Sky Links, 7-9-19

David French launched a blistering attack on my old friend Eric Metaxas in Time. Because Eric offers qualified support for President Trump. For one Christian to take such a quarrel to the hateful mainstream media (ever eager to divide and destroy the Church) seems a bit … disloyal to me. Like a rabbi in a dispute with another rabbi pleading his cause on Iranian state media. So I’ll answer.

The Statue Of Liberty Is Changing Her Apparel
-Bill Yount

"I saw the abbreviation of the state of New York --N.Y. lighting up standing for "NOW YESHUA". It was as though Yeshua was coming 3-D techni-color to New York City! I saw in the Spirit a huge tallit (prayer shawl) coming down over the shoulders of the Statue of Liberty. The Lord says, "the prayer shawl over her shoulders represents the intercession for America and Israel.
I Then Saw the Hand of God Replacing the Torch with a Shofar.
The Lord says, "the Spirit of Liberty that seems dead within this woman is being resurrected and up out of her inner most being will come forth the breath of God and this lady will blow the shofar and the blast of Liberty will be sounded and heard in the land bringing a release to America and touching Israel at the same time!" It's not over. A powerful remnant is rising!
Remember, the pause comes right before the Grand Finale.

 What Makes America Great?-Barna Group

Though the idea of American exceptionalism isn’t a recent invention, we’ve heard a lot lately from President Trump and his supporters about “making America great again.” But what, exactly, do people believe makes America great? It depends who you ask—and, in light of Independence Day, a brand new study from Barna did just that. Here’s what U.S. adults say about why they take pride in being an American.
The main thing Americans love most about their homeland is the opportunity to live the “American Dream.” Almost one quarter (24%) chose “the opportunity to become who you want to be / ‘the American dream,'” followed by four pillars of the American political apparatus: the Constitution (21%), free speech and a free press (21%), freedom of religion (20%) and democracy (20%).

In Their Own Words: The Role of Christianity in the birth of America
-Mario Murillo

My amazing gift to you on our nation’s birthday is the proof of Christianity’s massive role in our founding. I present to you in their own words, the impact of Christ and the Bible on our Founding Fathers.
(John Adams to Oliver Wolcott)

The Form of Preaching and Its Context
-Michael Mercer

Here is the kind of preaching I hope to do and long to hear when I worship with a faith community on Sundays:
  • Rich in nourishing content, with a usual focus on making one main point
  • Pastoral (gracious, sensitive, compassionate — good preaching is loving your congregation through words)
  • Concise (I’d say twenty minutes max)
  • Literate about life, human nature, and the ways of the world
  • Imaginative and poetic (creates a metaphorical world and draws us in)
  • Faithful to the Story of the faith and the particular text being preached
  • Brings the congregation into the presence of Jesus so that we might encounter him again and have our faith renewed
  • Prepares the congregation to be sent into daily life “between Sundays” as followers of Jesus who lay down their lives for others

When Good Things Happen to Bad People
-Michael Frost

Remember Rabbi Harold Kushner’s bestseller, When Bad Things Happen to Good People? In that book, he was trying to explain the great conundrum of why God allows seemingly good people to suffer. Well, this week I felt I was confronted by a similarly vexing question: why does God allow good things to happen through bad people?
Two disturbing articles got my attention. Both were about historically revered Christian leaders who turned out to be pretty depraved. So depraved in fact, it’s hard to understand how God could have used them so profoundly to enhance the lives of others.
George Whitefield – slavery advocate
Martin Luther King – unfaithful husband

Bathsheba and Preaching in the #MeToo Era
-Sara Koenig

It is only within the past ten years that biblical scholars have used the word “rape” to describe what happened to Bathsheba.2 In part, this can be explained by the fact that the Hebrew verb that describes rape (of Dinah in Genesis 34, the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19, and Tamar in 2 Samuel 13) is not present in 2 Samuel 11:4, which says David “laid with” Bathsheba after he “sent” messengers and “took” her. #MeToo has made it more and more plausible to see David as exemplar of rape culture, where men think they can take sex from women.

Calvinism, Naturalism, and Compatibilism

Why Compatibilism is Unbiblical
-Roger E. Olson

Does the Bible support compatibilism? Or is compatibilism a philosophical concept designed to make it possible to claim to believe in free will together with determinism? I believe the latter.

An irony in all of this is that many Calvinists accuse Arminians and other non-Calvinists of imposing philosophical ideas on theology when they are incompatible (pun intended) with the Bible. I believe it is Calvinists who do that with compatibilism.

Even with free will, does God know our future decisions?
-Greg Boyd


Was C.S. Lewis a Calvinist?
-Alvin Rapien

Lewis had a high regard for human freedom, especially in discussions about hell.  While many Calvinist readers can still find plenty to enjoy in Lewis’ writings, it would be a mistake to claim that he was a Calvinist.

Advice for New YouTubers: 10 Mistakes Newbies Make

Was Jesus a Socialist?
-Lawrence Reed

Todd White - Encountering God in a Vitamin Shop