How to escape the Bible with your theology intact

There is a way of using the Bible to support your theology that really just amounts to doing everything in your power to avoid what the Bible has to say so that you can escape from the ravages of Scripture with your precious doctrine still intact. Without naming names, over the last year I have … Continue reading How to escape the Bible with your theology intact

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the hurt of rejection

focus photo of yellow paper near trash can

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Galatians 4:12-14 (JDV)

Galatians 4:12 I beg you, brothers: Become like me, since I also became like you. Do not wrong me;

Galatians 4:13 you know that it was because of a physical weakness that I announced the gospel to you formerly.

Galatians 4:14 You did not treat my time of physical testing with rejection or revulsion. On the contrary, you welcomed me as a messenger of God, as Christ Jesus himself.

the hurt of rejection

Paul had experienced the joy of welcome by the Galatians, and the added joy of a successful ministry there. But now things are different. Oddly enough, his time of welcome came when he was fresh into his missionary work, still having to live up to the stigma of having been radically against the church and the gospel until his dramatic conversion. Added to that, he entered the region with a severe illness. He called it his time of physical testing. It was just as much a test of the Galatians as it was of Paul. Would they accept the message from this broken messenger? They did. They had welcomed him as a messenger of God – which he literally was.

But now things had changed. A group of heretics had taken hold of the Galatian congregations, and they were discrediting Paul and his team. There is no hurt quite like the hurt of being discredited and ignored by those who once welcomed and trusted you.

Lord, we pray for those who have been wronged in their churches. Please give them strength and help them get through this terrible time, and bring healing and restoration to them.

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Ashamed Nation

Sport Definitely Not The Winner On the Day

Transgender NZ Weightlifter Wins Two Gold Medals in Women’s Division

Transgender

Warner Todd Huston
Breitbart News

A transgender weightlifter has swept the women’s categories in the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, winning two gold medals over natural-born female opponents.  Laurel Hubbard has once again crushed natural-born female opponents winning two gold medals and a silver in three heavyweight categories for women at the games, according to the Washington Times.

Hubbard defeated Samoa’s Feagaiga Stowers, who won the gold last year when Hubbard pulled out due to an injury.

Born as Gavin Hubbard, the 41-year-old weightlifter has cut a wide swath through female weightlifting after transitioning as a transgender woman six years ago. The only hiccup in Hubbard’s domination of the sport was an elbow injury during last year’s Commonwealth Games.

Hubbard’s continued gains in the Pacific region may have served to spur the leading U.S. weightlifting association to ban men transitioning to females from competing against natural-born women.

This year, USA Powerlifting delegates voted 46 to 4 to keep a previous policy banning transgender participation amid pressure from well-funded transgender athletes to reverse the ban.

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Biased Diplomat Ran Amok

Trump Critic Ambassador Leaked Secret Intelligence

Breitbart London

The scandal-struck former British ambassador to Washington D.C. who left office after a series of leaks imperilled his position was himself responsible for leaks of secret intelligence, according to claims made by a newspaper.

Sir Kim Darroch, who was the British Ambassador to the United States until July 2019, resigned his position after a series of confidential diplomatic telegrams he sent criticising President Trump were leaked to the British press. But according to anonymously sourced claims published by U.S. conservative newspaper the Washington Examiner, Darroch himself leaked the sensitive information.

The newspaper claimed:
 

According to one current and one former U.S. government official speaking on the condition of anonymity, Darroch repeatedly leaked classified U.S. intelligence information, including highly classified information, to a journalist for a U.S.-based media outlet… one source says that the U.S. government was so alarmed by Darroch’s leaks that it launched an official investigation to find the source of the information. That source described the leaked intelligence as “very sensitive,” and suggested that exigent U.S. security concerns motivated the investigation.

Nigel Farage has said Sir Kim Darroch is a “fanatical” Europhile and a “globalist” who should have been replaced after the Trump victory. 

Darroch went from being a relative unknown outside of top political circles to a household name last week after the British Mail on Sunday newspaper printed a series of leaked diplomatic messages written by Darroch where he told the British government that, in his opinion, President Trump and his administration were “inept” and “insecure”.

The diplomat resigned days later after President Trump himself responded to the messages, saying Darroch was a “pompous fool” and that the U.S. would no longer deal with him, essentially ending any hope of him continuing work in America.

Speaking to Breitbart News Daily, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage recalled meeting Darroch when he was the British ambassador to the European Union and the diplomat revealed himself to not be a neutral actor, as civil servants are often expected to be. Mr Farage revealed: “…a few minutes into the conversation, I realised that a civil servant who ought to be politically neutral was a fanatic for building the European Project and the new global order… He is a globalist.”

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additions that subtract

addition black and white black and white chalk

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Galatians 4:8-11 (JDV)

Galatians 4:8 But because you didn’t know God then, you were enslaved to natural creatures who are not gods.

Galatians 4:9 But now, since you have discovered God, but more – you have been discovered by God, how could you have turned back to those weak and poor elemental breaths? Do you want to be enslaved to them again?

Galatians 4:10 You are carefully observing special days and months and seasons1 and years.

Galatians 4:11 I am afraid for you, that somehow I have worked hard among you uselessly.

additions that subtract

The Galatians had been a religious people, so it was easy for the heretics to come along and convince them that God wanted the same things that their false gods had wanted. Ceremony and ritual had been part of their daily lives before they heard the gospel, and responded to it by faith. But Paul and his team knew that additional ceremony and ritual would lead back to the worship of demons. It would render all their hard work of deprogramming the Galatians as useless.

Ritual and holiday observance is not what God wants. A relationship with God cannot be sustained by merely following a ritual, or observing a special day. While such things are not generally harmful, they can be if they distract from one’s freedom in Christ.

Lord, help us to never add anything to our lives that might subtract us from living the free life you bought for us.

1καιρός

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Episode 056: Material Salvation

In this talk, I ask the question – What difference does it make if the Bible teaches we are physical creatures, rather than dual body-soul beings? How does that impact on  anything else we believe as Christians? From gender identity to mental health more generally, to salvation, the way we view human nature has a … Continue reading Episode 056: Material Salvation

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Leftward Ho

Racism Inflation

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog

No, let me correct that. We have entered an era of racism hyper-inflation. And what that does, in every instance, is debase the currency. The word and the offense is it supposed to represent have become meaningless, devoid of content, a null set, a big nothing. And it is the ostensible foes of racism what did it.

Let me rehearse the facts for you, working backwards from yesterday. The House, led by Nancy Pelosi, issued a condemnation of the president’s “racist” tweet. Prior to that, the president had inserted himself into an intramural spat among the Democrats, in which he urged four hard leftist women, haters of America, “the squad,” to go back where they came from. That was the racist tweet. Prior to that, AOC (one of those women) had, in the course of the aforementioned intramural spat, accused Nancy Pelosi of racism. And now, in the aftermath of these gaudy and overdone events, the so-to-speak cherry on top is that the squad revived their contretemps with Pelosi, warning her darkly that she must remember, whenever she singles them out, that they are “women of color.”

I must pause here for a moment to deal with possible charges of inadvertent racism that could perhaps be brought against me. I just now said that Pelosi was warned “darkly” by “women of color.” This was not a dog whistle, and yet, upon quiet reflection, I realize the hurt that my comments may have caused in the cis-adverbial community. But this is not who I am as a person, and it genuinely does not represent my core values. I intend to take a few days off to spend some time with my family, a few days of quiet reflection, and then back to the campaign trail. Let the healing begin!

Where was I?

I am not here to defend the president’s tweet as elegant, or accurate, or refined, or sophisticated. It wasn’t any of those. It was certainly nativist, but what else is new? He ran as a nativist. The reason he got elected was because of that nativist emphasis, spoken loudly into microphones. You know, like at rallies. Speaking as a dispassionate observer of all these events, and a few others just like it, I simply want to report to you that to accuse the president of racism because he spoke brusquely to four Trokskyite ladies, and to expect that accusation to hurt him in the coming campaign, is what might be called an Exercise in High Futility.

There are two things to keep in mind about the coming campaign, and with one crucial backdrop.

First, the backdrop, which is the economy. Barring some drastic change, if the economy is still roaring down the highway a year from now, an incumbent president is going to be awfully hard to beat, by definition. These are strange times, but they are not so strange as to reverse all the basic “bread and butter” issues. Consider that the baseline.

So what are the two factors we should be looking at, against the backdrop of a robust economy?

First, Donald Trump has not built the wall and, as a corollary, Mexico has not paid for it. This was the centerpiece of his campaign promises. He promised us a Wall. Now if you are part of Trump’s base, there are two possibilities here. One is that his wall promises were a scam, an election ploy, the kind of tough talk about immigration that standard-issue Republicans used for decades, and that he really didn’t mean it. He intended to grow in office on this issue. He intended to over-promise and under-deliver. That is one option, and that would a deadly for him if that interpretation ever took hold with his base.

The other option is that he really wants to build a wall, he really is sincere, and that he was thwarted, outwitted, out-maneuvered, bested, and is thereby vindicated as a well-intentioned loser. That is better than the first option for him, but not much better. He is the deal-maker, the one who supposed to make it happen. He not only promised the wall, but he promised it in a way that indicated he thought it was going to be easy. The reason Republicans before him didn’t do it (the ones who talked as though they wanted to) was because they were insincere. They didn’t mean it. They were running a con. If you wanted to do it, well, then do it. So it is not a good look for Trump to come off as the man who couldn’t do the easy thing.

So what he needs to look like the person who already built the wall. He needs to be in a fire-fight with the most iconic anti-American figures he can fi . . . well, lookee here! If only he could find an embodiment of Vladamir Lenin, only in four pairs of heels.

All of this is to say that if anybody thinks that this fracas hurts Donald Trump in any way is probably smoking something legal in a state near you.

The second thing is this. The only electoral hope for the Democrats is to find somebody who will run hard left in the primaries, and then be able to tack back to the middle for the general election. That has been standard operating procedure with those guys over there, just as it has been the mirror image MO for Republicans—run to the right, govern to the middle. But the nutroots faction has taken over in the Democratic Party, and they will brook no move to the middle, no matter who it is. The only one who would even want to is Joe Biden, and he has shown himself to have the kind of principled backbone that could be carved out of an overripe banana.

So whoever gets the nomination, the campaign posters will all have Comrades! at the top, and then some ironic Soviet art about agriculture. And anybody who thinks that this will make Donald Trump sad is someone who just fell off the locally sourced turnip truck.

The received wisdom from the official talking heads on teevee is that the Democrats were having a civil war and Donald Trump couldn’t stand not being the center of attention, and so he inserted himself into the fray. “How dare these other people be doing something that is not about me?” Why interrupt your enemies’ circular firing squad? 

Here’s the reason—because that internal fracas was the only hope the Democrats had of being able to move to the middle in the general election. If Nancy Pelosi had successfully faced down the squad, as she obviously wanted to, then there was still room for a Not Exactly Commie contingent. But with this move, Donald Trump made Nancy Pelosi join forces with the squad in order to accuse him of racism, so that less than 24 hours later, the squad could go back to accusing her of racism. He has strengthened and promoted their standing among the Democrats, while at the same time shutting off the prospect of any “reasonable” Democrat being able to distance himself or herself from them. They are all in this together now.

I make these observations without committing myself to any particular thesis on how Trump does it. I do not know if he is playing 3D chess over against their checkers, or if he is just the luckiest politician alive, or if he just has an instinctive and unreflective talent for this kind of thing. Who can say?

What I can say is that at some point in these proceedings we ought to abandon the reflexive and respectable response of saying “Trump has done it now, Trump is toast now.”

And I am not praising or blaming. I am just observing.

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from slaves to sons

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Galatians 4:1-7 (JDV)

Galatians 4:1 But I am saying that as long a time as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave, although he is the master of everything.

Galatians 4:2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father.

Galatians 4:3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elements of the world.

Galatians 4:4 When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born from a woman, born under the law,

Galatians 4:5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might get back1 adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God sent the Breath of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”

Galatians 4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir by God.

from slaves to sons

Remember that the context of Paul’s letter is a group of heretics trying to take over the congregations in Galatia. They taught that in order to get on God’s good side, the Gentile Galations had to conform to their traditions about the Mosaic law.

But Paul and his team argues that the Mosaic law imposed a temporary status of slavery due to the people’s immaturity. But Jesus came to do two things. First, he abolished this slavery by redeeming all believers through his death on the cross. Then, he breathed his animating breath (the Sacred Breath) into our spiritually lifeless bodies, so that we could get back the Father/son relationship we had lost during our “under the law” period. Now we can go to God personally without the need of a priest or a ceremony.

Lord, thank you that we are no longer slaves, but sons.

1ἀπολαμβάνω

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“Pointless and Stupid”

Anti-Christian Persecution

Christian doctor lost his job after refusing to identify a six-foot-tall bearded man as ‘madam’, tribunal hears


Gabriella Swerling
The Daily Telegraph

A Christian doctor lost his job in a government department after he refused to refer to “a six-foot-tall bearded man” as ‘madam’, a tribunal heard.  Dr David Mackereth, 56, claims he was sacked as a disability benefits assessor by the Department of Work and Pensions over his religious beliefs.

The father-of-four alleges he was asked in a conversation with a line manager: “If you have a man six foot tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as ‘she’ and ‘Mrs’, would you do that?”  Dr Mackereth, an evangelist who now works as an emergency doctor in Shropshire, claims his contract was then terminated over his refusal to use transgendered pronouns.

He argues that he was dismissed “not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge”.   The doctor is now suing the government at an employment tribunal for discrimination on the grounds of his religious belief.

Doctor David Mackereth at home in Dudley, West Midlands
Dr Mackereth

A hearing in Birmingham was told how Dr Mackereth believes transgenderism is a “delusional belief” and an ideology “which I disbelieve and detest”.
  In a statement admitted into evidence, he told the court: “If you believe in gender fluidity, gender is no more than one’s own fantasy about oneself.”

The trained theologian and “unashamed” Christian, who has 30 years’ medical experience, secured a job as a Health and Disability Assessor at Birmingham’s Fiveways assessment centre in May 2018. 
He told the tribunal he was suspended the following month after being “interrogated” by his boss, James Owen, for refusing to “call any six-foot-tall bearded man ‘madam’ on his whim”. The medic claims he was told he was “overwhelmingly likely” to lose his job unless he agreed.

Dr Mackereth left his role on June 25, 2018, after an email exchange with Mr Owen in which he was instructed to follow the “process as discussed in your training”.  The email read: “If however you do not want to do this, we will respect your decision and your right to leave your contract.” Dr Mackereth replied: “I am a Christian and in good conscience cannot do what the DWP is requiring of me.”

He insists he did not resign his position and is the victim of direct discrimination and harassment. 
Dr Mackereth told the hearing: “The very fact a doctor can be pulled of the shop floor for an urgent interrogation about his beliefs on gender fluidity is both absurd and very sinister, even more so if it results in a dismissal.

“If something like that happened in a church setting – people being pulled out of a pew, questioned, and then excommunicated – that would be seen as an outrageous example of religious intolerance and bigotry.”

The DWP argues that Dr Mackereth’s views are in breach of the 2010 Equality Act. APM, the recruitment company who hired the medic, is also being sued for religious discrimination.  The company claims that the doctor’s beliefs “are not compatible with human dignity”.

In a statement put before the court, Dr Mackereth said: “I appreciate that in the present political climate, some people, including some of those who believe they are transgender, may find my beliefs to be offensive.  “However, in a free society, this is not a good enough reason to censor my beliefs and coerce me to act contrary to my conscience.  Moreover, as a doctor, my responsibility is always to act in good conscience in the best interest of the patients – not to adopt various fancies, prejudices, or delusions, to avoid offence at all cost.”

Dr Mackereth added that his inherent belief is that transgenderism is a “rebellion against God, which is both pointless and sinful”.  He said: “I am, of course, aware that there are men or women who believe they have been trapped in a wrong body, and I do not question the sincerity of their convictions.

“A small number of such people have always existed.  Up until recently, such a belief was considered by medics to be delusional and a symptom of a medical disorder.  It is only recently that transgenderism has been recognised as normal and such delusional beliefs accepted at face value. What is responsible for that change is political pressure, not scientific evidence.”

The legal case, which is listed until next week, is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.  Chief executive Andrea Williams described Dr Mackereth as “a Christian hero who chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience”.

The hearing continues.

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you together

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Galatians 3:27-29 (JDV)

Galatians 3:27 You see, however many of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ.

Galatians 3:28 There is no Jew or Greek, there is no slave or free person, there is not male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:29 But if you together have this relationship with Christ, then you together are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

you together

I translated the second person plural ὑμεῖς in verse 29 as “you together” to accentuate the fact that the whole congregation has been baptized into Christ, clothed with Christ, and will inherit an equal share in the promise of Abraham.

Paul mentioned these things because a heretical group had invaded Galatia, teaching that God was primarily interested in their differences. To these heretics, a person’s ethnic makeup, social status or gender was what mattered to God. If the Galatians wanted to please God, they would have to become more Jewish, and keep slaves and women in their place.

But Paul said that the whole congregation together was in Christ. The gospel is not about accentuating our differences, but enjoying our unity – one redeemed body of Christ.

Lord, thank you for the unity we now share – bought with your precious blood. Show us how to respect each another as equals.

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