Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.
Of the Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Nobel laureate Pearl S. Buck declared,
The man was admirable. He never gave in one inch to anyone. He never bowed his head. It was not in him to trim or compromise, to accept any peace that was less than triumph. He was a glorious enemy because he was completely open and direct in his angers and hatreds. He stood for something and everyone knew what it was.
Lest you be tempted to dismiss Buck’s praise as predictably biased because, after all, she was raised by Presbyterian missionaries living in China, consider the view of H.L. Mencken.
Mencken was known for his caustic criticisms of Christians in general and ministers in particular. He described the Creator as “a comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh” and once wrote, “Shave a gorilla and it would be almost impossible, at twenty paces, to distinguish him from a heavyweight champion of the world. Skin a chimpanzee, and it would take an autopsy to prove he was not a theologian.”
And yet, Mencken pronounced great admiration for Machen:
Dr. Machen is surely no mere soap-boxer of God, alarming bucolic sinners for a percentage of the plate. On the contrary, he is a man of great learning.… His moral advantage over his Modernist adversaries, like his logical advantage, is immense and obvious. He faces the onslaught of the Higher Criticism without flinching, and he yields nothing of his faith to expediency or decorum.
When Machen died, Mencken compared him to another prominent Presbyterian, politician William Jennings Bryan, with these words: “Dr. Machen was to Bryan as the Matterhorn is…
“War Room,” the new Christian drama from Kendrick Brothers Productions, is hitting theaters across the U.S. on Friday.
Co-directors and co-writers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, known for films such as “Facing the Giants” and “Courageous,” believe their latest work is their best.
“‘War Room’ is filled with heart like our other films,” Stephen told WND. “Like our other films, you’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna cry, be caught up with the story and inspired by messages from Scripture that hopefully will enrich your own life.”
Alex said he and Stephen spent a lot of time praying for guidance regarding the film’s emphasis, and the answer was that it should be about prayer itself.
“[God] pointed us to the power of prayer, and even the weapon that prayer can be, and the fact that we need to go seek Him first and do our battles first in prayer,” Alex told WND.
The concept of prayer as a battle inspired the movie’s title, according to Alex. Just as military commanders plan their strategy in a war room before they hit the battlefield, the Kendricks believe Christians must go into their prayer closets and pray before going outside and living out the gospel.
Alex cited Matthew 6:6, where Jesus instructs his followers on how to pray: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Said Alex: “We want to call the church and remind them of the crucial priority that prayer should be in your life for every area. You can pray about anything. But spend that time exclusively with the Lord, undistracted, before we fight our battles in life.”
The Kendricks have both served as Baptist pastors.
“You can shut up all the world’s arguments with a true demonstration of God’s power, and prayer is a demonstration of the power of God,” Stephen said. “Jesus said if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, we can pray and ask and He will work and move mightily on our behalf.”
Stephen pointed to some historical examples of the power of prayer. The biblical heroine Esther, he said, “completely rocked the political system” of her day after praying for three days and going in before her king. The Great Awakenings, he argued, transformed America after more and more Americans began praying.
The Kendricks argue now is a great time for Americans to turn to God through prayer, considering all the turmoil in the country.
“We believe that right now, the politics is not getting it done, more money is not getting it done, the fights and the racism, the cultural wars,” Stephen said. “We go back to, what does Scripture say God will do if we repent, if we as a nation will seek his face and humble ourselves and pray? He says he’ll heal our land. He says He’ll work. We see it in history. We see it in the Scripture. We believe He wants to do it now.”
The event is held on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks because that day was a “national wake-up call” and “epitomized our dependence on God and our helplessness without Him,” according to 911DayofPrayer.org.
The Kendricks agree with the event’s founders that Americans have slipped into a pattern of immorality and need to pray for God’s mercy on them and on the country.
“God has worked miraculously in previous generations when believers united together across racial and denominational lines and began to cry out to Him on behalf of their nations,” Stephen stated. “The second and first Great Awakenings in America happened because believers were praying. We believe the time is now for believers to get desperate before the Lord and begin to cry out to Him based upon what is going on in our country.”
Stephen encourages people to see “War Room”before Sept. 11 so they can use it as a “catalyst of prayer” in preparation for the 9/11 Day of Prayer.
The brothers hope their film encourages Christians who might be distracted by petty differences such as worship styles to unify around Jesus as the only hope for the future.
“When we unify around the foundation of our faith, Jesus Christ the Son of God who died on the cross, rose from the grave – when we unify around that, and that is the greatest reason to unify, we can accomplish so much more as a body of Christ,” Alex said.
“War Room” is the fifth film the Kendricks have worked on together. Their previous efforts were “Flywheel” (2003), “Facing the Giants” (2006), “Fireproof” (2008) and “Courageous” (2011).
The movies have all dealt with Christian themes: “Facing the Giants” was about faith, “Fireproof” focused on love and “Courageous” dealt with courage and faith as a parent, Alex noted. But the brothers are most excited about “War Room,” which they say was filmed with a different cast, a different crew and at different locations.
Stephen said, “We think it’s the best one yet in so many ways, and so we’re asking the Lord to use it right now in people’s lives, and we’re looking forward to August 28.”
Asked whether or not the growing world population will be a major problem, 59% of Americans agreed it will strain the planet’s natural resources, while 82% of U.S.-based members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said the same. Just 17% of AAAS scientists and 38% of Americans said population growth won’t be a problem because we will find a way to stretch natural resources. — Pew Research Center
“If humanity is to have a long-term future,” writes James Dyke at the Conversation, “we must address all these challenges [of population growth] at the same time as reducing our impacts on the planetary processes that ultimately provide not just the food we eat, but water we drink and air we breathe. This is a challenge far greater than those that so exercised Malthus 200 years ago.”
Thomas Malthus was a pioneer in political economy who wrote a famous 1798 essay on the dangers of population growth. Nowadays, environmentalists concerned with “sustainable growth” typically invoke Malthusian concerns as they recommend government interventions.
Free-market thinkers tend to reject such “solutions” as unnecessary, but beyond the technical policy debate, there is also a strand in the free-market community that embraces population growth with optimism.
The crux of Malthus’s original essay was that unchecked populations grow exponentially, whereas food production grows — at best — linearly. The following passage sums up the bleak Malthusian view of life:
(LifeNews) A new report from the Alabama state health department confirms that the Planned Parenthood abortion business failed to report the rapes of a 14-year-old girl who ultimately had two abortions during a four-month time period. This is the latest bad publicity for the abortion company after Planned Parenthood was found in a series of videos to be selling aborted babies and their body parts.
The latest report from the Alabama Department of Public Health about the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Mobile is dated from November but was only made public on August 13th.
There are several major problems, including failure to report possible sexual abuse of minor, failure to document all records correctly, patient care issues, and infection control problems. Regarding the failure to report the sexual abuse of a minor, the report states:
My daughters and I were recently in a car accident. The whole thing happened behind us so we aren’t sure of the details, but so far as we have been able to discover, a driver swerved to avoid someone who was driving erratically. As he swerved, his car hit ours. He went into a ditch, and we went into a spin in the middle of four lanes of high-speed traffic. The erratic driver never stopped or even slowed down.
Everyone involved in the accident is okay.
After I got home that night and got the kids calmed down, I poured myself a glass of wine and started to think about why the accident had been so scary. Part of it was, of course, that car accidents are scary things. Part of it was, of course, that my children were with me.
But I think the biggest part of it was that it wasn’t my fault.
I was driving along in perfect weather conditions, at the speed limit, obeying all the traffic laws, wearing my seat belt, not texting or talking on the phone, not distracted by the radio or a talking child. And then, out of nowhere, the car jolted and started to spin. I was in danger — all of us were in danger — and nothing I had done had caused it. And nothing I could do could stop it.
Nothing I had done had caused it. And nothing I could do could stop it.
We all want to be safe. As the political season heats up, politician after politician will try to persuade us that he or she is the best person with the best plans to protect us from all of the scary possibilities the world contains.
We’ve already been offered a wall along our southern border so that no illegal immigrants can enter the United States or commit crimes here; a $15 hourly minimum wage so that no one will ever have to be poor again; an increase in the war on drugs in order to decrease violence; a decrease in the war on drugs in order to decrease vio…
(BREITBART) — In a just-released statement, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump immediately responded to a statement released by Roger Ailes Tuesday by disputing the Fox News chief’s defense of Megyn Kelly as a “quality journalist.”
“I totally disagree with the FOX Statement,” Trump writes. “I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist. I think her questioning of me … was unfair. Hopefully in the future I will be proven wrong and she will be able to elevate her standards to a level of professionalism that a network such as FOX deserves.
Marriage is society’s primary institutional arrangement that defines parenthood. –Jennifer Roback Morse
The idea of marriage privatization is picking up steam. And it makes strange bedfellows.
There are old-school gay activists suspicious that state marriage is a way for politicians to socially engineer the family through the tax code. There are religious conservatives who are upset that a state institution seems to violate their sacred values. Don’t forget the libertarians for whom “privatize it” is more a reflex than a product of reflection.
But they all agree: it would be a good idea to get the government out of the marriage business. Principle, it turns out, is pragmatic.
First, let’s disentangle two meanings for one word that easily get confused. When we say “marriage,” we might be referring to:
A. a commitment a couple enters into as a rite or acknowledgment within a religious institution or community group (private); or
B. a legal relationship that two people enter into, which the state currently licenses (public).
Now, the questions that follow are: Does the government need to be involved in A? The near-universal answer in the United States is no. But does the government need to be as involved as it is in B? Here’s where the debate gets going.
I think the government can and should get out of B, and everyone will be better for it. This is what I mean by marriage privatization.
Some argue that marriage is “irreducibly public.” For Jennifer Roback Morse, it has to do with the fate of children and families. For Shikha Dalmia, it has to do with the specter of increased government involvement, a reinflamed culture war, an…
Franklin Graham, the president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is warning Christians they must stand up for their beliefs or their religious freedoms will be lost.
He was commenting on Facebook about a Mississippi high-school band that was barred from performing the traditional hymn “How Great Thou Art” in their halftime show Friday night.
The hymn was regularly sung by George Beverly Shea at the opening of Billy Graham’s evangelistic events for nearly six decades.
“If ‘How Great Thou Art’ is banned, does that mean ‘God bless America’ is off limits as well? And probably Lee Greenwood’s … ‘God Bless the USA’ too?” Graham wrote. “I guess any other name except our Lord’s would be acceptable in a song for the band!”
He continued: “What are we allowing to happen here? We’re going to have to stand up for the faith or we’re going to lose every freedom we have as Christians. Remember, it begins with just one person, but it takes all of us – praying, living out our faith, and standing firm.”
The Rankin County School District told the Brandon High School band it could not perform the hymn due to an order by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves prohibiting “prayer, religious sermons or activities in any school sponsored event,” Fox News reported. Reeves ruled in July that the district violated a 2013 agreement in a case brought by a student who complained of Christian meetings on campus. The judge ordered the district to pay $7,500 in fines in July for allowing a Christian minister to pray at an awards ceremony.
School Board President Ann Sturdivant told the Clarion Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, that because of the court order, the board “had no choice” but to bar performance of the hymn.
Reeves wrote in his order that schools “owe a duty to all students to refrain from conduct which gives the appearance of advocating a particular religion.”
“In fairness to and protection of all, they must remain neutral. This same duty is owed to the parents who submit their children to the protection of educators, entrusting that they will sharpen their academic minds.”
“When I picked the halftime show in late February of last year it was with full administrative support, but the Rankin County School Board has decided that we are not allowed to perform the half time show due to recent court rulings,” the email from band director Tim Cable said.
“During halftime of Friday night’s game – a lone voice began to sing the forbidden song,” he wrote.
“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,’ the singer sang.
Graham picked up the story.
“It began with just one person. After Brandon High School’s band was unbelievably banned from performing ‘How Great Thou Art’ at half-time during Friday night’s season opening football game, some in the crowd decided they weren’t going to just sit by and take it. There was a hum, and then one person stood and began singing. Then one by one, hundreds of people stood up in the stadium and together they sang the ‘forbidden’ song – ‘How Great Thou Art.’ Good for them!”
Starnes said it was clear the people thought “a message had to be sent to the likes of Judge Reeves.”
Brittany Mann told Starnes she witnessed the moment of defiance.
“We were just sitting there and then one by one people started to stand,” she said. “At first, it started out as a hum but the sound got louder and louder.”
Man described it as a “truly incredible” moment to watch hundreds of people singing together in the stadium.
“At that moment I was so proud of my town – coming together and taking a stand for something we believe in,” she said. “It breaks my heart to see where our country is going — getting farther and farther away from the Christian beliefs that our country was founded on.”
Starnes commented: “Oh what a sight it must have been – as hundreds and hundreds of people stood together and with one voice – sent a message to Judge Reeves.
He said the “time has come to put an end to their cultural jihad.”
“I hope the Rankin County School Board will reconsider its decision and allow the marching band to resume performing ‘How Great Thou Art,’” he said.
“And should Judge Reeves make good on his threat to financially punish the school district, I will personally pay the $10,000 fine.”
According to British philosopher John Gray, economist F.A. Hayek failed to grasp the fundamental inefficiency of capitalism, held to an ahistorical theory of business cycles, misunderstood the Great Depression, and offered policy recommendations that would have been disastrous had any government listened.
Gray offers these critiques in the July 30 issue of New Statesman, in an article on the life, intellectual achievements, and mistakes of the renowned Austrian economist and Nobel laureate. Gray even claims that Hayek’s greatest intellectual rival, John Maynard Keynes, was the better economist of the two.
Gray’s analysis is full of problems.
Hayek on the Impossibility of Central Planning
Gray begins by writing that while Hayek was right in his critical analysis of socialism and central planning, he failed to realize that the same criticisms apply to the market economy.
According to Hayek, central planning is doomed to fail because of the natural limits of human knowledge. For him, the main function of the market system is to provide a method for the fast and efficient transmission of information between individuals, which facilitates economic cooperation. This is possible thanks to the free and unrestricted interaction between supply and demand that forms market prices. The variations in their values immediately signal to entrepreneurs which goods or services and production processes are likely to be more profitable investments. (Hayek elaborates these ideas in his famous essays “Economics and Knowledge” and “The Use of Knowledge in Society.”)
Hayek’s criticism of socialism is based on this theory of the market as a system for the transfe…
Friday’s American stock market provided further evidence of instability in the nation’s economy, and even as financiers fear a possible fiscal disaster in September, there has been little coverage among U.S. media.
But the state-run media of Russia is warning of what it calls America’s “economic apocalypse.”
It continues: “Most of the experts agree that all the optimistic data like record earnings on Wall Street and a surging dollar is just disguising fundamental cracks, and the collapse of historic proportions will happen within few months, starting in the U.S.
“No wonder such forecasts, and there are dozens, from professional economists leave U.S. and the world dizzy and shivering in fear and helplessness, just what one would probably feel if the actual apocalypse was coming.”
The seven-year, biblical Shemitah cycle ends Sept. 13
The European Organization for Nuclear Research begins a controversial experiment
Pope Francis arrives at the White House on Sept. 23 and will make an unprecedented address to a joint session of Congress the next day
The fourth and last “blood moon” in the tetrad occurs on Sept. 28, on the biblical Feast of Tabernacles
With temporal, spiritual and economic events lining up for next month, some pastors are urging Christians to be prepared, warning they cannot rely on most American media outlets to report the truth.
Carl Gallups, a pastor, former law enforcement officer and author of the upcoming book “Be Thou Prepared,” observes: “With the onslaught of predicted ominous events scheduled to occur in or around September of this year, as well as the actual scheduled events possessing possible prophetic overtones, a lot of people certainly are tuned in to the end of this year with a laser focus. Sadly, it sometimes seems the Russian media is more reliable and eclectic in its reporting than is the American media. Given the fact that the United States media often seems loathe to report on anything biblical or Christian in nature, unless it is excoriating or marginalizing them, this should not surprise us.”
Gallups says the Russian media’s focus on September may reflect a political and even religious agenda. After all, he notes, “Russia and Putin have made a big deal lately about the infusion of ‘Christian influence’ in Putin’s ‘new’ Russian culture.
“As to the reliability of Russia’s speculation that something catastrophic is going to happen in America this fall, and particularly this September, I suppose their conjectures are [as] good as any. I doubt that they have any special prophetic insight into these matters. Unless they have some sort of covert plans to attempt to be a part of a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy.’ I certainly would not put that past them at all.”
“In reading these articles, I find the common denominator to all of them is that the American media is clueless,” he told WND.
Biltz says Christians should be especially watchful after Sept. 14, which he says begins a new biblical seven-year cycle.
“According to biblical history, the seven year cycle of plenty followed by a seven year cycle of famine began on Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets. If we have a financial catastrophe this fall, it could well be that we have entered into one of the most significant biblical seven year cycles of human history.”
Biltz believes one of the most significant signs “this could be the beginning of the last week of Daniel’s prophesied 70th week,” is a report the United Nations will impose a Palestinian state in September. Following the agreement with Iran, France has begun pressuring the United States to reverse its previous opposition to a resolution in the United Nations Security Council establishing a Palestinian state.
When would the resolution be brought before the entire United Nations? The most likely scenario is after the beginning of the next session of the United Nations General Assembly – which begins on Sept. 15, during Rosh Hashanah. What’s more, the upcoming session of the U.N. General Assembly will be the 70th session in the organization’s history.
Biltz argues: “Right now, France is working on a proposed resolution which would give formal U.N. Security Council recognition to the Palestinians, would declare that a divided Jerusalem is the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state, and would set the 1967 borders as the baseline for future negotiations which would establish the final borders between the two nations.
“If the U.N. pushes this peace agreement recognizing a Palestinian State on Rosh Hashanah in particular, then woe to those nations who have signed on. As it declares in the book of Joel 3:2, ‘I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.’”
Biltz urges Americans to especially be vigilant during the crucial time of September 2015.
“We need to be watchman that are aware of the signs of the times. This has the potential to be one of the most auspicious signs yet!”
Gallups also thinks Christians should be especially watchful at this time.
“When we see the convergence of prophetic signs around us – those in the near future and those that have already taken place, I don’t see how a legitimate student of the Word of God can deny the uniquely prophetic times in which we are living. The Middle East is aflame with terrorism, most of it directed squarely upon the church and Israel – undeniably two of God’s primary witnesses to the end times’ world.
“When you add to this mix the fact that the biblically prophesied last days’ Israel is back in the land and now is in possession of Jerusalem and surrounded by vicious enemies on every side, daily breathing out destructive threats against her, how can one miss the signs of the times?”
Gallups believes Biltz is right to ascribe significance to the confluence of events in September surrounding the final “blood moon” of the tetrad.
“On top of everything else, we also have the undeniable convergence of the blood moon cycle and the Shemitah year – both of which culminate in September. It remains to see whether those occurrences are harbingers of prophetic things to come – but we shall soon know.”
Gallups urges Christians to be cautious and prepare themselves for any occurrence, rather than expecting one specific event.
“I admit that there are many amazing things happening in the world around us, many of which are converging this fall, I also acknowledge that ultimately the Lord is on His throne – Jesus Christ is still in charge – ‘In Him all things hold together.’ This is the balance I keep … be prepared always. There is a biblically balanced and spiritually mature manner in which we must live in the midst of these prophetic days.”
Author and Bible teacher Jonathan Cahn in the message posted to YouTube is calling for a period of national prayer and repentance leading up to the pivotal month of September.
He also issued a new warning about a “desecration” that often precedes judgment and is already present in American society. He calls for Christians to prepare for persecution and get ready to stand for God in a coming period of strife that will increasingly be devoid of “gray areas” or middle ground.
In the video, he says his main theme continues to be that of judgment visiting America. This will bring a “shaking” in the financial and economic realms. These tremors may spread beyond the economic realm.
The harbingers of coming judgment that Cahn first wrote about in 2012 in his New York Times-best-seller, “The Harbinger,” have continued long past the writing of that story, he said. The Tree of Hope, a spruce or cedar that in the Bible symbolizes a nation’s strength, was planted at Ground Zero in New York following 9/11 but it withered and died. It was finally uprooted on Passover 2014.
The new office tower built to replace the Twin Towers opened earlier this year only to have the first tenants overrun by an infestation of vermin.
But one of the most critical harbingers for America is its relationship with Israel, Cahn said.
“The relations between America and Israel are at its worst. This is a dangerous sign for America. America is now pressing for a deal that Israel says will put Israel in danger. That is also ominous,” Cahn said. “All these things: Israel, the harbingers, the apostasy, the Shemitah, all these things are converging, and we need to take heed now.”
He said he gave dates in his book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah” to show that God often works, especially in economic matters, according to the seven-year cycle given to Moses as Mount Sinai and recorded in Deuteronomy.
While this is something “to be aware of the signs of the times,” the bigger issue for America is that judgment is imminent. The U.S. clearly “crossed a line,” he said, with the Supreme Court decisions on abortion, removing prayer from schools and most recently in its arrogant redefinition of the God-given covenant of marriage.
“The first caution is, God doesn’t have to do anything. He is sovereign. He doesn’t have to work according to our understanding, He is beyond our understanding. Nothing has to happen in September or the autumn. It could be very uneventful,” Cahn said. “And if nothing happens, well then, what will we do? We will praise God, we will be bold for the Lord, we will spread the gospel, we will stand as witnesses for God and we will glorify His name.”
Watch Jonathan Cahn’s 18-minute YouTube message in its entirety below:
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