A Lifesaving Vision

Never Stop Declaring God’s Truth

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.  Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.  Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
—John Adams1

All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
—Noah Webster2

Proverbs 29:18 is a widely known passage of Scripture; but unfortunately, it frequently is misinterpreted and misunderstood.3 In the cultural climate of our day, it is critical for believers to be aware of just what Solomon meant—and ultimately, what God means—in this verse.

In the King James Version of the Bible, Proverbs 29:18 reads, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” The connotations that words like vision and perish convey to the modern ear and the cultural context of modern American Christianity may lead many to believe the first portion of this verse means something like this: “Without a noble and lofty goal, people flounder; they do not reach their fullest and brightest potential.” Consequently, this verse often has been used as a biblical foundation writing a church vision statement.4 Church vision statements certainly are helpful, but here Solomon isn’t speaking of goals, ideals, or vision statements.

The latter part of the verse, “…he that keepeth the law, happy is he,” supplies a strong hint about the meanings of vision and perish. Consider the following.

  • The Hebrew word translated vision refers to a revelation or proclamation of God’s truth.5
  • The word rendered perish means “to be loosened, or to display a lack of restraint.”6

Thus, the New King James Version actually offers us a much more accurate translation: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.” With this clearer understanding, we are reminded of another principle that appears twice in the Book of Proverbs: “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).

We do not have to look far to see evidence of the truth of Proverbs 29:18. We saw the positive side of this principle playing out on election day, November 3, 2015, in Houston, Texas. By a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent, Houston voters rejected HERO—the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. Had it become law, this proposal

would have banned discrimination against transgender people, allowing, for example, men who “perceive” themselves as women to use women’s restrooms, locker rooms and other gender-specific facilities in the city.

Anyone opposing or obstructing them could have been fined $5,000.7

Passing HERO had become a cherished goal for Annise Parker, Houston’s openly lesbian mayor, and she and her administration worked diligently—and even unethically—to make it law. Pastors, however, were among a coalition of concerned citizens who sought to give the people the opportunity to vote. At one point in the months-long process, five pastors were even targeted with subpoenas. You can read the complete story here and here. The bottom line is that a clear moral declaration from church leaders helped the city avoid a policy that would have engendered moral chaos.

This is not to say that our nation needs moral guidance only; surely it needs the good news of Jesus Christ more than anything else. Yet we must understand that it is the gospel and its corresponding principles of moral and ethical truth that compel pastors and Christians to speak out when God’s truth is met with skepticism or rejection. The gospel is connected to calls to repentance and righteousness (see Mark 1:4). Moreover, a cultural atmosphere in which righteousness can flourish is foundational to the liberty and freedom Americans have enjoyed over the years of their nation’s history. Our Founding Fathers understood these connections.

While Houston’s rejection of the bathroom bill is cause for celebration, we must be aware that these kinds of battles are on the increase. In fact, the Obama Administration is trying to force an Illinois school district to open the girls’ locker room facilities to a male who is saying he’s really a female.8 Think about that! Our federal government is promoting a policy that would permit males to invade women’s restrooms and locker facilities! This effort stands in direct opposition to the task God has assigned to governments. It is no coincidence that one report on the conflict in Illinois bears a title that begins with the words “Complete Anarchy.”9 Remember that a failure to declare God’s truth leads to a lack of societal restraint.

Some say that pastors must avoid political issues. The gospel, however, addresses every area of life, including public policy. Pastors should not be prevented from sharing biblical convictions of any kind openly and freely with their congregations. Accordingly, Alliance Defending Freedom sponsors Pulpit Freedom Sunday, an event in which pastors are encouraged to speak the whole counsel of God’s Word, even as it relates to politics and public policy.10 A parallel effort called the National Black Robe Regiment also is making its mark on America.11

Why are such efforts worthy of our support? Because we affirm the truth of Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.”

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2007/09/the_judeochristian_values_of_a.html

2http://www.searchquotes.com/quotation/All_the_miseries_and_evils_which_men_suffer_from_vice%2C_crime%2C_ambition%2C_injustice%2C_oppression%2C_slave/197196/

3http://chrisbrauns.com/2010/06/where-there-is-no-vision-the-people-perish-one-of-the-most-misinterpreted-verses-in-the-bible/

4http://chrisbrauns.com/2010/06/where-there-is-no-vision-the-people-perish-one-of-the-most-misinterpreted-verses-in-the-bible/

5https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2377&t=KJV

6https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6544&t=KJV

7http://www.wnd.com/2015/11/houston-voters-reject-lesbian-mayors-transgender-agenda/

8http://www.christianpost.com/news/chicago-school-girls-bathroom-transgender-male-student-district-211-149183/

9http://www.wnd.com/2015/11/complete-anarchy-transgender-boy-hits-girls-showers/

10http://adflegal.org/issues/religious-freedom/church/key-issues/pulpit-freedom-sunday

11http://nationalblackroberegiment.com

Reflections on Repentance

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.
—Proverbs 14:12; 16:25—

us_22_u_turns

Repentance means taking a U-turn.

Repentance is a tough sell. For one thing, all people need to hear and heed the call to repent, but only a handful actually do. For another, the message of repentance is difficult to deliver. In fact, more than one of God’s spokesmen in the Bible resisted a divine assignment to preach it.

God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and essentially tell him to repent of holding the Hebrew people in bondage. Moses came up with one excuse after another and obeyed God only after trying His patience and running completely out of “reasons” to turn Him down.

Jonah is the classic example of a reluctant preacher. Did he become that example, at least in part, because God called him to preach repentance? Yet, in the end, even the Ninevites, notoriously wicked though they were, received Jonah’s warning and humbled themselves before the Lord. God spared them, but unfortunately, Jonah didn’t even allow himself to rejoice with God over his hearers’ response. As a result, He had some serious repenting to do himself.

It should not surprise us that repentance is highlighted frequently in the Bible, because no one can be made right with God without it. We see it in both the Old and New Testaments, and with varying degrees of receptivity. In addition to Moses’ and Jonah’s preaching, here are a few examples.

  • Noah had 120 years to build the ark that sheltered him, his family, and two of every species of animal from God’s judgment in the form of widespread deadly floodwaters. During that time, other people also would have been saved had they acknowledged God and His coming judgment—but no one did. Surely Noah urged them to come to safety, for he was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5). Acknowledging God in a way that would have compelled a person to step on the ark also would have compelled that person to repent of his or her sins.
  • After King David had committed adultery and murder, Nathan confronted him about his sins. David confessed and repented. God forgave him, but some of the damage could not be reversed, and David reaped bitter fruit in his family relationships thereafter (2 Sam. 12:1-14; Ps. 51).
  • In Jeremiah 7:16-27, the Lord warned Jeremiah that his hearers would not listen but would remain stubborn and unrepentant.
  • Significantly, the message given to John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah, was a message of repentance (Matt. 3:1-10; Acts13:24-25). Why did he not first call on people to celebrate or to praise God? Repentance was paramount.
  • Jesus declared that repentance is essential to salvation (see Luke 13:1-5) and that few people would be saved (see Matt.7:13-14).
  • At Pentecost, Peter preached a bold sermon urging people to repent and continued preaching repentance for the rest of his ministry (Acts 2:38-41; 3:19-21; 5:29-31; 8:18-23; 11:1-18; 2 Pet. 3:9).
  • Paul preached repentance during his entire ministry as well (see Acts 17:30 20:21; 26:19-20; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; 12:21; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

Why is repentance so widely avoided? As Scripture declares, Satan has blinded people to the truth (see 2 Cor. 4:3-4). Perhaps one way he does this is by promoting a short-term perspective.

Imagine you are a grain of sand in the top portion of an hourglass. In this imaginary scenario you are not accompanied by other grains of sand but are by yourself. You enjoy plenty of space and lots of latitude; you call the shots. Traveling downward through the narrow neck of the hourglass is, for the purposes of our illustration, representative of repentance. All you can see as you look down that path is restriction of your freedom, loss of independence, and an end to any and all enjoyment in life. Will you go that way? “Never!” You tell yourself.

Yet in reality, what lies beyond the narrow neck? A new, wide world of opportunity! A world of freedom, though here we clearly are talking about a different kind of freedom than the one you now know. Yes, the new world involves guidelines for holy living, but it also involves a new outlook that chances your desires.

A person certainly can repent and enter the new arena without prior knowledge of the new kind of freedom that will be his on the other side. Indeed, he can’t know a great deal about it (see 1 Cor. 2:14). He must first understand how hopeless his situation is without Christ because of the requirements of God’s law (see Gal. 3:24). Still, in addition to this, if more sinners caught glimpses of the other side, they might more readily turn to God. Only God can convict them and convince them of such truths, so we need to pray He would do so. Here are some declarations and observations that capture aspects of the new arena—and that describe the old one. Let’s look at some Scripture passages first, then some quotations from various Christian leaders.

Scripture Places the Two Arenas in Stark Contrast

  • Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). He also said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).
  • Jesus also declared, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
  • These statements of Jesus also are especially pertinent to our discussion: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and by burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
  • In Romans 7:15-24, Paul wrote of being enslaved to his fleshly nature (note that this passage climaxes with a cry of desperation from the apostle): “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Then, in 7:25–8:2, Paul wrote with obvious joy, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Freedom on the other side of repentance? Yes! Jesus makes this a reality for those who trust Him and rely on Him for strength for daily living!

Christian Leaders Give Insights Regarding the Two Arenas

  • Ravi Zacharias said, “Jesus Christ did not come into this world to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live” ([Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000], 219). Thus, the top half of the hourglass represents death, and the bottom half (the world after repentance), life.
  • Josh McDowell has said that many people think of freedom as being able to go out and do whatever they want to do, but that isn’t freedom at all. True freedom is having the power to do what you ought to do. The top portion of the hourglass, then, is a world of restrictions that seem like freedom, and the bottom is an arena of freedom that seems overly restrictive to the many who aren’t there.
  • In a Christmas sermon, Dr. Francis Schaeffer declared (note especially the statement we have italicized): “When we perceive the simplicity and yet the grandeur of what is involved, we are overwhelmed. The second person of the Trinity lies in the manger for a reason. Because He loves the world, He has come not just to eliminate the peripheral results of man’s fall (though these will be totally removed at His second coming); He is here to cut the nerve of man’s real dilemma, to solve the problem from which all other problems flow. The ‘condition of man’ is not what modern man thinks it is. Man is a sinner who needs an overwhelming love. Jesus has come to save His people from their sins. This is not to say that He has no interest in…other things now, but we must not get the matters reversed—the central thing is central” (Francis Schaeffer, “What Difference Has Looking Made? (A Christmas Study)” No Little People, in The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, Vol. 3: A Christian View of Spirituality, [Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982] 123-124). While with God’s help, the sinner repents—he or she turns away from sin to God—God brings about a transformation in that person’s life on the basis of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. This is why Jesus came into the world. Among other things, therefore, repentance involves a recognition of the true condition of the human heart.
  • Note the words to the second stanza of the hymn “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation” by German theologian Joachim Neander (1650-1680). Especially notice the italicized words.

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen
How thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?

In the days, weeks, and months ahead, repentance will remain important, but I believe it will even take on an unprecedented urgency for our nation. As believers, we affirm that no one can get to the new world of life, freedom, and opportunity without repenting of his or her sins and trusting Christ as Savior. We affirm as well that America, as a nation, is at a crossroads. She will not survive as a free country if her people do not experience a spiritual awakening that involves repentance. Let us boldly declare the message of repentance in the context of the gospel given to us by our Lord, and let us remain confident concerning its message.

Restrictive though it may seem, genuine repentance leads to authentic freedom.

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Discernment Needed, Part 1

Why Being Nice Isn’t Enough

And this I pray, that your love may abound still
more and more in knowledge and all discernment…
—Philippians 1:9—

If there ever were a champion of winsomeness in making the case for Christianity and its values, Charles “Chuck” Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and the voice of the Christian worldview commentary BreakPoint, was that champion. For example, in the BreakPoint commentary for April 9, 2006, Colson observed, “To change the culture…we must learn how to engage the political process more winsomely. It requires a different mindset, a recognition that we’re appealing to hearts and minds, not twisting arms. In both fact and appearance we are not seeking to impose but rather to propose. The Christian Church makes a Great Proposal, inviting everyone to the table, regardless of color, ethnic origin, background, or economic status. We’re inviting people to consider a worldview that works, that makes sense, and through which people can discover shalom and human flourishing.”1

Given that this kind of encouragement was typical of Colson,2,3,4,5 a casual observer might be surprised at the BreakPoint commentary of May 14, 2015. It was titled “It’s What We Say, Not How We Say It: The Scandal of Christianity.”6 John Stonestreet, who, along with Eric Metaxas, took over BreakPoint following Colson’s death in 2012, said,

We should be reasonable, calm, and winsome when talking to, well, anyone and everyone, especially those who disagree with us: not as a debating tactic but as part of our loving our neighbors as ourselves. Just as we would want people to be reasonable, calm, and winsome when addressing us, we should do the same for them.

And in treating those who vituperate us with respect and kindness we, if nothing else, as Paul told the Romans, “heap burning coals on their heads.”

But we shouldn’t be so naïve as to think that what lies behind what sociologists David Williamson and George Yancey recently dubbed “Christianophobia”7 is a communication problem. The problem is what we’re saying, not just how we’re saying it.

Sure, there are Christians whom, in all Christian love, I wish would just be quiet. But when the New York Times8 and a major presidential candidate9 tell us that historic Christian teaching must yield to the new sexual orthodoxy, no amount of winsomeness can overcome that kind of antipathy.…

In the end, no matter how “nice” we are, our faith in Jesus and our faithfulness to His teaching will be a scandal to the world. And we are and will be treated accordingly.10

Rod Dreher, whom Stonestreet cited elsewhere in the commentary, had written a piece called “The Failure of Winsomeness.”11 Dreher expounded on some of his points in that article in an interview Stonestreet conducted with him on the May 16, 2015 edition of BreakPoint This Week.12 Dreher declared,

We in the church have watched relentless propaganda from the mainstream media for ten or twenty years about Christianity as being a source of bigotry against homosexuals, and on and on and on and on and on. I’ve worked in mainstream media newsrooms. I see that this is what they really believe. But it has had an effect on the broader culture.

It just blows my mind when I meet Christians who think that if they can only be nice, be winsome, and show that they’re not haters, that these social justice warriors on the left will like them. It’s not going to happen.

If you can look at what’s happening to Gordon College—a great school run by one of the kindest men you’ll ever meet, Mike Lindsay. They are being systematically dismantled by the state of Massachusetts, and by private industry, and by other colleges because they stand on biblical norms of sexuality. Nothing Gordon does—not the fact that those kids go…they sent kids into the poor schools, the impoverished schools in Lynn, Massachusetts, to help out. It didn’t matter. They were kicked out.13,14 The guy, the school committee member who led the charge to throw Gordon students out of these public school classrooms, compared Gordon College to the KKK.15,16 This is really how the activist left sees the church. I’m not saying the church should be militant and angry and show and ugly face to the world; what I’m saying is winsomeness will not get you very far. They really do hate us.17

Was Charles Colson wrong? No. We always need to be winsome and loving, and doing so will cause some to think carefully about what we say. In fact, we will have difficulty convincing people of the truth of the gospel if we don’t demonstrate these qualities. However, we must not be naïve. Even when these virtues are on display, the real thorn in some people’s sides is going to be, as John Stonestreet observed, “what we’re saying, not just how we’re saying it.”18

How do these people respond? Rather than sticking to the issues and contending for what they see as the merits of their positions, they paint Christians and other conservatives as mean and bigoted. Conservative columnist Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, writes,

That’s why so many Americans now seem comfortable giving the government power to violate freedom of conscience for conservatives: Evil people don’t deserve freedom and therefore, can be deprived of it. People who consider themselves civil libertarians suddenly find their inner totalitarian when it comes to Christian-owned bakeries. That can only happen when those people become convinced that Christian-owned bakeries are fronts of hatred and darkness. And that can only happen when they are falsely maligned as such, over and over again.19

In John 15:18-19, Jesus warned His disciples about the hostility they would face from the world. He said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Yes, Jesus told His disciples to love their enemies (see Matt. 5:43-44), but He also warned them to beware of all who would deceive. So did the apostles.

  • Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (Matt. 7:15-16).
  • Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1).
  • Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! (Phil. 3:2).
  • For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things (Phil. 3:18-19).
  • Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Col. 2:8).
  • But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
  • For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward (2 John 7-8).
  • Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 3-4).

“But wait!” someone may say. Didn’t Jesus say, “Judge not, that you be not judged”? (Matt. 7:1). Yes, He did, but He was telling His followers not to be hypocritically judgmental (see vv. 2-5). Immediately after offering this warning, He added, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (v. 6).

The church, sadly, is woefully lacking in discretion, discernment, and shrewdness. In fact, shrewdness is the one trait possessed by Satan that believers need to cultivate and use for godly purposes.20 We must realize that some non-Christians will continue to hold a defiant posture toward God and will never yield to Him. It is not our place to assume anyone is beyond God’s saving reach, but we also must never think, even for a New York minute, that we have the ability to convince people to like us or the values we cherish. Fully aware of the acidic and unyielding hostility of some who are opposed to righteousness, Jesus told His disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16).

Dr. Mike S. Adams understands the importance of this kind of wisdom. Hired to teach criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) in the early 1990s when he was a liberal and an atheist, Adams was well liked by both students and faculty. Several years later, however, through a process that took place over time, Adams became a Christian and a conservative. He also became an outspoken advocate for life, marriage, family, free speech, and other traditional values. Still loved by students, Adams now was hated by university administrators. This isn’t just my opinion, but a conclusion reached in court. In 2014, a federal jury determined that Adams had been denied promotion at UNCW because of the content of his work for the conservative website townhall.com. The court ordered that UNCW promote him and to give him seven years back pay.21,22,23

In his book Letters to a Young Progressive, Adams speaks straightforwardly about liberals who maliciously exploit others. He calls them Pharisees and hypocrites. A hypocrite is “One who preaches something that he does not practice and that he does not even believe.”24 Elaborating, Adams writes,

The people in my department who have no qualms about encouraging minors to get sex changes can rightly be called Pharisees.…[They] do not misrepresent the truth innocently. They knowingly lie about biological differences between the sexes…[and] they do so in order to attribute any differences in outcome between the sexes to ‘patriarchal oppression.’ This, in turn, is done to facilitate more social engineering, which creates more jobs for self-proclaimed social engineers. Of course, they are the social engineers who would benefit from those jobs.

Lying to students about basic biological facts in order to encourage genital mutilation is bad. The only thing worse would be lying about biological facts in order to encourage murder. As you will recall from our previous correspondence on abortion, the modern-day Pharisees are not above that either.25

No one ever should arbitrarily accuse anyone else of being a Pharisee, but Mike Adams has not done this. Rather, he has acted in the prophetic tradition of exposing evildoers, and consequently, the evil they promote. He’s done another essential service as well. Dr. Adams has acted to protect vulnerable minds and hearts from becoming entrapped in evil lies. Potential victims include people of all ages, although teenagers and young adults probably would be the first to be vulnerable in this instance. One is reminded of these statements of commendation and warning from Jesus—statements that have clear application here: “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:4-6).

The church can learn an important lesson from Dr. Mike Adams. It should—indeed, it must—with God’s help, recover and consistently use its prophetic voice. It can if it also will cultivate and exercise godly discernment and shrewdness, but just how did it lose such discernment in the first place? Next week we will seek to answer this question.

Part 2 is available here.

Notes:

1http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/5559-making-a-winsome-witness

2http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/18363

3http://www.colsoncenter.org/twominutewarning/entry/33/18285

4http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/20716

5http://goo.gl/yUx0zU

6http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/breakpoint-commentaries-archive/entry/13/27360

7See http://iloveyoubutyouregoingtohell.org/2015/02/02/feed-em-to-the-lions/

8See http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/opinion/sunday/frank-bruni-same-sex-sinners.html?_r=1

9See http://www.christianpost.com/news/hillary-clinton-religious-beliefs-have-to-be-changed-about-abortion-138179/

10http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/breakpoint-commentaries-archive/entry/13/27360

11http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-failure-of-winsomeness-evangelical-gay/

12BreakPoint This Week radio program: http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/discourse/entry/15/27382

13See http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/26054

14See http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/breakpoint-commentaries-archive/entry/13/26194

15See https://chainofliberty.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/gordons-glimpse-of-the-future/

16See http://www.teaparty.org/college-accuses-gay-activists-discrimination-christians-93496/

17BreakPoint This Week radio program: http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/discourse/entry/15/27382

18http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/breakpoint-commentaries-archive/entry/13/27360

19http://townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2014/04/16/why-conservatives-win-elections-and-lose-the-war-n1825037/page/full

20http://sundayschoolzone.com/cunning/

21http://townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/

22http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=158835

23http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/03/conservative-prof-wins-discrimination-lawsuit-against-unc-wilmington/

24Mike S. Adams, Letters to a Young Progressive: How to Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don’t Understand, (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2013), 228.

25Adams, 229.

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