Sky Links, 1-4-20

Trump Taking Out Soleimani Just Made The World A Better, Safer Place

-Ben Shapiro

His death makes the world a significantly better and safer place. Soleimani was responsible for the killing of hundreds of American troops in Iraq (by State Department estimates, 17 percent of all Americans killed in Iraq were Soleimani’s handiwork), the arming of Hezbollah in Lebanon with tens of thousands of rockets, the Houthi terrorism in Yemen, the building of Islamic Jihad, and a bevy of terror plots all around the world, including the latest assault on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Speculation that this represents an “act of war” is utterly baseless — Soleimani is a terrorist who was killed while abroad, in Iraq, planning further acts of terrorism.
Suggestions that the Trump administration is responsible for “escalation” with Iran — after months of Iranian aggression in international waters and in foreign countries, after downing an American drone and attacking an American embassy — are absurd and morally disgusting. When Nancy Pelosi tweets that it is “disproportionate” to kill a terror leader planning action against Americans and our assets and allies, she’s not just reflecting moral confusion — she’s evidencing moral foolishness of the highest order.
There is a lot to be nervous about here. Is the Soleimani killing part of a broader American strategy with regard to Iran, or a supposed one-off? Has the U.S. hardened its assets on the ground in the Middle East in preparation for Iranian retaliation? Are America’s allies ready for the surge in terrorism that will surely follow, given the Iranian government’s need to show strength in the face of this devastating loss?
With all of that said, it’s obvious that President Trump was attempting to restore a deterrence against Iran that had been completely disintegrated by the Obama administration. History didn’t begin with Trump, and Iranian aggression didn’t start with the end of the Iran nuclear deal. Far from it. Iran has become more powerful and aggressive thanks to the overt planning of the Obama administration.

 A Response to Mark Galli and Christianity Today 
-Wayne Grudem

Writing as an evangelical Christian who has taught ethics as a professor at the college and graduate school level for 42 years, and as the author of a major textbook on Christian ethics and another widely-used book on the relationship between politics and the Bible, I wish to respectfully differ with Mark Galli’s editorial...

Why it isn't always God's will to heal 
-Jessica Miller

I cannot overemphasize just how harmful and damaging this teaching can be for someone who is dealing with a chronic condition such as infertility. My emotions were a rollercoaster as I sought to “believe for a miracle” and was devastated month after month when my prayers went unanswered. God wanted to heal me, I was told. If the problem wasn't with him, perhaps it was with me? What was I doing wrong?

Fortunately, I had enough biblical understanding to recognise some aspect of what was false, and this protected me from wholesale engagement with the lies. But the grief I was grappling with made me more vulnerable and, as a result of engaging to a certain extent with these teachings, I experienced more pain and heartache than I would have otherwise. My healing journey only began when I started to identify the lies and replace them with biblical truth. I realised God’s plan for our lives is according to the purpose of his will, not ours. I reflected on how waiting on God is a normal part of the Christian life, and scripture is full of teaching on how to endure and persevere amid our less-than-perfect circumstances.

Embracing Word of Faith theology results in a very transactional view of God. God is seen as a genie who will always say yes to our requests if we just say the magic formula (or pray hard enough or wait or fast long enough). Some notable individuals who previously ascribed to this theology have nearly lost their faith entirely. One of them, Lisa Gungor, first started to doubt when she began to struggle with infertility. I can relate to her doubts and questions because this theology does not work at all if God says “no.”

When God says 'no'
The Bible actually teaches that “no” is a possible answer to our prayers (Luke 22:42, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10) so the theology that God always says "yes" is conclusively unbiblical. As I began to recognise and reject these theological errors, I began to experience emotional healing. However, it was still very difficult to encounter people who stated or implied that if I just had enough faith I would be healed. Though packaged in a way as if to be helpful, the theology itself is extremely wounding. Though it’s not usually an overt accusation, the theology implies that the person who has not received the healing is doing something wrong. It’s their fault. They are to blame.

Two Popes, Too Many Untruths
-John Waters

These men bore no resemblance to the real-life men they were supposed to represent. That’s fundamentally why The Two Popes (on Netflix starting December 20) is a dangerous and misguided movie...

...In its core scenarios, the movie is almost entirely fictional...

...Everything about The Two Popes is designed to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with Catholicism/Christianity, and everything to do with purveying a bogus notion of freedom in the public realm...

...The script puts words in Pope Benedict’s mouth—not just words to convey convictions or character, but words that seek to change the meaning of history...

...It has been observed that The Two Popes is ultimately frivolous—a “holy bromance,” a “buddy movie,” a sort of “odd couple” remake. So, you know, lighten up! And this is the level on which it is most successful. Yet this is also the movie’s most insidious aspect: It draws you into itself. In the depths of its mendaciousness and shallow moralizing, an engaging and moving story of a personal encounter is told. This means that, as propaganda, this movie is both hugely effective and extremely dangerous.

What Are The 7 Mountains?
-Lance Wallnau

Lance Wallnau spends a few moments going over exactly what the 7 mountains are, and what they mean for us as Christians, and taking our God-given place in the world.
Learn about the 7 mountains of influence and Christian culture in this “Lance Rewind” from the video archive.

What Listening Really Means
-Matt Kennedy

Social media reactions to the piece I wrote objecting to Dr. McGowin’s misrepresentation of Dr. Grudem have been predictable. I will not link to the comments and responses here because most of them are from colleagues I know and admire. 
The word “listening,” however,  has been employed, as it often is, as a kind of weapon. Those who object to Dr. McGowin’s article, we are told, need to do more “listening” to women. One female commenter counted up the number of men responding and the number of women and noted that there were far more men than women. That seemed to be a significant point in her mind. 
For others, the problem is my article. I have not spent enough time listening to women’s experiences. Had I done so I would not have answered Dr. McGowin’s piece as I did. I was apparently too unfeeling. Had I taken the time to listen to my wife who has, because she is a woman, more experience with such things, I would have written differently. Anne, ironically, read Dr. McGowin’s piece before I wrote mine and was indignant that she should leverage the emotion she did and ignore the actual evidence of Dr. Grudem’s work and writing. Anne read my piece twice before I published it and thought I was too mealy-mouthed and needed to grow a spine. 
...But if, as in this case, “listening to the experience of women” (or any other group) suddenly means that women can make inaccurate misrepresentations of other people’s work, as did Dr. McGowin, and men are not permitted to point out the inaccuracies and misrepresentations without being told they are not “listening,” then we truly do live in that “Brave New World.” What does “listening” mean in such a world? It seems to mean: assenting to an untruth or at least remaining silent when an untruth is spoken by a woman. Why must men do this? Because men have never experienced “oppression” and women have no “power.” But of course, silently assenting to an untruth as if it were truth, or agreeing to remain silent is, itself, an act of submission to a raw exertion of suppressing power.