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On Sunday, March 26, 2017, 60 Minutes featured a special on fake news.

One of the people interviewed was Mike Cernovich of Danger & Play, his alternative media website that did much to persuade Millennials to vote for Donald Trump in 2016.

Cernovich is a lawyer, author, free speech activist, and documentary filmmaker:

I’ve written three books, produced a documentary on media hoaxes, and am producing a second documentary on free speech culture in the West. My books have over 1,000 reviews on Amazon and Audible. My podcast is also five-stars. (Scroll down to watch my documentary and learn more.)

While my Twitter is high profile, it’s the least interesting aspect of my writing and speaking. I’ve travelled around the world giving seminars and writing books. Most “journalists” who write hit pieces about me don’t even know how to describe me. Everyone from Gawker to Politifact to Slate has covered me, and MSNBC had a “special report” about my Tweets.

This is his 11-minute film from September 2016 discussing media distortion of news during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions:

CBS’s 60 Minutes team are piqued that Cernovich’s site and Twitter feed are more popular than theirs. In February 2017, he reached 83m Twitter readers. When interviewed, he said that his Twitter feed sometimes gets as many as 150m hits per month.

The upshot of the 60 Minutes enquiry into fake news is that they are envious of citizen journalists who can do their job better than they do. So, they condemn anyone with a keyboard, camera and microphone. Scott Pelley from 60 Minutes called Cernovich’s articles ‘lies’.

Big Media are also out to censor — if not remove — independent citizen journalists from the Internet. Twitter and Facebook, as some of you know, have been censoring links, videos and pictures (e.g. photographs of Donald Trump) for a few months now.

It was curious that, in his interview with Cernovich, Pelley focussed on three subjects from last year: Spirit Cooking, Pizzagate and Hillary Clinton’s health. Hmm. Why are those topics bothering Big Media so much that they brand them as fake?

Spirit Cooking and Pizzagate emerged from the content of last year’s Podesta emails from WikiLeaks.

Big Media documented Hillary’s health problems widely, from the coughing fits after Labor Day to her collapse at the 9/11 memorial ceremony the following weekend. In between those events, The Hill published a long article, ‘Clinton campaign warns media to tread carefully’. An excerpt follows:

The pushback signaled that Clinton’s campaign intends to sharply counterattack news organizations that take questions about her health seriously.

“They’re trying to work the refs a little bit as they try to push back on the mainstream media’s willingness to pick up on some of this stuff that’s usually left to the fringes,” Clinton surrogate Jim Manley explained.

The Drudge Report and other conservative media sites have largely driven the coverage of Clinton’s health, following the concussion she suffered in late 2012 and years before she announced her intention to run again for president.

But Manley said the Democrat’s camp has seen the coverage “bleeding to the mainstream media” in recent weeks.

After Trump insinuated recently that Clinton wasn’t healthy, the campaign responded forcefully, ripping Trump allies for concocting fake documents from Clinton’s doctor.

“They’re trying to stop it,” Manley continued. “I think they learned a long time ago that you can’t just ignore these things. There’s always a fine line between react or not, but in this day in age, to say nothing is often not the best way to go.”

Clinton aides and supporters see the healthcare stories as a bunch of baloney, and they want the media to cover it as such.

Ironically, a few days later, an ordinary bystander, Zdenek Gazda, happened to be where Clinton slumped against a bollard before being bundled in to her van by aides and Secret Service detail. If it weren’t for him, the world would never have known. Because of the emergency situation, media photographers would not have been there. Gazda filmed the following:

Spirit Cooking involves Marina Abramovic’s performance art. According to her, it is nothing more than that. However, last year, WikiLeaks tweeted part of the ritual. We Are Change tells the story (graphic content!):

As for Pizzagate, Big Media and others want to quash persistent questions about suspected child trafficking and molestation networks. Yet, in addition to the frequent and peculiar mentions of pizza on Podesta WikiLeaks, older videos already existed on YouTube about this topic. A few featured a popular pizza parlour in Washington DC. Also, Instagram accounts of certain individuals with links to that location had disturbing photos of children.

That said, Pizzagate refers to the broad American network of child sex abusers, wherever they might be.

Citizen journalists and alternative media began using the existing resources to present circumstantial evidence that this was going on. Nearly everyone who wrote or talked about the subject admitted that they could go no further. The hope was that Donald Trump would win and get a strong Attorney General to launch investigations.

Alex Jones always maintained that Pizzagate was a ‘distraction’ (his word) from deeper corruption in government. Yet, because one or two of his reporters put out a couple of videos on the subject last autumn, someone forced Jones to issue an on-air apology at the weekend:

This brings us to Mike Cernovich, who hasn’t had to apologise for anything but has been branded as a purveyor of fake news because he covered these two topics last year.

60 Minutes invited him to appear on the show and discuss it. Cernovich accepted. Who wouldn’t? He did not expect to get fair coverage, but there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Here is his interview, just over two minutes long. (If the video below doesn’t work, try this one):

Here is an excerpt from the brief discussion of Clinton’s health:

Pelley: She had pneumonia.

Cernovich: How do you know? Who told you that?

Pelley: Her campaign told us that.

Cernovich: Why would you trust the campaign?

Pelley: Uh… Ummm… the point is, you never talked to anyone who examined Hillary Clinton.

Cernovich: I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton is going to say at all as true. I’m not going to take her at her word. The mainstream media says ‘we’re not gonna take president Donald Trump at his word’ and that’s why we are in these different universes.

Cernovich was pleased he gave a good interview. Imagine the traffic he must have had as 60 Minutes gave a lingering close up of one of his Danger & Play articles.

Replies to this Cernovich tweet show various pictures of Clinton needing assistance with standing or climbing stairs.

The following dialogue ended up on the digital equivalent of the cutting room floor (emphases mine):

Scott Pelley: Who’s gunning for you?

Mike Cernovich: You are. I’m on 60 Minutes. Right?

Scott Pelley: What do you mean, we’re gunning for you?

Mike Cernovich: Do I really think that you guys are going to tell the story that I would like to have told, no. Your story’s going to be here’s a guy, spreads fake news, uses social media, these social media people better … I know the story you guys are doing before you do it.

Scott Pelley: What’s wrong with that story?

Mike Cernovich: Because it is an agenda. The agenda is … The truth is you’ve talked to a person who sincerely believes it’s true, you must also admit that there have been many stories reported by major outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, that were false.

Scott Pelley: Agreed.

Mike Cernovich: People get it wrong, so why then come guns blazing at me, and not guns blazing at everybody? Why isn’t this segment going to say, how did the New York Times get conned? How did the Washington Post believe that Russia had hacked the power grid? We all together, collectively need to discover what the truth is, and converse with one another what the truth is, that’s a different story.

Another story is, here is a person that is able to bypass traditional media outlets, reach people directly to tell a story. Maybe he’s a good guy, maybe he’s not. People decide.

This is another story, ’cause I know the story you guys are going to tell. Hillary Clinton’s perfectly healthy. This guy Cernovich that said she’s not, he has no reason to say that. Facebook and Twitter need to crackdown on this kind of stuff.

Scott Pelley: What’s wrong with that story?

Mike Cernovich: I just told you, because that is an agenda. You could tell a more whole picture. You could tell a full story, but that’s one narrow thing. ’Cause I know by the questions you’re asking, the story you’re going to tell.

Cernovich posted more dialogue left out of the televised segment. An excerpt follows:

Scott Pelley: Well, the benefit of intermediaries is having experienced editors check things out and research people. Check the facts before it goes out to the public. You don’t do any of that.

Mike Cernovich: Where are the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Scott Pelley: That was a big mess, but that was because the Government –

Mike Cernovich: And how much –

Scott Pelley: Told us they existed.

Mike Cernovich: And how much, then why trust the government?

Scott Pelley: We also, we also reported that they didn’t exist.

Mike Cernovich: Right. Well, how much damage was caused by the fake news story about weapons of mass destruction? How much damage was caused by that Rolling Stone rape hoax, where the fraternity was shut down? Bang, bang, bang. People attacking them. Assault.

So the critique is, and the Washington Post recently of course had said that the Burlington power grid had been hacked by the Russians. And then it turned out well, actually some guy, maybe he had been watching some stuff he wouldn’t have been watching on the internet. And maybe his computer was compromised. But even then, nobody knows. That’s the Washington Post, right?

New York Times, weapons of mass destruction. None ever found. Washington Post, Russia attacking the power grid. Can you believe it? Unbelievable. What a disaster.

Obama prosecuting whistle-blowers all the time, everywhere. Obama spending money to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests. All the time. I don’t see any complaints about that. But then people want to come after me guns blazing. Come after me hard. I’m not starting wars in Iraq, which was a disgrace. I’m not starting wars in Afghanistan. I’m not getting people into deep deficits. And ruining lives, right?

Cernovich posted on Medium.com that 60 Minutes garnered 15.19m viewers that night. In another post, he cited 10.6m. Either way, that viewer tally left the other networks in the dust between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. The programme in second place attracted a paltry 5.77m.

Cernovich said the actual footage of his interview is 45 minutes long. He has asked that people who want CBS to release the full version tweet at #Cerno60. Also:

Big Media — and special interests — want alternative news sources to disappear.

On an immediate level, they want that to happen because a) there are certain stories they don’t want hitting the general public and b) they want to stifle support for Trump.

However, one must ask why alternative news sources exist in the first place.

The answer is that Big Media are not doing their job properly. They editorialise instead of report. They obfuscate instead of tell the truth. They distort instead of present both sides of a story.

Oh, the irony: an Internet sensation being the most popular person on television, however briefly.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s plan for healthcare was pulled on Friday, March 24, 2017. There wasn’t enough support to even hold a vote in the House of Representatives.

It wasn’t a very good plan, anyway: too many vested interests.

However, the media and other opponents of President Donald Trump said he failed.

Dilbert’s Scott Adams sees this as a good thing, because Trump has now risen from being a dictator to merely incompetent (emphases in the original):

The real story is happening in parallel with the healthcare story, and that’s what renders it invisible. Something enormous is happening that has nothing to do with anything you are seeing in the news. In fact, you’ll probably read it here for the first time.

I’m dragging this out to see if you can guess the big news before I tell you. It is something I predicted would happen. It is something the country needs MORE than healthcare. It was, until yesterday, perceived as the biggest problem in the United States, if not the entire world.

And that problem almost totally went away yesterday. The smell might linger, but the problem has ended. We should be celebrating, but instead we will be yammering about healthcare …

With the failure of the Ryan healthcare bill, the illusion of Trump-is-Hitler has been fully replaced with Trump-is-incompetent meme. Look for the new meme to dominate the news, probably through the summer. By year end, you will see a second turn, from incompetent to “Competent, but we don’t like it.”

I have been predicting this story arc for some time now. So far, we’re ahead of schedule …

In all seriousness, the Trump-is-Hitler illusion was the biggest problem in the country, and maybe the world. It was scaring people to the point of bad health. It made any kind of political conversation impossible. It turned neighbors and friends against each other in a way we have never before seen. It was inviting violence, political instability, and worse … 

No one wants an incompetent president, but calling the other side a bunch of bumblers is routine politics. We just went from an extraordinary risk (Trump=Hitler) to ordinary politics (The other side=incompetent). Ordinary politics won’t spark a revolution or make you punch a coworker. This is a good day for all of us …

As Adams illustrated in his post, that day, CNN came out with an article by Trump’s biographer Michael D’Antonio, ‘Why Trump the deal-maker came off looking incompetent’. It’s a shame D’Antonio didn’t use the word in his article. D’Antonio has a bee in his bonnet over Trump and trashed him last year. (For more information, see this Podesta WikiLeaks email from March 2016 and a LifeZette article from last October.)

However, we have a video of Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on CNN calling Trump incompetent. Way to go!

Of course, this could start calls from Democrats for action to be taken against Trump’s presidency. (On Sunday, March 26, an article appeared in The Atlantic discussing what would happen if Trump were impeached.)

Let’s hope Adams is right with his prediction of ‘Competent, but we don’t like it’.

This post continues the series on Percy Dearmer and his 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, first published by Mowbray in 1912.

My first post was on the value of liturgical prayer and last week’s was about the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion.

Before I go into Dearmer’s breakdown of the title page of Book of Common Prayer (image courtesy of Wikipedia), I wanted to point out a very important paragraph of his which relates to it.

First, carefully note the wording on the title page of the 1662 BCP.

Dearmer rightly points out (emphases mine below):

A truly admirable description! What a mass of ignorance would be removed if only people knew the Title-page of the Prayer Book! The notion, for instance, that “Priests” are a Roman Catholic institution, and the still common impression on the Continent of Europe that, the Anglican Church at the Reformation gave up the priesthood and is indifferent to Catholic order: the common idea, too, that “Sacramentalism” is a “high-church” idea foisted on to the Protestantism of England: or the notion that our proper use should be the Genevan Use, or the Roman Use, instead of that English Use which the Title-page orders. Certainly many widespread mistakes would never have come into existence had people but read the words that stare us in the face on this Title-page.

That is an excellent point, well made. All Anglicans — especially those who align themselves liturgically with Presbyterianism — should remember it.

The Anglican Church was never intended to be Presbyterian in liturgy or ritual. There is a small but vocal contingent of conservative Anglicans who say it was and would like to make it so even today. Those people point to the Puritans, who adopted a Calvinistic form of Anglicanism.

Bible Hub explains Puritan theology:

It is not too much to say that the ruling theology of the Church of England in the latter half of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century was Calvinistic. [1154] The best proof of this is furnished by the ‘Zurich Letters,’ [1155] extending over the whole period of the Reformation, the Elizabethan Articles, the Second Book of Homilies (chiefly composed by Bishop Jewel), the Lambeth Articles, the Irish Articles, and the report of the delegation of King James to the Calvinistic Synod of Dort. [1156]

This theological sympathy between the English and the Continental Churches extended also to the principles of Church government, which was regarded as a matter of secondary importance, and subject to change, like rites and ceremonies, ‘according to the diversities of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word’ (Art. XXXIV.). The difference was simply this: the English Reformers, being themselves bishops, retained episcopacy as an ancient institution of the Church catholic, but fully admitted (with the most learned fathers and schoolmen, sustained by modern commentators and historians) the original identity of the offices of bishop and presbyter; while the German and Swiss Reformers, being only presbyters or laymen, and opposed by their bishops, fell back from necessity rather than choice upon the parity of ministers, without thereby denying the human right and relative importance or expediency of episcopacy as a superintendency over equals in rank. The more rigid among the Puritans departed from both by attaching primary importance to matters of discipline and ritual, and denouncing every form of government and public worship that was not expressly sanctioned in the New Testament.

The Bible Hub essay goes on to explain the differing views of episcopacy — governing the denomination through bishops — that Anglican clergy had at that time. In short, the Puritans opposed episcopacy, which would have given the Anglican Church a Presbyterian polity.

Bible Hub cites an American Episcopalian, the Rev. Dr. E. A. Washburn, of New York, describing him as a modern-day ‘divine’ (esteemed, very learned theologian), therefore, highly knowledgeable in this subject:

‘The doctrinal system of the English Church, in its relation to other Reformed communions, especially needs a historic treatment; and the want of this has led to grave mistakes, alike by Protestant critics and Anglo-Catholic defenders …

‘The Articles ask our first study. It is plain that the foundation-truths of the Reformation — justification by faith, the supremacy and sufficiency of written Scripture, the fallibility of even general councils — are its basis. Yet it is just as plain that in regard of the specific points of theology, which were the root of discord in the Continental Churches, as election, predestination, reprobation, perseverance, and the rest, these Articles speak in a much more moderate tone …

‘We may thus learn the structure of the liturgical system. The English Reformers aimed not to create a new, but to reform the historic Church; and therefore they kept the ritual with the episcopate, because they were institutions rooted in the soil. They did not unchurch the bodies of the Continent, which grew under quite other conditions. No theory of an exclusive Anglicanism, as based on the episcopate and general councils, was held by them. Such a view is wholly contradictory to their own Articles. But the historic character of the Church gave it a positive relation to the past; and they sought to adhere to primitive usage as the basis of historic unity. In this revision, therefore, they weeded out all Romish errors, the mass, the five added sacraments, the legends of saints, and superstitious rites; but they kept the ancient Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene in the forefront of the service, the sacramental offices, the festivals and fasts relating to Christ or Apostles with whatever they thought pure. Such a work could not be perfect, and it is false either to think it so or to judge it save by its time. There are archaic forms in these offices which retain some ideas of a scholastic theology. The view of regeneration in the baptismal service, decried to-day as Romish, can be found by any scholar in Melanchthon or in Bullinger’s Decades. We may see in some of the phrases of the communion office the idea of more than a purely spiritual participation, yet the view is almost identical with that of Calvin. The dogma of the mass had been renounced, but the Aristotelian notions of spirit and body were still embodied in the philosophy of the time. The absolution in the office for the sick, and like features, have been magnified into “Romanizing germs” on one side and Catholic verities on another … The satire, so often repeated … that the Church has a “Popish Liturgy and Calvinistic Articles,” is as ignorant as it is unjust. All liturgical formularies need revision; but such a task must be judged by the standard of the Articles, the whole tenor of the Prayer-book, and the known principles of the men. In the same way we learn their view of the Episcopate. Not one leading divine from Hooper to Hooker claimed any ground beyond the fact of primitive and historic usage … The Puritan of that day was as narrow as the narrow Churchman of our own.

‘… Lutheranism and Calvinism did each its part in the development of a profound theology. The English Church had a more comprehensive doctrine and a more conservative order. It placed the simple Apostles’ Creed above all theological confessions as its basis, and a practical system above the subtleties of controversy …’

The beginning of the Bible Hub essay summarises Anglicanism well:

The Reformed Church of England occupies an independent position between Romanism on the one hand, and Lutheranism and Calvinism on the other, with strong affinities and antagonisms in both directions

The Reformation in England was less controlled by theology than on the Continent, and more complicated with ecclesiastical and political issues. Anglican theology is as much embodied in the episcopal polity and the liturgical worship as in the doctrinal standards. The Book of Common Prayer is catholic, though purged of superstitious elements; the Articles of Religion are evangelical and moderately Calvinistic. [1142]

In closing, the essay has this gem on the English:

The English mind is not theorizing and speculative, but eminently practical and conservative; it follows more the power of habit than the logic of thought; it takes things as they are, makes haste slowly, mends abuses cautiously, and aims at the attainable rather than the ideal.

Well said. Such characteristics gave us the Church of England and other churches in communion with her around the world.

The 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 7:17-22

17 “But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18 until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. 19 He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. 20 At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, 21 and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.

——————————————————————————————–

Acts 7 is about one of the first deacons of the Church, Stephen, who became the first martyr.

Acts 6 tells us how the Apostles chose Stephen and six other men to serve as deacons: ensuring charity was dispensed and handling any donations.

All of these deacons were beyond reproach and were Hellenistic — Greek — Jews.

As the Church at this time was centred at the temple in Solomon’s Portico, the Jews, including the religious leaders, could see and hear thousands of converts every day. They knew that the Apostles were teaching and doing miraculous healing, the way Jesus did. The threat to the Jewish authorities was expanding. It was bad enough that Jews from Jerusalem were becoming followers of Jesus, but now Jews from other nations were, too.

Stephen was brought to the temple council to defend himself against four charges of blasphemy: blaspheming God, Moses, the law and the temple. Acts 7 contains his address and the council’s action against him.

Stephen first got the council’s attention by saying he had revered the same traditions as they and respected the history of the people of Israel. He related the story of Abraham, then of Joseph.

At this point, he accomplished two objectives: held his audience’s attention and defended himself against the charge of blaspheming God.

As Stephen relates his scriptural knowledge of the early patriarchs, he is also indicting his audience for rejection of Jesus as Messiah. His reason for mentioning Joseph was to get them to realise that Joseph was treated by his brothers the same way the Jews treated Jesus.

Stephen offered the first apologetic — defence of, reasoned case for — that Jesus is Messiah.

In today’s verses, Stephen begins his talk about Moses. Recall that Joseph was Pharaoh’s right hand man when a famine hit Israel and Egypt. Joseph’s brothers and his father Jacob were in Israel. The brothers went to Egypt for grain, the supply of which Joseph managed. Pharaoh invited the brothers to bring their families and Jacob to live in Egypt.

The historical setting for today’s verses is many generations later. The leaders of the twelve tribes have long since died. So has the kind Pharaoh. The people of Israel are still in Egypt, but greatly multiplied, so that they are now the size of a small nation. God was ready to return them to their own land, as He had promised Abraham (verse 17).

There was a problem. A new Pharaoh came to rule, one who did not know the great things that Joseph had done (verse 18). Consequently, he cared nothing for the Israelites. This new king made slaves out of the people of Israel and made them kill their children (verse 19) probably as a means of genocide.

Stephen mentions this because he is indicting the Jewish leaders of trying to kill the infant Church.

Matthew Henry offers this analysis (emphases mine):

Now Stephen seems to observe this to them, not only that they might further see how mean their beginnings were, fitly represented (perhaps with an eye to the exposing of the young children in Egypt) by the forlorn state of a helpless, out-cast infant (Ezekiel 16:4), and how much they were indebted to God for his care of them, which they had forfeited, and made themselves unworthy of: but also that they might consider that what they were now doing against the Christian church in its infancy was as impious and unjust, and would be in the issue as fruitless and ineffectual, as that was which the Egyptians did against the Jewish church in its infancy. “You think you deal subtly in your ill treatment of us, and, in persecuting young converts, you do as they did in casting out the young children; but you will find it is to no purpose, in spite of your malice Christ’s disciples will increase and multiply.”

This period in Israel’s history was the time when Moses was born (Exodus 2). Stephen described him as ‘beautiful in God’s sight’ (verse 20). Moses’s parents brought him up for three months hidden away at home. Then his mother placed him in a basket, which she made waterproof, and set him in the reeds by the river bank.

Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket and a servant opened it to find a crying baby. Moses’s sister was on the sidelines watching. She approached Pharaoh’s daughter, who was quite taken by this beautiful infant, and offered to find ‘a nurse from the Hebrew women’ to feed the baby (Exodus 2:7). This canny girl fetched her mother — Moses’s mother — and took her to Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses’s mother was paid to nurse her own son and when he was old enough, she took him to live in Pharaoh’s opulent palace. Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses as her own son and gave him that name because it sounds like the Hebrew for ‘draw out’, i.e. she drew him out of the water.

Now back to Acts, where Stephen said that Moses grew up to be well educated in Egyptian ways and very accomplished as an adult (verse 22).

John MacArthur describes Moses, saying that the ancient Jewish historian:

Josephus says that the history tells him that when Moses walked down the street, everybody stopped doing what they were doing just to look at him, because he was so striking and so handsome. So he was quite a man. But even as a baby he was exceedingly fair, handsome child.

So Moses was adopted as the son of Pharaoh, with all the benefits. You can imagine what kind of benefits went with being the son of Pharaoh. So he lived in the palace …

He was an amazing person. Not only exceedingly fair and handsome, not only with all of the ability that was his just by virtue of his birth and his inheritance physically, heredity, but what was his by the education that he got in Egypt. I mean, the Egyptians, they tell us, knew geometry and medicine and astronomy, and they were very advanced, and Moses was a remarkable man, with all of that natural ability coupled with the finest and most comprehensive education available in the ancient world. And he was going to be God’s deliverer, to lead Israel to the land of promise. He was mighty.

With this introductory discourse on Moses, Stephen cleared himself of the charge of blaspheming him. He paints a highly positive picture of the man. Of course, Moses was far from perfect as a leader of the twelve tribes, and there were times when he disobeyed God in memorable ways. However, MacArthur says:

But, you see, Stephen stays away from all that. He’s defending himself against blaspheming Moses, so he just praises him.

So far, so good. Stephen had more to say about Moses, which I’ll cover in future posts.

Next time: Acts 7:23-29

On Thursday, March 23, 2017, RMC (French talk radio) had a morning discussion on the London attack which occurred the day before.

Les Grandes Gueules (The Big Mouths) discussed the trend for vehicle terrorism, an ISIS-approved method which started with the July 14, 2016 attack in Nice. The Berlin Christmas market attack on December 19 was the next spectacular. On Wednesday, it was London:

The day after the London attack, Belgian police detained a man in Antwerp for driving at speed along a main pedestrian-only street. Reuters reported:

“At about 11 a.m. this morning a vehicle entered De Meir at high speed due to which pedestrians had to jump away,” a police spokesman told a news conference, referring to the street name.

He added the driver was later arrested and additional police and military personnel had been deployed to the center of Antwerp, but did not give any further details.

The Daily Mail reports that the attacker is French-Tunisian. The article has good accompanying photographs.

French media now call such attacks ‘low cost’ terrorism, meaning that no equipment other than a vehicle is required. The radio show panel debated on whether this was appropriate terminology. Opinion was divided. Some found it demeaning to the victims. Others thought it described the situation objectively.

Regardless, the London attack has raised the same reactions and the same questions of previous attacks.

American military veteran, author and film maker Jack Posobiec summed it up on Twitter:

An Englishman, Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars editor-at-large, tweeted:

He also made a short news video in which he put forth the inconvenient truth about the London attacks and others:

People have been speculating incorrectly on the significance of the date the London attack took place. Reuters has the answer (emphases mine below):

The mayhem in London took came on the first anniversary of attacks that killed 32 people in Brussels.

The article also stated that Khalid Masood — formerly Adrian Elms, then Adrian Ajao — whom police shot dead:

was British-born and was once investigated by MI5 intelligence agents over concerns about violent extremism, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement issued by its Amaq news agency. But it gave no name or other details and it was not clear whether the attacker was directly connected to the group.

Police arrested eight people at six locations in London and Birmingham in the investigation into Wednesday’s lone-wolf attack that May said was inspired by a warped Islamist ideology.

About 40 people were injured and 29 remain in hospital, seven in critical condition, after the incident which resembled Islamic State-inspired attacks in France and Germany where vehicles were driven into crowds.

The assailant sped across Westminster Bridge in a car, ploughing into pedestrians along the way, then ran through the gates of the nearby parliament building and fatally stabbed an unarmed policeman before being shot dead. tmsnrt.rs/2napbkD

“What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism,” May said in a statement to parliament.

So far, four people have died:

It was the worst such attack in Britain since [July 7] 2005, when 52 people were killed by Islamist suicide bombers on London’s public transport system. Police had given the death toll as five but revised it down to four on Thursday.

Some found it strange that the March 22 London attack took place on the same day that Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan said:

that Europeans would not be able to walk safely on the streets if they kept up their current attitude toward Turkey, his latest salvo in a row over campaigning by Turkish politicians in Europe.

While that is strange, it probably remains a coincidence. Erdogan is angry with the Netherlands and Germany at the moment.

Once again, we have the lone-wolf narrative. Patently wrong, as it has been in other terror attacks. Notice Reuters says police arrested eight people. Therefore, how could it have been a lone-wolf operation?

On the notion of normalising terror in big cities, Tucker Carlson had this to say:

Although it sounds clichéd, it is true that prayer — public and private — help greatly at a time like this.

We can pray for the families and friends of victims PC Keith Palmer, fatally stabbed by the attacker, as well as the two civilians who died: Aysha Frade (wife and mother of two daughters), Kurt Cochran (an American tourist, husband and father) and the latest victim, a 75-year-old man. We can pray for Mrs Cochran, who was injured in the attack and is in hospital. We can pray for the 40 injured. Their lives will never be the same again. They will need God’s help for physical and mental recovery.

In closing, The Sun has an excellent set of photographs which tell the horrific story of the March 22, 2017 attack.

In Britain, Mothering Sunday — Mother’s Day — is always Laetare Sunday.

This year, mums are shortchanged, as our clocks change to British Summer Time on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

Laetare Sunday is the joyful Sunday of Lent. Some traditional Anglican and Catholic clergy wear a pink chasuble. The faithful look towards the promise of the Resurrection on this day.

The traditional Epistle read on this day was from Galatians 4 and included this verse (Gal. 4:26):

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Hence the ancient tradition called Mothering Sunday, when people made the journey to their ‘mother’ church — often a cathedral but sometimes a large parish church — for worship. Afterward, some congregations ‘clipped’ the church, which involved worshippers gathering outside, forming a ring around the church and holding hands to embrace it.

The notion of the church as spiritual mother began to extend to earthly mothers, which is how Mothering Sunday developed.

Find out more in my post from 2012:

Laetare Sunday is Mothering Sunday

I wish all my British readers who are mothers a very happy day.

On Friday, March 17, 2017, an anti-Trump billboard went up at a prominent intersection in Phoenix to coincide with the Art Detour event last weekend.

Local NBC affiliate 12News reports:

The billboard art was commissioned by the billboard owner, Beatrice Moore, a longtime patron of the arts on Grand Avenue.

“Some of these issues are so important you can’t not speak out,” Moore said in an interview …

Moore said it would remain up as long as Trump is president. 

The billboard is in a can’t-miss location at 11th Avenue and Grand.

The artist is California resident Karen Fiorito, who has collaborated before with Moore (emphasis mine):

This isn’t the first time Fiorito and Moore put up controversial billboard art.

In 2004, Fiorito created a billboard of President George W. Bush and top government officials for her master of fine arts thesis on political propaganda at Arizona State University.

“Dear America,” the billboard said, “we lied to you for your own good. Now trust us.”

Of course, the billboard of America’s 45th president elicited strong reactions:

Moore and Fiorito did expect blowback from Trump supporters.

Fiorito said she has received death threats over the Trump billboard.

“A lot of hate. Things have gotten a lot more escalated now,” she said. 

“I just hope that everyone involved in helping bring this message out is safe and that we all get through this unharmed,” Fiorito said.

Hmm.

Death threats — if, indeed, they were made — are beyond the pale.

However, as the old saying goes: if you’re gonna play, you’ve gotta pay. No one sensible can put up something like that without expecting a negative reaction.

According to tweets that Twitchy published in their article about the billboard, the left-wing artist depicted the symbol of a fringe group called the Capitalist Right.

In other news, an Arizona man was arrested for bestiality with a goat: details and photo.

It’s a mad, mad, mad world.

On Monday, March 20, 2017, Britain’s singing legend Dame Vera Lynn, celebrated her 100th birthday.

Dame Vera is as iconic as the Queen.

Incredibly, on March 17, Decca Records released her latest album, Vera Lynn 100: We’ll Meet Again. She is thought to be the first centenarian to have a new album on sale.

The London Evening Standard reports (emphases mine below):

The record comes eight years after Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to land a UK number one album and also marks the wartime singer’s 93 years in the industry as she made her stage debut at the age of seven.

New re-orchestrated versions of her most beloved music alongside her original vocals will feature on the music release …

The album also features a previously unreleased version of Sailing – a surprise find as it was not widely known she had recorded the track.

Dame Vera recorded the songs with young British talent, including Alfie Boe and The Ayoub Sisters.

A photo of her with a Happy Birthday message was projected onto the white cliffs of Dover, also the name of one of her greatest wartime hits. Others, too numerous to mention, included We’ll Meet Again and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square:

Dame Vera still lives at home in Ditchling, East Sussex.

Yesterday, the BBC reported that she participated in a Skype call from home with students from her old school, Brampton Primary School in East Ham, east London. The students serenaded her with a selection of her most famous songs.

The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity held a daytime party on top of the white cliffs of Dover. It was very windy that day, but:

veterans, re-enactors and the Singing Sweethearts serenaded Dame Vera and sang happy birthday.

A military-style salute and flag-waving carried on regardless, all in support of her children’s charity but also celebrating the 100th birthday of our own Forces’ Sweetheart.

The Evening Standard reported:

Dame Vera said: “It is an unprecedented honour to have my birthday marked in such a beautiful way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture.

“As we look to the white cliffs on Monday, I will be thinking of all our brave boys – the cliffs were the last thing they saw before heading off to war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw upon returning home.

“I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone and I can’t think of a more meaningful way to mark the occasion.”

BBC Radio 2 asked her for her advice on ageing:

… she said: “Be active to your full capabilities.

“Keep interested, read books, watch television and try to keep in touch with life and what people are doing, seeing and enjoying.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 2, she added: “While you can do that, I hope you will continue.”

Finally! Someone who defends television! Thank you, Dame Vera!

Dame Vera gave an exclusive newspaper interview to The Sun:

“I try not to worry too much about anything any more, and enjoy every day as it comes,” she says.

“There is always something we can be concerned about. The secret is to rise above it and do whatever we can to make the world a better place.”

As for the young Second World War troops who loved her and her music:

she is still full of praise for the true Brits who gave up everything to bring peace to future generations.

She adds: “The war was a dark and difficult time but it was quite easy to keep faith when I saw for myself the sacrifices being made by the boys on the front line and everyone on the Home Front.

“The community spirit and collective sense of patriotism saw us all through.”

Also:

“The white cliffs were the last thing they saw before they left for war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw to tell them they were home.”

The Sun reminds us of why Dame Vera was The Forces’ Sweetheart:

To borrow from the familiar lyrics, millions of men and women didn’t have the chance to meet their loved ones again some sunny day.

But at least Vera gave them hope and comfort in the darkness and it explains why she ranks her people’s title of Forces Sweetheart as highly as any official accolade.

“I consider it to be one of my greatest achievements,” she affirms. “I feel very honoured that people regard me in this way.

“I am exceptionally fond of all the brave servicemen and women who have worked, and continue to work, to keep us safe and secure, and protect our values.”

The BBC has a great retrospective, complete with family photos, of Dame Vera’s life and career. Highlights follow:

Vera Welch was born on 20 March 1917 in East Ham in London. Neither of her parents were involved in showbusiness – her father Bertram was a plumber and mother Annie a dressmaker. But by the age of seven, the talented young Vera was singing in working men’s clubs – an audience she described as “great” – and soon became the family’s main breadwinner.

This is my favourite:

When she turned 11, Vera took her grandmother’s maiden name of Lynn as a stage name. She had no formal singing lessons as a child – and just one as an adult. She said: “I thought I could extend my range but when the teacher heard me sing she said ‘I cannot train that voice, it’s not a natural voice’. So I said: ‘Well thank you very much madam’, and left.”

I do wonder what that teacher thought later! You know what they say: ‘Those who can’t do …’

Dame Vera started singing professionally at the age of 15 and released her first single at the age of 19:

By the age of 22 she had sold more than a million records, bought her parents a house and herself a car.

During the Second World War, she went on tour:

it was during World War Two that her reputation was made. She frequently sang to the troops at morale-boosting concerts, becoming known to posterity as The Forces’ Sweetheart.

She married Harry Lewis in 1941. They had a daughter, Virginia. Harry died in 1998. Mother and daughter are still very close.

Dame Vera appeared on radio shows. Below, she is the lady in the fur coat:

Dame Vera’s career and fame continued after the war ended:

She was appointed OBE in 1969, made a Dame in 1975, and a Companion of Honour in 2016. Her wartime fame meant she was never far from the television screens …

She enjoyed meeting new talent:

She made the acquaintance of glam rock band Slade in 1973, when they gathered round a piano at the Melody Maker Awards.

Her records continue to sell very well and she:

holds the record for being the oldest living artist to achieve a top 20 UK album.

Over the years, Dame Vera has participated in many Second World War commemorative events.

In closing, this is what the Queen wrote Dame Vera on her 100th birthday:

You cheered and uplifted us all in the War and after the War, and I am sure that this evening the blue birds of Dover will be flying over to wish you a happy anniversary, Elizabeth R.

Many happy returns, Dame Vera Lynn!

On June 3, 2016 Donald Trump held a campaign rally in San Jose, California.

Violent leftists attacked Trump supporters. Police stood aside and did nothing. The incidents were many and bloody that day. I wrote about one of them at the time for another website:

The violent anti-Trump and anti-Trump-supporters protests in San Jose have beggared belief.

So has the poor response by the city. The mayor, a Hillary Clinton supporter, said that Donald Trump brought the trouble through his ‘irresponsible’ behaviour. Police did not seem to do much. The lady who was egged put on a jovial face, even though the second egg could have easily blinded her; thank goodness it was just that tiny bit off-target.

Twitchy has a complete catalogue of tweeted videos. Here’s the lady who was egged:

A young man was struck in his right temple:

Punches were thrown. More people were injured:

Police did not help:

On March 18, 2017, KCBS reported that Trump’s Deplorables can sue San Jose:

A federal judge is giving Donald Trump supporters the green light to pursue their lawsuit against the city of San Jose. The plaintiffs accuse the city for not protecting them during a campaign rally last year.

This is important (emphases mine):

The Trump supporters in this case claim that San Jose police officers intentionally steered them into an angry mob of protesters, following a Trump campaign rally last June.

However, the city of San Jose is confident nothing will happen:

On Wednesday, federal judge Lucy Koh allowed the lawsuit against the city and individual police officers to go forward, however she dismissed claims against Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

Last year, Mayor Sam Liccardo said the lawsuit was baseless.

“The notion that there was some stand down order is ridiculous,” Liccardo said.

City Attorney Rick Doyle is confident the city will prevail. Doyle said Wednesday that police officers didn’t do anything wrong and were trying to maintain some kind of crowd control in a chaotic situation.

Twitchy has more in their article of March 18, including this:

The Twitchy article points out:

If federal judges are going to block President Trump’s executive orders based on things he said on the campaign trail, let’s hope that statement by the police about “weighing the need” to protect citizens has just as much influence in this case.

Here are the suspects. These were the only ones arrested, but there were many more who participated in the violence:

A discussion at The Donald provided more information. American police forces often have a motto of ‘protect and defend’ or ‘serve and protect’. Someone mentioned the 1981 case, Warren v District of Columbia:

the police do not owe a specific duty to provide police services to citizens based on the public duty doctrine.

The_Donald’s readers see two possible outcomes:

1/ Only if the DoJ files civil rights lawsuits against the chief of police will this go anywhere. Until then assume that San Jose police are actively working for the SJW [social justice warrior] left and behave accordingly.

2/ This could be approached from a failure to protect/prevent a breach of the peace.

Personally, I am not hopeful Trump supporters will win. Regardless, it’s the principle that matters. I hope that similar cases will be raised in Berkeley and other cities — and get the green light to proceed.

It seems that people on the wrong side of the law get more protection than the average citizen. This is another reason why Trump won.

I will post an update when it becomes available.

Last week, I introduced Percy Dearmer and his 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, first published by Mowbray in 1912.

I mentioned Dearmer was an avowed Socialist. He seems to have been a bit to the left theologically, too.

In Chapter 3 of his book, he introduces the title page. This alone is worth about three posts, so I shall focus on Dearmer’s dislike of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, painstakingly written and agreed upon in 1563 by a convocation of Anglican bishops.

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Archbishop Cranmer (1489 – 1556) wrote most of the Articles, the number of which varied depending on the monarch. Under Henry VIII, there were ten, then six. Under his successors, they increased to 42, then decreased to 39 in 1563, under Elizabeth I. She subsequently removed Article XXIX, which denounced transubstantiation. She did not want to offend her Catholic subjects.

In 1571, Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I. Article XXIX was reinstated.

The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion are the official positions of the Church of England. Dearmer might have objected to them because they state particular things that could offend Catholics (the nature of Holy Communion) and Anabaptists (no mandate for commonly-held property).

You can read the full list here, along with the introduction. Today’s Anglican clergy downplay them a lot and actually discourage people from even reading them. Yet, they are still obliged to affirm at ordination that they accept the Articles.

However, as the Church Society notes:

the wording of the declaration is now such that many feel able to say it without meaning what a simple reading might suggest. 

The Thirty-nine Articles have their basis in Holy Scripture. I have no problem in affirming them, although I will never be asked to do so. Wikipedia states:

the Articles are not officially normative in all Anglican Churches …

Now on to Dearmer, who points out that the Thirty-nine Articles are not on the title page of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, although they are included in it:

It makes no mention of the Thirty-nine Articles; for they form no part of the Prayer Book. They are bound up with it …

Their inclusion bothered him, because they are not binding on Anglican churchgoers:

it is a mistake of the printing authorities to compel us to buy the Articles whenever we buy the Prayer Book; and it gives Church folk the impression that the Articles are binding on them, which is not the case — for a layman is perfectly free to disagree with the Articles, if he chooses.

However, I found them helpful when I was converting. I wanted to know what this denomination believed and why before I made a commitment. It took me some time and reading to understand what a few of the Articles meant and why they were included.

Dearmer was of the impression that they were a living document and should have been updated to reflect the times:

Nothing has been done to improve them. The needs of modern thought have indeed been partly met by altering the terms in which the clergy (and they alone) have to give their assent; but this does not help the average Briton, who, moreover, is without the assistance of the learned commentaries which alone can prevent serious misunderstandings ; while in other countries, both East and West, the presence of the Thirty-nine Articles in the Prayer Book continues to do grave harm, by giving to other Churches a false idea of the Anglican theology.

Whilst I agree that the average Briton does need learned commentaries, I just did my own research. Anyone interested in doing so can. Clergy in Dearmer’s day could also have held classes on the Thirty-nine Articles so that the congregation could better understand them.

Where I disagree with Dearmer is that the Articles could be somehow improved. He could not have been more wrong! An Anglican who follows the Thirty-nine Articles will end up much further along the road to sanctification in thought, word and deed.

I much prefer what the Church Society says about them in fewer words (emphases in the original):

Officially the Church of England accepts the full and final authority of Holy Scripture as the basis for all that it believes. Some of these beliefs were summarised in the historic creeds, and at the time of the Reformation the Church adopted the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as giving a concise and systematic statement of the teaching of Scripture.

It’s a pity that more Anglicans do not understand the Articles or believe, as clergy are wont to say, that they are ‘historical artifacts’.

For decades, Anglicans have believed anything they want. Some of them are more Quaker, Baptist or Methodist than Anglican.

Dearmer did have excellent insights on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer, more about which next week.

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