Update 744


Where is God?; A Holy People

On July 16, 2016, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Where is God?”, and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “A Holy People.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Big Things and Little Things

by Eric Rank

I had a friend in college who liked to say that “nothing is hard, but some things take more time.” It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to find counter-examples to this aphorism, but I still find it to be a helpful reminder when encountering things that appear to be big and difficult to deal with. When we approach difficult challenges by taking one step at a time, and breaking down big jobs into tiny tasks, this statement becomes true. Huge accomplishments are made by taking incremental steps. For example, the goal of writing a book might be a daunting task for most people. Yet, books are only collections of chapters, chapters are collections of paragraphs, paragraphs are collections of sentences, sentences are collections of words, and words are collections of letters. And even preschoolers can put a few letters together. Big things that cannot be handled in their entirety tend to be merely an accumulation of many little things that can be easily handled piece by piece.

The life of a Christian involves setting our sights on the difficult and challenging way of life, which is so contrary to the common ways of the world. Jesus Christ provides us with some great advice on how to set our life’s goals in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Truly, living a life that is completely obedient to God is extremely difficult, and even impossible to do without the Holy Spirit of God working within us. Yet, this is what Christians are called to do. We are called to live a life that rejects the carnal nature of being human, which leads to sin, and choose instead to continuously increase in godly obedience. This is such a difficult thing to do, that only one man has ever been able to be successful in this task, without ever making a mistake!

If we are doomed to fail in our endeavor to live a life without sin, why would we want to choose such a difficult path? Why would we even try? The answer is that it is the only way to reach the goal of living an eternal life in God’s Family. As Jesus says, it is the only way that leads to life. The gift of life, and the reward for our efforts invested now, are promised to have value beyond anything imaginable. With this in mind, we should not ask ourselves why we should bother living a difficult life; but rather, why would we choose to give up such a great opportunity when God is faithful to grant us success? (compare 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:3). Yes, the Christian life is inherently difficult, but worth it in the end.

Knowing that we are called to live a life that is difficult, what do we need to do to equip ourselves to endure until the time of judgment? The answer is that we need to keep our focus on our ultimate goal, and conduct our lives by taking care of the little things. If a life of complete faithful obedience to the Christian way of life is our goal, the opportunities that are presented to us in each immediate moment are where we take action. We can only really work on what’s within our grasp.

Even though it is helpful to us in a practical way to do the work of our lives in little pieces, there’s more to it. These little things are where we will be judged as well. In Luke 16:10 we are reminded, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” The little things that we encounter day by day are never too small to pay attention to. They matter a great deal. God very seriously considers how we take care of matters that might seem insignificant to us. How we work with them is an indicator of how we’ll handle the big responsibilities that are promised to us as a reward. Do we act dismissively towards the matters that are “too insignificant” to treat with godly reverence? Or do we consider that each moment is our chance to score another incremental victory in our calling to overcome sin? We must focus on the little victories if we want to claim the big one.

There is no doubt that living a life as a convicted Christian is a difficult challenge to take on. But is it too hard? Absolutely not! When we take the time and effort to live a Christian life with each moment, this seemingly impossible task of overcoming sin will become a tremendous success.

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Breaking News:

According to some news reports, Donald Trump allegedly decided to choose controversial Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. However, in an interview with Fox News on July 14, Trump stated that he had NOT made a “final final” decision. Conservatives have criticized Pence for “flip-flopping on gay marriage and being soft on immigration,” according to Trump supporter Ann Coulter. Pence had also strongly disagreed with Trump on his plan to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the USA.

Trump had planned to announce his decision Friday morning, but tweeted: “In light of the horrible attack in Nice, France, I have postponed tomorrow’s news conference concerning my Vice Presidential announcement.” 

The Daily Mail reported on July 14 about the attack in France: “At least [77] people are dead and more than 150 injured after they were mown down by a truck in a suspected terror attack during the Bastille Day celebrations in the French city of Nice. Eyewitnesses say there was an exchange of gunfire in the aftermath of the incident… ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to unconfirmed reports in the French media. The gunman jumped out of the truck after ploughing through the pedestrians and began opening fire, witnesses said. Officials said the driver was shot dead near the scene.”

In this issue, we begin with the insane murders of police officers in Dallas; the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the regrettable comments by politicians; and we focus again on the Hillary Clinton email scandal, as more information has come to light. We also report on Donald Trump’s perceived isolation in the world, if he was to become President.

We continue with rapid developments in Britain, including David Cameron’s resignation and Theresa May’s inauguration as the new Prime Minister; focus on the British pound’s decrease in value; and speak on the desire of Europeans to create a core Europe and on European anger with the UK.  

We point out Mr. Hollande’s naïve stance on Russia; Vladimir Putin’s scandalous persecution of religious minorities in Russia; and Poland’s accusations against Ukraine. In this regard, you might want to view our new StandingWatch program, Russia’s Persecution of Minority Christians.” We predict that Vladimir Putin’s die-hard supporters won’t like the program and its German version, “Empörende Christenverfolgung in Russland.” 

We also focus on the resignation of Austria’s chancellor; Germany’s frightening anti-Semitism; and Iran’s ongoing goal to annihilate Israel.

We conclude with interesting findings of a sizable Philistine cemetery; and the phenomenon of the formations of unions and power blocs around the world.

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Insane Murders in Dallas

Deutsche Welle reported on July 9:

“US authorities released more information on Friday about Micah Xavier Johnson, the gunman who shot five police officers dead and wounded seven more in Dallas on Thursday. Police said they found bomb-making materials as well as more guns and ammunition in Johnson’s home in a Dallas suburb…

“Johnson open fired during a peaceful protest against police brutality in the wake of the deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of officers earlier in the week. Philando Castile’s death in Minnesota sparked nationwide outrage as his girlfriend live-streamed an officer shooting him as he reached for his driver’s license. Alton Sterling was killed outside a shop in Louisiana.

“Johnson was eventually killed by a remotely-delivered bomb after hours of standoff and failed negotiations with officers. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Johnson had told negotiators that he wanted to kill white police in retaliation for the deaths of innocent African Americans…

“Johnson was identified on Friday as an army veteran who served one tour in Afghanistan from late 2013 to mid-2014. He wore a protective vest and used an AR-15 rifle, a weapon that has been used in mass shootings in the US… Possible copycat attacks were also reported in three other US states on Friday…”

America—Racially Divided with No Hope in Sight

Daily Mail wrote on July 8:

“Americans woke up yesterday to a twisted new landmark in its race crisis — the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the September 11 attacks… When Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, many were tempted to think that if his time in the White House achieved nothing else, it would bring blacks, whites and Hispanics far closer together… But… America’s tensions… have got markedly worse…

“Long before the outrage in Dallas, police have been warning that they are at greater risk of being shot in random ‘revenge’ attacks. Many white Americans agree with the police, and incidents such as what has occurred in Dallas inevitably result in the fault lines between blacks and whites becoming even more sharply defined, their communities ever more segregated…

“The President has been repeatedly criticised for showing too much sympathy for the black men shot by police and not enough for the officers who have died in the line of duty…

“Although admitting that investigations into the deaths had only just begun, on Thursday night he pointed the finger of blame at the police. The shootings ‘are not isolated incidents,’ Obama said, but ‘symptomatic of . . . the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.’ The U.S. had to admit, he continued, that it had a ‘serious problem’ with ‘racial bias’ in the police.

“Obama had made similarly combative remarks before, but this time they backfired badly. Within 12 hours, five police officers had been killed in Dallas — by snipers from a building just a few blocks away from Dealey Plaza, where John F. Kennedy was shot — and Obama had to swiftly row back on comments that now looked horribly misjudged…

“It was a stunning about turn, but many Americans probably didn’t notice. They stopped long ago bothering to listen to Obama because his genius for soaring rhetoric on race and crime has rarely been matched by concrete achievements… As he heads into his last few months in the White House after eight years in which a black presidency has done little to soothe America’s racial tensions, Obama’s enemies say he has made the problem worse by nakedly taking sides.

“Yesterday, William Johnson, the executive director of National Association Of Police Organisations… branded the Obama administration the ‘Neville Chamberlain of this war’, blaming its ‘appeasement of violent criminals, their refusal to condemn movements like Black Lives Matter actively calling for the death of police officers, all the while blaming police for the problems in this country has led directly to the climate that has made Dallas possible’…”

William Johnson and the New Black Panther Party (NBPP)

JTA wrote on July 11:

“The Dallas shooter… has been variously portrayed as a follower of the Black Lives Matter movement who was pushed to the edge by recent police shootings; a loner who not only was unaffiliated with various black nationalists organizations but was even shunned by them, and a disgruntled veteran who left the military under a cloud of suspicion for sexual harassment. Reports now say he was linked as well to several black power and other confrontational groups, some of which are labeled as anti-Semitic. According to local reports, Johnson was a member of the New Black Panther Party’s Houston chapter for about six months a few years ago. He ‘liked’ the group on Facebook and, according to The Daily Beast, he attended multiple NBPP protests and events.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the NBPP, which is not connected to the original Black Panther Party, a ‘virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.’ The Anti-Defamation League says it is the ‘largest organized anti-Semitic and racist Black militant group in America.’

“The Daily Beast also reported that Johnson was ‘loosely affiliated’ with several other groups, including South Dallas’ Muhammad Mosque No. 48, which is run by members of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam – which both the Southern Poverty Law Center and ADL labeled an anti-Semitic hate group. He had also liked Facebook pages related to Elijah Muhammad, an early Nation of Islam leader…

“The NBPP’s main ideology focuses on wresting power back from whites in general… ‘Members of the group have blamed the Jews for killing Jesus; claimed that the Talmud teaches that “Black people are cursed,” and promoted the anti-Semitic notion that Jews were “significantly and substantially” involved in the transatlantic slave trade,’ the ADL’s 2014 report on the group reads. It blamed Jews for 9/11…”

What Is “Black Lives Matter” All About?

Breitbart wrote on July 11:

“… former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) argued that the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t mean Black Lives Matter, ‘They mean, Let’s Agitate Against the Police Matters. If they meant Black Lives Matter, they would be doing something about the way in which the vast majority of blacks are killed in America, which is by other blacks.’

“Giuliani said, ‘I don’t see what Black Lives Matter is doing for blacks, other than, isolating them. All it cares about is the police shooting of blacks. It doesn’t care about the 90% of blacks that are killed by other blacks.’ He pointed out that a majority of white people are killed by other white people, so if you want to care about white lives, you have to worry about white people.”

Strong Words by Sarah Palin on “Black Lives Matter” Movement, the Media and Bad Cops

Newsmax wrote on July 11:

“Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says the Black Lives Matter movement is a ‘farce’ that consists of ‘thugs’ legitimized by politicians and pundits. In a fiery Facebook post, Palin said of the Black Lives Matter protest against police violence in Dallas which ended in tragedy when a lone sniper executed five cops: ‘Shame on our culture’s influencers who would stir contention and division that could lead to evil such as that in Dallas. Shame on politicians and pundits giving credence to thugs rioting against police officers and the rule of law in the name of “peaceful protests.” It is a farce…’

“Palin, who was Sen. John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate in 2008, also took aim at the media. ‘Quit claiming the rioters are “peaceful” as they stomp on our flag, shout “death to cops!” and celebrate violence. It is sick. You perpetuate a perverted message evil men thrive on to intimidate and warp malleable minds that would believe one race matters more than another,’ she said. ‘Blood is on your complicit hands when you naively or purposefully refuse to tell of this movement’s truth.’

“Turning to the demonstrators, Palin continued, ‘Black Lives Matter? Yes – more than BLM ‘protestors’ can grasp, as evidenced by their self-destructive provocateurism. Doesn’t it go without saying that Native lives matter, too? And Asian; and Eskimo; and Hispanic; and Indian… And every other race comprised of people who see clearly the agenda at play to weaken America through disunity. Get fed up and stand up if you’re sick of being called racist when proclaiming EVERY LIFE MATTERS, black as much as white and every skin tone in between. Every innocent life – at every stage of life – on the side of good over evil, matters. Why let the damaging false narrative prevail if you know it is a lie?!…

“Palin said the shooting deaths of two African-American civilians by cops, which prompted the ill-fated Dallas protest, ‘is mind-boggling. It’s nauseating. My heart is with victims’ families as I sympathize with anyone defenseless in these situations. More so, I empathize if we find out any cop involved was in the wrong, for I abhor bad cops,’ she said. But Palin said she sides with police. ‘To side with our public servants trying to keep law and order amidst political agendas that clearly oppose that virtue is how the good guys win again. It’s the only way to ensure our best days will be ahead of us,’ she said.”

Why Did Comey Do It?

On July 8, Newsmax published the following article by Charles Krauthammer:

“Why did he do it? FBI director James Comey spent 14 minutes laying out an unassailable case for prosecuting Hillary Clinton for the mishandling of classified material. Then at literally the last minute, he recommended against prosecution.  This is baffling. Under the statute (18 U.S.C. section 793(f)), it’s a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or ‘through gross negligence.’ The evidence, as outlined by Comey, is overwhelming…

“Comey summed up Clinton’s behavior as ‘extremely careless.’ How is that not gross negligence? Yet Comey let her off the hook, citing lack of intent. But negligence doesn’t require intent. Compromising national secrets is such a grave offense that it requires either intent or negligence. Lack of intent is, therefore, no defense.

“But one can question that claim as well. Clinton clearly intended to set up an unsecured private server. She clearly intended to send those classified emails. She clearly received warnings from her own department about the dangers of using a private email account. She meant to do what she did. And she did it. Intentionally…

“Yet Comey claims that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Nor has one ever been brought. Not so. Just last year, the Justice Department successfully prosecuted naval reservist Bryan Nishimura, who improperly downloaded classified material to his personal, unclassified electronic devices. The government admitted that there was no evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute the material to others. Nonetheless, he was sentenced to two years of probation, fined and forever prohibited from seeking a security clearance, which effectively kills any chance of working in national security.

“So why not Hillary Clinton?  The usual answer is that the Clintons are treated by a different standard. Only little people pay. They are too well connected, too well protected to be treated like everybody else. Alternatively, the explanation lies with Comey: He gave in to implicit political pressure, the desire to please those in power. Certainly plausible, but given Comey’s reputation for probity and given that he holds a 10-year appointment, I’d suggest a third line of reasoning.

“When Chief Justice John Roberts used a tortured, logic-defying argument to uphold Obamacare, he was subjected to similar accusations of bad faith. My view was that, as guardian of the Supreme Court’s public standing, he thought the issue too momentous —and the implications for the country too large — to hinge on a decision of the court…

“I would suggest that Comey’s thinking, whether conscious or not, was similar: He did not want the FBI director to end up as the arbiter of the 2016 presidential election. If Clinton were not a presumptive presidential nominee but simply a retired secretary of state, he might well have made a different recommendation. Prosecuting under current circumstances would have upended and redirected an already year-long presidential selection process. In my view, Comey didn’t want to be remembered as the man who irreversibly altered the course of American political history.”

Most Americans Disagree with FBI’s Recommendation Not to Charge Clinton

ABC News reported on July 11:

“A majority of Americans [56 percent] disapproves of the FBI’s recommendation not to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime over her handling of email while secretary of state [while just 35 percent approve], and a similar number in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll [57 percent] say the issue leaves them worried about how she’d handle her responsibilities as president if elected [Just 39 percent feel the issue isn’t related to how she’d perform as president.] …

“Nearly nine in 10 Republicans disagree with the FBI’s decision and say it worries them about what she’d do if she became president. Democrats see things very differently, but with less unanimity –- about two-thirds approve of the decision not to charge Clinton and think the issue is unrelated to what she’d do as president. But three in 10 of Clinton’s own party faithful think she should have been charged. Further… political independents side more with Republicans on the issue, with roughly six in 10 saying the FBI was wrong and that the issue raises worries about Clinton as president.”

Donald Trump Isolated on the World Stage?

The Associated Press wrote on July 12, 2016:

“If elected president, Donald Trump would be the only head of state in the world to contend that climate change is a hoax, according to a study.

“The Sierra Club compiled public statements from the leaders of the 195 nations recognized by the State Department… In contrast to public statements by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee calling climate change a ‘con job’ and a ‘myth,’ the leader of every U.S. ally urges action to reduce climate-warming carbon emissions, including Great Britain, Germany, France, Japan and Canada…

“Trump, meanwhile, has pledged to ‘renegotiate’ U.S. commitments under the Paris accord and has suggested that the science of climate change is part of a plot to weaken the American economy… He has also cited cold winter weather as evidence the world is not really warming…

“According to NASA, 97 percent of the climate scientists agree that the world is getting hotter and that man-made carbon emissions are to blame…

“John Coequyt, the Sierra Club’s director for global climate policy, said Trump’s failure to acknowledge basic climate science would leave him isolated on the world stage as president, adding, ‘Trump’s climate science denial would make him a global laughingstock if it wasn’t so dangerous.’”

Theresa May—U.K.’s New Prime Minister

Reuters wrote on July 11:

‘Energy minister Andrea Leadsom abruptly withdrew from the contest to succeed David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister on Monday, leaving her rival Theresa May as the only candidate…

“Leadsom… had been criticized over a newspaper interview in which she appeared to suggest that being a mother meant she had more of a stake in the country’s future than May, who has no children. Leadsom read out a statement to reporters in which she said she was pulling out of the race because a nine-week leadership campaign was highly undesirable at such a critical time. She acknowledged that May had secured overwhelming backing in a vote of Conservative members of parliament last week. ‘Strong leadership is needed urgently to begin the work of withdrawing from the European Union,’ Leadsom said…

“May, 59, who has served as interior minister for the past six years, is now set to become Britain’s second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher… ‘In the coming weeks I will set out (how)… to negotiate the best terms for Britain’s departure from the EU and to forge a new role for ourselves in the world,’ May said. May favored the ‘Remain’ side during last month’s referendum campaign. But she repeated her new mantra that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, saying there could be no second referendum and no attempt to rejoin the EU by the back door. ‘As prime minister, I will make sure that we leave the European Union,’ she said…

“The 52-48 percent vote to quit the EU after 43 years of membership has shaken financial markets because the complex divorce process creates huge uncertainty for business, trade and investment. It has thrown both Britain’s major political parties into upheaval.

“Minutes before Leadsom’s announcement, opposition Labour lawmaker Angela Eagle said she would challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the party. Corbyn was elected last year with overwhelming support from grassroots Labour activists. He has ignored a vote of no confidence from the party’s lawmakers, saying he has a responsibility to carry out that mandate.”

Daily Mail wrote on July 11:

“Another dramatic day in Westminster saw David Cameron’s career in No 10 brought to an abrupt end nine weeks earlier than expected…”

Things are moving swiftly…

How Will Merkel Manage Brexit with UK PM Theresa May?

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 13:

“It’s easy to see parallels between the heads of government. Both Merkel and May rose to power in their respective conservative parties by waiting out male-dominated ego battles. Merkel was the last woman standing after Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his presumptive successor, Wolfgang Schäuble, caught the wrong end of the Christian Democratic Union’s donation scandal in 1999, and became chairwoman of the party in April 2000.

“Like former Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to serve as Britain’s prime minister, both Merkel and May have been commonly portrayed as outsiders in sexist, privileged, tradition-fixated political institutions who had to fight their way up by deploying a formidable work ethic and sheer ambition. The fact that details in their biographies match – Thatcher and Merkel both have science degrees; Merkel and May are both Protestant clergymen’s daughters – have helped to reinforce this…

“In addition to the shallow parallels, Merkel and May do share a number of genuine similarities. ‘I think the comparison is fair,’ said Josef Janning, senior political analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. ‘They share a… pragmatic focus on the immediate and the next step – and not these lofty, visionary ideas about a decade from now.’

“Another quality that might endear May to the German leadership is her authoritarian reputation in the Home Office, where she enforced hard-line stance against immigrants and expanded state surveillance. ‘She is a classic minister of the interior,’ Janning said. ‘And a classic minister of the interior, at least in the German view, is a law-and-order person. That is what the Interior Ministry is all about: enforcing the law. Schäuble as interior minister was someone like that, and (current Interior Minister Thomas) de Maiziere tries to be someone like this’…

“May… was on the ‘Remain’ side of the UK’s fateful referendum on EU membership – though not with any fervent passion… On Tuesday, Merkel reacted to news of May’s presumed coronation with her signature reserve. There were no congratulations or warm statements about ‘looking forward to positive cooperation’ with May. ‘The task of the new prime minister will be to win some clarity on the question of what relationship Britain wants to build with the European Union in future,’ she said…

“In fact, there are plenty of reasons to think that, similar backgrounds and political personalities notwithstanding, things might not be as harmonious between May and Merkel as [some like to portray it]. For one thing, both leaders are under pressure to stay tough as the European Union risks devolving into a country-by-country pursuit of national interests. ‘It depends on how May uses her pragmatism,’ Janning said… ‘if she uses her pragmatism to try and maximize the outcome for Britain at the expense of others, she will not get on well with Merkel.’”

Theresa May’s New Cabinet

Daily Mail wrote on July 13:

“Boris Johnson has been appointed Britain’s new Foreign Secretary in a shock development tonight, as Theresa May started to build her new Cabinet. She named Philip Hammond as her new Chancellor and sacked George Osborne in a historic evening in Westminster less than two hours after she was officially sworn in as the UK’s second female Prime Minister.

“Amber Rudd was appointed the new Home Secretary, moving on from the Energy and Climate Change Department, while Michael Fallon will stay as Defence Secretary. Mr Hammond moves to the Treasury after serving as Foreign Secretary for more than two years. Ms Rudd is expected to be appointed the new Home Secretary – a vacant position after Mrs May left the department to become Prime Minister.

“Mr Osborne was sacked by Mrs May, bringing an abrupt end to his six years in charge of the Treasury. There were also reports that all of David Cameron’s political advisors had left Downing Street – a sign Mrs May is determined to break with the past…

In a related article, Daily Mail wrote on July 13:

“Boris Johnson has been made Foreign Secretary as Theresa May moved to bring the big beasts of Brexit into her top team. The former London mayor, whose dreams of becoming PM were brutally ended when Michael Gove betrayed him, has been rewarded with one of the great office of state.

“It suggests that Mr Johnson has had the last laugh over Mr Gove, who was serving as justice secretary under Mr Cameron but has not currently been confirmed in any post.”

Express added on July 13 that “David Davis has been appointed Secretary of State for Brexit… Like Mrs May, who has said she will not trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which starts a two-year countdown to exit, before the end of this year, Mr Davis is not in favour of rushing out of Europe.”

“The World Reacts to Boris Johnson, the UK’s New Foreign Secretary”

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 14:

“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had harsh words for Johnson… branding the former London mayor as ‘irresponsible.’ ‘People [in the UK] are experiencing a rude awakening after irresponsible politicians first lured the country into a Brexit and then, once the decision was made, bolted and didn’t take responsibility,’ Steinmeier said during a speech at Greifswald University. ‘”Instead they went to play cricket. To be honest, I find this outrageous but it’s not just bitter for Great Britain. It’s also bitter for the European Union,’ he added.

“Parliamentary co-leader of the German Green Party, Anton Hofreiter, questioned May’s capability, saying Johnson’s appointment was ‘a very bad signal’ which ‘raises doubts over the new prime minister’s competency.’ Nicole Diekmann, a correspondent for German broadcaster ZDF, tweeted: ‘Boris Johnson is foreign secretary. British humor.’

“In neighboring France, social media users expressed their surprise online. Twitter-user Claude Demougins tweeted: ‘Diplomacy according to Boris Johnson, new foreign secretary.’ Alongside the tweet, Demougins posted a cartoon of Johnson with the caption: ‘An elephant in a china shop.’ Journalist Alex Taylor tweeted: ‘Boris Johnson – a clown as the new foreign secretary. Shakespearean comedy or tragedy?’…

“In China, one diplomat described Johnson’s appointment as a ‘risky move,’ warning that May’s decision had the potential to badly backfire…

“On behalf of the UK public, British paper the ‘Daily Mirror’ apologized to the world for their new foreign secretary, confirming with Thursday’s front page that the ‘new PM’s bombshell’ wasn’t a case of British humor gone awry. ‘Dear World… Sorry,’ read the headline.”

The Local added on July 14:

“When it became clear that May would become the next prime minister of the UK, some in Germany voiced cautious optimism that she would seek to limit the damage inflicted by British public’s vote to leave the EU. The fact that she was in the Remain camp and bears a passing resemblance to the sober and pragmatic Chancellor Angela Merkel raised hopes that she would build bridges with Germany. But her appointment of Boris Johnson, the charismatic but erratic leader of the Brexit campaign, has shaken this belief.

“Speaking to DPA, Ralf Stegner, deputy leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) said ‘Frau May comes across as weaker due to her choice of cabinet.’… The appointment also met with harsh criticism from the Institute for the World Economy (IfW), one of Germany’s leading economic think tanks. ‘How can May speak of national unity in her inaugural speech and then appoint the man who split the land as her foreign minister,’ asks IfW president Dennis Snower in a written statement. ‘One can only hope that other politicians in Europe recognize how dangerous, almost crazy, it is to integrate populist deceitful politicians into government’…

“A writer for Der Spiegel magazine, the bastion of the liberal establishment, described Johnson scathingly as ‘a snake oil salesman’ and a ‘reckless con artist’ who had led a ‘campaign of deception’. ‘The appointment is sensational, at first sight it comes across as crazy.’ But the liberal magazine journalist explains the appointment as a clever ploy on the part of May to scapegoat the former mayor of London…

“Conservative Die Welt also sees the choice of Johnson as having more than meets the eye, suggesting May wants to be entertained by watching Johnson’s buffoonery play out on the biggest stage of all. The new prime minister has constrained Johnson’s power by creating two new posts that concern foreign issues – a minister responsible for Brexit negotiations and a minister for international trade – Die Welt notes. ‘His job will be limited to what he does best – charming people. As foreign minister he will play a similar role to the one he played as mayor of London, only on a bigger stage. And why should May deny herself this show, this unique talent to advertise for Britain?’ But in a sign that it doesn’t mean its analysis altogether seriously, the paper also describes Johnson as an ‘undiplomatic, unpredictable disloyal jack of all trades.’

“Sylke Tempel, editor of Internationale Politik and Berlin Policy Journal, points out that Johnson’s appointment is more significant than just a power game within the conservative elite, and can only spell bad news. ‘FM Boris Johnson aka the Irresponsible [one] who caused the mess, won’t make cleaning up his mess any easier,’ wrote Tempel on Twitter. Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung has given up hope that the British establishment take anything seriously any more: ‘Johnson as foreign minister? That is British humour’ its headline reads.”

Falling Pound Is World’s Weakest Major Currency

The Times wrote on July 9:

“The pound has replaced the battered Argentine peso as the world’s weakest leading currency this year after a huge surge in American jobs yesterday added to the British currency’s woes. Sterling is now the weakest of 31 leading currencies this year, falling by almost 13 per cent against the US dollar. This is further than the Argentine and Mexican pesos, the Chinese yuan and the Polish zloty.

“Fears about Britain’s relative weakness against other economies were underlined yesterday as America revealed that it had created a remarkable 287,000 jobs in June, boosting the dollar and sending the pound lower.”

“Core Europe for Salvation”

This is the headline of an article which was published on July 9 by the left-liberal German publication, “Die Zeit”. The article featured an interview with well-known and respected German  philosopher Juergen Habermas who was quoted as saying that the EU, consisting of 27 member states (excluding the UK), are not able to come to a consensus, and that the Eurozone members, which have been closely connected for many years, are the “natural definition for the size of a coming core Europe.”

At the same time, sensational articles and warnings, such as by the International Monetary Fund, predict a collapse of the EU and even the Eurozone. However, this will not  occur. In this regard, President Obama seems to have a better grasp. The EUObserver stated on July 8:

“US president Barack Obama has said talk that Brexit would lead to the collapse of the EU is ‘misplaced’, amid promises to work more closely with Europe. Speaking to the press at the Marriott Hotel in Warsaw on Friday (8 July) ahead of a Nato summit, he said the British vote to leave the EU ‘has led some to say that the entire edifice of European security and prosperity is crumbling … This kind of hyperbole is misplaced.'”

Europe Angry with the UK

Express wrote on July 9:

“Voters in Germany, France, Sweden and Finland want [a] harsh deal for UK… think[ing] Britain should NOT be allowed a generous deal in Brexit negotiations – even if it can be offered.

“The majority of Germans and French were opposed to helping Britain with 53 per cent saying the UK should not expect any favours. Only 27 per cent said the EU should offer Britain a generous deal… The opinion poll published on Friday showed Europeans want Britain to be punished for its choice to leave the Union on June 23.

“Furthermore, nearly half of voters in the two EU heavyweight countries said they would support a free trade deal with Britain only if Britain agreed to continue to allow EU citizens to live and work in the country. Opposition to the EU’s free movement of workers principle was one of the main campaign messages of those who wanted Britain to leave the bloc…

“Of five continental EU countries covered by YouGov’s poll, only voters in Denmark favoured offering Britain a generous deal, the polling firm said. YouGov interviewed 2,045 people in Germany, 1,008 people in France and around 1,000 people in each of Sweden, Finland and Denmark between June 30 and July 5.”

Express added on July 13:

“The president of the European Council said it would be ‘lethal’ to let the UK walk away scot-free as he attempts to avoid a domino effect across the continent in the wake of Brexit. Mr Tusk took the tough stance amid upcoming negotiations following Britain’s sensational Leave vote… He has already repeated warnings the UK will not have access to the single market without accepting the right of other EU nationals to move to the country… Poland’s  former prime minister recently warned the UK would not be able to place controls on EU immigration if it wanted to remain a part of the single market.”

“Brexit a Chance for Closer EU Military Ties, Says Germany”

The Local wrote on July 13:

“London had ‘paralysed’ European efforts to have a more closely integrated security policy, charged Ursula von der Leyen, as she presented Germany’s strategic defence outlook. ‘Europeans are right to expect that the EU tackles the big questions,’ she said, adding that ‘we now have that opportunity’ after the departure of Britain, which ‘consistently blocked everything with the label Europe on it.’

“Von der Leyen was presenting Germany’s first big-picture defence outlook in a decade, pledging Berlin’s willingness to play a greater role in the world. Europe’s top economy also pledged to work with EU and NATO allies to tackle cross-border challenges, from the threats posed by Russia to Islamist terrorism to climate change…

“The strategic outlook is seen as a milestone for a country that, burdened by guilt about Nazi terror and the Holocaust, for decades trod softly on the world stage and only joined peacekeeping missions in the 1990s in the Balkans.”

Hollande vs. Cameron on Russia

Daily Mail wrote on July 9:

“David Cameron today stressed that Europe must remain united in the face of the threat from Russia amid fears Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will weaken its resolve to stand up to Vladimir Putin… He added that both the EU and the alliance needed to be prepared to stand firm in face of any fresh aggression by Russia following its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. His comments came after President Francois Hollande said France regarded Russia as a partner, ‘not a threat’ and that Nato had no role in determining what Europe’s relations with Moscow should be…

“The Warsaw summit, Nato’s first in two years, is considered by many to be the alliance’s most important since the Cold War. However, the turmoil in the United States in the wake of a deadly sniper attack that left five police officers dead in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday night meant Obama’s attention has been divided while in Europe. But despite grappling with some of the most dangerous threats to the modern world, including deterring a resurgent Russia and stopping the Islamic State, the two outgoing leaders (Obama and Cameron) were pictured enjoying what appeared to be a light-hearted conversation.”

Vladimir Putin Restricts Religious Freedom in Russia

Christianity Today wrote on July 8:

“This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism… The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20…

“Protestants and religious minorities small enough to gather in homes fear they will be most affected. Last month, ‘the local police officer came to a home where a group of Pentecostals meet each Sunday,’ Konstantin Bendas, deputy bishop of the Pentecostal Union, told Forum 18. ‘With a contented expression he told them: ‘Now they’re adopting the law I’ll drive you all out of here.’ I reckon we should now fear such zealous enforcement.’”

The website of penews.org added on July 8:

“[The new law] prohibits freedom of religion in a way that is considered the most restrictive measure in post-Soviet history… Under the law, all personal evangelism on the streets and in individual homes is now restricted. Evangelizing outside registered churches will result in fines. Christians meeting in homes are not allowed to invite unbelievers. Christians wishing to share their faith must secure government permits through registered religious organizations. Even with such permits, they are not allowed to witness anywhere besides registered churches or religious sites. Churches that rent rather than owning their facilities will be forcibly disbanded.

“Besides rendering evangelism illegal, the law will also punish not reporting violations… Individuals found guilty of violating the new law will be fined up to $800 USD, while organizations found in violation will be fined up to $15,500. Foreigners found in violation will be deported. All aspects of the law also apply to internet activities.”

Vladimir Putin is manifesting himself more and more as an absolute ruthless and unscrupulous dictator, and he is now determined to wipe out every minority religion in his country which he cannot control or manipulate. Note the next article.

Back to the Persecutions of the USSR in 1929

Breitbart wrote on July 10:

“‘This new situation resembles the Soviet Union in 1929. At that time confession of faith was permitted only in church,’ said Dr. Hannu Haukka, president of Great Commission Media Ministries, reports National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). ‘Practically speaking, we are back in the same situation. These anti-terrorist laws are some of the most restrictive laws in post-Soviet history.’ … faith sharing in homes, in the media, online, or any place other than a government recognized church is prohibited… The measure is expected to especially affect evangelical groups and Jehovah’s Witnesses who often share faith in homes rather than traditional churches.

“In a column at the Daily Signal, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) wrote the new law is ‘an affront to free people everywhere… We need to begin telling the truth about an increasingly aggressive actor in global affairs… This Russian law would be an affront to free people everywhere—at home and abroad—who believe that rights of conscience—the rights to free speech and to freedom of religion—are pre-political.’

“Religious freedom attorneys and human rights groups are already preparing an appeal to Russia’s Constitutional Court… The legislation drew widespread protests and religious leaders are uncertain how they can fulfill the law’s obligations. ‘Today is indeed a black day on the calendar,’ lawyer Vladimir Ryakhovsky of the Slavic Centre for Law and Justice posted on his Facebook page. ‘Hope was that Vladimir Putin would not in the end sign this law. A law which openly contradicts the gospel command ‘go and make disciples’ and, in addition, violates the constitutional rights of citizens.’

“Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Presidential Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights, protested the new amendments directly to Putin, asserting that they ‘create unjustified and excessive restrictions on the freedom of conscience of believers of all religions, and encroach upon the fundamental constitutional principle of non-interference by the state in the internal arrangements of religious associations.’…

“The United States government and all other nations that profess a commitment to religious freedom should urge Russia to repeal this unjust law, NRB President Dr. Jerry A. Johnson said. ‘Let’s pray this new iron curtain of Christian persecution in Russia will be lifted quickly and without harm to our brothers and sisters in Christ.’”

Back to the USSR’s Shameful Past

WorldNetDaily added  on July 8:

“A new law in Russia… will restrict even the most innocuous conversations about faith… ‘The new law will require any sharing of the Christian faith – even a casual conversation – to have prior authorization from the state,’ reported Barnabas Fund, which aids persecuted Christians worldwide. ‘This includes something as basic as an emailed invitation for a friend to attend church. Even in a private home, worship and prayer will only be allowed if there are no unbelievers present,’ the organization said. ‘Churches will also be held accountable for the activities of their members. So if, for example, a church member mentions their faith in conversation with a work colleague, not only the church member but also the church itself could be punished…’

“Barnabas Fund said Protestant Christians in Russia ‘fear that the new law will be chiefly enforced as a weapon against them and not used against the Orthodox Church, which Mr. Putin has favored in the past.’… reports noted that such restrictions on discussing religion in public long have been sought by Muslim majority countries, which cast it as a religious freedom issue, claiming that no one should ‘disparage’ any religion, although the only beneficiary appears to be Islam.

“… members of an advisory council of heads of Protestant churches in Russia had asked Putin to stop the law. Sergey Ryakhovsky, a co-chair of the council, said that ‘The Constitution of the Russian Federation Article 28 says that everyone is guaranteed freedom of religion, including the right to freely disseminate religious and other convictions,’ [adding:] ‘The Soviet past reminds us how many people of different faiths were persecuted for their faith, for spreading their beliefs, the Word of God. … Our fathers not only paid fines and were sentenced to prison terms for “illegal assembly,” for “religious agitation,” for preaching and prayer. And today we see clearly that the proposed bill gets us back to that shameful past.’”

Poland Accuses Ukraine of Genocide

The Associated Press wrote on July 11:

“The leader of Poland’s ruling conservative party has commemorated a massacre of Poles by Ukrainians during World War II, describing it as genocide. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the Law and Justice party, laid flowers Monday at a monument in Warsaw to the victims of the Volyn massacre on the 73[rd] anniversary of a key moment in the killings. Kaczynski said ‘we must never let this crime against Poles and any such crime be overlooked, relativized or described as anything but genocide.’

“From 1943-1944, Ukrainian nationalists killed up to 100,000 Poles in Volyn and eastern Galica, areas then in Poland but now in Ukraine. The peak of the killings, which involved Poles being butchered with axes and saws, was on July 11, 1943. About 20,000 Ukrainians died at Polish hands.”

This is a remarkable development as it is plausible that Poland will play a definite role within the EU, while Ukraine will ultimately side with Russia.

Austrian President Steps Down

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 8:

“Austria’s outgoing President Heinz Fischer has stepped down after 12 years in office. In his farewell address, he spoke out against the right-wing politics of his potential successor.  The 77-year-old Social Democratic president issued a plea Friday for Austrians to confront populism and xenophobia…

“Austria’s Constitutional Court annulled the result of the run-off election last week, which former Green party leader Alexander Van der Bellen, 72, won by a slim margin against parliamentarian Norbert Hofer of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ). A new vote is slated for October 2…

“Hofer, 45, and the anti-immigration FPÖ have toughened their stance on Austria’s EU membership in the wake of Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the bloc. ‘If the EU develops in the wrong way, instead of returning to its actual basic values, if it becomes more centralized, and if Turkey joins, then for me it would be time to say that Austrians must also be asked (about membership),’ Hofer said after the ‘Brexit’ vote.

“A poll published Friday by Austrian daily Österreich found 52 percent of 600 people surveyed were against Austria leaving the EU; 30 percent were in favor and 8 percent undecided. Hofer becoming the EU’s first far-right president would have symbolic importance for the FPÖ two years before the next scheduled general election. There are also fears of a potential power grab as Hofer has said that – if elected president – he would take advantage of hitherto untapped constitutional powers afforded to the traditionally figurehead office.”

Germany’s Public Broadcaster ZDF Consistently Anti-Semitic

Ynetnews.com wrote on July 10:

“An advertisement for a German television documentary which will deal with how children in the Palestinian Authority are taught to hate and kill has caused an uproar for claiming that Israeli children are also taught to hate and kill Palestinians. The program will be aired on ZDF, a German television channel which is known for its anti-Israel slant… The documentary makes the comparison between incitement to murder and hatred in Palestinian schools to the education and incitement to hatred which Israeli children alleged[ly] receive. This, despite the fact that the documentary clearly and explicitly proves that the education systems which spread incitement to kill and to hate is on the Palestinian side only.

“While the documentary doesn’t claim that the Israeli education system teaches children to kill Arabs, it does say that Arabs are presented in a negative light in Israeli textbooks. An example of this ‘racist education’ against the Arab population is that the majority of Israeli students, when drawing a picture of an Arab, draw the Arab sitting on a camel. Following a wave of protests directed at ZDF, the station pulled the anti-Israel ad and ran an apology ad…

“Nevertheless, the uproar following the advertisement is continuing, especially in light of the station’s anti-Israel line. The German newspaper Bild asks ‘was this… a mistake or intentional distortion of the facts with an anti-Semitic slant?’

“Various research institutes have researched the content broadcasted on ZDF, and have found that it is consistently anti-Israel. The station avoided reporting on the murder of 13 year old Hallel Yaffe Ariel who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in her bed [in] Kiryat Arba. The station did report on Palestinian injuries which occurred as a result of IDF operations following the girl’s death however.”

Iran Threatens Israel with Annihilation

The Jerusalem Post wrote on July 8:

“The deputy commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said the country has over 100,000 missiles in Lebanon alone readied for the ‘annihilation’ of Israel… Hossein Salami also said that Iran has ‘tens of thousands’ of additional missiles that are ready to wipe the ‘accursed black dot’ of Israel off the map… Salami is deputy head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is under the command of the country’s Supreme Leader.

“‘Today, more than ever, there is fertile ground — with the grace of God — for the annihilation, the wiping out and the collapse of the Zionist regime,’ Salami said… ‘In Lebanon alone, over 100,000 missiles are ready to be launched. If there is a will, if it serves [our] interests, and if the Zionist regime repeats its past mistakes due to its miscalculations, these missiles will pierce through space, and will strike at the heart of the Zionist regime. They will prepare the ground for its great collapse in the new era.’…

“Salami’s remarks came as Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) released its annual report that Iranian efforts to illegally procure technology, especially in the nuclear area, had continued at a ‘high level’ in 2015. A separate report by a German domestic intelligence agency said that counter-espionage officials had spotted 141 procurements attempts in one German state in the last year.

“Martin Schaefer, a spokesman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry, said that Germany and its partners would work to enforce the agreement signed in Vienna last July meant to curb Iran’s nuclear program. ‘We are already talking to our partners in New York and elsewhere, and we won’t hesitate to discuss this with Tehran,’ he said.”

This shows the utter uselessness of the agreement signed between the Western “partners” (under the Obama Administration’s leadership) and Iran, coupled with the announcement that the West would not hesitate to “discuss this” with Iran.

Sizable Philistine Cemetery Uncovered

Times of Israel wrote on July 10:

“Goliath’s death is described in gruesome detail in the Bible, but how the Philistine champion would have been laid to rest has been a mystery. Scientists now say an extraordinary find may lay that giant enigma, much like the biblical villain, to rest. Archaeologists digging at the southern coastal city of Ashkelon announced Sunday the discovery of the first cemetery belonging to the ancient Israelites’ dreaded and shadowy nemeses, the Philistines… The discovery of a sizable cemetery, with over 210 individuals, at a site conclusively linked to the Philistines, was a ‘critical missing link’ that allows scholars ‘to fill out the story of the Philistines,’ said Master, a professor of archaeology at Wheaton College.

“The cemetery, discovered just outside the ancient city walls and dated to between the 11th and 8th centuries BCE — a period associated with the rise of the Israelites — may contain thousands of individuals, providing an abundance of material to study, he said… Throughout much of its 22 layers of settlement, Ashkelon was a ‘great seaport,’ situated on the Mediterranean and on the main coastal trade route,’ Harvard University’s Larry Stager, co-director of the dig, said…

“Ashkelon was one of the five main Philistine cities for six centuries — , along with Gaza, Ashdod, Gath and Ekron — from the 1100s BCE down to Ashkelon’s destruction by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar’s army in 604 BCE… Scholars believe the Philistines were among a number of tribes of non-Semitic peoples who migrated across the Mediterranean — possibly from modern Greece and Turkey — and settled the Canaanite coast… Ancient Egyptian accounts describe hordes of ‘Sea Peoples’ arriving by ship to the shores of the eastern Mediterranean in the late 13th and early 12th centuries BCE. During the reign of Ramesses III, hordes of seaborne people bore down on the kingdom, were thwarted by the Egyptian armies and settled along the Levantine coast. Among the groups mentioned in the reliefs of Ramesses III’s mortuary temple at Medinet Habu are the ‘Peleset,’ whom scholars associate with the Philistines.

Focus added the following on July 11:

“The Philistines did not practice circumcision, and they ate the meat of pigs and dogs, as shown by findings from Gaza, Gat, Ashdod and Ekron.”

Unions Forming Around the World

The website of futuretimeline.net wrote the following on July 7:

“… regions of the world are seeing closer integration. Russia, for example, recently helped to establish the Eurasian Union – a political and economic union consisting of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Meanwhile, the East Asian Community (EAC) is a proposed trading bloc for the East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, which may arise out of either ASEAN Plus Three or the East Asia Summit (EAS). On the other side of the planet, the Union of South American Nations was established in 2008 and consists of 12 member countries.

“Now, the African Union (AU), formed in 2002 as a continental union of 54 nations in Africa, has taken its latest step towards closer integration by announcing a new electronic passport (e-Passport). This will be launched at the next AU Summit taking place in Kigali, Rwanda from 10th-18th July 2016…

“Common passports have already been adopted across a number of smaller regions, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The proposed AU passport would be an electronic document permitting continent-wide travel, without the requirement for a visa – except for Morocco (the only non-AU nation in Africa) and several island territories held by Spain, France, Portugal and the UK. The first AU passports will be issued to AU heads of state, government ministers and representatives of AU member states later this month. They will be rolled out to all AU citizens by 2018…

“Deeper integration – such as the formation of a single, pan-African common market – presents enormous political and logistical challenges, but is expected to follow in the decades ahead. On current trends, the World Bank estimates that most African nations will achieve “middle income” status (defined as at least US$1,000 per person per year) by 2025. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the continent, today standing at $2.4 trillion, will see a 12-fold increase by 2050, mushrooming to $29 trillion, larger than the combined GDP of the US and the Eurozone in 2012.”

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What Kinds of Sports, Games and Related Activities Are Appropriate and Inappropriate for Christians? (Part 2)

In the first part of our series, we addressed in general the biblical teaching requiring God’s disciples to abstain from intentionally seriously injuring or killing another human being, including in self-defense. We should also mention that the negligent killing of another human being is likewise prohibited.

Quoting from our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?”:

“A perpetrator who ‘accidentally’ brought about the death of another person (Numbers 35:15), without hating the victim, was allowed to flee to a city of refuge to escape the wrath of the avenger of blood. He was only allowed to escape death if he acted ‘unintentionally’ or ‘ignorantly’ (Deuteronomy 19:4). For instance, he might have killed a person by throwing a stone at him, not realizing that the victim was there (Numbers 35:23). Or, he might have killed the victim without wanting to (Deuteronomy 19:5; Numbers 35:22). If, on the other hand, the perpetrator hated the victim in the past, or if he struck him intentionally with a stone, an iron implement or a wooden hand weapon, even though he might not have hated the victim, he was still to be executed (Deuteronomy 19:4, 6, 11; Numbers 35:20-21, 16-18)…

“The Scriptures tell us that the killing or ‘smiting’ of another human being is wrong in God’s eyes and in violation of the Ten Commandments. The ‘accidental’ manslayer, who did not hate his neighbor whom he killed, was not considered innocent, as his conduct, albeit unintentional or unknowing, led to the death of a person. With proper precautions, such a death could have been avoided. The accidental manslayer still had to flee to a city of refuge and stay there until the high priest died…”

Considering all of these principles, it is becoming obvious that certain sports and games might have to be avoided which are designed to injure a competitor. But even games or other activities which might involve action causing serious injuries or even death may need to be avoided, even if the sports per se are not designed to cause such harm.

A clear distinction can be made between, on the one hand, sports or other activities which purposefully harm—or teach to harm—other human beings and, on the other hand,  conduct which is not directly or indirectly focusing on others.

Let us take shooting ranges as an example. We would reject firing exercises within the military or the police, because to a large extent, the purpose of those firing exercises is to train soldiers or members of the police to hate, shoot and kill others. It is different to shoot a rifle at the fair or to use a gun for hunting animals. The same conclusion would apply to the use of bows and arrows. (However, a distinction must be made between “needed” hunting for the purpose of the control of wild life and the acquisition of food, and trophies hunting for “fun” and “entertainment.” Examples would be fox hunting in Great Britain and killing animals on a safari in Africa. In an audio-recorded sermon on the Biblical World of Animals, we explain that senseless killing of animals is wrong.)

As we can see, the motivation for the use is very important. While we must be careful not to condemn others for their actions, we should stand by our personal decisions and convictions without fear of condemnation. If one has strong convictions not to use guns, bows and arrows under any circumstances, including at the fair or for the purpose of hunting animals, then one shouldn’t do it.  This would also apply to our children if we feel they could or shouldn’t do it.  In any event, parents need to properly educate their children so they understand the distinction between what is a “game”, and what is “war.”  The use of “water pistols” in a swimming pool must never instill in a child the idea that it is alright to use a real gun against another human being.

Another example of a harmless game, which we feel to be very appropriate, would be chess. For example, some say that playing chess is wrong since it is a game of war.  We have never taught this in the Church, and many Church members are or were very good chess players. Even though world chess champion Bobby Fisher was never a member of the Worldwide Church of God, he showed some interest at one time and volunteered to play chess with many Ambassador College students. (He was an extremely talented chess player, and he played simultaneously numerous games with different students. At the same time, his fascination with chess caused him to be unbalanced.)

On the other hand, extremely violent games and those with demonic themes must be avoided! This especially applies to the computer generated games that so easily captivate children’s interest.

When reviewing sports which involve competing with or fighting competitors, the distinctions may become more blurry.

For example, we would not recommend the avoidance of soccer (football for our British friends), because soccer, as designed, is not played with the intent of hurting someone, although one can get hurt playing it. If, on the other hand, it becomes obvious that the opposite team members are attempting to intentionally hurt someone, or playing so violently that injuries are the inevitable consequence, then it would be advisable to abstain from such matches.  The same principles would apply to other sports such as volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball; and of course, no problem would exist with sports such as golf, surfing, cricket and tennis, as well as other racing sports such as bicycling, running or swimming, even though they are of a competitive nature. In addition, no problems would exist for individual performance sports, such as gymnastics or figure skating. As we explained in our previous installment, there is nothing wrong with playing competitive sports, as long as we don’t do so with ungodly motives.

This principle would include laser tag. As the Wikipedia Encyclopedia explains: “Laser tag is a tag game played with lasers. Infrared-sensitive targets are commonly worn by each player and are sometimes integrated within the arena in which the game is played.. [It] may include simulations of combat, role play-style games, or competitive sporting events including tactical configurations and precise game goals… laser tag is painless because it uses no physical projectiles…”

When focusing on sports with the potential of intentionally “hurting” someone, the distinctions become even more blurry. Using dodgeball or paintball as examples, these are games which are not played for the purpose of war, even though it is their purpose of hitting the other person with the paint ball or other devise.

The Wikipedia Encyclopedia describes paintball as follows:

“Paintball is a game… in which players eliminate opponents from play by hitting them with dye-filled, breakable, oil and gelatin paintballs, or pellets, usually shot from a carbon dioxide or compressed air (Nitrogen) powered ‘paintball marker’… Game types in paintball vary, but can include capture the flag, elimination, ammunition limits, defending or attacking a particular point or area, or capturing objects of interest hidden in the playing area… In most areas where regulated play is offered, players are required to wear protective masks, and game rules are strictly enforced.”

Regarding dodgeball, the Wikipedia Encyclopedia writes:

“Dodgeball is a game in which players on two teams try to throw balls at each other while avoiding being hit themselves… There are many variations of the game, but generally the main objective of each team is to eliminate all members of the opposing team by hitting them with thrown balls, catching a ball thrown by a member of the opposing team, or forcing them to move outside the court boundaries when a ball is thrown at them.”

It is very important that the players understand the nature of the game; that they are not trying to injure another person; and that everybody plays with proper protection so as to avoid serious injuries. With these precautionary remarks, even playing American football or rugby might be appropriate, even though some or many Christians would probably avoid playing those games, given their violent appearance.

A boundary could be drawn where the intent of the sport is clearly to hurt someone (for example, boxing), even though it may not be wrong to watch boxing matches. Paul makes reference to boxing in 1 Corinthians 9:26, when he says: “Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.” The Ryrie Study Bible explains: “This does not refer to shadowboxing but to wild misses during an actual boxing match.” This seems to be correct. Paul makes his statement in the context of competitive sports (running a race) and combative fighting; not, as some erroneously write, in the context of the preparation for a fight or sparring in the school in sham-fight, wherein they struck out into the air as if at an imaginary adversary. The fact that Paul draws this analogy of a real boxing match (even though improperly fought) with the Christian spiritual fight shows that he was familiar with–and had watched– boxing matches, even though this Scripture cannot be used to show that Paul would have participated in boxing matches, or that he wished the injury of one of the boxers.

Another sport which is mentioned in the Bible and which was engaged in by godly people is wrestling. We read that Jacob wrestled with God—the second Member of the God Family, Jesus Christ  (Genesis 32:24; Hosea 12:2). After wrestling for a long time, God struck the socket of his hip which became out of joint, causing Jacob to limp for a while. One might conclude that it is therefore appropriate to injure an opponent in sports, but this would be a wrong assessment. In this case it was God—not a man—who acted in such a way in order to teach Jacob a particular lesson.

The Benson Commentary writes: “This was to humble him, and make him sensible of his own weakness, that he might ascribe his victory, not to his own power, but to the grace of God, and might be encouraged to depend on that grace for the deliverance [from Esau] he was so much concerned to obtain. It is probable Jacob felt little or no pain from this hurt, for he did not so much as halt till the struggle was over… If so, it evidenced itself to be a divine touch indeed, wounding and healing at the same time.”

The Matthew Poole Commentary agrees, stating that this “was done that Jacob might see that it was not his own strength, but only God’s grace, which got him this victory, and could give him the deliverance which he hoped for.”

Another distinction needs to be drawn between those sports and activities which one may be engaged in for the purpose of bodily exercise (including in workout programs) and those which one might want to do for the purpose of learning how to defend oneself against an attacker and to fight another person. We read in 1 Timothy 4:8: “For bodily exercise profits a little”—that is, in comparison to the development of godliness in our lives. Barnes Notes on the Bible states: “The apostle does not mean to say that bodily exercise is in itself improper, or that no advantage can be derived from it in the preservation of health.” It is also stated that an alternate reading would be: “For bodily exercise profits for a little while.”

Applying these principles to sports which are commonly associated with the intention of defending against an attacker and harming him, such as karate, Jujitsu or kickboxing, great caution should be applied. When someone decides to participate in classes which teach such sports, or let their children take them, it is very important that the motivation is godly, and that the children clearly understand why they are participating in those classes. It is easy to deceive oneself. For instance, Jujitsu can be very brutal, and it is possible, when “defending” oneself, to break the “attacker’s” arm or leg. But as we explained before, it must never be our motive to seriously injure another person, including in self-defense, and in the heat of a moment, one may not have the self-discipline and self-control to use a weapon, including one’s own body, in such a way as to avoid inflicting serious injury. Also, the very knowledge of having acquired these kinds of “powers” and “abilities” might tempt someone to use those powers in a given moment. Even though one may think that Karate or Jujitsu classes may help an aggressive person to control his or her emotions, the opposite result may be achieved.

This is not to say that we can never physically defend ourselves or our loved ones, when we are attacked, but great caution is in order, as we are not to seriously injure, let alone kill an attacker. For instance, the use of pepper spray could lead to blindness of an attacker; so, again, it is important to consider the potential consequences before using specific defensive devices or engaging in certain defensive activities. It would be advisable to review again our comments on self-defense in our previous Q&A, and what the best ways are of protecting ourselves against violent aggressors.

In many cases, we are called upon to make personal decisions based on our own conscience and conviction. After educated analysis of the issues at hand, based on the Bible and the explanations in this and the previous Q&A, we must become fully convinced in our own minds as to how to act and what to do (Romans 14:5), because whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new Member Letter (July 2016) has been written and will be sent out next week. In this letter, Michael Link presents a striking review of prophetic events which have taken place in 2016—while noting that even more biblical fulfillment lies ahead.

A new ad campaign featuring our free booklet, “Punishment for Our Sins,” was begun this week. This features emails, ads in general media sources along with presentations in social media—such as Facebook. We wish to thank September Danforth-Prentice for her efforts in this endeavor.

“Russia’s Persecution of Minority Christians” is the title of this week’s StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

On July 6, Vladimir Putin signed a law against terrorism which prohibits major activities of minority Christians in Russia, including sharing one’s belief online; praying at home in the presence of an “unbeliever”; or answering questions of an “unbelieving” co-worker about the Christian faith. Many more Christian activities are now punishable under this new law, which is without doubt inspired by Satan. But apart from a few Christian papers and websites, neither the US President or the White House, nor the left-liberal and conservative media have reported about these appalling atrocities in Russia.

“Empörende Christenverfolgung in Russland”, this week’s AufPostenStehen program, covers the same topic as above in German.

Berechnung, Bürgschaft, Bankrott und Bezahlung,” is the title of a new German sermon for this coming Sabbath. This is the fourth and final installment of our series on money. It is titled, in English: “Calculation, Surety, Bankruptcy and Payment” (in German, it’s a play on words, as every one of the four words starts with a “B” in German).

“Prophetic Events in the World and in the Church,” the introductory message given last Sabbath by Evangelist Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

In this special message, we are addressing the terrible murders in Dallas; the Hillary Clinton email scandal; and core Europe’s desire to create an army. We also speak on preaching the gospel and the extraordinary responses in Germany.

“Individually and Collectively,” the sermon given last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We in the church have a responsibility both individually and collectively if we want to make it into the Kingdom, and the Bible gives several examples of each which we need to apply if we want to be counted worthy to be a part of God’s Family.

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Fear of Authority?

by Delia Messier

Several of our long-time friends believe that the ministry in God’s true Church must not have any authority over the brethren, and that “hierarchical government is evil.”

Our friends came to conclude this because of some past experiences with less than godly conduct of some “in authority.” They fear the very concept of authority in the Church of God. I must admit at one time I had similar concerns as well.

However, I saw that God gives parents authority over their children, and husbands are to have authority “over” their wives. God instituted this authority, and it is hierarchical.  I saw that this is good and necessary. I am not speaking about abuse, but the right kind of godly authority, as decreed by God.

Did I make mistakes as a parent? Yes, but this did not negate my responsibility and authority that I had been given over my children! And, most of all, studying Scriptures showed me that the ministry in God’s Church is responsible to guide, teach, encourage, admonish and even correct the brethren, when necessary, for their good and for the protection of the brethren within the Body of Christ.

I learned that, ultimately, I am submitting to Christ’s authority, and in need of putting my faith and trust in Christ.

Even today when the mere word “authority” is mentioned, I can see anger, resentment and even hostility in some. It is so sad to notice this. I pray that they will learn to put their faith and trust in Christ who is the Head of His Church, and if they could do that, there would be no more anger, resentment and hostility, and most importantly, there would be no more fear of authority!

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2023 Church of the Eternal God