“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
Calvin University, the Michigan-based University belonging and affiliated with the conservative CRCNA (Christian Reformed Church in North America) has been lost.
We knew there were deep and abiding problems with them ever since the teachers got mad in 2009 and overwhelmingly voted against a policy that would have prohibited them from supporting homosexuality and same-sex marriage- due to their desire for “academic freedom” and differing opinions from the faculty- but this 15-minute promo released by the University praising Black Lives Matter and regurgitating Critical Race Theory froth shows in a frightening way the depths of which they’ve descended.
The video features a host of students and professors after professor after professor proclaiming that “Black Lives Matter” and all the ways racism is as pervasive and commonplace as air in our society, and as a result must be repented of. Here are just a few snippets from perhaps 100 separate clips all collated together.
“We repent of our complicity and structural racism.”
“We repent of our silence in the face of injustice.”
“We repent that we prioritize our own comfortwhile our neighbors live in fear.”
“We repent of the racism that runs deep in our tradition and our churches, our communities, and here at Calvin University.”
“We know that we all have implicit biases that impact the way that we think and the way that we behave. Racism isn’t something that’s perpuated by a few bad people, it’s in all of us through our socialization.We’re committed to deconstructing these biases, reckoning with them and helping our students do the same. We study human flourishing and we can’t all thrive we can’t all flourish unless black lives matter.”
“Educational systems for too long have perpetuated systemic racism. As teachers, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to speak and act against racism and for justice. We commit to actively and continually dismantle racism and white supremacy in our classrooms, schools, and society.
“As geographers, geologist, and environmental scientists we recognize that oppression and inequality have been written into our maps. Into our cities. Into our infrastructures, and even into the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Therefore we commit as a Geo Department to building communities places and regions where all God’s children can enjoy peace and the goodness of God’s creation.”
“As scientists, we acknowledge that we working in a field that has long excluded and marginalized our colleagues and students of color much to our own detriment. And as educators, we commit to choosing pedagogies and structures that will help to amplify those voices of chemists of colorand to prepare pathways for underserved students to contribute, to be heard, and to see themselves within STEM.”
“As world language teachers, we bring learners into practices of humility and empathy. As we work to express ourselves in a language not our own, it forces us to recognize our linguistic privilege, to de-center ourselves, to learn to respect the perspectives of others and briefly to experience what it’s like to occupy a position of less privilege. So we commit to help develop a radical empathy; one that grows our will and our ability to stand alongside our black and brown brothers and sisters.”
“As engineers, we acknowledge that whenever the work or products of engineering shuts out or marginalizes groups of people, it perpetuates injustice rather than building Shalom. And frankly, it’s just bad engineering. It is diversity that leads to innovation and the development of enduring solutions to global problems.”
And on and on it goes, teacher after teacher, professor after professor, until all that’s left is the echoing refrain of ‘Black Lives Matter’ ringing in the eardrums and the distinct impression that things for them will only get worse from here.
News anchors question top officials over claims about Al Qaeda, US personnel
Biden administration officials faced tough questions on Sunday after President Joe Biden made several statements regarding the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan that were demonstrably false during a press conference on Friday.
On several networks, aides to the president, including Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, were asked to answer for Mr Biden’s attempts to reassure Americans about his handling of the evacuations from Kabul following its fall to the Taliban.
During an interview onFox News Sunday,Mr Blinken was questioned about Mr Biden’s claim that the terrorist group Al Qaeda was “gone” from the country, as international organisations including the United Nations have concluded as recently as July that Al Qaeda is active in at least a dozen provinces across Afghanistan.
Mr Blinken did not address the commander-in-chief’s assertion directly, stating instead that the US had been “successful” in diminishing Al Qaeda’s capacity to carry out attacks and in killing its former leader, Osama bin Laden.
On ABC’sThis Week,Mr Austin was grilled about reports of Americans unable to reach Hamid Karzai International Airport, where US forces are conducting evacuations, which Mr Biden said on Friday he had “no indication” was an issue.
“If you have an American passport, and if you have the right credentials, the Taliban has been allowing people to pass safely through,” Mr Austin argued in his interview.
“Not in all cases,” ABC’s Martha Raddatz shot back.
“There’s no such thing as an absolute in this kind of environment, as you would imagine, Martha,” Austin said, before conceding: “There have been incidents of people having some tough encounters with Taliban.”
He added that the Biden administration was continuing to engage with Taliban officials to try and hold the conquerors of Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan to their promise to allow US evacuations to continue unhindered.
And on CNN, Mr Sullivan was questioned byState of the Unionguest host Brianna Keilar about both of those issues, with Ms Keilar questioning why the president was “misleading with his words” regarding the safety of Americans and the strength of the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Mr Sullivan responded that he “reject[s] that characterisation” about Al Qaeda being a continued threat in Afghanistan, and argued that because the group supposedly lacks the capacity to strike at the US homeland, it does not represent a threat to US interests.
As for Americans facing difficulty reaching safety at the airport, Mr Sullivan asserted that the Biden administration had “dealt with those issues one-by-one.”
The interviews on Sunday come as the White House is seeking to mop up after a disastrous last weekend that culminated in the fall of Kabul and striking scenes of panicked Afghans on the tarmac at the city’s airport, just weeks after Mr Biden had defended the stability of Afghanistan’s government and insisted that the US withdrawal would not look like the fall of Saigon.
Mr Biden’s approval rating has slipped in some polls as critics continue to hammer the government for not getting US personnel and their allies out of the country before the government collapsed.
Afghan staffers of the abandoned US embassy in Kabul are reportedly losing faith in American efforts to evacuate them, saying they feel betrayed and prefer to die “with dignity” than try again to get through a Taliban gauntlet.
“It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet”than face the crowds again,NBC Newsquoted an embassy employee as saying, citing a US State Department cable that the media outlet obtained. Another local staffer allegedly said,“Happy to die here, but with dignity and pride.”
Afghan embassy employees are“deeply disheartened”because after being invited by the US State Department on Wednesday to make their way to Hamid Karzai International Airport for evacuation, they met with a“brutal experience,”according to the article, which was published on Sunday. The staffers said they were struck, spat on and cursed by Taliban fighters at checkpoints near the airport, and some nearly lost their children. Others collapsed on the road because of heat exhaustion, while still others were injured in a crush of people.
Also on rt.com
The airport is guarded by US military forces from inside, and ringed by the Taliban checkpoints outside. Over the past week, at least seven civilians were killed in stampedes of people trying to get into the airport, according to the UK defense ministry. Overall, since the surprise Taliban takeover of Kabul and first chaotic scenes of desperate Afghans clinging onto US troop transports and falling to their deaths, at least 20 people have died in and around the airport, a NATO official told Reuters.
Taliban fighters were seen firing into the air and beating back crowds again on Sunday, although with no major injuries reported. Later, President Joe Bidennotedthat the Taliban has“been cooperative in extending some of the perimeter.”He stood by his administration’s“hard and painful”evacuation efforts, saying it was going smoothly.
The European Union’s top diplomat, Joseph Borrell, previouslysaidit would be impossible to evacuate Afghan allies from Kabul by the end of August, when US troops are scheduled to pull out, because American forces aren’t providing adequate access to the airport.
Also on rt.com
One Afghan embassy staffer said his family was tagged with spray paint, a tactic used by the Taliban to identify a home’s occupants for further questioning. He told NBC his family fled their home, but wasn’t able to get to the airport.
It’s not clear why preparations weren’t made for the Afghan nationals who worked at the embassy to be evacuated at the same time that American staffers were taken out last week. One staffer accused the State Department of prioritizing evacuations of Afghan government elites who already had necessary paperwork and had other ways of fleeing the country, according to the cable.
The US embassy workers were far from alone in feeling betrayed. About 125 Afghan security contractors who helped UK diplomats board an evacuation flight were reportedly told that their jobs would be terminated and they would get no protection from the British government. That decision was reportedly reversed amid public backlash.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Thursday that he can’t rule out people having to have COVID-19 booster shots indefinitely as the virus continues to surge.
Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the president, made his comments in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN in which he also warned that fully vaccinated people with so-called breakthrough infections can still get long-term COVID.
‘We know a lot more than we did to start, but there’s obviously, you know, we need to be humble in the face of this virus,’ Fauci said.
Fauci said ‘there are a lot of factors’ that go into making decisions such as whether people will routinely have to get vaccinated against COVID-19 like an annual flu shot.
He said researchers have already started conducting studies giving boosters to people who have already been full vaccinated, which have shown hopeful promise that future booster shots beyond a third jab may not be needed.
‘The good news about that is that the acceleration of the response goes way up. I mean even better than what you get with the two doses together. In other words, it goes up and up and then if you give a boost, it goes way up,’ he said.
‘I don’t know for certain, but that could mean that you induce a response that’s high enough – and durable enough – that you may not have to worry about what people are concerned about, needing a so-called boost every year or so.’
He continued: ‘I would hope that the degree of elevation of response that we will see with the boost might actually give us a lot of wiggle room of not necessarily needing a boost often.’
During a Sunday press conference in which President Joe Biden addressed Hurricane Henri and the Afghanistan pullout, a reporter confronted him with a poll showing a majority of Americans now question the president’s ability to serve.
Sen. Ron Johnson called out the Biden administration’s health agencies Sunday for shortcutting the usual safety reviews in a rush to give final approval to COVID-19 vaccines, including failing to account for thousands of deaths and adverse reactions among people worldwide who got the shots.
In areporton COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness released yesterday,Dr. Geoff MitchellMD, JD determined the shots “neither safe nor effective,” and concluded “the best data tells us that the COVID-19 vaccines are failing.”
According to that data, says Dr. Mitchell,
“Countries with active vaccination programs have more COVID deaths than those who do not.” Moreover, “Countries with a higher percentage of their population vaccinated have more COVID deaths,” and “COVID deaths have increased with vaccination after vaccination programs were implemented.”
“The culmination of sixteen months of Africa study is that HCQ and IVM are both about 70% effective in reducing death,” he noted, “but Artemisinin and atovaquone-proguanil are (inadvertently) 95% effective in reducing COVID death. Artemisinin is reportedly intentionally used in four countries to treat COVID. The most well-known of artemisinin-treating country is Madagascar which has a 954 COVID deaths, a rate of 35 dpm. This is 2% of the U.S. rate.”
Dr. Mitchell wrote:
“Among the 104 countries which offer no demonstrable COVID vaccination programs, on 08/16/21, their COVID fatality rates averaged an unexpectedly lower 690 deaths per million.”
However, “Among the 82 countries which offer vaccination programs, on 08/16/21, their COVID fatality rates averaged 828 deaths per million which is counterintuitively higher than the COVID fatality rate for unvaccinated countries.
“In the 82 countries which offer vaccination programs, not only was the average COVID fatality rate greater than in unvaccinated countries, but the number of deaths increased as the number or percentage of residents vaccinated increased.”
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There were 212,672 people apprehended at the United States southern border in July, the highest number in 21 years and a 13% increase from June. There were more than 19,000 unaccompanied children detained at the border, likely the second-highest total on record, according to the Associated Press. The massive influx of illegal immigrants arrived during some of the hottest summer weeks, which is typically when border crossings decrease due to the scorching heat. The overwhelming flood of illegal immigrants and the lack of tools to do their job has allegedly crushed the morale of U.S. Border Patrol agents.
Members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection claim that the Biden administration has handcuffed their agents, which, in turn, has reportedly demoralized the agents trusted to protect the borders of the U.S.
“Morale is in the toilet,” Jon Anfinsen, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s union, told the Washington Examiner. “Morale is low because agents aren’t allowed to do their job — if our job is to be out patrolling the border in between the ports of entry and actively searching for people who have crossed illegally, but we’re not allowed to go do that job, it basically creates this defeated feeling in everyone.”
Anfinsen, who is the president of the National Border Patrol Council’s Del Rio chapter, said that CBP agents are “burned out and there’s really no end in sight.”
“Everyone shows up to work sort of downtrodden, almost dead inside, for lack of a better term,” Anfinsen stated. “They’re not allowed to [do] the job, and they know that people are getting away every single day, every hour.”
A former senior official at CBP confirmed the plummeting morale, “Morale is tanking fast. This can be seen in the simple statements made by agents, but even more importantly, it can be seen in increasing processing times. Agents are just flat tired, and we are seeing and hearing it.”
The report noted that “up to half of the agents in Texas have been pulled from the border and are indoors, processing people in custody.”
“Agents are primarily indoors, processing, and we’re dealing with the people who are flagging us down — the ones who are walking up to us and turning themselves in,” Anfinsen explained. “Meanwhile, the immigrants who don’t want anything to do with us, they’re running away, although sometimes they’re walking because they have no need to run because we’re not there.”
The Washington Examiner said it had spoken to five current agents and three former senior officials who worked in the Biden administration.
An agent with the CBP’s Air and Marine Operations in Texas revealed that it is easy to spot groups crossing the Rio Grande River, but “there are no agents available” to take them into custody.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the shortage of CBP agents. According to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 10,228 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and 37 have died as a result of coronavirus.
A former CBP employee, who is in daily contact with agents in the field, said, “These guys feel abandoned by CBP and DHS and the administration. Nobody’s coming to rescue them.”
FOX News congressional correspondent Aishah Hasnie joined Sunday night in America with Trey Gowdy to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
Hasnie was born in Lahore, Pakistan. Her uncle was a lieutenant commandeer in the U.S. Navy who sponsored her family to immigrate to the United States when she was a child. Aishah still has friends, contacts and acquaintances in Afghanistan.
Aishah Hasnie: Tonight I can’t even frankly tell what’s worse, whether you should stay at home and wait for the Taliban to come and find you. Or, risk heading to the airport and perhaps get trampled there because that’s what’s happening to some of the people… One of my friends told me last week one of her relatives was shot and killed out on the street. He workded for the Afghan government… He went out to go to work and he was shot and killed in the open. I have other friends who are essentially waiting, terrified for the Taliban to come and find them because the Taliban now has seen the biometric system that the US has created so they can tell who is who. And now the Taliban know who worked with the government.
Have you noticed that it is a lot harder to get certain things these days? Just recently, someone in my local area was surprised when her appointment to get the windshield on her vehicle fixed was canceled because it wasn’t possible to get a replacement windshield. This was a windshield for a very common vehicle, and normally that wouldn’t be a problem at all. But these are not normal times. Thanks to several factors that I will detail in this article, global supply chains are now under more strain than we have ever seen in the post-World War II era, and unfortunately it appears that things are going to get even worse as we approach the holiday season.
I know that most of you probably don’t want to hear that the shortages that we are experiencing now are going to get worse.
So you may be tempted to stop reading this article now because you don’t want to see the bad news.
But it is imperative that you understand what is ahead, and so I urge you to keep reading.
Let’s take this one step at a time. Right now, local news outlets all over the country are doing stories about the shortages in their local areas. Here is one example…
Have you recently gone to the grocery store and found some of the shelves empty? If so, you aren’t alone.
Many people can’t find some of their favorite and essential items since the pandemic started.
As that article points out, the stores are trying to order the products that they need.
They just can’t get them.
This is happening all across the United States, and as a result the inventory to sales ratio for U.S. retailers has been pushed to the lowest level on record…
In April, May, and June, the inventory-sales ratio of around 1.08 – or about 33 days’ supply – was at the lowest point in the data going back to 1992. In the years before the pandemic, the overall ratio was around 1.5, providing 45 days of supply.
So why is this happening?
Well, the truth is that there are several contributing factors, and one of them is fear of COVID.
When a single worker recently tested positive for COVID, China shut down one of the busiest port terminals in the entire world “indefinitely”…
One of the world’s busiest ports partially closed this week after an employee tested positive for Covid-19. The closure raises fears of new disruptions to world trade that could slow the global economy’s recovery.
Meishan, a key terminal at China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan port, closed indefinitely Wednesday after a 34-year old worker tested positive for Covid-19. A member of the board of the Ningbo Port Group Company—which operates the port—also resigned Wednesday, citing personal reasons, reported China’s Securities Daily.
This wouldn’t be such a problem if we had not become so dependent on goods from China.
Other nations are severely overreacting to outbreaks of COVID as well, and this is making it harder and harder to move goods around the world on an efficient basis.
Another major factor that we are dealing with is a historic global shipping container shortage.
And once shipping containers are delivered to U.S. ports, there isn’t enough port workers to unload them all.
It can now literally take months for products that are made in China to get to the U.S. retailers that originally ordered them.
Of course if those products contain computer chips, they may never arrive at all.
The global shortage of computer chips is deeply affecting thousands of other industries. For instance, it is being estimated that the global auto industry will produce 7.1 million fewer vehicles this year because of the chip shortage…
VW’s main plant in Wolfsburg is only going to be running on its early shift after summer break due to the lack of supply, Bloomberg reported this morning.
Its plant in Wolfsburg is the “world’s biggest car plant” and employs about 60,000 people. Audi is also pausing production temporarily, extending its summer break by one week, the report notes.
Global shortages of semiconductors could wind up cutting worldwide production of autos this year by about 7.1 million vehicles, Bloomberg predicted this morning.
Reuters surveyed nearly a dozen suppliers and retailers of everything from toys to computer equipment in the United States and Europe. All expect weeks-long delays in holiday inventory due to shipping bottlenecks, including a global container shortage and the recent COVID-related closure of the southern Chinese port of Yantian, which serves manufacturers near Shenzhen.
“It’s going to be a major, major mess,” said Isaac Larian, chief executive of Los Angeles-based MGA Entertainment Inc, which sells LOL Surprise, Bratz, Little Tikes and other toy brands to Amazon, Walmart and Target.
And another executive openly admitted that it is “too late”to save Christmas…
“It’s too late for Christmas,” said Thompson, founder of Washington-based Plugable Technologies.
This is what the immediate future of the U.S. economy looks like even if nothing else goes wrong.
So what is going to happen if another major crisis suddenly erupts in the middle of all this?
As inventories get tighter and tighter, prices are rising to compensate. One area that I am particularly interested in is the price of food. According to the FAO, the global price of food is 31 percent higher than it was a year ago…
Whether at supermarkets, corner stores, or open-air markets, prices for food have been surging in much of the world, forcing families to make tough decisions about their diets. Meat is often the first to go, ceding space to less expensive proteins such as dairy, eggs, or beans. In some households, a glass of milk has become a luxury reserved only for children; fresh fruit, once deemed a necessity, is now a treat.
Food prices in July were up 31% from the same month last year, according to an index compiled by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
Have global paychecks risen 31 percent over the past year to keep up?
As a result, many are having a much harder time buying the food that they need and more people are going hungry. Needless to say, this is setting the stage for the sort of global crisis that I have been warning about.
There was so much optimism during the first half of 2021, but now everyone is starting to realize which way all the needles are pointing.
Very choppy seas are ahead, and those at the helm do not seem to know what they are doing.
Trying to Bring Others Back into the Spiritual Life Jeremiah 3:11–22; Galatians 1:6; 2 Timothy 4:3–4; Hebrews 3:12; 6:4–8; 10:26–31; James 5:19–20
I will not judge a person to be spiritually dead whom I have judged formerly to have had spiritual life, though I see him at present in a swoon as to all evidences of the spiritual life. And the reason why I will not judge so is this: because if you judge a person dead, you neglect him, you leave him. But if you judge him in a swoon, though never so dangerous, you use all means for the retrieving of his life. So ought we to do to one another and our own souls.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
We Look for the Everlasting Kingdom Psalm 119:82; 145:13; Daniel 7:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; James 2:5; 2 Peter 1:10–11; 3:13
You have no cause for desperation, although the devil rage never so cruelly, and although the flesh be never so frail, daily and hourly lusting against God’s holy commandments, indeed, striving against the same. This is not the time of justice before our own eyes; we look for that which is promised, the kingdom everlasting, prepared for us from the beginning.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
20:28 Reference to redemption through Jesus’s blood, that is, redemption through his death, is unique in Acts. It does reflect Paul’s language in his letters (e.g., Rm 3:25; 5:9; Eph 2:13).
20:28 Paul used the language of shepherding to describe the responsibility of the leaders of the Ephesian church. Here they are called overseers rather than elders (see note at v. 17), appointed by the Holy Spirit for their task. Reference here to redemption through the blood of Jesus is unique in Acts, but the language reflects Paul’s statements elsewhere (Rm 3:25; 5:9; Eph 2:13).
20:28 with his own blood. The phrasing is remarkable in the way it acknowledges that the blood of Christ is the blood of God. Many ancient manuscripts have a different word order, reading “the blood of His own,” that is, of Christ.
20:28overseers The Greek word used here, episkopos, refers to those with leadership responsibility over the church. These leaders are likely collectively responsible for multiple churches.
20:28Pay careful attention to yourselves. Spiritual leaders need first of all to guard their own spiritual and moral purity. the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. The last part of this phrase refers to the blood of Christ poured out in his atoning death on the cross (cf. Rom. 3:25; 5:9; Eph. 1:7; etc.). The reference to God in the first part of this phrase (“the church of God”) most likely is a reference to Christ as the head of the church and as “God the Son,” the second person of the Trinity. Alternatively, if God the Father is in view in the phrase “the church of God,” then “his own blood” is a reference to the blood of God’s “own,” that is, of “God’s own Son” (which would be a legitimate alternative reading of the Greek). (See also ESV footnote indicating that some Greek manuscripts read “the church of the Lord” rather than “the church of God.”)
20:28 Be on guard for yourselves. Paul repeated this call to self-examination to Timothy when his young son in the faith served as pastor of the Ephesian congregation (1Ti 4:16; 2Ti 2:20, 21). overseers. These are the same as elders and pastors (see note on 1Ti 3:1). The word stresses the leaders’ responsibility to watch over and protect their congregations—an appropriate usage in the context of a warning against false teachers. Church rule, which minimizes the biblical authority of elders in favor of a cultural, democratic process, is foreign to the NT (cf. 1Th 5:12, 13; Heb 13:17). with His own blood.See note on 1Pe 1:18. Paul believed so strongly in the unity of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ that he could speak of Christ’s death as shedding the blood of God—who has no body (Jn 4:24; cf. Lk 24:39) and hence no blood.
20:28. Paul first exhorted them concerning the quality of their own spiritual walk as leaders and then with regard to “all the flock” (cf. v 29; Luke 12:32; 1 Pet 5:3). Describing believers as a flock recalls the Good Shepherd to whom the sheep belonged (cf. John 10:1–21). The apostle then mentioned how they attained to this privilege: “the Holy Spirit had made them overseers and set them apart to shepherd the church of God.” The MT reads the church of the Lord and God. Both renderings point to the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ as the words which follow (“which He purchased with His own blood”) clarify. The elders had no ownership over other believers or the church. The Lord’s love of the Church set the standard for the leaders’ treatment of her. They should care for it as God’s cherished possession and lead it with the sacrificial love exemplified by her Lord.
20:28 Since he would never again meet them on earth, he delivered a solemn charge to the elders that they should first of all take heed to their own spiritual condition. Unless they were living in fellowship with the Lord, they could not expect to be spiritual guides in the church.
Their function as elders was to take heed … to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers. As mentioned previously, overseers in the NT are also called bishops, elders, and presbyters. This verse emphasizes that elders are not appointed or elected by the local assembly. They are made overseers by the Holy Spirit, and should be recognized by the believers among whom they labor.
Among other things they were responsible to shepherd the church of God. The importance of such a charge is seen in the words which follow: which He purchased with His own blood. This latter expression has been the cause of considerable discussion and disagreement among Bible scholars. The difficulty is that God is here pictured as shedding His blood, whereas God is Spirit. It was the Lord Jesus who shed His blood, and although Jesus is God, yet nowhere else does the Bible speak of God bleeding or dying.
The majority of manuscripts read “the church of the Lord and God which He purchased with His own blood,” apparently suggesting that Person of the Godhead (the Lord) who actually shed His blood.
Perhaps J. N. Darby comes closest to the correct sense of the passage in his New Translation: “The assembly of God, which He has purchased with the blood of His own.” Here God is the One who purchased the church, but He did it with the blood of His own Son, the blessed Lord Jesus.
20:28. In verses 28–35 Paul turned to the future responsibilities of the elders in Ephesus. First, they were to guard (prosechete, “attend to” in the sense of taking care of) themselves and all the flock. Significantly before they could provide for the flock they had to care for their own spiritual well-being.
Here the elders are described as overseers (episkopous, from the verb episkopeō, “to look for, to care for”). The term “elders” has primarily Jewish antecedents and stresses the dignity of the office, whereas “overseers” is mainly Greek in its derivation and emphasizes the responsibility of the office, namely, “to look after” others.
The value of the flock, over which the elders were to be shepherds (poimainein, pres. tense infinitive; cf. 1 Peter 5:2), is underscored by Paul’s calling it the church of God (i.e., the church that is owned by God) and by his referring to its purchase (cf. Ps. 74:2) by His own blood. Nowhere does the Bible speak of the blood of God the Father. The Greek here can read “by the blood of His own,” that is, His own Son. The Greek word for bought means “acquired, obtained.”
20:28. Paul gave three reasons that the elders must be vigilant. First, they were appointed by the Holy Spirit. Paul did not explain how the Spirit revealed their appointment. Second, the church was God’s. It did not belong to Paul or any other individual. Third, God purchased the church with His own blood, or better, “the blood of His own [Son].” Here “His own” refers to Jesus, not God the Father. It is possible that Jesus here was called God. He was called by the title Theos elsewhere in the NT (e.g., Jn 1:1, 18; Rm 9:5), but the NT writers were careful to avoid blending these unqualified statements of Jesus’ deity with strictly human attributes (such as blood). One never finds, for example, statements like “the cross of God” or “God was crucified at Calvary,” or “God died and rose again” (for a detailed discussion of this text, and for this understanding, see Murray J. Harris, Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1992], 137–141). And it is unlikely that the reference is to the blood of God the Father, who, as a spirit, does not have blood. Paul’s point in making this statement may implicitly have reminded these elders that the church they oversaw belonged to God, not to them.
The word overseers (episkopoi) in secular Greek meant “[those who have] the responsibility of safeguarding or seeing to it that something is done in the correct way” and was adopted for use in the church to describe those who provided supervision and leadership (BDAG, 379). It is a virtual synonym for elders (presbyteroi, v. 17), which is literally “an older man,” but had a specialized meaning that designated a church leader by his physical and spiritual maturity. These terms both signify the same office, namely that of “pastor.” Though “pastor” (poimen) is not used in Ac 20, the related verb poimaino (“to shepherd”) is found in v. 28. This suggests that those who are pastors are also elders and overseers in the church, and that pastor is not an office that differs from elder or overseer.
20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE. This admonition is also in 1 Cor. 16:13; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:6, 10. The Christian life has both a divine and a human aspect. God always takes the initiative and sets the agenda, but believers must respond and continue to respond. In one sense we are responsible for our spiritual lives (cf. Phil. 2:12–13). What is true of individual believers, is true for church leaders (cf. 1 Cor. 3).
“and for all the flock” This is a metaphor for the people of God (cf. Ps. 23; Luke 12:32; John 21:15–17). It is also the origin of the term “pastor.” See note at 20:17. Church leaders are responsible to God for themselves and their churches (cf. 1 Cor. 3).
“the Holy Spirit has made you” This shows the divine call of God in choosing church leaders.
“overseers” See note at 20:17.
“the church of God”“God” is found in the ancient Greek manuscripts P74, A, C, D, and E, while “Lord” is found in MSS א and B. Paul uses the phrase “church of God” often, but never the phrase “church of the Lord.” The context supports “the church of the Lord” because the next phrase, “through the blood of his own,” surely refers to Christ. However, this is just the kind of editorial scribal change that one would expect. Therefore the UBS4 Greek text retains “God,” but gives it a “C” rating. “Lord” would be the most unusual and difficult reading.
This text serves as a good example of how scribes changed texts for theological reasons. A good discussion is found in Bart D. Ehrmans’ The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, pp. 87–89. Scribes altered texts to make them stronger doctrinally against the Christological heresies of their day. Acts 20:28 offers a variety of changes probably related to internal historical/theological tensions.
Before we throw up our hands in despair, we must remember that the New Testament has a superior textual tradition, far better than any other ancient writing. Although we cannot be absolutely sure of the exact wording of the original autographs, we still have a trustworthy and accurate text! These variants do not affect any major doctrines!! See Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism ed. David Alan Black.
“He purchased with His own blood” This reflects the OT concept of sacrificial substitution (cf. Lev. 1–7; Isa. 53). It is also possibly a strong reference to Jesus’ deity. Paul often uses phrases which point to this truth (cf. Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9; Titus 2:13).
It is also possible to translate this Greek phrase as “through His own,” meaning near relative (i.e. His Son Jesus). F. F. Bruce, Commentary on the book of the Acts, p. 416 #59, says this phrase should be translated “by means of the blood of His own one,” which he asserts is well attested in the papyri.
28. “Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd God’s church which he purchased with his own blood.”
a. “Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock.” Paul gives a charge to the Ephesian elders, who must assume pastoral responsibilities in the local church. He begins by telling them to keep watch over themselves; that is, they have to be spiritual examples for the members of the church. He exhorts them to put their minds to work in watching themselves (compare 1 Tim. 4:16).
In addition, the elders have the task of caring for the spiritual needs of “the entire flock.” Paul uses imagery borrowed from the agricultural society of his day. This is rather unusual for Paul, whose educational training kept him from any intimate knowledge of sheepherding. Yet he knew that Jesus had frequently alluded to the shepherd and the sheep.42 And when Peter wrote his epistle, he called Jesus the Chief Shepherd under whom elders serve as overseers and shepherds of God’s flock (1 Peter 5:1–4).
b. “Over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” This clause introduces two significant points. First, Paul states that the Holy Spirit has appointed the elders as overseers. Perhaps Paul is referring to a specific ceremony that marked their appointment (compare 14:23). Next, he uses the term overseers as a synonym for “elders” (see v. 17). The task of the overseer is to be a shepherd (compare Num. 27:16–17) like Jesus Christ:
Oversight means loving care and concern, a responsibility willingly shouldered; it must never be used for personal aggrandisement. Its meaning is to be seen in Christ’s selfless service which was moved by concern for the salvation of men.
Both Paul and Peter describe the responsibilities of an overseer in their respective epistles. Paul lists a number of qualifications for anyone who aspires to the office of elder/overseer (1 Tim. 3:1–7; Titus 1:6–9), and Peter similarly specifies the duties of an elder (1 Peter 5:1–4). Both apostles use the terms elder and overseer interchangeably.
c. “To shepherd God’s church which he purchased with his own blood.” This clause presents difficulties, for the expression God’s church can be translated “church of God/Christ” or “church of the Lord.” The first expression is common in the New Testament; it occurs twelve times apart from Acts 20:28. Conversely, although the reading the Lord’s church does appear in a number of excellent Greek manuscripts, that reading occurs nowhere else in the New Testament and only seven times in the Septuagint. On the basis of the scriptural evidence, I am inclined to adopt the reading the church of God.
Another difficulty, however, remains. What is the meaning of the literal translation with the blood of his own? If we translate the phrase “with his own blood,” which most translations have adopted, we confuse the meaning of the sentence. The context mentions the Holy Spirit and God, to whom the word blood fails to apply. Perhaps the suggestion to say that “his own” is a variant of “his beloved” or “his one and only [Son]” is a step toward solving the matter.
d. “God’s church which he purchased.” God bought his universal church with the blood of his Son. He paid an incalculable price to save a people for himself through Christ’s death on the cross. Writes Donald Guthrie, “The idea of the death of Christ being a purchase price is a distinctive emphasis in Paul’s epistles.” Indeed, Paul tells the Corinthians, “You were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; and see Ps. 74:2; Rev. 5:9).
28. Now Paul reaches the second part of his discourse. The first part has implicitly contained exhortation to his hearers in that his personal example was intended to be a pattern to them, but now he turns to direct exhortation. In the manner of a farewell discourse he deals with how they are to act when he is no longer with them. They are to pay attention to their own spiritual condition (cf. 1 Tim. 4:16) as well as to that of the church; it is only as the leaders themselves remain faithful to God that they can expect the church to do so likewise. The church is described as a flock, a familiar Old Testament metaphor for God’s people (Ps. 100:3; Isa. 40:11; Jer. 13:17; Ezek. 34) which was taken up by Jesus (Luke 12:32; 15:3–7; 19:10; John 10:1–30). The picture is applied to the church and its leaders in John 21:15–17 and 1 Peter 5:2; Paul uses it without any particular emphasis in 1 Corinthians 9:7; but it is not one of his pictures for the church. From this usage developed the idea of church leaders as ‘shepherds’ or ‘pastors’ (Eph. 4:11), but the term which Paul uses here is guardians (rsv). This is the meaning of the word elsewhere translated as ‘bishops’ (Greek episkopos), a word which was used for leaders in at least some of Paul’s churches (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1–7; Titus 1:7). It conveys the idea of spiritual oversight and pastoral care. Such people owed their appointment to God’s choice of them by the Spirit. The people described here as ‘bishops’ are identical with those described as ‘elders’ in verse 17, and in 14:23 we read how they were appointed by Paul in some of his churches with prayer and fasting, i.e. in dependence on the guidance of the Spirit. Their task was to care for the church; the rsv mg. rendering feed is too narrow in meaning for a word that means ‘to act as a shepherd’; it refers to all the care that must be exercised in relation to the flock. The church is here called the church of God; this is a phrase found exclusively in Paul’s letters (e.g. 1 Cor. 1:2). The church belongs to God because he himself bought it (rsv obtained is weak). The thought is of the act of redemption by which the church became God’s special property, and is based on the picture of God redeeming Israel in Isaiah 43:21 (cf. Ps. 74:2, which significantly follows a verse in which Israel is likened to a flock). The cost of redemption was (literally) his own blood. It is, however, unlikely that an early Christian would have spoken of God shedding his own blood, and therefore we must either assume that Jesus is the subject of the clause (which is just possible, but unlikely) or that the phrase means ‘the blood of his Own’ (rsv mg.), which is grammatically possible and fits in with the use of the phrase his own Son (Rom. 8:31). Although this is one of the few places in Luke’s writings which clearly refer to the doctrinal significance of the cross, we should not underestimate its importance as a statement which represented his own belief as well as Paul’s.
20:28Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. The watchman image continues as Paul applies it in his charge to the Ephesian elders. “Keep watch over yourselves” is the same warning that Gamaliel gave to the Sanhedrin, though there the Greek words are translated as “consider carefully” (5:35). Religious leaders first must examine themselves lest they lead their charges to ruin. The backdrop is Ezekiel 34, where the prophet excoriates the shepherds of God’s flock for failing to care for the weak, looking after only themselves, and abandoning the flock to predators. The church must be rightly led, or it too will be scattered and lost.
“Overseers” are identical to “elders.” “Elder” refers to “age, experience, and wisdom”; “overseer,” to the role of leading, managing, and guarding. Overseers are not “overlords,” and Paul makes clear that the church belongs to God, not to them. God acquired rights over the church with “his own blood.” Some interpret this phrase to mean “his own [Son’s] blood” (cf. Eph. 2:13; Col. 1:20; 1 Pet. 1:18–19; Rev. 5:9). The grammar of the text suggests that it refers to God’s blood, which gives prominence to how much it cost to redeem the church.
28 On those elders, then, lay a weighty responsibility. The Holy Spirit had entrusted them with the charge of the people of God in Ephesus; they had to care for them as shepherds cared for their flock. It may be implied that their commission to take pastoral responsibility for the church had been conveyed through prophetic utterances, in which the direction of the Spirit was recognized. The word translated “guardians” is the word from which “bishop” is derived,63 but to use that word here might give it an official flavor which would be an anachronism. If their commission was received through prophetic utterances, they received it no doubt because they were known to be those on whom the requisite qualifications for this work had been bestowed—and bestowed by the same Spirit whose will was declared by the prophetic utterances. Their responsibility was the greater in that the flock which they were commissioned to tend was no other than the church of God which he had purchased for himself (an echo here of Old Testament language)—and the purchase price was nothing less than the life-blood of his beloved Son.66
 Porter, S. E. (2017). Acts. In T. Cabal (Ed.), CSB Apologetics Study Bible (p. 1382). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
“I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 145:2 NLT
Several years ago, my word for the year was Praise. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about the word when the year started. Praise felt like a really big word for when really big things happened—which wasn’t every day. So, what was I supposed to do with the word the rest of the year?
What I learned first is that Praise isn’t supposed to be saved for only the really big events or even what is visible to others.
Praise is meant for every day—the little, the ordinary, and what others might not be able to see.
Praise is when we honor God by acknowledging Him in everything we do. It’s looking for Him and His work, no matter if it’s a good day or a rotten day. Praise is thanking God in all situations, even when we don’t feel thankful.
Praise when I don’t feel thankful? Yes, because sometimes we have to practice giving praise before it feels natural.
“For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke.” Psalm 66:17 NLT
Our human nature doesn’t lead us to feel thankful when we’re walking in the valley, but that’s precisely when God can do His best work in us. The hard work of changing our hearts and bringing us closer to Him. And creating a desire in us to want to be closer to Him.
The next thing I learned about Praise is that it’s not just for after something happens.
Praise is also meant to be given before we see His work.
How do I know what to praise Him for if it hasn’t happened yet? Because God is always at work, even when we can’t see it or imagine what He might be working on.
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” Psalm 103:2 NLT
Praise Him for being who He is—our God and Savior who doesn’t change on a whim. He doesn’t change the rules. And His love for us doesn’t change because He’s having a bad day.
Praise Him because no matter what we’re going through, we can be sure He’s walking beside us. He leads the way before us and watches over us. Sometimes He stays quiet, but we can trust that He’s there.
In those times I desperately need to feel His presence, I ask Him to let me see Him. And then I look for Him even in the slightest way. It might be in in new flower buds, the lyrics of a song, an unexpected phone call or text from a friend, or in the way my day turns around through no power of my own.
“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” Psalm 57:7 NLT
That year, I learned to praise God for His presence, for His love and compassion, and because no matter what I regret doing today, tomorrow is a brand new start.
Praise Him because when we look for Him, we will see Him. And the more we see Him, the more we will look for Him.
“Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!” Psalm 66:2
It isn’t optional whether we’ll praise God or not. God is most worthy of praise, and every Christian, as the recipient of His grace, has been given both the wonderful opportunity and the obligation to praise God daily. Although we have no set of rules governing daily praise and we have no commandment prescribing certain hours to sing or give thanks, the law written on our hearts teaches us that it is right to praise God. The unwritten urgency comes to us with as much force as if it had been recorded on tablets of stone, or handed to us from the top of thundering Sinai.
Yes, it is the Christian’s duty to praise God. It is not only a pleasurable exercise, but it is the absolute obligation of our lives. Don’t think that because you’re going through difficult circumstances that you are free to avoid your duty to your gracious God by choosing not to sing songs of praise. You are bound by His love to bless His name as long as you live, and His praise should continually be on your lips.
You are blessed in order that you may bless Him. “The people I formed for myself,” God declares, so that “they may proclaim my praise.” (Isaiah 43:21) If you do not praise God, you are not bringing forth the fruit which God rightly expects from your hands.
So don’t let your harp just hang on the wall, but take it down, and make music with a grateful heart. Stand up and chant His praise. With every morning’s dawn, lift up your prayers of thanksgiving, and let every setting sun be followed with your song. Overflow with praise! Surround the Earth with an atmosphere of melody, and God Himself will hear from heaven and gladly accept your song.
“Even so I love Thee, and will love, And in Thy praise will sing, Because Thou art my loving God, And my redeeming King.” (St. Francis Xavier)
Question: When is it most difficult for you to praise God, and why?
Summary of Archibald Alexander’s Theology 1 Timothy 1:15
The late venerable and godly Dr. Archibald Alexander, of Princeton, United States, had been a preacher of Christ for sixty years, and a professor of divinity for forty. He died on 22nd October, 1851. On his deathbed, he was heard to say to a friend, “All my theology is reduced to this narrow compass—Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Think on How Much Others Suffer from Us Matthew 7:1–5; Luke 6:37, 41–42; Romans 2:1, 3; 14:4; 1 Corinthians 4:5; James 4:11–12; 5:9
We are quick enough to feel and brood over the things we suffer from others, but we think nothing of how much others suffer from us. If a man would weigh his own deeds fully and rightly, he would find little cause to pass severe judgment on others.
THOMAS À KEMPIS*
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.