VIDEO Unplanned Graces

February 25, 2019 by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Ashley Bratcher in Unplanned (Pure Flix Entertainment)

An upcoming movie tells a true story of love, hope, and redemption in the wake of abortion.

‘Apparently you have a super-human marriage,” actress Margaret Colin (of Independence Day fame) said to Abby Johnson after an early screening of the movie Unplanned, which tells her conversion story. Abby had been a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. Through a series of events, the pivotal one being her participation in an ultrasound-guided abortion, she decided to leave her job. Unplanned, which will be in theaters at the end of March, will naturally attract self-consciously pro-life people familiar with Abby’s story. Colin, who has been active with Feminists for Life and is not shy to share her opposition to abortion, had what I am told is a frequent response to the movie — and was mine as well: It’s a love story full of hope. For individuals, for marriage, for our politics, and for our culture.

Unplanned can be the occasion for a healthy examination of conscience for everyone. Early in the movie, Abby’s first visit to the clinic where she would later become director is depicted, complete with a man screaming rude things at the women walking in for abortions (on Saturday, the day they did them) and at the staff ushering them in. That kind of verbal abuse wasn’t the approach of the Coalition for Life folks whom Abby developed a relationship with through a fence over the years. Loving kindness makes a difference. It helped pave the way for Abby, who knocked on their door one day to say she wanted out.

Abby only ever wanted to help women. She had two abortions herself. She knew they weren’t pretty. She knew they weren’t ideal. She didn’t want women to have to have abortions, but she wasn’t going to take the choice away from anyone. The more she learned, however, about the corporate bottom line at Planned Parenthood, and the more she saw the cycle of despair it perpetuated, she wanted more for women. She couldn’t be a part of the taking of lives once she saw what she saw on the ultrasound screen — a baby pulling away.

Chris Jones, the producer of Unplanned, told me, at the pre-screening at the Sheen Center in Manhattan, that he and his partners wanted to make the movie in 2011, when Abby’s book was first published. But they prayed about it and had the sense it wasn’t the right time. That the movie is released now, when there is such open discussion about the details of late-term abortion is breathtaking. A bill in the Senate is getting people on the record about survivors of late-term abortions. At the same time, the discussion over late-term abortions gives us the opportunity to think about abortion in all three trimesters: Do we see this? Do we need to do this? Is there another way to help women? Couldn’t we, shouldn’t we be doing more to support community health centers that don’t have so much to do with abortion?

There are so many other questions Unplanned raises: Do we love one another? Truly, in beautifully painful ways? Across a fence? I may believe there’s evil happening inside, but do I love the people anyway? I may pray for their conversions, but do I also pray for their families, and pray that they know love? You may think I’m a hack writing about abortion again, but can we respect one another and see the good in one another? Can we work together on something?

The other day I was at a press conference where Catholics in New York reaffirmed a pledge to help any woman who finds herself pregnant and in difficult circumstances and without support. And testimony from a mother from Ethiopia whose young daughter was running around the press made clear that the love that the Sisters of Life have given her and her daughter did not stop when she gave birth. The sisters remain a part of the lives of both the girl and her mother.4

A few hours before I saw the movie with Abby and actress Ashley Bratcher and producer Jones, I went to confession. As I walked out of the confessional, I saw a man who seemed to have all his belongings in a busted suitcase blow a kiss inside the church. The movie does something similar. It’s a love letter across the fence of our miserable politics, a fence that in recent years has strained family relationships and broken up friendships. Obviously, if you work for Planned Parenthood or, like the governor of New York, apparently, among others, you wake up in the morning motivated by abortion rights and their expansion, you’re probably not going to be delighted by it, or even bother to see it. But people do change their minds. We watched Unplanned on the anniversary of the 2011 death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who changed his mind after performing 75,000 abortions and having helped found the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. Unplanned could help viewers consider a fresh start, so I hope many consider seeing it. I don’t expect a thousand Nathanson-like conversions—perhaps nudges, though, toward something better. Watch it with humility, whoever you are. We all have something to learn from it, about the power of love.

This column is based on one available through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.


Liberals Throw the Book at Peterson After Implied Criticism of Islam

By Don Feder -March 28, 2019

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Here’s a test. Now, be honest. Say the flight you were on was about to take off and you noticed that the lady sitting next to you was reading the New Testament – or a gentleman across the aisle was quietly saying what sounded like a prayer in Hebrew. Would you be concerned? Unlikely. But what if another passenger was muttering “Allahu Akbar” – “God is great” in Arabic, a popular prayer in the land of suicide bombers. Would you be equally nonchalant?

The left is constantly on the alert for criticism of Islam, and ready to punish dissent with an iron fist. It equates criticism with bigotry which, it claims, leads to violence.

The largest chain of bookstores in New Zealand is refusing to carry Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life,” after someone spotted a photo of the critic of political correctness standing next to a man wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed he was “Proud to be an Islamophobe.” New Zealand was the scene of the recent mosque shootings in which 50 died.

Peterson wasn’t wearing the T-shirt himself. The message did not advocate violence. It said the wearer was afraid of Islam. Given the daily carnage committed in the name of the religion of peace, is that fear so irrational?T

It’s exactly 7 years since a jihadist murdered a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. The killer, Mohammed Merah, shot one of his victims, 7-year-old Miriam Monsonego, in the head as he stared into her eyes.  The killer’s sister praised Mohammed and told an interviewer that “Jews deserved to be killed,” a sentiment not uncommon in the Muslim world.

A Muslim Congresswoman from Minnesota used anti-Semitic canards and, after much debate, her colleagues passed a resolution condemning every form of bigotry under the sun, but refusing to refer to hajib-lady by name.

In 2015 when Libyan jihadists marched a group of 25 Coptic Christians to a deserted beach and beheaded them, no one in the West pulled copies of the Koran from bookstore shelves – though Islam’s bible calls for such acts.

Speaking at Cairo’s al-Azhar University the same year, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi lamented that some Muslims were becoming “a source of worry, fear, danger and destruction to all the world.” Rank Islamophobia this. I wonder if President Sisi has a book we could ban in the West.

VIDEO Justifying The Deeds Of The Damned

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”  –First scripture found in the Satanic Bible, written by the black pope, Anton LaVey

I just finished watching a documentary this week on a famous singer who died in the not too distant past.

In this documentary, they started out by showing this young woman and her humble beginnings. She started as a singer for a local Baptist Church leading the praise and worship band. Oh, her humble beginnings.

Talking about a God-given gift! What a voice! Friends, she had it, and she did, to her credit, use it for the glory of God (Psalm 96:1), at least in the beginning stages. How innocent she was, how seemingly pure she was, and how all-American she was in so many different ways.

When she got a little older and graduated from high school, her mother then introduced her daughter to the music scene in New York. We all know what follows after this, nine times out of ten, they are then slowly and incrementally sold out for the cause and purposes of Hollywoods, hellish designers, along with their immoral minions who instruct the up and comers as to how to win the world, and yet, in the end, lose their lives and unknowingly lose their souls (Mark 8:36).

At every step, I noticed that she made decisions to do the things that she chose to do (Deuteronomy 30:19), and at no time did I see anyone force her hand to make the choices that she made.

She first began to distance herself from her real friends. She then began to fornicate (sex before marriage), to use drugs (cocaine, marijuana, drinking, etc.). You get the picture, it simply went from bad to worse real quick.

In short, everything the party life had to offer, she quickly adhered (1 John 2:15-16).  She went from serving Christ to serving the devil in a very short amount of time, and because of the false teachings in the American Church, like so many others, she still thought she was still secure of Heaven (Galatians 5:13).

In short order, and to know one’s surprise, she ended up overdosing on cocaine in a popular hotel in Los Angeles, California and died.

During her eulogy, I watched the footage of movie stars and music stars going up to the Church pulpit and telling of the good times they can remember with this woman while swearing in many cases (Proverbs 10:11; Matthew 12:34; Ephesians 4:25; James 1:26), of how this woman is now in Heaven where The Lord is wholeheartedly and approvingly accepting of her, though she never repented of her sins (Acts 20:21). Isn’t it interesting how heathens have a false assurance of the false Gospel as well as the modern-day churchgoers do? They believed that she is now somehow smiling and that she is happier than ever before “as she, from up there, looks down at the rest of us,” suggesting that she is now in a better place.

Maybe these people should actually take the time and read the Bible for themselves. This is more like the doctrines of the satanic bible “Do what thou wilt” rather then “Thou shalt not!” which is found in The Word of God.

How many times a year in this country do we hear similar stories? It is not just about the rich and famous that we hear these types of unscriptural eulogies.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” -2 Timothy 4:3-4

I am here to tell you that there is nothing further from the truth. All one has to do is ask the man that ended up in Hell and wanted someone to go warn his brothers to testify to them “lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:28).

Note: You are not to fear Hell friends, you are to fear God (Luke 12:4), and repent before Him (Acts 20:21), and put your faith and Christ (Galatians 3:24; Ephesians 2:8) and “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

What was the scriptural reply to the man in Hell?

Abraham saith unto him, ”They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. -Luke 16:29-31

Friends, false teachers are God’s judgment on the people who don’t want God, but in the name of religion, plan on getting everything their little carnal hearts desire.

That’s why false teachers are raised up and are put on the scene. Those people who sit under false teachers are not the victims. False teachers are the judgments of God upon them because they want exactly what the false teachers want, and it’s not God nor His Son Jesus Christ. They just want the benefits from a god that they have, in fact, created in their own minds.

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…” -Exodus 20:3

A god that looks and acts just like you.

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”  -Exodus 20:4-5

You can line up false teachers from one end of America to the other end. These are merely teachers of there own makings, as well as the people’s, and all of this is in accordance to their own desires (Exodus 32:4).

So, you get a people-pleasing, false teacher in there to tell the people what they can have, what they can do, and to live without the fear of the Lord in departing from evil (Proverbs 16:6), all in the name of a counterfeit Jesus, in the name of a counterfeit Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).

When it is all over and these emulators of the devil, while at the same time praising Jesus with their lips (Matthew 5:6), are at the end of their days preached straight into heaven by other false preachers.

I’ve seen it over and over again. A man does drugs and robs a store, and in the process gets killed. During his funeral, because the pastor or priest that had baptized him when he was young somehow or another, ends up in heaven because after all he did his best.

Then there is the man that is such a drunk and beats his wife and doesn’t provide for his children is somehow ushered into Heaven on the day of his death (1 Timothy 5:8). To what are Americans listening to?

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” -1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Scripture is clear:

“He that committeth sin (Exodus 20; 1 John 3:4) is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” -1 John 3:8

“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” -1 John 5:18

However, we hear from the pulpits across the country, in spite of Scripture, their distorted version of preaching at funerals filled up with people that have hardly ever been in churches, from drug addicts, drunks, adulterers, fornicators, self-righteous, and everything you can imagine. They are all there in church to honor their dead friend, and the pastor (1 Corinthians 12:28) gets up and says, “I praise God I know (Even when he doesn’t) this young man, he sold a lot of wild oats when he was just a young man, and I was the one that led him to pray and receive Jesus as his Lord,” though he never took heed (1 John 2:4, 5:12). He prattles on, “I am here to tell you that he’s in Heaven today,” though he cannot scripturally give you that assurance, and all those lost sinners that attended went straight out of that church and into the streets justified in their sin because of the hireling’s preaching (John 10:12). They are pathetic!

I can hear someone saying that is mean-spirited. Is it mean spirited to preach what Jesus commanded us to preach “Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2)?

If I have the remedy for a man or a woman that is dying from disease and withhold the means whereby they may be healed, is that mean spirited to show them first their disease and second, the One that can heal them?

“They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” -Mark 2:17

The problem with people today is that they do not believe that they need the Great Physician because they do not believe that they have the disease of sin. For the most part, it is because the preachers of the day do not know the Gospel (Hosea 4:6).

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block (Because of their pride), and unto the Greeks foolishness (They didn’t believe that they needed a Savior);” -1 Corinthians 1:23

Charles Spurgeon said,

“Seek that gospel which rips up, tears, wounds, hacks and even kills, for that’s the gospel that makes alive again.”

Why? Because it drives men to Christ where they might be saved.

Most church overseers today don’t preach the full counsel of God (Law to Grace) because of their cowardice to offend men, not realizing that sinners are an offense to God (Psalm 7:11).

Congregants today in this country are gospel ignorant because most of the preachers in this country are gospel ignorant.

Salvation is not merely the change of practice, it is the fruit thereof. It’s not turning over a new leaf, it’s not a New Year’s resolutions, it’s not this strong conviction to want to be a different person. None of that is Salvation.

Salvation is a supernatural work of God whereby someone really does become a new creature in Christ (John 3:3).

Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. -2 Corinthians 5:17

In conclusion, the Bible says that we are to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:5).

It also says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

It does not tell us to tag our sleeves to those who we have been taught to know better than we do. That is how slaves are made. We, as individuals, need to begin to dig in for ourselves so that we know whether we are of the Lord and His Spirit or not.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” -Proverbs 14:12

I started this week’s column with a quote from Anton LaVey.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

To some, this may be a game to be played. What one needs to take note of is not so much the years that Anton LaVey took in mocking God (Galatians 6:7), or teaching others to do what they wanted in spite of The Lords “Thou shalt Not’s”(Exodus 20). Take note of how LaVey played loosely with his own eternity, and how he responded when the time came that he had to leave this world to face his Creator, because there and there alone was a different story for him to tell (Revelation 20:11-15). It has been reported that as he was dying on his bed that he began to say

“Oh my, oh my, there is something very wrong, there is something very wrong,” as he begs God for mercy as he slips away into Hell.

Anton said that as a Satanist he did believe in the God of the bible but refused to worship him and made a conscious decision to worship Satan instead.” (Personal interview with Susan Atkins, Good Fight Ministries – Truth About Satanic Cults)

In the end, he revealed that most of what he claimed in his life was not true. He was wrong with what he did in this life. He founded the church of the devil and was a big part of preaching to live in the dark side of life, but in the end, a few moments before he died, he said in front of the camera that he was fooled by the devil all his life and now he is going to Hell.

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” -Romans 14:11

Article posted with permission from Sons of Liberty Media

By Bradlee Dean

Fatal Flaws in the Modern Pre-Wrath Rapture Position

by Cooper Abrams 

Introduction:    Within the last few years a new view of the timing of the Rapture has become popular. This modern view, called the Pre-Wrath View, was first taught by Robert Van Kampen in the 1970’s. In the early 1990s Marvin J. Rosenthal published a book titled “The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church” which popularized the Pre-Wrath Rapture view. Today it is accepted by many evangelicals who were once Pre-Tribulationalists. The basic difference is that the Pre-Tribulational view places the Rapture before the coming seven year Tribulation or Daniel’s 70th Week. (See Dan. 9:27) The Pre-Wrath view places the rapture of believers as occurring sometime during the middle of the Tribulation. It concludes that believers, of this present Church Age, will experience the beginning years of the Tribulation, but be raptured before God pours His wrath upon the earth. Thus this is the reason for the title, “Pre-Wrath Rapture.”

           This view has several major flaws. First it teaches that Church Age saints will go through part of the Tribulation. Second, it teaches God’s wrath is not poured out during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation. The view further teaches a split rapture with only some believers being raptured and others left on earth. This paper will point out various errors of the Pre-Wrath view which shows that the Pre-Tribulational view is the scriptural position. Christians in this the current dispensation of the Church Age will not go through the Tribulation and will be “caught up” before the seven years of God’s judgment on the earth, and will be forever be with the Lord.


           The biblical view of the Pre-Tribulationalists is that the whole of the seven years, called the Tribulation, Daniel’s 70th Week, or the Time of Jacob’s trouble, is a period of God pouring out His wrath. God will do this in a series of three judgments upon the earth which will end with His Second Coming. The Pre-Wrath view is based on the assumption that the Bible does not teach that the pouring out of God’s wrath occurs during the whole seven years of the Tribulation. Their view is that the out pouring of God’s wrath only occurs sometime after or toward the middle of the first three and a half years.

           However, the Book of Revelation teaches the judgments or wrath of God on earth begin at the start of the seven years of Tribulation with the Seal Judgments (Rev. 6:17, 8:1-60) , followed by the Trumpets Judgments (Rev. 8:7-9:21, 11:15-19) and subsequent and final Bowl (Vial) Judgments (Rev. 16:1-21). As each judgment is released upon the earth they grow in intensity and increasing more devastating. The last 3 1/2 years of the seven years of the Tribulation will be the worse period and is referred to as the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21).


           There are many flaws within the Pre-wrath view. One of its glaring flaws is that it teaches that the Seal Judgments are the wrath of Satan and the Antichrist, or man, and not the judgment or wrath of God. It is their position that Matthew 24:22 is a reference to the “Church” being raptured thus removing believers from the earth and ending their persecution of the Antichrist and Satan.

“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” 

    (Matthew 24:22)

           The first problem with this view is the presumption that Matthew 24:22 is referring to Church Age saints. The Pre-Wrath position is that God will rapture Church Age saints in sometime in the middle of the Tribulation before He begins to pour out His wrath on earth. This view ignores the fact that many people, Jews and Gentiles, will be saved on the earth during the seven year Tribulation. God’s purpose in bringing the seven year Tribulation on earth is to fulfill His promises to Israel and purge the earth prior to His setting up the Millennial Kingdom. God will be once again working with the Jews and the Nation of Israel. Matthew 24:20 specifically states that those who are fleeing the persecution of the Antichrist should pray it will not be on the Sabbath. Christians in this age are not under the Mosaic law and do not keep the Sabbath.

“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day”

     (Matthew 24:20)

           Exodus 31:17 states that the Sabbath was a special everlasting sign between God and Israel. The Bible does not instruct us to keep the Sabbath which was given to Israel as a remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt. Without question it was a Jewish feast who to this day continue to keep the Sabbath. The primary focus of events of the seven year Tribulation are directed towards Israel and the coming promised Kingdom of the Messiah Jesus Christ. Church Age saints are not in view here anywhere in the seven year Tribulation.

           The seven year Tribulation is the last “week” of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. Daniel foretold that there would be a total of 490 yeas (7 x 70) until “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Daniel’s prophecy says, Messiah the Prince should come, that is, seven weeks, or forty-nine years, should be allowed for the restoration of the Jewish state; from which time till the public entrance of the Messiah on the work of the ministry should be sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years, in all four hundred and eighty-three years. Thus there remains seven years left to finish God’s dealing with Israel in the Old Testament dispensation.

           When Jesus began His ministry, the Gospels record that He presented Himself to Israel as their Messiah, and that the promised kingdom was “at hand.” (See Matt. 3:2, 4:17, 10:7; Mark 1:15, Luke 21:31). He was offering them the promised kingdom promised to the Jews in the Old Testament. However, the Nation of Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah. In 70 AD God allowed Titus, the Roman general to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. Biblical Judaism ceased to exist and the Jews were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. God’s offer of the promised Kingdom was thus postponed. This does no mean that God set Israel aside, but began a new dispensation in which the Gentiles would be saved in this present age of the institution of the local church. This is a vital truth and must be understood in order to correctly understand God’s plan for the Tribulation. Many Old Testament prophecies such as Ezekiel 36 predict Israel’s regathering into the Promised Land. This will occur during Daniel’s 70th week which is the Tribulation. This has not occurred so clearly it is future to us and God will fulfill His promises.

           Clear evidence that the seven year Tribulation is God’s plan to complete His promise to Israel is seen in the prophecies of Daniel. Daniel prophesied that the Messiah would be cut off in the 483rd year (1 year = 1 week), and that God’s covenant with Israel would be confirmed in the seventh week. Jesus was “cut off” being crucified in the 483rd year as Daniel foretold which leaves seven years of his prophecy unfulfilled. The coming seven year Tribulation, or Daniel’s 70th Week is the period when God will once again offer the promised Kingdom to Israel again and many Jews will be saved.

           Therefore the seven year Tribulation is actually the last week (7 years) of the Old Testament dispensation which God postponed when Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The present Church Age believers will not be a part of the seven year Tribulation. Our place in God’s plan is different than that of Israel. However, God will complete His plan as the Old Testament teaches. He will purge Israel and the earth of unbelievers which will usher in the thousand year reign of Christ on earth. Israel’s promised Messiah will come in all His glory and establish His kingdom on earth and rule from Jerusalem. Christ will be the King of the Jews and rule the world.

           Christians who have been saved since Pentecost are not in view in this final seven years of the Old Testament dispensation. The Lord Jesus will take His Bride, which are believers in this present age to be with him at the rapture. Jesus Christ will once again be presented to Israel as the Messiah as the 144,000 saved Jews preach the Gospel around the world. The Church Age will end before the seven year Tribulation and the last seven years of the Old Testament period will start. God will complete His purposes and promises for the nation of Israel, His chosen people. The current dispensation of the Church Age will end with the Rapture of allbelievers, both dead and alive, before God begins to renew His covenant with Israel.(1 Thess. 4:13-18) There is nothing in Matthew 24 that refers to Church Age saints. Those saved in the Tribulation are a different group of believers.


           Another error of the Pre-Wrath view is in purporting that the first part of the seven year Tribulation, the Seal Judgments, are not the wrath of God, but the wrath of “man” which means Satan and the Antichrist. Further the Pre-Wrath view concludes that the seal judgments are a time of peace on earth. However, this view ignores a vital truth clearly stated in Revelation 5:12 and 6:1f. These verse plainly state that at the beginning of the seven year Tribulation the wrath and judgment of God begins with the opening of the Seal Judgments by Jesus Christ (the Lamb of Rev. 5:12, 6:16).

           Revelation 5:1-14 is the prelude to the Tribulation in which Jesus Christ is presented as the Lamb, who is the only worthy One, who has the authority and position to open the seven sealed books. The seven sealed books hold the coming judgments of God. Only Christ is worthy to open and beginning the our pouring of God’s wrath on the earth.

           The Pre-Wrath view says that the beginning of the Tribulation is not the wrath of God, but rather of man, or of the Antichrist and Satan. However, Revelation 5:3 states, “And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” The book states that no man could open the seven sealed book of the wrath of God, which He will unfold in the seven year Tribulation. The opening of the book begins the seven year Tribulation. What is about to unfold is plainly not the work of any man, but of the Messiah, the work of “the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David.” This event is Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ, fulfilling His plan for Israel and the world in this final stage before the Millennium.

           It is the Lamb, Himself, who opens the first seal (Rev. 6:1) and thus initiates the beginning of the seven years of the Tribulation. Revelation 5:4 plainly says that no man could open the book. Further, Revelation 6:3, states that “he” referring to the Lamb of verse 6:1, and verses 5, 7, 9, and 12, continues in opening each of the subsequent Seal Judgments. Clearly, these are not judgments initiated by man or Antichrist, but by the Worthy Lamb of Chapter 5. It is Jesus Christ who opens each of the seals in the first half of the Tribulation and brings God’s wrath on the earth. Yes, it is the Antichrist who persecutes God’s people and all peoples on earth, but he does so at the discretion of Jesus Christ. God will be using the Antichrist as the instrument of His wrath. Many times in biblical history God used the enemies of Israel to chasten and judge them. The Antichrist could do nothing unless he was allowed by God to do so. The Pre-Wrath view is fatally flawed in its assumption that it is not God who is pouring His wrath on the earth at the beginning of the Tribulation and through out the seven years and until the three sets of God’s judgments are completed. It is Almighty God who is using the Seal Judgments. This begins His plan to purge the earth of sin. It should be recognized that if the Seal Judgments are the wrath of God, the Pre-Wrath position is refuted.

           There can be no mistake, the New Testament says in this dispensation of the Church Age, which began at Pentecost (Acts 2) and will continue until the Rapture, believers will not go through wrath the of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 deals with instruction concerning the end times and verse 19, gives Christians the promise of God, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). 


           As show above, it is Jesus Christ who begins the seven year Tribulation and the outpouring of God’s wrath as Revelation 6 reveals. The beginning of God’s wrath is in His allowing the Riders of the Four Horsemen to rain their various destructions on the earth. In the beginning it is the Lamb who opens the first seal and unleashes the Antichrist, the first horseman riding a white horse upon the earth. The first rider riding a white horse and wearing a crown is allowed to go forth to conquer the world. This is a picture of the Antichrist who will rise to power on earth as a great political leader and present himself as a savior to the world. He will represent himself as a man of peace in his deceptive strategy. Represented as a “little horn,” the Antichrist comes with a crown on his head and as Daniel 7:8, 8:8-12 prophecies and takes control of the world’s governments. He comes offering peace but by military and political might, and his actions will bring havoc and death on the earth.

           The Pre-Wrath advocates say this will be a time of peace on the earth. But Revelation 6:2 states, the Antichrist will be “going forth to conquer and conquering,” and this is clearly not a picture of a period of peace. Daniel 9:27 says “And he (the Antichrist) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the over spreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27) However, no scripture says that the peace the Antichrist offers actually occurs. The assumption is that because the temple shall be violated in the middle of the seven years, the first half of the Tribulation is a time of peace. That assumption has no basis in God’s word.

           The timing of the judgments of the Tribulation is clearly presented in the Book of Revelation as beginning with the initial heavenly events of Chapters 4 and 5. The scene then shifts to the earth beginning with Chapter 6 and the unfolding of the seven Seal Judgments. The peace the Antichrist proclaims is an illusion. There may be a short period of an unstable peace when the Antichrist signs the covenant with Israel, but this is a political peace. The signing of the covenant with Israel does not alter God’s plans and He opens the seals and begins immediately to pour out His judgments. As the Seal Judgments are unleashed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the beginning of the Tribulation the earth enters a period of turmoil. The point of the Pre-Wrath position is that believers are raptured before the wrath of God is poured out. Pre-Wrath Rapture view addresses the outpouring of God’s wrath, not the feigned offering of a peace treaty with Israel. This exposes another flaw in the Pre-Wrath view as it purports the supposed political peace means God is not pouring out His judgments until the middle or end of the seven years. Two things are going on at the beginning of the Tribulation. One, the Antichrist comes on the scene with great political power and signs a covenant with Israel. This brings only a semblance of peace as the Antichrist positions himself and gains greater power. Second, at the same time, God begins to pour out His wrath on the earth as the seven seal judgments are opened by the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the appearance of peace in the beginning of the Tribulation does not mean God is not pouring out His wrath in the seal judgments.

           Further it is God, who after the Rapture, stops the present retraining work of the Holy Spirit and allows Satan to go forth bringing destruction on humankind through his control of the Antichrist. In our present dispensation of the Church Age, the Holy Spirit is preventing or restraining Satan from unleashing his destructive wishes on the earth.

           Paul reveals this in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-15,

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”

     (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12)

           God’s plan is that He will use Satan and the Antichrist to bring His judgment on the earth during the seven year Tribulation. The restraining work of the Holy Spirit, which keeps him in check presently, will end as the seven years begin. Satan will then be allowed to rein destruction on the earth through the Antichrist. It is God who initiates the destruction on earth by allowing Satan and the Antichrist to work unrestrained. It is God who is now restraining Satan and this clearly shows that it is the action of God that allows him to rise to power and thus bring destruction to this present age.

           Revelation 6:3-4 states again that “he”, Christ, continues God’s judgment and opens the second seal and initiates the second horsemen of red. Once again this is the action of God as power is “given” to this horseman by God to take peace from the earth and allow men to kill one another. 2 Thessalonians 2:6 reveals that the One who is restraining evil today is the Holy Spirit, but when the Antichrist is revealed, the restraining work of the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn. The “son of perdition” referred to as the lawless one and beast will be allowed by God to bring havoc on the earth. Once again it is God who is in full control and carrying out His plan and unleashing His wrath on the earth.

           This Second Seal Judgment clearly removes political peace from the earth by allowing the Antichrist to bring havoc on earth. The supposed peace offered by the Antichrist when he signs the covenant with Israel has no basis in reality. The covenant brings no real or lasting peace. The times of the ending of peace begins with the opening of the second seal judgment with the beginning of the seven years of Tribulation. The Pre-Wrath position is that the first three and a half years of the seven year Tribulation will be a time of peace and it will not be a time of God’s wrath. Clearly, this conclusion is in error and Revelation 6:4 refutes that false assertion. The third horseman described in Revelation 6:5-6, rides a black horse. He is allowed to bring famine on the earth by Jesus Christ when He opens the third seal judgment.

           The third horseman described in Revelation 6:5-6, rides a black horse. Verse 6 states that “he” Jesus Christ opens the seal and thus He allows the Antichrist to bring famine on the earth by Jesus Christ when He opens the third seal judgment. Once again, God’s word says that it is Jesus Christ that is causing His wrath to be brought on earth.

           The forth horseman rides a pale horse and death and hell follows him. Bible says that Jesus Christ gives the pale horse rider the power to bring a tragic judgment on earth in which a fourth part of the earth is killed. One must note that each of these Seal Judgments are being opened in the first half of the Tribulation and the killing a fourth of the earth with the sword, hunger and death which includes even the animals of the earth. This cannot be viewed as a time of peace on earth. God is pouring out His wrath on the sinful and unbelieving of the earth. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 is God’s promise that believers in this dispensation will not go through His wrath, thus the timing of the Rapture must be before these events.

           When Christ opens the fifth seal, John sees under the altar the souls of those killed for the word of God which they refused to reject. These believers whom the Antichrist will slay are in the first part of the Tribulation. Like the persecutions of the past and even those going on in the world today, God allows some believers to be killed for the testimony of Jesus Christ. True believers throughout history have died rather than deny the word of God. In every persecution, God always reaps a harvest of souls as the testimony of God’s children allows men to see the truth of the life changing power of God in salvation. Because of the testimony of these slain saints of God many will be saved. Again, this is clearly the work of God and the Pre-Wrath view is grossly wrong in assuming that what is happening on the earth is the work of men and not the outpouring of God’s wrath. Yes, the Antichrist and evil men are the ones who perpetrate this evil attack on those saved during the Tribulation, but it is only done as God allows it to happen.


           The Pre-Wrath view purports that Revelation 6:9-11 is a reference to the Rapture. They preclude that these saints of God are Christians, of the present Church Age, who have been resurrected in the Rapture and are now seen in heaven. This is a serious misinterpretation of this passage. First, verse 9, specifically states that all these saints are ones slain for their testimony of the word of God. These saints are said to be under the altar of God and are crying to the Lord to avenge their deaths on them that are on the earth. Verse 11, says they given white robes and a time of rest as they wait for a short season until their fellow servants and brethren would also be murdered, as they were on the earth. What they are waiting for is the Second Coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ when God purges the world of the Antichrist and sinful men.

           Clearly if these multitudes of saints are murdered in the first half of the Tribulation it is not a time of peace. Under the Antichrist there will be initially a period of peace as he consolidates his power under the guise of bringing peace, however, this is a political peace only and believers will be experiencing great precaution from the Antichrist and his government. We see this trend today in that the modern politically correct liberals have an agenda of seeking to remove any mention of Jesus Christ, God or Christianity from society. The news media and most of Christianity remain almost silent in the face of this clear persecution of Christians.

           This intense persecution of believers follows the coming of the pale horse rider to earth. The deaths of these Tribulation saints are the result of the actions of the rider of the Pale horse who brings death and hell on the earth. This is a picture of events after the Tribulation, during the Seal Judgments, and begins when the Antichrist and his evil forces are persecuting and killing believers on the earth. It must be noted the passage states all these have been slain and are crying to the Lord for judgment to come on the Antichrist and those that serve him. Absolutely, nothing in this passage can even remotely be understood as referring to believers in the current Church Age who will be raptured before the Tribulation begins. Revelation 6:9-11 is referring to saints who have believed after the Tribulation has begun. These saints are not part of the current dispensation of the Church Age. These are Jews and Gentiles who believed on Jesus Christ after the Rapture and every one in this group were killed for their testimony for Christ. All believers in this present dispensation have not been killed for their testimony of Jesus Christ. Clearly, this is a different group of believers and not those of the present Church Age. First if these are all the raptured saints of God, of this age, it would require that all those who are raptured must be slain and martyred. Of course this is not the case. Second it does not explain what happens to believers who have died in Christ Jesus. Once again the Pre-Wrath heresy is refuted by the word of God.

           A carefully and scholarly study of the Book of Revelation shows that between Revelation 3:22 and 19:1 there is no mention of Church Age saints. The events between these two references reveal the progression of the seven year Tribulation until it ends with the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saints of God are mentioned within these Chapters, but each time it is referring to those who believed within the seven years of the Tribulation and were saved by God.

           Another point revealed in this passage and overlooked or ignored by the Pre-Wrath position is that all these saints, both in heaven and on the earth are seen as one group. A part of the group is shown as having been slain and are in heaven. The other part of the group is still on earth and waiting to join the slain saints in heaven, by experiencing their eventual deaths as well at the hands of the Antichrist. Thus is reveal another flaw in the Pre-Wrath view. It has part of believers raptured and part awaiting for the rapture? These cannot be Church Age saints. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 as all believers, both dead and alive raptured and taken to meet the Lord in the air at the same time. Nothing in the New Testament suggests a partial rapture of some believers and others are left behind. Throughout history many believers have been persecuted and killed for their testimony for Christ. But most believers in this dispensation have died naturally and were not martyred. This passage says that every one of this group of saints were martyred for their testimony for the word of God. This plainly is not a reference to the Rapture of believers of the Church Age, but rather to those who believed and were saved in the seven year Tribulation.

           When Christ opens the sixth seal there comes a great earthquake on the earth, the sun turns black and the moon to red as blood. Accompanying this catastrophic event is the stars in heaven raining down on the earth. God says the heavens will be rolled up as a scroll and every mountain and island moved out of it presence location. This begs a simple question? How does this fit into the Pre-wrath idea that the Seal Judgments are the “wrath of men?!” The scope of this judgment precludes that any man, even the Antichrist from having the power over the earth, sun, moon and stars. This is plainly the work of God in bringing His judgment on the earth and sinful men. This is Almighty God unleashing His omnipotence power over nature and the elements. Revelation 6:17 completely dispels any validity to the Pre-wrath view stating: “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” The “great day of his wrath is come,” clearly is referring to the events that just were previously described. The word “to come” means “as appeared, accompanied, entered or be set.” After experiencing these six seal judgments people on earth will be terrified, and thus the answer to the rhetorical question “who will be able to stand,” is no man could stand against God’s wrath which has just been revealed.


           Another problem of the Pre-Wrath view at noted above is that Revelation 6:9-10 shows that part of these saints are in heaven the rest on earth. If the Pre-Wrath view is correct this would mean believers who were alive at the Rapture and had not been martyred would still be on earth and would have to go through the sixth seal judgment and its devastating events. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 plainly refutes this idea as being false.


           The Pre-Wrath view states that the reason for believers going through part of the Tribulation is that “the church” needs to go through a period of cleansing before the rapture. First this premise is based on the false idea of a universal church. The New Testament teaches that the “ekklesia” translated “church” in our English Bibles refers to a local assembly of believers. The idea of a universal church is not taught in God’s word. God’s program for this dispensation is believers as members of local congregations in a specific geographical area. It never refers to a global or worldwide “church.” The author as an article at which explains this in some detail.

           The period of persecution, according to the Pre-Wrath view, is necessary to return “the church” to serving the Lord and purging it of sin. The problem with this idea is brought into the light by the question, “What about all the Christians saved in the past 2000 years who have died and are with the Lord?” Why should a handful, in comparison to all the believers who have lived since Pentecost, have endure this supposed cleansing? Where in the New Testament does God state that He will purge “the church” of sin before believers are raptured? How would this cleansing effect believers who have died and are with the Lord. It is believers that sin and God says all in Christ are forgiven all their sins. Where then is the supposed need of a cleansing before the rapture?

           The Pre-Wrath people may counter by saying “the church” has gone into apostasy and in the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation it will be purged and cleansed through persecution. Problem with that conclusion is that false doctrine has always, through the past two thousand years plagued churches, and false religion will continue to flourish in the first half of the Tribulation with the Antichrist and the false prophet joining all the religions of the world in to a one world church. The false “Christian” churches will certainly go into the Tribulation as will the cults. Nothing in God’s word says there will be a purifying of “the church” before the rapture can occur. The rapture itself is the purifying of believers as they are resurrected to immortality and incorruption. (1 Cor. 15:53)

           Believers in the Tribulation will be persecuted and the majority who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior will be killed for their belief in the word of God and testimony.(Rev. 20:4) Only a remnant of Tribulation saints will endure to the end of the seven years.


           Many have believed the myth that John Nelson Darby (November 18, 1800- April 29, 1882), a Anglo-Irish Plymouth Brethren, invented the PreTribulational rapture view in 1831 being influenced by a young girl, Margaret McDonald, who apparently received this ”revelation” from the Lord of a “rapture” of the Church before a time of Great Tribulation at the end of the age. However, Roy A. Huebner, documented that Darby first began to believe in the PreTribulational rapture and develop his dispensational thinking while convalescing from a riding accident during December 1826 and January 1827. This was three years before Miss McDonald supposedly received her “revelation.” Darby studying Isaiah 32 saw that the prophet was revealing that God had some specific plans for Israel that went beyond into the future for the nation of Israel. He saw God’s plans for Israel and the “church” were different. As he studied the scriptures Darby began to see that the Lord’s return was immanent and could be expected at any moment. He saw the scritures teach the seven year Tribulation would be the period in the future when God would once again dealing with the nation of Israel. Let me explain:

           Daniel prophesied that there would be 490 years before the Messiah would come and set up God’s promised kingdom to Israel and they would live in peace. (Dan. 9:24-27; Ezek. 36:24-26) Clearly from history it can be seen that 483 years of the 490 have occurred. There then remains one more week or a period of seven years before the Old Testament dispensation is fulfilled. The seven year Tribulation or Daniel’s 70th Week is the end of the Old Testament period of God working with the nation of Israel. During the Tribulation God will begin once again to work with Israel as a nation. He begins with calling 144,000 Jews as Revelation 7 predicts. God has made specific and unconditional promises to Israel that will be fulfilled in the Millennium which follows the Tribulation. He begins at the beginning of the seven years to purify Israel and save the remnant who will constitution the nation of Israel in the Millennium. Thus Christians in this the Church Age are not in view in the Tribulation and are not a part of this period. This is why the Lord comes first for Christians and removed them from the earth before the seven years of judgment. Christians are the bride of Christ and one must understand that in seeking sound doctrine and a proper interpretation of God’s word the nation of Israel and the Christians of this age must be kept separate as they do not have the same position or place in the future events and plans of God.

           Darby understood this as he studied the scriptures and saw that Christians in this age would not be a part of the Tribulation and therefore be raptured out before the seven years began.

           The myth further states that no one before Darby believed in dispensationalism or a PreTribulational rapture. History again shows this view to be false.

           With the writing of Barnabas (ca. 100-105), Papias (60-130), Justin Martyr (110-165), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220), Hippolytus (185-236), Cyprian (200-250), and Lactantius (260-330) are clear example of belief in a PreTribulational rapture.

           Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373# wrote: “Woe to those who desire to see the Day of the Lord!” Because all saints and the Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is to about to come and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.” Two things are clear: Ephraem taught the Lord’s return was immanent, and the rapture would occur before the tribulation fifteen hundred years before Darby which are dispensational views.

           Early church leaders such as Clement of Rome (90-100), Ignatius of Antioch (98-117), The Didache (100-160), The Epistle of Barnabas (117-138), and The Shepherd of Hernias (96-150) all wrote of the immanent return of the Lord.

           The truth is that Pre-Wrath View is the invented view which was first taught by Robert Van Kampen in the 1970’s. After Van Kampen his new view point of the rapture he looked for several year to find some well know advocate to make his view popular. He was one of the most wealthy men in America and had the funds to postulate his views. He found that advocate in Marvin J. Rosenthal, who at that time was with the “Friends of Israel” and in early 1990s he published a book titled “The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church” which popularized the Pre-Wrath Rapture view. So historically, the PreWrath view is only a decade and a half old.

           What has made the myth popular are writers as stated earlier who passed on the myth out of ignorance or did so deliberately. It should be considered that may writers have taken up the Pre-Wrath view and have made great sums of money through their books. Also it should be understood that the myth is postulated by those who oppose dispensationalism which teaches that God has a separate plan for Israel and for the Christians in this the Church Age. Among these are the Covenant Theologians who teach God has abandoned Israel and now “the Church” has inherited the promised God made to His chosen nation.


           The Pre-Wrath Rapture view is clearly fatally flawed. The Pre-Wrath view is correct on the truth that Church Age saints will not experience the wrath of God (1 Thess. 5:9, Rev. 3:10). However, it falsely teaches that God will not be pouring out His wrath in the beginning of the seven years and Christians will experience the Seal Judgments. Revelation 6 plainly states that the Tribulation begins when Jesus Christ initiates and brings the wrath of God on the earth beginning with the seal judgments. The Pre-Wrath view fails to understand that the supposed peace of at the beginning of the Tribulation is not real peace but only a short lived political offering of peace. The political peace does not preclude that God will not be pouring out His wrath in this same period. The Pre-Wrath view has a split view of the rapture with only part of the saints of God raptured and the rest left behind to be raptured later. The Pre-Wrath view also fails to understand that the seven year Tribulation is the conclusion of the Old Testament dispensation that God postponed when Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah. It ignores that Daniel specifically prophesied that the Messiah would return at the end of the 490 year period which will end with the Lord setting up the Millennial Kingdom He promised the Jews. The Tribulation according to God’s word is God purging Israel not “the church.” Nowhere in Revelation 4:1 to 19:7 is Church Age saints mentioned. Every reference to believers are those saved during the Tribulation. The reason is clear because Christians in this present dispensation of the Church Age,who are the body and bride of Jesus Christ, are in heaven with Him having been raptured before the seven year Tribulation.

11-24-09           Click this line to read a related article titled “Is the Mid-Tribulation or Pre-Wrath Rapture the Biblical View?”

Obedience Versus Legalism

by Simon Schrock

Don was an elder in his evangelical-type church. He saw much looseness about holiness in his congregation. He loved God and experienced His grace. His conscience called him to a more careful obedience to God and to His Word. Don visited a congregation that practiced some of the New Testament teachings that were missing in his church. This church took a scriptural, careful position on remarriage after divorce, the wearing of jewelry, washing one another’s feet and the wearing of the headship veiling by their sisters.

Don saw the obedience to scriptural teaching, so he raised these issues with his pastor and asked why they are not obeying these scriptures. The pastor’s response was, “That’s legalism! Where is the grace of God in that?”

Incidents like this could be told hundreds of times over. But is it legalism?

Scriptural commands are wiped out under the label of legalism or pharisaism. “It’s pretending to be holy without really being holy”

Expressions and words develop certain meanings at given times in history. “The religious right” is an expression used today in a derogatory manner against certain people. During the reformation period, derogatory terms were hurled at our Anabaptist forefathers. Luther called the Anabaptists ketzer which means “the perfect ones” or “you little perfect ones.” This was said in a belittling way, making light of their obedience to scripture. The term legalismis used in a similar way today. When a believer follows the Word of God, often those who do not measure up, or are lacking, come up with some belittling expression like, “Oh, she’s legalistic” or “He’s pharisaic.” Is obedience to scripture legalism?

Consider Joe (or it could be Sarah). He may be Baptist, Mennonite, Amish or Catholic. He may be of some old orthodox order. He grew up going to church, sat through many morning services and knew he wasn’t right with God. He knew there was a heaven and a hell. His own sinfulness haunted him, especially when he read another friend’s obituary in the newspaper.

So Joe joined a church. He said the right words at baptism. He attended church and kept most of the rules. He gave to the offering, didn’t steal or commit adultery, and never killed anyone (literally, that is). He was an all around good mainstream citizen.

When his conscience doesn’t let him rest with peace and assurance . . . he gives a little more to the offering . . . or attends the evening service . . . or stiffens his modest dress code . . . or some other noble disciplinary act!

He has “done” his duty toward God, and he expects God to admit him to heaven when he dies. . . on the basis of his good works! Is Joe legalistic?

Legalism: What Does It Mean?

Strict, often too strict, and literal adherence to law. Theology: The doctrine of salvation by good works.[1]

“A keeping of the law, particularly in a formal sense, and a regarding of obedience as meritorious, having merit, deserving merit, praise.”[2]

From these definitions, legalism can be good. Good Christians ought to be legalistic enough to obey laws. Legalism can be eternally bad. It is a major cause of missing salvation. Pharisaic legalism is spiritual poison. However, Webster’s definition, “The doctrine of salvation by good works” fits its most common usage in religious circles today.

What then is obedience? “A willingness to obey, submission.”[3]

“Doing that which is commanded according to scripture, obedience will eventually follow from true faith.”[4]

Was Don a pharisaic legalist for carefully obeying scripture?

Were the Anabaptist ketzer acting like they were the perfect ones, even though they said, “the very best you can possibly be-you still need the grace of God.”[5]

Was Joe a legalist?

Jesus has the answer:

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in a week, I give tithes of all I possess (Luke 18:9-12).

Here is a legalist. The Luke 18 Pharisee and Joe were legalists! It’s the person who puts confidence in his own self-righteousness. It could be trusting your ability to keep the right rules or the church’s standard of conduct. It could be comparing yourself with someone less righteous than you. It could be the scale system telling yourself, “I’m 51% good and 49% bad. I’ll make it to heaven.”

Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus to exterminate Christians. The risen Lord met him on the way. Suddenly, at midday, a light from heaven shone around him. Saul lay prostrate on the ground as he heard the Lord say, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul replied, “Who art thou, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”

Saul, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”

God later used this man to instruct the church with epistles on how to live between Pentecost and Christ’s return. He wrote commands from God that taught: Do not take your brother to law. Do not be conformed to this world. Owe no man anything but to love one another. Be modest in your apparel. Was Saul (now called Paul) a legalist for saying, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” And then conforming to God’s will? Was he a legalist for allowing himself to be used to write scripture with commands to guide the church through the centuries until Jesus comes again? Is someone a legalist today by giving a careful heeding to Paul’s writings? Was Don’s careful obedience to scripture displeasing to God? Did God say, “just trust My grace and don’t get too serious about Paul’s writings with commands”? Don’t worry about modesty-just blend into the culture of jewelry and fashion . . . ? Does God’s Word say that? No!

Walter Beachy contends, “Careful obedience to scripture that issues out of a regenerate heart is not legalism.”[6]

Now, back to legalistic Joe and the Pharisee! Joe is invited to a businessmen’s prayer breakfast. After all, he is a good church man and he must keep a good front, so-he goes along. At the meeting, he hears this testimony:

“I went to church regularly I would sit there and plan my work for the week. I gave to the offering. I sang in the choir-but I was lost! I was like the Pharisee in Luke 18. I needed Christ. I became the publican. I yielded my life to Jesus Christ and received His forgiveness. I now have peace.

This troubled legalistic Joe all week. The next Sunday a visiting minister preached, “You Must Be Born Again.” Joe, like the publican who said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner,” was converted to Christ. He found peace with God. He experienced God’s mercy.

Now he wanted to thank God for His mercy. He wanted to honor God and show appreciation for his salvation. How can he do it?

He reads the scriptures. From the words of Jesus he learns that, “Ye are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14) and “If you Love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He reads further, “He that bath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). Continued study of the scriptures reveals that obedience is the way to know God:

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, ‘I know him,’ and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him (1 John 2:3-5).

Joe also takes serious note of 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8:

And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ah! To show God I love Him, I obey Him! To find out what pleases God, I read the scriptures.

Does Joe still go to church? Yes, so much the more as he sees the day of Christ approaching. Does he still give to the offering? Yes, even more than before, and with joy and rejoicing. Does he still obey authority? Yes, with a new depth of appreciation. He is more careful in obedience than ever. Is he legalistic? No! It’s his expression of love for God. It’s his affirmation that his faith is for real. It’s not a dead faith. “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? You see then how that by works a man is justified and not by faith only” (James 2:21, 24).

Doesn’t Jesus condemn legalism and pharisaic religion? Yes, he surely does. But is that the same as Luther’s ketze; or Don’s pastor’s charge of legalism?

From two scriptures we can see a number of legalistic hypocrisies that Jesus condemned:

And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, “Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them” (Luke 11:37-44).

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do: but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi’ (Matt. 23:1-7).

Jesus Condemned Selective Obedience

“But woe to you, Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God: but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others” (Luke 11:42, NAS).

“Woe! You pay tithes but omit justice and the love of God. You obey in part, not in full.” He didn’t condemn the good they did. It was what they didn’t do.

Selective obedience and pharisaic religion abound in the church today. Most believers literally observe 1 Corinthians 11:16-34, but ignore the first half of the chapter. Why?

Jesus Condemned Deceptive Obedience

“All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do, but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not” (Matt. 23:3).

The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus that was caught in the act of adultery. Then they asked if the law of Moses didn’t command her to be stoned to death. Jesus stooped down and wrote in the ground with His finger. He also said to them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). Whatever He wrote must have convicted their conscience about their own immorality. They were ready to bring condemnation on this woman while they were guilty themselves. Jesus condemned this deceptive obedience.

Jesus Condemned Outside-Only Obedience

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matt. 23:25, 26).

Jesus condemns appearing outwardly as a non-worldly Christian, but inwardly having a heart of selfishness and immorality Jesus condemns an outward show without the joy of the Lord within.

I have noticed that many people who have divorced their partners and married another become more vocal with their “testimony” for the Lord and are very involved in the “Lord’s work.” That’s how one woman described her husband and father of their three children: “He divorced me, married another woman. Now he goes to church. I’m confused. Living in adultery and doing good works.” Could this be outside-only obedience? Jesus condemned selective obedience, deceptive obedience and outside-only obedience.


Disregarding Discipline

Joe was a legalist! He followed the rules of the church–but he didn’t have spiritual life. Often when legalists find the news of God’s grace, they think their freedom is in throwing away the rules. That’s reaction, not a love action. “Without conversion, discipline is legalism. Without discipline, conversion is counterfeit.”[7]

For the legalistic Joes that find Christ and His grace, here is a word from Jesus: “These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matt. 23:23). Throwing off discipline is not the answer to legalism.

Lighthearted Holiness

A nonchalant, lack-of-concern attitude is not Christ’s answer to pharisaic legalism. The casually indifferent, nothing-matters-to-God attitude is not the answer. Many professing Christians live as though obedience doesn’t matter and that God’s grace will cover. That does not overcome legalism. It comes closer to the sin of indifference. Oswald Chambers gives this reminder:

‘You cannot do anything for your salvation, but you must do something to manifest it. . . you must work out what God has worked in. If you are still the same miserable crosspatch, set on your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you.”[8]

Indifference Toward Authority

Bro. Sid may be approached by a leader in the Church about a matter in his life. He may reply like this, “I get my orders from God. I’m not bound to a legalistic authority structure.” He reacts, referring to Jesus’ condemnation of the acts of the Pharisees. Sid suggests that his church leaders are like the Pharisees and that Jesus wrote them off.

Actually, Jesus had a different word for Sids with such attitudes: “The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you to observe, that observe and do” (Matt. 23:1, 2). Indifference toward authority does not overcome legalism.


Be Certain the Spirit Lives in the Form

Legalism is an outside form without the Spirit of God living inside. If you have an outside form of godliness, but inside the heart is “full of hypocrisy” and iniquity that denies the Spirit the power to overcome sin, then repent. Invite the Spirit into the form and stand with the publican and pray, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

Affirm and Testify of Your Hope

One reason for being accused of legalism is being too silent on where your hope really is. Affirm and testify that you are trusting Jesus Christ who shed His blood, died, and rose again for your salvation. I’m reminded of Ed Davis, an egg customer I served years ago. After my knock on the door. Ed opened it and exclaimed to his wife, “Mamma, there’s a saved sinner at the door.” Don’t be bashful to let others know you are a “saved sinner.”

Offer a Sacrifice of Praise

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). People who practice disciplined obedience will be observed. May you demonstrate a joyful walk with the Lord.

Those who practice a more careful obedience are often called conservative. An acquaintance once observed, “I didn’t know you could be spiritual and conservative.” For him, it was either/or, but it should be both. A spiritual joyful conservative was unknown to him. “Rejoice in the Lord alway and, again, I say, ‘Rejoice’” (Phil. 4:4).

Practice Obedience as an Act of Love

Obedience is your opportunity to express your love and commitment to God. It is not a burden to endure. When God sees loving obedience, He is pleased and worshiped. That is not legalism. Obedient Joe’s life is now a constant worship of God as he walks through a sinful world. This poem says it well:

I would not work my soul to save For that my Lord has done But I would work like any slave For love of God’s dear Son.[9]

Be Assured–Obedience Is the Key to Knowing Jesus

Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17). Insight into the true teachings of Jesus comes by obedience. “Spiritual darkness comes from something I do not intend to obey.” Faithfulness and obedience in little things is what makes strong Christians in bigger things.[10]

Careful loving obedience from a born-again heart is not legalism. It’s an honor to God.


  1. Webster
    2. Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology
    3. Webster
    4. Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology
    5. Sermon by Walter Beachy.
    6. Sermon by Walter Beachy.
    7. Russel Brown.
    8. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.
    9. Source not available.
    10. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

This article is from the September 1997 issue of The Sword and Trumpet.
Address: PO Box 575, Harrisonburg, VA 22801-0575 USA

5 Reasons Christians Are Silent While the Innocent Suffer

By Dr. Michael Brown -March 26, 2019

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It’s easy to look back at previous generations and pass judgment on them. “If I had been there in the days of slavery,” we think, “I would have spoken out.” Or, “If I was a Christian in Europe during the Holocaust, I would have rescued Jews.”

Unfortunately, when faced with injustice in our own day, including the slaughter of the innocent, so many of us are silent. Why?

One reason is that the suffering is often out of sight and therefore out of mind. How many of us even know where an abortion clinic is located in our city? How many of us interact on a regular basis with those affected by abortion?

When it came to the Nazi Holocaust, many citizens were aware of what was going on. But many others were not. At least, not in full.L

That makes it all too easy for us to stay on the sidelines. We’re hardly aware of what’s happening right in our own backyards.

And that leads to a second reason for our silence and inaction, but this one is more serious.

I’m talking about denial. About looking the other way. About closing our eyes so we don’t have to deal with the harsh realities of oppression and human pain.

Segregation may be happening, but I’ll just stay on the Whites Only side.

Slavery may be real, but I don’t personally know any slaves.

How nice it feels to choose blissful ignorance!

Thankfully, many Christians are pricked in their consciences and they know they need to stand up, speak out, take action. Yet still, they don’t. Why?

The answer to that question leads to the third reason for our inaction: fear. Paralyzing fear. Crippling fear. Debilitating fear. Intimidating fear.

In Nazi Europe, that fear could be intense.

You rescued a Jew at the very real risk of your own life – or the lives of your family members. You spoke out against the Nazis at the risk of your career, your future, your very existence.

And the Nazis were demented in their implementation of evil, meaning that you had no idea what might come your way if you opposed their agenda.

How many of us would risk the possible imprisonment or torture or murder of our own family members in order to save our neighbor?

Yet courageous Christians did this very thing because it was the right thing to do.

Sadly, many Christians today are paralyzed by far lesser fears, like the fear of being slandered on social media, or of losing a job opportunity or a university scholarship, or of suffering rejection from our peers.

And so, we don’t speak out against abortion because it’s too inconvenient. The blood of more than 60 million unborn babies is crying out to us from the ground!

But it’s just not fear that paralyzes us.

There’s a fourth reason many of us do not take a stand for what’s right: We’re waiting for things to get worse. When they do, we tell ourselves, that’s when we’ll take a stand.

This, however, is simply an act of self-deception, like the overweight person who says to himself, “If my weight ever gets this high, I’ll change my diet and start to exercise.”

But by that time, it’s harder to break the food addictions, harder to start exercising, and harder to have hope that we can really change.

In the same way, we deceive ourselves when we say, “This abortion issue is really difficult, but if they start killing babies outside the womb, then I’ll get involved.”

I seriously doubt it. The indifference that stops us in our tracks today is the same indifference that will stop us tomorrow.

Indifference begets more indifference and inaction begets more inaction.

Yet there’s something still worse, and this is the fifth and final reason why so many of us fail to speak up and speak out when times are tough. It can be summed up in one word: selfishness.

We don’t act because we would rather not act.

We don’t speak because it’s easier to be silent.

We don’t stand for others because we put ourselves first.

You may be hungry, but I’m really enjoying my meal.

You may be cold and thirsty, but I’m quite cozy sitting inside by my fireplace.

Your life might be at risk, but mine is not. Self-preservation must come first!

This is the exact opposite of the command to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The exact opposite of the example of Jesus, who laid His life down that others might be saved. The exact opposite of our courageous brothers and sisters who have risked their reputations and their lives to do what is right.

The book of Proverbs addresses this attitude head on, with penetrating conviction:

“If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” (Prov. 24:10-12)

The time for ignorance and denial and indifference and selfishness is long past.

It’s time we break the cycle of fear and inaction.

It’s time we stand. And speak. And act.


If we don’t, future generations will judge us too, rightly so. Is this the kind of legacy you desire?

VIDEO Oppose “Equality Act” Seeks Federal Persecution of Christians

March 26, 2019 by  Alex Newman

“Equality Act” Seeks Federal Persecution of Christians

Democrats in Congress are pushing “equality” legislation that critics say would criminalize Christianity, Islam, and Judaism by forcing virtually every institution in society — including religious institutions — to hire, serve, and promote homosexuals and individuals confused about their gender. A number of analysts have warned that by enshrining “sexual orientation” in the statute, even pedophilia and pederasty could be protected. In the House of Representatives, Democrats already have more than enough co-sponsors to pass the bill. And in the Senate, they are getting very close. But a massive coalition of critics from across the political spectrum and a broad array of religious traditions is rising up to stop it before it is too late.  

Among other changes, the so-called Equality Act, also known as H.R. 5 in the House and S. 788 in the Senate, purports to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.” To do that, it would enshrine actual or perceived “sexual orientation and gender identity” into federal statutes. That would give homosexuality, transgenderism, and other perversions of human sexuality and gender the same protections as race or sex in employment, housing, public accommodations, and more. Incredibly, the legislation specifically states that religious freedom may not be used as a defense under the bill. And it applies to churches, religious schools, religious hospitals, religious employers, gathering places, sports, all government entities, and more.

Christian adoption agencies will be shut down, too, if they refuse to place children with homosexuals or individuals confused about whether they are men or women. Churches, synagogues, and mosques will no longer be able to uphold marriage between men and women, or any moral standards on sexuality at all. Counselors of faith will be banned from helping people with unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion. And Christians, Muslims, and Jews will no longer be allowed to seek out counselors to help them deal with those issues. Indeed, under the measure, everyone will have to affirm the LGBT agenda, or face persecution and destruction at the hands of the federal government. Churches will lose their tax-exempt status if they do not submit. Schools will lose their accreditation if they do not bow down to Caesar. And this is just the start.     

The “gender” madness is breathtaking, too. Under the legislation, virtually everywhere across the United States, men who claim they “identify” as a women will be allowed to use women’s restrooms, showers, changing areas, and even bunk with women on trips, including church trips. This is already happening in government schools and some radical businesses such as Target, which continues to face a massive boycott for putting women at risk. But under this bill, the policy would even be forced on churches, domestic abuse shelters, Christian schools, and much more.

The bill would also force the participation of men who claim to identify as women in women’s sports, all but ensuring that no biological woman will ever win another sporting competition. And it would put young girls nationwide at risk, as any man in the country could simply walk into female facilities under this bill and claim to be a “transgender” who identifies as female. Numerous incidents have already occurred, and this would open up a Pandora’s Box of mischief, critics warned.  

In the House, the legislation has been co-sponsored by almost 239 members — more than enough to pass the bill. In the Senate, meanwhile, S. 788 already has close to 50 sponsors. And over 100 of America’s richest and most powerful mega-corporations are lining up in support of the bill. Considering the growing outcry, it is highly unlikely that Trump would betray his base by signing the bill. However, that is not guaranteed, and despite the president’s crucial support from evangelicals, the administration has emerged as very “LGBT-friendly” across a range of issues, including promoting the legalization of sodomy and homosexuality around the world.   

The non-profit Christian legal group Liberty Counsel called the “wrongly named” Equality Act the “most extreme threat to religious freedom, free speech, privacy, and to women’s rights that has ever been proposed by Congress.” The controversial measure, the group warned, “will be used as a wrecking ball to churches, religious organizations, religious freedom, and free speech.”

Writing for Focus on the Family, a highly influential Christian ministry, Jeff Johnston warned that the legislation was “dangerous” and “would have serious harmful consequences for people of faith and families.” Christians, he said, believe what the Bible’s Book of Genesis says clearly: God created two types of humans, male and female. Christians also believe what God taught about marriage, and that children ought to have a mother and a father. “We understand that Christian teaching about marriage has profound spiritual significance, as the husband and wife relationship reflects the relationship between Christ and His Church,” Johnston explained.

But under the Equality Act, the federal government “takes these basic biblical teachings and labels them ‘discriminatory’,” he continued. “It puts the full force and influence of the federal government behind enforcing this law and opposing Christian beliefs. The law is a powerful teacher, and the Equality Act would teach that Christian thinking about male-female differences, marriage, parenting, family and sexuality are rooted in prejudice — rather than in years of wisdom, reason and biblical exegesis.” The consequences of this have already proven disastrous at the state and local level. And if this bill gets passed, Christians across the nation would find themselves in the crosshairs of the U.S. government.

Another organization formed in response to the escalating LGBT onslaught against Christians and people of faith is the Gone 2 Far Movement. The interracial and interfaith body of clergy and laity committed to being true to biblical principles said it is “aghast” at the legislative agenda of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and the LGBT “Equality” Act in particular. Dr. Randy Lancaster-Short, a black reverend who serves as the political chair for the movement, blasted the effort to equate sexual proclivities and gender confusion with the immutable characteristics such as race that were originally protected in the Civil Rights Act. Indeed, blasting the legislation as the “Pedophile Amnesty Act,” he and others have warned that the protections for “sexual orientation” may be extended even to “minor-attracted persons.”

In a statement to The New American, Dr. Short, who is working to make black churches aware of the legislation, noted that the Equality Act “will criminalize the Christian faith and deny religious belief as a justification for not complying with the Gay Equality Act.” By re-introducing the Equality Act, Short said, the Democrats “resumed the long march of the Homosexual Political Complex to undermine the sacred traditional values of the American Republic; destroy civil and religious liberties; collectively libel, exploit, defraud and defame protected minorities; poison and glut our legal system with oxymoronic suits; diminish our faith-based charitable and philanthropic institutions; imposed frivolous and wasteful regulations on businesses; create havoc in families and schools; and crystallize unscientific sexuality theories that invent sexes other than male and female.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also come out against the move, saying it would impose “sweeping regulations to the detriment of society as a whole.” “The act’s definitions alone would remove women and girls from protected legal existence,” the Catholic leaders said, warning that the bill seeks to regulate thought, belief, and speech in an “unprecedented” departure from America’s founding principles. “Furthermore, the act also fails to recognize the difference between the person — who has dignity and is entitled to recognition of it — and the actions of a person, which have ethical and social ramifications. Conflating the two will introduce a plethora of further legal complications.”

The bill is so radical and extreme that even some Democrats such as Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and homosexual activists such as Gregory Angelo, former leader of the homosexual “Log Cabin Republicans,”  are opposed to it. “Don’t be fooled by the name: The Equality Act is legislation that would compromise American civil rights and religious liberty as we know it,” wroteAngelo in a piece for the Washington Examiner. “All reasonable Americans, especially gay Americans who support pluralism and tolerance, should oppose it.”

In Europe, pastors and evangelists are already being arrested and jailed — literally — for pointing out that the God of the Bible condemns homosexuality as sinful, and that God made people as male and female. In Sweden, authorities investigated the Bible under Swedish “hate speech” laws and determined that the Bible violates that government’s speech codes, even though it is not “practical” to ban the Bible at this point. America may not be there yet, but the Equality Act would be a giant step in that direction.  

In the end, the Equality Act is unconstitutional on its face. The federal government has no power to force anyone — much less everyone — to bow down to its radical anti-Christian ideology. And in fact, multiple provisions of the Constitution, including the First Amendment and the 10th Amendment, specifically prohibit the sort of lunacy envisioned in this legislation. Americans who value liberty and Christian civilization must recognize that everything they cherish is on the line. It is time to speak out, or be crushed by the oncoming freight train.

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, regularly attends UN climate summits, including the COP21 in Paris. He can be reached at or through Liberty Sentinel Media. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU or on Facebook.

Photo: Melissandra / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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In U.K., Freedom of Speech and Press Hang in the Balance

UN “Sex Education” Standards Push LGBT Agenda on 5-Year-Olds

Secretary of State Pompeo Continues Obama’s LGBT “Imperialism”

Obama Admits Lying All Along on Homosexual “Marriage” Views

Scalia: Same-sex Marriage Ruling “Furthest Imaginable Extension” of Court’s Authority

Obama Spent $700 Million Promoting Homosexuality Overseas — and Bought Ill Will

Religious Freedom Under Assault in U.K., Christians Say

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UN Seeks to Criminalize Free Speech, Citing “Human Rights”

Hate Speech: U.K. Political Leader Arrested for Quoting Winston Churchill

Facts About Pastors Many Church Members Are Unclear On

Most pastors hesitate to teach the biblical understanding of the role of pastors because to do so might sound self-serving as though they were trying to carve out a larger role for themselves in leading the church. This is a serious error for which we are now paying as many congregations are turning the minister into a hired hand, employing him/her as an errand boy or treating him/her as an “EXECUTIVE” brought in to lead their “country club.” primarily because of the titles he/she hold, Masters Degree, Doctorate Degree. You are hiring the degree instead of the man/woman God called to shepherd the flock.

Pastor, preach the Word of God. Be bold in declaring its truth. Then having done this, go forth and set new standards for humbly serving the congregation. Let the, ( congregation) see you leading by serving, and then no one will mind calling you their pastor and following you. If you lord over them and dominate the decisions, this will result in no one who knows his/her Bible wanting to follow you.

Matthew 9:38
Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Acts 13:2
The Holy Spirit said, ” Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 26:16
But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.

Brothers and Sisters, volunteers in the pastoral ministry do not last. Those of you choosing this as a “nice career,” or respectable vocation will either bail out for something more reasonable, more profitable or more doable, or you will twist the Pastoral Ministry into something more suited to your own taste.

Acts 20:28
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

You do not want a hireling leading your church.

John 10:13
The hireling flees because he does not care about the sheep.

Hebrews 13:17
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Luke 22:26-27
But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the youngest, and he who governs as he who serves.
(27) For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? It is not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

1Peter 5:2-3
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; (3) nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

Galatians 1:10
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

The pastor is not sent to make you happy, but to make you holy and healthy.

Accept Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ today. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the accepted time. You may not have tomorrow. Salvation is free. Have a Blessed Day.

Written By Edward Jeffries


120 Christians Killed in Nigeria and the World Remains Silent

By BarbWire -March 20, 2019

Nigerian Christians Under Siege: Attacks Claim 120 Lives Since February

by Steve Warren

At least 120 people have been killed in a series of alleged attacks by the Fulani militia on Christian communities in the Adara chiefdom of southern Kaduna in Nigeria since February, according to the nonprofit group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

The organization reported 52 people were killed and 100 homes were destroyed last Monday in the latest attacks on Inkirimi and Dogonnoma villages in Maro, Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA).  The victims included women and children.

Survivors of the attack told CSW that their assailants divided into three groups. One group shot and killed people, another set fire to homes as people ran away, and the third waited in the bush to intercept fleeing villagers.L

Later that same day, dozens of people were injured and 43 houses were destroyed in another attack by militant Fulani herdsmen on another village.

The Fulani herdsmen, also known as the Fulani militia, are a semi-nomadic group herding cattle over vast areas, living in the central regions of Nigeria. The majority of the herdsmen are Muslim and have fought with Christian farmers over grazing land for centuries.

Disagreements between herders and local farmers over land, grazing areas, and water are said to be the major source of the ongoing conflict between the two groups, according to the BBC.

Thousands of people have left their homes as a result of the recent violence. The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el Rufai, ordered a dawn to dusk curfew.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas appealed to both Nigeria’s state and federal governments to bring a quick end to the violence.

“The relentless death and destruction is a sad indictment of the continuing failure by both levels of government to fulfill the primary mandate of protecting all its citizens impartially,” he said in a statement.

Militant Fulani herdsmen killed thousands of Christians last year, The Christian Post reports.

Nigeria ranks as the 12th worst country in the world for Christian persecution, according to the Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List.

As seen here at CBN News. Posted here with permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ask yourself why none of the sewagestream media reports the barbaric persecution and murderous attacks on Nigerian Christians?

You can be assured that if the victims were Muslims, the media would be all over the story, but since the victims are Christians, they remain silent.

It’s because the media and other liberals care little about Christians because Christians tell the truth and oppose their radical socialism.

If the victims had been Muslims, the United Nations would probably get involved, but since the victims are just Christians, the United Nations, like the media and Democrats, remain silent.

Now, ask yourself if your Christian faith is strong enough to endure similar persecution? It’s easy to say it is, but think hard. Would you willingly endure torture and being brutally murdered for the sake of Christ? Do you truly live the life a Christian, following Christ’s teachings day and night? Are you more of a Sunday social Christian who goes to church on Sunday and then spends the rest of the week living like everyone else and doing things they wouldn’t do in church?

History shows that when facing life threatening persecution, many Christians will denounce their faith in order to save their lives. This fits with many reports that estimate that many people who attend Christian churches are not true Christians. Are you will to die for Christ?

The Old Testament, Justice and Morality – And Fuzzy Christian Thinking

By Bill Muehlenberg -March 22, 2019

There is never a shortage of sloppy thinking and faulty understanding concerning most things in life, and this is especially true when it comes to matters pertaining to the Bible. There is so much biblical illiteracy out there that it is really quite alarming, yet that does not deter all those folks who think they are experts on Scripture from completely twisting it and mangling it.

Examples of this are of course endless. Not a day goes by on the social media for example where you see some horrible howlers when it comes to biblical understanding. I have written often about cases of this, but let me provide another, more recent example.

The other day I came upon an argument two people were having concerning the Christchurch killer. One person – who I presume is not a Christian – had a pretty quick and easy solution to this killer, and others like him. He said this:

“take them out the back and shoot them – no trial, no jail time, no wasted tax payers money – just ZERO tolerance for extremism!”

To which another person (whom I know a little bit about, and know to be basically intelligent and no dummy) immediately responded:

“then we’re back in Old Testament times and we’d be like Isis. But we’re not like them. A right to a fair trial is part of what makes our nations civilised.”

I am not sure if the respondent is a Christian, but here at least we have a rather fuzzy and distorted understanding of the Old Testament and what it actually says. This person equates OT law and ethics to Isis, and thinks it is the opposite of civilised societies.

Hmm. Perhaps actually reading through the OT would be of some help here. Those who have read it know full well that this understanding is simply a distortion and a caricature of the OT. Even a cursory reading of the Pentateuch for example will show that a high standard of justice is to be found there – including such things as a fair trial.

Indeed, OT justice is the very opposite of the kind of redneck justice that the first person was advocating. Since we are talking here about murderers and how best to deal with them, let me briefly look at how the Old Testament law dealt with such issues. Consider for example what it has to say about “cities of refuge.”

These were places that an Israelite could flee to if they had accidently killed another person. Since I have written about this in some detail elsewhere, let me simply quote from an earlier article here:

Old Testament law on this is found in places like Exodus 21:12-14; Deuteronomy 4:41-43; 19:1-13; and Joshua 20:1-9. These passages speak about appointed places where people could flee to if they were involved in the accidental death of another person.

Six of the 48 Levitical cities were set aside for this purpose: Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan (Josh. 20:7-8). There were three of them located on either side of the Jordan river. Thus those in need of such cities did not have to travel too far to get to them.

Numbers 35:6-34 is the lengthiest passage on this matter. Verse 12 offers the rationale for these cities: “The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment.” It is a safe place, a place to harbour these people, until proper adjudication can take place regarding the incident.

I went on to say in that piece that one major purpose of these cities was to prevent blood feuds from developing, and to deter personal vengeance. So this was a very orderly and just approach to what had often degenerated into bloody revenge killings. It sounds much like what we find in modern ‘civilised’ nations in fact.

We can look further at how the OT law dealt with such matters. For example, it required at least two or three witnesses to convict someone of a crime. The final portion of Deuteronomy 19 for example speaks directly to this matter (verses 15-21):

One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

There is nothing barbaric about this, and there is no place for any lynch mob mentality or actions here. And that is true even of the final verse, which expresses the principle of lex talionis, or the law of just retribution. The punishment should fit the crime in other words – no more and no less. This is a basic principle of justice: giving to each one his or her due.

As Chris Wright says of this text:

The purpose of the plurality of witnesses (cf. 17:6) is clearly the protection of the accused, especially the protection of the weaker individual from the vindictiveness of a more powerful opponent. . . . This text is notable, first, for its insistence on great care and diligence in establishing the truth of each case, on the assumption that all matters of justice are decided in the presence of the Lord, the supreme judge. Second, this text has a simple but effective deterrent to perjury. Anyone proved to have lied in court is to suffer whatever penalty would have been inflicted on the accused if the false accusation had been successful. If the case is capital, then the risk to a malicious witness was very great indeed. And even in less serious matters, such a law would decidedly dampen any frivolous “taking the neighbour to court,” with all the undesirable social side effects of uncontrolled litigation. The severity of this law reflects the way justice in Israel was a matter of the utmost seriousness. Yahweh, by his character as well as his action, demanded commitment to social and judicial justice among the people who claimed his name. The most essential components of that justice were the impartiality of judges and the integrity of witnesses; hence the presence of the ninth commandment in the Decalogue and hence this direct and uncompromising attack on perjury.

None of this sounds like rough, outback justice to me. And Iain Duguid, commenting on the other key text on cities of refuge and the need for multiple witnesses, Numbers 35, shows us further how all this is clearly in line with modern principles of legal justice:

The Lord gave guidelines for determining the difference between murder and manslaughter. Premeditation and intent make a death murder, whatever the kind of implement that actually causes the death (vv. 16-21). If the death is accidental, however, or the result of carelessness, then the crime is manslaughter, and the city of refuge is to provide a shelter for the person against the avenger (vv. 22-24). A proper trial must always be carried out to determine the exact circumstances of the death (v. 24), with more than one witness required before the death penalty could be imposed (v. 30).

Again, all this sounds very humane, civilised, and fully in line with the principles of justice. As to the supposed rejection of lex talionis by Jesus, see my earlier article on this:

So we can see quite clearly just in this one area of OT law that aspects of crime and punishment were very carefully and justly dealt with. There were no Wild West hangmen and shoot-ups going on here. Indeed, the laws were designed to prevent that very thing from happening.

Now I am certainly not seeking to pick on this one individual. There would be countless others just like him who really have no clue what the Bible teaches. And many of them would be folks who claim to be Christians, but have bought into the completely dodgy and unbiblical notion that the two Testaments are somehow worlds apart.

They wrongly believe that somehow the OT is full of an angry, wrathful God while the NT is full of a tree-hugging, never-hurt-a-fly Jesus. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. God never changes, and the very same God we find in the OT is the same one we find in the NT.

Justice, grace, mercy and wrath are found in equal measure in both Testaments. Jesus and the Father are one, and there is no change to be found in their fundamental nature, character and attributes. But I have written often about this before, so please check out these articles:

In sum, a lot of messy thinking about what the Bible actually says could be remedied if folks started to read it for a change, instead of pontificating on what they think it says.

As seen here at Culture Watch. Posted here with permission.