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Leo Lyon Zagami is a Freemason living in Italy.

He often uses his middle name as his mother was related to the Queen Mother’s family, the Bowes-Lyons.

I first heard him on The Alex Jones Show on July 11, 2017 discussing the conflicts currently going on in the Vatican. It is unclear whether Zagami is still a practising Catholic — and, yes, I am aware of the Catholic Church’s proscription on being a Freemason. Regardless, he takes a keen interest in what is going on in Rome.

N.B.: This post explores adult themes and is not for children.

Zagami told Jones that there are two factions operating at the Vatican: Pope Francis’s group and the traditionalists. Paedophilia is common in both groups, and orgies take place in the Pope’s circle.

Today, July 26, 2017, Cardinal George Pell — a traditionalist — appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in Australia on charges of sexual abuse. US News reports:

Pell, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic and Pope Francis’ top financial adviser, is accused of sexually abusing multiple people years ago in his Australian home state of Victoria, making him the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis. Details of the charges have yet to be released to the public, though police have described them as “historical” sexual assault offenses — meaning crimes that occurred years ago.

Pell has not yet entered a plea. But on Wednesday, his lawyer told the court that the 76-year-old cardinal plans to formally plead not guilty at a future court date.

“For the avoidance of doubt and because of the interest, I might indicate that Cardinal Pell pleads not guilty to all charges and will maintain the presumed innocence that he has,” lawyer Robert Richter told the court.

The court appearance lasted only minutes. Initially, it was believed these crimes were all committed by priests in his diocese. However, after Australian detectives flew to the Vatican in 2016 and as recently as last month to interview the elderly cardinal, it is thought that Pell, too, might have been directly involved.

Although members of victim advocacy groups were outside the court, so were Pell supporters who believe he has been unfairly targeted. Pell has long been a controversial figure at the Vatican for theological reasons. His defenders among the Catholic faithful believe he is shoring up the one true faith.

We shall see.

Leo Zagami writes (emphases mine):

The two men who made abuse allegations against Cardinal George Pell say they are “over the moon” about the decision to lay charges. But their lawyer stated to the Herald Sun, they were not confident the case would be successful. It is up to us, the alternative media to build pressure around this very important case. So please dear readers, share this information on your social media accounts, before the largest disinfo operation in history, could send it into oblivion

Clergy sexual abuse survivor Andrew Collins stated that the fact that Cardinal George Pell had finally been charged, was something he never thought he would hear as “Cardinal Pell … is one of the most powerful men on the earth,”.

Well if Cardinal Pell falls, it’s only a matter of time before the Vatican pedophile network goes down with him, so let’s pray for this very important day for the future of humanity, the 26th of July 2017.

On July 19, Zagami wrote about the two paedophile factions in the Vatican, a topic he discussed on The Alex Jones Show:

One faction, closer to Pope Francis, and the Gay lobby, wants a more liberal Church, ready to embrace homosexuality for priests, and an open support for Islam and the upcoming One World Religion, that will gradually push for the acceptance of pedophilia. This faction is represented by Cardinals such as Coccopalmiero, involved in the Gay Orgy raid, or Godfried Cardinal Danneels of the St. Gallen Mafia.

St Gallen is a secret group of Catholic clerics from the Vatican that meets annually in that Swiss town. Zagami says it is a rogue Masonic lodge.

Then there is the traditionalist faction — Pell’s:

The other faction, the more conservative one, mostly controlled by Pope Ratzinger the Pope Emeritus, is instead contrary to any liberal change imposed on the Catholic Faith by the Jesuit Pope, but still hides terrible compromises and links to the infamous pedophilia rings that hide behind the Catholic hierarchy.

However, there is also a secular aspect to paedophilia outside the Vatican. Zagami alleges that a longtime Italian educator Rodolfo Fiesoli, arrested in 1985 and again in 2011, is a good friend not only of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi but may also have links to the Democratic Party in the US. Zagami alleges that Fiesoli is:

an influential figure in the international pedophile network connected to the US Democrats.

Fiesoli spoke at a TedX conference in Florence just a few weeks before his 2011 arrest:

After his arrest, Zagami says:

references to this pedophile monster connected to Matteo Renzi, head of the ruling Democratic Party, and the US Democratic Party, disappear from the online site of the initiative, and from YouTube but fortunately we still have a surviving footage of the event.

In 2015, Fiesoli was sentenced to 17 years in prison, but has not yet spent a day behind bars because of his powerful connections not only in Italy, but also, perhaps, in the United States.

Fiesoli first gained broad attention in Italy during the 1980s (emphasis in the original):

Fiesoli participated as a supposed “educator”, despite being condemned several times since the mid 80’s, for sexual abuse to minors, at his community called Forteto di Vicchio, established in 1977, to support his bizare theories on family, and the recovery of minors in distress. In the audience was the then-Mayor Matteo Renzi, who was smiling during Fiesoli’s speech, nodding his head several times and clapping to show his approval.

Zagami believes that President Donald Trump is the only person who can break this network wide open.

The Vatican’s opposition to Trump might be evidence that they also think he can expose the network, which is why they are taking such strong objection to him and his Christian supporters. An article appeared earlier this month in the English edition of La Civiltà Cattolica (Catholic Civilization), a Jesuit publication. The editor-in-chief is Antonio Spadaro SJ.

On July 14, Zagami wrote about Spadaro’s diatribe and translated some of it into English. An excerpt follows (more in Zagami’s post):

After reading the article I will add that the Jesuits are declaring war not only on Trump, but on American Christianity. Jesuits write about American Christians in the following way:

Theirs is a prophetic formula: fight the threats to American Christian values and prepare for the imminent justice of an Armageddon, a final showdown between Good and Evil, between God and Satan. In this sense, every process (be it of peace, dialogue, etc.) collapses before the needs of the end, the final battle against the enemy. And the community of believers (faith) becomes a community of combatants (fight). Such a unidirectional reading of the biblical texts can anesthetize consciences or actively support the most atrocious and dramatic portrayals of a world that is living beyond the frontiers of its own “promised land.”

They also attack Steven Bannon – a Catholic – and accuse him of being a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics.”

This is the final declaration of war against real America made by the Jesuits and Pope Francis, so it’s about time we openly declare war on their pedophile networks and Vatican Money Laundering Schemes.

Only a small percentage of Trump supporters think that way. In fact, most Americans who think like that are anti-Trump because he is not godly enough.

As for Steve Bannon, he would be the last to think in terms of apocalyptic geopolitics. He just wants people destroying America to be identified and dealt with through the proper legal channels.

Now we come to Zagami’s interview with Alex Jones from July 11, wherein he discusses the evil inside Vatican City. This is the segment I saw as it aired:

The following day, Zagami included it in his post ‘St Gallen Mafia Exposed!’ which also includes a video of the aforementioned Cardinal Godfried Danneels from Belgium discussing his time as a member of the St Gallen Mafia (subtitled in English):

The video is well worth watching and has a lot of information, considering it is less than three minutes long.

Zagami tells us that the St Gallen Mafia:

is leading the Church towards a schism pushing the the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of Catholics worldwide….

Godfried Maria Jules Danneels  a Belgian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church openly involved with the St. Gallen Mafia wearing a rainbow inspired religious garment to celebrate mass.

On June 30, Pope Francis sacked German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller from his position as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to that post in 2012 and Pope Francis made him a Cardinal in 2014.

Zagami says that Müller and Pope Francis did not see eye-to-eye:

because he opposes pedophilia and the Jesuits’ liberal agenda for the CDF.

Heading the CDF is probably the most important position next to the pope. Pope Benedict had held that post years ago. It involves ensuring that Catholic doctrine stays unaltered. Of course, that wasn’t exactly the case decades ago when Benedict Ratzinger was pushing forward with post-Vatican II reform, but the principle remains.

Zagami explains the sacking:

The following information that will help us understand more comes from the report of a trustworthy German source, who spoke to the site OnePeterFive, on condition of anonymity. He quotes an eyewitness who recently sat with Cardinal Müller at lunch in Mainz, Germany. During that meal, Cardinal Müller is alleged to have disclosed in the presence of this eyewitness …

According to this report, Cardinal Müller was called to the Apostolic Palace on 30 June 2017, and he arrived with his work files, assuming that this meeting would be a usual working session. The Pope told him, however, that he only had five questions for him:

Are you in favor of, or against, a female diaconate? “I am against it,” responded Cardinal Müller.

Are you in favor of, or against, the repeal of celibacy? “Of course I am against it,” the cardinal responded.

Are you in favor of, or against female priests?

“I am very decisively against it,” replied Cardinal Müller.

Are you willing to defend Amoris Laetitia?

“As far as it is possible for me,” the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith replied: “there still exist ambiguities.”

Are you willing to retract your complaint concerning the dismissal of three of your own employees?

Cardinal Müller responded: “Holy Father, these were good, unblemished men whom I now lack, and it was not correct to dismiss them over my head, shortly before Christmas, so that they had to clear their offices by 28 December. I am missing them now.”

Thereupon the Pope answered: “Good. Cardinal Müller, I only wanted to let you know that I will not extend your mandate [i.e., beyond 2 July] as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith.”

Without any farewell or explanation, the Pope left the room, leaving Cardinal Müller in utter astonishment. He stood in shocked silence, waiting for the Pope to return, but strangely enough, it was Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who had to force him to leave the meeting, completely shocked by what had just occurred.

One week later, another German Cardinal made the news, Joachim Meisner, who was born on Christmas Day in 1933. Cardinal Meisner died mysteriously on July 5 at the age of 83. Zagami tells us that Meisner was a traditionalist:

He was considered a leader of the conservative wing of the German episcopate, and was one of the four cardinals who orginally presented the controversial letter “Dubia” to Pope Francis in September 2016, seeking up until June 2017, a clarification on the modernization of the Church in matters of faith, and the infamous Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation issued by Pope Francis called, Amoris Laetitia, without ever receiving an answer.

The aforementioned Cardinal Müller spoke to his colleague on July 4:

As the Passauer Neue Presse reports:

Müller had spoken over the phone with the former Archbishop of Cologne [Cardinal Meisner] the previous night [before he died the next morning]; and they also had spoken about the non-renewal of his former position. Meisner had shown himself to be “deeply saddened” by this dismissal. “That moved him personally and wounded himand he considered it to be a form of damage for the Church,” as the Curial Cardinal [Müller] himself described the reaction of Meisner and 1 well-informed source within the Vatican say[s] that perhaps Cardinal Meisner “died of a broken heart.” Or was he killed in traditional Vatican fashion with a poison coffee? …

Interestingly enough, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Prefect of the Papal Household very close to Pope Francis, and Obama, and a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1996, also happened to meet Cardinal Meisner shortly before his death. Only a coincidence? Of course not, nothing is a coincidence in the Vatican, but a well orchestrated maneuver.

According to the Passauer Neue Presse, Gänswein visited Bad Füssing (near Passau), on the 2nd of July, in order to give a talk at the “Bad Füssinger Gespräche” [Bad Füssing Talks]. Cardinal Meisner had been staying in Bad Füssing for a period of time for vacation, as his health was not considered at all a problem. So the two influential Vatican figures met in person there, but unfortunately, no details have been revealed about their conversation that eventually led to Joachim Meisner’s death, a mystery that needs further investigation, as it seems Pope Francis is clearing up the scene from any unwanted opposition before his summer vacation, and Meisner was on his hit list for a long time.

On July 2 — between Müller’s sacking and Meisner’s death — Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, Secretary of Cardinal Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, was arrested in a raid on what Zagami says was:

a drug-based gay orgy.

Zagami tells us:

The police later proved that Capozzi, who was on his way to becoming bishop, is now being forced to retire in a monastery by the Vatican. Capozzi used a car from the Holy See with a Vatican number plate to bring in big quantities of cocaine to the Holy City. Monsignor Capozzi is a big fan of Pope Francis, as is his boss Cardinal Coccopalmiero, who is one of Bergoglio’s biggest supporters and collaborators, and wrote an important essay on the 8th Chapter of Amoris laetitia, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, on love in the family …

In closing, Zagami offered this insight as to Trump’s lack of concern about visiting the UK:

The liberals are desperate to bring down Trump using any and all means, but now that the CIA and other agencies are finally tackling the pedophilia problem, because of Potus’ orders, he could be risking his life even more. LGBTQ rights advocates should support the president in this endevour, and distance themselves from the pedophilia reality.

In the meantime, President Trump has told Theresa May that he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain, a country that as we know is the driving force of the global Pedophilia Network. UK children in the care of British institutions, are six times more likely to be assessed for abuse, than a child in the general population. Scotland Yard detectives were removed from a pedophile investigation, after naming politicians, so maybe the British public should change their brainwashed attitude and support his visit to the UK.

The world — and the Catholic Church — are in a deep mess right now.

Hence my warning the other day — Michael Crichton’s Gell-Mann Amnesia effect — about paying too much heed to what the media are telling us.

This year, I have been running a series of posts on Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

Percy Dearmer on the earliest church service manuscripts

Percy Dearmer’s interpretation of St Paul on prophecy and tongues

Percy Dearmer on elements of worship in the New Testament

Percy Dearmer: how several prayer books became one liturgical book

Percy Dearmer on Reformation, royalty and the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer: first Anglican Prayer Book ‘too fair-minded’ for a violent era

Percy Dearmer on the effect of Edward VI’s reign on the Church of England

Percy Dearmer on the Second Prayer Book’s Calvinistic bent

Percy Dearmer on the Third Prayer Book and Elizabeth I

Percy Dearmer blamed Calvinists for sucking the life-blood out of Anglicanism

Percy Dearmer on the Fourth Prayer Book and the King James Version of the Bible

Percy Dearmer wisely skipped over the turmoil that was going on not only in England but in Europe during King James I’s (James VI of Scotland) and Charles I’s respective reigns.

However, some historical notes need to be added to understand the civil and religious strife during this time. The two intermingled, causing much violence and uncertainty.

Before getting to Chapter 10 of Dearmer’s book, I shall try to sum this up as briefly as possible.

James I was Charles I’s father. When the latter was of marriageable age, the Continent was experiencing political struggles between Catholic and Protestant royal houses and emperors. Spain was a powerful player at this time. People today would find it amazing to know that Spain ruled the Low Countries, but the Spanish Netherlands did indeed exist between 1581 to 1714.

James hoped to broker peace with Spain by marrying Charles off to Princess Maria Anna. However, as the Wikipedia account of Charles I‘s life and death tells us (emphases mine):

Unfortunately for James, negotiation with Spain proved generally unpopular, both with the public and with James’s court.[19] The English Parliament was actively hostile towards Spain and Catholicism, and thus, when called by James in 1621, the members hoped for an enforcement of recusancy laws, a naval campaign against Spain, and a Protestant marriage for the Prince of Wales.[20]

The Spanish Court — including Princess Maria Anna — opposed the match, and it never took place.

However, Charles did marry a Catholic, France’s Princess Henrietta Maria, in 1625, which did not stand him in good stead in England. He had succeeded his father as king in 1624 and was crowned formally on February 2, 1626. Tensions ran high:

Many members of the Commons were opposed to the king’s marriage to a Roman Catholic, fearing that Charles would lift restrictions on Catholic recusants and undermine the official establishment of the reformed Church of England. Although he told Parliament that he would not relax religious restrictions, he promised to do exactly that in a secret marriage treaty with his brother-in-law Louis XIII of France.[41]

Things were not well in the royal household at that time:

Disputes over her jointure, appointments to her household, and the practice of her religion culminated in the king expelling the vast majority of her French attendants in August 1626.[58]

However, not long afterwards, diplomacy with Spain ensued and his marital problems were resolved. In fact, Charles and his Queen consort:

embodied an image of virtue and family life, and their court became a model of formality and morality.[73]

That said, the religious issue of Henrietta Maria’s Catholicism did not disappear.

Taxes were high so that Charles could finance war. He also granted monopolies, which companies paid for. One of them was for soap:

pejoratively referred to as “popish soap” because some of its backers were Catholics.[108]

Another religious issue was the determination of Calvinists — Puritans — to become the dominant religious force. Yet another — on the opposite side of the aisle — was the popularity of Arminianism, which posits that man can accept or reject salvation. In addition, Charles’s diplomacy with Spain was viewed with suspicion, as a way of bringing in Catholicism via the back door.

Charles was concerned about the direction the Reformation was taking in England. The action he took proved to be unpopular:

In 1633, Charles appointed William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury.[118] Together, they began a series of anti-Calvinist reforms that attempted to ensure religious uniformity by restricting non-conformist preachers, insisting that the liturgy be celebrated as prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, organising the internal architecture of English churches so as to emphasise the sacrament of the altar, and re-issuing King James’s Declaration of Sports, which permitted secular activities on the sabbath.[119] The Feoffees for Impropriations, an organisation that bought benefices and advowsons so that Puritans could be appointed to them, was dissolved.[120] To prosecute those who opposed his reforms, Laud used the two most powerful courts in the land, the Court of High Commission and the Court of Star Chamber.[121] The courts became feared for their censorship of opposing religious views, and became unpopular among the propertied classes for inflicting degrading punishments on gentlemen.[122]

Conflicts arose in Scotland and Ireland. Parliamentarians in England were also furious with Charles. They impeached Archbishop Laud in 1640 and accused the king of tyranny.

On January 3, 1642, Charles entered the House of Commons to have five members of Parliament arrested on charges of treason. (Word had reached the men, who escaped by boat.) When Charles made his demand, Parliament refused to comply.

It should be noted that the monarch never enters the House of Commons. That Charles did so sealed his fate.

The result was the English Civil War which lasted from 1642 to 1651. It was fought between the Roundheads (Parliamentarians) and Cavaliers (Royalists):

The overall outcome of the war was threefold: the trial and execution of Charles I (1649); the exile of his son, Charles II (1651); and the replacement of English monarchy with, at first, the Commonwealth of England (1649–1653) and then the Protectorate under the personal rules of Oliver Cromwell (1653–1658) and his son Richard (1658–1659). The monopoly of the Church of England on Christian worship in England ended with the victors’ consolidating the established Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. Constitutionally, the wars established the precedent that an English monarch cannot govern without Parliament‘s consent, although the idea of Parliament as the ruling power of England was only legally established as part of the Glorious Revolution in 1688.[2]

The period between Charles I’s death and Charles II’s accession to the throne is called the Interregnum, which had strong religious overtones:

The Interregnum was a relatively short but important period in the history of the British Isles. It saw a number of political experiments without any stable form of government emerging, largely due to the wide diversity in religious and political groups that had been allowed to flourish after the regicide of Charles I.

The Puritan movement had evolved as a rejection of both real and perceived “Catholicisation” of the Church of England. When the Church of England was quickly disestablished by the Commonwealth Government, the question of what church to establish became a hotly debated subject. In the end, it was impossible to make all the political factions happy. During the Interregnum, Oliver Cromwell lost much of the support he had gained during the Civil War.

Puritans dominated the landscape:

After the Parliamentarian victory in the Civil War, the Puritan views of the majority of Parliament and its supporters began to be imposed on the rest of the country. The Puritans advocated an austere lifestyle and restricted what they saw as the excesses of the previous regime. Most prominently, holidays such as Christmas and Easter were suppressed.[2] Pastimes such as the theatre and gambling were also banned. However, some forms of art that were thought to be “virtuous”, such as opera, were encouraged. These changes are often credited to Oliver Cromwell, though they were introduced by the Commonwealth Parliament; and Cromwell, when he came to power, was a liberalising influence.[3]

Interestingly, independent Protestant churches flourished during this time:

The breakdown of religious uniformity and incomplete Presbyterian Settlement of 1646 enabled independent churches to flourish. The main sects (see also English Dissenters) were Baptists, who advocated adult rebaptism; Ranters, who claimed that sin did not exist for the “chosen ones”; and Fifth Monarchy Men, who opposed all “earthly” governments, believing they must prepare for God’s kingdom on earth by establishing a “government of saints”.

Despite greater toleration, extreme sects were opposed by the upper classes as they were seen as a threat to social order and property rights. Catholics were also excluded from the toleration applied to the other groups.

When Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, his son Richard succeeded him. However, Richard lacked authority and his rule was brief, 264 days:

The Protectorate came to an end in May 1659 when the Grandees recalled the Rump Parliament, which authorised a Committee of Safety to replace Richard’s Council of State. This ushered in a period of unstable government, which did not come to an end until February 1660 when General George Monck, the English military governor of Scotland, marched to London at the head of his troops, and oversaw the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II.

Understandably, no one in Britain wants a repeat of this, including the religious restrictions that took place during these years.

History lesson concluded, let us turn to Percy Dearmer.

He informs us that the Book of Common Prayer was abolished in 1645:

and its use made penal.

With Charles II’s accession to the throne, there was much rejoicing:

ENGLAND turned with shouts of joy from the rancour and violence of the Commonwealth, from the spiritual despotism of the Presbyterians and of the Independents who ousted them, and from the resulting distraction and impiety, to the Restoration of Church and King, and of free Parliamentary institutions …

However, the mood turned against non-Conformists, who were persecuted.

With the Church of England re-established, there was great hunger for the previously banned Prayer Book:

So great was the demand for Prayer Books that, before 1660 had reached its close, five editions of the old Book were printed.

But the Prayer Book had not been revised since 1604, and many agreed at least in this — that a new revision was needed.

This brings us to the theological background of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the subject of the next post in this series.

Most of you are no doubt familiar with the late Michael Crichton, best known for his books — especially, The Andromeda Strain — although he also wrote screenplays and was a film director.

He was a man of amazing intellect, particularly in matters scientific. In the quote below, he refers to another man of immense intelligence, the physicist Murray Gell-Mann, with whom he discussed news coverage.

In 2002, Crichton (pron. ‘cryton’) wrote an essay called ‘Why Speculate?’ It featured this warning about Big Media (emphases mine below):

Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect …

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

The complete essay is here.

Crichton pointed out that if you heard inaccuracies from someone first-hand, you would tend to discredit them.

So, why don’t we discredit Big Media based on the inaccuracies they are telling us?

Even more important are the omissions. On holiday in Cannes, I watched CNBC Europe by default (British channels were not coming in well) to get Prime Minister Theresa May’s post-election statement on Friday, June 9, 2017. Whilst waiting for two hours, I heard only two news stories repeated over and over! More was going on in the world that day. Why not cover it?

These channels — and other media outlets, such as the press — are highly economic with the truth, including the traditional television news and newspapers. We now know that because we have a raft of websites giving us more news items — and better analysis.

Why do we persist in giving Big Media our time and money? It’s time we stopped trusting them!

Part 1 discussed the events of Presidents Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron meetings and dinner on Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Today’s looks at the events Bastille Day — July 14 — and why this trip is so important not only for the two men but also for Europe.

I have been reading Hillary is 44 — renamed The Trumpet — since the summer of 2008. The author of the site — known only as Admin and Staff — has been incredibly precise with accurate predictions and political analysis since the 2008 presidential campaign. The author was a Hillary supporter in 2008 and, like many others, turned against the Obama team once they began bullying and threatening Hillary’s delegates that year prior to the Democratic National Convention.

If you think I’m big on Trump, you haven’t read The Trumpet. Excerpts below come from ‘Crusade In Europe: President Trump Liberates The West’. Emphases mine below:

Power narrative. The great President Donald J. Trump is building a power narrative and taking little President of France Macron along. Think about all the roads that led to today. The American revolution in 1776 inspires the French revolution in 1789 which begins with the attack on the infamous imperial prison The Bastille. The Bastille is brought down by French revolutionaries so every year on July 14 the French commemorate Bastille Day the way we remember 1776.

Today is also the centennial marker for the day the United States entered “the great war” World War I. World War I was the most brutal war America has been in topping even the horror of the Civil War. World War I was really World War Part I and was continued by World War Part II. So there is President Donald J. Trump in Paris watching as for the first time ever American troops lead the Bastille Day parade.

The French felt something, because even the left-wing panellists on RMC’s (French talk radio) Les Grandes Gueules (Big Mouths) show thought Trump’s visit was a good thing. No one among this small group of socialists objected. Au contraire.

Most of the photos that follow are from the military parade down the Champs Elysées to the majestic Arc de Triomphe.

Presumably, this first photo, showing a bit of levity, was taken before the parade started:

American troops led the parade this year. The French wanted to show their gratitude for US troops arriving in France in 1917 during the Great War, hence the invitation to Trump and the soldiers marching in period uniforms below:

The Conservative Treehouse has more information:

The President and First Lady will be joined in the ceremony by troops from the United States Army’s First Infantry Division as well as three heroic United States veterans of the Normandy Invasion. Also, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds will conduct a flyover with planes from the French Air Force.

This tweet shows the troops rehearsing at the break of day on July 12.

The Trumpet describes Trump’s address that day as one of narrative building:

As he did in Warsaw … President Donald J. Trump is in Paris at the biggest event in France on the day that marks the anniversary of the Muslim terror attack on Nice.

In one stunning historic moment President Donald J. Trump weaves together the historic paths America and the French people have traveled. Independence Day/Bastille Day. World War I/World War II. 9/11 Muslim Terror attacks/7-14 Nice Muslim Terror attacks. As he wove a narrative in Warsaw which echoed FDR and JFK, President Donald J. Trump wove a vast historic landscape in France today.

Macron tweeted the same sentiment earlier that day, saying that nothing would separate France from the United States — an enduring friendship:

In his early morning — shades of Trump — Twitter sermonette, he also reminded France why they have a military parade: to remember the price that the country has paid for the rights that bind them together as one people. He wrote that, although the history of France began long before July 14, 1789, that day determined the values the French people wanted to embrace. He concluded by wishing the French people a joyous and peaceful fête nationale, which is what they call Bastille Day.

Macron inspected French troops.

The Trumps sat with the Macrons to watch the parade:

This is what they saw:

Trump saluted the US military as they marched past:

The national anthem was played:

Macron inspected French troops.

The London Evening Standard has a video of a French military band playing, oddly, a medley of Daft Punk numbers. Daft Punk are French. The New York Times explained that one of the tunes was originally done in collaboration with Pharrell Williams, showing French-American co-operation.

The Trumps no doubt enjoyed seeing the legendary French Legionnaires:

There were tanks and armoured vehicles:

There was a flypast:

Trump thoroughly enjoyed it:

On July 19, the New York Times published a transcript of an interview three reporters conducted with him in the Oval Office. Trump was so effusive about Paris that his remarks even made RMC’s news on Friday, July 21. The French especially liked that Trump said the Bastille Day parade was better than the Super Bowl’s:

TRUMP: And it was one of the most beautiful parades I have ever seen. And in fact, we should do one one day down Pennsylvania Ave.

HABERMAN: I wondered if you were going to say that.

TRUMP: I’ve always thought of that.

HABERMAN: Really?

TRUMP: I’ve always thought of that. I’ve thought of it long before.

TRUMP: But the Bastille Day parade was — now that was a super-duper — O.K. I mean, that was very much more than normal. They must have had 200 planes over our heads. Normally you have the planes and that’s it, like the Super Bowl parade. And everyone goes crazy, and that’s it. That happened for — and you know what else that was nice? It was limited. You know, it was two hours, and the parade ended. It didn’t go a whole day. They didn’t go crazy …

It was a two-hour parade. They had so many different zones. Maybe 100,000 different uniforms, different divisions, different bands. Then we had the retired, the older, the ones who were badly injured. The whole thing, it was an incredible thing.

HABERMAN: It was beautiful.

TRUMP: And you are looking at the Arc [de Triomphe]. So we are standing in the most beautiful buildings, and we are looking down the road, and like three miles in, and then you had the Arc. And then you have these soldiers. Everyone was so proud. Honestly, it was a beautiful thing. I was glad I did it.

This short video no doubt encapsulates some of Trump’s memories not only of the parade, but the entire trip:

The parade included a remembrance of those who died in Nice on July 14, 2016, victims of a crazed terror attack by a man in a truck mowing people down that night:

When the parade ended, the Trumps left Paris. Macron was going to Nice for their solemn commemoration (see photo and video, more here, here, here and here).

The Trump-Macron farewell was the most unusual and, perhaps significant, part of the day, in many ways:

The farewell handshake and embraces from the Macrons were lengthy. The final handshake between the two men including lasted 25-seconds: Macron did not want to let go of Trump!

Then it was time to leave:

The Trumpet analysed the Paris trip as follows:

And the Trump triumph does not end there. With this visit President Donald J. Trump helps little French President Emmanuel Macron grow in stature. How? Well, the invitation to President Donald J. Trump from President Macron is a direct challenge to the German leadership of Europe and to the decayed Angela Merkel.

And still it does not end there. The fact that the French still assert their nationalist pride in the face of German government hostility to President Donald J. Trump brings to the fore the hopeless task the European Union’s attempt to end nationalism on the continent faces. Macron’s embrace of President Donald J. Trump is a slap in the face (dare we say “schlonging”) to Merkel and an assertion of leadership by the untested, untried, apprentice Macron.

A grateful Macron loves hisself some Trump (and once again Melania does America proud) …

Trump discussed Macron with the New York Times:

HABERMAN: He was very deferential to you. Very.

TRUMP: He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand.

HABERMAN: I’ve noticed.

TRUMP: People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes.

_________

TRUMP: I mean, really. He’s a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand.

The day before Trump arrived, Macron’s government announced plans to ‘systematically’ deport illegal immigrants. This is probably what Trump had in mind when he said Macron was tough but has to be that way.

The world definitely noticed the handshake.

The New York Times said:

They repeatedly grabbed each other’s arms, gripping hands for several moments before parting.

An Italian said that Macron is a gerontophile. True, that:

It’s an Oedipal thing. The handshake is all “Look dad figure, I married mother figure and got all Freudian with her, who’s laughing now?”

Another tweeter saw it differently. I tend to agree — and this is more important than Macron’s peculiarities:

Interesting dynamics here, for certain, which go far beyond hugs and handshakes.

This is geopolitical.

It will be fascinating to see how this relationship develops — and where Angela Merkel, up to now Macron’s political elder, fits into this new landscape.

Bible spine dwtx.orgThe 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 9:19b-22

Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues

For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

————————————————————————————–

Last week, I wrote three lengthy posts on Paul’s conversion based on the first half of Acts 9. These are important, because only by carefully studying his Damascene conversion can we come to appreciate and understand how the Holy Trinity worked through Paul and made him such a pivotal Apostle, even though he was not of the original, or even replacement (Matthias, Acts 1), Twelve:

Part 1 of Acts 9:1-9: Saul’s — St Paul’s — conversion

Part 2 of Acts 9:1-9: Saul’s — St Paul’s — conversion (includes interesting info from John MacArthur on his own conversion)

Acts 9:10-19 — when scales fell from the eyes of Saul of Tarsus (final part of St Paul’s conversion story)

People say that Paul was much ‘greater’ than Peter. He certainly left his stamp on the Church and the New Testament. That said, God gave the two men different types of ministries.

Peter actually had the blessing of being with Jesus for three years. Paul did not.

Whilst foolhardy at times during Jesus’s ministry, Peter did not commit the sins that Paul did, requiring a brutal conversion. If Paul did not actually participate in murdering Christians, he certainly engineered and approved of it e.g. Stephen (Acts 7 and 8). He was pure evil before the Light of Christ struck him off his horse.

Ultimately, both died together as martyrs in Rome at the same time although in different ways, which is why their names are so often linked together. Their feast day is June 29 in the Western Church. They are the patron saints of Rome.

Now on to today’s verses. After he received the Holy Spirit and was baptised, Paul — still Saul — immediately began his ministry in Damascus (verse 19b). The city had a large Jewish population, possibly up to 20,000, and the Christian converts — ex-Jews — there, as elsewhere at that time, worshipped in the synagogues. So he had many new Christians to address.

Wherever he went in the city, Saul preached that Jesus is the Son of God (verse 20). He did not talk about his own dramatic testimony, only Christ and Christ crucified.

Matthew Henry elaborates:

When he began to be a preacher, he fixed this for his principle, which he stuck to ever after: We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus our Lord; nothing but Christ, and him crucified. He preached concerning Christ, that he is the Son of God, his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased, and with us in him, and not otherwise.

Martin Luther emphasised that principle and it holds true today.

John MacArthur clarifies what the words Son of God mean (emphases mine):

Jesus is God, He is very God of God in human flesh. He is only called Son in the sense that as the second person of the Trinity He came to earth. He is a Son in the sense that He was born. He is not a Son in terms of rank in the Trinity. He’s not less than the Father. He’s only a Son in an incarnate sense. Before His incarnation He was God the second person of the Trinity. The title Son belongs to His incarnation …

He is not a Son in the sense of inferiority to God the Father in any way, shape, or form. And I only say that because you’ll run into some people who’ll deny that He is God because He’s called the Son of God. Since we only know Christ from our standpoint in terms of incarnation, we call Him the Son of God and so did Saul, because we know Him in His incarnation. We call Him Jesus too, but that’s an incarnation name as well. We call Him Christ and that’s an incarnation name as well. So he began to preach that he is the Son of God.

The alternative to preaching Christ and Him only is a subjective testimony. MacArthur warns:

Now there’s nothing wrong with your testimony, it’s just that your testimony is relatively inconsequential in terms of the importance of the presentation of who Christ is, you see? Your testimony as a supplement is fine. Your testimony as a witness itself isn’t any good at all because it’s got to be more than that. All good preaching and witnessing is doctrinal. And really, you know, the church has gone overboard on people’s testimonies and people’s experiences and we have created, what I’m afraid, is almost a subjective approach to Christianity.

Now subjectivism is a curse that man has had to live with for a long time. Ever since the Garden of Eden when man sinned, immediately God started looking for man and man started looking at man. He ran in the Garden, I’m naked, I better cover myself. Man became man centered or subjective. God’s always been looking at man. Man’s always been turning inside. And man creates religions that are totally subjective. It’s all experiential. And even today the cultured philosophical men of our world have found an experiential religion, you know. The leap of faith. The upper story, whatever you call it.

But religion is subjective, but not Christianity. Romans 10, “Faith comes by hearing a speech about Christ.” Did you hear that? “Faith comes by hearing a speech about Christ.” Not a subjective analysis of what’s going on in me. Now it’s all right to talk about your own experience in certain context and it’s all right to include your testimony in terms of presentation, but never to the exclusion of the actuality of the presentation of Jesus Christ.

It is interesting that Saul’s own testimony, being so dramatic, rarely entered into his preaching. It did briefly later on, as documented in Acts 22 and 26. However, from the start — immediately upon beginning his ministry — he did not take that route.

Bear in mind that, from an early age, as a Pharisee, Saul was educated in Scripture and philosophy in Tarsus. Later, in Jerusalem, he continued his studies under the famed Gamaliel. He was blessed with a gift for sound logic and argumentation. Now he was using that blessing to preach to new Christians. MacArthur imagines the sermons:

And boy I imagine he unlocked that Old Testament, and it was exciting. And that’s how he became known his whole life as a preacher of Jesus Christ.

Recall that Saul originally went with his men to Damascus to round up Christian converts and take them back to the temple in Jerusalem for trial on charges of heresy. Now he is preaching to them, full of the Holy Spirit and knowledge of Christ.

It is no wonder then that the people were ‘amazed’ at hearing Saul before them preaching to them (verse 21). No wonder they were abuzz asking, ‘Isn’t this the man who was persecuting converts brutally in Jerusalem?’ And, as verse 21 tells us, they knew he was coming for them.

Yet, now he was one of them.

Matthew Henry says that the people would have found his conversion as a massive proof that Jesus is the Messiah:

Doubtless this was looked upon by many as a great confirmation of the truth of Christianity, that one who had been such a notorious persecutor of it came, on a sudden, to be such an intelligent, strenuous, and capacious preacher of it. This miracle upon the mind of such a man outshone the miracles upon men’s bodies; and giving a man such another heart was more than giving men to speak with other tongues.

St Luke, the author of Acts, wanted us to know that the more Saul preached, the stronger he became in faith and oratory (verse 22). As such, he was able to argue his case with Jewish opponents. ‘Confound’ in that verse means to frustrate.

Henry explains:

He grew more bold and daring and resolute in defence of the gospel: He increased the more for the reflections that were cast upon him (Acts 9:21), in which his new friends upbraided him as having been a persecutor, and his old friends upbraided him as being now a turncoat; but Saul, instead of being discouraged by the various remarks made upon his conversion, was thereby so much the more emboldened, finding he had enough at hand wherewith to answer the worst they could say to him. (2.) He ran down his antagonists, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus; he silenced them, and shamed them–answered their objections to the satisfaction of all indifferent persons, and pressed them with arguments which they could make no reply to. In all his discourses with the Jews he was still proving that this Jesus is very Christ, is the Christ, the anointed of God, the true Messiah promised to the fathers. He was proving it, symbibazon–affirming it and confirming it, teaching with persuasion. And we have reason to think he was instrumental in converting many to the faith of Christ, and building up the church at Damascus, which he went thither to make havoc of. Thus out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong sweetness.

Saul must have known it would not be long before he would be hunted down and persecuted.

More on that next week.

Next time — Acts 9:23-25

On July 19, 2017, the New York Times (NYT) published a transcript of an extensive interview with President Donald Trump.

Portions of the transcript made French news on Friday, July 21. I heard it on RMC at lunchtime. Trump was most effusive about his meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron. Relevant excerpts will appear in this first part detailing the Trumps’ trip as well as the second entry which will cover events on July 14, Bastille Day.

The French government decided months ago — before the US election last autumn — to invite the American president for Bastille Day commemorations on July 14, 2017. This year marks the centenary of American troops arriving in France during the Great War, and the French wanted to roll out special ceremonies of remembrance and thanksgiving.

Trump is not the first foreign leader to have been invited for Bastille Day celebrations. It is a common occurrence.

Security was tighter than usual in Paris during this time, but, despite the American president’s remarks about their country, the French were looking forward to the Trumps’ visit. A British journalist was thrilled they would be spending so much time in his neighbourhood.

No one could have predicted how well this trip went, possibly even President Trump and First Lady Melania.

Trump told the NYT how he reacted to the invitation:

… when Macron asked, I said: “Do you think it’s a good thing for me to go to Paris? I just ended the Paris Accord last week. Is this a good thing?” He said, “They love you in France.” I said, “O.K., I just don’t want to hurt you.”

Add to that the fact that Macron met with his beloved Angela Merkel the morning of Trump’s arrival on Thursday, July 13.

The Trumps landed that morning:

The French were fascinated by Trump’s reinforced Cadillac, The Beast.

While Macron and members of his cabinet spent time with Merkel and her German delegation, the Trumps had prior commitments.

Mrs Trump visited the Necker Hospital for children:

She spent time with patients:

Her husband was at the US Embassy for meetings.

Later, the couple met at the embassy where Trump addressed an enthusiastic gathering of military families and American veterans who served in the Second World War:

A somewhat younger audience was also delighted:

In covering the event, CNN’s Poppy Harlow mistook the Star Spangled Banner for La Marseillaise.

You can see more embassy photos here, here and here.

There was no meeting at the Elysée Palace until after the tour of Les Invalides, the military museum, formerly a military hospital that Napoleon had built. It is a splendid place to visit.

The next few photos are from Les Invalides. You can see a news clip here which shows how grand it is and the welcome ceremony Macron laid on.

The Beast arrived:

What a magnificent setting:

Strict protocol was observed throughout:

Macron gave the Trumps a tour of the museum. No doubt it included quite a history lesson as the French president has always been scholarly, even from his early childhood:

Maréchal Foch’s tomb was also part of the tour. The comment in the tweet explains why nearly every large French town and city has a Boulevard or Avenue Maréchal Foch:

Trump told the NYT that he was impressed with Macron’s commentary on Napoleon and the tour of Les Invalides.

Afterwards, Macron hosted Trump at the Elysée.

It was a tight squeeze for The Beast:

Meetings took place, likely to have included counter-terrorism in the Horn of Africa:

A press conference followed:

It emerged that Trump spoke with the press on the flight to Paris. Bloomberg has a transcript.

You can watch the 35-minute press conference here.

Macron looked pleased:

The Guardian predicted a synergy between the two men whilst acknowledging Macron’s opportunism (emphases mine):

The deeper worry for the UK must be that Trump warms to Macron’s energy, and finds the British, preoccupied by the intricacies of Brexit and led by a “loser” who wasted her parliamentary majority, comparatively less appealing. His state visit to the UK – stalled at least until next year – is in danger of becoming a symbol of an ailing special relationship.

Above all Macron, unlike May, has shown himself to be an operator. At the “family” photo-shoot at the G20, Macron, realising his relatively small frame and slated for a rather undistinguished position in the second row, simply ignored protocol and inserted himself in the front row next to the US president. Trump may be an isolationist, but few politicians want to isolate themselves from him.

Equally, after the Manchester terrorist attack in May, Macron walked from the Élysée to sign a condolences book. A letter of gratitude for the gesture from the British embassy received a handwritten reply from Macron to the effect “it is what should be expected”. Gallic charm and symbolism have their virtues.

Trump confirmed to the NYT that Great Britain can wait:

BAKER: Will you go to Britain? Are you going to make a state visit to Britain? Are you going to be able to do that?

TRUMP: As to Britain?

BAKER: Yeah.

HABERMAN: Will you go there?

[crosstalk]

While the meetings and press conference took place, Brigitte Macron took Mrs Trump on a tour of Notre Dame Cathedral …

… and a boat tour of the Seine:

That evening, the Macrons hosted the Trumps for dinner at the upmarket restaurant, the Jules Verne (more here):

It is one of Alain Ducasse‘s restaurants. You can see him in the video below:

The restaurant was closed to other diners, although photographers were allowed in from time to time:

While they had dinner, the main course of which was lobster, Trump’s entourage took a night-time tour of the city.

Then it was time to get some rest:

Mrs Trump closed the day by sending a thank you via the White House:

“France is a beautiful country that is rich in history and culture,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “I am grateful to President and Mrs. Macron for their gracious invitation and hospitality as we celebrate Bastille Day with them, which is not only a celebration of France’s national day, but on this occasion, in 2017, also honors the historic cooperation between France and the United States during the First World War.” The First Lady continued, “I also want to take a moment to thank the employees and families of the United States Embassy for all of their hard work on behalf of our country, and to extend my warmest wishes to the patients and staff at Necker Hospital. My visit with the patients was very special, and I will continue to keep them all in my thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.”

You can see more images here, here, here, here and here.

The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and Breitbart each has a series of photos of the Trumps and Macrons taken on July 13.

A review of July 14 comes next week.

I still intend to write about President Donald Trump’s visit to Paris, even though it happened a week ago.

However, time constraints prohibit me from doing so at the moment.

Unfortunately, Big Media did not cover the trip very well. No surprise there.

On Sunday, July 16, 2017, I saw an interview with ex-CIA man Dr Steve Pieczenik on the Alex Jones Show:

If that does not work, here is another link. The interview is in the first half of the segment.

Pieczenik talked about Trump’s G20 meetings as well as his visit with France’s president Emmanuel Macron.

He said that Trump has been able to find common ground with world leaders even when they disagree on important issues.

Trump was able to negotiate the ceasefire in Syria with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the G20. Pieczenik says that was facilitated by the two men finding common ground in other areas.

According to Pieczenik, both men admire beautiful, accomplished women. Putin is very proud of his daughter who speaks several languages. Likewise, Melania Trump might have been a model but is hardly an airhead. She, too, speaks five languages.

Both Trump and Putin enjoy the closeness of family and like to spend time with them. That would have been a topic of conversation. Angela Merkel wisely sat Putin and Mrs Trump together at dinner, also helpful.

Trump is forging important alliances, even if most of the world thinks he is tweeting all day long.

Besides Putin, Trump made an equally positive impression on Poland’s president Andrzej Duda in Warsaw earlier this month. Whilst there, he participated in the Three Seas Initiative, forging new links with Central and Eastern European countries.

Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel went swimmingly. For the first time in many years, there is hope that peace in that region could become reality. His meeting with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in April was a tremendous success.

Trump has also been successful in forging alliances in the Far East, particularly with Japan’s president Shinzō Abe. His meetings with China’s president Xi Jinping were productive. The Trump administration is currently conducting sensitive trade negotiations with China.

Steve Pieczenik explained that China fears Japan because of their disputed claims on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The United States might have to mediate at a certain point.

So, while Big Media and their lesser left-leaning counterparts continue to discuss Russian collusion in the 2016 election, President Trump is making productive inroads and good impressions on the world leaders he has met thus far.

So it was in France. Prior to meeting with Trump on Thursday, July 13, Emmanuel Macron met with German chancellor Angela Merkel that morning. Then, after Merkel’s departure, Trump came on the scene. Everyone thought the pro-EU Macron would give him a chilly reception.

However, that was not the case, particularly in the 25-second departure handshake on Friday, July 14. Macron couldn’t let go of his new friend.

Instead, Steve Pieczenik said that Trump was able to persuade Macron to also look to the United States. Pieczenik was certain that Trump was able to get Macron to see that the EU was ‘dying’ (Pieczenik’s word) and that focussing on relations with the United States would be more important in the long run.

Pieczenik went further and said that Trump is slowly breaking up the European Union.

On his own website, Pieczenik described what the French and American delegations would have talked about during Trump’s trip. ‘Trump Meets Macron in Paris!’ is recommended reading. Excerpts follow, emphases in the original:

Let me assure you, that these prestigious intelligence/military officers/operatives are not there to watch French planes fly around in the sky or watch soldiers march through the Arc de Triomphe. I would suspect that they have a full agenda that they want to share with Macron and his own chief of the army, the highly decorated General Jean-Pierre Bossier [CEMAT], regarding one very important issue: counter-terrorism!

Obama put thousands of American troops into the Horn of Africa, specifically Djibouti, to help fight terrorism alongside French troops. Trump has maintained US presence in the region. However, Trump’s military advisors have noted that the American troops require more French input on language and culture there:

I am certain that critical strategic/tactical issues regarding present American occupation in the former French colony in Djibouti [Horn Of Africa] at Camp Lemonnier will become a salient issue. France is far more effective in counteracting the tribal/ethnic battles raging in Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, Central African Republic, et. al. than the novitiate Americans. Instead of sending more American troops, the key issue will be the nature of alternative aid to these impoverished African colonies in order to pre-empt the possible rise of terrorist cells.

Also:

Whatever the past histories are of each country, Macron realized thanks to his time as an investment banker at Rothschild & CIE Banque [closely affiliated with Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase] that alienating any American POTUS was neither feasible nor productive.

In conclusion, there are many geopolitical successes going on right now involving President Trump.

Now, as to foreign collusion regarding elections, Pieczenik had interesting information.

Before I get to what he had to say, here is background information from Michael Caputo who worked in Bill Clinton’s administration over 20 years ago. This was his mission:

He explained to Tucker Carlson that he was sent directly by the Clinton White House to Russia where he was able to get Boris Yeltsin successfully re-elected.

Pieczenik — ex-CIA himself — told Alex Jones that Caputo was part of a CIA programme to ensure Yeltsin’s re-election.

So, there: Hillary’s husband ordered — and got — interference in a Russian election.

Pieczenik also said that, on the domestic front, before John Brennan became CIA director in 2013 (he resigned before Trump’s inauguration), he opened an ‘office in Hollywood’ to effect change in film and television storylines to turn people away from American values and ideals.

Now, back to Michael Caputo. Although he worked for the Clinton administration, two decades later, he became Donald Trump’s communications advisor for the 2016 presidential campaign.

Caputo clearly enjoyed his time in Russia during the 1990s, because he met and married a Ukranian. On March 20, 2017, he found out that his wife’s name was mentioned by Jackie Speier, a congresswoman (D-California), during televised Congressional hearings. (Speier, incidentally, was a survivor of the Jim Jones cult in Jonestown. That should tell you something.) Since then, Caputo told Tucker Carlson that he and his family have received many death threats because Mrs Caputo is Ukranian, even though she now has American citizenship.

The interview starts at the 2:25 mark:

Caputo tells Carlson that he had to testify last week as to what he knows about any involvement Russia had in Trump’s campaign and the election. He says there is absolutely no evidence.

Caputo said — and Trump supporters already know this — the only reason for this accusation, which is now nearly a year old, is to prevent the president from getting anything done.

That, of course, would open the door to impeachment.

I realise that some reading this are hoping for it. I pray to the contrary.

Instead, it is the Democrats who must come clean about their nefarious activities.

This year, I have been running a series of posts on Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

Percy Dearmer on the earliest church service manuscripts

Percy Dearmer’s interpretation of St Paul on prophecy and tongues

Percy Dearmer on elements of worship in the New Testament

Percy Dearmer: how several prayer books became one liturgical book

Percy Dearmer on Reformation, royalty and the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer: first Anglican Prayer Book ‘too fair-minded’ for a violent era

Percy Dearmer on the effect of Edward VI’s reign on the Church of England

Percy Dearmer on the Second Prayer Book’s Calvinistic bent

Percy Dearmer on the Third Prayer Book and Elizabeth I

Percy Dearmer blamed Calvinists for sucking the life-blood out of Anglicanism

Last week’s post about Calvinists is recommended reading for today’s entry.

The theological conflict between Calvinists and traditional Anglicans continued long after Elizabeth I’s reign.

Elizabeth I was not a Calvinist, nor was her successor, James I (James VI of Scotland). However, a Calvinist — Puritan — faction was strong and still wanted to leave its stamp on the Church of England.

This conflict continued throughout most of the 17th century, as Dearmer explains in Chapter 9 of his book.

Fortunately, even during the tumultuous atmosphere of the early 1600s, lasting good was to emerge in England via the Authorised — King James — Version of the Bible.

Percy Dearmer researched the history of that era and found documentation by a prominent German historian, Dr Dollinger, regarding this new edition of the Bible (emphases mine below):

I believe we may credit one great superiority in England over other countries to the circumstance that there the Holy Scripture is found in every house, as is the case nowhere else in the world. It is, so to speak, the good genius of the place, the protecting spirit of the domestic hearth and family.

Would that this were the case today. Believers would do well to pray that this becomes so once more. I have never seen such a group of atheists as I have in England — and Great Britain as a whole.

Dearmer, while condemning Edward VI’s advisors and the subsequent Puritans, asks us to be philosophical about good coming from bad:

Those who come after — some time after — are able to separate the good from the evil, and to possess all that is worthy, not from one side only, but from both. Thus the world does slowly grow in wisdom, learning to eschew what is evil and to hold fast what is good … that freedom to-day which is the main hope of Christendom — the freedom to go back behind the traditions of men to the plain words and pure example of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before I get to the Authorised Version — the KJV — there were other ecclesiastically historical events which preceded it.

The Hampton Court Conference, 1604

In January 1604, when James I succeeded Elizabeth I, the Puritans pressed for what they called a Millenary Petition. The objective was for more reform in the national Church.

The King, who was no Puritan but who — according to Dearmer — loved a good argument, responded with the Hampton Court Conference.

The Puritans, predictably, laid out their objections to the Third Prayer Book of Elizabeth’s reign. As notionally ‘Romish’ elements of the First Prayer Book had been restored, they wanted to see these eliminated once and for all.

The Puritans’ objections were much the same as before: vestments and the Sign of the Cross made during Baptism.

They had others:

the wedding ring, the word “priest,” bowing at the name of Jesus; the Puritans also disliked the Thirty-nine Articles as not sanctioning Calvinism; they desired that Baptism should never be ministered by women, that Confirmation should be taken away, and also the Churching of Women, that “examination” should go before Communion, that “the longsomeness of service” should be “abridged” and “Church songs and music moderated,” that the Lord’s Day should not be “profaned” (by the playing of games), that an uniformity of doctrine should be prescribed, and a few other things.

The wedding ring is interesting. I used to run across committed Christian men in the United States who refused to wear one. They never explained exactly why, but, presumably, this objection to wedding bands as being unbiblical must have persisted through the centuries.

As for the Thirty-nine Articles espousing Calvinism, that was never going to happen as the previous posts in this series explain. The Church of England was always intended to be a middle way. It had — and has — its own identity.

Unfortunately, that sound set of Thirty-nine Articles was discarded as being of historical interest only at the end of the 20th century not only in England but elsewhere in the West, including — perhaps, especially — in the Episcopal Church in the United States. It is no surprise, therefore, to find clergy becoming agnostic or atheist and turning to New Age rituals. Biblical preaching and practice is largely gone. But I digress.

Dearmer explains that dictating to the letter what churchgoers should believe in what was a somewhat pluralistic church community would have been a dangerous move. So was dictating what people could do on Sundays. That came during Cromwell’s Interregnum, but that is the subject of another entry.

Dearmer also points out that the Puritans’ desire for fewer hymns resulted in an equally ‘longsomeness of service’ as clergy preached ever-longer sermons and introduced lengthy extemporaneous prayers.

King James wrote his impressions of the Hampton Court Conference afterwards, documenting his delight at verbally opposing the Puritans:

We have kept such a revel with the Puritans here these two days as was never heard the likeI have peppered them as soundly . . . They fled me so from argument to argument without ever answering me directly

Today’s Puritan sympathisers do the same thing. Answer comes none.

The Fourth Prayer Book, 1604

The Puritans were determined, as are their present-day Anglican equivalents, most of whom reside in the United States.

They wanted a new prayer book and they got one.

It was not a total win for the Puritans, but they won certain battles over verbiage and ceremony (see sections in bold):

– A new section was added to the Catechism which explains the Sacraments. Dearmer credits this to a prominent theologian of the day, Dr Overall.

– A prayer for the Royal Family was added to the end of the litany.

– Prayers of thanksgiving for weather (e.g. needed rain) and health (e.g. against the Plague) were added.

– A ‘lawful Minister’ — not ‘priest’ — had to administer Baptism, although this did not exclude a layperson doing so in an emergency.

– A subtitle to the rite of Confirmation — ‘the laying on of hands’ — was duly added.

– A subtitle to the Absolution — ‘the remission of sins’ — was added.

Existing lessons (readings) from the Apocrypha, still in use in Roman Catholic liturgy, were omitted:

the quaint history of Bel and the Dragon, and the much-loved romance of Tobit were given up.

The Canons of 1604

The King had approved the Canons of 1604 which prescribed elements of worship in England, including use of the Prayer Book.

Some of these please neither ‘Romanists’ nor Puritans as they specified a middle way. They reinstituted the reverence for the name of Jesus — probably by the bowing of the head each time His name was mentioned — and enforced a minimum of altar linen and clerical vestments in worship.

The Authorised Version of the Bible

The Fourth Prayer Book was eventually replaced by that of King Charles II in 1662.

The more lasting contribution of this era was the Authorised Version of the Bible, so called because King James granted his approval, hence ‘authorised’. Today, most of us call it the King James Version, the KJV.

I wrote about the KJV in 2011:

The King James Version celebrates its 400th anniversary this year

BBC shows on the King James Version

BBC’s Story of the King James Bible — The Commission

BBC’s Story of the King James Bible — The Translation

BBC’s Story of the King James Bible — The Legacy

The timeline of a Bible for the British Isles

Now on to Dearmer’s history of it. During the Hampton Court Conference of 1604, one of the Puritans, Dr Reynolds, proposed a new edition of the Bible.

At that time, the Geneva Bible of 1560 — inspired by John Calvin’s teachings in that city — was the pre-eminent version used in England by the people. It seems odd then, that a Puritan would want a revision of it and that the mainstream Anglicans present opposed the idea. The clergy used the Bishop’s Bible of 1568, which was never popular amongst churchgoers.

However, King James voiced his support. He never liked the Geneva Bible because its Calvinist footnotes, in his words, were:

very partial, untrue, seditious, and savouring too much of dangerous and traitorous conceits.

This is because the footnotes implied that only God, not governors, kings or princes, was the true authority. Whilst that is scripturally accurate, our governors are there to maintain godly order. However, the Geneva Bible does not mention this. Consequently, James thought that zealous people could take against the Crown, citing the Bible.

When the conference ended, James drew up a list of 54 divines, irreprochable and highly learned theologians. Interestingly, none were bishops, although some did become bishops later. Dearmer observes:

the Authorized Version, in fact, owes its excellence to the common sense of the King in choosing his men for their learning and capacity, and not for their official position. This may seem a very obvious piece of wisdom: but it is to be noted that it has been forgotten in our hitherto unsuccessful twentieth century attempts at Prayer Book revision.

I couldn’t agree more.

The King reduced the number of divines to 47. They were the ones who came up with the new Bible:

King James’s fifty-four divines were afterwards reduced to the “prodigiously learned and earnest persons, forty-seven in number,” who, Carlyle says, gave us our version of that Book of Books, “which possesses this property, inclusive of all, add we, That it is written under the eye of the Eternal; that it is of a sincerity like very Death, the truest utterance that ever came by alphabetic letters from the Soul of Man.”

The history of English versions of the Bible was accompanied by bloodshed and martyrdom, and this particular era would see the same in the English Civil War, which was to come.

However, as Dearmer rightly says, Scripture united the divines, some of whom were mainstream Anglicans and others Puritan:

Puritans and High Churchmen had the Scriptures in common, and did alike fervently believe in them: outside the rooms in Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster, where the forty-seven divines met, religious folk were maligning each other in brilliant, bitter, and abusive pamphlets; but within those learned conferences all hostilities were silenced, all differences ignored: men like Overall and the saintly Andrewes, on the one side, joined with Reynolds and Abbott on the other; and the forty-seven worked in such singular harmony that it is impossible even to distinguish between the three companies which worked in three different places: the Authorized Version of the Bible reads like the work of one great man.

The Holy Spirit was truly working through them to write one great Bible which has withstood time. Dearmer explains that the genres of various books were preserved, some poetic and others, such as the Gospels, simplistic so as to be understood by the greatest number of people.

It is a theological and literary masterpiece — for everyone:

The divines — who might have wrought a literary gem for the bookshelves of the learned, after the manner of the age that produced Donne and Milton, Burton and Sir Thomas Browne — threw aside the pedantries and preciosities which were in fashion, and sat humbly at the feet of those predecessors who in peril of death had hewn out the words of life with such strength of simplicity; and they produced a book which has been at once the comfort of the peasant and the model and inspiration of our greatest writers.

Dearmer rightly adds that, although this was the era of literary masterpieces (e.g. Shakespeare), scholarly wisdom does not often equate with absorbing prose:

Now scholars are not generally masters of prose, and the combination of the critical and the constructive gift — of science and art — is almost unknown to-day, when learned translations and exact commentaries are common enough, but the majority of ancient books have still not been turned into English classics. The English Bible is an exception. We do not think of it as a translation at all: we think of it as the greatest of English classics, which, among other things, it is.

Many unbelievers in Britain have read it for its literary merit. I can only pray that the Holy Spirit works through them and ends their stubborn blindness to our Redeemer and only Advocate.

Dearmer says that, although King James appointed the divines in 1604, they did not begin work until 1607. It took them only four years to write this beautiful and enduring Bible, which first appeared in print in 1611.

Dearmer concludes:

And what is true of the English Bible is true also of the English Prayer Book. Scholars who won the consecration of martyrdom gave to it a like power of inspired translation, and endowed it with the magic of their prose. Thus it is that the one book worthy to be set side by side with the English Bible is that Book of Common Prayer, which has won a place in the heart of the Anglo-Saxon race second only to the Bible, and which day by day issues it forth in psalter and lectionary to the people.

I wish that were still the case. Fortunately, I am able to attend a 1662 Book of Common Prayer service once a month.

Next time we look at Dearmer’s history of that prayer book, written after the Restoration. With the end of the English Civil War and the Interregnum came the return of monarchy and a new king, Charles II, my favourite.

On Monday, July 17, 2017 President Donald Trump launched a week-long Made in America campaign to showcase products made in the United States by American companies.

That day, one company from each of the 50 states went to the White House to display their wares. Some gave the president a personalised product.

This appears to be yet another Trump ‘first’. In this short video, the president explains more:

It will be even better when he and his daughter can get Trump and Ivanka Trump merchandise made in the United States. Currently, they are made in various Asian countries.

It should also be noted that Trump’s White House pens, used for signing official documents, are of Chinese manufacture and American assembly.

For now, Trump’s intention is to remind the nation of American workers, as The Conservative Treehouse explains:

America is a nation that honors the work of gifted and skilled tradespeople, but for too long our government has forgotten the American workers. Their interests were pushed aside for global projects and their wealth was taken from their communities and shipped overseas.

Under the leadership of President Trump, not only will the American worker never be forgotten, but they will be championed …

President Trump knows that America first means putting American workers first.

The White House provided a list of the 50 companies that participated.

Larger products were displayed on the South Lawn:

The president couldn’t resist playing with one big boy’s toy:

Smaller products were on display in the White House:

The Dallas News was ecstatic to see Trump participate in a long-standing presidential tradition of wearing a Stetson. The Garland, Texas company has been producing hats for 152 years, often giving personalised ones to American presidents:

Trump was a star baseball player when he attended New York Military Academy. In fact, he seriously considered pursuing a professional baseball career after he graduated in 1964. So, it came as no surprise that he would want to try out a bat:

He enjoyed himself:

Gibson Guitars’ appearance was important …

Because …

President Trump pledged to protect the American worker and American employers:

Vice President Mike Pence pointed out:

Afterwards:

The Conservative Treehouse has more photos.

Before hosting a dinner for seven Republican senators, Trump expressed his pleasure with the exhibition:

For more American-made products, visit American Retail, a comprehensive website with short histories of featured companies. It’s beautifully laid out and offers links to manufacturers so that you can easily place an order online.

In his Monday press briefing, Sean Spicer said that, while this week highlights American manufacturing, there will be more to follow throughout July:

Later on in the month, we’ll also be highlighting American heroes and the American Dream.

As far as concrete policies for American workers, Trump is in the process of renegotiating Bill Clinton’s NAFTA, which dates from the 1990s and needs a makeover. We will see how he negotiates his famous ‘Art of the Deal’ with classic opponents of his such as the US Chamber of Commerce and union leader Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Never mind that Democrats want to take credit for renegotiating NAFTA — ignore them — it is Trump who is actually changing minds:

Trumka says that Trump outperforms Obama on trade:

An investigation is also taking place by the Commerce Department into Chinese steel’s effect on the American steel industry.

Things are moving along well in the Trump administration. Regardless of what Al Gore said on Sunday, President Trump spends little time tweeting. Trump is working hard to Make America Great Again.

In order to better understand and appreciate St Paul’s ministry, it is helpful to read the first half of Acts 9 carefully.

My past two posts — here and here — went through the background and conversion of Saul of Tarsus in detail.

The painting at left depicts his dramatic Damascene conversion according to St Luke’s account in Acts.

Today’s post looks at what happened after he was blinded and the men around him led him by the hand into Damascus.

The passage below is from the English Standard Version of the Bible. Commentary comes from Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 9:10-19

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

————————————————————————————————

My previous posts discussed how Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee, devised a grand plan of travelling to Damascus to persecute Christians, only to find himself blinded by the light of Christ and toppled from his horse.

He travelled with a number of men in pursuit of converts whom Saul wanted transported back to Jerusalem for religious trial on charges of heresy. So much for that plan. Our Lord had other ideas, but, first, Saul had to be taught a lesson about his persecution of our Saviour.

Before being struck down, Saul of Tarsus was a nasty little piece of work. (Yes, he was of short stature. His Roman name Paul means ‘little’.) He went around persecuting Christians in Jerusalem. Man or woman, it did not matter. He was involved with the martyrdom of Stephen, after which the disciples (but not the Apostles) fled Jerusalem. Philip the Evangelist went to Samaria and made many converts there. Damascus was also a destination for evangelism, hence why Saul wanted to go there.

Saul and his companions found a place to stay in Damascus. Saul immediately spent three days contemplating his grave sins against Christ to the extent that he could not eat or drink. Physically, he was as helpless as a baby. Spiritually, he was growing: engaging in heartfelt prayer and increasing in divine grace. He was leaving his Pharisaical heritage behind and becoming a Christian.

Verse 10 tells us that the Lord appeared in a vision to a convert named Ananias. Matthew Henry tells us that Ananias was a native of Damascus, not a convert who fled Jerusalem, and that he had occasional visions from the Lord (emphases mine below):

it is said (Acts 22:12) that he had a good report of all the Jews who dwelt there, as a devout man according to the law; he had lately embraced the gospel, and given up his name to Christ, and, as it should seem, officiated as a minister, at least pro hac vice–on this occasion, though it does not appear that he was apostolically ordained

It is probable it was not the first time that he had heard the words of God, and seen the visions of the Almighty; for, without terror or confusion, he readily answers

The Lord told Ananias to go to a street called Straight and to the house of Judas (not Iscariot) where a certain Saul of Tarsus was praying (verse 11). John MacArthur says that Straight is the main avenue in Damascus:

It had a street that ran right straight through the middle of it from the eastern gate to the western gate, straight about three miles long. It’s still existing today. The street’s called Straight there, it’s called Darbal Mospakeem, different name of course. But it’s still there and the street called Straight, at one end of it was the house of Judas. Today some people say that there’s a spot where that house was and supposedly a closet where Saul was praying for those three days, but that’s conjecture.

One might wonder why the Lord did not send one of the Apostles to travel from Jerusalem to minister to Paul. It was no doubt more expedient to employ a local believer and that would also help the Church grow there. Furthermore, as Henry points out:

Surely, because Christ would employ variety of hands in eminent services, that the honours might not be monopolized nor engrossed by a few–because he would put work into the hands, and thereby put honour upon the heads, of those that were mean and obscure, to encourage them–and because he would direct us to make much of the ministers that are where our lot is cast, if they have ordained mercy to be faithful, though they are not of the most eminent.

As we discover in verse 12, the Lord had already given Saul a vision of a man named Ananias who would go to visit him and restore his sight. Saul’s expectations must have been high.

Ananias hesitated, telling the Lord that Saul was notorious for ‘evil’ — persecuting converts in Jerusalem (verse 13). Furthermore, he said that Saul was in Damascus to persecute Christ’s followers (verse 14). So, word had already reached the converts that Saul was going there under the authority of the chief priests in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the religious centre for Jewish authority, regardless of where Jews lived.

The Lord replied that He intended to use Saul as ‘a chosen instrument’ to minister to Gentile and Jew alike (verse 15). He added that Saul would suffer in His name (verse 16), which he did. He, the one who sought to imprison Christians, would himself be no stranger to confinement. He was instrumental in Stephen’s martyrdom in Jerusalem and would also die a martyr, along with the Apostle Peter, in Rome.

Ananias obeyed the Lord and spoke a precise message, identifying himself, describing Saul’s being struck down and announcing that he would regain his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit (verse 17).

Note that Ananias laid hands on him (verse 17) — healing hands on someone who had been a believer’s worst enemy. Ananias also addressed the man he was fearing as ‘brother’. What an experience that must have been for both men.

Then, a supernatural event took place: ‘something like scales’ fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see once more (verse 18). This has a double meaning, one that is physical and one that is spiritual.

Did a scale-like substance really fall from Saul’s eyes? MacArthur says no:

Now this is Luke. Luke is a physician and so naturally he chooses a little metaphor that would be medical. He didn’t really have scales as it were as jose in the Greek, not to be confused with the Spanish jose. But it means as if. It was as if he had some medical problem and scales dropped of his eyes. 

Henry takes the verse literally:

Saul is delivered from the spirit of bondage by receiving sight (Acts 9:18), which was signified by the falling of scales from his eyes; and this immediately, and forthwith: the cure was sudden, to show that it was miraculous.

You’re welcome to interpret that as you like. Personally, I would like to think that there was a physical manifestation of a scale-like substance as God’s way of demonstrating to Saul how spiritually blind he had been for the following reason. Recall that Saul was born and raised a Pharisee. Recall how often Jesus told the Pharisees of their blindness — spiritual blindness. I think this was a physical manifestation, a divine way of driving home a point to Saul.

Henry offers this analysis:

This signified the recovering of him, [1.] From the darkness of his unconverted state. When he persecuted the church of God, and walked in the spirit and way of the Pharisees, he was blind; he saw not the meaning either of the law or of the gospel, Romans 7:9. Christ often told the Pharisees that they were blind, and could not make them sensible of it; they said, We see, John 9:41. Saul is saved from his Pharisaical blindness, by being made sensible of it. Note, Converting grace opens the eyes of the soul, and makes the scales to fall from them (Acts 26:18), to open men’s eyes, and turn them from darkness to light: this was what Saul was sent among the Gentiles to do, by the preaching of the gospel, and therefore must first experience it in himself.

The removal of scales would also signify that Saul’s time in judgement and terror had ended:

[2.] From the darkness of his present terrors, under the apprehension of guilt upon his conscience, and the wrath of God against him. This filled him with confusion, during those three days he sat in darkness, like Jonah for three days in the belly of hell; but now the scales fell from his eyes, the cloud was scattered, and the Sun of righteousness rose upon his soul, with healing under his wings.

Ananias then baptised Paul. Baptism is very important. I have read notional Christian websites that say it isn’t, but the New Testament has several mentions of baptism, beginning with Jesus in the Gospels and continuing in Acts. If it were unimportant, these mentions would not exist.

Henry tells us:

He was baptized, and thereby submitted to the government of Christ, and cast himself upon the grace of Christ. Thus he was entered into Christ’s school, hired into his family, enlisted under his banner, and joined himself to him for better for worse. The point was gained: it is settled; Saul is now a disciple of Christ, not only ceases to oppose him, but devotes himself entirely to his service and honour.

MacArthur says:

Baptism is so important people. If you haven’t gotten that message through the book of Acts you haven’t been listening. See? Baptism is critically important. Why? Because it’s a public confession of your identification with the body of believers.

I knew a lady who had strayed from the Church for many years. She married an unbeliever. She never had her daughter baptised. By the time I met her, she had returned to the Church and her daughter was an adult. This lady regretted never having had her daughter baptised as an infant because, later on, it was too late! She broached the subject with her daughter, but the young woman replied, ‘Why? I don’t even believe!’ Baptism confers grace. The lady knew it and regretted depriving her daughter of that grace, thinking it would persuade her to become a believer. But I digress.

In verse 19, St Luke tells us that Paul ate and was strengthened. MacArthur thinks it was a large Christian meal. He says in jest:

And if you know anything about how Christians feed, you can imagine the poor guy was almost sick when it was over.

Quite possibly!

Saul being Saul, he wasted no time in going out into Damascus to preach in Jesus’s name. Christ’s divine intervention transformed the zeal he had in persecuting converts to passionately preaching in His name.

More on that when Forbidden Bible Verses returns at the weekend.

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