So what is the source of quarrels and conflicts among us?

  1. Is rebelling against rebellion rebellion? Is that what Trump is doing? Is it possible to act lawlessly in a lawless nation?
  2. How is a people in our condition to go about “establish[ing] this Constitution for the United States of America?”
  3. So what is that source of quarrels? Is it “cultural fragmentation, technological developments, and economic upheaval [that] have undermined the feeling of togetherness that Americans shared just a few short decades ago”?
  4. Will the Church once again survive while the government folds once again proving man has not a clue how to govern himself?

President to announce $8 billion for border wall

  • consider the divisive response to these developments.
  • Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act
  • the deterioration of traditional religious and institutional affiliations has dissolved valuable cords of community.
  • There was a time when we interacted with our neighbors, whether we agreed with them or not.
  • Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse agrees. In Them: Why We Hate Each Other–And How to Heal, he notes that “cultural fragmentation, technological developments, and economic upheaval have undermined the feeling of togetherness that Americans shared just a few short decades ago.”


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The ‘State of the Union’ is divided: How should Christians respond?


The ‘State of the Union’ is divided: How should Christians respond?

    • For followers of Jesus, these are spiritual issues that transcend political acrimony and presidential approval ratings. How do we speak redemptively to such a divisive day?
      • In responding to the divisive issues of our day, this A-to-B strategy may prove helpful. What common ground can you find with someone with whom you disagree? What common cause can you advance together? How can you earn the right to speak hard truth in grace?

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        Rare Bible Verse Uncovered!

        I wonder if this ever made it to be verse of the day?

        Judg 6 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to devastate it.  So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the Lord.

        As a Christian in America I guess I’m going to have to look forward to the “[they] cried to the Lord” part.

        Hey America, Israel didn’t like people coming in like locusts to eat up all their resources.  Can we learn from the one we love?

        If any nation put a single woman carrying a child in front of a line of their tanks would we let them in too?

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        Instagram Deletes Post Which Says Only Men Can Be Pastors, Calls it “Hate Speech”

        Christian Headlines

        A Christian ministry had one of their posts reported to Instagram and deleted because it “doesn’t follow our Community Guidelines on hate speech or symbols.”

        Founders Ministries, which works to see “the recovery of the gospel and the biblical reformation of local churches,” posted an article on their blog titled, “Only Men Can Be Pastors.” As with every article on their site, they took a screenshot and posted it on Instagram so their followers could know there was new content available.

        The caption for the photo was the first sentence of the post, which read, “In spite of the fact that it seems more and more fashionable in our day to say that women may be pastors, the Bible is clear that pastoral leadership is restricted to men.”

        Hannah Ascol, who runs the ministry’s social media accounts, told The Christian Daily Reporter that the post had generated their “second best post engagement of the year.” She added, “There was good discussion and agreement in the comments.”

        She received a message on Sunday night informing that the Instagram post, which initially went up on Wednesday, had been reported by a user. They said they reviewed the post and deleted it. The message also warned, “If you violate our guidelines again, your account may be restricted or disabled.”

        Tom Ascol, executive director of Founders Ministries, shared about the incident on Twitter. He said, “So Instagram has censored our @FoundersMin article by Tom Hicks, “Only Men Can Be Pastors.” Big Brother can’t tolerate biblical truth in the marketplace of ideas.”

        In response to a comment from another user, Ascol further argued that “Simply asserting what the Bible says is ‘hate speech.’ At some point everyone will be made to care.”

        Founders Ministries was founded in 1982 by a group of Baptist pastors and churches who wanted to call churches back to older Baptist doctrine. Holding to the “time-tested Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) as a faithful summary of important biblical teachings,” they run articles on their website, print a journal, united like-minded churches together for fellowship, and hold conferences.

        Founders Ministries, like many conservative, evangelical churches and ministries, holds to a theological position called “complementarianism.” They assert that while men and women are created equally, God gave each unique a role that they are called to fulfill. Appealing to passages like 1 Timothy 2:12-14, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, complementarians believe that “only men should be pastors in a local church.”

        Scott Slayton writes at One Degree to Another.

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        UC Berkeley ‘Mob’ Demands Christian Student Senator Resign over Transgender Beliefs

        Christian Headlines

        A UC Berkeley Christian student is facing demands to resign her student senate seat after speaking out against a transgender rights resolution.

        But the student, Isabella Chow, says she won’t quit.

        “If I do, there will be no one else to represent the voices that are ignored and misunderstood on campus,” Chow told The San Francisco Chronicle.

        The controversy began when the student senate considered a resolution condemning the Trump administration for considering a change to the legal definition of gender. The new definition would define gender by a person’s sex at birth. The resolution also expressed support for “transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students.”

        Eighteen senators voted for the bill, and no senator voted against it. Chow abstained and then explained her vote, saying she opposes bullying and she loves all people, but could not support the resolution.

        “As a Christian, I personally do believe that certain acts and lifestyles conflict with what is good, right and true,” she said, according to The Chronicle. “I believe that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman. For me, to love another person does not mean that I silently concur when, at the bottom of my heart, I do not believe that your choices are right or the best for you as an individual.”

        Students on social media labeled her a bigot, “horrible person” and a “mental imbecile.” More than 1,000 people signed a petition urging her to resign. And hundreds of students filled a follow-up senate meeting in which Chow’s position was the only item on the agenda, The Chronicle reported. A banner was hung in the meeting room that read, “Senator Chow Resign Now.” Students, one by one, spoke at a microphone about how her words endangered transgendered people. Only three people spoke out in support of her. One of those was Matt Ronnau, who said the “mob that has descended upon Senator Chow … is a disgrace to UC, which should be a place of debate.”

        Most people on campus, though, oppose Chow. Her political party even ended its ties with her. The student newspaper urged her to resign and then refused to run a first-person column by her.

        “She could have merely abstained,” Regan Putnam, president of the Queer Alliance Resource Center, told the Chronicle. “But she took it upon herself to go into this long dialogue, talking about marriage between a man and a woman, and shrouding hate in ‘love.’ Nobody asked her to explain her vote. Nobody who voted ‘yes’ had to explain their vote.”

        Chow said she is “frustrated and sad that Berkeley students are forced to live in a bubble, and we have to protect ourselves from anything that a vocal population deems to be offensive.”

        “I go to classes, and people are looking at me. I’ve been painted in such a negative light,” Chow told The Chronicle. “Everybody’s talking about it. No matter how much I tried to say, ‘I can love you and still disagree with you,’ people still interpret my disagreement with being a bigot and a hater.”

        She is a junior majoring in business administration and music.

        “No,” she told The Chronicle, “I’m not planning to resign.”

        Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog,

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        Ginsburg’s Fall Reminds Us Of Our Mortality

        “Liberal icon” fractures 3 ribs in fall

        “Take my ribs, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” This is how many across the nation have responded to the news that the longtime Supreme Court justice fell in her office Wednesday evening, breaking three ribs. Others have been less charitable.

        Justice Ginsburg is a metaphor for American culture. How you reacted to the news of her accident likely reveals your position on today’s highly partisan political spectrum.

        “A flaming feminist litigator”
        Justice Ginsburg was one of nine women in her class at Harvard Law School. She was the first woman to become a tenured professor at Columbia University Law School and the co-founder of the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU. As the leader of this project, she successfully argued six landmark cases before the Supreme Court.

        President Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993; the Senate confirmed her by a ninety-six to three vote. Since that time, she has gained a reputation for personal fortitude. She has yet to miss a day of oral arguments, even while undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, recovering from surgery for colon cancer, and grieving the death of her husband in 2010.

        Ginsburg has become a “liberal icon” who describes herself as “a flaming feminist litigator.” Her criticism of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign drew applause from his critics and censure from his supporters.

        One of the gravest challenges we face
        It is tempting to view today’s polarization of the Supreme Court as a necessary reflection of the polarization of our nation. Since we are divided between “red” and “blue” states, rural and urban, liberals and conservatives, it seems fitting that our justices reflect such division. And it seems appropriate that the president should be able to make judicial nominations consistent with his political position since he was elected by the will of the people.

        As a very strong pro-life supporter, you might expect me to defend this position since it led to the recent appointments of two conservative justices. But I do not.

        In fact, I consider the politicization of the Supreme Court to be one of the gravest challenges our democracy faces.

        Unlike every other democracy in the world, America’s federal and Supreme Court justices are given lifetime appointments. Alexander Hamilton, in The Federalist Papers: No. 78, explained the founders’ reasoning. Defending “the permanent tenure of judicial offices,” he stated that “nothing will contribute so much as this to that independent spirit in the judges which must be essential to the faithful performance of so arduous a duty.”

        In other words, lifetime appointments are intended to protect the justices from the vagaries of shifting political agendas. This provision has been heavily criticized over the years by those who believe it makes the justices less accountable to the people.

        But such accountability is precisely what the founders did not intend.

        Decisions that would have shocked the Founders
        As I noted yesterday, our foundational declaration that “all men are created equal” was articulated within a Judeo-Christian worldview. This worldview embraces a consensual morality grounded in the realities of absolute truth and objective morality. This commitment to objective truth applies to the US Constitution, a document which I believe its authors intended to be interpreted and applied objectively.

        They made provision for amendments as needed but would be shocked to see it treated as a “living document” that can be interpreted and applied according to the changing political and moral beliefs of the day. But this is just how some of our Supreme Court justices view the Constitution.

        This approach enabled them to discover a “right to privacy” within the Fourteenth Amendment that they utilized to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage. It is inconceivable to me that the founders would have intended such “rights.” I am not alone in this conviction.

        In his dissent on the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage, Chief Justice Roberts stated: “Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.” He suggested to those celebrating the majority’s decision, “Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

        Justice Thomas agreed: “The majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a ‘liberty’ that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect.”

        “Sojourners and exiles”
        I believe that our Founders intended our judges and justices to interpret and apply the Constitution according to its original intent (a position known as “originalism”).

        I am therefore convinced that Roe v. Wade was a grave error, not just because life begins at conception, but because the ruling was based on a flawed “right to privacy” and should be overturned on its legal merits. (See this excellent article by Christianity Today‘s Matt Reynolds for more.) I believe the same is true for Obergefell‘s discovery of a “right” to same-sex marriage.

        But since I am not a lawyer but a theologian, I suspect that you are reading this Daily Article not for my legal opinions but for biblical commentary. What I have written to this point is but a long introduction to this fact: this culture is not our home.

        In a day when judicial rulings and conventional wisdom are based more on political and personal opinions than objective morality, we can expect cultural chaos to continue. Religious liberty will be protected in some rulings and assailed in others. Biblical values will likely come under escalating opposition as the post-Christian trajectory of our day continues.

        “Sojourners and exiles” in this world are to “keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12). When that day comes, we will be judged not by Supreme Court justices who are fallen like us but by the Supreme Judge of the universe (2 Corinthians 5:10).

        Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fall reminds us of her mortality, and of ours as well.

        Are you prepared to meet your Lord?

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        If You Code What Is Your Code Of Conduct?

        BreakPoint: Christian Wisdom in Silicon Valley

        Tech Company Embraces The Rule of St. Benedict

        Do you remember “What would Jesus do?” Here’s a new question: What would Benedict do?

        You’ve probably heard something about the Rule of Saint Benedict, a famous work written in the sixth century by Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western monasticism. For fifteen hundred years The Rule has guided monks in their shared religious life by encouraging prayer, obedience, and manual labor. It also served as a foundation for the idea of a written constitution and the rule of law across medieval Europe.

        Which brings us to today. D. Richard Hipp is the founder of a public domain database management engine called SQLite that’s used in major browsers, smart phones, Adobe, and Skype. Hipp is asking a question almost never heard in the high-tech world: What would Benedict do? Hipp, a professing Christian, has put forward a new set of community standards for SQLite programmers based on the Rule of Saint Benedict.

        The Rule, and now the community standards of SQLite, include the following duties: “First of all, love the Lord God with your whole heart, your whole soul, and your whole strength. Then, love your neighbor as yourself. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal.”

        Digging a little deeper into the Rule of Saint Benedict, we find these admonitions, most of which come straight from God’s Word: “Be not proud. Be not addicted to wine. Be not a great eater. Be not drowsy. Be not lazy. Be not a grumbler. Be not a detractor. Put your hope in God. Attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good you see in yourself. Recognize always that evil is your own doing, and to impute it to yourself.”

        As Christianity Today’s Kate Shellnutt reports, SQLite’s developers are on board, pledging to “govern their interactions with each other, with their clients, and with the larger SQLite user community in accordance with the ‘instruments of good works’ from the fourth chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict.”


        Of course, the code of conduct is a suggestion, not a mandate. It’s an invitation to true wisdom. “No one is required to follow The Rule, to know The Rule, or even to think that The Rule is a good idea,” the company maintains. “The Founder of SQLite believes that anyone who follows The Rule will live a happier and more productive life, but individuals are free to dispute or ignore that advice if they wish.”

        And, not surprisingly for Silicon Valley, there are more than a few users who do dispute the Rule of Saint Benedict’s applicability to a popular software application. “I am quite baffled by this,” said one commenter. “I mean this is some strange place to promote Christianity.” Another said, “Religious discrimination isn’t ok, and being annoyed by it isn’t blowing things out of proportion.”

        Hipp, however, is unapologetic in the face of such criticism. “The values expressed by the current [code of conduct] have been unchanged for decades and will not be changing as we move forward,” he said on an SQLite message board. “If some people are uncomfortable with those values, then I am very sorry for them, but that does not change the fact.”

        Now, making The Rule a guide for so-called secular business isn’t as outlandish as you might think, either. One study concludes that “these monastic organizations turn out to be highly successful businesses with remarkably low employee turnover and high profitability,” and that “the RSB can contribute, outside of the monastic context, to the creation and running of more ‘humane’ organizations.”

        It’s amazing, isn’t it, how empowering God’s rules can be for all of life, and not just for what is so often called the religious part.

        While we may not be in the position of a Richard Hipp in the high-flying software industry, surely we can use our influence in whatever corner of the world God has placed us to show our neighbors His love for them and His desire that they flourish in Him.

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