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03/18/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0318

•Francis Chan defends himself
•Should we share the stage with heretics to provide correction?
•Matthew 18 does not apply to public error
•Help for reading the Bible
•Why didn’t Jesus just say “I am God”?
•10 reasons the Bible esteems women, from Cripplegate
•Why Go Fish didn’t hit it big
•What you can’t learn from General Revelation

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via 03/18/2019 — Wretched

President of Evangelical Financial Accountability Group Fined for Falsely Claiming to be a CPA — Julie Roys

As President of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), Dan Busby is responsible for enforcing ECFA’s standards of ethics among the 2,300 nonprofit groups and churches that the ECFA accredits. Busby also speaks nationally on financial accountability. And he’s written numerous books including, TRUST: The Firm Foundation of Kingdom Fruitfulness—a book equipping leaders of “Christ-centered ministries” to “be intentional about building and maintaining trust.”

Given that the ECFA and Busby’s platform rely on trust and integrity, one would expect Busby to be above reproach. Yet according to the Virginia Board of Accountancy (VBOA), Busby was fined $9,000 in 2016 for the unlicensed use of the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) title on at least 38 publications, his personal website, the ECFA’s website, and the Church Law & Tax website.

The VBOA also required Busby to pay an additional $1,000 administrative fee to cover the VBOA investigation. And the board ordered Busby to remove the CPA title from all “signage and any and all listings” until Busby again became licensed.

“Given that the ECFA and Busby’s platform rely on trust and integrity, one would expect Busby to be above reproach. Yet according to the Virginia Board of Accountancy, Busby was fined $9,000 in 2016 for the unlicensed use of the CPA title . . . “

According to the complaint submitted to the VBOA, Busby allowed his CPA license from the state of Kansas to lapse in 2000, two years after moving to Virginia. Then from 2000-2015, Busby was not licensed as a CPA, though he repeatedly claimed he was. In December 2016, Busby obtained a CPA license from the Virginia board, which remains active.

According to the VBOA complaint, Busby falsely represented himself as a CPA on multiple books published by Zondervan between 2000-2015.  These included “The Christian’s Guide to Worry-free Money Management,” and numerous editions of “The Zondervan Minister’s Tax & Financial Guide” and Zondervan’s “Church and Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guide.”

I contacted Zondervan for comment, but the publisher did not respond.

Busby also was listed as a CPA on numerous books published by the ECFA between 2000-2015. These included “Charitable Giving Guide for Missionaries and Other Workers,” “Donor-Restricted Gifts Simplified,” “The Independent Audit and the Audit Committee,” and multiple editions of “Preparing Tax Returns for Clergy” and “Reporting Procedures for Congregations.”

Busby was also listed as a CPA in ECFA newsletters between 2000-2015, as well as on multiple websites, the National Directory of Registered Tax Return Preparers and Professionals, and Busby’s LinkedIn account.

Brian Taylor, a former CPA who now works for a small consulting company in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, sent me the VBOA complaint, which he said he researched and submitted four years ago. Taylor noted that Busby had worked as a CPA for 31 years before coming to the ECFA, and said his misrepresentation was intentional and inexcusable.

“With Busby, it was a 15-year pattern of intentional fraudulent inducement to sell books and enrich his pocketbook and his reputation,” Taylor said. “This was no accident. . . . He knew he didn’t take any CPE classes for 15 years. You can’t do it for 31 years and then suddenly forget. CPAs are reminded annually.”

“This was no accident. . . . He knew he didn’t take any CPE classes for 15 years. You can’t do it for 31 years and then suddenly forget. CPAs are reminded annually.”

In his complaint, Taylor also asserts that Busby’s misrepresentation was especially egregious because of his position with the ECFA. “The Virginia Board of Accountancy must take into account that Mr. Busby is not just a simple tax preparer who didn’t keep up on his CPE (continuing professional education),” Taylor wrote.

“Mr. Busby’s current role as President of ECFA is to enforce (ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship) among all member nonprofits, as the basis for the public trust in nonprofit fundraising and responsible stewardship of trust funds throughout America. And yet . . . Mr. Busby freely chose to commit intentional acts of wrongdoing over his entire 15-year tenure at ECFA, that repeatedly violated the ECFA Standards, the Code of Virginia, and the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) Code of Professional Conduct.”

Virginia law prohibits a person who does not hold a Virginia CPA license from using the CPA title in Virginia. Similarly, the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct states that a member discredits the profession if the person “makes claims about the member’s . . . qualifications in a manner that is false, misleading, or deceptive.” This would include “any representation about CPA licensure . . . that is not in compliance with the requirements of the relevant licensing authority.”

Recently, Busby and the ECFA have come under increased scrutiny for its longstanding accreditation of Harvest Bible Chapel, despite glaring financial improprieties there. Last Wednesday, I confronted the ECFA publicly for accrediting Harvest. And on Saturday, the ECFA finally suspended Harvest’s ECFA accreditation. But the Harvest debacle has raised questions concerning the ECFA’s effectiveness to hold member groups accountable.

In a statement released today, the ECFA defended its president. The statement said that Busby learned that he was not in compliance with Virginia’s accountancy laws in 2015 and has since rectified the problem. “While Dan’s use of the CPA designation complies with the laws of Kansas—where he was originally and still is certified—he had no idea that his use of the designation could possibly not be in compliance with Virginia law,” the statement said. “Dan, of course, was mortified to learn of any possibility that he was not in full compliance as he has made it his life’s work to help organizations pursue integrity.”

The statement added that Busby “has never held himself out as offering public accounting services as a Virginia CPA.” And it noted that Busby has since completed more than 180 hours of continuing professional education and settled the matter with the Virginia Board. “Dan is glad to have the matter resolved and he deeply regrets the oversight,” the statement said.

“Dan, of course, was mortified to learn of any possibility that he was not in full compliance as he has made it his life’s work to help organizations pursue integrity.”

However, the ECFA statement is not completely accurate. To use the title of CPA in Kansas, one must obtain a CPA certificate, as well as a permit to practice. Though Busby had an active Kansas CPA certificate from 2000-2015, his Kansas permit lapsed in 2000, and remains lapsed.

Also, according to the AICPA, “any action initiated by a member that informs others of his or her status as a CPA . . . constitutes holding out as a CPA.” Not only did Busby use the CPA designation from 2000-2015 on his website, bio, and in his books, he also prepared the ECFA 990 tax returns and was listed as a CPA in online directories.

Taylor said he stands by his claim that Busby’s violation was intentional and not an “oversight.” In addition to the facts already cited, Taylor noted that Busby did  not use the CPA title when he signed a letter in 2011 that was submitted to the IRS, nor in a 2013 report that was submitted to U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. The “logical conclusion,” Taylor asserts, was that Busby “was afraid he might be found out and embarrassed, so he concealed the CPA where the risk was higher.”

According to the ECFA statement, the organization’s board was informed of the issues with the Virginia board “as it developed.” The statement adds that the board “continues to wholeheartedly support Dan in his role as ECFA president and in all his endeavors.”

Interestingly, Busby’s base salary at the ECFA in 2015 was $193,218, according to the ECFA 2015 990 tax form. However, in 2016, the year of the Virginia board sanction, it jumped 26-percent to $242,563. And in 2017, the last 990 available online, Busby’s base salary was $254,979.

One of the seven areas covered in ECFA’s seven standards is compensation setting for leaders of its member organizations. The other standards deal with use of resources and compliance with laws, doctrinal issues, governance, financial oversight, transparency, and stewardship of charitable gifts.

via President of Evangelical Financial Accountability Group Fined for Falsely Claiming to be a CPA — Julie Roys

Macron Cracks Down on Yellow Vest Protests – Blocks Champs-Elysees Avenue, Replaces Police Chief… — The Last Refuge

Following a weekend of clashes, violence and stores burned in the city of Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron has replaced the police chief and announced blockades to keep yellow vest protesters away from key tourist destinations.

PARIS (AP) — France’s prime minister announced a ban Monday on yellow vest protests along the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris and in two other cities following riots on Saturday that left luxury stores ransacked and charred from arson fires.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the ban will apply for an unspecified period in the neighborhoods that have been “the most impacted” in the cities of Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse, where repeated destruction has occurred since the yellow vest protest movement began in November.

He also said Paris police chief Michel Delpuech will be replaced this week by prefect Didier Lallement.  Philippe announced the measures following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and top security officials that sought to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s violence, in which rioters set life-threatening fires, ransacked luxury stores and attacked police around the Champs-Elysees. Many of those high-end boutiques remained closed on Monday, some of them charred from arson fires set.

He acknowledged “dysfunction” in French police operations on Saturday, rejecting “inappropriate” orders given to security forces to use fewer rubber bullets following a controversy about the numerous injuries they’ve caused at previous protests. (read more)

Recent National approval ratings amid G7 members:  Justin Trudeau, Canada; Emmanuel Macron, France; Angela Merkel, Germany; Theresa May, U.K.; Giuseppe Conte, Italy; and Shinzo Abe, Japan.

via Macron Cracks Down on Yellow Vest Protests – Blocks Champs-Elysees Avenue, Replaces Police Chief… — The Last Refuge

Gospel Coalition Says God Raised up “Same-Sex Attracted Christians” to Lead Us — Pulpit & Pen

The Gospel Coalition, a subversive political organization funded by suspect financial sources, posted an article earlier today telling Christians that we should get behind ‘faithful’ Same-Sex Attracted Christians who God has raised up to lead us.

The progressive organization, who has as an editor and contributor a gay Anglican priest named Sam Allberry, has steadily been attempting to shift evangelical opinion away from condemnation of homosexual lust unless it is acted upon.

Jesus, however, taught us that the desires of our heart are sinful as well as our actions.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27 (ESV)

The normalization of homosexual desire has been the very clear goal of The Gospel Coalition (TGC) for several years as they’ve promoted Allberry, who identifies (sometimes, depending upon the audience) as a “Gay Christian.” Chiefly, TGC claims that being gay is not a sin unless actual physical sodomy takes place.

Putting homosexuals into places of church authority is now commonplace among the council members of TGC, with a church affiliated with 9Marx (founded by Mark Dever) that recently installed a lesbian minister. So long as they are celibate, the Evangelical Intelligentsia argue, it’s okay.

McLaughlin continues writing, “None of this means bowing to identity politics. Truth is truth, whoever is voicing it. But God has raised up leaders whose voices can be heard. We need to field our A-team in the public square. And the rest of us must follow their lead.”

In other words, this isn’t bowing to identity politics, but if it does sound like identity politics, hey…truth is truth.

PS…this is identity politics.

However, orthodox believers hold that the Holy Spirit gives us a new nature (Ephesians 4:24), and it’s the kind of nature that pulls us away from homosexual attraction (1 Corinthians 6:11).

In an article entitled, “Christians, It’s Time to Go On the Offensive,” Rebecca McLaughlin writes at the TGC:

Likewise, when it comes to other areas of cultural engagement, we need to let our most credible voices speak. In a world where Christians are seen as homophobic bigots, we need to get behind the biblically faithful, same-sex-attracted Christians God has raised up to speak for and to his church.

McLaughlin had previously written a post at TGC about what Christians could learn from the sexually graphic pornographic sequel, Fifty Shades of Freed.

The position of TGC is indistinguishable from the position of the mainstream liberal denominations 30 years ago. These New Calvinist believers behind TGC, led by ultra-liberal New York progressive, Tim Keller, hold the same position today as the Episcopalian, ELCA, and United Church of Christ did just a few decades ago.

Their trajectory will lead them to the same place, which is the full inclusion of practicing LGBTQXYZLMNOP within the church.

As for the rest of us, we believe in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. While orthodox Christians do not believe that sanctification is immediate or that homosexual desire goes away instantly upon conversion, we deny that those who still wish to be sodomized or to sodomize others should be serving in ministerial positions within the church.

via Gospel Coalition Says God Raised up “Same-Sex Attracted Christians” to Lead Us — Pulpit & Pen

After MacDonald Implosion, Harvest Bible Chapel Members Demand Tithe Refund — Pulpit & Pen

James MacDonald taught frequently about financial giving and promised that God would return a financial reward. As the Elephant’s Debt exposed the amount of debt and financial waste at MacDonald’s church and others blew the whistle on MacDonald’s extravagant lifestyle, it now makes more sense. Certain Harvest Bible Chapel members, however, are demanding a refund of what they thought they were giving to God.

Scott and Marsha Thompson donated more than 72 grand to Harvest Bible Chapel over the course of several years and they are now demanding it back.

Thompson claimed that he had no idea that his pastor was living in a 2 million dollar home or lived like a wealthy individual. Titus 1:8 requires elders to be hospitable, so it’s beyond weird for most Christians to consider it’s possible to donate years and tens of thousands of dollars to a church but never to have seen or visited with the pastor in his home.

Thompson left the church in 2013 after seeing photos of MacDonald’s house online and then driving by his home to see if it was as luxurious as it seemed. Then, as news continued to break over the last 6 years, he has grown increasingly convinced that his tithes and offerings were received under false pretenses.

Thompson claims he wants MacDonald to personally pay back his financial gifts to the church.

[HT CBS Chicago 2]

via After MacDonald Implosion, Harvest Bible Chapel Members Demand Tithe Refund — Pulpit & Pen

March 18 Praying for Others

Scripture reading: Colossians 1:9–14

Key verse: Colossians 1:9

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Perhaps you are driving your car and a friend comes to mind. It may be someone you have not seen in years. Or you could be reading through your devotions and God places a burden on your heart to pray for a family member. His Spirit is calling out to you to be sensitive and pray for that person.

You don’t need to know what the other person is going through in order to pray for him. God will show you what is necessary. One of the greatest blessings comes when you recognize the moving of the Holy Spirit and follow Him in prayer.

Paul encouraged the Colossians by telling how he prayed for them. Imagine what it was like to have Paul pray for you!

Prayer is the greatest gift you can give another person. When you approach the throne of God on behalf of another, you are doing exactly what Jesus has done for you.

Paul prayed that these early believers would have “all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you may walk worthy of the Lord” (Col. 1:9–10).

Prayer reveals new dimensions of God’s love. It keeps us from becoming self-focused. Instead we become others focused. God takes our prayers and uses them to unlock doors of blessing in the lives of others.

Father, use my prayers to unlock doors of blessing in the lives of others. Help me to be sensitive to the prompting of Your Spirit to pray for those in need.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 81). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Francis Chan Defends His Friendship With False Teachers — Christian Research Network

“What would it take for Chan to recognize Bill Johnson and others who spoke at The Send actively advance the thing Chan condemns? Yet Chan has preached that if you criticize these teachers, you are taking a sledgehammer to the house of God, and you will have to answer for that before God. He referenced 1 Corinthians 3:17 which says, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” My friends, Bill Johnson’s “gospel” is anything but holy.” 

(Gabriel Hughes – The Midwestern Baptist)  Yesterday, Francis Chan responded to the harsh accusations that he has been aligning with heretics. A recent article published at The Cripplegate was entitled Farewell Francis. The author Jordan Standridge warned that Chan “is sharing the stage with false teachers who will spend eternity in Hell (Gal. 1:6-9).” He pleaded for Chan to repent and “come back to your first love!” Chan has been on a steady decline over the last few years. Preaching with Mike Bickle at the International House of Prayer may have been a head-scratcher, but it wasn’t enough to denounce Chan as developing an alliance with the enemy. Maybe Chan didn’t know that Bickle claimed to have gone to heaven and had a personal audience with Jesus. Maybe Chan didn’t know Bickle teaches that we bring about Christ’s return through prayer (according to what Jesus personally told him). Maybe Chan didn’t know that Bickle has claimed there will be new apostles preaching things you will not be able to find in the Bible, and they will be superior to the biblical apostles. But Chan continued his association with IHOP, never arriving at a knowledge of the truth about this false church.

Everything came to a head last month when Chan preached at a conference in Orlando known as The Send (formerly known as The Call), featuring some of the worst teachers out there—Benny Hinn, Heidi Baker, Todd White, Rodney Howard Browne, and Bill Johnson to name a few. Following The Send, pictures started emerging of Chan being buddies with these charlatans. He embraced them as brothers and praised them for being bold men and women of God. This has prompted many, including myself, to warn people to stay away from Francis Chan. He is no longer trustworthy.

Questions have been raised for a few years regarding Chan’s associations, but Chan has remained silent (except for claiming that he loved Mike Bickle). Finally he responded this weekend in a blog entitled A Response to Some Concerns by Francis Chan. I won’t post the entire thing word for word—you can read it for yourself by clicking the link. I will highlight some critical points, and then my response will follow.

Chan wrote:  View article →

Research:

Word of Faith, Name-it-and-claim-it, Prosperity Gospel

via Francis Chan Defends His Friendship With False Teachers — Christian Research Network

March 18, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Terror Of The Father

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” And when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were much afraid. (17:5–6)

A third confirmation of Jesus’ deity was the terror caused by the intervention of the Father while Peter was still speaking. Through the form of a bright cloud God overshadowed the three disciples and spoke to them in a voice out of the cloud. To the testimony of the transfiguration itself and the testimony of the two Old Testament saints was now added the surprising testimony of God the Father.

Throughout the wilderness wanderings of Israel the Lord manifested Himself through “a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way” (Ex. 13:21; Num. 9:17; Deut. 1:33). Isaiah predicted that “when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy” (Isa. 4:4–5). In his vision of the last days John “looked and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle and reap, because the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ And He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth; and the earth was reaped” (Rev. 14:14–16).

Out of such a bright cloud the Father overshadowed Peter, James, and John, and spoke to them in an audible voice, … saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” The Father spoke almost identical words at Jesus’ baptism (Matt. 3:17), and during Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem—but a few days before His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion-the Father again publicly and directly declared His approval of the Son (John 12:28).

In calling Jesus His Son, the Father declared Him to be of identical nature and essence with Himself (cf. John 5:17–20; 8:19, 42; 10:30, 36–38). Scripture frequently refers to believers as children of God, but they are adopted children, brought into the heavenly family only through the miracle of His grace (Rom. 8:15, 23; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). Jesus is the essence of divine nature, as the apostles repeatedly emphasize (see Rom. 1:1–4; 2 Cor. 1:3; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 1:3; 2 John 3).

In calling Jesus His beloved Son, the Father declared not only a relationship of divine nature but a relationship of divine love. They had a relationship of mutual love, commitment, and identification in every way.

In saying, “with whom I am well-pleased,” the Father declared His approval with everything the Son was, said, and did. Everything about Jesus was in perfect accord with the Father’s will and plan. Compare John 5:19; 8:29; 10:37–38; 12:49–50.

Then, directly addressing the three disciples, perhaps Peter in particular, God said, “Listen to Him!” He was saying, in effect, “If My Son tells you He must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die, believe Him. If He tells you He will be raised up on the third day, believe Him. If He tells you to take up your own cross and follow Him, that is what you are to do. If He says He will come again in glory, then believe Him and live accordingly.”

The outspoken, brash Peter and his two companions now knew they stood in the awesome presence of Almighty God. As would be expected, when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were much afraid. Peter was probably so utterly traumatized that he promptly forgot about his presumptuous suggestion to build the three tabernacles.

The combined awareness of the Lord’s grace and His majesty, His love and His justice, His friendship and His lordship should cause a kind of spiritual tension in every believer. On the one hand he rejoices in his loving fellowship with the Lord because of His gracious kindness, and on the other hand he has reverential fear as he contemplates His awesome holiness and righteousness. As the believer walks in obedience to God, he experiences the comfort of His presence. But as he walks in disobedience, he should feel the terror of that same presence. Proverbs declares that spiritual wisdom begins with the fear of God (Prov. 9:10).

Sinful men in the presence of a holy God always want to hide. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve had uninterrupted fellowship with God, but after they sinned the relationship was vastly changed. When “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, … the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8). When Isaiah beheld the divine majesty and glory that surrounded the heavenly throne, he cried out in great fear, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:5). As he stood in the presence of perfect holiness, the sense of his own utter sinfulness overwhelmed him. Daniel was likewise terrified when the Lord spoke directly to him after his vision of the ram, goat, and little horn (Dan. 8:15–17).[1]


5. Lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Their eyes were covered by a cloud, in order to inform them, that they were not yet prepared for beholding the brightness of the heavenly glory. For, when the Lord gave tokens of his presence, he employed, at the same time, some coverings to restrain the arrogance of the human mind. So now, with the view of teaching his disciples a lesson of humility, he withdraws from their eyes the sight of the heavenly glory. This admonition is likewise addressed to us, that we may not seek to pry into the secrets which lie beyond our senses, but, on the contrary, that every man may keep within the limits of sobriety, according to the measure of his faith. In a word, this cloud ought to serve us as a bridle, that our curiosity may not indulge in undue wantonness. The disciples, too, were warned that they must return to their former warfare, and therefore must not expect a triumph before the time.

And, lo, a voice from the cloud. It deserves our attention, that the voice of God was heard from the cloud, but that neither a body nor a face was seen. Let us therefore remember the warning which Moses gives us, that God has no visible shape, lest we should deceive ourselves by imagining that He resembled a man, (Deut. 4:15.) There were, no doubt, various appearances under which God made himself known to the holy fathers in ancient times; but in all cases he refrained from using signs which might induce them to make for themselves idols. And certainly, as the minds of men are too strongly inclined to foolish imaginations, there was no necessity for throwing oil upon the flame. This manifestation of the glory of God was remarkable above all others. When he makes a cloud to pass between Him and us, and invites us to himself by His voice, what madness is it to attempt to place Him before our eyes by a block of wood or of stone? Let us therefore endeavour to enter by faith alone, and not by the eyes of flesh, into that inaccessible light in which God dwells. The voice came from the cloud, that the disciples, knowing it to have proceeded from God, might receive it with due reverence.

This is my beloved Son. I willingly concur with those who think that there is an implied contrast of Moses and Elijah with Christ, and that the disciples of God’s own Son are here charged to seek no other teacher. The word Son is emphatic, and raises him above servants. There are two titles here bestowed upon Christ, which are not more fitted to do honour to him than to aid our faith: a beloved Son, and a Master. The Father calls him my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, and thus declares him to be the Mediator, by whom he reconciles the world to himself. When he enjoins us to hear him, he appoints him to be the supreme and only teacher of his Church. It was his design to distinguish Christ from all the rest, as we truly and strictly infer from those words, that by nature he was God’s only Son. In like manner, we learn that he alone is beloved by the Father, and that he alone is appointed to be our Teacher, that in him all authority may dwell.

But it will perhaps be objected, Does not God love angels and men? It is easy to reply, that the fatherly love of God, which is spread over angels and men, proceeds from him as its source. The Son is beloved by the Father, not so as to make other creatures the objects of his hatred, but so that he communicates to them what belongs to himself. There is a difference, no doubt, between our condition and that of the angels; for they never were alienated from God, and therefore needed not that he should reconcile them; while we are enemies on account of sin, till Christ procure for us his favour. Still, it is a fixed principle that God is gracious to both, only so far as he embraces us in Christ; for even the angels would not be firmly united to God if Christ were not their Head. It may also be observed that, since the Father here speaks of himself as different from the Son, there is a distinction of persons; for they are one in essence and alike in glory.

Hear him. I mentioned a little ago, that these words were intended to draw the attention of the Church to Christ as the only Teacher, that on his mouth alone it may depend. For, though Christ came to maintain the authority of the Law and the Prophets, (Matth. 5:17,) yet he holds the highest rank, so that, by the brightness of his gospel, he causes those sparks which shone in the Old Testament to disappear. He is the Sun of righteousness, whose arrival brought the full light of day. And this is the reason why the Apostle says (Heb. 1:1) that God, who at sundry times and in various ways spoke formerly by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us by his beloved Son. In short, Christ is as truly heard at the present day in the Law and in the Prophets as in his Gospel; so that in him dwells the authority of a Master, which he claims for himself alone, saying, One is your Master, even Christ, (Matth. 23:8.) But his authority is not fully acknowledged, unless all the tongues of men are silent. If we would submit to his doctrine, all that has been invented by men must be thrown down and destroyed. He is every day, no doubt, sending out teachers, but it is to state purely and honestly what they have learned from him, and not to corrupt the gospel by their own additions. In a word, no man can be regarded a faithful teacher of the Church, unless he be himself a disciple of Christ, and bring others to be taught by him.[2]


5 The “cloud” is associated, in both the OT and intertestamental Judaism, with eschatology (Ps 97:2; Isa 4:5; Eze 30:3, Da 7:13; Zep 1:15; cf. 2 Bar. 53:1–12; 4 Ezra 13:3; 2 Macc 2:8; b. Sanh. 98a) and with the exodus (Ex 13:21–22; 16:10; 19:16; 24:15–18; 40:34–38). Of the synoptists, only Matthew says that the cloud was “bright,” a detail that recalls the Shekinah glory. The latter eschatological associations (Lk 21:27; 1 Th 4:17) show Jesus in his role as the one who succeeds Moses, the eschatological prophet; the former associations (Ps 97:2 et al.) assure us that Jesus is the messianic King whose kingdom is dawning. But as Liefeld (“Theological Motifs,” 170) points out, common to both sets of passages and to others as well is the more fundamental idea of the presence of God.

It is uncertain whether epeskiasen means “enveloped” (NIV) or “overshadowed” (cf. Ex 40:35). What the Voice from the cloud says is largely a repetition of 3:17, an apparent mingling of Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1, stressing that Jesus is both Son and Suffering Servant. This is the high point of the narrative (cf. S. Pedersen, “Die Proklamation Jesu als des eschatologischen Offenbarungsträgers,” NovT 17 [1975]: 241–64). (Mark omits the allusion to Isa 42:1; but both Matthew and Luke, not to mention 2 Pe 1:17, attest the connection in different ways; cf. Gundry, Use of the Old Testament, 36–37.) But if Matthew 3:17 identifies Jesus, this verse in its context goes further and places him above Moses and Elijah.

The additional words “Listen to him”—an allusion to Deuteronomy 18:15—confirm Jesus is the Prophet like Moses (Dt 18:15–18; cf. Ac 3:22–23; 7:37). This does not mean Jesus is another prophet of Moses’ stature but the eschatological Prophet patterned on Moses as a type; for, as Liefeld has suggested (“Theological Motifs,” 173), Moses’ primary role here is typological, whereas Elijah’s, not explained until vv. 9–13, is eschatological. As Moses’ antitype, Jesus so far outstrips him that when Moses is put next to him, men must “listen” to Jesus, as Moses himself said. The climax of biblical revelation is Jesus, the Son and Servant whom God loves and with whom God is well pleased. Even Moses and Elijah (the Law and the Prophets) assume supporting roles where he is concerned. This confirms our interpretation of 5:17–48; 11:11–15.[3]


The voice from heaven (v. 5)

Just as at Jesus’ baptism, there is a voice that speaks from the glory, out of a cloud, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’ This voice echoes 3:17, but develops our understanding further, as we realize that the beloved Son is the prophet who was to come into the world. The voice from heaven, therefore, serves to show that Jesus is one with the prophetic tradition represented by Moses and Elijah, but that he is also the consummator of that tradition. He is, in fact, the last prophet.

The descent from the mount of transfiguration serves to highlight other issues. The true meaning of Elijah’s appearance is emphasized by Jesus as he identifies Elijah with John the Baptist (vv. 9–13). Jesus still wishes the disciples to keep the events they have witnessed secret. The time for proclamation and publication will come, but is not yet. The unexplained question lingers in the minds of the disciples—why is the coming of Elijah a matter of rabbinic teaching? Jesus’ answer is that the prophecy concerning the coming of Elijah was fulfilled in the appearance of John. And just as Elijah and John were cruelly mistreated in the world, so, too, will Jesus be.[4]


17:5. Peter’s offer was interrupted by the appearance of the Father himself. There is a connection between the cloud’s appearance and the Father’s voice and Peter’s offer to build the shelters. Matthew says the cloud enveloped them while he [Peter] was still speaking. God recognized Peter’s good intention in wanting to honor Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, but he corrected Peter’s misperception by elevating his Son above the others.

In addition to Jesus’ dazzling transformation and the appearance of Moses and Elijah, the awesome display drew to its climax as the cloud of the Shekinah glory came down and the voice of God spoke from the cloud.

The cloud was bright, with the same glory that shone from Jesus, face and clothes, reminding us of the cloud of God’s presence during Israel’s wanderings (Exod. 13:21–22), and his indwelling of the tabernacle (Exod. 40:34–38) and the temple (1 Kgs. 8:10–13).

The Father’s words were identical to those spoken at Jesus’ baptism (3:17, see comment there), with the addition of Listen to him (the Greek present imperative, which means “keep on listening” or “always listen”). When the Father affirmed Jesus as his Son, the disciples gained a better idea of Jesus’ true identity—the glorious and suffering Messiah. When the Father expressed his love for his Son, the disciples had a more complete idea why Jesus was pleasing to the Father. He had been and would be obedient to the Father, even to death.

The command to the disciples was “Listen to him,” elevating the word of Jesus above the words of Moses and Elijah. Indeed, Moses himself commanded God’s people to heed the prophet “like me” who would come (Deut. 18:15). This reminds us of Jesus’ repeated challenge, “He who has ears, let him hear” (11:15; 13:9, 43). The disciples had heard all of Jesus’ teachings, but the “ears” of their hearts were not fully open to the meaning of what had been revealed to them.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 3, pp. 67–69). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 2, pp. 313–315). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 438–439). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Campbell, I. D. (2008). Opening up Matthew (pp. 108–109). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[5] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 269–270). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

March 18, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on Friday to block a measure passed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress that would terminate his emergency declaration for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday the chamber will vote on March 26 on overriding President Donald Trump’s veto of a border-wall related resolution.

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, said on Monday it was possible that once he dies his incarnation could be found in India, where he has lived in exile for 60 years, and warned that any other successor named by China would not be respected.

Three people were killed and nine others injured in a shooting in a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht, the mayor said, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported.

The world’s biggest plane maker faced escalating pressure on Monday after Ethiopia pointed to parallels between its crash and one in Indonesia, sharpening focus on the safety of software installed in Boeing’s 737 MAX planes.

About 47 million people – one in five American adults – are expected to bet a combined $8.5 billion on “March Madness,” the annual men’s college basketball tournament, a new report said on Monday.

AP Top Stories

Unlike other major U.S. adversaries, such as Russia and China, Iran’s relative military weakness has led it to focus on preparations to attack “softer” targets, such as U.S. government facilities and personnel, and even civilian institutions like synagogues.

The number of people killed after torrential downpours triggered flash floods and mudslides that tore through mountainside villages in Indonesia’s easternmost province has climbed to 79, with dozens of others missing, officials said Monday.

The military chiefs of staff of Syria, Iran and Iraq will hold a rare meeting in Damascus to discuss “ways to combat terrorism”, the pro-Syrian government al-Watan daily reported on Monday.

A German reporter held by Venezuelan authorities for four months flew back home Sunday after being conditionally released, a Venezuelan NGO said.

A U.S. Navy veteran was sentenced to 10 years in an Iranian prison, according to his attorney, potentially fueling more friction between the United States and Iran.

South Korea said it’s considering holding talks with North Korea in efforts to help improve relations between the latter and the U.S. since their summit fell apart in Vietnam last month. Both the U.S. and North Korea “absolutely don’t want” to revert to the situation before 2017 when there was conflict and confrontation.

The Vatican is pushing back against whistleblower reports about problematic work conditions at its U.N. mission in New York under its former ambassador, in the latest scandal implicating the Holy See’s diplomatic corps.

Syrian government forces will reclaim control of northeastern areas controlled by the US-backed Kurds, whether by force or through reconciliation, the defense minister warned Monday.

The organizers of New Zealand’s largest gun show say they have canceled the event to show respect for victims of the Christchurch massacre and because of “elevated security risks.”

U.S. Special Operations Command has its sights set on its next big sniper rifle. SOCOM awarded a $49.9 million, five-year contract to Barrett Firearms for the command’s Advanced Sniper Rifle program meant to replace the Precision Sniper Rifle currently fielded to special operations snipers. Barrett’s bolt-action Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) precision system will be chambered in 7.62×51 mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum with the help of a separate conversion kit.

Pope Francis met Monday with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, France’s highest-ranking Catholic official, who was expected to tender his resignation after receiving a six-month suspended jail sentence for failing to report sex abuse by a priest under his authority. The Vatican confirmed the meeting took place within the city state but did not provide any details.

Flooding in Nebraska has badly damaged up to 500 houses in one county alone.

Flooding has reached record levels at 17 locations across Nebraska. The state’s emergency management agency says more record crests are expected in various rivers by Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to withdraw the Philippines from the International Criminal Court looking into thousands of deaths in his drug war takes effect Sunday.

BBC

Cyclone Idai has had a “massive and horrifying” impact on Mozambique’s port city of Beira, the Red Cross says. It has killed at least 150 people across southern Africa.

A huge fireball exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere in December, according to NASA. The blast was the second largest of its kind in 30 years, and the biggest since the fireball over Chelyabinsk in Russia six years ago.The space rock exploded with 10 times the energy released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo say a train has overturned, killing at least 24 people, mostly children. More than 30 others have been injured.

WND

Getting a paycheck for doing nothing could be in the future for residents of New Jersey’s largest city. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says the city is going to study a pilot program to provide a universal basic income, or basically guaranteeing income for all residents whether they have a job.

An appeals court now has affirmed the constitutionality of an Indiana law making the body-parts trade illegal.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Mar. 18, 2019

The Foundation

“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

SPLC, Morris Dees, and Their Hypocritical Facade

The organization dumped its cofounder over allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.


Gillibrand’s ‘Brave’ Presidential Bid

The Democrat New York senator lays out an extreme leftist platform as she aims to take on Trump.


Are Third-World Pilots Being MAXed Out?

As theories solidify for recent deadly airline crashes, we wonder if the right question is being asked.


Colleges or Ruling-Class Collaborators?

Admissions bribery? The real problem with higher education is far deeper than that.


The End of the World … Because Leftists Say So

Kids are always pawns for leftist indoctrination, this time walking out over climate.


Reparations Decoded

Can “40 acres and a mule” solve black America’s problems today? Not a chance.


Pelosi Wants to Lower Voting Age to 16

Democrats would love nothing more than to increase the number of ignorant voters.


Video: What Is an Automatic Weapon?

Well, for one thing, it’s not the same as a semiautomatic weapon.



Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
Murder at the Mosques
Tony Perkins
School Tries Concealing Drag Makeup Day
Hans von Spakovsky
Covington’s Nick Sandmann Launches His Second Defamation Lawsuit — This Time Against CNN
Kathryn Jean Lopez
The Contamination of Contempt
William Federer
Wording of First Amendment and Who Twisted It
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Monday Top News Executive Summary

Trump veto, smuggling operation, socialist agenda, Kirsten Gillibrand 2020, Boeing investigation, and more.


Monday Short Cuts

“Our friends in the other party will never forgive us for our success, and are doing everything in their power to rewrite history.” —Ronald Reagan



Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

News – 3/18/2019

Illegal Alien Who Used Fake Fed Doc to Get License Committed No Crime, Obama Judge Rules
It is not a crime for an illegal immigrant to use fake federal documents to obtain a legitimate state license, according to a remarkable ruling issued this week by an Obama-appointed judge in south Florida. The defendant, 38-year-old Rubman Ardon Chinchilla, was among 20 people arrested several months ago in a scheme that used bogus immigration documents in driver’s license applications. The man who masterminded the operation, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Cuba, has been charged with fraud.

Court Victory Against Deep State FBI
Judge Declares FBI’s Search for Peter Strzok Records Inadequate. Judicial Watch Sues for Key Anti-Trump Coup Doc. Judicial Watch Files Ethics Complaint Against Congressman Adam Schiff. Clinton Email Scandal Witness Testimony Begins

Media Silence Surrounds Muslim Massacre of Christians
Political leaders and public figures were falling over themselves this weekend to condemn the mosque attacks in New Zealand, while dozens of Christians were slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria to the sound of crickets. The bizarre aspect of the coverage was not, in fact, the attention paid to a heinous crime committed in New Zealand, but the absolute silence surrounding the simultaneous massacre of scores of Christians by Muslim militants in Africa.

Sex with kids, child weddings at Philly mosque?
She’s 17 now but says she first became a child bride at 14. “At the time I was a virgin. It was going to be my first marriage of course,” said the teen. She says it didn’t last. And in 2016, she says she was married off to Rajmann Sanders, a man more than twice her age who then allegedly began sexually assaulting her and her 10-year-old sister.

The Feiglin phenomenon
Zehut calls to cancel the Oslo Accords, have Israel annex the entire West Bank,… removing the Wakf Islamic religious trust from the Temple Mount and building a synagogue on Judaism’s holiest site, and seeks to move the Knesset and Supreme Court to the Old City.

Video Report From Temple Mount: Arab Riots and Thanksgiving Offering
Breaking Israel News joined a Jewish mass ascension to the Temple Mount, braving angry Palestinians and joyously participating in a covert ceremony intended as the first tiny step towards reinstating the Temple service.

Taliban captures 50 border police as fighting intensifies in Afghanistan
At least 50 members of the Afghan security forces have surrendered to the Taliban in a fight for control of Afghanistan’s western province of Badghis, local officials said. Some 100 Afghan personnel who are part of the interior ministry’s border police attempted to flee their posts into neighboring Turkmenistan on Saturday, but they were prevented from entering that country, Badghis provincial council chairman Abdul Aziz Bik said on Sunday. “These soldiers have been fighting against the Taliban for years and if they give up, they will be killed by Taliban,” Bik said.

UN defends claim IDF shot ‘innocent’ Gaza protesters
The UN Gaza Commission of Inquiry is set to defend its claim that Israel shot innocent Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border in an action it has said could be a war crime. On Monday morning it released a 228 -page report on the weekly Hamas-led protests known as the “Great March of Return,” which began on March 30, 2018, and in which more than 200 Palestinians have been killed.

Cyclone Idai: Devastation in Mozambique and Zimbabwe
Cyclone Idai has had a “massive and horrifying” impact on Mozambique’s port city of Beira, the Red Cross says. It made landfall on Thursday with winds of up to 177 km/h (106 mph), but aid teams only reached Beira on Sunday. People have been rescued from trees, homes have been destroyed and roofs were ripped off concrete buildings, head of the Red Cross assessment team, Jamie LeSeur, told the BBC.

Churches are opening their doors to businesses in order to survive
Sunday looks very different from Monday at White Rock United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. During the week, a florist fills out orders next to an artist working on a project. Down the hall, students practice tai chi. Declining attendance at America’s churches — a persistent trend in recent decades — has forced some to take a novel approach to keeping their doors open: renting out otherwise empty space during the usually quiet mid-week…

Israeli military raids home, arrests brother of Ariel attacker
Israeli military raided the home of the suspected Ariel attacker and arrested his teenage brother early Monday morning. The security forces also questioned the father of the suspect, and searched a store belonging to the family. The 20-year-old Omar Abu Lila, from the village of Az-Zawiya in the West Bank, is suspected of killing two people and seriously wounding two others.

Japan’s exports slump again on weak external demand, puts BOJ on notice
Japan’s exports fell for a third month in February in a sign of growing strain on the trade-reliant economy, suggesting the central bank might be forced to offer more stimulus eventually to temper the effects of slowing external demand and trade frictions. Slowing global growth, the Sino-U.S. trade war and complications over Britain’s exit from the European Union have already forced many policymakers to shift to an easing stance over recent months.

NZ Threatens 10 Years In Prison For ‘Possessing’ Mosque Shooting Video; Web Hosts Warned, ‘Dissenter’ Banned
Hosting platforms can be fined up to $200,000

VICTORY: New Mexico Senate blocks bill that would force doctors to commit abortions
Pro-abortion activists faced an unexpected defeat in New Mexico Thursday as the state Senate voted down legislation that would have forced doctors and nurses to participate in abortions.

BOMBSHELL: DNC Billionaire and Hard-Left Donor George Soros Tied to Anti-Trump Dirty Dossier Hoax
The secrets to the deep state coup to prevent Donald Trump from winning the 2016 election and then to overthrow his government are slowly being revealed.  To no one’s surprise, the plot leads back to dance billionaire donor and anti-American activist George Soros.

Democratic Governor Pushes Bill To Allow ‘Non-Doctors’ To Perform Abortions
If pushing for bills allowing late-term abortions in more states wasn’t enough, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has proposed new legislation that will allow people who are not doctors to perform abortions.

British man called “racist bigot” for opposing daughter’s assignment to write a letter about converting to Islam
Everyone is already deemed “racist,” “Islamophobic,” and “bigoted” for reporting about sharia-justified abuses and jihad murder. Already the word “Islamophobia” is defined as including “dislike” or “fear” of “Muslimness.”

EXCLUSIVE: Portland School Teachers Now Obligated To Help Illegal Alien Students Evade I.C.E. Agents
What to do if you’re a teacher in Portland Public Schools, you suspect that one or more of your students are “undocumented,” and you see federal I.C.E. agents around the school?Well, thanks to this handy guide from the school district, you are now obligated to help the students evade the I.C.E. agents.

Terrorist Attack Israel ( North of Jerusalem) Near city of Ariel
#BREAKING: Deadly terror attack north of Jerusalem, near city of Ariel. Multiple casualties reported in two locations, at least 2 dead.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad praise deadly West Bank terror shootings 
The Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups praised a pair of shooting attacks in the northern West Bank on Sunday, in which one Israeli was killed and two others were critically wounded, calling them “heroic.”

Son Publicly Defends Parents Implicated In Admissions Scandal While Smoking Blunt
“They’re blowing this whole thing out of proportion. I believe everyone has a right to go to college, man…”

Meeting Between Trump And Xi Said To Be Delayed Till June: SCMP
The meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to end the trade war which was tentatively pushed back from March to April, may be pushed back again, this time to June, the SCMP reported.


Headlines – 3/18/2019

West Bank Attack Raises Tensions Ahead of Israeli Elections

Palestinian kills Israeli soldier in West Bank knife and gun attack

Hamas and Islamic Jihad praise deadly West Bank terror shootings

Israelis in West Bank said to throw stones at Palestinians after terror attack

Sunday’s deadly attack underlines relentless rise in West Bank terror attempts

7 reporters held, ‘brutally beaten’ by Hamas for covering Gaza protests

UN Envoy Condemns Hamas Crackdown on Gaza Protests

UN envoy says Hamas violently suppressed Gaza protests

Fourth batch of balloons from Gaza lands in Negev

Egyptian officials to Hamas leaders: ‘Israel will destroy you, and we won’t do a thing to stop it’

Israel gives Islamic authority deadline in holy site closure

Jerusalem court orders closure of disputed building on Temple Mount

PA: Israel has no authority on Temple Mount

Report: Barak’s phone breached, info apparently sold to Iran by foreign hackers

Gantz demands AG probe whether Netanyahu leaked Iran phone hack claims

U.S. Bans Entry to Officials Pursuing International Court Charges Against Americans and Israelis

Over 60,000 people, mostly civilians, flee from last ISIS Syria enclave: SDF

US to leave 1,000 troops in Syria, despite planned ‘withdrawal’

Top US general refutes report that military could keep nearly 1,000 US troops in Syria

At least eight dead as gunmen storm Mali army camp

Taliban Capture About 150 Afghan Soldiers After Chase Into Turkmenistan

Saudi crown prince allegedly stripped of some authority

U.S. Navy veteran sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for insulting top leader, posting private photo

Putin to mark five years of annexation in Crimea

Ex-Putin adviser who died under mysterious circumstances in US had broken neck bone, report says

India, Pakistan threatened to unleash missiles at each other: sources

Bomb targeting train kills four in SW Pakistan

John Bolton warns North Korea not to test missiles

New Zealand shooting: Australian leader sides with teen who egged anti-Muslim senator

Over 1 million people have signed a petition to remove an Australian senator who blamed Muslim immigration for the New Zealand shooting

New Zealand welcomes gun control after mosque massacre: ‘There will be no opposition’

Teenager charged for live streaming NZ mosque shooting

1.5 million videos of Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand removed by Facebook

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes quits Facebook: ‘New Zealand was too much for me’

‘We Are Not Safe Unless We Are Together’ – Interfaith Vigils Follow Mosque Shootings

Media Silence Surrounds Muslim Massacre of Christians

Where is the worldwide outrage and mourning for Christians in Nigeria, The Philippines, and Egypt?

Serbian protesters enter state TV headquarters in Belgrade

Yellow vest’ rioting in Paris as anti-Macron protests persist

5 charged in MS-13-linked slaying of Va. teen who was stabbed 100 times, burned

Trump threatens ‘SNL’ with federal investigation because they mock him

Doug Collins: House vote to make Mueller report public a failed stunt by Dems

Reuters Journalist Withheld Damaging Info About Beto O’Rourke Until After Senate Race

New Colorado law will give state’s electoral college votes to national popular vote winner

Democrats hit the gas on Net neutrality bill

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ngondokandawu, Indonesia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 30,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 12,000ft

Tenggar Caldera in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Landslide in northern China kills 10

Indonesia: At least 58 casualties amid major flooding, mudslides following torrential rains

Nebraska: Disaster, disruptions, and exhaustion. Flood problems will not relent

Flood disaster continues in Iowa and eastern Nebraska with more rain on the horizon for Tuesday

More evacuations in Midwest as floodwaters head downstream

Before-and-After Images Show Ongoing Flood Disaster in Nebraska and Iowa

Australia: Tropical Cyclone Trevor forms, on track to target northern Queensland this week

Churches are opening their doors to businesses in order to survive


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Francis Chan Defends His Friendship With False Teachers

Daniel Mann – The Rabbi’s Have Placed Their Faith in Keeping the Law of Moses

Beth Moore and Bellevue Baptist: a Wolf Comes to Memphis

Christine Caine, Be Silent

Matt Chandler to Partner with Michael Brown, Christine Caine

Court protects ministers from $1B tax lawsuit

6 Christians Killed, 470 Flee in Congo Attack

120 people killed, 140 homes destroyed by Nigeria Fulani since February


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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

 

How would the Democrats’ “Equality Act” affect Christians and conservatives?

WINTERY KNIGHT

21 states have SOGI anti-discrimination laws 21 states have SOGI anti-discrimination laws

I’m following this Equality Act legislation as it moves through the House of Representatives. The bill would make prohibit individuals and businesses from discriminating by sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). These SOGI laws already exist at the state level, in places where Christians are being sued and coerced to affirm and celebrate gay rights.

Here is a good article from The Stream, explaining 7 ways that the law would affect you:

  1. It would penalize Americans who don’t affirm new sexual norms or gender ideology.
  2. It would compel speech.
  3. It could shut down charities.
  4. It would allow more biological males to defeat girls in sports.
  5. It could be used to coerce medical professionals.
  6. It could lead to more parents losing custody of their children.
  7. It would enable sexual assault.

Let’s take a quick look at some examples of these changes already in progress.

View original post 630 more words

March 18 When the Going Gets Rough

scripture reading: Psalm 46:1–3
key verse: Psalm 54:7

He has delivered me out of all trouble;
And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.

You have a flight from Boston to Charlotte. Inclement weather, rain, and clouds shroud the flight path. Is the flight canceled? Rarely. Today’s aircraft are fully equipped to fly in harsh climatic conditions.

It is likewise important to realize that God has fitted you to navigate through turbulent times. Just as the pilot’s confidence is in the instruments, so must your reliance be on God, not yourself.

Your foremost guide in rough times is God’s Word. It is always a lamp unto your feet, especially when darkness is at its deepest.

If you are in tempestuous circumstances, read His Word voraciously, cling to specific promises tenaciously, and anticipate His gracious response.

You can also count on the unerring help of the Holy Spirit who lives in you. As the third person of the Trinity, He is unaffected by emotional, spiritual, financial, or psychological tumult.

He will stabilize you through His divine assistance, upright you when you fall, and constantly gird you through His unfailing strength and love.

God is the Sustainer of your soul. He will see you through when you cannot see at all.

Holy Spirit, You are unaffected by the emotional, spiritual, financial, or psychological tumult that I may face today. See me through when I cannot see at all.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

18 march (1855) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The victory of faith

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

suggested further reading: Matthew 4:1–11

Faith helps Christians to overcome the world. It always does it homoeopathically. You say, “That is a singular idea.” So it may be. The principle is that “like cures like.” So does faith overcome the world by curing like with like. How does faith trample upon the fear of the world? By the fear of God, “Now,” says the world, “if you do not do this I will take away your life. If you do not bow down before my false god, you shall be put in yonder burning fiery furnace.” “But,” says the man of faith, “I fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell. True, I may dread you, but I have a greater fear than that. I fear lest I should displease God; I tremble lest I should offend my Sovereign.” So the one fear counterbalances the other. How does faith overthrow the world’s hopes? “There,” says the world, “I will give you this, I will give you that, if you will be my disciple. There is a hope for you; you shall be rich, you shall be great.” But, faith says, “I have a hope laid up in heaven; a hope which fadeth not away, eternal, incorrupt, a golden hope, a crown of life;” and the hope of glory overcomes all the hopes of the world. “Ah!” says the world, “Why not follow the example of your fellows?” “Because,” says faith, “I will follow the example of Christ.” If the world puts one example before us, faith puts another. “Oh, follow the example of such an one; he is wise, and great, and good,” says the world. Says faith, “I will follow Christ; he is the wisest, the greatest, and the best.” It overcomes example by example; “Well,” says the world, “since you will not be conquered by all this, come, I will love you; you shall be my friend.” Faith says, “He that is the friend of this world, cannot be the friend of God. God loves me.”

for meditation: Faith can say to society, self, Satan and sin, “Anything you can give, Christ can give better” (Ephesians 2:1–8).

sermon no. 14[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 84). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

18 MARCH 365 Days with Calvin

Waiting for God

Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord, and of them that speak evil against my soul. Psalm 109:20

suggested further reading: Isaiah 30:18–26

David did not rashly or unadvisedly utter curses against his enemies but strictly adhered to what the Spirit dictated. I acknowledge that many people pretend to have similar confidence and hope, but who nevertheless recklessly rush beyond the bounds of temperance and moderation. But what David beheld by the unclouded eye of faith, he also uttered with the zeal of a sound mind; for, having devoted himself to the cultivation of piety under the protection of God’s hand, he was aware that the day was approaching when his enemies would experience the punishment they had earned.

We learn that David’s trust was placed in God alone. He did not look to people to direct his course according to whether the world smiled or frowned upon him. We can be sure that whoever places his dependence on people will find that the most trifling incident will annoy him.

Therefore, even if the whole world abandons us, we, like this holy man, should lift up our heads to heaven and look there for our defender and deliverer. If God intends to use human instruments for our deliverance, he will soon raise up people to accomplish that purpose. But if he chooses to try our faith by depriving us of all earthly assistance, we should not regard that as any negative reflection upon the glory of his name. Rather, we should wait until the proper time when God fully makes known his decision in which we can calmly acquiesce.

for meditation: Patience in waiting for an answer to prayer, especially a prayer for deliverance, must be consciously cultivated if we are to avoid losing confidence in God and his ways. But while waiting is a challenge, the Spirit often uses it to teach us to look to heaven, not people, for deliverance. What lessons have you learned about the Lord or about yourself while waiting on him in prayer?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 96). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Judge Jeanine is right — Fox News is wrong | American Thinker Blog

The judge’s logical examination of the origin of Omar’s anti-Semitic statements was neither bigoted, nor false, nor inciteful.  

Fox’s newest fan is a Jew-hating member of Congress. Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is extremely grateful that Fox defended her and punished Judge Jeanine Pirro for asking a legitimate question.

On Saturday, Fox suddenly cancelled Pirro’s highly rated weekly show “Justice with Judge Jeanine.”

After “Justice” failed to appear on Fox’s upcoming weekend schedule, a spokesperson for the network refused to comment on “internal scheduling matters,” according to USA Today.

In a statement following Judge Jeanine’s opening remarks on March 9 , Fox News  “strongly condemned” Pirro’s comments about Muslim Rep. Omar.  A Muslim Fox News associate producer, Hufsa Kamal Khan, also called out Pirro asking her to stop “spreading the false narrative” that Muslim women wearing a hijab “aren’t American enough.”

The funny thing is the judge’s logical examination of the origin of Omar’s anti-Semitic statements was neither bigoted, nor false, nor inciteful. 

She asked a valid question.

From YouTube

Think about this. She’s [Omar] not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party. So if it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from? Think about it.

Omar wears a hijab, which, according to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Why does the never-ending call for “dialogue” between non-Muslims and Muslims in this country exclude asking Jeanine’s hard question relating to possible conflicts between a Muslim congresswoman’s fidelity to Islamic teachings and the Constitution? As a salaried representative of the American people, Congresswoman Omar should be able to answer the following with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no:’ ‘Are you an American or a Muslim first?’

In September, 2017, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a far-left member of Omar’s Democratic Party, essentially grilled a Catholic conservative judicial nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about this very issue.

From NC Register:

You are controversial,” Feinstein declared. “You have a long history of believing that your religious beliefs should prevail. When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.”

“The dogma lives loudly” in a Catholic judicial nominee but not in a Muslim congresswoman?

If Feinstein’s interrogation of Barrett is the Democrat Party’s standard for determining whether a government official’s faith-based convictions will prevent them from upholding the Constitution, then Rep. Omar’s fealty to the tenets of Islam is fair game. 

As the host of a “free forum” which debates topics with politicians and pundits from across the political spectrum, Jeanine’s inquisitive argumentation is truly within her job description.

Fox’s censorship of Judge Jeanine over a genuine analysis and probing into Omar’s anti-Semitic comments  puts them in the same league as other networks and social media giants who allow open criticism of Christianity and Judaism while suppressing any cynical commentary concerning Islam. 

Predictably, conservative threads reveal that Fox is in serious trouble with its viewers.

When the popular Judge Jeanine gets removed from her show for confronting Jew hatred by an elected representative,  yet Omar, who had to delete anti-Semitic tweets, and who is coddled by an Islamic extremist organization known as CAIR, gets an apology, something is insanely upside down over at Fox.

— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/03/judge_jeanine_is_right__fox_news_is_wrong.html

What does a seared conscience look like? America

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

Eight years ago, Naomi Wolf wrote an article for CNN asking the question, CNN-is porn driving men crazy?

It is hard to ignore how many highly visible men in recent years (indeed, months) have behaved in sexually self-destructive ways. Some powerful men have long been sexually voracious; unlike today, though, they were far more discreet and generally used much better judgment in order to cover their tracks.Of course, the heightened technological ability nowadays to expose private behavior is part of the reason for this change. But that is precisely the point: so many of the men caught up in sex-tinged scandals of late have exposed themselves – sometimes literally – through their own willing embrace of text messages, Twitter, and other indiscreet media.What is driving this weirdly disinhibited decision-making? Could the widespread availability and consumption of pornography in recent years actually be rewiring the male brain, affecting…

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Progressives vs conservatives: This is why we can’t just all get along | Christian News on Christian Today

The social order which conservatives endorse and progressives renounce consists mainly of two fundamental principles: respect for the nation state and respect for the family. 

Since 2016 and the Brexit and Trump breakthroughs it is often said that the biggest divide in politics is between the ‘somewheres’ and the ‘anywheres’, the nationalists and the globalists. This is true, but it is also only one symptom of the deeper divide that exists on a number of fronts between conservatives and progressives.

This is the divide between those who believe the world has a given order that ought to be respected because it makes things go best in the long run, and those who do not believe this and think invoking such order is little more than a tool of oppression wielded by the powerful against those they exploit.

ReutersBritish and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament during a pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit demonstration, ahead of a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

This social order which conservatives endorse and progressives renounce consists mainly of two fundamental principles: respect for the nation state with its associated national cultures and people groups, and respect for the family including the sanctity of marriage and the sacred bond between parents and children. Religious conservatives take this order to be God-ordained, a created order, whereas secular conservatives are content just to accept it as given and objective but not in need of supernatural explanation (though many secular conservatives remain respectful of the role of religion in culture).

Either way, this conservative respect for natural and social order contrasts sharply with the progressive outlook which is typically hostile to claims of inherent order in nature and society. Progressives tend to follow Marx in regarding such ideas as devices created by the powerful (in Marx’s case, the owners of capital, these days, more likely straight white men) to perpetuate inequalities and restrict people’s freedom of action.

Progressives and conservatives both say they want people to be happy, but they understand very differently what this involves. Whereas conservatives see happiness as emerging from respect for the natural and social order, for progressives almost the opposite is the case: the individual’s pursuit of happiness must as far as possible be achieved by not conforming to the social order. This is because to do so is to become complicit in oppression and to succumb to the ‘false consciousness’ of being happy when enslaved.

The progressive renunciation of social order is why progressives are typically unmoved by evidence of the social benefits of conservative policies. Regardless of the benefits they can be shown to bring, such policies have already been dismissed on grounds of being intolerant, discriminatory, hateful, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and so on. This is why it doesn’t matter that studies consistently demonstrate the benefits of marriage for both children and adults, very few progressives will make a policy of promoting it. Instead they will point to the disadvantages suffered by those in unmarried families, and call for more state resources and interventions to support them and for the removal of any ‘unfair’ special benefits for married couples.

Likewise, it doesn’t matter that many social ills (such as pressure on public services and housing, on pay and jobs, and on trust and cohesion) are shown to proceed from lax border control and too many immigrants arriving too quickly. Few progressives will endorse restricting entry. They will instead call for more state funds and programmes to support immigrant families and smooth social relations.

Conservatives and progressives differ also in their visions of freedom. Conservatives seek the freedom that comes from respecting the boundaries inherent in the created order. Progressives, on the other hand, aim for freedom from the created order – from biology, from the family, from the nation, from God. As a consequence, progressive freedom has a strong authoritarian bent. This might seem paradoxical, but in fact it follows directly from the progressives’ need to oppose by force the outworking of the order of nature, and to silence those who attempt to point out the problems with this. This is the root of the widely observed antipathy to free speech among the postmodern Left, and of the bullying culture that frequently accompanies the imposition of progressive dogmas on people and organisations.

The conservative vision seeks to be earthed in well-proven truths about human nature and God’s guidance regarding social structures. It should be obvious that this has much more to commend it than the progressive vision. It doesn’t allow people’s subjective feelings or desires, or utopian visions founded on unreal ideas of how the world works, to take priority over a broader view of what people and society need to thrive. It welcomes rational debate about what this requires rather than closing it down.

The tragedy of the West today is that all its major institutions, from the state to universities to churches to the media, have been hijacked over the past century or so by progressives disparaging these fundamentals and fixated on an agenda of overthrowing imagined oppressors and ushering in a brave new world without boundaries or borders. The consequences have been catastrophic, leading to, among other things, rock bottom birth rates, a fast-changing culture and demographics that leaves many feeling alienated, and a society rife with family breakdown, violence and addiction. Time is quickly running out to turn things around.

Perhaps the biggest question, though, is whether Western civilisation really wants to be saved. Many of the people do, it seems, if the rise of so-called populism is anything to go by. But do the elites? All indications are they do not, as they push forward with their progressive, postmodern agendas regardless of how unpopular or destructive they are, apparently because they believe it is the right thing to do. But if such ideas are wholly detached from the way the world is made and what people are really like, can they really be right? It hardly seems likely.

Dr Will Jones is a Birmingham-based writer, a mathematics graduate with a PhD in political philosophy and a diploma in biblical and theological studies. He blogs at http://www.faith-and-politics.com and is author of Evangelical Social Theology: Past and Present (Grove, 2017). He can be found on Twitter @faithnpolitic
— Read on www.christiantoday.com/article/progressives-vs-conservatives-this-is-why-we-cant-just-all-get-along/132021.htm

Pompeo Announces Ban On International Criminal Court Officials Probing US War Crimes | Zero Hedge

“You should not assume that you still have or will get a visa.”

Article Image

The US has threatened to revoke visas for members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague should they so much as investigate any criminal actions of American military personnel. The United States has never been a member of the ICC and considers it without authority over matters related to Americans or allies conducting joint operations. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a scathing rebuke Friday following ICC statements that it would look into possible US war crimes in Afghanistan, and as pressures mount for the court to bring cases against Israel for human rights crimes against Palestinians. “We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation,” Pompeo said Friday.

Image source: Reuters

Pompeo went to far as to specifically address ICC members and employees: “If you are responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of U.S. personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you still have or will get a visa or will be permitted to enter the United States,” he said.

Washington has long relied on defense of “US sovereignty” when the international court has received allegations of torture by American forces or allies, or other war crimes like “mistaken” coalition bombings of civilians attending wedding parties or funerals in Afghanistan

The US position has been to say American courts and investigators can handle and prosecute if need be any allegations of US misconduct or war crimes, and has for years throughout the “global war on terror” viewed the Netherlands-based ICC with hostility.

During his Friday comments Pompeo said further the restrictions “may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without the allies’ consent,” according to the AP

He also warned about potential economic sanctions against member and host nations “if the ICC does not change its course.”

The ICC, for its part, has vowed to continue to operate “undeterred” by any US actions, and articulated that the court “is needed to prosecute cases when a country fails to do so or does an insufficient job of it,” as the AP reported. 

Pompeo’s words were also widely seen as a threat to the ICC prosecutor and personnel who last year formally requested of the court to open an investigation into war crimes allegations against US forces and intelligence, as well as allied Afghan national security forces, going all the way back to May 2003. 

According to the AP

The prosecution’s request says there is information that members of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violenceagainst conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.”

Among the more shocking actions the US has taken to prevent any attempted prosecution of Americans by the ICC was the Bush administration’s American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002, popularly derided as the “Hague Invasion Act”.

The law was designed to protect all US military and intelligence members on the basis that Washington could at anytime use force to liberate them from ICC incarceration. 

Human Rights Watch described at the time of its being signed into law

U.S. President George Bush today signed into law the American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002, which is intended to intimidate countries that ratify the treaty for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The new law authorizes the use of military force to liberate any American or citizen of a U.S.-allied country being held by the court, which is located in The Hague. This provision, dubbed the “Hague invasion clause,” has caused a strong reaction from U.S. allies around the world, particularly in the Netherlands.  

With such significant threats, the ICC’s actions against Americans, Israelis or allied forces will likely only remain symbolic and designed to drive media attention and scrutiny of American actions overseas. 

Meanwhile the pattern will remain of only third world, African, and Balkan warlords actually being brought to justice at the Hague, and never western officials. 
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-16/pompeo-announces-ban-international-criminal-court-officials-probing-us-war-crimes