Critical Thinking Skills, Bible Study, and Guarding against Self-Deception

Critical Thinking Skills, Bible Study, and Guarding against Self-Deception

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog … if you feel like you are.
In a new series from Wretched TV and Radio, the Christian media ministry visited campuses in the nation’s Bible Belt. Untethered documents the delusional thinking of many college students, some of whom say they are Christians.

The following exchange between Todd Friel, host of Wretched’s popular YouTube channel, is typical of students’ beliefs.

Friel: When I die, I am going to go to Graceland and spend eternity with Elvis Presley eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches, if I sing “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog” three times before I die. Am I wrong?

Student: No, it’s certainly a little weird, but …

Friel: Ok, I’m wrong?

Student: No. You’re not wrong.

Friel: I’m not wrong?

Student: What’s wrong or right? There is no wrong or right. That’s what I’m saying.

Friel: So, I’m going to go to Graceland for eternity.

Student: If you feel like you are.

Watch Untethered at youtube.com. Use the search words “wretched untethered.”

Do not be deceived

Ed Vitagliano

AFA Vice President

April 2017 – Well-known celebrities embracing homosexuality. Young people rejecting absolute truth. Widespread biblical illiteracy. And that’s just what’s happening in the church.

For example, one study of the beliefs of members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) found that just 39% agreed that “only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved.” Even worse, the percentage for pastors was still lower (35%).

It should come as no surprise to Christians living in America that there is a war against the Bible and its truth. Satan has always started his work of deception by asking, “Has God said?” (Genesis 3:1).

America is not the sole location for this battle, of course. It is universal. It is also not limited to 2017 – it is timeless and will only end when the Lord completes His triumph over evil.

Within the church, the fight against deception is both a corporate and an individual battle. The corporate war against error depends on church leadership holding fast to the truth and teaching sound doctrine. Leaders must also continually guard the flock against wolves in sheep’s clothing.

beware of false prophets

However, there is a war for the individual Christian to fight, too. The Bible places a lot of emphasis here, with consistent exhortations like, “See to it that no one misleads you” (Matthew 24:4); “Let no one deceive you” (Ephesians 5:6); and “Do not be deceived” (Galatians 6:7, 1 Corinthians 6:9, James 1:16).

At first glance, it might seem rather strange for Scripture to command us not to be deceived. After all, we tend to think that deception happens because someone tricked us. If someone fooled us, it’s not our fault, right?

Well, God certainly faults deceivers for teaching error. Those who are false prophets and false teachers are condemned in the Bible in absolutely frightening terms. As an example of this kind of language, read the Book of Jude.

But there is no escaping the nature of warnings to individual Christians that they not let themselves fall prey to deceivers. For example, in Matthew 24:4, Jesus said to us, you see to it that you’re not misled.

The reason for such exhortations is simple: The susceptibility to being deceived comes from our approach to God’s truth. The Lord expects us to pursue truth – and holds us accountable for doing so. The following are three passages that bear this out.

 

John 3:19-21 (King James Version)

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


Here Jesus makes it clear that, when it comes to God’s truth, there are only two directions: toward it or away from it. There are plenty of contrasts used in these few verses: light versus darkness; evil versus righteousness (implied); and truth versus error (implied).

Clearly, Jesus is the light spoken of here, and light is frequently used as a metaphor for God and His truth. From human experience, we know that we see better in the light, and things can only stay hidden in the darkness.

Even Christians sometimes want things to stay hidden (although nothing is really hidden from God). If we want to hide our sins from the light, we tend to avoid His word – and avoid Him. Evangelist Leonard Ravenhill made a similar observation when he said:

 “A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning.”

Again, there are only two directions; to move away from the light is to move into darkness. That is a sure path to deception.

Romans 1:21-28 (KJV)

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;


A similar sentiment is expressed by Paul in this famous passage in Romans. We see the same human stubbornness on the part of pagans, refusing to acknowledge God’s glory and refusing to honor Him. They “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (v. 18) because they love their sin.

However, there is an additional danger emphasized here. Paul makes clear that the refusal to embrace the truth as God shows it to us only leads to further deception. Rejection of God’s truth sets in motion something like a death spiral into greater and greater darkness. There is no standing still. We are all pulled toward one pole or the other. This is even true for the Christian.

Thus, Paul says, thinking can become a futile exercise; foolish hearts can become darkened; people who see themselves as wise because they reject God’s truth actually become fools; and rebellious minds can become depraved (vv. 21, 22, 28). Deception comes upon those who reject light, even though they do not realize it, and it only gets darker.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (KJV)


Smack in the middle of a passage that most commentators believe applies to the time of the antichrist, Paul’s words here are yet another warning about the nature of sin, darkness, and delusion. Once again, we see the same two categories of people.

First, there are those who receive the truth and “believe the truth.” These are people who have a “love of the truth” that supersedes everything else. This love for the truth enables them to be saved, and, for the continuing Christian life, we might say that their love of the truth allows for sanctification to be ongoing.

Paul identifies a second category of people, as those who “do not receive the love of the truth,” but instead “took pleasure in wickedness.” There are consequences for this, too. Sin deceives the sinner – i.e. there is a “deception of wickedness.” Continuing in this darkness leads to further deception – “God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.”

Now, these three passages are probably best understood as warnings to unbelievers who reject the light of God in Christ altogether. On the other hand, as a general principle regarding both human nature and the nature of spiritual things, there is an implicit warning to Christians as well. It is important how we respond to the light of God’s word. It makes all the difference in the world whether we love the truth in order to be sanctified or prefer to love our sin.

 Christians are to take the danger of delusion seriously.

When Scripture says, “See to it that no one misleads you,” “Let no one deceive you,” and “Do not be deceived,” it is a warning against embracing darkness. Christians are to take the danger of delusion seriously.

On the other hand, there is also a wonderful promise.

For those who love Christ above all other things, we really can walk in the light, as He is in the light, “and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Unless otherwise specified, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible.

 

Abortion Victim: Fathers

Another victim of abortion

abortion_dadBy Anne Reed
It is a simple fact that conception of a child requires the equal biological participation of a female and a male counterpart – mother and father. The baby is obviously the first victim in abortion. Moreover, the pro-life community has leaned toward spotlighting the mother as a victim – and rightly so. But often down-played or even ignored is the fact that the baby’s father is also a victim of the lies of a culture that advocates abortion.

The Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973 violently opened the door for widespread legalized abortion in the U.S. The court focused on the woman’s right to privacy while the personhood of the child in the womb was disregarded. So were the rights of the father.

In the immediate years following this decision, 12 states adopted laws protecting the rights of some  men by requiring the husband’s consent before his wife could follow through with an abortion. Unfortunately, in 1976, the Supreme Court evaluated those state laws, and declared them inconsistent with the basis and decision of Roe v Wade and, therefore, unconstitutional.

Confusion and research
Forty years later, millions of men have been affected by abortion. Many knowingly participated through a wide range of approaches, from passivity to coercion. The men who make up these grievous numbers often are boyfriends and husbands. In other cases, the pregnant girl or woman was faced by pressure from her own father, relatives or friends to “get rid of the problem.” Some men abandoned the mother and crisis pregnancy situation altogether. Others responded with indifference, leaving the mother confused and feeling helpless. Others who were uninformed or deceived came to learn about the abortion after the fact. Still other men fought unsuccessfully for the lives of their unborn children.

Catherine Coyle, Ph.D., has done extensive research on the subject of men who have been harmed by abortion. In her book Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing, published in 1999, a man called Dan recounts the inner turmoil he experienced in accompanying his future wife during an abortion (excerpt above). Helplessness and confusion were two common themes expressed by men interviewed in Coyle’s research.

State laws related to abortion disregard the father, thereby communicating that the father has no final influence or authority. He is, therefore, denied the paternal instinct that motivates him to care for his family. One post-abortive father who now counsels post-abortive men wrote, “As I reflect on God’s purpose and role for men found in the Word, I see that because of my choice of participating in this offensive sin of killing my unborn child, I quit life. I taught myself to shortcut life in all decisions in the future (husband decisions, father decisions, job decisions, etc.).”

What makes things worse is that men are more likely than women to go forward in denial about negative emotions profoundly affecting their lives. Vincent Rue, Ph.D., a forerunner in researching the effects of abortion on men, wrote, “Men do grieve following abortion, but they are more likely to deny their grief or internalize their feelings of loss rather than openly express them. … When men do express their grief, they try to do so in culturally prescribed ‘masculine’ ways, i.e. anger, aggressiveness, control.”

Post-abortive men are likely to experience tendencies toward angry and violent behavior as well as an overall sense of lost manhood. Common consequences include broken relationships; sexual dysfunction; substance abuse; self-hatred; ever-increasing feelings of grief, guilt and depression; and dangerous or even suicidal behavior.

Confession and repentance
King David describes the body’s reaction to secret sin: “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3). John’s first epistle stressed the importance of confession: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). James 5:16 takes confession even farther: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.”

One has to wonder what would happen if widespread confession of this sin swept across the nation. What would happen if mighty warriors, expressing strength through weakness, stepped into the front lines creating a massive wave of confession and repentance? How would marriages be affected in the here and now? How would this culture be affected as a whole? Would the hearts of the fathers be turned back to the children?

What if, rather than hiding the truth of past and present sexual impurity, confession and repentance became an igniting fire in our churches? What about those men living inside a fortress of unforgiveness? How many hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, self-justification and resentment? Shame, guilt and blame can be so deep-rooted that these wounded warriors more often than not need fellow soldiers and armor bearers to come alongside them in battle.

Perhaps the real question is, “What would happen if men fought back?” Not with weapons of the flesh, but as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

For a post-abortive father, these steps can light the way out of darkness and despair:
1) Acknowledge your responsibility.
2) Confess to God and at least one other person you can trust.
3) Seek out and use available resources for post-abortion men.

A man struggling with any sin is inclined to keep it secret. However, biblical wisdom tells him not to give in to fear, pride and shame. Forgiveness and healing are attainable. Be a warrior; go after the victory.
An expanded version of this article appears in Patricia K. Layton’s new book Finding Freedom: Healing and Hope After Abortion. It is available at www.surrenderingthesecret.com

Judeo-Christian Culture: Discipleship Definition

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Discipleship Definition

Becoming a Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ

By Robert D. Hales

The constellation of characteristics that result from faith in Christ are all necessary to our standing strong in these last days.

What does it mean to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ? A disciple is one who has been baptized and is willing to take upon him or her the name of the Savior and follow Him. A disciple strives to become as He is by keeping His commandments in mortality, much the same as an apprentice seeks to become like his or her master.

Many people hear the word disciple and think it means only “follower.” But genuine discipleship is a state of being. This suggests more than studying and applying a list of individual attributes. Disciples live so that the characteristics of Christ are woven into the fiber of their beings, as into a spiritual tapestry.

Listen to the Apostle Peter’s invitation to become a disciple of the Savior:

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”1

As you can see, weaving the spiritual tapestry of personal discipleship requires more than a single thread. In the Savior’s day, there were many who claimed to be righteous in one or another aspect of their lives. They practiced what I have called selective obedience. For example, they kept the commandment to refrain from work on the Sabbath yet criticized the Savior for healing on that holy day.2 They gave alms to the poor but offered only their excess—what they did not need for themselves.3 They fasted but only with long faces.4 They prayed but only to be seen of men.5 Jesus said, “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”6 Such men and women may focus on mastering a specific attribute or action but do not necessarily become as He is in their hearts.

Of these, Jesus declared:

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”7

The attributes of the Savior, as we perceive them, are not a script to be followed or list to be checked off. They are interwoven characteristics, added one to another, which develop in us in interactive ways. In other words, we cannot obtain one Christlike characteristic without also obtaining and influencing others. As one characteristic becomes strong, so do many more.

In 2 Peter and in Doctrine and Covenants section 4, we learn that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation. We measure our faith by what it leads us to do—by our obedience. “If ye will have faith in me,” the Lord promised, “ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.”8 Faith is a catalyst. Without works, without virtuous living, our faith is without power to activate discipleship. Indeed, faith is dead.9

Virtue, Knowledge

And so, Peter explains, “add to your faith virtue.” This virtue is more than sexual purity. It is cleanliness and holiness in mind and body. Virtue is also power. As we faithfully live the gospel, we will have power to be virtuous in every thought, feeling, and action. Our minds become more receptive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ.10 We embody Christ not only in what we say and do but also in who we are.

Peter continues, “Add to [your] virtue, knowledge.” As we live virtuous lives, we come to know our Heavenly Father and His Son in a special way. “If any man will do [the Father’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine.”11 This knowledge is personal testimony, born from personal experience. It is knowledge that transforms us so that our “light cleaveth unto [His] light” and our “virtue loveth [His] virtue.”12 By our virtuous living, we make the journey from “I believe” to the glorious destination of “I know.”

Temperance, Patience to Godliness

Peter exhorts us to add “to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience.” As temperate disciples, we live the gospel in a balanced and steady way. We do not “run faster than [we have] strength.”13 Day by day we move forward, undeterred by the refining challenges of mortality.

Being temperate in this way, we develop patience and trust in the Lord. We are able to rely on His design for our lives, even though we cannot see it with our own natural eyes.14 Therefore, we can “be still and know that [He is] God.”15 When faced with the storms of tribulation, we ask, “What wouldst Thou have me learn from this experience?” With His plan and purposes in our hearts, we move forward not only enduring all things but also enduring them patiently and well.16

This patience, Peter teaches, leads us to godliness. As the Father is patient with us, His children, we become patient with one another and ourselves. We delight in the agency of others and the opportunity it gives them to grow “line upon line,”17 “brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”18

From temperance to patience and from patience to godliness, our natures change. We gain the brotherly kindness that is a hallmark of all true disciples. Like the Good Samaritan, we cross the road to minister to whoever is in need, even if they are not within the circle of our friends.19 We bless them that curse us. We do good to those who despitefully use us.20 Is any attribute more godly or Christlike?

I testify that the efforts we make to become disciples of our Savior are truly added upon until we are “possessed” of His love.21 This love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”22

It is faith, hope, and charity that qualify us for the work of God.23 “And now abideth … these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”24

Brothers and sisters, now more than ever, we cannot be a “part-time disciple”! We cannot be a disciple on just one point of doctrine or another. The constellation of characteristics that result from faith in Christ—including the ones we have talked about today—are all necessary to our standing strong in these last days.

As we earnestly strive to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, these characteristics will be interwoven, added upon, and interactively strengthened in us. There will be no disparity between the kindness we show our enemies and the kindness we bestow on our friends. We will be as honest when no one is looking as when others are watching. We will be as devoted to God in the public square as we are in our private closet.

I testify that everyone can be a disciple of the Savior. Discipleship is not constrained by age, gender, ethnic origin, or calling. Through our individual discipleship, we build up a collective strength to bless our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Now is the time to recommit ourselves to being His disciples with all diligence.

Brothers and sisters, we are all called to be disciples of our Savior. May He bless us in our eternal quest to become devoted and valiant disciples.

 

Easter Stories in Picture: Mission of Jesus Christ

Picture Gallery of Easter Stories: Mission of Jesus Christ

Christ-Triumphal-Entry-into-Jerusalem-Harry-AndersonTriumphal Entry

By Harry Anderson

King James Bible Verses

Luke 19: 37-38

37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

 

 

Last Supper

Jesus-last-supperPeace-I-Leave-With-You-Walter-RanePeace I leave with you

By Walter Rane

 

Luke 22:19-20

19 ¶And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 

 

 

Gethsemane

Gethsemane-Adam-Abram-627013-By Adam Abram

Matthew 26:38-39

38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

 

The Greatest of AllJesus-gethsemane-Greatest-of-All-Del-Parson-211887

by Del Parson

 

 

 

 

 

Crucifixion

Crucifixion-Joseph-Harry-Anderson-209700By Harry Anderson

Matthew 27:22-24

 

22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done?

24 ¶When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

 

Matthew 27:29-31

 

29 ¶And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

Resurrection

Why-Weepest-Thou-David-McClellanWhy Weepest Thou?

By David McClellan

 

Matthew 28:5-6

5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

 

 

 

 

Resurrected-Christ-Wilson-Ong-212048Resurrected Christ

By Wilson Ong

 

Matthew 28:19-20

 

19 ¶Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

American Family Association Issues at Hand: Planned Parenthood closings; Social Media linked to Depression

American Family Association Issues at Hand:

Planned Parenthood closings; Social Media linked to Depression

Planned Parenthood closes more centers

March 2017 – The American Life League annual survey shows that in 2016, 27 Planned Parenthood locations closed. The closings were offset with eight new centers, resulting in a net loss of 19.

“They’re now down to 624 facilities across the country from a high of 938,” said ALL executive director Jim Sedlak. “So they’ve lost one-third of the facilities.”

Although figures related to services provided by the abortion giant are not yet available for 2015 and 2016, the number of services provided in the six previous years (from 2009 to 2014) decreased significantly: 63% fewer cancer screenings, 56% fewer breast exams, 70% fewer Pap smear tests, and 30% fewer abortions.

In 2016, Planned Parenthood received over $553 million of taxpayer money from the federal government.

onenewsnow, 12/28/16; lifenews.com, 12/28/16

Fastest growing churches hold to literal interpretation of the Scripture

 

March 2017 – According to a five-year study published in Review of Religious Research, an internationally respected journal, the fastest growing churches are those that hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible, including teachings on heaven and hell.

“If we are talking solely about what belief system is more likely to lead to numerical growth among Protestant churches,” said David Haskell, lead researcher of the Canadian study, “the evidence suggests conservative Protestant theology is the clear winner.”

Clergy and worshippers in growing churches experienced greater participation in regular Bible reading and prayer.

Additionally, with respect to outsiders, an unwavering message with clear boundaries is a drawing factor.

theguardian.com, 11/17/16

Social media linked to depression

March 2017 –It has become cliché to see young people staring at their phones scrolling social media pages. But all that scrolling can have a negative effect on the way they see the world and themselves.

According to a 2016 study sponsored by the National Institute for Mental Health, social media can have a detrimental impact on the mental and emotional well-being of young adults.

The study polled 1,787 adults ages 19 to 32. Researchers inquired about time spent on social media, number of visits per week, and other related issues.

“It is human nature to compare ourselves to others,” said Mark Widdowson, a writer for the website Mashable. “Sometimes comparisons can be a way to inspire ourselves to improve in some way, but, more often than not – especially when someone is feeling down or is prone to depression – the comparisons become negative and erode self-esteem.”

onlinelibrary.wiley.com, 1/19/16; freeportpress.com, 5/4/16

Biblical History and United States Seal

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

keyRebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

Glenn Beck:

U.S. identified in Bible

‘Our entire history is directly tied to this moment’

KJV BibleRadio and television host Glenn Beck is now going public with his belief the United States is among the famous “Lost 10 Tribes of Israel,” and America today is suffering calamities just as ancient Israel did due to its disobedience to the laws of God.

Echoing the conclusions of some experts who have delved deeply into what’s known as the theory of “Anglo-Israelism” or “British-Israelism,” Beck took viewers of his TV show into a biblical history lesson dating back to the time after King David of the Old Testament, when the once united Kingdom of Israel became divided.

“Israel was split into two kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom,” Beck explained.

Many people don’t realize that ancient Israel (the Northern Kingdom) actually went to war against the Jews (the Southern Kingdom of Judah) over many years. Four Books of the Bible, 1 and 2 Kings as well as 1 and 2 Chronicles, document the separate national histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Beck explained that eventually, God warned the rebellious northern kingdom to stop its sinning, or else face disaster.

“They’re warned, ‘You’re going to be taken by the Assyrians, and you’re gonna be taken into captivity,’” said Beck.

“Well, that’s exactly what happened. Judah remained, but the tribes in the north, they were taken and they went throughout the Assyrian empire. The Kingdom of Judah was not scattered. This is where the term ‘Jew’ comes from – Judah.”

Beck went on to note that when the Assyrians were finally defeated by other powers, they and the Israelite captives fled northward.

“And they fled out of captivity through the Caucuses Mountains,” he said. “The Caucusus Mountains are where you hear the word ‘Caucasian.’”

“What’s interesting is the Assyrians, who were very good, meticulous record-keepers, and who were just brutal [people], they settled in Italy and in the Germany area and the Russia area where facsism comes from. But the Israelites, the Lost 10 Tribes, they went north and they started to scatter [in another] direction, and they went to the coastlines, generally in the area where the Pilgrims came from. …

“All of Western Civilization is based on the laws of Israel. And our entire history is directly tied to this moment. Our Pilgrims thought they were completing the journey out of captivity.”

seal-of-the-president-of-the-united-statesimage: seal of the president]Beck believes the Statue of Liberty holding tablets is a more modern representation of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, and he focused attention on the symbols on the both the presidential seal and the Great Seal of the United States.

On the presidential seal, he connected the artwork of sun rays, the moon and stars to one of the sons of Israel who had a famous dream in the Book of Genesis.

“When Joseph from the Bible is with his brothers, he tells his brothers that he had a dream. And he said, ‘I had a dream where the sun, the moon and the stars all bowed down to me,’” Beck explained.

He then noted the prominent theme of the number 13 on the seal.

“There’s strong symbolism with the number 13 being represented everywhere: 13 arrows, 13 stripes, 13 stars, 13 olives,” he said.

But is that figure merely a reflection of the 13 original American colonies?

“That’s what everyone will tell you, and that is one answer. But there is another one that many people believe,” Beck said.

“What else is 13? Twelve disciples surrounding Jesus, but more importantly, I think, the 12 tribes of Israel.”

As far as why 12 tribes of Israel would be represented by the number 13 and not 12, Beck stated, “The tribe of Joseph split into Manassah and Ephraim, and those were in northern Israel. That’s the northern kingdom of Israel. That’s the thirteen tribes.”

seal-of-the-united-states[image: United States Seal]As he examined the Great Seal of the U.S., Beck noted that above the eagle representing America, there are “13 stars in the shape of the Star of David.”

Surrounding the grouping of stars, he pointed out the artwork of clouds and light from “fire.”

“When Moses led his people out of Egypt, what did they follow during the day? A cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. That’s what this means,” he said.

He even unearthed the original proposed seal for the nation, which was promoted by Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

seal-of-the-united-states-original[image: original seal]Featuring the motto “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” the scene depicts the nation of Israel during its Exodus out of Egyptian slavery.

“Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea by a pillar of fire. Hello?” voiced Beck. “Look at the clouds around the fire in the center in exactly the same position as the eagle [seal].”

Beck noted it didn’t bother him if people didn’t believe the history lesson.

“I didn’t care a few years ago, but after 9/11, I promised I would find out what was going on,” he said.

“So what is it? We are nation that is based on Judeo-Christian values and the Bible. Period. You might not buy into the olives and the branches and everything else. It’s fact! It’s fact! But there’s no way to deny that the majority of our laws come directly from the Scriptures, right directly from Deuteronomy.”

Historian Steven M. Collins of Sioux Falls, S.D., has written several books on the subject, including “The ‘Lost’ Ten Tribes of Israel … Found” and “Israel’s Tribes Today.”

“It is such heartening news to me that Glenn Beck has seen this fundamental truth about which so many Christians are unaware,” Collins said after viewing Beck’s program.

“If the modern nations of the ten tribes of Israel came to widely recognize their true heritage as the biblical ‘house of Israel,’ it would revolutionize the self-perceptions of not only individuals but of nations as well. It would also verify the Holy Bible powerfully as the prophecies about the Israelites’ future after their exile from the Promised Land in the 8th century B.C. would be seen to be completely accurate and fulfilled. This would prove that the Bible is the Word of a Creator God as only an immortal Creator God could control the destinies of nations to make sure that biblical prophecies made millennia ago are being precisely fulfilled today.”

Collins says there is “overwhelming evidence” proving the modern nations of the 10 tribes of Israel are the Anglo-American, Scandinavian and many mainland European nations.

“It is gratifying to see that a well-known American media personality now has many of these important truths as well. Perhaps we are reaching the time when it is God’s will for this truth to become widely known in the modern nations. Such an awareness would revolutionize global geopolitics, to say the least.”

There are many who disagree with the theory.

Among them is Dr. Claude Mariottini, a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Ill.

Mariottini states, “The fact is that British-Israelism is based on a biased interpretation of the text, eisegesis, wishful thinking, and a lack of reliable historical evidence. The view that Great Britain and the United States of America are the lost tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh is just a myth.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/glenn-beck-u-s-is-lost-tribe-of-israel/#TEZQf4m56Fc6YLRi.99

Judeo-Christian Definition: Christianity and Biblical Morals

Dinner Topics for Monday

Month-Defining Moment

Judeo-Christian Definition: Christianity and Biblical Morals

Ju•deo-Chris•tian

Definition of Judeo-Christian: A term worth defending

By Ed Vitagliano

We are a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values. Most evangelicals have a Judeo-Christian worldview. Our Judeo-Christian principles are under attack.

KJV BibleWe hear the term Judeo-Christian used quite frequently, but what does it mean? Here are a few ideas to consider regarding the term as used at American Family Association.

1. It does not refer primarily to Judaism.
Judaism itself can be a term that is frequently misunderstood. Usually, it refers to the religion of the Jewish people, rooted especially in the Law of Moses and the Old Testament.

Judaism also includes the more than 6,000 pages of commentary – developed over the last 2,000 years – incorporated in the Talmud, which explains the meaning of the Law.

2. It is not a term of religious equivalency.
Most Christians rightly examine the Old Testament as a source of religious teaching that informs their faith. Paul says in Romans 15:4, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction.” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:6.)

biblical-worldview2-christianHowever, using the term Judeo-Christian does not mean that Christianity and Judaism are viewed as equally valid faiths. The Bible is the Christian’s final authority on matters of faith, and the New Testament clearly teaches that Christianity supplanted Judaism as the revelation of God’s redemptive purposes in the earth. Hebrews 8:13 says that a New Covenant has been established through Christ, and thus God “has made the first [covenant] obsolete.”

As a result, the clarion call for this age is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ – and that call goes out to both Jew and Gentile alike.

3. It is a moral term.
Since Christianity flowed out of Old Testament Judaism, there is a perceived theological kinship between the Christian and the Jew that does not exist between, say, Christian and Muslim or Christian and Hindu.

As a result Christianity and Judaism share something – what Christians call the Old Testament. Paul, for example, gives great honor to the Jews – his own people – as those who “were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2; see also Acts 7:38; Romans 9:4.)

judeo-christian1It is here that Judeo-Christian begins to come into focus, for it is the equivalent of referring to the religious and moral principles shared by both Jew and Christian.

Those principles would include monotheism, religious law such as the Ten Commandments, ideas concerning the nature of man, biblical (as opposed to pagan) morality regarding human sexuality, marriage and family, the prophetic tradition of a holy people, the state subject to God Himself, etc.

Morality, of course, is not the same as religion. By “morality” we mean how men and women ought to live before a holy and just God, and how they ought to order their lives, families, communities, etc. People of different religions can share moral views; people who agree on morality can disagree on religion.

4. It is a cultural term.
judeo-christian2-10-commandmentsThese moral principles have become more important as they have increasingly come under attack, and so the term is used more and more in the context of the culture wars.

Judeo-Christian is therefore frequently used in contrast to those ideologies that have sought to overthrow the biblical view of marriage, for example, or the sanctity of human life.

Ironically, secularists who demand that America be cleansed of its Judeo-Christian heritage are simply advocating a return to pagan – or pre-Christian – views on these important issues.

Both Jews and Christians lived under such regimes, devoid of the law of God; and neither Jew nor Christian should ever want to return to those times of spiritual darkness.

That is why the battle to preserve Judeo-Christian values must continue in America.

Bible Story: Jesus’ Teaching of Good vs. Evil

Dinner Topics for Monday

Jesus’ Teaching: Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Bible Story: Learning about Good vs. Evil

keyoldHe answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. ~Matthew 13:37-39

wheattaresTares—The word denotes darnel grass, a poisonous weed, which, until it comes into ear, is similar in appearance to wheat. ~Bible Dictionary, 780, KJV

Matthew 13:24-30; 36-42

24 ¶Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

enemy-sowed-tares-bible-story28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

Jesusinfield40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Doctrine and Covenants 38: 12

12 Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.

Doctrine and Covenants 86: 1-7

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:

2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;

bible13 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.

4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—

5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;

6 But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also.

7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned.

Prophetic Meanings of “Tares”

Note: Context here for references to the word “church” are not speaking of a specific building, location, or Christian denomination. Rather, “church” is depicted in a broader sense, meaning ideas, philosophies, teachings, or doctrines, and can be either true or false.

As opposed to the way of Jesus Christ, which is love, truth, and persuasion without compulsion, Satan’s way is hate and force. The “prophet” of Islam teaches that Allah wants them to force their “religion” upon the world. “Allah” commands his worshippers to kill all those who prefer the truth to lies, and who will not accept the Islamic “religion”. Given this as their doctrine, might we reasonably surmise that “Allah” is not really God, our loving Father? If “Allah” is not Heavenly Father, who do you think “Allah” is, really?  ~ C.A. Davidson

And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it. ~ Doctrine and Covenants 88:94

 

Question: What did Jesus mean when He identified “tares” as the “church of the devil?”

Dallin H. Oaks

wolfsheep2It [Tares, or “church of the devil”]must be any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God. And the “captivity” into which this “church” seeks to bring the saints will not be so much physical confinement as the captivity of false ideas. ~Dallin H. Oaks

Book of Mormon prophecies describe the “great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil” (1 Nephi 14:17). This “church” is prophesied to have “dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” (1 Nephi 14:11). Called “most abominable above all other churches,” this church is also said to act “for the praise of the world” to bring “the saints of God . . . down into captivity” (1 Nephi 13:5, 9). Since no religious denomination — Christian or non-Christian — has ever had “dominion” over all nations of the earth or the potential to bring all the saints of God down into “captivity,” this great and abominable church must be something far more pervasive and widespread than a single “church” as we understand that term today.

It must be any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God. And the “captivity” into which this “church” seeks to bring the saints will not be so much physical confinement as the captivity of false ideas.

In the Savior’s [post-resurrection] ministry among the Nephites [in ancient America], He warned against a church that “be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil” (3 Nephi 27:11). These warnings are not limited to religious organizations. In the circumstances of our day they include a multitude of secular philosophies and activities.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:65-66

65 Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be;

66 While the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire.

U.S. Constitution Series 1: Founding Fathers and Cicero

U.S. Constitution Series 1:

Founding Fathers and Cicero

Cicero was born January 3, 106 B.C.

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

keyWorldly philosophies endeavor to blur the distinction between good and evil and eliminate accountability. However, the foundation of Natural Law (the law of the Creator) is the reality of good and evil. The U.S. Constitution was successful in creating a free and prosperous society because its foundation of Natural Law is based on moral accountability to a just God. ~C.A. Davidson

5000leapFrom The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

1. First Principle: the Genius of Natural Law

(Notes from pp. 37-47)

What is Natural Law?

The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law.

The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

Cicero

Cicero cut through the political and philosophical errors of both Plato and Aristotle to discover the touchstone of good laws, sound government, and the long-range formula for happy human relations. (p.37) He was the only Roman political writer who has exercised enduring influence throughout the ages. He studied law in Rome and philosophy in Athens.

Cicero’s compelling honesty led him to conclude that once the reality of the Creator is clearly identified in the mind, the only intelligent approach to government, justice, and human relations is in terms of the laws which the Supreme Creator has already established.

In the Declaration of Independence Jefferson referred to the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

In Natural Law we are dealing with factors of absolute reality.

Since the Biblical God is the author of Natural Law, the first two great commandments indicated by Jesus Christ provide the standard for government and human relations.

Internal and External Government

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. ~Edmund Burke

1. The first great commandment is to love and honor God (the God of Israel).  The simplest way to honor God is to abide by the Ten Commandments. These provide moral absolutes, which if obeyed, build in us a strong internal government, or good moral character.

2. The second great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This commandment is based on love. When we serve our fellow man, we are serving God. Jesus taught that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. If we have strong internal government, (we discipline ourselves and do no harm to others, by our own choice), then there is little need for much external government, which forces people to obey the rules of civilization.  Internal government is based on love of God, ourselves, and our neighbors. External force is not based on love.

Legislation in Violation of God’s Natural Law is a Scourge to Humanity

All Law Should Be Measured against God’s Law

ciceroCicero set forth the means by which people may discern between good and evil laws. All laws must be measured by God’s Law, which he described as follows:

Therefore Law [of the Creator] is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, Nature; and in conformity to Nature’s standard are framed those human laws which inflict punishment upon the wicked and protect the good. (Dr. William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers, p. 135)

It was clear to Cicero as he came toward the close of his life that men must eliminate the depravity that had lodged itself in society. He felt they must return to the high road of Natural Law. They must pledge obedience to the mandates of a loving and concerned Creator. (Skousen, pp. 45-46)

The Following are Examples of concepts based on Natural Law

  • Unalienable rights
  • Unalienable duties
  • Habeas Corpus
  • Limited government
  • Separation of powers
  • Checks and balances to correct abuses by peaceful means
  • Right of contract
  • Laws protecting the family and the institution of marriage
  • Justice by reparation or paying for damages
  • Right to bear arms
  • No taxation without representation

Principle # 2:  Moral and Virtuous Leaders