12’s in the Bible

 

November 8, 2019 hepsibahgarden

 

1. The temple that king Solomon built had 12 oxen as base for the lavers.

2. The length and breadth of the Altar was 12 cubits.

3. The Holy City New Jerusalem had 12 gates and 12 Angels at each gate.

4. The disciples of Jesus were 12 in number.

5. There were 12 tribes of Israel — the 12 sons of Jacob.

6. Moses sent 12 men to spy the land of Canaan.

7. 12 baskets full of the fragments , and of the fishes remained after Jesus fed the five thousand.

8. Ishmael had 12 sons who were princes.

9. The wall of the city of New Jerusalem had 12 foundations.

10. The 1gates of New Jerusalem City were 12 pearls. Each gate was made of a single pearl.

11. The Tree of life brought forth 12 manner of fruits every month.

12. When the Israelites moved from Marah to Elim, they found 12 wells of water.

Be blessed 💕

Original here

Can A Born Again Christian Fall Away and Be Lost?

  by 

Christians have debated for centuries over whether a truly saved person can lose their salvation. Probably the strongest Biblical passage for that position is Hebrews 6:4-6. This is what the text says,

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

 Now, exactly what does this passage mean? It seems to indicate that a saved person who has experienced all the blessings in vs.4-5 can in the end fall away and be lost. In this blog I want to refer you to two principles of Biblical interpretation:

1) Remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture; and

2) Remember that context rules

Scripture Will Never Contradict Scripture:

That first rule of interpretation about Scripture not contradicting Scripture comes into play because there are other passages in Hebrews which seem to teach the opposite position. Let’s take a look at a few other passages which seem to teach that a born again Christian can’t lose their salvation, because they will persevere in faith to the end.

 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end (Heb. 3:14)

This text speaks about something that has already taken place (have become partakers of Christ) if the following condition is met (we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end). The text is not saying that we will become a partaker of Christ if we go on to hold fast the assurance of our faith until the end. Rather, we have already become partakers of Christ if we go on to persevere in faith. Thus, a person who does not hold fast their assurance firm until the end never became a partaker of Christ. Thus Hebrews 3:14 seems to be saying the exact opposite of Hebrews 6:4-6. Now, two mutually exclusive positions can not both be true. Either one of them is wrong, or both are wrong, but both can’t be true. Either it is possible for a true believer to fall away and lose their salvation, or it is not possible for a true believer to fall away and lose their salvation, but it is one or the other.

Furthermore, Hebrews 10:14 says, For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (ESV).

If it is true that Jesus’ offering up of Himself on the cross has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified, then it is not possible for those same persons to fall away and lose their salvation. For those who are indwelt, regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit, they possess a perfect standing before God based on the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, and it is “for all time”! They were not perfected until they fall away, but for all time.

Hebrews 13:20-21 tells us,

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen

This text mentions the “eternal covenant.” Well, in Jeremiah 32:40 we also read of the “everlasting covenant”, which I would presume refers to the same thing. What is the nature of the everlasting covenant?

I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.

This covenant includes two things:

1) God will not turn away from them to do them good; and

2) Those with whom this everlasting covenant is made will not turn away from God because God will put the fear of Him in their hearts.

Now, if God promises that He will never turn away from them, and that they will never turn away from Him, what is our only conclusion? That these people will never fall away and be lost.

I’ve said all of this to highlight our first principle of Biblical interpretation – “remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture.” It appears that Scripture is contradicting Scripture. But that’s just it. It must be only an appearance of a contradiction. Our understanding of one or more of these texts must be wrong, because God who inspired all of these texts is a God of truth, and doesn’t contradict Himself. So what are we to do? We need to go back to the drawing room, and decide if we have understood Hebrews 6:4-6 correctly.

Context Rules:

In order to do that, let’s utilize our second rule of Biblical interpretation – “remember that context rules.” So, let’s go back and look at the context of this passage to see if we can uncover any clues as to its proper interpretation.

Hebrews 5:11-14 – in this section we discover several things about the recipients of this letter.

1) they were dull of hearing

2) they should have advanced to teachers by then

3) instead they needed someone to teach them the elementary principles of the Word of God

4) they were spiritual infants and unable to consume anything except for milk

5) they were spiritually immature.

Now, remember the whole situation in which this letter was written. The Letter to the Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were being tempted to forsake Christ and go back to Judaism. That’s why all the way through the author keeps emphasizing the word “better.” Christ is better than the angels, better than Moses, better than the Aaronic priesthood, He brings in a better covenant, a better hope, better promises, and is a better sacrifice. The author of this letter is urging these new Jewish believers not to forsake Christ and go back to Judaism, for that would mean their spiritual destruction.

Hebrews 6:1-3 – Here the author exhorts his readers to press on to maturity (vs. 1). In other words, they must make progress in their faith. They should have been at the point where they could be teaching others, but were still spiritual babies. They needed to mature.

Hebrews 6:4-6 – Notice that vs. 4 begins with the word “for”, which tells us that the author is giving us a reason why the readers must press on to maturity. It is because if they have received great and precious privileges and blessings, and then have fallen away, they are lost forever. This is a very serious and solemn passage. The author of Hebrews is urgently exhorting his readers to mature in their faith and bear fruit of their salvation, because it is possible that some of them who do not do this may “fall away” and prove that they were never truly saved to begin with.

But you might be thinking, “Brian, how in the world can verses 4-5 be speaking of a person who is not truly saved? Well, let’s look at them. What are these great blessings they had experienced?

1) Enlightenment

2) Tasted of the heavenly gift (probably the gift of the Holy Spirit- Acts 2:38)

3) Partakers of the Holy Spirit

4) Tasted the good word of God

5) Tasted the powers of the age to come

Notice that these readers had “tasted” several of these blessings. Is it possible for someone to taste something, swish it around in their mouth for a while, and then spit it out? Of course it is. No doubt these readers were participating in a Christian church in which the gospel was preached (enlightened, tasted the good word of God), and the power of the Holy Spirit was manifest (tasted the heavenly gift, partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the powers of the age to come). So, if we were to boil down these blessings we could reduce them to two – the gospel was proclaimed and the Spirit was working. And these professing Christians had continually heard the Word and seen the Spirit work. Yet, there was still the possibility that they could “fall away” and find it impossible to be renewed again to repentance.

Many find the expression “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance” to be ironclad proof that these people were truly saved. After all, they had already repented. However, in 2 Cor. 7:10 Paul says, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” Evidently there are two kinds of sorrow – one leading to salvation and the other leading to death. Just as there is a saving faith which ushers in a life of good works, and a non-saving faith which does not usher in good works, so there is a true repentance which leads to salvation and a worldly repentance which is merely regret for the misery their sin has caused them.

The author goes on to say, “since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” Note the little word “and.” These people had once put the Son of God to open shame by valuing other things of the world more than Him. Then they professed faith in Christ and conversion. If they fell away after that, they would be doing the same thing they had done originally, by showing that they valued the rituals and laws of Judaism more than Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 6:7-8 – Notice again that vs. 7 begins with the word “for.” That tells us that he is going to explain what he meant in verses 4-6. Here he gives a little parable of two different kinds of fields. Both of these fields received abundant rains. However, only one field brought forth useful vegetation, while the other brought forth only worthless thorns and thistles. The first kind of field receives a blessing from God, while the latter is close to being cursed and ends up being burned. The author is explaining the person in vs. 4-6 who received the abundant rains of hearing the Word of God, and seeing the works of the Spirit. However, if he did not produce fruit in his life his end would be that of being “cursed” and “burned” (Mt.25:41). This brings us to the final piece of context which we need to examine.

Hebrews 6:9-12 – The author says in vs. 9, “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.” The author believed that his readers were the fruitful and blessed field, not the barren and cursed field. Notice how he puts it – “we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation.” Now, what are the “better things” he’s referring to? Fruitfulness and persevering faith! And, notice that these are the things that “accompany salvation.” When an individual receives salvation, he will produce fruit, and he will persevere to the end, which is exactly what Hebrews 3:14; 10:14; 13:20-21 and Jer. 32:40 all teach.

So, to sum up, I believe that Hebrews 6:4-6 is a strong, sobering, warning for any professing Christian who seems to remain in a spiritually immature condition, rather than pressing on to maturity, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and persevering in faith to the end. To any professing Christian who has heard the Word of God continually, and seen the powers of the Holy Spirit, and then falls away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance. Why? Because they have already received all the light they can receive, and then they have turned their backs on it, and deserted Christ to go back from where they came. They have proven that the things of the world are more valuable to them than Jesus. Thus, repentance becomes impossible for them. [ The author seems to outline an unpardonable sin of falling away which seems to contradict the teaching of the Prodigal Son  Luke 15:11-31 ]

I hope this blog is more than an exercise in Biblical Hermeneutics for you. I hope it gives us all a needed and sobering reminder that true saving faith always results in a transformed life, and that we “must show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end (Heb.6:11).” None of us want to hear those terrifying words out of the mouth of our Lord, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”!

Original here

Nick Vujicic Announces He’s Starting a Pro-Life Bank

By Jesse T. Jackson -July 6, 2021

Nick Vujicic

Australian Christian evangelist and New York Times bestselling author Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs, has announced plans to start a pro-life bank. Vujicic said he was “kicked out” of his existing bank after his pro-life organization Life Without Limbs started to speak out against abortion.

At age 16, Vujicic was trading stocks and at age 21, he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a double major in financial planning and investments and accounting. He told CrossRoads‘ Josh Phillip in an interview that ProLifeBank will allow Christians “who want to stick our Christian values and beliefs to have a choice of where God’s money goes.”

Vujicic shared a story about a March 2019 meeting for Life Without Limbs in which a board member said, “Nick, when is God going to be able to use your voice, not because He’s unable…but when [are you] going have a conversation with the Lord that allows the conviction of the Holy Spirit…to use [your] voice for pro-life?”

Vujicic said the question stopped him. The board member continued; “Did you know that there are 100,000 churches representing $480 billion worth of debt for church buildings, yet we can’t pick up the 425,000 foster kids waiting for a foster home…or 111,000 children, average age 7.8 years old, to find a family who would adopt them? Where is the church?”

“I want to make a dent before I talk about pro-life,” Vujicic said he told the board member. The board member’s response was, “We don’t have time!”

Vujicic said it was then the Holy Spirit came into the room and resulted in him and his wife praying, “God, if this is the time to vocal about pro-life, let it be.” Sixteen weeks after they prayed that prayer, and still not publicly speaking about pro-life, the Vujicics said they had a grenade threat at their home, a false publication in a magazine, a threatened lawsuit, a drone spying on them, and the bank had “kicked” them out. Vujicic said these were all signs that the issue is one close to God’s heart.

It was during that time Vujicic was asked to be a co-founder for ProLifeBank [currently the proposed name] by other co-founder Betsy Gray; the executive director of Network Medical Women’s Center.

“Noah built an ark to save lives. We’re building a bank to do the same.”

Gray educated Vujicic about how most banks donate money to causes that provide for some of the largest abortion clinics in the United States. After praying about it and separating from his bank at the time, Vujicic said God revealed more to him. “Once I got kicked out of a bank with no warning. They froze my credit cards, froze my debit cards. They gave me a letter to say that they did a review of me as a client and they don’t want anything to do with me.” This forced him to find another bank, which he found out also gave to Planned Parenthood. Unhappy about that, Vujicic said he decided to go “all-in” with co-founder Gray to create ProLifeBank.

“Not only will this be a for-profit bank, we’re actually are known as the for-giving bank,” Vujicic said. “We will not fund abortion, but we will actually fund fifty percent net profits to Judea Christian-aligned, non-profit organizations that are biblically aligned and are doing the will of God according to our belief systems.”

Watch Vujicic’s full interview here.

CBS, Hallmark among TV networks refusing to show pro-life ad

By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter| Friday, June 04, 2021

Susan B. Anthony List ad
The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List put out a 30-second ad after the Supreme Court announced that it was going to rule on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. The television networks CBS, CMT and Hallmark are refusing to air the ad, deeming it “controversial.” | Screenshot: YouTube/Susan B. Anthony List

Three television networks have refused to air an ad from a leading pro-life group, describing it as “controversial” and “unacceptable,” according to a new report.

The Daily Wire reported Tuesday that CBS, CMT and the Hallmark Channel refused to air a 30-second advertisement from the Susan B. Anthony List that was first released last week. The ad is part of the pro-life group’s $2 million campaign “highlighting the humanity of unborn children as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a landmark abortion case.”

The ad campaign follows the announcement that the Supreme Court will hear an appeal from the state of Mississippi, which is seeking to reverse a lower court decision invalidating the state’s 15-week abortion ban. A ruling in favor of that state would weaken the central finding of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which found that a woman has the right to obtain an abortion.

The narrator in the ad notes that after “five decades of medical breakthroughs, every age group has more opportunity to live except one: the unborn.” Explaining that unborn babies “still fall victim to outdated laws,” the ad notes that “science tells us that at 15 weeks, these babies have formed faces, they smile, they yawn [and] they feel pain.”

“It’s why European countries ban late-term abortions,” the ad continues. “In five decades, we have learned they are just like us. Isn’t it time the law reflects the science?” The ad concludes with a picture of the Supreme Court building and a link to the Susan B. Anthony List’s website.

In an email to SBA List, a CBS official explained that “Issue-oriented advertisements that are designed for the purpose of presenting views or influencing legislation on issues that are controversial by general public consensus are unacceptable.” 

An official with CMT offered a nearly identical response in a separate email to the pro-life group: “While we do accept political and issue-based ads on a case-by-case basis, issue-based ads that are designed for the purpose of presenting views or influencing legislation on issues that are controversial by general public consensus are unacceptable.” Both CBS and CMT are owned by Viacom.

In a statement announcing the $2 million ad campaign, Susan B. Anthony List indicated that the 30-second spot “will air on national cable, including on Lifetime, Hallmark, and Bravo networks, as well as select streaming services, and in the Washington, D.C. media market on top news stations.” However, Hallmark ultimately rejected the ad because, as The Daily Wire reported, “it does not meet the Hallmark Channel’s criteria for the positive experience Hallmark aims to offer viewers.”

Susan B. Anthony List reacted to the channels’ refusal to show the ad in a tweet Wednesday: “BIG MEDIA corporations like @CBS & @hallmarkchannel BANNED our pro-life TV ad, claiming it’s too ‘controversial.’ The right to LIFE is NOT controversial!”

The tweet was accompanied by a button that Twitter users were encouraged to click on, which would enable them to share the hashtag #DontBanThis.” The ad’s message reflects pro-life activists’ view that advancements in science and technology over the last half century will persuade the Supreme Court justices to rule in their favor. 

In a previous interview with The Christian Post, Diane Ferraro, CEO of the pro-life ministry Save the Storks, remarked that “When Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, the court did not have all of the facts.” She praised the state of Mississippi for doing “a phenomenal job putting the science together,” and predicted that it will present the justices with “the scientific facts on how a baby does feel pain in the womb at 15 weeks” and “an updated viewpoint to the Supreme Court justices for them to consider.”

“We do feel and trust and we’re praying that this will help convince them that Roe v. Wade does need to be overturned,” she added. “We are praying that the justices, that they will truly consider all of the facts and that the case will be something that they consider not with the past in mind but with the future and how they can really help empower moms.”

The composition of the Supreme Court, which currently consists of six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three justices appointed by Democratic presidents, is also giving pro-life activists confidence that the court will rule in their favor. The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case challenging the Mississippi abortion law, in its upcoming October term, paving the way for a decision some time next spring.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/cbs-hallmark-among-tv-networks-refusing-to-show-pro-life-ad.html


A Baby’s Hand

Thank you, Doctor Bruner.  God Bless you and  little Samuel.  

 A Baby’s Hand – This Is Amazing!

Read Before Viewing the Picture –

A picture began circulating in November.  It should be ‘The Picture of the Year,’ or perhaps, ‘Picture of the Decade.’  It won’t be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the US paper which published it, you probably would never see it.

The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon named Joseph Bruner. 

The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother’s womb.  Little Samuel’s mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta.  She knew of Dr. Bruner’s remarkable surgical procedure.  Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.

During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby.  As Dr. Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon’s finger.  Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile. 

The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity.  The editors titled the picture, ‘Hand of Hope.’  The text explaining the picture begins, ‘The tiny hand of 21-week- old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother’s uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.’ 

Little Samuel’s mother said they ‘wept for days’ when they saw the picture. She said, ‘The photo reminds us pregnancy isn’t about disability or an illness, it’s about a little person.’ 

Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful. 

Now see the actual picture, and it is awesome.  Incredible!

And, Hey, don’t forget to pass it on —

The World Needs to See This One!  

Don’t Tell Me Our God Isn’t an Awesome God!!!

‘Standing in the Gap’: Pro-Life Group Celebrates Over 4,000 Babies Saved from Abortion During Pandemic

05-07-2021 by Deborah Bunting

Can anything good come out of a pandemic lockdown? The pro-life group Human Coalition answers with a definite “yes” and “amen” to that question.  

The group reports more than 4,000 unborn children headed for abortion were rescued from death during the lockdowns last year through their outreach. The coalition also is celebrating the milestone of 20,000 abortion-minded women who changed their minds and chose to let their babies be born since the group rescued its first mother and child in 2010.

While the pandemic presented huge challenges to most ministries and saw many businesses collapse, Human Coalition President Jeff Bradford told The Christian Post (CP) that when the lockdowns began, his group was already geared up with the technology to reach expectant mothers with telecare and virtual options.

“We were able to continue to minister to women and just save lives, which was amazing,” Bradford said.

Within just a weekend, the organization was able to shift all of its nurses online. 

“When the pandemic hit, because we’re a technology-driven company, we were able to move very quickly into a virtual model with all of our brick-and-mortar clinics,” Bradford said. 

Telecare is a great fit for the 18-to-24-year-old group most needing their services because that generation is very comfortable with technology. It allowed the Human Coalition staff to be able to shorten the wait for appointments and let the mothers talk to someone about their pregnancy much sooner, Bradford told the CP.

“We also were able to get twice as many women through the doors than we were in the traditional brick-and-mortar model, and it really breaks down geographic and transportation issues,” he said. “So we are able to serve a much broader client, get them in faster because we’re counseling them immediately and not having to wait days before they show up.”

Human Coalition has seven brick-and-mortar clinics available to women in Cleveland, Atlanta, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, and Charlotte, as well as two exclusively Telecare Women’s Clinics staffed with nurses and social workers. Its purpose is to show women that abortion is not the only option they have when faced with an unexpected pregnancy and to offer counseling, resources, and a continuum of care as they choose life for their babies.

The pandemic has increased anxiety and economic uncertainty for many of these mothers, Bradford says, making the choice of life for the unborn child an even braver one.

“Choosing life for her child is one of the most courageous and brave things a woman can do because you know these women are in tough situations and what we do is help empower them…,” he said. 

Empower them by offering a true alternative to abortion that helps them choose life. Something Bradford calls “standing in the gap” for these women.  

As a result, despite the pandemic, hardship, and tough situations, Bradford says this Mother’s Day there is much to celebrate.

“Imagine all the moms who will get to celebrate Mother’s Day with their child in just a few days. Imagine all the families who will get to make a lifetime of memories together. Imagine all the boys and girls who will grow up, attend school, play sports, celebrate holidays, and could go on to have children of their own one day,” Bradford said in a statement. “We thank God for using Human Coalition to help save preborn children and to provide resources, services, and hope to women in need.”

Have you have had an abortion, are contemplating ending your pregnancy, or would like pregnancy-related resources, please click here. Abortion

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/2021/may/standing-in-the-gap-pro-life-group-celebrates-over-4-000-babies-saved-from-abortion-during-pandemic


Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Two historic women, one old and one young, were the first to welcome and praise the Savior of the world. And two glorious paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events.

Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Dec 23, 2019

If quizzed “Who was the first person to welcome Jesus and announce his lordship?” how would you answer? It’s an important question when we consider that this man from the nowhere town of Nazareth is the most consequential individual ever.

His teaching and followers across the globe radically transformed world culture, toppled great powers without ever firing a shot, established the world of humanitarianism and accessible medical care for commoners, inspired the scientific method, and enlivened the world movements for justice, human dignity, and individual freedom. He literally divides history and is responsible for the founding of the largest, most diverse collection of people around some basic ideals.

This all started with two women no one had ever heard of, whose life-altering experiences are now illustrated in two exquisite works of art. Mary, a humble, young virgin, by tradition about 14 years old at the time, is told by an angel she will give birth to the very Son of God. At this striking news, she “arose and went with haste” to see her cherished relative, Elizabeth, some 90 miles away.

Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her own miraculous pregnancy, for she was well past child-bearing years. Of course, her baby was Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.

The beauty of this part of the Christmas story is the miracle that happens the moment Mary enters Elizabeth’s home. Christ is recognized, received, proclaimed, and worshiped, and Mary and Elizabeth are not the only two involved in the divine drama here. We read in Luke 1:41-44:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

This is a major event in Jesus’ story and thus the Christian church, but we seldom appreciate it as such. It is the first time Jesus is both proclaimed and worshiped as God! This was done, we are told, “in a loud voice.” And Christ the Lord is worshiped by two people at the same time — one very old, one super young.

The First to Proclaim Jesus’ Lordship

Elizabeth proclaims the blessedness of Jesus and his mother. The simple but world-changing confession, “Jesus is Lord,” was the first and most basic way Christians began to proclaim their faith and greet one another in the church’s early years. It was the first Christian creed, and Elizabeth was the first to proclaim it, long before Christmas morning. Think on that for a moment.

The second greeting is even more incredible and speaks to an intimate relationship in the Savior’s life. Baby John leaps for joy, literally, at the coming of the Savior. He does so as a child in the darkness of his mother’s womb. (Yes, Christianity has profoundly strong words for the humanity and dignity of the unborn child in John and Jesus’ remarkable in utero contribution to the good news.)

John did not start serving as the forerunner of Christ when preaching about his coming in the desert. It was here, in the womb. And it was two very common mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, who experienced this remarkable, history-changing event. It happened in distinctly womanly interiors of their hearts and wombs, and in the humbleness of Elizabeth’s home. Humble motherhood and the intimate bond only mothers can share is the human font of the Christian story.

To be sure, the Christian church, which is often incorrectly charged with being sexist by people who know little of its actual story, is founded upon two women being the first to welcome and praise the Savior. (Remember as well, it was a small group of women who announced the “second birth” of the Savior, if you will, at his resurrection.) What other major faith or philosophy has women playing such a significant role in its founding? I cannot think of one.

Two famous paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events, “The Annunciation” and “The Visitation.” The first African-American painter to achieve significant critical acclaim, Henry Ossawa Tanner, created both. He is a remarkable man and one of my favorite artists.

Christmas paintings by Henry O. Tanner

‘The Annunciation’

One of the things I like best in Tanner’s two works here is that he shows us the simple humanness of Mary and Elizabeth. They are not supernatural, other-worldly, saintly subjects in the typical sense. Tanner’s images show us the regular, everyday women they were.

Christmas Painting The Annunciation

He will not allow us to miss the youth, innocence, and commonness of our Mary. Tanner doesn’t give her a facial expression communicating anything obvious. Is she scared? Stunned? Joyful? Solemn? His Mary is more complex than many artists’ as is undoubtably true of the actual event. Tanner has her communicating all these feelings and struggles at once.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with this most startling news, he found a teenage girl living a typical teenage girl’s life. The greatest royal announcement in the history of the universe takes place in this teen girl’s humble bedroom, illuminated by the majesty of God’s oracle. That is precisely what Tanner gives us, and it’s just stunning. Also, his technique in presenting the folds and flow of her gown and bed coverings is nothing short of magnificent.

‘The Visitation’

As wonderful as Tanner’s “Annunciation” is, his “Visitation” is even more striking.

Just look at it and consider what’s happening here.

When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Christmas painting The Visitation

Tanner allows us personally to witness this event. Elizabeth most likely did not have any notice that Mary was coming or the grand news that prompted the visit. She sits at the table on an ordinary day, when she hears Mary possibly utter what any of us likely would as she comes to the door, “Liz, you home?”

Elizabeth’s divine surprise and wonder is dramatically communicated simply in her uplifted hands. It’s a glorious device. Are they hands of praise or surprise? Certainly both at the same time.

This simple scene of a surprise family visitation and domesticity is the first scene of Jesus being worshiped. Reflect on this a moment. The event we are witnessing right here in this kitchen is the initiation of what the rest of history and eternity will be about, the worship of the second person of the divine Trinity: Jesus, the Father’s beloved Son.

The interchange between these two women in this domestic setting is unspeakably profound. We typically move over it far too easily, wanting to get onto what we see as the center of the Christmas story, the manger.

This exchange is also vitally important because it is the first revelation of Christ beyond Mary’s heart and womb. It is the precise second and scene that commenced the worship of the Son of the God that will continue without end into eternity, the story that encapsulates a Christian’s whole reality.

P.S. Tanner Lived in Philadelphia

I knew Tanner lived in Philadelphia for some time, so on a business trip there some years ago, I wanted to see if his house was discoverable. It was, and I found it, right around the corner from John Coltrane’s home. How cool is that?

Henry O. Tanner house

Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at glenntstanton.com.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/12/23/behold-two-paintings-that-show-a-miraculous-christmas-meeting/

Vigano warns of ‘doctrinal abuse’ undermining Catholic Church teachings, Robert Moynihan says

By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter

The author of a new book about Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a whistleblower on the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, contends that in addition to the sex abuse scandal, a “doctrinal abuse” scandal also plagues the 2,000-year-old institution.

Robert Moynihan, the editor of Inside the Vaticanmagazine, wrote a book last year titled, Finding Vigano: In Search of the Man Whose Testimony Shook the Church and the World. The book is based on conversations Moynihan had with Vigano, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States, who has gone into hiding after publishing a letter accusing Pope Francis of covering for former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite the fact that he knew of the credible allegations of sexual abuse against him.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Moynihan spoke about the state of the Catholic Church in the United States as well as his conversations with Vigano. When asked what part of his conversation with Vigano surprised him the most, Moynihan responded that it was “the … torment that he felt” about “whether or not to come forward with allegations.”

“Instead of just speaking about abuse in the [Catholic] Church, the abuse of young people by clerics, he started to realize that there was another abuse occurring, which was the abuse of doctrine. A doctrinal abuse that is not teaching the Catholic faith but teaching a kind of secular faith, changing the teaching on life issues, on moral issues, on the sacramental issues, and even on the divinity of Christ,” he remarked.

“And he said these modern thinkers are … committing a new type of abuse: spiritual abuse. So Vigano, who began as someone who was a whistleblower on cases of sexual abuse, became a whistleblower on the entire question of whether the Church is faithful to the teaching of all time or whether it’s becoming modernist and in some ways is abandoning and apostatizing from the traditional Catholic faith.”

Moynihan described the election of President Joe Biden, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, as the latest development in the “trend of compromising the Catholic faith in order to reconcile with the pluralistic society of the United States.”

According to Moynihan, this trend began in 1960 when John F. Kennedy successfully sought to become the first Catholic president.

Kennedy had to stress that “he was not an agent of the Vatican or of the pope” and assure the public that he could “be a reasonable leader in our country which included many non-Catholics, a majority of Protestants, many non-Christians, Jews (and) many atheists.”

Moynihan contended that “he never would have been able, I think, to win the election unless he had indicated that he was a member of this American pluralistic society.”

While the Catholic Church had previously worked to respect and teach its doctrines with “utter clarity,” by guarding them in a “high-walled castle,” Moynihan maintained that “the entire trend of the last 60 years has been to take down those walls, open the church up to the surrounding society, engage in dialogue with that society and then in the positive sense, hopefully influence that society in a positive way. Not remain separate from it or judgmental of it, but to be sort of a servant of that society.”

“The point we preach now is that a Catholic president and some leading members of Congress can say that they, as Catholics, would believe that abortion is immoral, that it’s the taking of a life, of an innocent child, but then support the legality in the general society, in a pluralistic society, of permitting abortion. And they’re even promoting it in a sense, they’re making sure it’s well-funded, easily available, etc.,” he said.

And therefore, there’s become a … sort of crisis in … our thinking and action as Catholics, because some people are criticizing the obvious inconsistency with believing in the value of life but then accepting that you can take that life. … It’s a position that many people are taking, but it makes no … moral sense and some of our bishops have said this recently.”

Moynihan told CP about how, after Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles had congratulated Biden on his victory in the 2020 presidential election while expressing concerns about his positions on abortion and “the nature of the family,” Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago “criticized him (Gomez) and said this is not the time or place for you … to bring up any concerns about Biden’s positions.”

“Cupich represents the trend to compromise the Catholic teaching as part of a larger vision of engaging with the society. Recogniz[ing] that the whole society isn’t Catholic and that the Catholic Church, in some cases, cannot impose its beliefs and teachings on others who don’t have those beliefs and teachings,” he asserted.

Moynihan believes that on the issue of abortion, “we have to say it’s Catholic teaching that we defend life and we cannot support this widespread openness to the taking of innocent human life.”

He lamented that there is a growing division within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church about how to address the abortion issue. While he praised Francis for saying “strong things about the defense of human life and the dignity of human life,” Moynihan acknowledged that “he’s (the pontiff) received many people and embraced many people who have been favorable to abortion so-called rights.” This paradox raises questions about the pontiff’s pro-life witness, he asserted.

“Archbishop Vigano has been outraged by this uncertainty and has said it’s something that he prays the pope will recognize and change, that he will repent of his lack of clarity … his apparent lack of clarity on this issue,” he added.

“The progressive Catholics may believe that they are being faithful to Christ’s teaching of love your neighbor and that they … therefore have to reach out with love toward … all people, sinful and sinning and imperfect people.

‘So the key to the entire matter is to love the sinner but not the sin, and when we lead people in sin without encouraging them to repent, then we are being unfaithful to the teaching of the Church and to the people that we say we care about. Because in the battle for the life of the soul, we cannot affirm people in their sinful behavior,” Moynihan added.

“We have to say we love them, that we encourage them to follow Catholic moral teaching, and this is the battle line up and down where the progressives seem not to wish to condemn the sin, not even to call it a sin. The conservatives call it a sin and they’re accused of not being compassionate and loving toward the sinner.”

Regarding the battle between the traditional Catholics and the progressives, Moynihan indicated that the progressives have the upper hand because of the influence of the mainstream media.

“I think this debate, because of the enormous power of the media in our society and the websites and the internet, the trend has been to change our teaching in the direction of the LGBT proponents. And I would say, probably we’re up to 70% even of Catholics who are accepting of many of these teachings, which when you examine them closely, are not in keeping with traditional Catholic teaching.”

While Vigano acknowledges the difficulties the Catholic Church faces, he is optimistic about its future, according to Moynihan.

“He is hopeful that by a special grace, a special sort of divine intervention, that we will return to sanity, that we will return to our faith, that we will repent of our wayward ways and that (by) doing so, we will strive to bring about a new age of faith and love of God and neighbor in the future and that it isn’t impossible.”

“He’s praying for this, he doesn’t know for sure when it will occur, but he’s praying; he’s even praying for Pope Francis. He’s praying for everyone and for himself that we all strive to do the will of God and to remain faithful to the commandments of Christ.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/vigano-warns-of-doctrinal-abuse-undermining-catholic-teachings.html

YouTube Deletes LifeSite, Top Pro-Life News Outlet’s Channel, For ‘Violating COVID-19 Misinformation Policy’

Mary Margaret Olohan February 10, 2021

YouTube deleted a pro-life news outlet’s channel for “violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” a spokeswoman told the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.

LifeSite News announced the ban Wednesday morning, noting that it cut the site off from its 300,000 followers.

“This isn’t a temporary ban,” the site said in a post. “Every single one of our videos is completely gone. Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos, but this means hundreds of thousands of people have lost access to our truth-telling content.”

YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation policy prohibits “content that promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO,” spokeswoman Ivy Choi said.

“Any channel that violates our COVID-19 misinformation policy will receive a strike, which temporarily restricts uploading or live-streaming,” Choi said. “Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube.”

YouTube has not clarified to the DCNF which of LifeSite’s videos violated its policy.

“This is no longer a game of trying to play by the Tech Titans’ arbitrary, leftist, virtue-signaling rules,” the site added in a blog post. “We are in a war waged by left-wing liberals seeking to annihilate all conservative voices.”

LifeSite News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

https://www.conservativedailynews.com/2021/02/youtube-deletes-top-pro-life-news-outlets-channel-for-violating-covid-19-misinformation-policy/


BREAKING: YouTube shuts down LifeSite’s channel, every video completely gone

LifeSite has all its videos backed up. Our over 300,000 followers can read here where to find alternative platforms to access our truth-telling content.

February 10, 2021

(LifeSiteNews) — YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a temporary ban; every single one of our videos is completely gone. 

Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos, but this means hundreds of thousands of people have lost access to our truth-telling content. 

You can watch our current videos on Rumble here: https://rumble.com/user/LifeSiteNews

Or on our LifeSiteNews Catholic Rumble channel, here: https://rumble.com/user/LifeSiteNewsCatholic

You can also sign up to receive email alerts about our recent videos here: https://bit.ly/LifeSiteVideoSub

Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to more than 300,000 followers. Please help us build Rumble and our other alternative platforms by donating through our secure link: https://give.lifesitenews.com/

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-youtube-shuts-down-lifesites-channel-every-video-completely-gone


200 GOP congressmen slam Democrats, say they’ll never vote for tax-funded abortions

Radical liberals, led by flip-flopper Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, want to repeal the Hyde Amendment and fund abortion worldwide.

Wed Jan 27, 2021

By David McLoone

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Two hundred Republican Congressmen vowed in a letter addressed to U.S. House and Senate leadership their “unified opposition to Congressional Democrats’ efforts to repeal the Hyde Amendment and other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions.”

The Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of most federal funds for abortions, except in some limited circumstances. Although Joe Biden was originally in favor of the Hyde Amendment, even as recently as 2019, he has dramatically altered his position to align with the Democratic Party platform, which has promised to repeal the amendment throughout the 2020 presidential campaign and, indeed, since taking the presidency. The Democrats officially support unlimited abortion on demand, funded by taxpayers. Biden and Kamala Harris marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by pledging to make abortion available to “everyone.”

The letter noted that Biden flip-flopped on the issue of tax-funded abortions “(as) recent as June 2019,” until which time he “supported the Hyde Amendment and acknowledged that it works harmoniously with federal funding for women’s health care.”

Biden justified his change of heart by saying, “If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s zip code.”

The 200 signatories taking a stand against the Democrats and supporting the amendment, on the other hand, have the support of the public. “Polling indicates that repealing the Hyde Amendment is opposed by most of the American public.” They added that “Congressional Democrats now seek to further erode public trust in government by ignoring mainstream public opinion in favor of placating the radical Left.”

“Repealing these pro-life provisions would destroy nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus,” the letter read. “Each year since 1976, Congress has included Hyde protections in annually enacted appropriations. No president in American history has ever vetoed an appropriations bill due to its inclusion of the Hyde Amendment.”

Appealing to the great benefit of maintaining the legislation, the Republican Study Committee, responsible for the letter, wrote that the “Hyde Amendment alone has saved the lives of over 2 million innocent babies and continues to protect the conscience rights of a vast majority of Americans opposed to publicly funded abortions.”

As a result, the signatories say they “cannot allow the Hyde Amendment and other important pro-life safeguards to be decimated by Congressional Democrats. Accordingly, we pledge to vote against any government funding bill that eliminates or weakens the Hyde Amendment or other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions.”

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana, chairman of the committee, pointed the finger directly at Democrats in a statement, claiming that they have turned their backs on conscientious Americans who oppose the use of their taxes for funding abortions.

“Despite decades of consensus on this issue, radical Democrats have signaled they no longer have an interest in protecting the conscience rights of millions of Americans who do not want their hard-earned money used to pay for abortions. My colleagues and I demand congressional leaders protect the ban on taxpayer-funded abortions and save the Hyde Amendment.”

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/200-gop-congressmen-slam-democrats-say-theyll-never-vote-for-tax-funded-abortions