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Read this:And then this: "What Mr. Johnson Apparently Doesn't Understand" Now,I did not call Thabiti Anyabwile "a racist schlub." I explicitly made that clear in a tweet before he even posted his article. Yes, I knew he made public comments disagreeing with or criticizing Obama. That, however, is no answer to any point I made. What he did not do was upbraid black evangelicals as a group for the sins of the Obama administration. Nor would he. Nor should he.I get that "white evangelicals" aren't an entire race. Same with "black evangelicals." They are, however, subgroups within the body of Christ classed by their ethnicity—in this case, in order to criticize, blame, and castigate one group and set them against the other. I stand by the assertion that this is a racist tactic.Phil's signature PS: Everyone who followed my Twitter feed or Facebook page during the election knows I never supported Mr. Trump for the presidency. For the first time in my life I didn't vote the top of the ticket in a presidential election. In fact, my public criticism of candidate Trump was so firm and so high-volume that my pastor scolded me for being too focused on the issue and too aggressive in expressing my opinion on a political matter. So there's no way I'm going to make a phony confession of guilt just because some woker-than-thou church leader lumps me in with the ethnic group he wants to blame for Mr. Trump's character or policies.I'm guessing my black evangelical friends who never supported Obama feel exactly the same way.
WHAT'S UP, DOC?There have been some interesting events in Israel recently and in Gaza. Perhaps the most exciting event in Israel is the opening of the moved United States' Embassy.On a hillside in south Jerusalem is the location of the latest US Consulate. It resides next to the Ramat Rachael Kibbutz, in Arnona. There are actually two consulates in Jerusalem. One is located on Agron Street, near the Leonardo Hotel (the old Sheraton), and across the street from Independence Park.The other is, as we said, in Arnona, and with some adjustments, is the location of the Embassy, which has been moved from Tel Aviv. The current site is really a stop-gap situation until more new construction is completed.A friend recently asked me if the move was a good thing. Like almost everything, that depends on your perspective. Israelis, left and right-leaning are excited about the new situation.President Donald Trump issued the order, fulfilling the promises of at least four previous Presidents. They said they'd do it to get votes, and then allowed politics to keep them from keeping their promise. Trump seems the first President in decades who considers campaign promises sacrosanct and made the decision. The move was celebrated on Israel's seventieth birthday, so the celebration was a big deal in Israel, although the Prez skipped the party. Of course, the Palestinians were angry. After the zero-sum games that Obama and others played, trying to keep the PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Bibi happy simultaneously (which efforts were always doomed from the beginning). Trump, on the other hand, has maintained from the beginning that he is pro-Israel decided that enough was enough, made the hard decision and voila, the Embassy is in Jerusalem. President Abbas, who is in the ninth year of a five-year term, is his own worst enemy. As the old saying goes, he never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. For months he has been poking a stick in the spokes of any peace moves, even discussions. At the same time, he's been talking to Hamas about taking over Gaza. Egypt wants to see an agreement between both parties, although we wonder if they don't want Gaza for themselves. At the same time, Hamas had talked about a long-term peace agreement with Israel, though no one really believes that they mean a word of it. Gaza is desperate for more money to build tunnels and rockets, so they trot out the peace ideas, and then go on as they have since 2005 when PM Ari Sharon gave Gaza back to the Palestinians.In 2007, Hamas ran off the PA security forces in an armed insurrection. Since that time the common Palestinians have seen their meager standard of living nosedive. Millions of dollars came to Gaza in the 2005 agreement that would have allowed the Arab government to build housing, infrastructure and a profitable business environment, but rather than do something sensible, the money went into the pockets of politicians and a war machine. Now electricity and water are scarce, only on for a couple of hours a day, tunnels continue to be built under the Israel security fence, and yes, leaders' bank accounts still grow. There was a statement out this week by a left-wing Israeli politician that broached the idea of Israel annexing the West Bank, all of it. That is an idea that we have long supported and written about in the past on these pages. It is a shocker, though in Israel, that a leftist would consider such a shocking idea in print. We have just completed a book that will be out in a couple of weeks titled, The President, that we think you will find interesting and entertaining if you are interested in Israel and the Middle East mess. We'll announce it on the Ernie Moore Facebook page and of course, here when we release it. Jordan's King Abdullah II is doing what he normally does. Issue statements indicting his best friend, Israel, and hoping no one starts a war that he could be dragged into. We wish he would come out of the cave into the open with statements of approval of Israel. The two nations share so much in the areas of military, education and environmental areas already, but with over 70% of Jordan's citizens being Palestinians, the political pressure is on the King and that reality makes it difficult for him to speak the truth. Politics in Israel are so predictable that we almost hate to discuss them. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the longest serving PM in Israel's history. His popularity is a given, but men like Yair Lapid constantly are like terriers nipping at his ankles. Then there's the standard ruse to flush politicians. Accuse them of some skullduggery. Every past PM for years have been hounded from office by the combination of opposition politicians and the left-wing media. They drum up some kind of case against the man in power and keep repeating it until they get enough of the population to agree and out goes the guy. In Netanyahu's case, it's been against him and his wife, Sara, too. Sara is guilty of being a shrew, of spending money on the official residence and a private home in Caesarea. Bibi is accused of accepting gifts of cigars and wine. So goes the media, but thus far Bibi is stayed strong. And don't dismiss the charges as nothing. I invited a government official to lunch a few years back. He and I met for in his ministry's cafeteria for some conversation. Since I had asked for interview, I offered to pay for lunch. He was having none of it. “I cannot allow it!” he said. “If I accept your kind offer, I could be accused of accepting gifts and fired.” That is how serious this kind of thing is to people in government. Of course, we all know that some kind of payoffs do occur. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to jail for the crime. Olmert was, in my opinion, not just corrupt, but inexcusably inept, and we were not sad to see him go. But this is how Israeli politics work. If someone accepts gifts (or bribes), they will likely get caught and broomed out of power. Don't misunderstand me. I'm against pay-offs at any level, but when the leftists use the press to build their cases against people who are doing the job of protecting Israel, then it can get way out of hand. The latest US jetfighter, the F-35, recently made history. It flew its first combat mission over Syria. Some of the jets were sold to Israel and messed up some Iranian installations inside the disaster zone that Syria has become, having overseen the death of over 200,000 of its citizens. Russia's President recently requested Iran to leave Syria, but that was, of course, rejected. With Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy, in Syria, they could well do without the Iranian Revolutionary Guard there, but it seems that Iran wants to be closer to Israel, so they don't have to travel so far when the time comes to attack. President Trump has stated that he is going to pull all US troops out of Syria, and we are pleased by that decision. Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have never turned out well for the US. We believe it is time for bringing those troops either home or to be stationed in Israel as a safeguard in case of an attack there. Having them there endangers the troops for no real advantage. Incidentally, there seems to be some reporting that Obama was shipping arms to someone in Syria from Benghazi. Most likely to the supposed American allies who are/were waging war against Assad, troops. Those “freedom fighters” have sided with al Qaeda at times, and we fail to see how that bunch could be considered our allies. Better, from our perspective, to let the sides fight it out until the dust settles and see who's left standing. In Israel there have been over 200 stabbing and ramming attacks inside Israel in the past few months. Civilians are constantly at risk. Most of the victims are either the elderly, the Hasids, the infirm or the military, especially the Border Police. This last group is armed, and the attackers usually end up dead or wounded, but no one has ever said that the attackers are Mensa candidates. President Abbas, of the PA is sick. He is said to have a heart specialist that travels with him everywhere he goes. Recently he was at Johns Hopkins for a checkup. And more recently was hospitalized inside the PA for what was reported as an ear infection. An Arab newspaper showed him reading a paper with a photo of a terrorist on the front page. Abbas has been to various celebrations lifting up these “martyrs” as heroes. Until that nonsense stops, we predict that there will be no decrease in the attacks on Israelis.His spokesman reported this week that the uproar over the new Embassy location has him hospitalized. Well, that is our summary of recent events around the area. Right now, the most predictable report in Israel is the weatherman's statement that it will be hot and sunny. We will be adjusting our regular Barnabuspress.com site with a weekly analysis or report, rather than trying to keep up with events on a daily basis. And we thank all who have prayed for our recovery. We suffered two heart attacks, open heart surgery and a debilitating stroke. My wife more recently underwent her second heart valve replacement. We are both on the mend, for which we are grateful. Thanks to some wonderful doctors and therapists, both at the Houston VA hospital and other locations who have been a rich blessing to us. I'm able to walk again, though I'm not back to normal, and my wife is recovering well. Praise the Lord. More ...
by Phil JohnsonFull disclosure: Here is the development that finally provoked my sense of consecrated indignation enough to motivate me to start blogging again:It's the latest "evangelical" superconference. As you see, their own ad copy tells us they are devoted to "supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can experience the life-giving character of the historic Christian tradition." The conference is being organized and supported by a large cast of evangelical thought-leaders—including some people generally assumed to be sound and reliable spiritual guides.Fred Butler blogged about it yesterday, and it'll save me some work if you read his assessment of the actual conference itself. (You may need a translator for the cornpone-and-pot-likker dialect he slips into occasionally, but the cardinal points he makes are unassailable.)Anyway, I want to comment on the conference's underlying theory, because it strikes me as a Really Bad Idea (and a patently unbiblical opinion). Nevertheless, it seems to be gaining traction rapidly—even among many influential and hitherto trustworthy evangelical leaders. It's the notion that homosexual orientation is morally neutral. The claim being made is that gay desires are not really sinful unless they are acted upon. So a person can fully self-identify as lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transsexual, gender-fluid, or otherwise "queer" and be a church member in good standing—as long as he, she, xe, (or whatever) remains celibate.I first began to realize realized how widespread that idea has become in the evangelical community two years ago, when the following Tweet was posted from the official Twitter account of The Gospel Coalition (TGC):"It's more masculine to be attracted to men yet obedient to God than attracted to women and disobedient to God."I referred to TGC's Tweet as a "hazy, misleading sophism" and added, "Lusting for something sinful is not 'obedien[ce] to God.'" A long argument ensued, with several friends on my FaceBook page and lots of my Twitter followers expressing shock and surprise that I would hold an opinion so egregiously out of step with postmodern political correctness. The "proper" postmodern opinion was succinctly stated by an exasperated commenter on my FaceBook page: "Desires are neutral until they are used sinfully," he wrote.I fear that idea is finding currency among leading evangelicals. But it is dead wrong and subversive to genuine holiness. Scripture is chock full of statements emphatically condemning evil desires—from the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17) to Jesus' words about mental and visual lust in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:27-29). What, after all, is lust but raw, sinful desire?Those who argue that LGBT "orientation" is morally neutral often point out that an unmarried heterosexual man's attraction to women isn't necessarily deemed sinful, assuming he remains celibate. Why, then, should we consider a celibate gay man's attraction wrong, as long as he doesn't act on it?I'd like to suggest two replies to that. First, a celibate heterosexual's attraction to women might indeed be sinful, if, say, he is attracted only to married women or underage girls. It would likewise be sinful if he allowed his interest in a particular young woman to become a fixation that distorts his perception of reality. A perfectly innocent attraction can even become a sinful passion for the person who indulges in immoral fantasies. No sane and reasonable person would try to argue that heterosexual desires are always wholesome. Second (and this is pretty straightforward:) Scripture says inordinate affections are sinful and commands us to mortify them (Colossians 3:5). I didn't make that up.But my Bible uses the expression "evil desire" in Colossians 3:5. How do I know if a desire is "evil"?In short, Scripture teaches plainly that any desire is sinful if it entails a wish for what we cannot righteously have. Far from "supporting, encouraging, and empowering" people with perverse sexual desires, Scripture repeatedly urges us to repent of all sinful desires—especially those wicked sexual passions that so easily entrap young minds (2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 2:11). All of us—not just LBGTQ folk—are commanded to renounce and mortify every desire for anything God has forbidden. Those who think people beset with perverse desires can wear their peculiar lusts as badges of group identity merely demonstrate that they haven't a clue what repentance means. Furthermore, to omit or purposely obscure the Bible's clear call to repentance is to show contempt to one's unbelieving neighbors.Let me be clear: I, too, have friends and close neighbors who identify as LGBT, and I abominate the way some Christians seem to think it's OK to heap unbridled scorn, mockery, or insults on them. All our neighbors should be shown Christlike, loving compassion with the dignified respect that befits anyone who bears God's image.But to encourage them in their sin or offer them the false comfort of approval for their sinful desires is a serious breach of the Second Great Commandment.Let's not try to make any sin seem less wicked than it is.I would not necessarily single out homosexuality as the chief example of abominable sin if our culture didn't constantly insist on treating homosexual desire as a privileged category. Sodomy is only one of several notoriously odious abominations, and Jesus expressly said the hard-hearted unbelief of those who have actually seen and know the truth is a worse sin than all the evils of Sodom (Matthew 11:24).Furthermore, I'm happy to assert, emphatically, that any evil attraction is appallingly sinful, including that heterosexual tendency to want to click on clickbait when the link features a picture of some scantily-clad tart.But this one class of sins (LGBT etc.) is the only one that demands special status and unconditional affirmation.So perhaps the main point I want to make will perhaps be clearer if we consider one of the sexual perversions that hasn't yet successfully lobbied for social acceptance and special rights.Here's a real-life example:During my first year at Grace to You (1983), a man wrote our ministry looking for affirmation and encouragement. He wanted us to agree with his belief that mere attraction to a forbidden object is not inherently sinful. He gave a convincing testimony about his conversion from a life of sin and rebellion. He said he was now serving as an AWANA leader in his church. Then he got specific about what he was asking us to sanction.He said he felt sexually drawn to "large farm animals." (Those were his exact words.)I wrote back, citing Matthew 5:28, and told him it is our position that the desires he was describing are not morally neutral at all but a sinful perversion that he needed to repent of and vanquish through the means of grace. I'd give him the same answer today, even after reading reams of sophisticated evangelical reasoning trying to argue that "attraction" and "lust" are categorically different.One other point needs to be made before I wrap this up.People sometimes suggest that all sin is equally vile. That's simply not true. It's true that all sin is damnably wicked, but Jesus Himself made clear that some sins are worse than others (John 19:11; Luke 10:12-14). And Scripture clearly portrays certain sexual perversions (lesbianism and bestiality among them) as unusually and unnaturally perverse. (See, for example, Romans 1:26-28.)All of this raises an important question: How far do the culturally-engaged evangelical trend-setters want to take the notion that mere attraction is morally neutral? I hope we'd be concerned about the sanctification of someone who insisted on self-identifying as a pederast living a celibate life. Or my cowboy correspondent who harbored a secret desire for a closer relationship with his livestock. Or people drawn to any number of kinky fetishes too perverse to even talk about (Ephesians 5:12).Yes, all of us struggle with evil desires. That's part of our fallenness. Even Paul struggled with covetousness—evil desire (Romans 7:7-25). But Paul's whole point was that those desires (even if never acted on) are sins to be mortified, not prize ribbons to be worn as badges of one's identity.Phil's signature
Dear Friends,If you pay much attention to what everyone is talking about these days—what some might call “news”—it’s easy to pick up on a troubling pattern. Kyle Smith at National Review has pinpointed it well: it’s “a culture of enmity.” It’s something that both liberals and conservatives are guilty of—a near constant state of indignation, usually aimed at someone who said something “hateful,” that must be made publicly known. As Smith observes, it can be easy to fall into the trap of fighting hate with more hate: “Any uneasy feelings about hate are washed clean when that hate is obviously justified. Hating haters, these days, produces a kind of ecstasy. It is easily mistaken for love.”As Christians, we are called to something higher. Even when we feel that we are justified in “calling out” someone for something that they have said or written that we find offensive, we need to slow down and give our response careful consideration. As David French has observed: “If you truly hate the offensive speech in question — if you truly believe it’s hurtful — why share it far and wide? Why amplify the offensive voice? Arguably, the worst rebuke for a troll, the worst punishment for the self-promoting radical, is indifference. I have my own standard for engaging bad ideas — First, I wait. I ask myself: Are these ideas gaining traction? Do they threaten to make a material difference in the marketplace of ideas? If the answer is yes, then I engage. If the answer is no, I let the offensive speech die a natural death.” In other words, ignoring offensive remarks can often be the most prudent course of action, especially in our current cultural climate of ubiquitous outrage.At the risk of sounding a little bit trite and nave, it’s time for Christians to start a revolution of positivity by infusing the public square with truth, goodness, and beauty. Instead of pontificating about the latest outrage on Facebook, share an insightful spiritual quote you heard from last Sunday’s sermon, or share a link to an inspiring story about the adoption of a needy child. The authentic Christian life should not solely be focused on exposing the darkness of evil. Our primary goal should be to magnify the lightness of good.Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC ArticlesThe Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act: Ensuring a Free Marketplace of Adoption Providers – Travis WeberParents Stand Up for Children in Sex Ed Sit Out – Cathy RuseMore Sex Ed and Even More Stalinism at the Local School Board – Cathy Ruse and Austin RusePompeo: A Proven Leader for the State Department – Ken BlackwellPompeo Is Ready to Lead – William G. BoykinWhy the Alfie Evans Case Is a Full-Blown Example of Forced Euthanasia – Om NarayananCan You See Me? – Patrina MosleyFaith-Based Adoption Providers Must Be Allowed to Serve Needy ChildrenState Department Defends Actual Human Rights Instead of Made-Up Rights – Travis Weber12 Resources to Fight Sexual Exploitation, Part 2 – Peter Sprigg12 Resources to Fight Sexual Exploitation, Part 1 – Peter SpriggWho Owns Free Speech on the Internet?“Suicide Machine” Shows Us Why Combating Euthanasia Is Crucial to the Pro-Life Cause – Om Narayanan Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareNew California Bill Could Ban Sale of Some Christian Books (Yes, Really) – Mark Meckler, PatheosSchool District Forbids Parents From Opting Kids Out of LGBT Lessons – ToddStarnes.comSenators are failing the religious test for office – Jeremy Dys, The HillThe Unsoundness of Silencing Hate – Elizabeth Scalia, Word On FireSchool District Bans Principal From Inviting Parents to Pray at Flag Pole After Atheist Complaint – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post US Christian who refuses to pay taxes until abortion is defunded has first big win in court – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNewsIowa Senate refuses to confirm Board of Medicine appointee over post on LGBTQ issues – William Petroski, Des Moines RegisterSouthern Poverty Law Center Quietly Deleted List of ‘Anti-Muslim’ Extremists After Legal Threat – Jack Crowe, National ReviewSatanists Declare War on Arkansas Ten Commandments – ToddStarnes.comInternational Religious FreedomState Dept. Convinced Andrew Brunson Is Innocent, Says Turkey Lacks 'Credible Evidence' – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostAttack on Nigerian church kills 15 worshippers – Onize Ohikere, WORLDTrudeau: ‘We will not apologize’ for valuing abortion over free speech – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNewsMilitary Religious FreedomBaptist Army Chaplain Faces Punishment for Religious Beliefs – ToddStarnes.comSan Diego-based admiral declines to probe Bible placement at Okinawa hospital – Carl Prine, The San Diego Union-Tribune LifeAbortionHouse passes bill banning abortions based on Down Syndrome – Liz Navratil & Angela Couloumbis, The InquirerState Department: Abortion ‘is not a human right’ – Joel Gehrke, Washington ExaminerPro-Choice Movement Opposes Abortion Alternatives in South Bend – Alexandra DeSanctis, National ReviewCecile Richards Finally Leaves Planned Parenthood After 12 Years and 3.5 Million Abortions – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsAdoptionAdopting Priorities – Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Stream10 things that will kill your church's orphan care ministry: Part 1 – Rick Morton, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionFinally a family: Inside the adoption process for three Bedford County sisters – Siobhan McGirl, WDBJ710 things that will kill your orphan care ministry: Part 2 – Rick Morton, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionBioethicsThe State-Ordered Killing of Young Alfie Evans – John O’Sullivan, National ReviewAlfie Evans’ Death Illustrates The Monstrous Logic Of The Welfare State – John Daniel Davidson, The FederalistAlfie Evans and Our Moral Crossroads – Charles C. Camosy, First ThingsObamacareRepublicans have a long way to go toward fully repealing ObamaCare – Rachel Bovard, The Hill FamilyMarriageHealing a Hookup Culture through the Goods of Marriage – Timothy P. O'Malley, Family Studies“The Flash,” Fear, and the Kenosis of Marriage – Rachel Bulman, Word on FireDwayne 'The Rock' Johnson should put a ring on it — for his kids' sake – W. Bradford Wilcox, USA TodayEffective Marriage Preparation for the Next Generation Is More Important Than Ever – Tiffany L. Clyde and Alan J. Hawkins, Family StudiesThe New States’ Rights: Is Parenthood Defined by Biology or Government? – Adam J. MacLeod, Public DiscourseA Marriage Restored – Thomas Jeffries, Focus on the FamilyFor Most Couples Who Stay the Course, Marriage Gets Better With Time: An Interview with Paul R. Amato – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesEconomics/EducationAnti-homeschooling bill defeated in California – The Desert ReviewWhy Christian Higher Education Still Matters – Chris Hazell, Word on FireNew National Test Scores Show Betsy DeVos Was Right About Public Schools – Mary Clare Amselem, Intellectual TakeoutHow Colleges Are Ripping Off a Generation of Ill-Prepared Students – Walter E. Williams, The Daily SignalFaith/Character/CultureWhy you should encourage your child to befriend the kid who’s “different” – Adrian Buntin, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionMake It Easy for Your Kids to Love God – Ray Ortlund, Desiring GodFrom the Depths of John Krasinski’s Catholic Past: A Quiet Work of Art – Sarah Perry, Benedict XVI InstituteWhen God Shouts – Pat Flynn, Word on FireChristian, choose hope in an age of cynicism – Jason Duesing, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionHuman SexualityThe School System Corrupts And Sexualizes Our Children And Calls It 'Sex Ed' – Matt Walsh, The Daily WirePromiscuous America: Smart, Secular, and Somewhat Less Happy – Nicholas H. Wolfinger, Family StudiesHow the New Corporate Elite Sold Same-Sex Marriage to the American Public – Scott Yenor, Public DiscourseEncouraging Intentional Dating in a Hookup Culture – Meg T. McDonnell, Family StudiesHuman TraffickingThis Man Rescues Children From Sex Slavery And Wants You To Know This About Backpage – Bre Payton, The FederalistPornographyJesus’s Compassion for Those Who Love Porn – Mo Isom, The Gospel CoalitionWhy redeeming our thoughts matters – Liz Wann, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
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