable to speak the language, not knowing know how to even find a bathroom, we would become aware of limitations. Our knowledge and experience would not help us. We need someone else to help us.

When I consider the six billion people in the world – each having wisdom about life in their world – I realize how little wisdom each of us as individuals possess. Compared to God – next to zero.

Now then, think about the wisdom of God. He knows everything and is all wise. Even if we compiled all the wisdom of everyone in the world and measured it against God’s wisdom, it would be almost nothing.

Also, when we remember that everything we know and everything we have comes from God anyway, we cannot think ourselves wise, but only be humbled.

Remember the “wise advice” Job’s friends gave him when he had lost everything? They thought they were very wise. Job himself questioned God about why this disaster happened to him. God was not impressed by any of them. (Read Job 38 to 41)

What is wisdom? The Bible tells us,

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7).

When we begin to recognize that our life is about God, not about us – that is the beginning of wisdom.

How do we get more wisdom? One way is to read God’s Word and to learn from Him.

Nothing is perfect except your words. Oh, I how I think about them all day long. They make me wiser than my enemies, because they are my constant guide. They make me even wiser than the aged.” (Psalms 119:96-100).

Fear God. Know God by reading His word and obeying the insights and directions He gives you.

Next time you think you are wise in your eyes, remember, you may be knowledgeable and have some insights in your small world, but compared to total wisdom, you (and I) know little. And even if we added all the combined wisdom of the people in this world, compared to God, it is nothing.

God, build in us a healthy fear and reverence for You. Cause us to soak up the wisdom of Your Word – the only perfect words. Help us to be humble. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
Used by Permission


Further Reading

•   God is Faithful
•  God Knows Everything
•  Salvation Explained

Wisdom of God — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

August 17 Afternoon Quotes of The Day

Some Truth in Both Calvinism and Arminianism
Acts 2:23; 4:27–28; Romans 8:29–30; Ephesians 1:3–12

I admit that, when a Calvinist says that all things happen according to the predestination of God, he speaks the truth, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but when an Arminian says that, when a man sins, the sin is his own, and that, if he continues in sin, and perishes, his eternal damnation will lie entirely at his own door, I believe that he also speaks the truth, though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The fact is, there is some truth in both these systems of theology; the mischief is that, in order to make a human system appear to be complete, men ignore a certain truth, which they do not know how to put into the scheme which they have formed; and very often, that very truth which they ignore proves to be, like the stone which the builders rejected, one of the headstones of the corner, and their building suffers serious damage through its omission.

CHARLES SPURGEON*

Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The Effects of Humble Prayer
2 Chronicles 6:26–27; 7:14; Daniel 10:12

Humble prayer pierces the heavens, disarms the anger of God, obtains his mercies, and makes the snares of the evil one of no avail.

THOMAS À KEMPIS*

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

Mid-Day Snapshot · Aug. 17, 2021

“From The Patriot Post (patriotpost.us)”

THE FOUNDATION

“Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason.” —Benjamin Franklin (1735)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Biden Passes the Buck

In a 20-minute address, the commander-in-chief mostly pointed fingers and shirked responsibility.

Douglas Andrews

To call Joe Biden’s Afghanistan address an abject failure from start to finish would be to overstate things. We won’t do that. As he said — and as his predecessor Donald Trump might’ve said — the American people are tired of our nation’s 20-year involvement in that country, and it no longer serves our strategic interests.

Still, there’s a good and noble way to leave a theater of operations, and there’s a bad way. And beyond that, there’s a shamefully awful way. The latter of these is what the Biden administration has orchestrated. “Biden did the necessary thing in the ugliest possible way,” as Tucker Carlson put it. “After 20 years and trillions of dollars, our leaders couldn’t manage to pull off an orderly retreat.” Not to mention the 2,448 Americans who paid the ultimate price in Afghanistan.

Does anyone else wonder whether a U.S. military under the direction of Donald Trump would’ve beat feet so disgracefully? It’s a rhetorical question.

And here’s another one: When Joe Biden issues a threat — when he draws a red line, as it were — do our nation’s geopolitical foes take him seriously? Of course not. “As we carry out this departure,” he warned yesterday, “we have made it clear to the Taliban, if they attack our personnel or disrupt our operation, the U.S. presence will be swift and the response will be swift and forceful. We will defend our people with devastating force if necessary.”

Oooh. We’ll bet those barbarian jihadists are trembling in their turbans.

As we noted yesterday: “The government our nation stood up and supported for nearly 20 years in Afghanistan collapsed in a single day Sunday. The country’s embattled president fled, the U.S. military scrambled to evacuate personnel, and Taliban fighters rolled into Kabul uncontested and eager to announce a new Islamist state.”

Try as he might to explain it otherwise, Kabul is Joe Biden’s Saigon. “The Taliban is not the … North Vietnamese army,” Biden said last month. “They’re not … remotely comparable in terms of capability. There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a[n] embassy.”

Got it? No circumstance.

Biden continually tried to make it seem as if we were still in a hot war in Afghanistan. We aren’t, we haven’t been for years, and his implication to the contrary is shameful. While it’s true that we’ve lost 2,448 warriors there since combat operations began there on October 7, 2001, with Operation Enduring Freedom, our last combat death there occurred 18 months ago. Despite this, Biden wants the American people to believe that the only choice he had was between a disastrously hasty withdrawal and a 100,000-troop commitment to an endless war. Nonsense. Somewhere in between those two extremes is what we had a right to expect from a competent commander-in-chief.

“How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons,” Biden asked, “would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not? How many more lives — American lives — is it worth? How many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery?”

What a shamefully misleading series of questions. Biden’s repeated claim that the Afghan army wouldn’t fight for itself against the Taliban is true, in part, but primarily because Biden had withdrawn American air support from our Afghan allies. Surely, a better handoff would’ve made a difference.

“I will not mislead the American people,” said Biden toward the end of his remarks yesterday. “Nor will I shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today and how we must move forward from here. I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me.”

This was funny, in a sad sort of way, because he’d just spent the previous 16 minutes denying responsibility for this disaster and passing that very same buck.

It was Trump’s fault, and it was the Afghan political leaders’ fault, and it was the Afghan people’s fault.

So much for the buck stopping with Joe Biden.

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OPEC to Biden: Pound Sand

The oil-producing conglomerate declined Biden’s plea for more production.

Nate Jackson

Now that Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban thanks to President Joe Biden’s feckless “leadership,” the rest of the world is taking note. China used the “U.S. humiliation” to threaten Taiwan, reminding the island of what U.S. “friendship” means. It’s ironic given the Soviets’ history in Afghanistan, but Russia is likewise reveling in the American defeat, cozying up to the Taliban and likely soon warning Ukraine. And OPEC just told Biden to go pound sand.

(Fracking companies, call your office.)

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was on the receiving end last week of Biden’s pathetic plea for increased production. You see, Biden has hamstrung the American energy colossus. President Donald Trump had unleashed it, leading to the U.S. becoming the world’s leading oil producer and putting us well on the way to energy independence. Every president since Richard Nixon had promised energy independence; Trump delivered it. Yet with a few strokes of his pen, Biden took it away, only to then go hat in hand to OPEC to beg for increased production to cover our deficit.

Predictably, the oil conglomerate refused. OPEC nations clearly came to the conclusion that the U.S. under Biden is weak and that there’s no incentive for them to take a hit to their profit margins by increasing production.

In asking for even more OPEC production after its boost earlier this year, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan complained, “At a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough.” And here we thought fighting climate change by not drilling was the paramount challenge of our day.

Biden and his team want to have it both ways. They want credit with the ecofascists for subsidizing “green” energy and killing Big Oil (heck, they’re in court this week fighting to preserve a drilling moratorium in federal lands and waters), and yet they don’t want blame for the fact that Americans are paying an average of $3.18 per gallon at the gas pump, which is more than a dollar more expensive than this time last year.

“Dear White House: Texas can do this,” announced Texas Governor Greg Abbott. “Our producers can easily produce that oil if your administration will just stay out of the way.” Unfortunately, staying out of the way is one thing Biden won’t do. Well, unless it’s staying out of the way of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

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Big Tech Bans Trump, Not Taliban

Taliban fighters used Twitter and WhatsApp to coordinate their overthrow of Afghanistan.

Thomas Gallatin

For Big Tech companies, like the leftists that run them, double standards are their only consistent standards. This reality was brought into sharp focus once again with the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, that terror-disseminating and terrorist-protecting gang of jihadi thugs.

Using social media to coordinate over the weeks as U.S. forces followed Joe Biden’s directive to withdraw from the war-torn country, Taliban forces quickly — indeed, with near-lightning speed — took over Afghanistan. On Sunday, as the Taliban took Kabul, spokesman Zabihullah Majuhid sent out social media messages via his Twitter account to the city’s residents informing them that “the situation in Kabul is under control.” Using both Twitter and Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Majuhid has been free to send messages to his 280,000 followers.

To put things in perspective, one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations — a two-decade enemy of the U.S. — has been allowed unhindered access to Big Tech’s social media platforms to disseminate its hateful messaging, all while these same social media giants suppress certain American speech in the name of preventing “misinformation” and “hate speech.”

Twitter and Facebook permanently banned Donald Trump from their platforms following the January 6 Capitol riot, dubiously parroting the Democrat charge that he “incited a violent insurrection.” And they routinely redline and shadow-ban the speech of conservatives who are guilty of “wrongthink.” Yet these companies have no problem allowing actual terrorists to use their platforms unimpeded as they coordinate the deadly overthrow of Afghanistan. Whatever happened to protecting democracy?

Even a French politician can see the blatant hypocrisy. Jerome Riviere observed, “Freedom and democracy are not doing well when Twitter continues to ban Trump’s account but relays the Taliban spokesperson’s without any second thoughts.”

This is what happens when individuals, organizations, or businesses abandon the principle of free speech and take upon themselves the role of speech police. Invariably, they get it wrong, often egregiously so. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey would be ashamed if they weren’t so shameless.

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Setting the Stage for Disaster in Afghanistan

Biden bears ultimate responsibility now, but perhaps not all of it.

Harold Hutchison

The massive Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan coming on the heels of the announcement American troops would be completely pulled out by August 31 has been stunning. We’ve discussed the situation a number of times prior to these recent events, but it’s still appalling to watch our warnings play out in real time.

The harsh reality is that when Donald Trump took office, winning the war in Afghanistan was a highly remote possibility at best. In addition, between Spygate and other abuses, addressing the misdeeds and threats from communist Chinaborder security, an insubordinate bureaucracy, and other issues that demanded attention, there was precious little he could do to turn a bad situation around.

To begin with, while Barack Obama’s largely timetable-based Afghanistan strategy didn’t help matters, the real moment America ruled out victory came with the prosecution and conviction of Clint Lorance in 2013 on Obama’s watch, taking hours and days to litigate and second-guess a split-second battlefield decision. That was two years before Trump ever took office.

Between the Lorance case and that of Mat Golsteyn, despite the fact that Trump pardoned both of these men, the actions the military establishment took against them told the American people they weren’t in the Global War on Terror to win it. This prompted many who once were supportive of fighting the war to begin asking the legitimate question, “How many more years and how many more lives?”

In addition, our national security establishment allowed Pakistan to get away with playing both sides. When Osama bin Laden was in a well-built compound in Pakistan in 2011, for instance, we raided the compound and terminated OBL, but the Pakistanis were never held accountable for what was incompetence at best. That was four years before Trump went down that escalator at Trump Tower.

That wasn’t the worst of it, though. Iran was providing bomb components that helped kill our troops, and Tehran didn’t pay a price until Trump ordered the takedown of Quds Force thug-in-chief Qasem Soleimani.

In the early stages of the War on Terror, American Patriots stepped up to get high-ranking terrorists to spill their guts in order to prevent attacks and save lives. They came up with techniques, got them cleared, and then carried out the mission. Yet from the start of his administration, Obama proceeded to stab those Patriots in the back and leave them vulnerable to persecution by a Gitmo Bar that had already made Hanoi Jane look like a piker. And almost 14 years before Trump announced his 2016 bid for the White House, George W. Bush made serious errors of omission in his initial response to 9/11.

The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal may be correct that Trump made a bad deal, but the editors should remember that while Afghanistan mattered, it was not the only issue America had to address. There is also the undeniable fact that Trump had inherited a bad situation when he took office. He improved matters by untying our troops’ hands, and he also worked to improve readiness. Still, his failure to increase the military’s force structure didn’t help matters either in the Middle East or vis-à-vis China and Russia.

That being said, Donald Trump is not in the Oval Office; Joe Biden is. What is happening in Afghanistan on Biden’s watch is what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rightly described as a “preventable” disaster. The reckless withdrawal that created this disaster reflected Biden’s position from way back in 2009, one he advocated even when he knew it was condemning Afghan women to Taliban tyranny.

Regrettably, grassroots Patriots cannot do anything but learn the lessons from the Global War on Terror and insist that future officeholders apply them.

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Parents Increasingly Fight for Control

Bad policies from school boards have had at least one unintended good effect.

Robin Smith

Lately, parents have become more active in the debate around what and how their children should be taught in public schools. Parents are weighing in on curriculum about “systemic racism,” policies about vaccinating children without parental consent, and the front-and-center debate of whether a child needs to wear a mask for the school day. The Left may be pushing wrong policies, but more parental involvement is a good thing.

The political Left teaches that America is racist because it was founded through oppression, prejudice, and white privilege. Kids are being taught how to affix blame using racism, not how to prevent it. Whether it’s called Critical Race Theory (CRT) or some other clever name used to camouflage activism, this indoctrination has been exposed, causing many states to ban the passing on of this mindset.

Based on the increased attendance at school board meetings across the U.S. with impassioned speeches from previously silent parents, it’s become clear that parents have significantly diminished trust in those making decisions in their schools.

Another issue, now that the 2021-2022 school year is here, is whether COVID vaccines and masks may be mandated by public school systems, especially against the wishes of parents. Until the FDA moves for official approval of these vaccines currently in use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), the public needs information, not name-calling or fearmongering.

To date, only Pfizer-BioNTech has an EUA for 12-year-olds and up. The Pfizer/BNT vaccine is also the only vaccine to submit its Biologic License Application (BLA) with a resulting special priority review that may yield a full approval by the FDA by January 2022. Moderna has submitted the BLA to the FDA with no such special priority review or prospective approval window given to date.

Parents want and deserve answers regarding the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccines. In 43 states, specific parental consent is required for the administration of vaccines. In Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and South Carolina, minors may make significant healthcare decisions. Recently, a directive sent by a Tennessee Department of Health (DOH) physician reminded healthcare providers of the “Mature Minor Doctrine” that is observed in many states. It essentially offers some legal liability protections to healthcare providers in some cases if a minor chooses to circumvent parental consent. This bureaucratic path to offer COVID vaccine information and administration outside the awareness of parents is less than ideal in building or maintaining trust. Parents spoke out against this Tennessee DOH physician, who is consequently no longer employed by the state.

Finally, as schools resume classes, the debate rages over mask-wearing in school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public mask guidance has been fluid, to put it nicely, and criticism has come from both sides.

Criticism has not just come from the supposedly “science denying” Right. Dr. Kavita Patel, who served in the Obama administration and is a primary care physician in Washington, DC, commented earlier this year, “I think the CDC’s credibility is eroding.” Even The Washington Post railed last fall: “2020 has been a disaster for the CDC. The agency’s response to the worst public health crisis in a century — the coronavirus pandemic — has been marked by technical blunders and botched messaging.”

Adding insult to injury, the CDC allowed the leadership of a national teachers union to edit school policy relating to reopenings and closures due to COVID. Lobbying, not science, put verbatim language from the American Federation of Teachers in public health directives.

Parents are being reminded that they are the First Teachers and have influence not just in their homes but in their communities. For too long, bureaucracies have assumed that parents are surrendering their legal authority and voice when a student walks onto government-run school property. The ideology of a growing number in public education is that the system knows best, not parents. The year 2020 will be remembered for COVID; the year 2022 may be remembered for the parents making a difference in public education for the benefit of their children.

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Could California Elect a Conservative Governor?

New polls indicate Gavin Newsom’s recall is a toss-up, with Larry Elder leading the opposition.

Thomas Gallatin

On (or before) September 14, Californians will vote on whether to recall Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom. If they do so, they will at the same time register a vote for the candidate they choose to succeed him. Leading the group of Republicans vying to replace Newsom is longtime conservative talk-radio host and syndicated columnist Larry Elder, who quickly surged to the front of the field after throwing his hat into the ring.

In leftist California, the notion that a conservative could actually win a gubernatorial election is nearly inconceivable. Yet, given the fact that this is not a normal election, there’s a real possibility that a Republican could become the Golden State’s next governor. In fact, this would be the second time such a scenario played out, as Democrat Governor Gray Davis was similarly recalled in 2003 and replaced with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One indicator that Newsom’s survival is no sure bet is his decision to suddenly go on the offensive targeting Elder. “He’s to the right of Donald Trump,” Newsom asserted. “To the right of Donald Trump. That’s what’s at stake in the election and don’t think for a second you can’t do damage in that role. Think about the judges he could appoint. Who would he have appointed to replace Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate? How would that impact the trajectory of this country. What would this mean for the future of the Democratic Party in our efforts to keep the House of Representatives?”

The polling explains why he attacked. Even though Newsom, the former mayor of San Fransisco and lieutenant governor, won the 2018 election with a commanding 62% of the vote, those positive vibes have clearly mellowed. Earlier in the spring, polls indicated that Newsom had little to worry about, as a majority of voters rejected a recall. However, over the last month, that comfortable position has entirely evaporated. Recent polling shows his favorability sinking to 46%.

It certainly wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Californians aren’t happy with several significant and vexing problems, such as the state’s growing homelessness problem, a rising crime rate, and onerous zoning restricts that have made the construction of affordable housing nearly impossible. Then there are the environmental regulations that, ironically, have only made things environmentally worse. California is suffering through yet another massive wildfire season, exacerbated by poor forest management and an outdated electrical grid. Last but not least is Newsom’s heavy-handed COVID response combined with his own hypocrisy. Last November, he was caught at the high-end French Laundry restaurant in clear violation of his own mandated regulations on masks and social distancing. Yet he proceeded to keep his state locked down into this summer.

Back in 2003, when Californians recalled Davis, Schwarzenegger was able to take over the governor’s mansion despite winning just 48.6% of the vote. Of course, Schwarzenegger was a Hollywood mega star who was at best a center-left Republican. Elder is a principled conservative with star power, but that popularity is primarily limited to conservative circles.

Nevertheless, Democrats may find themselves in a bit of a pickle, as no prominent Democrats are running. And even if they were, any attempt to support them would be perceived as favoring a recall. Therefore, should the vote go against Newsom, let’s just say the prospect of another Democrat replacing him appears highly unlikely.

Fortunately for Newsom, his ace in the hole is California’s mail-in balloting — every registered voter will be sent a ballot in the coming days. This works heavily in Newsom’s favor because voters won’t have to bother with going to a polling station to cast their vote. Looking to the future, though, even if Newsom survives a recall, this fiasco has damaged his reelection chances in 2022.

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Google Built Its Algorithms to Target Trump

A new book by an ex-Google software engineer makes clear the search giant is rotten to the core.

Douglas Andrews

We knew it to be the case, but we weren’t able to say anything beyond the obvious: Big Tech was all in to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.

Now, though, we have some solid evidence — in the form of a new bookGoogle Leaks: A Whistleblower’s Exposé of Big Tech Censorship, by Zach Vorhies, a former senior software engineer at Google and YouTube.

Kirkus Reviews calls the book “A powerful case against Google that deserves readers’ attention.” Indeed, the book has gotten Google’s attention. As investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, a fellow whistleblower who knows a thing or two about being attacked, writes: “When Zach Vorhies went public with facts about Google’s chilling influence on the world’s information landscape, he was attacked, targeted, and smeared by the same machine he exposed. Don’t pass up the chance to learn what he knows.”

Vorhies worked for Google for more than eight years. He left, he says, when he learned his employer was actively working to censor conservatives.

“The 2016 election of Donald Trump seemed to drive them into dangerous territory,” Vorhies writes. “The American ideal of an honest, hard-fought battle of ideas … was replaced by a different, darker ethic alien to this country’s history.” Specifically, Vorhies says Google “rewrote its news algorithms to specifically go after Donald Trump.” In a 28-minute interview with The Epoch Times, Vorhies says one of Google’s tactics was to tack new negative stories about President Donald Trump onto old ones in order to boost those stories and prolong their position atop their search index and news index. In short, Google put its thumb on the scale during the 2020 election.

In June 2019, Vorhies resigned from Google, taking with him more than 950 pages of Google’s internal documents, which he delivered to the antitrust division of the Department of Justice through James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. It’s unclear what the DOJ ever did with those documents, but Vorhies claims what he uncovered has “turned conspiracy theories into conspiracy facts.”

As might be expected, Vorhies has taken some hits. The left-wing Daily Beast, for example, writes that he’s “an avid promoter of anti-Semitic accusations that banks, the media, and the United States government are controlled by ‘Zionists,’” and that he’s “also pushed conspiracy theories like QAnon, Pizzagate, and the discredited claim that vaccines cause autism.”

On the book’s cover, no less a lefty than Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls Vorhies “an American hero.” Donald Trump told him the same thing last October. We’re not sure about that, but that’s only because we have a higher standard for heroism. Still, in the battle against Big Tech, the proponents of fairness and transparency could certainly use a few more whistleblowers like Zach Vorhies.

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On the Web

EXECUTIVE NEWS SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Afghanistan Postscript

  • Biden defends Afghanistan pullout, acknowledges Taliban takeover caught the U.S. Democrats by surprise (National Review)
  • Bad optics: Biden ignores questions and retreats to Camp David after address (Washington Examiner)
  • Adding insult to injury: Taliban leader was freed from Guantanamo Bay in 2014 swap by Obama (NY Post)
  • Good luck with that: UN Security Council calls for new government in Afghanistan with “full participation of women” (National Review)
  • A trip down memory lane: Dems and media celebrated Biden’s announcement of Afghanistan withdrawal (Free Beacon)
  • “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts”: George and Laura Bush issue statement with message to troops and veterans (Fox News)

National Security

  • Chinese state media says U.S. will “abandon” Taiwan, too, “once a war breaks out” (CNSNews.com)
  • “Chinese Communist Party operates in the state”: Indiana AG probes China’s influence in colleges (Washington Times)

Around the Nation

  • The Jussie Smollett playbook: Former top Tennessee vaccine official paid for muzzle sent before firing (Tennessean)
  • New York lawmakers to continue investigation into Governor Cuomo after resignation (Washington Post) | Chris Cuomo addresses brother’s resignation, defends his own conduct (Fox News)

Annals of the “Social Justice” Caliphate

  • Megan Rapinoe would “almost bully” teammates into kneeling for national anthem (Breitbart)
  • New evidence that high schools treat conservative students poorly (National Review)

Other Notables

  • Dark future looms over women living in Afghanistan (Morning Brew)
  • Fear of COVID-19 in kids is getting ahead of the data (The Atlantic)
  • New Zealand is locking down the entire nation after finding a single COVID case (NPR)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: How the Left uses children as pawns in immigration policy (Daily Signal)
  • Policy: NATO is Dead Man Walking after Afghanistan debacle (1945)
  • Humor: “Rumors that the Taliban have taken over are unfounded,” says Jen Psaki wearing hijab (Babylon Bee)
  • Related humor: Biden demands whoever the president is take full responsibility for this mess (Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit Headline Report.

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

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READER COMMENTS

Editor’s Note: Each week we receive hundreds of comments and correspondences — and we read every one of them. Click here for a few thought-provoking comments about specific articles. The views expressed therein don’t necessarily reflect those of The Patriot Post.

VIDEOS

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “How you can win the population for war: At first, the statesman will invent cheap lying, that impute the guilt of the attacked nation, and each person will be happy over this deceit, that calm the conscience. It will study it detailed and refuse to test arguments of the other opinion. So he will convince step for step even therefrom that the war is just and thank God, that he, after this process of grotesque even deceit, can sleep better.” —Mark Twain (1835-1910)

For the record I: “I was told Joe Biden’s big selling point was his foreign policy acumen.” —Congressman Dan Crenshaw

For the record II: “The Taliban are butchers. We demanded a set of conditions and made clear the costs we would impose if they failed to deliver. They haven’t. The deterrence we achieved held during our time. This administration has failed.” —former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

For the record III: “The Biden Administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan dishonors the memory of those heroic Americans who gave the last full measure of devotion and all who bravely served there defending freedom these past 20 years.” —former Vice President Mike Pence

For the record IV: “The Biden Administration’s botched exit from Afghanistan including the frantic evacuation of Americans and vulnerable Afghans from Kabul is a shameful failure of American leadership. … A proud superpower has been reduced to hoping the Taliban will not interfere with our efforts to flee Afghanistan. … Terrorists and major competitors like China are watching the embarrassment of a superpower laid low.” —Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

For the record V: “President Biden chose a dangerous and dishonorable path in Afghanistan, and he has no one to blame for this debacle but himself. … Contrary to what he may say or think, President Biden has not ended the war in Afghanistan. He is simply creating a new chapter — one that will be filled by Taliban thugs and al-Qaeda murderers. President Biden was quick to blame others and never acknowledging the blame lies with him. The essence of his address was ‘The buck stops with me, but President Trump and others made me do it.’ Not exactly Harry Truman. President Biden made these decisions against sound military advice, and everything he was warned about is now coming true.” —Senator Lindsey Graham

Inquisitive minds want to know: “After the disastrous events in Afghanistan, we must confront a serious question: Is Joe Biden capable of discharging the duties of his office or has time come to exercise the provisions of the 25th Amendment?” —Senator Rick Scott

Friendly fire: “There’s no way to hide it. The situation in Afghanistan is another shame on this admin. Withdrawal was never going to be easy but it didn’t need to come to this.” —Democrat Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

Dumb and dumber: “What’s amazing is President Biden ran for office as the foreign policy expert … and yet look at how poorly planned this seems to be right now. It is a calamity playing out.” —The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker (“On foreign policy, Mr. Biden offers an enormously positive change from the Trump administration, simply by promising to rebuild long-standing U.S. alliances and the global leadership that Mr. Trump has willfully disrupted.” —Washington Post editorial board, September 28, 2020)

Grand delusions: “Let’s take a step back. This is manifestly not Saigon.” —Secretary of State Antony Blinken

A trip down memory lane: “If there is a significant deterioration in security … I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday.” —Secretary of State Antony Blinken on July 7

And last… “Note to Democrats and the corporate media: what just happened in Kabul is an actual INSURRECTION.” —Buck Sexton

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TODAY’S MEME

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

TODAY’S CARTOON

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

“From The Patriot Post (patriotpost.us)”

17 Aug 2021 News Briefing

Image

Taliban To Afghan Christians: We Know Who You Are, And We’re Coming For You
The images pouring out of Afghanistan right now via social media as Kabul falls to the Taliban are simply horrifying. Hundreds of people flooding the airport in Kabul, desperate to escape. Men who were clinging to the landing gear of a U.S. Airforce plane falling to their death as it took off in a scene gut-wrenchingly reminiscent of people plummeting from the burning Twin Towers. The wild-eyed looks of terror on those left behind, many of whom had worked with coalition forces for years and knew they were about to pay for it with their lives–and that there would likely be no rescue.

Events in Afghanistan will embolden Iran, ISIS, officials warn
Israeli officials remain largely mum on US actions in Kabul so as not to embarrass Washington, but some assert that Afghanistan’s fall into the Taliban’s hands has “clear and direct implications” for Israel and the Middle East in general.

Afghanistan: ‘America will pay a price for years to come,’ say experts
WASHINGTON – The US’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has cast a shadow over the Biden administration’s foreign policy. That the Taliban easily drove through Kabul to recapture the presidential palace is a blow for the administrations’ assessment.

Hamas congratulates Taliban for ‘defeating’ US
In response to the Taliban re-conquest of Afghanistan, Hamas on Monday congratulated the Afghan people for “defeating” the US. “We congratulate the Muslim Afghan people for the defeat of the American occupation on all Afghan lands, and we congratulate the Taliban movement and its brave leadership on this victory, which culminated its long struggle over the past 20 years,” Hamas said in a statement.

Haiti: Death toll in massive earthquake rises above 1,200
At least 1,297 people were killed in Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, authorities said Sunday. Hundreds of people are still missing and more than 2,800 were injured, Haiti’s civil protection services added. Sunday’s figures are a tragic rise in the death toll, which was at just over 300 on Saturday.

NASA: New Data on Asteroid Bennu Still Suggests Possible Threat to Earth
Bennu and other asteroids are considered near-Earth objects (NEOs). Scientists identify such objects as those having the possibility of coming within 50 million kilometers of Earth’s orbit.

‘Plague’ of wildfires worldwide: ‘Part of Elijah’s prophecy’
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can hold out when he appears? For he is like a smelter’s fire and like fuller’s lye. Malachi 3:2
As wildfires burn around the world, one rabbi turns to the prophet Malachi who wrote that such fires would precede the pre-messiah appearance of Elijah, burning away evil while comforting the righteous. Massive fires have been breaking out all over the globe. Wildfires broke out in Canada in June and on Sunday, 105 fires were burning in Ottowa. Other fires raged in the Western US with the largest in northern California …

Rocket from Gaza triggers sirens in Sderot, Western Negev
Terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into Israeli territory on Monday morning, triggering sirens in Sderot and other Western Negev communities, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system intercepted the projectile, said the IDF, and no casualties or damage were reported.

Texas Senate Passes Vote Integrity Bill, Democrats Face Arrest Warrants for Fleeing State to Stymie Democracy
The Texas state Senate passed a Republican-backed voting integrity measure Thursday after a Texas Democrat ended her 15-hour filibuster. (Image: Unsplash-Joshua Woroniecki) Even though state Sen. Carol Alvarado knew she couldn’t block the legislation, Alvarado kept speaking on the Senate floor. Just minutes after she put down the microphone, the Senate passed the measure 18-11.

PRIDE COMES BEFORE THE FALL: US Embassy in Kabul Was Celebrating Pride Month as Taliban Launched Final Campaign to Retake Country
As the Taliban launched their final campaign to retake the country the Biden Administration and General Milley were celebrating Pride Month in Kabul. That’s important.

Grace approaching Dominican Republic and Haiti, heavy rainfall expected
Tropical Depression “Grace” is approaching the southern coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, rising the threat of flash flooding and mudslides across Hispaniola today.

Military veterans discover sinister ‘child sex trafficking camp’ with ‘underground jail for kids’, ‘rape tree’ and name ‘Maddie’ etched into branch
AN alleged child sex trafficking camp with a sinister underground bunker, a so-called “rape tree” and the name “Maddie” written on a branch has been discovered by US veterans on patrol. The abandoned camp, just outside of Tucson in Arizona, was uncovered by an ex-armed forces group which helps homeless veterans.

Biden Sends 3,000 Troops, Offers Taliban Bribes, As Afghanistan Disaster Looms
…Biden has been reduced to bribing the Taliban with foreign aid in exchange for a promise not to attack the United States embassy in Kabul. The proposal to fund terrorists is criminally treasonous and since the ranks of the Taliban include any number of Jihadis, and their old Al Qaeda allies have a presence in Afghanistan, that’s setting up our diplomats to be killed.

What exactly is causing illness worldwide if SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated, purified and shown to cause any human disease, let alone a pandemic?
As the phrase “COVID-19” is permanently tattooed into our brains, epidemiologists still haven’t found a natural animal reservoir for the origination of SARS-CoV-2. Even more astounding, no virologists has isolated and purified this novel coronavirus nor proven it replicates in a human cell line! So, what is SARS-CoV-2 and what does the ubiquitous term, COVID-19 represent? What is actually causing infections and deaths worldwide? Why are human rights under assault? What are the real reasons for severe illness, and where is this suffering coming from?

U.S. border has collapsed completely as Biden regime now busing COVID-infected migrants all across U.S.
It should be completely obvious by now that whoever is running the Biden regime is out to destroy what is left of our American experiment in self-government, based on reports this week about the worsening situation along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Western supply chain collapse eminent as China closes massive shipping facility, claiming COVID “case” 
Regular readers are aware of all the ways Western Marxists have used and abused the COVID-19 pandemic to increase their power, but now the virus is set to cause a major disruption all on its own.

Israel Issues Call For International Aid To Combat Massive Fire That Is Raging Right Now Around Capital City Of Jerusalem, Origin As Yet Unknown
Israel performed mass evacuations of Jerusalem area residents today, getting thousands of people out of the path of the largest fire in Israel since the Carmel blaze in 2010 that killed 44 people. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but with all the events with the Taliban seizing control in Afghanistan, can anyone help but wonder if this fire might be connected to that? One thing’s for sure, watching Biden ‘handle’ Afghanistan can only be empowering and encouraging terrorists across the Middle East.

America is a FAILED STATE… God’s wrath being unleashed to take down a nation of sin… Prepare yourself to walk through the valley of the shadow of death
As the world watched in dismay, the fall of Kabul painted a vivid picture of the crumbling of the United States of America. The US military, hell bent on going “woke” with transgenderism and gays in the military, is utterly unable to protect its own personnel overseas, and has been impotent in protecting the US southern border from a relentless invasion of illegals that are pouring into the country.

How Long Do the Vaccinated Have to Live? (Dr. Mylo Canderian is of the opinion that 95% of the world’s population are “Useless Eaters” who need to be euthanized as quickly as possible.)
…Graphene Oxide is an oxygen sponge which deprives the body of necessary oxygen and causes many complications, including but not limited to anaphylactic shock, toxic blood clotting, fatal lung paralysis, mitochondrial cancer, and endothelial cancer.”
Dr. Mylo Canderian’s viewpoint is much the same as Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, and the Big Pharma CEO’s: LET THEM ALL DIE!

Minnesota Parents Refuse Lockdowns And Mask Mandates
Dozens of Minnesota parents refuse lockdowns and have voiced their opposition to Democrat Governor Tim Walz’s latest mask mandates for school children in Minnesota.

AMERICA LAST: Biden Pentagon Says That Americans Trapped Will *Not* Get ‘Priority Treatment’ As Afghanistan Falls Into The Hands Of Taliban
Just imagine that you are an American worker in Afghanistan who has just watched the Taliban march in and take the entire nation including Kabul in less than 7 days. Imagine your feelings of shock and horror as you watch the American military desperately trying to airlift frightened people to safety in all the noise and confusion. Now imagine that your government just announced that Americans still trapped in Afghanistan will receive no ‘special treatment’ or ‘prioritization’ to be taken out. Could it get any worse? Just wait.

Former Pfizer Employee Turned Whistleblower Confirms Poison in COVID Vaccine
Karen Kingston, a former Pfizer employee and current analyst for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, came forward with indisputable documentation that should be shared with the ENTIRE WORLD! The inoculation being referred to as ‘COVID Vaccines’ is a poisonous death sentence, and nobody should subject themselves to the shots.

Widespread panic buying now taking place in the UK amid the spread of new COVID variant; better stock up while you can in the U.S. 
COVID seems to be the viral gift that keeps on giving, as the world is now dealing with a second wave of illnesses stemming from a variant of the original strain called Delta.

Source: https://www.raptureready.com/2021/08/17/18-aug-2021/

Single positive case of COVID results in New Zealand put into Nationwide Lockdown, Israel could see another lockdown soonPosted: 17 Aug 2021 10:15 AM PDT(ETH) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put the nation into a three-day lockdown after the discovery of the first community case of Covid-19 since February.According to Yahoo News, The snap lockdown will begin at midnight tonight as authorities rush to identify the source of a single infection in the largest city Auckland, Ardern said at a news conference Tuesday in Wellington.While genome sequencing has yet to be completed, the case is assumed to be the highly infectious delta variant, she said.Continue reading Single positive case of COVID results in New Zealand put into Nationwide Lockdown, Israel could see another lockdown soon at End Time Headlines.
California pastor handing out COVID-19 vaccine exemption lettersPosted: 17 Aug 2021 06:24 AM PDT(ETH) – A church in California is handing out exemption letters for people who do not want to take the coronavirus vaccine according to a report from FOX11 News. “I am not anti-vaccination.Don’t get me wrong” said Greg Fairrington, the pastor with Destiny Christian Church. “But I am ‘pro-freedom.’” Fairrington said Destiny Christian Church, located in Northern California’s Placer County, offered the letters as he believes those hesitant to take the vaccine should have the right to choose, just as Americans have the right to choose which church to attend.Continue reading California pastor handing out COVID-19 vaccine exemption letters at End Time Headlines.
China claims that is has fully vaccinated more than 777 million people against COVID-19Posted: 17 Aug 2021 06:05 AM PDT(ETH) – China claims that it has fully vaccinated over 777 million people against COVID-19 as of Aug. 12th according to a new report from Reuters. The information was provided by the National Health Commission (NHC) on Friday.This means that a total of 1.832 billion doses has been given in China as of Aug. 12, according to spokesman Mi Feng in a news briefing. The report revealed that out of the seven COVID-19 vaccines available in China, five need two doses to complete immunization, one requires a single shot and one requires three doses.Continue reading China claims that is has fully vaccinated more than 777 million people against COVID-19 at End Time Headlines.
Controversial Pastor Greg Locke’s church has been left vandalized but vows to not be “intimidated”Posted: 16 Aug 2021 05:25 PM PDT(ETH) – Controversial preacher Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, has said he will “not back down” or be “intimidated” after his church was vandalized by an unknown individual.In a post to his Facebook account on Sunday morning, Locke said an unknown assailant vandalized his church’s property before being chased away by security around 2:30 a.m. “He did quite a bit of damage before he was spotted,” wrote Locke in his Facebook post, adding that “it was all caught on our surveillance cameras.”“Kudos to some of our peeps getting there and beginning to clean at 3:00 am this morning,” he continued.Continue reading Controversial Pastor Greg Locke’s church has been left vandalized but vows to not be “intimidated” at End Time Headlines.
Water shortage declared on Colorado River for first time, Mandatory water consumption cuts coming for states in the SouthwestPosted: 16 Aug 2021 05:04 PM PDT(ETH) – The federal government on Monday declared a water shortage on the Colorado River for the first time, triggering mandatory water consumption cuts for states in the Southwest, as climate change-fueled drought pushes the level in Lake Mead to unprecedented lows.According to CNN, Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US by volume, has drained at an alarming rate this year. At around 1,067 feet above sea level and 35% full, the Colorado River reservoir is at its lowest since the lake was filled after the Hoover Dam was completed in the 1930s.Continue reading Water shortage declared on Colorado River for first time, Mandatory water consumption cuts coming for states in the Southwest at End Time Headlines.
Washington Monument struck by lightning shutting it down.Posted: 16 Aug 2021 04:52 PM PDTETH – The Washington Monument was just struck by lightning and has been closed Monday for repairs, according to the National Mall National Park Service (NPS).The Daily Caller is reporting that the monument was struck by lightning during storms Sunday morning, which caused damage to the electronic access system, the National Mall NPS tweeted. “The technicians are on-site as I write this; we should know more when they’re finished,” Mike Litterst, chief of communications for the National Mall and Memorial Parks.Continue reading Washington Monument struck by lightning shutting it down. at End Time Headlines.
DEVELOPING: Tropical Storm Henri could form soon; Fred forecast to strike Florida; Grace takes aim at Haiti…Posted: 16 Aug 2021 12:07 PM PDT(ETH) – A tropical depression passing near Bermuda is forecast to turn into Tropical Storm Henri soon. According to the Miami Herald, Forecasters are also watching Tropical Storm Fred, which is bringing dangerous storm surge and flooding rain over portions of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend Region ahead of its Monday landfall.Hispaniola is also bracing for possible flash flooding and mudslides from Tropical Depression Grace.Continue reading DEVELOPING: Tropical Storm Henri could form soon; Fred forecast to strike Florida; Grace takes aim at Haiti… at End Time Headlines.

CNN correspondent says there’s ‘clearly big holes’ in Twitter policy, as Taliban use network while Trump is banned | RT USA News

CNN correspondent says there's 'clearly big holes' in Twitter policy, as Taliban use network while Trump is banned

CNN correspondent Donie O’Sullivan has criticized Twitter’s policy on deplatforming, arguing there are “clearly some big holes” if the Taliban is allowed to use the social network but former President Donald Trump cannot.

After the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, O’Sullivan pointed out that “the former President of the United States is banned from Twitter but the Taliban is not.”

“Whether you agree with deplatforming or not, there’s clearly some big holes in the company’s policy,” he observed.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has been active on Twitter since April 2017 and has nearly 300,000 followers. On Monday, after the Taliban took Kabul, he tweeted that “the general public is happy with the arrival of the Mujahideen and satisfied with the security.”

Also on rt.com

(L) © Alex Wong/Getty Images; (R) A member of Taliban (C) stands outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 16. © REUTERS/Stringer
Banning American conservatives from social media and not the Taliban proves we don’t know who the bad guys are any more

Twitter has also refused to rule out handing over Afghanistan’s official government accounts to the country’s new Taliban leaders.

Other social networks, including Facebook, have banned content from the Taliban.

Though many social media users have protested Trump’s Twitter ban, some liberal commentators responded to O’Sullivan’s posts by arguing that the former president was a greater threat than the Taliban and thus deserved the suspension.

“One is an existential threat to our country…one is not,” tweeted one user, while journalist Eric Boehlert wrote“Trump relentlessly violated Twitter’s terms of service. Has the Taliban account?”

USA Today opinion columnist and former federal prosecutor Michael J. Stern claimed boldly that “the former President has done more damage to the United States” than the Taliban. Matt Negrin, a producer for the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, noted that the Taliban “acknowledged the results of the 2020 election” while “Republicans have not.”

Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter in January after a group of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington, DC to protest Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

Twitter claimed that Trump would not be able to use the platform “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Also on rt.com

© Twitter / @bronzeagemantis
Popular right-wing author, said to be read by Trump White House staff, is BANNED from Twitter

Source: CNN correspondent says there’s ‘clearly big holes’ in Twitter policy, as Taliban use network while Trump is banned

Top 10 BIGGEST LIES about Covid-19

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 • https://www.naturalnews.com, by: S.D. Wells

When you test “positive” for Covid, you’re really just testing positive for common colds, flu viruses and pathogens from previous vaccines. When most people run a high fever, their body is actually fighting off bacteria from the Covid masks they wear all day and the pathogens that were injected with the Covid inoculations.

The entire pandemic is based on false pretenses and fabricated statistics, so we must look at the biggest lies that were concocted, like a synthetic virus in a lab, and then spread around with propaganda, like a TV “breaking news” pandemic update.

Anyone wearing a mask who got a flu shot this summer is literally growing the pandemic because they will be sick and test “positive” for Covid, and also be convinced they had Covid. Then when they quarantine, social distance and continue to mask up, they will be weakening themselves while exacerbating whatever cold or flu they have even more so.

Sasse rips ‘shameful’ Biden speech, says bipartisan pleas for ‘contingency plan’ were ignored — Conservative Review

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Monday ripped President Joe Biden’s speech to the nation on the situation in Afghanistan as “shameful” and a “campaign speech,” lambasting the president’s administration for failing to come up with a plan to evacuate Afghani allies and American citizens before the Taliban seized control of the country.

Sasse, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN in an interview that Biden failed to explain to the American people what the plan is to evacuate the tens of thousands of Afghani interpreters and other civilians who aided U.S. forces for decades during the conflict with the Taliban.

“The fact that he ran on withdrawal isn’t the point. What the American people needed to hear today is that he has a plan for the ongoing national security crisis that’s happening at the Kabul airport. It involves Americans, but it also involves a lot of people who fought alongside Americans so that we wouldn’t have another 9/11 on our soil,” Sasse said.

The Taliban stunned Biden administration officials over the weekend by seizing control of Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul, prompting thousands of civilians to rush to the city’s international airport in an attempt to flee the country. Chaos erupted at the airport as Afghans crowded the tarmac, some clinging to departing U.S. C-17 cargo jets and then falling to their deaths after the planes took off.

In the latest development at the airport, as many as 600 members of Afghan security forces are helping U.S. troops provide security for evacuation efforts, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

At a news briefing, U.S. Army Major General William Taylor said Tuesday there will be more than 4,000 U.S. troops at the airport by the end of the day and that there have not been any “hostile interactions” with the Taliban.

The current plan is to have one flight taking off from the airport every hour.

In his speech, Biden argued that Afghan leaders had proven unwilling or incapable of continuing the fight against the Taliban. The president said that his national security team was “clear-eyed about the risks” of withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan and that continued U.S. presence in the country wouldn’t have made a difference if Afghans could not fight their own civil war.

“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” Biden declared.

But just one month ago on July 8, the president assured the American people, “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” In April, after announcing that U.S. troops would withdraw, Biden said that Afghan security forces would “continue to fight valiantly … at great cost.”

Sasse said that Republican and Democratic lawmakers for months had been “screaming at Biden Administration officials” for details on the withdrawal plan.

“They have told us that they were sure that everything would be fine through the pause and fighting season over the winter, and if the Taliban ever mounted some significant offensive that moved toward Kabul, it wouldn’t happen until next spring. And we repeatedly — again, I mean we, Republicans and Democrats — raised voices at Biden Administration officials, saying, ‘Why are you so sure of this, and what is your contingency plan?’ And they would sort of murmur and say, ‘Well, we don’t want to embarrass the President. So, we don’t want to go into great detail. But clearly, you’re being too pessimistic, but of course we have a contingency plan,'” Sasse said.

“They didn’t have a contingency plan, and the reason so many of the Afghan security forces melted is because the Biden Administration messaged over and over again this nonsense about a negotiation with the Taliban, off in some Belgian restaurant somewhere, and they messaged repeatedly that they were not going to support our allies in the moment of crisis,” he continued.

Sasse criticized Biden for blaming the previous administration and the Afghan people for handing him this situation.

“There’s a lot of blame that this administration puts on the last one because they began negotiating with the Taliban. I get that. But today what the president did is he pivoted and started attacking Afghans, including moms and dads who were at the edge of that airport with their kids. Why are they there? Why did they come to that airport? Because our troops promised them that the U.S. would never just turn tail and cowardly have another Saigon-like event,” Sasse said.

“This is worse than Saigon. What is happening at the Karzai International Airport today is a more shameful, lower moment in U.S. history than 1975 in Saigon, and Biden comes out of his bunker, he comes back from Camp David trying to do a campaign photo-op speech, and he attacks the Afghan people, who are at the edge of that airport because we promised them security. They fought with us, and we said that they would be secure, and his Administration undermined the confidence of those people fighting, and they didn’t believe they were going to have air support, and then we bizarrely in one of the great blunders in military history evacuated Bagram Air Force Base in the night. Why? Why would we have evacuated Bagram Air Force Base?

“The Biden Administration undermined the confidence of the fighters in Afghanistan.”

Sasse rips ‘shameful’ Biden speech, says bipartisan pleas for ‘contingency plan’ were ignored — Conservative Review

Rand Paul: If People Had Listened To My Dad, We Wouldn’t Have Afghanistan Mess — LifeZette

On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul shared a video of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, making many prescient points about America’s foreign policy that really hit home today, particularly regarding the disastrous situation in Afghanistan.

The video, of Paul’s famous “What If?” speech, had the former congressman and presidential candidate trending on social media.

Sen. Paul then wrote a column discussing his father’s advice from years ago at the news site Liberty Tree.

Rand Paul: ‘If The Republican Party Had Been More Like Ron Paul Than Dick Cheney…’

Sen. Paul wrote, “After America was attacked by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001, my father, Republican Congressman Ron Paul, voted for a U.S. strike on the Taliban in Afghanistan for harboring the 9/11 terrorists.”

“But our military is not meant for nation building,” Paul added. “Not for policing the world. Not for imposing democracy in places that have never known it.”

The senator observed, “Not only are these bad ideas, but they aren’t the point of our military and they do nothing for our national defense.”

The libertarian-leaning senator explained what went wrong.

“Unfortunately, that was the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney neoconservative vision of perpetual U.S.-led wars around the globe,” Paul wrote. “We know how that worked out in Iraq. Now we are learning how it ends in Afghanistan.”

“But this isn’t hindsight,” Paul said. “It was my father, often alone in his party, who said for decades that the neocons’ endless wars would always come back to haunt us.”

Paul said a GOP that was more like his father would have been preferable, then and now.

Paul wrote, “Yet, if the Republican Party had been more like Ron Paul than Dick Cheney throughout the aughts, it would have saved our country a lot of heartache. If Barack Obama had actually ended the wars he promised to, like Dad had long urged, we would have been better off.”

The senator thinks those responsible for these overseas debacles should remain silent.

“Now the same people who still defend the Iraq War and who also wanted to stay in Afghanistan forever are some of the loudest voices criticizing the Taliban retaking control of that country,” Paul said.

Rand Paul: ‘No One With The Last Name Cheney Should Even Be Speaking Publicly Right Now’

“If after 20 years of preparing Afghanistan to govern itself, it immediately bends to extremists the moment we leave, what did hawks think we were going to accomplish over another decade—or ever?” Paul asked. “Was two decades not enough time?”

Paul then direct aim at the daughter of Dick, Liz Cheney – one of the most aggressive neoconservative hawks in Congress.

“What’s clear today is that no one with the last name Cheney should even be speaking publicly right now. This origin of this debacle lies at their feet,” Paul wrote.

He added, “What’s even clearer, is that unfortunately the warnings of a Republican congressman from Texas years ago now feel more prescient than ever.”

Watch Ron Paul’s “What If?” speech here:

This piece originally appeared in ThePoliticalInsider.com and is used by permission.

Rand Paul: If People Had Listened To My Dad, We Wouldn’t Have Afghanistan Mess — LifeZette

All of the Evidence Is In:  The Covid Vaccine Is a Failure – PaulCraigRoberts.org

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News Link • Vaccines and Vaccinations

All of the Evidence Is In: The Covid Vaccine Is a Failure

 https://www.paulcraigroberts.orgPaul Craig Roberts

Dear Readers,

Both vaxxers and anti-vaxxers are endeavoring to make the Covid vaccine a vaxx issue.  

It is not a vaxx issue.

It is an issue of the vaccine.  Due to Big Pharma greed and Tony Fauci’s hubris, an experimental technology was rushed into mass usage prior to its many adverse consequences being known.

Making it a vaxx issue makes it difficult to stop the use of the double-dangerous vaccine as no vaxxer wants to concede defeat to anti-vaxxers.

The solution is to remove the censorship of experts and the ban on known cures.  Ivermectin and other known substances can stop the spread of the virus, and expert debate can lead to treatments for those millions who have been damaged by the vaccine.

The current blind and ignorant authoritarianism must cease.  

URGENT READ

All of the Evidence Is In:  The Covid Vaccine Is a Failure

Paul Craig Roberts

Dear Readers, 

In my efforts to provide good information in place of Big Pharma-serving propaganda about Covid and the vaccine, I have reported to you from the official databases the large number of deaths and health issues associated with the vaccine.  For some age groups the vaccine is more dangerous than the virus.

— Read on www.paulcraigroberts.org/2021/08/16/all-of-the-evidence-is-in-the-covid-vaccine-is-a-failure/

Tuesday Briefing , August 17, 2021 – AlbertMohler.com

DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING
PART 1 (0:0 – 11:21): 
──────────────────
Mythology of the American Left Is That Theology Does Not and Cannot Matter — Even in Afghanistan. But the Taliban Are Theological, Even if the Media Are Determined to Ignore Islam NEW YORK TIMES (DAVID E. SANGER)
For Biden, Images of Defeat He Wanted to Avoid CNN POLITICS (KEVIN LIPTAK, JEFF ZELENY, KAITLAN COLLINS, JENNIFER HANSLER AND MAEGAN VAZQUEZ)
Biden Admits Afghanistan’s Collapse ‘Did Unfold More Quickly Than We Had Anticipated’ 

PART 2 (11:22 – 18:6): 
──────────────────
The Logic of Moral Revolution: As Teenagers Need Driving School, So Children Need Sex Education. Apparently Anything Is Plausible Once You Abandon All Moral Sanity 

NEW YORK TIMES (VALERIYA SAFRONOVA)
A Private-School Sex Educator Defends Her Methods 

PART 3 (18:7 – 24:40): 
──────────────────
No Clandestine Conspiracy Here: Sexual Revolutionaries State Goal of ‘Queer Inclusivity and Gender Expansiveness Across All Grade Levels and Subjects’— Parents Have Been Warned 

USA TODAY (DAVID OLIVER)
Let’s Talk About (Queer) Sex: The Importance of LGBTQ-Inclusive Sex Education in Schools 

Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev Says U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan ‘Was Failed from the Start’ | BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev addresses the audience after the Russian premiere of the documentary film “Meeting Gorbachev” in Moscow, Russia November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva/File Photo

Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader who oversaw the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989 after Moscow’s failed decade-long campaign there, said on Tuesday that NATO’s own deployment to the country had been doomed from the start.

Gorbachev, 90, regarded the Soviet presence in Afghanistan as a political mistake that was sapping precious resources at a time when the Soviet Union was living through what turned out to be the twilight of its own existence.

The Soviet-backed authorities in Afghanistan survived for three years after the withdrawal by Moscow of its main forces but never recovered from a Russian decision to cut aid to them after the Soviet collapse in January 1992 and fell later that year.

Gorbachev was cited by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying that NATO and the Americans had no chance of success and had badly mishandled their own Afghan campaign.

“They (NATO and the United States) should have admitted failure earlier. The important thing now is to draw the lessons from what happened and make sure that similar mistakes are not repeated,” Gorbachev told RIA.

“It (the U.S. campaign) was a failed enterprise from the start even though Russia supported it during the first stages,” he added.

“Like many other similar projects at its heart lay the exaggeration of a threat and poorly defined geopolitical ideas. To that were added unrealistic attempts to democratize a society made up of many tribes.”

SOURCE: Reuters

Source: Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev Says U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan ‘Was Failed from the Start’

The World Needs to Know What Happened at the Wuhan Lab – WSJ

Was the coronavirus manipulated to infect humans? If so, that will inform our response.

WSJ Opinion: Groupthink Prevents Coronavirus ‘Lab Leak’ Origin Probe

As China’s propaganda machine pushes to draw attention away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Americans who dismissed the lab-leak theory have a conflict of interest. Image: AFP/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wasn’t allowed to visit the city of Wuhan, China, or the Wuhan Institute of Virology in early 2020. We’ve been trying to find out why ever since. Had we encountered transparency rather than stonewalling, it wouldn’t have been necessary to put together the circumstantial pieces of the puzzle on our own.

On Sept. 12, 2019, coronavirus bat sequences were deleted from the institute’s database. Why? It changed the security protocols for the lab. Why? It put out requests for more than $600 million for a new ventilation system. What prompted this new need?

In January 2020 two hypotheses emerged about the origin of the novel coronavirus: that it began in a bat, then infected another animal before spreading to humans in a Wuhan “wet market,” where wild animals are sold for meat; or that it emerged from the Wuhan laboratory. The wet-market story was pushed by the Chinese CDC and the World Health Organization. Public-health leaders argued that Covid-19 was like SARS and MERS, earlier coronaviruses that emerged from bats and spread through an intermediate animal. 

But neither of those viruses has ever evolved to the point where it can transmit efficiently from one human to the next. There have been fewer than 10,000 cases of each virus world-wide since SARS was discovered in 2003 and MERS in 2012. What virus comes out of a bat cave and infects humans by the millions? It’s not biologically plausible. If instead it evolved slowly over many years in nature, how come no one knew of it?

One of the lab theories hypothesizes that SARS-CoV-2 was manipulated or “taught” to infect humans. Imagine several viruses being run through humanized mice (grafted with human tissue and immune cells) to test their ability to infect human tissue. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 includes a kind of cleavage site that allows its spike protein to change its orientation and dock more easily with a human cell.

— Read on www.wsj.com/articles/wuhan-virology-lab-leak-gain-of-function-research-ccp-beijing-covid-origins-coronavirus-11629037765