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Now that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Depatment and the FBI are no longer holding press briefings on the Mandalay Bay massacre, it is up to citizen journalists to dig for the truth in Sin City.

Yesterday’s post featured a video by independent journalists Laura Loomer and Jason Goodman. Loomer was also part of James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas and was in New York this week helping them with their ongoing American Pravda series.

She is returning to Las Vegas next week to investigate further. She also wants to get more information about the security guard Jesus Campos, who is rather a blank slate:

I will have more on Campos soon.

Meanwhile, Jason Goodman is still in Las Vegas looking for clues. He returned to Jesus Campos’s house, which has been under security protection for at least two weeks. Oddly, the company On Scene, which provides the security guard, has not had a valid business licence since January 2017. Although the guard says nothing, we learn from Goodman’s questions that the shooter was cremated rather quickly, closing down any further enquiry. The house in the video is Campos’s neighbour’s as the security guard is parking in their driveway so that his licence plate cannot be seen:

Goodman also went to the Clark County Coroner’s Office which has been on lockdown since the shooting. Laura, the lady who talks to him, says that has never happened before and she does not know when it will reopen to the public:

Strange stuff.

Some of my readers probably know that Jesus Campos and the maintenance man Steve Schuck were on the Ellen DeGeneres television show on Wednesday, October 18. Laura Loomer watched the entire show and said that the two came on after Ellen’s quips on a wide range of topics, from lesbianism to false accusations of sexual assault.

Loomer appeared on a talk radio show to express her disgust not only at the tasteless placement of the interview after all of the other topics discussed but also at the lack of ethics in Ellen’s interviewing the two men. For several years, Ellen has had a contract with MGM casinos — of which Mandalay Bay is one — to have a slot machine with her name and image on it. Her machines were revamped in September, and she went to the MGM Grand that month to film a clip of herself talking with women playing them.

You can see the eight-minute interview with Campos and Schuck here. It was high on low information. It was also creepy to see the maintenance man stroke the security guard.

My past few posts have been about the Mandalay Bay massacre, which took place on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

On October 15, Your News Wire posted an article about the mysterious disappearances, including one death, of those who either saw the shooter or were at the concert.

I won’t go into the security guard at this time. Below is a summary and additional information about two others, ending with video testimony from two more not mentioned in the article.

Chad Nishimura

Chad Nishimura is a young Hawaiian who was a valet at Mandalay Bay when the shooter checked in.

On Tuesday, October 3, a Hawaiian ABC affiliate KITV4 ran a story on Nishimura’s encounter with the shooter. The story was subsequently deleted from their website. You can read it here, and it is also available via The Red Elephants and Neon Nettle.

KITV’s article reads in part:

A Kamehameha graduate working as a valet at the Mandalay Bay Resort said he parked the shooter’s car on Saturday. The gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, checked his car into the hotel on Saturday morning.

Valet Chad Nishimura, who is from Mililani, said he spoke briefly with Paddock.

“Just in shock, really. It’s scary to know that I was close to someone that was that dangerous. I would’ve never thought. He seemed like a normal guy. When he came in, nothing too weird about him. He didn’t have any crazy bags with him that I can remember. We are a convention hotel so we have a bunch of people that have boxes and multiple carts worth of stuff. There’s nothing weird that I can remember,” Nishimura said.

Nishimura and hundreds of employees at Mandalay Bay are cooperating with FBI agents as investigations continue.

Your News Wire tells us that Nishimura:

disappeared without trace after giving a statement to a Hawaiian mainstream news network, KITV4, about his brush with the killer. Nishimura directly contradicted the official narrative by claiming that Paddock arrived at the hotel with “not many bags” – certainly nowhere near enough to hold the amount of weapons and ammunition that was found in Paddock’s hotel suite.

Hmm.

The Red Elephants adds:

Even more strange is the fact that social media accounts for Nishimura have been deleted as well.

The team at Neon Nettle searched for his social media accounts and posted screengrabs:

When searching Chad Nishimura’s social media accounts, it just leads to dead ends after his profiles have all been shut down.

His Facebook page now just has an error screen that says the page was removed.

Even his Linkedin profile has been taken down.

Hmmmmm. I very much hope he is all right.

Kymberley Suchomel

Kymberley Suchomel was with friends at the concert on October 1. She was found dead at her home in California on Monday, October 9.

She and her grandmother Julie Norton co-founded a charity called the High Desert Phoenix Foundation, so her death should raise questions. She was well-known and admired in her home town, Apple Valley.

Your News Wire says:

The cause of her death has yet to be confirmed.

Kymberley Suchomel was one of the lucky attendees at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas who managed to escape the hail of bullets without being injured. Shortly after fleeing the scene with friends, she made a statement to mainstream media claiming that there were “multiple gunmen” firing weapons into the crowd and that she was chased by one such man.

When she was questioned on the veracity of her story, given the official story that there was only one gunman, she said that she was more than “100% sure” that she was right.

You can read Suchomel’s detailed Facebook testimony in full, archived here and here. It is dated October 5.

Excerpts follow, so please be sure to read the whole post, which is harrowing:

I have been receiving phone calls, messages & texts galore since Sunday night, and I have been providing the same copy & pasted message to each of those who have contacted me. A really quick, vague, account of what happened at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas. It has been nearly 72 hours since the nightmare took place, and I am finally able to sit here & put into words my own personal account. I have attached some photos of the fun we did have …

After about 20 minutes of Jason Aldean’s set, I got this overwhelming feeling to go stand over by [her friend] Casie. I can’t tell you why, but I did. The entire time I was dancing next to her I kept thinking to myself, “why? Why don’t I go back to my spacious area?? There is no room to dance over here.. I am not having a good time over here… okay, on the next song I will”. But, there wasn’t a next song.

From about 50 feet in front of us, and a little to the right, fire crackers were set off. Let me repeat that… FIRE CRACKERS WERE SET OFF. I verbally stated “some asshole just shot of fire crackers in close proximity to so many people”. I was literally pissed off. You could see Jason Aldean look to his left kind of startled by it, but he was also clearly irritated. I would say about 15 seconds later, the first volley of gunfire was released. It was a shorter volley than any of the others, and the gunfire was not as close together either. EVERYONE looked up, down, around. We thought it was more fire crackers at first, but then Ricky reached over, told us all to put our boots on, quickly. And the volley ended. Then people started to panic. The gentlemen behind me looked at me as I was putting on my boots, half laying down, and said “calm down crazy, its just fireworks, jeez”. That is when the 2nd volley went off, [friend] Ricky yelled at us all to get down, flat, & we immediately knew there was someone shooting at us. I remember getting down, but I didn’t lay flat for some reason, thinking- oh my gosh, I need to get flatter than I am now, but my body just wouldn’t let me. That was the 2nd volley. At the end of that volley ( I am still struggling to get my boots on), we turned and tried to run, but the people behind us still weren’t moving. I yelled at the lady “RUN! ITS GUNFIRE! RUUUUUUUUUNNNNN!!!” The look on her face was pure terror, but she finally dropped her stuff and turned to begin running…. But then the 3rd volley hit… and it was close. Very, very close to us. I could physically see the impact of the bullets on the astro-turf, I could feel the warmth & the passing of bullets. Once that 3rd volley was over, Casie linked her arm into mine, and we decided at that moment we weren’t stopping- we were getting the Hell out of there. And I do mean Hell. We were in literal Hell. The gentlemen that mocked me stating it was just fireworks fell to the ground, and he never got back up. The lady behind me (who was now in front of me) who was terrified as I told her to run, never got back up. I actually had to physically step over her body to run (something I am still struggling with, so please don’t attack me. I was absolutely in flight-or-fight mode). There was another person to my right who also wasn’t moving. We ran. I don’t know what direction we ran, I don’t know towards which landmark we ran. We just ran. It was at this time our group got split up. Casie & I were together. Ricky, Cassie & Mendy were together.

We were rounding some sort of corner maybe- and I looked to the right and I saw this large cowboy sitting down with his legs spread, holding a blood-soaked woman. I thought to myself “we NEED to hide”, but as I looked quickly for somewhere to go, the gunfire once again got closer and closer. We couldn’t hide because they (and I do mean THEY) were chasing us. That exact moment is when I started to really panic. That is the exact moment in which I thought this was it, I was going to die, I was never going to see my family again. So, as we are running, we approach this fence where men are throwing women over, and we ran up to it as they had knocked It down, so we were able to get out. As we crossed the threshold of the venue, my mind went straight to other mass shootings and hearing the victim’s families in my head talk about how they never got to say goodbye. I did not want this for my husband (who was at work) & my grandma (who had my daughter, Scarlett). So, at 10:07pm I called my husband franticly leaving him a voicemail- telling him that I loved him and was in the middle of a shooting & I wasn’t sure if I would make it out alive. Next, while still running, I called my grandma to tell her the exact same thing. But the gunfire wasn’t stopping this whole time. It wasn’t ceasing. It wasn’t slowing down. And It was directly behind us, following us. Bullets were coming from every direction. Behind us, in front of us, to the side of us. But I know, I just know, that there was someone chasing us. The entire time I felt this way. The farther we got from the venue, the closer the gunfire got. I kept looking back expecting to see the gunmen- and I say MEN because there was more than one person. There was more than one gun firing. 100% more than one. As we were running, we kept changing direction, because it felt like no matter what direction we took, we were being followed. So we ended up running in a weird triangular path. The first place I remember getting to was a parking lot, and I told Casie (who was slightly in front of me) we needed to get under one of the trucks. She turned to me and started her way back to me, and that is when the gunfire got even CLOSER than ever before. It was RIGHT THERE. It was within the parking lot. Everyone around us was panicking once again. So we ditched the idea of getting underneath a vehicle, and we continued the run for our lives. If you know me, you know I am a big girl, who is out of shape, and who definitely does not run for any reason. But I can tell you I ran like I have never run before …

Can you feel the terror and horror? There is a lot more. All made it to safety.

This is what happened in the days that followed:

I have be[en] watching the news non-stop since I arrived back home to my family. And it just doesn’t make sense. The story that are feeding everyone doesn’t add up to our eyewitness accounts. There is something wrong with what they are saying & the evidence seems fake if you ask me. There are multiple people stating that there was a lady towards the beginning of the evening who had made her way up to the stage warning people that we were all gunna die- her and her boyfriend were escorted off the premises. Why has she not been mentioned by authorities? Every single survivor I have talked to also remembers multiple shooters, and at least one from the ground- why aren’t we being taken more seriously? Tons of things don’t add up.

I know I am forgetting a bunch of what happened, and I will edit this post to include it as I remember.

I praise our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, for surviving a horrific incident. People were dropping like flies all around me, and there is absolutely ZERO reason why I wasn’t at least struck with a bullet. I left the Route 91 Festival completely unharmed physically, besides some scrapes and super sore bones & muscles. Mentally, however, is a different story. I do okay during the day, but as soon as nightfall hits, I get super scared & anxious. I am even typing this up with butterflies in my stomach and a racing heart. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to go anywhere, ever. I can no longer be in any place with large crowds- concerts, festivals, theme parks, zoos, etc. I can no longer trust anyone around me. I can no longer close my eyes without seeing those bodies & hearing the sound of gunfire. I am ruined, as are thousands upon thousands of people.

On October 11, California’s Seacoastonline.com reported Kymberley Suchomel’s death. Her grandmother, Julie Norton, spoke to the reporter:

Norton found Suchomel just after 8:30 a.m. when she arrived to care for her 3-year-old great-granddaughter, Scarlett. She believes Suchomel may have died in her sleep after her husband, Mike, left for work at 4:30 a.m.

“Kymberley had epilepsy and she’s always been prone to seizures — she told her friend that she recently had three focal seizures,” Norton told the Daily Press. “I believe the stress from the shooting took her life.”

The article says that Suchomel also spoke to the local Victorville Daily Press and summarised what she told them as well as more of her Facebook posts:

“That was the night that my life, and the lives of my friends, and so many others were changed forever,” Suchomel told the Daily Press the day after the shooting. “I might have escaped unharmed, but I know that I’ve been emotionally and mentally scarred for life.”

Suchomel, who was taking medication for a pituitary tumor, shared her fear of trying to fall sleep at night as the “sounds of gunfire” become louder in her head and the images of “broken and bloody bodies” flashed through her mind.

She also took to Facebook to share how the “most ridiculous things,” such as the sound of her alarm or loud voices, would send her heart racing in fear. She also shared how fear would sweep over her when her daughter would toss her toys, move too quickly or begin talking loudly after being quiet.

In one post, Suchomel said she overcame her fear for a moment by venturing out of her house to have lunch with her friend. She also explained how she was able to focus on the pain caused by a tattoo gun and forget the pain “caused by the horrific event…”

That is nothing short of tragic. A young wife and mother robbed of her life. A loving husband and young daughter robbed of such a lovely lady.

How unconscionable and callous can the actors in this massacre be? They do not care!

Gio Rios

Gio Rios and his girlfriend were in the front during the music festival. He reported similar testimony to Kymberley Suchomel.

I realise this video is nearly 45 minutes long, but it is worth watching. As with Suchomel’s testimony, Rios’s account differs greatly from the official police/FBI version of events (longer version here):

Rios and his girlfriend mustered all their adrenaline to keep on the run for four hours, three of which were spent hiding in a dumpster covering themselves with cardboard. When they were running, they ran then ducked to the ground. He said it was exhausting. His girlfriend, naturally, found it hard to keep up but she did.

Rios emphasises that the bullets they experienced that night were coming from a horizontal, not an angled, direction. So, gunmen were shooting directly at people. This wasn’t coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay.

Furthermore, gunfire was all over the area, wherever they went in the immediate aftermath.

They went to the Tropicana, where they were told to go into the casino. Rios wisely did not want to be around crowds but wanted a quick escape route where they could not be seen and could move relatively easily. Just after a man with a suitcase — he thinks a gun case — told them to go into the casino at the Tropicana, gunfire broke out there (in the casino). Luckily, Rios’s wit kept him and his girlfriend from following orders.

They ran past by wounded people, sometimes dead bodies. Women were overcome, and one projectile vomited. There was more gunfire outside once they found a parking garage. A man tried to take Rios’s girlfriend by the arm, trying to lead her away. Rios wasn’t having that.  A short time later, they found the dumpster, where they hid for three hours, he thinks. They heard a helicopter circling round and round, long after Rios’s father sent him a text to say that the gunman had been shot dead.

When everything quietened down, they climbed out of the dumpster and tried to go to their hotel or to the home of Rios’s relative. They encountered a policeman. Rios asked if the officer could take them to the relative’s home. The officer told them they would have to go to the Tropicana.

There, they were told to go to another floor, walking along a windowed — all glass — hallway to a room where blankets and water were supplied. They stayed there for an hour or so. People from nearby hotels were there. The first allowed to go back to their rooms were those from the Tropicana. Others were released at lengthy intervals to return hotel by hotel.

Once the two were back at their hotel, Rios stayed up to watch what President Donald Trump would say. Rios was deeply disappointed Trump did not call this for what Rios says it was:

a terrorist attack.

I, too, am disappointed that this occurred on Trump’s watch, but Trump is also battling the Deep State every day. These black ops — Deep State — operations have been ongoing for decades, getting worse and worse.

Rios gave his testimony by telephone to the FBI. He is still waiting to be called in for an interview.

Laura Loomer’s witness

Laura Loomer is an independent investigative journalist who spent several days in Las Vegas trying to uncover the truth about what happened. She has since returned to New York but continues to monitor events as they unfold.

Two other independent journalists — Mike Tokes and Jason Goodman — accompanied her, taking turns per assignment.

On Saturday, October 14, Jason Goodman released a video of Laura Loomer interviewing a young man and woman, both from Las Vegas, who were at the Route 91 festival and described many of the same things that Kymberley Suchomel and Gio Rios did:

Hello, keyboard sleuths, are we seeing a pattern here?

The young woman spoke more than her friend. She, too, is upset by the disparity of what witnesses saw and the official narrative.

Like Rios, she also wants to know when she will be called in to give her account of events to the authorities.

She said she is trying to heal emotionally, but it is hard for her to do so — and to sleep at night — when the authorities are giving out so little information:

The police, FBI and whoever else is behind this are acting despicably. Words cannot describe what these witnesses are going through right now. And to think that the injured — and the dead — involuntarily paid for this with tax dollars!

Warning: sensitive photo below.

Perhaps someone has already asked this question, but, in my hours of reading and watching videos about the Mandalay Bay massacre, it seems that only one website — Fellowship of the Minds — has pointed out the discrepancy of the photos of the shooter.

I’ve borrowed the first and third photos from them below.

This is the 64-year-old we were told shot 58 people on Sunday, October 1, 2017:

How, then, did he end up looking much younger? If the photo below is an old one, at least someone could have said so. Not so long ago, reporters would have done so.

As Fellowship of the Minds asked:

Does the dead man look like 64-year-old Stephen Paddock to you?

Who can say either way?

Back to my original thought, though. Why aren’t more people questioning the discrepancy in the photos?

On October 4 , 2017, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump paid a visit to the Las Vegas University Medical Center to visit injured survivors of the Mandalay Bay massacre of October 1.

While I do not have an update on the people featured in that post, there is other news related to that horrible incident which continues to raise more questions by the day, such as these:

Reports indicated FBI agents seized cellphones from Harvest Music Festival workers after the October 1 incident. Reportedly all messages and videos from the weekend were wiped clean before returning them.

Vendors reported the same thing happened to them. Laptops at the scene were seized and wiped clean …

Why? Was it to prevent eyewitness evidence from getting out – contradicting the official story? There’s plenty to contradict.

Was the FBI complicit in what happened? The initial narrative changed, Stephen Paddock still accused of being a lone gunman in all official reports.

No witnesses were interviewed suggesting multiple shooters, including at least one on the ground, according to [Kymberley] Suchomel.

She’s dead and can’t elaborate further. So is Paddock, a millionaire. Did he take his own life as reported or was it taken from him?

Why would a man of his means conduct mass shootings and commit suicide when he had everything to live for?

How could anyone bring an arsenal of weapons into a Las Vegas hotel and casino unnoticed with security cameras everywhere? …

From what’s known, Paddock was used as a convenient patsy, a similar scenario playing out in all these type false flags, media scoundrels reporting official accounts, never challenging them.

The single gunman claim lacks credibility. It’s unclear if Paddock had anything to do with what happened – likely not, his explanation unable to be heard.

The shooter’s autopsy

The autopsy of Stephen Paddock was done last week. Other than saying his brain was ‘normal’, no further details have been released.

This was the story on October 13:

A few days later and still no update:

We have no information about the ballistics:

Mandalay Bay could be facing massive lawsuits:

Around this time, someone tweeted — complete with film — his findings at Mandalay Bay. Click on the tweet below to see the brief videos and comments:. UPDATE: Unfortunately, this person has now had to protect his tweets:

A number of survivors remain in hospital:

There is some good news, however. One lady, Tina Frost, is out of her coma:

Fox reported:

According to a GoFundMe page set up for Tina Frost, the 27-year-old took three steps to a chair and three steps back to her hospital bed Friday. Mary Watson Moreland, Tina’s mother, wrote on the page that Frost was also able to breathe on her own for six hours.

Frost was attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival with her boyfriend when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay. Frost was shot in the head and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Moreland said doctors removed her daughter’s right eye, where the bullet was lodged. Doctors also removed a bone in Frost’s forehead to relive brain swelling.

As of Saturday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $529,000 to cover Frost’s medical expenses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Even though the lazy media have moved on to other news topics, people still care about what happened. A group of Hawaiians created a two-mile-long lei made completely out of tea leaves and sent it to Las Vegas:

The lei rests on top of the 58 memorial crosses — one for each victim — which are near the crime scene. The crosses will be moved to nearby Henderson, Nevada, where they will be on permanent display:

I pray for everyone affected by this tragedy.

I also pray that the full truth comes out about what actually happened behind the scenes.

Last week, I posted the first video of the ‘American Pravda’ series made by James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas team.

The second video, again about the New York Times but also YouTube came out on October 11, 2017:

The YouTube chap — Earnest Pettie, Brand and Diversity Curation Lead — says that his team provides ‘human inputs’ into YouTube. That means that they sometimes intervene to cause certain videos to trend, running a script (computer program) to bypass or manipulate YouTube’s algorithms.

Pettie was also full of praise for the subject of the first American Pravda video, Nick Dudich, who is no longer a New York Times employee, thanks to what the short film revealed.

Strangely, afterward — my first post on this series has more on Dudich’s dismissal — Dean Baquet, the NYT’s executive editor — accused James O’Keefe of lying:

I agree with O’Keefe. Surely Baquet should have thanked him for revealing the truth. Dudich was disingenuous in the video. O’Keefe never interviewed him, other Project Veritas team members did.

Project Veritas will be releasing more American Pravda videos in due course. Stay tuned.

Bible penngrovechurchofchristorgThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 12:1-5

James Killed and Peter Imprisoned

12 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

——————————————————————————————–

In Acts 11 — read here and here — St Luke described how the Church expanded into Gentile lands, particularly Antioch.

The end of the chapter mentions a famine affecting Judea during the Emperor Claudius’s reign. Paul and Barnabas, who were teaching in Antioch at the time, collected charitable donations from the church there which they personally delivered to the church in Jerusalem.

They were there as the events of Acts 12 unfolded.

A period of peace for the church in Jerusalem — Acts 9:31 — ended with Herod’s persecution of converts in Jerusalem.

This Herod is not the one who had John the Baptist beheaded. That was Herod Antipas. This Herod was Herod Agrippa I. He was Herod the Great’s grandson. Herod the Great was the one who ordered infant boys to be killed at the time of Christ’s birth.

The Herods were Edomites, descended from Esau who sold his birthright to Jacob. GotQuestions.org tells us that they were pagans until the Maccabean wars. (The Books of the Maccabees are not in Protestant editions of the Bible but are still in Catholic versions.) GotQuestions states:

During the Maccabean wars, the Edomites were subjugated by the Jews and forced to convert to Judaism. Through it all, the Edomites maintained much of their old hatred for the Jews. When Greek became the common language, the Edomites were called Idumaeans. With the rise of the Roman Empire, an Idumaean whose father had converted to Judaism was named king of Judea. That Idumaean is known in history as King Herod the Great, the tyrant who ordered a massacre in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the Christ child (Matthew 2:16-18).

Herod the great sent young Herod Agrippa to Rome to study. He resided in the imperial court. Tiberius, the emperor at the time, was most fond of him. Agrippa studied alongside Tiberius’s son Drusus and the future emperor Claudius. Agrippa was tetrarch when Claudius was emperor.

Agrippa decided to persecute the church (verse 1), no doubt to curry favour with the Jews and, possibly, Rome.

He beheaded James, the son of Zebedee, John’s brother (verse 2). The King James Version tells us that Jesus called the two brothers the sons of thunder (Mark 3:17):

17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:

It is possible that having had such a moniker he was forceful in his preaching and made many converts, thereby angering Herod Agrippa. The Church designated him St James the Great.

Both Matthew Henry and John MacArthur say that James’s martyrdom could have been a fulfilment of Matthew 20:23. Not all versions have this expanded verse, but the King James Version does (emphases mine below):

20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

John, possibly because he was at the Crucifixion, did not die a martyr but as an exile on Patmos.

However, James did receive a bloody death by beheading. That is what the two commentators are referring to.

Beheading someone was a rare occurrence in Jewish society. Matthew Henry says that the Romans considered using a sword more demeaning than an axe:

He was slain with the sword, that is, his head was cut off with a sword, which was looked upon by the Romans to be a more disgraceful way of being beheaded than with an axe; so Lorinus. Beheading was not ordinarily used among the Jews; but, when kings gave verbal orders for private and sudden executions, this manner of death was used, as most expeditious; and it is probable that this Herod killed James, as the other Herod killed John Baptist, privately in the prison.

John MacArthur adds another interesting detail:

according to the Talmud, people died of the sword when they had led people after false gods. They had accused then perhaps James of leading the people after false gods, a false god in Christianity, not the true God, and therefore they executed him. And the interesting thing about it, the irony is that it’s all political by Herod. That Herod is not anti church or anti Christian in the pure sense, he is just pro Herod and so it’s a political thing. He was a typical Roman playboy adventurer.

After beheading James, Herod Agrippa decided to go further and have Peter imprisoned during Passover, ‘the days of Unleavened Bread’ (verse 3). Recall that the whole of the Jewish world travelled to Jerusalem for Passover, so this would have attracted much attention.

He seized Peter and had him put in prison, guarded by 16 soldiers (verse 4). The squads referred to were comprised of four guards each. From the KJV:

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

‘Quaternions’ begins with the number ‘four’ in Latin. Four multiplied by four is 16.

Both commentators point out that the KJV compilers should not have put ‘Easter’ in that verse, by the way.

While Peter was in prison, the church in Jerusalem prayed for him (verse 5). The KJV expresses their prayer as follows:

Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

The church in Jerusalem understood the primacy of prayer, which we, today, so often forget, trivialise or ridicule. Yet, prayer can move mountains and, next week, we will see that it did for Peter.

It would not surprise me if they had round the clock prayer vigils. However, MacArthur says:

That word just doesn’t mean without ceasing nearly as much as it means intensely. It’s the word ektenoce. It comes in the form of ektenace and so forth and what it means it’s a medical term and it has to do with stretching a muscle to its limit. It means total effort. They were totally lost in prayer.

Herod Agrippa’s idea was to keep Peter in prison until Passover ended then put him on trial. Henry offers this analysis:

Herod’s design was, after Easter, to bring him forth unto the people. (1.) He would make a spectacle of him. Probably he had put James to death privately, which the people had complained of, not because it was an unjust thing to put a man to death without giving him a public hearing, but because it deprived them of the satisfaction of seeing him executed; and therefore Herod, now he knows their minds, will gratify them with the sight of Peter in bonds, of Peter upon the block, that they may feed their eyes with such a pleasing spectacle. And very ambitious surely he was to please the people who was willing thus to please them! (2.) He would do this after Easter, meta to pascha–after the passover, certainly so it ought to be read, for it is the same word that is always so rendered; and to insinuate the introducing of a gospel-feast, instead of the passover, when we have nothing in the New Testament of such a thing, is to mingle Judaism with our Christianity. Herod would not condemn him till the passover was over, some think, for fear lest he should have such an interest among the people that they should demand the release of him, according to the custom of the feast: or, after the hurry of the feast was over, and the town was empty, he would entertain them with Peter’s public trial and execution. Thus was the plot laid, and both Herod and the people long to have the feast over, that they may gratify themselves with this barbarous entertainment.

James was the second martyr in Acts, the first being Stephen (Acts 7), whose death involved Saul of Tarsus (Acts 8).

Acts is a fascinating book about the growth and expansion of the Church. It is indeed a treasure to read again and again.

Next time — Acts 12:6-11

Hand of God leedsacukBefore I get to my next Forbidden Bible Verses instalment, coming tomorrow, it is important to mention that the word ‘Christian’ appears in the Bible, specifically Acts 11:26.

I wrote about the first half of Acts 11 last week. The second half of Acts 11 is in the three-year Lectionary for public worship (emphases mine below):

The Church in Antioch

19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists[c] also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers[d] living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

This reading is not only interesting but also important to the development of the early Church. Before discussing it in full, I will go into the use of the word Christian in Antioch. The city was pagan, and those who did not convert used ‘Christian’ as a derogatory term. John MacArthur explains:

That’s a new name and it was a term of derision, iani, i-a-n-i had to do with the party of. A Caesariani would have to do with Caesar. Christiani would be of the party of Christ, and this was a derisive mocking term. Oh he’s a Christian. He’s one of those Christ-party ones. The fact that Agrippa said, “… persuadeth thou me to become a Christian. And Peter says in I Peter 4, “If any of you suffer for being a Christian don’t be ashamed.” That was a term of derision. Those blessed people turned it into something courageous or something lovely, didn’t they? And you know something people, you and I bear the name that they died to preserve in purity. You know so many people call themselves Christians so glibly. Listen, if you’re a Christian, my friend, wear it well. It was given to the finest.

It is not so different today, particularly in parts of Europe where Christians are derided every day. It’s one of the reasons why I very much enjoy the opportunity to bring Christianity as a topic into a dinner party conversation.

The first part of Acts 11 records Peter’s account of the Holy Spirit descending on the Gentiles — namely Cornelius and his household — which was followed by baptism. Peter had to justify this to the Jewish converts in Jerusalem, because they were angry with him for teaching and associating with Gentiles. These were hardliners, known as the circumcision party, who believed that one could only believe in Jesus by becoming a Jew first, including the rite of circumcision. Once Peter explained everything, they not only calmed down, they also praised God.

The second part of Acts 11 records the expansion of the Church further into Gentile territory. We also see the re-emergence of Barnabas. St Luke, the author of Acts, was truly divinely inspired to write such a fascinating account of the Apostles’ and the disciples’ work.

Verse 19 reminds us that after Stephen was made the first martyr for Christ in Jerusalem (Acts 7), which Saul of Tarsus (later Paul) was involved in (Acts 8), many of the Jews who converted there left the city. The original Apostles remained for those who stayed. Among those who left were Hellenist (Greek) Jews. The scattered converts went near and far to convert more Jews. They would have long been out of Jerusalem by the time Peter returned to the city after his visit with Cornelius. They probably would have been out for six or seven years at that time.

MacArthur explains their various journeys in light of verse 19:

Now Phoenicia is the coastal plain of Palestine right along the Mediterranean Sea. Two famous cities there: Tyre and Sidon. And from either of those port cities you could catch a ship and go west and you’d come to the island of Cyprus. So that’s what they did. They went up to Phoenicia, Tyre, and Sidon and some of them got on a ship and west to Cyprus.

Some of them didn’t go west they just kept going north. If you keep going north on the coast you come to Antioch. Antioch became the capital of Syria and Antioch was then a strategic place and some folks came there. But notice this: that they were preaching to Jews only. Why? Because they still believe that salvation was for the Jews and they were still hung up on a nationalistic view of salvation. But God was about to bust them out of the shell.

However, some spoke to the Gentiles — Hellenists — in Antioch of Jesus (verse 20).

MacArthur describes Antioch, a largely pagan city full of commerce, culture and depravity:

Now Antioch is a very interesting city, 15 miles or so from the mouth of the Euphrates River, founded in about 300 B.C., later was made a free city. And when it was made a free city under the Roman government in 64 A. D. it has its own self-government. It became the capital of the Province of Syria. It became very famous, grew like crazy. It was the third largest city in the world. First was Rome, then was Alexandria, then was Antioch, had 600,000 people at least. It was famous for culture, it was famous for business. It was just a very very very large city. The network of Roman roads crisscrossed Antioch so it was a place where the all the caravans of the East unloaded their wares and all the wharves and warehouses of Antioch. Cicero said it was a land of most learned men in liberal studies. But with all this good thing it was basically known as an evil city. In fact, Juvenal, a Roman writer said that the Euphrates River spilled its garbage into the Tiber, and what he meant was that Antioch corrupted Rome.

Now if Rome was rotten you can get an idea about how rotten that which corrupted Rome must have been. Antioch was gross to put it mildly. The people lived for their pleasures. One writer said that life there was a perpetual festival of vice revolving around the baths, brothels, the amphitheatre and the circus. And so it was an evil place.

There was a goddess by the name Daphne, who was supposed to be the lover of Apollo and they built a garden that was so big it was 10 miles in circumference and it was populated by prostitutes and you went in and indulged yourself in the garden and the prostitute activity and all kinds of sick immoralities. That was worship in the city of Antioch. When they wanted to expand their religious opportunities they hired magicians, sorcerers, charlatans and Babylonian astrologers made a fortune off the people of Antioch. So it was a vile place.

Converts preached to the pagans in the city and ‘the hand of the Lord was with them’ (verse 21). Many pagans — Gentiles — converted. MacArthur reminds us of the significance of ‘the hand of the Lord’ in Scripture:

It means two things: first of all it means power. The hand of the Lord means power. In Exodus 14:31, the Bible says, “And Israel saw that great work, which the Lord had done.” And the word work is the word hand. It expresses power and the Egyptians were shocked at what God had done. They said, “Look it is the finger of God.” His hand extended means power. But it always means power with blessing. There may be something happening in it, but ultimately He’s blessing. It may be something of an evil nature initially, but blessing is the end of it. And it’s more qualified in Ezra. Ezra 7:9, Ezra 8:18, Nehemiah 2: 2,8, 18. All of that in there you can read sometime not now. But in that passage you have the statement, “The good hand of the Lord.” And it’s repeated at least four or five times. The hand of the Lord then means blessing.

So the hand of the Lord is power for blessing. And so the hand of the Lord moved into Antioch with power that resulted in salvation, power with blessing. And look at the harvest. A great number believed.

News of these great conversions in Antioch reached Jerusalem. The church there sent Barnabas to join the disciples in Antioch.

Barnabas appeared early in Acts, specifically Acts 4:36-37:

36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Barnabas was one of the Hellenist Jews who converted in Jerusalem. There is a further explanation on him by John MacArthur in this post. In short, he was a kind, generous, devout man.

He also lacked prejudice. In my post on Acts 9:26-31, when Saul of Tarsus — the fiercest persecutor of the Church in Jerusalem — returned a convert and attempted to join the disciples, only Barnabas came to his defence. It was thanks to Barnabas’s efforts that they accepted Saul:

27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.

That passage states that Saul had to leave Jerusalem, because the Jews wanted to kill him. So, he went back to his native Tarsus for a few years.

When Barnabas arrived in Antioch, he was delighted to see such a manifestation of God’s grace, but some of the converts were discouraged — no doubt ridiculed, perhaps harmed. Barnabas encouraged — ‘exhorted’ — them to keep the faith (verse 23).

Here’s a note from MacArthur on the meaning of ‘exhortation’:

Positive encouragement. It’s not the idea of browbeating. There are some people who think they’re exhorting when all they’re doing is browbeating, crushing people. This is positive encouragement.

Through Barnabas’s exhortations, many more souls in Antioch were added to the Lord (verse 24).

There were so many converts now that Barnabas needed help from another powerful teacher. So, he left for Tarsus in search of Saul (verse 25). Barnabas also did not want to lose any of the converts. They had a hard time living in a depraved metropolis — not so different to big cities today:

First thing, he exhorted them to cling to the Lord. That’s the first thing necessary, I think, in dealing with a new Christian. You’ve led somebody to Christ, what’s the thing that concerns you the most? That they hold on to Christ, right? That their faith be real. You say, “I hope you mean this.” And then you begin to think, “Oh I hope they read the Word, right? and I hope they pray, and I hope it’s real.” Isn’t that what you think, always? Sure. That’s your first reaction when you lead somebody to Christ. I hope it’s real. I hope they hang onto to Christ and that they secure that faith by, that they secure that salvation by real faith …

Number two, if you are real, stay close to Jesus Christ. Practice His presence. You know the greatest joy for me when I lead somebody to Jesus Christ to see that person really getting involved with Jesus Christ. Isn’t that your joy? How many times have you led somebody to Christ and you can’t find them? Just discourages and breaks your heart. They’ve wandered off somewhere and you don’t know where they are. You try to track them down, it’s a sad thing. And so the first thing He does is come on, “Continue, continue,” He says. “Hold on to the Lord with all your strength.”

Once Barnabas found Saul, he brought him to Antioch. MacArthur says that Saul was preaching and teaching in and around Tarsus. He was not popular with many and got into a lot of trouble for his faith:

He went all over Cilicia starting churches. Well, in the meantime according to II Corinthians 11 says, he was being beaten up mercilessly and all the things that he suffered in II Corinthians 11, probably many of them or most of them even occurred in these years we don’t know about, the quiet years of Paul.

During that time he had really been working for the Lord and he was not easy to find. The word seek in the English doesn’t help you at all. What it means in the Greek is to search for something with difficulty. He couldn’t find him. Why? He probably long ago had been kicked out of Tarsus, and long ago kicked out of every other town that he traced him to. He finally caught up with him. He was so busy preaching. He might have been glad to get out of there by now and the Lord knew that and the timing was right.

This marks the beginning of the preaching duo of Saul and Barnabas. The two stayed with the expanding church in Antioch for a year (verse 26). We will read more about their ministry elsewhere in Acts.

The final verses of Acts 11 point to famine, backed up by historians of the day, and distant relief efforts made by the early Church, which created a framework so characteristic of Christianity: charitable giving to those far away who need help.

Prophets travelled from Jerusalem to Antioch (verse 27). One of them, Agabus, foretold a great famine that would overtake much of that part of the world during the reign of Claudius (verse 28).

MacArthur tells us more:

The Jerusalem church sent up some prophets. There were prophets in the New Testament. They were foundational like apostles Ephesians 2:20 tells us. And they spoke for God, and they preached, and their preaching is described in I Corinthians 14, if you want to check it out. But they preached and also spoke and sometimes predicted the future for God. They have ceased as an office.

The gift of prophecy still goes on, which is preaching. But the office of a prophet is ceased. But then it happened so some prophets came to Antioch and they stood up one of them come to speak for God and tell the church at Antioch some things they needed to know and his name was Agabus and he signified by the Spirit that there should be great famine throughout all the world, which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Incidentally, history says Claudius ruled from 41 to 54 and during the year 45 and 46 there were great famines in Israel. No crops came through, they all failed. Terrible famines are recorded by Chassidus, Josephus, Yesevias, Cassius, and there were times of famine.

The church in Antioch decided to give whatever they could to the church in Judea, sending it via Barnabas and Saul (verses 29, 30). Those who could give more generously did so. Those who gave what little they had out of necessity received no criticism.

In closing, I wanted to return to MacArthur’s recipe for church growth: doctrine and Scripture, about which I wrote the other day.

He is quite certain that is how Barnabas and Saul were able to increase the church in Antioch so dramatically:

Let’s see what they do? What kind of program they had? Boy I want to know because I got a church too. I want to find out what kind of program you need to get that thing going. And it came to pass for a whole year they assembled themselves together with the church, and had a lot of soup suppers, and had several contests, and lots of musical extravaganzas. That what it says? You say, that doesn’t say that. No, no. It says some of them together for one year and together they did what? Taught! You want to know what the church is for? It’s for teaching. If you never learn anything else about the church you learn that you’ve learned enough. The church is for teaching.

And I want to give you another salient point that I think you need to understand. When it came to pass that for a whole year they assembled themselves with the church. The word with is in, in the Greek it’s in. They assembled in the church. Apparently they had a large place where they all came together. The word assemble means they were all brought together. This idea that you can only teach in little groups isn’t so. Here in Antioch they had a big mass meeting where Paul and Barnabas taught them all the time for a year, that was their minister. You say well I’ll never forget one guy said one time he says, “What makes your church grow?” I said, “It’s just the teaching.” He says, “Oh that’ll never do it. I tried that. You got to do more than just teaching.” Well they spent a year teaching and the results are still going on. That’s my whole commitment. I don’t think the church really needs to set itself to do much else but teach. Teach. Teach. Teach. At every level, in every way, through every avenue, teach the Word of God.

The apostles said in Acts 6, “We will give ourselves continually to the ministry of the Word and prayer.” Teach. Teach. Teach. For one year they just taught and the fruit of their teaching, oh beloved fruit.

I really do wish today’s clergy realised this: preach the Word and they will come! No gimmicks necessary!

Forbidden Bible Verses continues tomorrow.

Please note — sensitive subject matter below.

On Monday, October 9, 2017, the United States celebrated Columbus Day.

The actual day is October 12, but the second Monday is chosen to give Americans a three-day holiday where it is observed.

When I learned about Christopher Columbus in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the teachers presented a straightforward lesson. We all had to know the year he arrived: 1492. We had to know the names of his ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. We learned that he was an Italian, from Genoa. We learned that Spain — King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I — financed his trip to the New World, which he hoped was the Indies in Asia. The object was to acquire valuable natural resources, e.g. gold.

I don’t think many of us walked out of that history lesson thinking Columbus was perfect, but we remembered that he opened up the Atlantic to future exploration, colonisation and trade.

The American colonies were, for a time, referred to popularly as Columbia, even though Columbus never landed on the US mainland.

Columbus always maintained that the islands he claimed for Spain were in Asia. It was Amerigo Vespucci who proved during his voyages that they were in the New World, and why America was so named.

Remnants of Columbus’s terminology still exist. We use the name ‘Indian’ because that is what he called the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean islands he discovered. Again, he was certain he was in Asia — the Indies he was sent to discover. Even today, some of those islands are collectively referred to as the West Indies.

These days, Columbus is viewed as a bad man. American leftists have defaced Columbus statues in some cities. However, no one today discusses the brutality of the tribes he encountered. Furthermore, no one looks at standard behaviour and legal punishments of the 15th century.

Paraphrasing Thomas Hobbes, life was nasty, short and brutish. Europeans were abused in their own countries with excessive legal corporal punishments of some description, which Westerners have not tolerated for many decades.

Therefore, for people to say that Christopher Columbus was some sort of anomaly is far from the truth. He was typical of his time.

On Monday, October 9, Tucker Carlson of Fox News interviewed a professor from the University of Maryland, asking him about the furore about Columbus Day:

The professor says that Columbus had 100,000 slaves. He also mentions that Columbus started the slave trade because he had a number of blacks on his ships. However, one could go into the Moorish abduction and enslavement of whites in the British Isles in the 1600s and how ‘white slavery’ became another name for prostitution. It wasn’t just in the British Isles, either — but all over Europe (emphases mine below):

The slave markets that flourished on the Barbary Coast of North Africa, or modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and western Libya, between the 16th and middle of the 18th century. These markets prospered while the states were nominally under Ottoman suzerainty, but in reality they were mostly autonomous. The North African slave markets traded in European slaves which were acquired by Barbary pirates in slave raids on ships and by raids on coastal towns from Italy to Spain, Portugal, France, England, the Netherlands, and as far afield as Iceland. Men, women, and children were captured to such a devastating extent that vast numbers of sea coast towns were abandoned. It is estimated that between 1500-1800, 1 million to 1.25 million white Christian Europeans were enslaved in North Africa, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th, by slave traders from Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone (these numbers do not include the European people which were enslaved by Morocco and by other raiders and traders of the Mediterranean Sea coast),[6] and roughly 700 Americans were held captive in this region as slaves between 1785 and 1815.[7]

Sixteenth- and 17th-century customs statistics suggest that Istanbul’s additional slave import from the Black Sea may have totaled around 2.5 million from 1450 to 1700.[8] The markets declined after the loss of the Barbary Wars and finally ended in the 1830s, when the region was conquered by France.

But I digress.

The professor whom Tucker Carlson interviewed even says at the 7:30 mark that Columbus never went to the US mainland. That admission rather shoots the anti-Columbus argument in the foot.

However, before bringing on the professor, Carlson introduced this topic wisely:

Carlson says this crusade against Columbus is all about the Left’s attempt to destroy Western civilisation:

  • This isn’t really about Columbus;
  • This is a full-scale assault from within on the West itself.

Before he interviews the professor (this part is in the full video), Carlson mentions an academic paper for the Third World Quarterly that had to be withdrawn not because it wasn’t well-researched, but because the editorial board vehemently disagreed with its conclusions.

This tweet mentions the fear of violent repercussions should the paper be published:

An online sleuth managed to trace the abstract and put the link on the Wayback Machine:

Abstract

For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. It is high time to question this orthodoxy. Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found, using realistic measures of those concepts. The countries that embraced their colonial inheritance, by and large, did better than those that spurned it. Anti-colonial ideology imposed grave harms on subject peoples and continues to thwart sustained development and a fruitful encounter with modernity in many places. Colonialism can be recovered by weak and fragile states today in three ways: by reclaiming colonial modes of governance; by recolonising some areas; and by creating new Western colonies from scratch.

Overall, there is some truth in that, although I disagree with recolonisation. Those countries have been independent for well over five decades; they need to govern themselves properly, without corruption — for their people’s sake.

In closing, Carlson made another good point: the Latin American countries with statues, city squares and other places named after Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) aren’t renaming or dismantling them.

This is just one more reason not to trust the Left.

— Do read the comment below about Spain and Columbus Day. —

John F MacArthurThe other Sunday, a group of parishioners who had attended an Anglican diocesan series on church growth spoke after the service.

Oh, dear, I thought. Church growth programmes are so wrong, so very, very wrong.

John MacArthur explains how to get people coming in the doors and get them out again, evangelising. It involves teaching doctrine and the Scripture at every church service.

This excerpt is from a 1973 sermon I cited in my post on Acts 11. MacArthur had been at Grace Church for a little over four years at the time. This is his gimmick-free formula (emphases mine):

For four years, plus, I have endeavored basically to do one thing and that is to teach doctrine. Now we teach through the Bible verse after verse after verse, but really what we’re doing is taking Scripture and framing a doctrine, framing a principle. Doctrine is just principles. And we’ve endeavored for four plus years to build a strong doctrinal base.

I believe in my heart for all the time I’ve been here this has been my goal, my one single desire. And I really think that God in His wonderful providence has blessed His Word here. It’s not me. I’m the first one to know that. It’s the Word of God. But as you teach the Word of God strength is built, doctrine becomes firm and strong. That’s the very basis. The Word is established and my commitment has been to do just that, to spend the time establishing with the Word.

During that same time I feel God has prepared instruments and I prayed this would happen. I prayed that we wouldn’t just have a good theology on paper, but that we’d have a lot of people who had grown up with that theology and who were a part of it, and who lived it, and who would mature, and I prayed that this would happen …

I think the last two months have been one of the most exciting times in my life. I couldn’t begin to remember the names or even count the people who come to me and say, “John, I’ve had enough. I’m full. I’ve learned. I’ve got to get out of here. I’ve got to take it somewhere. What can I do?” You wouldn’t believe how many people have been coming and telling me this. Everyday I hear this.

Sat down last night playing basketball, a guy on the basketball team says to me, “God wants me to go on the mission field. I never dreamed this could even happen. I just feel in my heart I have to go on the mission field. I got to share. I got to get out.” That’s just one in a long chain. A lady came in my office the other day and she says, “Is there a place for me in this church? I just want to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to evangelize women.” I can count on my hand five people I can think of who told me they’ve got to go to the mission field soon. God’s just leading them. God’s calling.

People come to me and say, “I got to start a work of evangelism. I want to do this. Can I work here?” We trust God by the time fall comes around we’re going to have a campus evangelist on almost every high school campus in the Valley, people establishing Bible studies and winning people to Christ and nurturing Christians. We’re going to do the same thing on every college campus and I haven’t generated any of it, haven’t invented a program, haven’t done one single thing, just teaching and praying that God will raise some people up. You know what they do, they knock my door down and finally I just tell them, “Go ahead and do it.” Shows you what kind of an administrator I am. But anyway, that’s the way everything works around here. Just wait till people get excited about it. They’ll do it. Get them praying about it. A guy prays long enough the Lord will shoot him out and that’s the supreme joy for me I’m telling you.

Somebody told me the other day that by next semester we have 24 young men at seminary, Calvin Seminary. You don’t know what a joy that is. That’s reproduction. See that’s reproduction. Those men are going to affect thousands of people in their lifetime. And that’s what I hoped would happen, and I praise God that we’re beginning to see the little murmurings of it beginning to happen. People are coming to me and say I feel God’s calling me to begin a work over here and over there. Will you help support us?

I think our church is going to have to catch a vision, people, because we’ve come to the place now where we’ve got prepared people and they’re going to demand, by the Spirit of God, that we turn them loose on this world, and we’re going to have to be ready to handle it and it’s going to mean sacrifice to do it financially. But oh the dividends are eternal, amen? We got to be ready. It’s coming. Believe you me if I come up here in the next month and tell you there’s ten new staff members. You’d better be ready to handle that. Don’t laugh, it might be. The way God’s working right now I’m just drowning in them. You don’t know what a joy this is.

I think it’s a similar thing right here in this situation in this text. The groundwork was laid and it took seven years. For us it’s been four years of teaching and teaching and teaching and teaching and we’ll keep doing that because there’s new people coming all the time and we’ll just keep flip flopping them over and someone says, “Do you want more people in your church?” I want more people in here for a little while so I can send more people out of here. That’s what I want. I don’t people want to just come here and stay. I want people to come here and leave. Now some of you can stay because we need some of you here to train the people to leave. Don’t everybody go so next Sunday I’m here alone, right? …

Some people have talked to me about beginning pastorates; about outreach on campuses, about adult evangelism mobilizing people for reaching out, all kinds of things. I’m just thrilled and I think we’re seeing a phase like we see here in the 11th Chapter of Acts. As a church, when the groundwork is laid, begins to move out. And you know it’s not something you have to generate. Amazingly the Spirit of God does it. He does it.

So, one of our local Anglican churches is opening a café as part of church growth. Big deal. Our area has half a dozen cafés.

I told a good friend of mine — Anglican, but no longer a churchgoer — about the café. He thought it was absurd to think that it would bring more people to church. I agree.

He said he no longer goes to church because the services have been watered down such that there’s no more mysterium tremendum that takes you out of the world and puts you in God’s presence.

He also complained about the poor preaching.

He said that if the Church of England wants people coming back in droves, they will have to go back to basics regarding the liturgy and the sermons. In short, have more 1662 Book of Common Prayer services and robust preaching that gets one thinking about the state of one’s soul.

In short — my friend’s advice is not far from what John MacArthur advocated in 1973 and continues to advocate today. His Grace Church in California is jam packed every Sunday. His Masters Seminary is also highly successful. His Grace To You Ministries is international. That is because MacArthur is doing what the Apostles did.

Church growth programmes do not work. Return to doctrine and Scripture instead for real, lasting growth in the Spirit.

James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas team have done it again!

The following video is the first in a series called ‘American Pravda’ which exposes the media:

This video came out on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. It centres on Nicholas Dudich, the New York Times’s Audience Strategy Editor. Dudich makes some remarkable claims: that James Comey is his godfather (he later says he lied but it was ‘a good story’) and that he was part of Antifa working undercover for the FBI.

Dudich says he worked on both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and on Hillary Clinton’s in 2016.

Whatever the truth of the matter, he is very much on the Left and says he wants to ‘make a diference’ by influencing opinion, not present objective fact. PJ Media provides a snippet of what Dudich said about President Donald Trump (emphases mine):

I’d target his businesses, his dumb f*** of a son, Donald Jr., and Eric, so they’re running Trump, like, the Trump business. … And you put pressure on his business and you start investigating his business and you start shutting it down. … He cares about his business more than he cares about being President. … He would resign.

That segment ended with this:

Or he’d lash out and do something incredibly illegal, which he would have to.

Yeah, sure, buddy.

The video infuriated Esquire:

There’s no reason to trust anything O’Keefe says or any BOMBSHELL RECORDING (!) he produces. The presumption must always be that the recordings are edited with a meat-ax to produce something that will get TDMOTI and his audience of slavering shut-ins moist with anticipation for the first time since V-E Day.

Oh, yeah — and there’s Dudich saying that he wants to influence opinion on every NYT video he posts online.

The following is from the NYT‘s ethical guidelines:

The NYT was quick to take action. Clifford Levy is the paper’s deputy managing editor. Note that Levy says Dudich ‘was’ responsible only for posting videos, not creating or editing them:

Earlier, in August, Levy issued the following statement to staff. The video has dialogue with Dudich which confirms that the interview did take place that month:

O’Keefe tweeted:

I look forward to it but hope that O’Keefe will vary from his usual practice of issuing two meaty videos then a series of minute-long anti-climactic ones.

Someone posted this picture in a discussion about the Project Veritas video. Have a look. I’m not posting it here because of the image credit.

One America News (OAN) is doing a three-part series with O’Keefe on how he and his team work. It’s dangerous business, so if these become available on YouTube, I shall post them. In the meantime, this is OAN’s trailer (preview):

We need the truth to come out about the big, bad media. Thank goodness James O’Keefe and Project Veritas are doing their best to help. Kudos to OAN for broadcasting it.

See comments below for an update. More to follow after the weekend.

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