Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security concludes the Gog battle is a “realistic scenario.”
The study forecasts the toll of a massive nuclear war.
And Isaiah 17:14 describes a war of sudden and short duration that sounds like a nuclear conflict: “At eventide behold terror; and before the morning they are not.”
Isaiah 2:19 says people will try to hide underground: “And men shall go into the caves of the rocks, and into the holes of the earth, from before the terror of Hashem” and the earth shall “shake mightily.”
Isaiah 13:10 describes the aftermath, which sounds like a nuclear winter in which ash and dust in the air reduce the sun’s warming: “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”
BIN reported the Princeton project created a simulation of an escalating war between the United States and Russia.
“The simulation is based on realistic nuclear force postures, targets and fatality estimates,” BIN reported. “According to their estimates, more than 90 million people would be killed or injured within the first few hours of the conflict. The study comes in the wake of what SGS considers a growing risk of nuclear conflict following the abandonment of nuclear agreements The SGS assessment was illustrated by a four-minute video depicting a conflict that escalates from a conventional confrontation to a full-on nuclear war.
“In the opening stages, the SGS suggests a scenario in which North American Treaty Alliance (NATO) troops threaten Russia which responds with a nuclear ‘warning shot.’ NATO retaliates with a single tactical airstrike. Russia responds by sending 300 nuclear warheads via aircraft and short-range missiles targeting NATO bases and troops. NATO retaliates with 180 warheads in similar strikes against Russia. SGS estimates some 2.6 million dead in the first three hours of the conflict.”
SGS wrote: “With Europe destroyed NATO launches a strategic nuclear strike of 600 warheads from U.S. land and submarine-based missiles aimed at Russian nuclear forces. Before losing its weapons systems, Russia launches on warning, responding with missiles launched from silos, road-mobile vehicles, and submarines.”
Then, bombing of the most populous cities and key economic centers could follow.
“Over the next 45 minutes, SGS estimates 85.3 million people will become casualties. The final tally is set at 91.5 million casualties: 34.1 million deaths within the first few hours and 57.4 million wounded,” BIN said.
The predicted death tolls do not include fatalities from nuclear fallout.
BIN said, “As disturbing as the SGS simulation is, it may be considered as an accurate depiction” of an end times battle.
A prominent 18th century Torah authority calculated the war of Gog and Magog lasts 12 minutes, which would have been incomprehensible with the technology available at the time the Scripture was written.
The simulation is based on Nukemap, a website that can simulate different types of nuclear strikes anywhere in the world and estimate the resulting casualties, BIN reported.
A Cold War simulation by the U.S. suggested a nuclear attack could have resulted in 335 million Chinese and Russian dead within 72 hours. A Pentagon report suggested a Soviet attack could cost up to 88 million American lives, or about one-third of the population at that time.
BIN reported: “This horrifying possibility of one-third of the population being wiped out in a nuclear war is mild compared to the scale of the Gog and Magog War described in the Book of Zechariah. The prophet states that fully two-thirds of Israel will die in the War of Gog and Magog.”
Our Faith is like a child learning to walk. Jesus is our father. He crouches down, with open arms as we take our bumbling steps towards Him, and each time we make it to Him after a long journey, He stands us upright, helps us catch our breath. And then He backs up a little bit and then ask us to come a little further in our faith…
OUR FEATURED GUEST BLOGGER IS: JORDAN SMITH: I am a Jesus lover. An ardent worshiper who longs for nothing more than to revel in the presence of the one who is WORTHY. I am a wife and mother of a new baby girl( BRAVEN) and Hair stylist. I thrive most when delivering the Word of God thus started speaking at local youth meetings at the age of sixteen. I have been traveling abroad doing mission’s work and now lead mission’s teams with my husband. I have had the opportunity to preach in the U.S. as well as Brazil, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua for the past eight years. My hearts beats with passion to encourage and empower women (women’s ministry) to walk in the freedom only Christ can provide. I love writing on topics of relationships and faith to share with you.Please check out Jordan’s blog/follow: Website:http://www.jordansmith.blog
Jordan’s story: Iused to thinkbeing brave meant not being afraid of anything. I wanted so badly to be brave but I couldn’t seem to shake away the worries and fear. I didn’t know howto just not be afraid. I did devotions, I read the Bible, I prayed about it.For a long time it seemed like I would never get the answer. Until I got pregnant with my sweet baby girl. While in prayerfor her,the name “Braven”wason my heart. I couldn’t escape the wordBrave.
2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
This verse not only says what God didn’t give us, but it tells us what He did give. I wasn’t handed a spirit of fear- the fear was notpart of me. But power, love, and self-discipline was given to me. ItISpart of who I am. Whether I felt that way or not. Suddenly I realized that being brave had nothing to do with not being afraid but everything to do with not letting fear have a voice in my life. Fear didn’t get to dictate the words I said, the choices I made, or the thoughts I focused on. Those were the words God wanted me to make sure my daughter knew, “fear doesn’t get a say.”Being brave means moving forward in faith regardless of how you may feel in the moment.
Sweet Friends, Do you realize how powerful you are? That you have everything within you to breakthrough FEAR and step into your greatness? Remember, it takes the same amount of energy to BELIEVE as it is to WORRY. In every season, every mountain, every loss, every victory, every answered prayer, God is with you. He loves you. He will take care of you. You are in good hands, today and ALWAYS. Amen! God bless you abundantly!!!
Social science and cultural analysis reveal that sex affects everything and everybody, from the community park to the foundations of democracy itself.
Oct 4, 2019
Our laws require that when people enjoy sex, they do so in private. Our social mores, for the most part, desire that it be talked about in private. We generally believe we are all the better for keeping explicit images and sex industry businesses away from the view and awareness of our children and the larger community. This is one of the hallmarks of a good, safe, and desirable community: Sex is private.
But it is not wholly private. Human sexuality is every bit a public affair as it is a private act. Perhaps more so, actually. Is this a radical and provocative statement, a push for a more open, bohemian sexual ethic and practice? Just the opposite. Valuing sex as an essential public act is actually a very conservative and traditional ideal.
The social sciences and cultural anthropology have demonstrated this empirically. Let’s see just how strong this case is.
Cruise Through the Social Science
By its inherent power and mysterious nature, a sexual relationship is never entirely walled off from the larger community. To believe it can be is to profoundly misunderstand what sex is and does. What people do in their intimate lives indeed affects their neighbors, whether they are those next door, co-workers, or extended family.
The effects of sexual relationships also reveal themselves in our community institutions — in schools, hospitals, police stations, social service offices, and nearly all levels of government — in various ways. Each of these must deal with the positive and negative consequences, often daily, of who had sex with whom and under what circumstances.
As the sexual revolution has spread, a vast range of university-based social science findings, published in premier academic journals and books over the last few decades, consistently demonstrates just how undoubtedly true this is. Just two summaries of the depth and diversity of this research are here and here. Let’s examine just a few of the major affected domains here.
Sex within marriage cultivates responsible men who are more likely to be employed, hold jobs longer, go to school to improve their futures, and be more involved in the lives of their children, making those young people less likely to cause trouble in their neighborhoods. Responsible men are essential to creating healthy communities.
Sexual behavior directly affects the academic achievement of offspring. As much as any other factor, the sexual and relational circumstances of a student’s parents, both now and at the time the child was born, drive school performance, in terms of grades, behavior, and prospects of college attendance.
Consider it this way. Choose one of the following schools for your child: In one school, 90 percent of the children come from married homes, raised by their own mothers and fathers. In the other school, 90 percent of children come from single-parent or cohabiting homes. Both schools have facilities and faculty of equal quality. Which school do you think would give your child a better, safer experience?
The relational status of people having sex within a given community also drives the level of crime and safety there. Take the neighborhood park as a microcosm. Can any community park and its local law enforcement have the problem of too many married mothers and fathers spending time with their children there? It’s actually a very strong social benefit. The more the better.
But can it have too many amorous teen couples regularly hanging out there? Too many adults using its bathrooms for sex-and-go encounters arranged online? How about single men coming to watch the children play? All but the first require great care and authority figures to step in without kindness or apology.
The “four P’s” of your community—police, pediatricians, principals, and public-welfare professionals—will readily confirm all these findings and more. Ask each of these professionals if the sexual decisions and actions of their community’s adults and young people make a difference in the success or difficulty of their work. It’s not a difficult question. Sex influences nearly every sector of society, not the least of which is physical health.
So-called sexual freedom has given us 37 million global neighbors who are presently infected with HIV. The World Health Organization just announced that more than 1 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections occur every day. More than 1 million. Every day.
Child and Female Well-being
It is certainly no coincidence that the phrase “feminization of poverty” emerged shortly after the sexual revolution initiated the great divorce of sex, babies, and marriage. Feminist scholar Diane Pearce introduced the phrase in an important essay, explaining that, at the very time educational and employment opportunities were opening for women due to greater equality, “Poverty is rapidly becoming a female problem” because “the economic status of women has declined over the past several decades.” Very ironic, isn’t it?
Pearce, as well as George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University professor, lay the cause at the feet of men walking away from the responsibility to care for their own children, and their partners allowing them to do so. This is largely due to the emergence of chemical birth control and ready access to abortion. Women were supposedly “empowered,” in control of their own fertility. Consequently, men no longer felt responsible for pregnancies they helped generate.
This cultural shift ushered in severe consequences. Despite women’s increased fertility control, out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed. They now account for 40 percent of all births, with many of these children being raised by single parents, resulting in not only poverty, but sometimes abuse. A live-in boyfriend is substantially more likely to be physically and sexually abusive to his single-parent girlfriend and her children than if they were married and raising their own biological children. Thus, women, children, and the larger community suffer from what people have done in the bedroom.
Bottom line: No architect or facilitator of the sexual revolution could have ever imaged the deep and vast human suffering their project has wrought. But there it is.
Cultural anthropologists know sex is a public act across diverse cultures because human sexuality always has the same public consequences. Every culture, in order to remain free, safe, and productive, must find a forceful and reliable way to regulate sexuality, ideally through the social expectation of long-term, monogamous marriage.
Professor Suzanne Frayser, in her magisterial anthropology of sexuality, explains that across diverse cultures, we find: “The person with whom an individual decides to have a sexual relationship with is as relevant to the group as the occasion for sexual encounters. Groups provide guidelines to channel a person’s choice of a sexual partner.” She contends, “Social restrictions limit a potentially wide and diverse pool of sexual partners to a definable range of acceptable companions.”
Yale University’s George Peter Murdock, a founding father in the discipline of cultural anthropology, explains from his team’s examination of 150 diverse cultures, “As a powerful impulse, often pressing individuals to behavior disruptive of the cooperative relationship upon which human social life rests, sex cannot be safely left without restraints.” Every known society has found it necessary to impose restrictions upon sexual expression to control its effects, he says.
Monogamy and Democracy
Nearly all societies have brought sex under control and regulated it through marriage. Polyamorous cultures do this less effectively, as we shall see. Oxford-trained anthropologist Fernando Henriques explains:
Unrestricted sexual license cannot be tolerated by society. Its existence would lead to perpetual dissension. On this ground alone, it is necessary for sexual relations to be ordered. … Thus no society exists – or has existed – where general promiscuity is the norm. To achieve order and regulation in sexual behavior, some form of marriage is necessary. … Marriage is necessary for the regulation of sexual life and stability of society.
Sexual guardrails are essential “for the simple reason that sex is really dangerous,” says Bronisław Malinowski. His is not a negative estimation. It’s a respectful one, recognizing the immense power and life- and community-altering consequence of human sexuality. Malinowski continues, “Sex is a great and wonderful power for evil and for good, and we must deal with it as we deal with other forces of nature: understand, respect, and control it in the light of truth.”
A fascinating 2012 article entitled “The Puzzle of Monogamous Marriage,” in the prestigious journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, examined how the “normative monogamy” of marriage has arisen and continues to arise across human cultures. It concluded the rise of this marital norm was not a result of its being “moral,” “wholesome,” or “traditional,” but for sheer pragmatism.
Monogamy as a community’s sexual norm simply makes for a much better society.
Monogamy as a community’s sexual norm simply makes for a much better society. Citizens are more likely to thrive, particularly women and children. In fact, the article attributes “democratic rights and civil liberties” to “the strength of normative monogamy,” concluding, “The peculiar institution of monogamous marriage may help explain why democratic ideals and notions of equality first emerged in the West.”
Monogamy, as a one-to-one negotiation, democratizes sexuality, making women more powerful agents in domestic and sexual relationships. This allows for and facilitates the democratization of the people at large.
Single and polygamous men collect women as sexual and domestic objects, which requires competition among men and the subjugation of women. As more women are collected by richer, more powerful men, the poorer, less attractive men must resort to trickery and violence to gain access to a smaller and more competitive market. This has egregious consequences for the community. Unexpectedly, these scholars found that normative monogamy reduced a community’s rates of overall violence by half.
Male and Female Impulses
Thus, society must bridle and corral particularly male sexuality. George Gilder explains this better than anyone, and his Men and Marriage is a must-read for anyone interested in this subject. He opens his book with this meaty first line: “The crucial process of civilization is the subordination of male sexual impulses and biology to the long-term horizons of female sexuality. … It is male behavior that must be changed to create a civilized order.”
He adds, “The prime fact of life is the sexual superiority of women.” Female sexuality is largely pro-social. Its energy and end are toward the purposes and power of the home, the primary and uncontested factory of humanity and civility. Male sexuality, in the state of nature, is fundamentally anti-social. Without externally imposed boundaries, it brings chaos and destruction. The unchecked college fraternity proves the point.
The incredible power and consequence of human sexuality, for incalculable good and devastating harm, judge it an undeniable public act. Societies that deny this fact can do so only by artificially constructing and continually maintaining a vast illusion. They do so to their own detriment.
No community in history, anywhere in the world, has found a way outside monogamous marriage to unleash sexuality’s profound goodness and limit its desolating harm. Irrefutable evidence demonstrates ours is no exception.
Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at glenntstanton.com.
Photo Katie Salerno / Pexels.com
At the recent Caring Well conference, J. D. Greear said the denomination mistakenly saw abuse claims as “attacks from adversaries instead of warnings from friends.”
ABBY PERRY IN GRAPEVINE, TEXAS OCTOBER 07, 2019
Southern Baptist Convention President J. D. Greear acknowledged that while sexual abuse survivors have pleaded with leaders for years, the denomination had failed to act on their claims and in some cases, sidelined them as attacks.
“It is wrong to characterize someone as ‘just bitter’ because they raised their voice when their warnings were not heeded,” Greear told the crowd at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC)’s Caring Well conference last weekend. “Anger is an appropriate response, a biblical response, in that circumstance.”
Greear praised the outspokenness and ongoing courage of SBC abuse survivors, naming from the stage both those who spoke at the event in surburban Dallas as well as others who have continued to critique the denomination’s response.
After hearing his remarks, “I actually choked up,” tweetedTiffany Thigpen, whose story of allegedly being attacked by pastor Darrell Gilyard in the early 1990s was recently featured in the Houston Chronicle.
She wrote on Friday, “Yet there is no apology for [church leaders not rushing to defend abuse survivors from the start]. There are hundreds of victims out here in great agony from the secondary abuse & you still haven’t said, ‘We all have taken part and we all failed greatly, and now we are going to show you.’”
At the three-day event, more than 1,600 Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, and laypeople gathered to hear abuse prevention experts and survivors share on topics from how to screen church employees and volunteers to how to recognize grooming behaviors and respond to abuse disclosures.
Sexual abuse survivors Megan Lively, Mary DeMuth, and Susan Codone took the stage along with prominent leaders who are also survivors themselves, such as Beth Moore, Kay Warren, and Jackie Hill Perry.
Greear’s statement came during a Thursday night keynote to address myths about abuse in the church. He called out the idea that “Sexual abuse in the church is not really a problem; it’s simply the latest leftist attack against the church,” saying:
Friends, you understand that the problem of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention did not begin in February with the publication of an article in a newspaper.
Survivors and advocates have been calling our attention to this for years. And many, like Megan [Lively] just now, have shown great courage in doing so. Honestly, [it’s] courage they should not have needed to show.
Believing this myth has caused us as a convention to miscategorize the words of people like Christa Brown and Tiffany Thigpen and Mary DeMuth and Anne Marie Miller and Dave Pittman and Jules Woodson and Megan Lively and so many other victims as attacks from adversaries instead of warnings from friends.
It is wrong to characterize someone as “just bitter” because they raised their voice when their warnings were not heeded. Anger is an appropriate response, a biblical response, in that circumstance.
Survivor Christa Brown, whose memoir This Little Light of Mine documents her account of sexual abuse and subsequent coverup in the SBC, tweeted, “For me, the only truth resides in the reality of their deeds. Action is what matters. Action is what will protect kids and congregants. Action is what shows care. I think my view is similar to what [Greear] himself acknowledged.”
Author Anne Marie Miller—whose abuser, Mark Aderholt, went on to become an International Mission Board missionary—tweeted, “Thank you, @jdgreear. As I told you and @ToddUnzicker last year, I will choose to believe the best about what you say. I’m grateful you acknowledged many of us by name, and hopefully you see the thousands of other survivors that walk with us. #CaringWell.”
Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore led a session where she brought up the question of whether complementarian theology fosters abuse.
“The answer’s no,” she said. “Sin and gross selfishness in the human heart cause abuse. Demonic influences cause abuse.” However, she added, complementarianism shaped “a culture prevalent in various circles of the SBC” that has contributed to abuse.
“Complementarian theology became such a high core value that it inadvertently … became elevated above the safety and well-being of many women,” she said.
Sexual abuse wasn’t the original theme for the ERLC’s annual conference. But after the Houston Chronicle reported on over 700 cases of sexual abuse in the SBC, convention leaders changed the theme.
The SBC passed a resolution at its annual meeting in June that names pastoral sexual abuse as grounds for disfellowshipping an SBC church. It also released a 52-page report detailing the failures of the denomination to adequately respond to abuse allegations.
Earlier in the year, Greear requested internal investigations of ten churches, but a subcommittee determined that all but three did not have credible claims of wrongdoing to investigate in the first place. Survivor and advocate Rachael Denhollander said at the Caring Well Conference that this response “undermined everything [Greear] had done … and no one said a word.”
While attendees received a copy of the Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused guidebook, which accompanies the free, video-based Caring Well curriculum, many survivors have also voiced frustration that the resources are provided by an institution that is itself inundated in scandal.
“Behind every statistic, there is a story,” said Phillip Bethancourt, ERLC executive vice president, during his message at Caring Well. According to survivors, the time to listen to each and every story is now.
Abby Perry is a freelancer writer. Her recent Prophetic Survivors series at Fathom Mag featured profiles of survivors of #ChurchToo sexual abuse. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.
The facts about George Whitefield’s preaching as an eighteenth-century itinerant evangelist are almost unbelievable. Can they really be true? Judging by multiple attestations of his contemporaries — and by the agreement of sympathetic and unsympathetic biographers — they seem to be so.
From his first outdoor sermon on February 17, 1739, at the age of 24, to the coal miners of Kingswood near Bristol, England, until his death thirty years later on September 30, 1770, in Newburyport, Massachusetts (where he is buried), his life was one of almost daily preaching. Sober estimates are that he spoke about one thousand times every year for thirty years. That included at least eighteen thousand sermons and twelve thousand talks and exhortations. The daily pace he kept for thirty years meant that, on many weeks, he was speaking more than he was sleeping.
Keep in mind that most of these messages were spoken to gatherings of thousands of people. For example, in the spring of 1740, he preached on Society Hill in Philadelphia twice in the morning to about six thousand and in the evening to nearly eight thousand. The next day, he spoke to “upwards of ten thousand,” and it was reported at one of these events that his expression of the text, “He opened his mouth and taught them, saying,” was distinctly heard at Gloucester point, a distance of two miles by water down the Delaware River (George Whitefield, 1:480). And there were times when the crowds reached twenty thousand or more.
Add to this the fact that he was continually traveling, in a day when it was done by horse or carriage or ship. He covered the length and breadth of England repeatedly. He regularly traveled and spoke throughout Wales. He visited Ireland twice, where he was almost killed by a mob from which he carried a scar on his forehead for the rest of his life. He traveled fourteen times to Scotland and came to America seven times, stopping once in Bermuda for eleven weeks — all for preaching, not resting.
Whitefield was a phenomenon not just of his age but in the entire two-thousand-year history of Christian preaching. There has been nothing like the combination of his preaching pace and geographic extent and auditory scope and attention-holding effect and converting power. J.C. Ryle is right: “No preacher has ever retained his hold on his hearers so entirely as he did for thirty-four years. His popularity never waned” (Select Sermons of George Whitefield, 32).
Eloquence and Anointing
Where did such power and popularity come from? At one level, Whitefield’s power was the natural power of eloquence, and at another it was the spiritual power of God to convert sinners and transform communities.
On the one hand, there is no reason to doubt that Whitefield was the instrument of God in the salvation of thousands. I do not doubt that his contemporary Henry Venn was right when he said, “[Whitefield] no sooner opened his mouth as a preacher, than God commanded an extraordinary blessing upon his word” (Select Sermons of George Whitefield, 29). Thus, at one level, the explanation of Whitefield’s phenomenal impact was God’s exceptional anointing on his life.
But at another level, Whitefield held people in thrall who did not believe a single doctrinal word that he said. In other words, we must come to terms with the natural oratorical gifts that he had. How are we to think about these in relation to his effectiveness? Benjamin Franklin, who loved and admired Whitefield — and totally rejected his theology — said,
Every accent, every emphasis, every modulation of voice, was so perfectly well turned, and well placed, that without being interested in the subject, one could not help being pleased with the discourse: a pleasure of much the same kind with that received from an excellent piece of music. (The Divine Dramatist, 204)
Whitefield: “Let my name be forgotten, let me be trodden under the feet of all men, if Jesus may thereby be glorified.”
One of Whitefield’s contemporaries, Alexander Garden of South Carolina, was not optimistic about the purity of Whitefield’s motives or the likelihood that his effects were decisively supernatural. He believed that Whitefield “would equally have produced the same Effects, whether he had acted his Part in the Pulpit or on the Stage. . . . It was not the Matter but the Manner, not the Doctrines he delivered, but the Agreeableness of the Delivery,” that explained the unprecedented crowds that flocked to hear him preach (“The Grand Sower of the Seed,” 384).
In one sense, I do not doubt that Whitefield was “acting” as he preached. That is, that he was taking the part of the characters in the drama of his sermons and pouring all his energy — his poetic effort — into making their parts real.
Making Reality Seem Real
But the question is, Why was Whitefield “acting”? Why was he so full of action and drama? Was he, as biographer Harry Stout claims, merely “plying a religious trade” for the sake of fame and power (The Divine Dramatist, xvii)?
I think the most penetrating answer comes from something Whitefield himself said about acting in a sermon in London. In fact, I think it’s a key to understanding the power of his preaching — and all preaching. James Lockington was present at this sermon and recorded this verbatim. Whitefield is speaking.
“I’ll tell you a story. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 1675 was acquainted with Mr. Butterton the [actor]. One day the Archbishop . . . said to Butterton . . . ‘Pray inform me Mr. Butterton, what is the reason you actors on stage can affect your congregations with speaking of things imaginary, as if they were real, while we in church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why my Lord,’ says Butterton, ‘the reason is very plain. We actors on stage speak of things imaginary, as if they were real and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’”
“Therefore,” added Whitefield, ‘I will bawl [shout loudly], I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.” (The Divine Dramatist, 239–40)
This means that there are three ways to speak. First, you can speak of an unreal, imaginary world as if it were real — that is what actors do in a play. Second, you can speak about a real world as if it were unreal — that is what half-hearted pastors do when they preach about glorious things in a way that implies they are not as terrifying or as wonderful as they are. And third, you can speak about a real spiritual world as if it were wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real — because it is.
Outacting the Actors
So if you asked Whitefield, “Why do you preach the way you do?” he would probably have said, “I believe what I read in the Bible is real.” So let me venture this claim: George Whitefield was not a repressed actor, driven by egotistical love of attention. Rather, he was consciously committed to outacting the actors because he had seen what is ultimately real.
His oratorical exertion was not in place of God’s revelation and power but in the service of them. He acted with all his might not because it took greater gimmicks and charades to convince people of the unreal, but because he had seen something more real than actors on the London stage had ever known.
I don’t deny that God uses natural vessels to display his supernatural reality. And no one denies that George Whitefield was a stupendous natural vessel. He was driven, affable, eloquent, intelligent, empathetic, single-minded, steel willed, venturesome, and had a voice like a trumpet that could be heard by thousands outdoors. All of these, I venture to say, would have been part of Whitefield’s natural gifting even if he had never been born again.
But something happened to Whitefield in the spring of 1735, when he was 20 years old, that made all these natural gifts subordinate to another reality — the glory of Christ in the salvation of sinners.
Whitefield Born Again
On a break from school, Whitefield’s friend Charles Wesley gave him a copy of Henry Scougal’s book The Life of God in the Soul of Man. When he read Scougal’s words about true religion being “a vital union with the son of God, Christ formed in the heart,” a new world opened to him. “Oh what a way of divine life did break in upon my poor soul,” Whitefield later testified. “Oh! With what joy — Joy unspeakable — even joy that was full of, and big with glory, was my soul filled” (Revived Puritan, 26).
Whitefield: “I am the chief of sinners, and therefore fittest to preach free grace to a world lying in the wicked one.”
The power, depth, and supernatural reality of that change in Whitefield is something Alexander Garden — and others who reduce the man to his natural abilities — did not sufficiently reckon with. In the new birth, Whitefield was given the supernatural ability to see what was real. His mind was opened to new reality. This means that Whitefield’s acting — his passionate, energetic, whole-souled preaching — was the fruit of having eyes to see “life and light and power from above” (Select Sermons of George Whitefield, 15). He saw the glorious facts of the gospel as real. Wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real. This is why he cries out, “I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.”
None of his natural abilities vanished. They were all taken “captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Let my name be forgotten, let me be trodden under the feet of all men, if Jesus may thereby be glorified” (George Whitefield, 2:257).
New birth, however, did not make Whitefield perfect. In fact, one of the effects of reading history, and biography in particular, is the persistent discovery of contradictions and paradoxes of sin and righteousness in holy people. Whitefield is no exception, and he will be more rightly honored if we are honest about his blindness as well as his doctrinal faithfulness and goodness. By far the most glaring blindness of his life — and there were others — was his support for the American enslavement of blacks.
Even if one argues that the biblical way to move beyond the institutionalization of slavery (which in the New Testament is tolerated, but implicitly contested, Luke 4:18; Acts 17:26; 1 Corinthians 7:21; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 1 Timothy 1:10; Philemon 1:16; Ephesians 6:9; Galatians 3:28; 5:1; Colossians 3:11; Revelation 5:9) is to adjust to the eighteenth-century institution, but ameliorate it with kindness (as Whitefield did), one must still reckon with the fact that Whitefield did not, so far as we know, come to terms with the institution itself as biblically challenged. Nor did he seem to see that the racially dehumanizing effects of Southern slavery called the “peculiar institution” into question. This is what I mean by “blindness.”
Before it was legal to own slaves in Georgia, Whitefield advocated for legalization with a view to making the orphanage he built more affordable. In 1752, Georgia became a royal colony, slavery was legalized, and Whitefield joined the ranks of the slaveowners. That, in itself, was tragic but not unusual. Most of the slaveholders were professing Christians. But in Whitefield’s case, things were more complex. He didn’t fit the mold of wealthy, Southern plantation owner.
Whitefield said he was willing to face the “whip” of Southern planters if they disapproved of his preaching the new birth to the slaves (The Divine Dramatist, 100). From Georgia to North Carolina to Philadelphia, Whitefield sowed the seeds of equality through heartfelt evangelism and education — whether or not he felt any contradiction in his views.
“Whitefield was consciously committed to outacting the actors because he had seen what is ultimately real.”
Whitefield’s preaching to slaves infuriated many slaveowners. Almost all of them resisted evangelizing and educating the slaves. They knew intuitively that education would tend toward equality, which would undermine the whole system. And evangelism would imply that slaves could become children of God, which would mean that they were brothers and sisters to the owners, which would also undermine the whole system. One wonders if there was a rumbling in Whitefield’s own soul because he really did perceive where such radical evangelism would lead.
He went public with his censures of slaveowners and published words like these: “God has a quarrel with you” for treating slaves “as though they were Brutes.” If these slaves were to rise up in rebellion, “all good Men must acknowledge the judgment would be just” (The Divine Dramatist, 101–2). This was incendiary. But apparently, Whitefield did not perceive fully the implications of what he was saying.
What seems clear is that the slave population, in great numbers, loved Whitefield. When he died, it was the blacks who expressed the greatest grief in America. More than any other eighteenth-century figure, Whitefield established Christian faith in the slave community. Whatever else he failed in, for this service they were deeply thankful.
Phyllis Wheatley (1753–1784), the former slave and first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry in America, eulogized Whitefield in a popular poem of the time. It contained these lines:
Ye Preachers, take him [Christ] for your joyful theme:
Take HIM, “my dear AMERICANS,” he said,
Be your complaints in his kind bosom laid:
Take HIM ye Africans, he longs for you;
Impartial SAVIOUR, is his title due;
If you will chuse to walk in grace’s road,
You shall be sons, and kings, and priests to GOD.
However seriously Whitefield erred, God took the good he did, and the Christ he preached, and made Christ to the “Africans” an “Impartial SAVIOUR” and means to being sons and kings to God.
Fit to Preach Free Grace
So, the greatest preacher of the eighteenth century, perhaps in the history of the Christian church, was a paradoxical figure. There was, as he himself so freely confessed, sin remaining in him. And that is what we have found in every human soul on this earth — except one. Which is why our lives are meant to point to him — that sinless one. Christ’s perfect obedience, not ours, is the foundation of our acceptance with God. If then, our sin, as well as our righteousness, can point people away from ourselves to Christ, we will rejoice even as we repent.
“Whitefield’s daily pace he kept meant that, on many weeks, he was speaking more than he was sleeping.”
“I know no other reason,” Whitefield said, “why Jesus has put me into the ministry, than because I am the chief of sinners, and therefore fittest to preach free grace to a world lying in the wicked one” (Revived Puritan, 157–58). Yes. But as we have seen, God would make not only his unworthiness redound to the grace of God, but also his passionate oratory, his natural dramatic giftedness, and his poetic effort. This too, imperfect as it was, no doubt contaminated as it was with flawed motives, God made the instrument of his supernatural work of salvation.
No eloquence can save a soul. But the worth of salvation and the worth of souls impels preachers to speak and write with all their might in ways that say, “There is more, there is so much more beauty — so much more glory — for you to see than I can say.”
Whatever hardship you are going through, it will not last forever, and you can even grow stronger from it. Whatever you are facing right now will pass, and it will get better.
God can take all of the hurt and pain you have experienced in life, use it to touch other people, and make us into the men and women He wants us to be. The devil wants us all to abandon hope; God wants to abandon hopelessness. Satan wants to bring death; Jesus wants to bring life. Life is worth living! It is a precious gift to us from God Himself. Did you know your family loves you! We love you in this family, the church! No matter what you are going through in life, it is going to get much better.
Did you know that your Father in Heaven knew exactly when your existence would begin? God chose you before you were even conceived. In this day of “instafame,” and so much focus on the way we look, know that God sees things much differently than people do. God is far more interested in character than charisma.
When you choose to walk away from temptation, you will be glad that you did.
Moses chose what God had for him.
God has a purpose for you!
Whatever you give up to, follow Jesus will be more than made up for.
Hello my beloved readers! I’m grateful to God finally I could spend my time to write my own post again. This post inspired by a conversation between my husband and his friend some time ago. I hope and pray this post could be a blessing to all of us. Thank you very much to the all loyal readers who always visit and read my blog posts.
“As the only man and the eldest brother in family, I shouldn’t show my grief and shouldn’t cry. A mam must be strong!! This word came out from a best friend of my husband who some time ago just lost his beloved mother. Then my husband said, “But actually you are very sad and want to cry, right?” My husband’s friend replied, “I cannot lie to myself. Yes, actually I am very sad and want to cry to express my sorrow. But you know, since childhood my parents have taught that men should be strong and should not be whiny.”
My dear friends, I kept quiet during the conversation. Those conversations made me thinking and ponder. There was something I didn’t agree of my husband’s friend’s statement. I didn’t agree that a man shouldn’t show his sorrow and shouldn’t cry. I just feel that a man as if made from iron and wire like a robot that didn’t have feeling at all. In fact, the same as women, men could face a similar situation. Death, pain, loss, and various other things that can make a man feel sad. And all of them need a way to express their feeling.
Talk about crying, I remembered one of David saying when he got deep distress. Let’s see what David said at the time. “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8) At the time, the Israelites were using a bottle as a container for water or milk. Other than that, there was a unique culture that comes from Egyptians where they contain their tears into the bottle and then put it on the grave of their family or brethren as an expression of their grief. Well, I will not talk about the culture but I want to talk about David’s word.
We all know very well who David was. Though David was a man who was brave facing the lion, a man who was very brave against Goliath and successfully defeated him, and finally become a king, it turns out, he didn’t ashamed to cry. Why David crying? At that time David was under great pressure because besides being on the run to be chased by King Saul who was jealous with him, he faced another danger of entering the enemy territory of the Philistines in Gath and he was arrested. In the stressful situation, David didn’t look that crying is something shameful to do. He cried just because his mind was depressed but not because he weak. David cried not because he was afraid. Let’s take a look to the following verse,
When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid….” (Psalm 56: 9-11)
These verses are proof that even though David cried it doesn’t mean he became weak and afraid and his faith remained strong. Although he was crying, David remained steadfastly surrendering his life to God, and still fully believed that God remained with him.
So, whether a man shouldn’t cry? Is crying a symbol of Men’s weakness? My dear readers, allow me to take all of you to reflect on these three things.
First, in my whole life I have never found a rule of life or laws that forbids a man to cry or crying for a man is a disgrace! There’s no single verse in the Bible stated that a man shouldn’t cry. Even Jesus was crying (Luke 19:41) My husband said that, “Crying is how your heart speaks the pain you feel when your lips can’t” So I say firmly, there’s nothing wrong if a man cries and a man doesn’t need be ashamed and feel weak when he cries. The important thing is, when a man cries, his faith doesn’t weaken. David was crying because he was totally under pressure but didn’t mean his faith weakening. At that time David still believed God was by his side. The wrong one is, when a man crying then it makes his faith weaken, weaken his mental, and made he didn’t dare to face all the problems of life.
The second, Actually God doesn’t require us to pretend to be strong even though inside of us are broken. He knows suffering is painful, and for that He is ready to be with us through those painful time. God doesn’t forbid us to have sad feeling. God doesn’t scold us when we crying. My husband’s friend just lost his beloved father. God Himself also definitely understands very well what it feels like to lose. God knows it feels hurt because He also experienced hurt when He let His only begotten Son died to redeem our sins in the cruel ways.
The third, crying because our suffering and sadness isn’t a waste thing. Why? Because actually God know every single teardrop that flows from our eyes. God really understands the tears language which expresses unbearable suffering and bitterness of life. Not only understand, God also collect and record every single of our tears as David said. “… Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8) This verse shows us one important thing that God actually never leaves us alone. Even when we feel like “abandoned by God”, indeed, God doesn’t leave us. God is on collecting and taking note every tears of our crying and as if He said, “My child, I will never leave you alone…Please be patient… Just a little more time will be fulfilled and I will declare my glory”
My beloved readers, through this post allow me once again to express my opinion that there’s nothing wrong at all if a man crying. Crying isn’t a taboo thing for a man. Crying isn’t a symbol of weakness of a man. Beside mind, character, intelligence, and feeling, God also give man tears. As long as a man has feeling, same as a woman, when the lips isn’t able to speaks, crying is a good way to express our sorrow. Crying is the way our heart speaks. But… We must remember that behind our weeping there’s still strength in us. Behind every single teardrop there’s still a firm faith, there’s still strong trust that God will never leave us alone. We have to always remember God’s promises,
…And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17)
Blessed are you who hunger now,for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. (Luke 6:21)
At the end of this post, I long to encourage all of men that there’s nothing wrong at all if one day you have to crying and there are compelling reasons why you cry. Not just for women, crying is something normal and humane. Don’t ever feel ashamed to express your feeling through crying. Crying doesn’t mean weak. Cry if it can make you relieved and the burden on you is lighter. But let me remind you one thing, don’t be a whiny man. Like David, keep strong, still have firm faith, and keep trusting God that He will wipe every of our tears as He promises, He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Amen.