January 19, 2018
Just the Beginning; Beginning of Sorrows
On January 20, 2018, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Just the Beginning,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Beginning of Sorrows.”
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.
The Good Samaritan
by Rene Messier (Canada)
When you reach your mid-seventies, there are fewer and fewer events in your life that really surprise you. I had one such incident near the end of December of 2017. I went to Walmart in Penticton to pick up a few things and to my dismay, when I got back to my car, the battery was dead. I have made it a habit to carry jumper cables in my car, so I lifted the hood, put the jumpers on the battery and walked to a man in his mid-fifties with his wife in the parking lot who were just getting out of their car. I asked them if they could help me by giving me a jump start with his car. To my amazement, the man said no. Somewhat shocked, I approached another man with his wife who were returning to their car, and they were happy to help me out and I got my car going.
I was troubled for several days over this incident, having a hard time believing that a person would not help another when he needs help. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, a person should help another in need.
The story of the Good Samaritan comes to mind (Luke 10:30-36)—a story demonstrating true love for our neighbor.
This parable told by Christ describes a man who fell amongst thieves and robbers. He was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road, only to be passed by a priest and a Levite who did nothing to help him. Yet a Samaritan stopped, bandaged him up, brought him to an innkeeper and paid the innkeeper to look after him, while he continued on his journey. Interestingly, Jews wanted to have nothing to do with Samaritans. They avoided and looked down on them, which is demonstrated by the Samaritan woman at the well. In total violation of Jewish custom and “tradition,” Christ asked her to give him a drink of water, which surprised the woman as He, an unmarried Jewish man, would be willing to talk publicly to a Samaritan woman and ask her for a drink.
John 4:9 states: “Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”
In His parable, Christ chose a good Samaritan expressing genuine love towards his neighbor, while Jewish leaders refused to do so.
Thinking about the incident I experienced, if this was the man’s attitude in good times we enjoy today, what will it be like in bad times? Matthew 24:12 [in the Authorized Version] tells us that because of lawlessness, iniquity or sin will abound, the love of many will wax cold. The frightening fact is that Christ is addressing here members in the Church. It’s somewhat perplexing to think that the love of many (not a few) would grow cold in the Church; yet, that is what Christ warned us about. This is one of the effects of sin—loss of love, a non-caring cold manner, abounding and ever increasing.
When such an attitude can develop in the Church, how much more will it be prevalent in the world. The world is in a complete mess and you have to wonder how long God is going to allow things to go on. We are all suffering, as it were, from the effects of sin, either nationally or on a personal level. If not dealt with, sin, like leaven, will grow and “deal” with us.
As Church members, we have to remain focused on the job given to us and not allow sin to take a hold of our lives. We must not be like the cold-hearted priest and Levite who plainly saw the man fallen under the robbers, being injured and in physical distress, but they did nothing to help him. Rather, they looked the other way, showing us how not to love our neighbor. WE must be DIFFERENT.
by Norbert Link
We report on the frightening events pertaining to a false emergency notification claiming an immediate missile attack on Hawaii (please see our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Hawaii’s Nuclear Alert Disaster–a Foretaste of Things to Come”); and continue with the history of American presidents, using foul language, in light of Donald Trump’s mischaracterized statements pertaining to Haiti, El Salvador and certain African nations.
We continue with America’s monumental debt, which is actually mirrored and even surpassed by national debts of other countries, showing the extremely fragile worldwide economic situation. We also report on further alienation between Turkey and the USA and the blatant attempts by Washington to delay the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem.
We address the first meeting between Sebastian Kurz of Austria and Angela Merkel of Germany; and we discuss the attempts of Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz to create a grand coalition and establish a functioning German government, and focus on “the most powerful German in Brussels.”
We conclude with an article explaining the many problems with the worldwide #MeToo movement.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
Hawaiian Emergency Alert Inexcusable
CNN reported on January 14:
“An emergency alert notification sent out on Saturday claiming a ‘ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii’ was a false alarm, according to state leaders and emergency officials, who blamed it on an employee who ‘pushed the wrong button.’ ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,’ the emergency alert read.
“… the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency… responded on Twitter, saying, ‘NO missile threat to Hawaii.’… A second emergency alert was sent to phones in Hawaii 38 minutes after the initial message confirming the false alarm…
“On Saturday evening, former Defense Secretary William Perry warned it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that a nuclear war could start by accident… Officials also said they are reviewing why some sirens on the island were triggered by the alert when they shouldn’t have been…”
The Huffington Post wrote on January 14:
“The alert forced people to act quickly and make difficult decisions… Many sent messages of ‘Goodbye’ and ‘I love you,’ in fear they wouldn’t be able to say it again…
“Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) called the slip-up ‘totally inexcusable.’ ‘The whole state was terrified,’ he tweeted Saturday… After the alert was broadcast across the islands, Rep. Gabbard told CNN that ‘the people of Hawaii just got a taste of the stark reality of what we face here of a potential nuclear strike on Hawaii.’ ‘This is a real threat facing Hawaii,’ she added.”
The Washington Post added on January 14:
“Around 8:05 a.m., the Hawaii emergency employee initiated the internal test, according to a timeline released by the state. From a drop-down menu on a computer program, he saw two options: ‘Test missile alert’ and ‘Missile alert.’ He was supposed to choose the former; as much of the world now knows, he chose the latter, an initiation of a real-life missile alert… Part of what worsened the situation Saturday was that there was no system in place at the state emergency agency for correcting the error…”
That such an inexcusable poor procedure should even be possible is frightening. In the meantime, we are assured that Hawaii has worked on their system to make it more safe. Whether this will be so, and whether it will be enough to assure the public that future alarms will be tests or genuine, depending on the circumstances, remains to be seen.
Actor and Comedian Jim Carrey Blames Donald Trump and Corrupt Congress
Breitbart wrote on January 14:
“Actor Jim Carrey warned that President Donald Trump’s insistence on ‘alienating the world’ will eventually thrust America into unimaginable agony. ‘I woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live,’ Carrey wrote on Twitter Saturday, apparently referencing to an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message sent to citizens of Hawaii warning them to ‘seek immediate shelter’ from a ‘ballistic missile threat.’ ‘It was a false alarm, but a real psychic warning,’ Carrey continued, adding of Trump, ‘If we allow this one-man Gomorrah and his corrupt Republican congress to continue alienating the world we are headed for suffering beyond all imagination.’”
Sadly, Jim Carrey has a valid point, as America IS heading “for suffering beyond imagination,” but the warning should be addressed to ALL politicians of ALL parties, as well as independents, who are far too eager to support America’s frightening politics and ungodly “values.”
“A Massive Wake-Up Call for All of Us”
The Week wrote on January 16:
“Saturday’s incident was precisely the sort of executive-function-testing fiasco you could see [Trump] having difficulty grappling with… while it wasn’t the president’s fault that a state employee created an international panic, nor is he the original author of the Korea standoff, there is no question that the [threats] emanating from his Twitter account have heightened tensions and increased the risk of accidental calamity…
“The mayhem in Hawaii also raised the specter of an accidental nuclear war… the history of the nuclear age is replete with near-misses…
“Apart from the risk of global annihilation, expanding America’s nuclear arsenal would be a massive and pointless incineration of national wealth. Studies estimate that the United States has spent about $1 trillion a decade designing, building, and maintaining its nuclear weapon inventory, most of which has always been completely unnecessary…”
False Nuclear Alarm in Japan
Express wrote on January 16:
“A JAPANESE broadcaster caused widespread fear by incorrectly claiming North Korea had launched a ballistic missile, just hours after Pyongyang had escalated its war of words with Trump by calling him a ‘lunatic.’”
The New York Post wrote on January 16:
“Japan’s public broadcaster on Tuesday issued a false alarm about a North Korean ballistic missile launch, just days after the same blunder terrorized residents of Hawaii for nearly 40 minutes. The broadcaster, NHK, corrected the mistake in minutes and issued an on-air apology. ‘The news alert sent earlier about NK missile was a mistake. No government J alert [a nationwide warning system in Japan] was issued,’ it said…”
The Foul Mouth of American Presidents
The Hill wrote on January 15:
“President Trump is accused of using the word ‘s… hole’ to describe some African countries, Haiti and El Salvador. The president has been slammed in the media for his reported use of profane language…But according to historians, we’ve had our fair share of presidential [inappropriate language].
“‘I have interviewed six presidents of the United States. I have traveled with them. I have been in their homes. They’ve been in my home on multiple occasions. I have flown on Air Force One with them and commercial jets and private jets and car caravans and Winnebagos. Went to Disney World with one. They all have used the “S-word.” Even that old gentleman, Ronald Reagan, would sometimes occasionally, rarely use the “F-word.” So, the White House is going to endure,’ conservative author Doug Wead said…
“Sometimes choice words were reserved for the political opponents. President Reagan famously referred to enemies a few times as ‘SOBs’… former President Obama once called Mitt Romney a ‘bullsh…’… Richard Nixon… was caught on White House tapes using numerous vulgarities… Likewise, President Johnson was accused of often using the ‘N-word’ when talking about African-Americans…
“In 2000, George W. Bush was caught on a hot mic during a campaign rally calling Adam Clymer, a reporter with The New York Times, a ‘major league a… hole’.
In fact, both the younger Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are quoted… as dropping the ‘F-bomb.’
“George W. Bush even had this to say about two former colleagues. ‘[Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld] never made one f—-ing decision.’… In 2008, [Bill] Clinton forgot to hang up a phone call with reporter Susan Phillips before saying he wouldn’t take any ‘s…’ from Obama, then a candidate…”
News With View, dated January 15, published additional bad examples:
“Abraham Lincoln: ‘… There is nothing to make an Englishman s… quicker than the sight of General George Washington.’… John F. Kennedy: ‘This is obviously a f… up.’ Harry Truman: ‘General Douglas MacArthur [is] a ‘dumb son of a b…’ and Nixon [is]… a shifty-eyed g…d… liar.’”
Great examples for our children to learn from, but it serves as a warning and a reminder for all of us to be careful with our language. Now, the discussion evolves around whether President Trump said that Haiti, El Salvador and certain African countries are ‘s…holes’ [which he denies] or ‘s…houses’ [which some present in the meeting allegedly admit, compare the Independent, dated January 15, 2018.] Great distinction! Others, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, seemed to have confirmed Trump’s use of words, as originally reported, having himself called some countries as “h…holes” in the past (see Breitbart, January 15.)
However, the left-wing narrative evolves around the accusation of Trump making racist comments (when preferring immigrants from Norway over immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and certain African countries). This is hard to decipher within the context of his alleged statements. Obviously, he spoke about the countries, not the people. Also, it is interesting that the Washington Post had reported the following on January 12, which was subsequently conveniently omitted by the left-wing media, in order to support the racist agenda:
“Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt that they help the United States economically.”
America’s Monumental Debt
The Week wrote on January 13:
“The U.S. debt is $20.5 trillion and rising…
“Apart from a four-year stretch during the economic boom of the late 1990s, the federal government has run a budget deficit every year since 1970. In 2017, the shortfall was $666 billion. The national debt is now slightly larger than the size of the entire U.S. economy… Overall, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects the national debt to surpass $30 trillion by 2028…
“Like any credit card user, the government must pay interest on its debt. For much of the past decade that hasn’t been a major problem, because of historically low interest rates… [but] interest rates are expected to rise steadily in the coming years. As a result, the CBO estimates, the cost of servicing the national debt is expected to nearly triple by 2027 — leaving the government paying more on interest payments than on national defense…
“About three-quarters [of the debt is owned by] investors in the form of Treasury securities sold by the government to raise money. The rest is intragovernmental debt that comes from Washington borrowing against government trust funds, such as Social Security and Medicare. Americans own most of the public debt… Foreign investors own about 30 percent of the nation’s total debt, or about $6.3 trillion. America’s biggest foreign creditor is China, which holds about 5 percent of the total debt, followed closely by Japan. This could become a problem if the U.S. ever damaged its credit rating…
“President Andrew Jackson briefly paid off the national debt in 1835, partly with proceeds from lands seized from Native American tribes. Otherwise, the U.S. has been in hock for nearly every year of its existence, beginning with the bill for the Revolutionary War. The debt peaked after World War II, ballooning to 119 percent the size of the GDP in 1946, but it swiftly shrank during the postwar economic boom. The debt load bottomed out at about 24 percent of GDP in 1974, and has been rising ever since. But it was after the Great Recession in 2007 that the debt really began to explode…
“Theoretically, paying down the debt is simply a matter of spending less and collecting more in taxes. But voters don’t like spending cuts or tax increases, so politicians who want to be re-elected avoid them. Depending on whether they’re in power or out, both Democrats and Republicans are conveniently inconsistent in their views on the debt. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama chided Bush for ‘unpatriotic’ deficit spending on the Iraq War and tax cuts, which helped increase the total debt by 101 percent during the Bush years. But Obama increased the debt by 68 percent during his own presidency, arguing that deficit spending was necessary to rescue the economy. Likewise, Republicans who warned that Obama was spending away the country’s future have now embraced deficits, arguing that their $1.5 trillion tax plan will pay for itself by generating economic growth — a contention that most economists say is unrealistic..
“In sheer dollars, the U.S. is the most indebted country in the world, followed by Japan ($11 trillion) and China ($5 trillion). But in relation to the size of its economy, Japan’s debt is the biggest in the world by far. Japan’s debt is more than 240 percent the size of its economy, with Greece carrying the world’s second-largest debt load at 180 percent. By that same measure, the U.S. sits at 12th in the world…”
Sooner or later, the worldwide bubble will burst…
Further Disunity between Turkey and USA
The Telegraph wrote on January 16:
“Turkey’s president has called on Nato to take a stance against the US, a fellow ally, over its plans to form a 30,000-strong Kurdish-led border security force in Syria. Turkey has been threatening to launch a new military offensive in Syria against Syrian Kurdish militias, which Ankara considers to be terrorists because of their affiliation with [an] outlawed group fighting an insurgency in southern Turkey.
“On Monday President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Washington of creating an ‘army of terror’ in Syria, along the border with Turkey, and vowed to crush the US-backed border force… Ties between Turkey and the US have deteriorated over the latter’s support of the Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Defense Units, or YPG, which Turkey says is a major threat to its security… The US however has relied on the YPG – the backbone of a Syrian force that drove Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) from much of northern and eastern Syria with the help of US-led airstrikes.
“The coalition has said the new force, expected to reach 30,000 in the next several years, is a key element of its strategy in Syria to prevent the resurgence of Isil… Mr Erdogan on Tuesday reiterated that Turkey planned an imminent intervention in the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin in northern Syria. Asked whether he planned to discuss the Kurdish-led border force with President Donald Trump, Mr Erdogan said he had no plans to call the US leader.”
Relationship between USA and Turkey Continues to Deteriorate
Reuters wrote on January 18:
“Turkey has warned its citizens against travel to the United States, saying Turks face the risk of arbitrary arrest and should take precautions if they do decide to travel, the latest tit-for-tat volley in a diplomatic feud between the NATO allies. The comments from the Turkish Foreign Ministry come after the U.S. Department of State this week warned U.S. citizens planning to visit Turkey to reconsider due to ‘terrorism and arbitrary detentions’.
“Ties between Washington and Ankara, the biggest Muslim country in NATO and a major U.S. ally in the Middle East, have been strained by a number of disputesin recent months, including the U.S. arrest and conviction of a Turkish banker in an Iran sanctions-busting case… The trial against the banker included testimony of corruption by senior Turkish officials. Ankara has said it was based on false evidence and supported by the network of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed coup in Turkey in 2016.
“Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied the charges and condemned the coup. Turkey has called for his extradition, but the United States says sufficient evidence has yet to be put to a court…”
Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem within a Year?… That’s a “No.”
Reuters reported on January 17, 2018:
“President Donald Trump denied on Wednesday that the planned relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would take place within a year, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expected the controversial move to happen by then… U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last month the embassy move was ‘probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious,’ a timeframe that administration officials have attributed to the logistics of finding and securing a site as well as arranging housing for diplomats…
“Netanyahu… said on Wednesday: ‘My solid assessment is that it will go much faster than you think – within a year from now.’ Asked about Netanyahu’s comment, Trump told Reuters in an interview that was not the case. ‘By the end of the year? We’re talking about different scenarios – I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We’re not really looking at that. That’s no.’”
It is clear that the USA is stalling, as the move could occur within a day.
Sebastian Kurz Meets With Angela Merkel
The Local wrote on January 17:
“Angela Merkel and her Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz clashed over immigration in their first meeting Wednesday, with the seasoned German chancellor saying Vienna’s resistance to sharing out refugees across the bloc was ‘wrong’… Austria has sided with countries such as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic that reject the scheme, agreed by a majority of EU leaders in 2015, to share 160,000 migrants around the bloc to help frontline states like Greece and Italy. Just some 32,000 were relocated by the end of 2017.
“Kurz, who was Austrian foreign minister at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis, was one of the fiercest critics of Merkel’s contentious decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to those fleeing conflict. The move prompted an influx of nearly 900,000 asylum seekers to Germany that year alone, although arrivals have slowed significantly since then.
“Kurz came to power after taking over the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) last year and yanking it to the right, with a hardline stance on immigration. His government is the only one in Western Europe to feature the far right after he struck an alliance with the controversial Freedom Party (FPÖ). Merkel stressed the ‘close cooperation’ between Germany and Austria and their shared positions on many issues…”
Kurz Trying to Calm German Fears
Politico wrote on January 18:
“Sebastian Kurz used his first visit to Germany as Austrian chancellor to assuage fears his right-wing government might break with other European nations on immigration, pledging ‘increased cooperation’ at a joint press conference with Angela Merkel… ‘We are not just neighbors, but partners,’ said Kurz. ‘Germany is perhaps our most important partner.’”
Germany and Austria Need Each Other
Handelsblatt wrote on January 17:
“Sebastian Kurz is in Berlin to convince Angela Merkel that he’s pro-European. But the German leader also needs Austria’s rising star, who has the ear of Eastern Europe’s populists… though Austria might be one-tenth the size of Germany, these two leaders need each other…
“Austria, of course, has a cultural affinity with many of these countries that were once in a union with Austria’s Habsburgs. Though that union may have ended with World War I, Vienna has maintained close ties, trade and financial links ever since. But it was Austria’s rightward shift and Mr. Kurz’s election that was celebrated in capitals like Budapest, Warsaw and Prague, where right-wing populist leaders have taken charge…
“If Mr. Kurz plays his cards right, he could become something of a middleman in Europe for the so-called ‘Visegrad countries’ of Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Ms. Merkel no doubt hopes he will prove a moderating influence rather than a typical far-right leader…
“That influence is all the more important since Austria will take over as chair of the European Council, one of two legislative bodies in the European Union, in the second half of this year – at a crucial time when broad reforms of the 28-nation bloc are being discussed. Austria might be small, but with the backing of his eastern neighbors, the youthful Chancellor Kurz has a chance to punch well above his weight – and perhaps even force Ms. Merkel to view him as her equal.”
Preliminary Deal for Grand Coalition in Germany
The EUObserver reported on January 12:
“German chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian allies (CSU) struck a preliminary deal with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) on Friday (12 January) to open formal coalition talks… The three German parties… support turning the eurozone emergency fund… into a full-blown European Monetary Fund under parliamentary control and anchored in EU law. This would turn the fund into a European institution rather than an intergovernmental body…
“European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker welcomed ‘a significant, positive, constructive, forward-looking contribution to the European policy debate.’…”
Deutsche Welle added on January 14:
“Schulz has promised to let the party [the SPD] have the final say on whether to re-enter a grand coalition. On Saturday, 600 delegates will be asked to give the green light to enter formal talks, while more than 400,000 rank and file SPD members will have their say at a special party conference in Bonn the following day.”
Express wrote on January 15:
“The [proposed deal for a grand coalition] begins: ‘The EU is a historically unique successful peace project and so it should remain in the future… Germany has an infinite debt to Europe. Also because of this we are under an obligation to turn it into a success. To Germany, a strong and united Europe is the best guarantee for a good future in peace, freedom and prosperity.’
“A successful deal would help Europe take ‘its destiny in its own hands’… ‘We want to… formulate a European response to international developments and challenges, notably in the US…’
“They said this and other aims could be achieved by giving the EU – and especially the Parliament – more power… With Britain leaving the EU, Germany proposed working even closer with France, strengthening an alliance from which both sides have talked about punishing Britain. The passage is a clear dig at Britain and a blatant attempt to place Germany and France at the influential heart of the EU.
“The coalition proposal said: ‘The renewal of the EU will only succeed when Germany and France act together with combined strength. As a result, we want to renew and strengthen the French-German cooperation.’”
The world has been placed on notice what Germany wants to accomplish if a grand coalition should become reality. At the moment, Schulz is touring Germany in an attempt to convince many in his own party that such a coalition is necessary.
The Local wrote on January 16:
“While Social Democrats (SPD) leader Martin Schulz continues to promote the new edition of a grand coalition after an agreement was reached with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Friday, more and more of his colleagues are speaking out against it. ‘We have members who say yes and those who say no – and in between we have a large number of those who are indecisive,’ North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state leader Michael Groschek told radio station WDR2 on Tuesday. According to Groschek, there is still a lot of uncertainty within the SPD before the vote on coalition negotiations at the party congress in Bonn on January 21st.
“The vote in Bonn is important because it will determine whether or not the SPD will formally enter into coalition negotiations with Merkel’s Christian Democrats-Social Union (CDU/CSU) alliance. Approval among SPD delegates from NRW is moreover crucial for Schulz as almost a quarter of them will vote at the party congress. But Schulz is optimistic… Deep scepticism however runs through the party, because of fears that to again govern in Merkel’s shadow will force the SPD to betray its ideals and further damage its voter appeal.
“On Monday, the executive committee of the SPD in Berlin voted 21 to 8 against negotiations on a new edition of the grand coalition. The SPD’s state executive committee in Saxony-Anhalt similarly spoke out against it on Saturday. The party’s state executive board in Brandenburg on the other hand supported the start of negotiations on a grand coalition with a recent vote of 9 to 2.
“If the SPD delegates give the thumbs up at the party congress on January 21st, formal coalition talks could in theory begin as soon as the following day.”
If the SPD decides against a grand coalition, new elections would be all but necessary… an outcome, which nobody seems to want. Note the next article.
Fighting for the Grand Coalition
The Guardian wrote on January 17:
“Leading Social Democrats in Germany are engaged in a fierce battle of willsahead of a crunch vote on Sunday over whether to endorse in-depth coalition negotiations with Angela Merkel’s conservatives. The party has become the focal point of a tense political drama almost four months after an inconclusive election left Germany in a state of limbo. If delegates at a special conference on Sunday vote against a grand coalition, Germany will be heading either for new elections or a minority government, neither of which is a popular choice and will leave Merkel’s political future hanging by a thread.
“Martin Schulz, the SPD’s embattled leader, has been criss-crossing the country this week in an effort to secure party members’ backing for a deal…
“The rise of the rightwing populist and anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) looms large in the debate. Some in the SPD say that by siding with Merkel, the party would ease the way for the AfD – which entered the Bundestag for the first time in September – to become the largest opposition force in parliament…
“The looming decision has plunged Germany’s oldest political party into nothing less than an existential crisis. Leading the opposition to a coalition is the party’s youth wing, the Jusos (Young Socialists), who have coined the phrase ‘NoGroKo’ to sum up their campaign against what they say would be nothing short of a betrayal of social democratic values… Kevin Kühnert, the head of Jusos, has emerged as a political star and is regarded as the biggest danger to Merkel, having rallied the party base and won considerable support for his cause. The 28-year-old politics student from Berlin has called the mood among the party’s base ‘devastating’…
“Even if SPD delegates vote in favour of a coalition, the drama will be far from over. More serious talks between the SPD and the conservatives could begin immediately and would be expected to last around two weeks, but Schulz would then insist on putting the final agreement to the party’s 450,000 members in a postal vote, which could take a further three weeks.”
The Most Powerful German in Brussels
Politico wrote on January 12:
“The most powerful German in Brussels — a man with seven political lives — just pulled off his latest comeback… EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger received some welcome news from home. Exploratory coalition talks in Berlin between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats had produced a position paper laying out policy priorities for the coming years. Among them: a statement that Germany was ‘ready to pay higher contributions to the EU budget.’…
“In less than a year, the eagle-nosed German had climbed back from a potentially career-ending scandal over what critics saw as racist and homophobic remarks to being in a position to shape the future of the EU…
“The challenges are myriad. Brexit will blow a big hole in the bloc’s finances and there’s little agreement among national governments over what to do about hot-button issues like migration or defense, not to mention agricultural subsidies and development aid for recalcitrant members like Poland and Hungary. But a German budget commissioner can be a powerful figure in the EU, especially if he has… the backing of his government at home…”
Controversial #MeToo Movement Reaches Germany
The Local wrote on January 16:
“As accusations of sexual misconduct against famous men swept through the media in the Anglophone world late last year, Germany stayed silent. That changed this month when one of the country’s most famous directors was accused of rape. In early January, the liberal newspaper Die Zeit became the first German publication to publish sexual assault allegations against a powerful figure in the film industry…
“Die Zeit emphasizes the research that it put into the article before it was published. The newspaper noted its concerns about the #MeToo campaign… ‘We knew we had to be cautious, given the hysterical features that the #MeToo debate has occasionally exhibited,’ Die Zeit deputy editor-in-chief Sabine Rückert wrote. But she goes on to say that the two journalists who investigated the piece conducted 50 interviews over a period of two months. As well as questioning the women themselves, they conducted interviews with people who were acquainted with the allegations from the time they allegedly occurred… The newspaper came to the conclusion that it was ‘highly likely’ that the attacks took place…
“Despite how intensively researched the Die Zeit article was, it faced immediate criticism. Writing in Die Welt, the court correspondent Gisela Friedrichsen described the accusations as ‘execution via the media.’ ‘The supposition of innocence, the statute of limitations and even investigative work seems to be irrelevant’ to Die Zeit, Friedrichsen claimed. Accusing Die Zeit of ignoring the fact that the crimes took place over 20 years ago – and thus beyond the statute of limitations – Friedrichsen argued that the newspaper knew that there was no chance of the police investigating the crimes.
“She also accused the women of using the public attention created by #MeToo to maximize their publicity. ‘These actresses kept their silence for decades and then only spoke when they knew they would get maximum exposure – and when there was as good as no chance that their accusations could be checked,’ she wrote.
“Friedrichsen also compared the accusations to another case which has been cited frequently in Germany since #MeToo started making headlines in the autumn – that of [a] Swiss weatherman [who] was accused by several women in 2010 of sexual assault and the women’s allegations were extensively reported in the media. [He] spent four months in German custody as the claims were investigated. But prosecutors dropped the case after establishing that his chief accuser had inflicted the wounds herself, which she claimed had resulted from the rape. The case also caused scandal when it was found out that the magazine Bunte had paid women €50,000 to publicize their allegations…
“The accusation of trial by media has also met with resonance in legal circles. Alexander Stevens, a Munich lawyer who specializes in sexual assault cases, complained in an article for anwalt.de that the #MeToo debate was making a mockery of the presumption of innocence… He warned that… it was reckless to make hasty judgements on sexual assault cases… He argued that it is particularly important to uphold the statute of limitations, as ‘it is difficult or impossible to prove sexual crimes 10, 20 or 30 years later when there are no witnesses or proof. In no other crime are false statements – intentional or otherwise – more likely.’…”
The article points out very real problems with the worldwide #MeToo movement.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
Do You Believe That You Are, Or Are Part of, the True Church of God?
Over many years, we have been asked if we are, or are part of, the true Church of God. We have answered this a number of times; please see:
Q&A – Why Does CEG exist? This is in our weekly Update number 96 on 6th June 2003.
Q&A – Are You the True Church? This is in our weekly Update number 479 on 11th February 2011.
There have been many other references to this, which have been included in our new booklet “How to Find the True Church of God”, where we state the following on pages 1 and 2:
“Even though God’s true Church—the body of Christ (Colossians 1:24)—is a spiritual organism, consisting of all who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, it is nevertheless physically organized. Organizations that are divided among themselves need to strive to come to the unity of the faith (Jude 3) and to embrace the unity of the Truth.
“It is the responsibility of every Christian to ascertain where the Truth is being upheld and taught; and this can only be accomplished by comparing the teachings and practices of a particular Church organization with the requirements of the Bible. We read in Acts 17:11 about the people in Berea: ‘These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.’
“We do believe that the Church of the Eternal God and its international affiliates in Canada, the UK and German-speaking areas are part of the true Church of God. While we are not saying that our organizations comprise the entirety of the Church of God, we are saying that we differ remarkably in many areas from other Church organizations, which all claim to represent true Christianity.”
To try to elaborate on this (hopefully, once and for all), let us give an analogy.
Suppose that you had received excellent grades in your “A” level studies at school and were going to make an application to attend a university in the UK. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018, a UK university league table revealed the 93 best UK universities and colleges. Of these, the universities of Cambridge and Oxford came out as the top two. The credentials of these two universities are outstanding.
According to Wikipedia, “The University of Cambridge (informally Cambridge University) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. The university has educated many notable alumni, including eminent mathematicians, scientists, politicians, lawyers, philosophers, writers, actors and foreign Heads of State. Ninety-seven Nobel laureates, fifteen British prime ministers and ten Field medalists have been affiliated with Cambridge as students, faculty or alumni.”
According to Wikipedia, “Oxford university has no known date of foundation, but there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation. Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 28 Nobel laureates, 27 Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. Oxford is the home of the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious international scholarships, which has brought graduate students to study at the university for more than a century.”
There are 127 other universities listed, with some being very good indeed, and with an impressive history and some which were only created in more recent times. How would you choose if you wanted the very best chance of getting the most valuable education that was available and would equip you to achieve excellency in your chosen career? Would it be the academic teaching that would attract you; or the one that was nearest to your home or the one with the best social life? What about going to the one where your school friends were also going to enrol? Would you be influenced by the decisions of others? What criteria would you use?
Those who wanted to become the best educated and the most successful in their field would surely choose the university that would offer them the greatest chance of success. They would check up on the courses and the teaching that they would receive to ensure that they would be able to achieve their goals. Anything less than this might mean that they may do well but not as well as they could have done with a little more care and research.
If we apply this analogy to the true Church of God, it can be seen that there are those who have chosen a particular Church of God organization to attend, based on the wrong criteria. Areas of consideration can be given to which Church group is closest to them, where the biggest congregation may be, what the social life is like, whether it has facilities for children, and whether their friends are there. They might like it best where they feel most comfortable. These are interesting decisions to make, but the basic, most fundamental question can be overlooked; that of where the Truth is best taught without fear or compromise.
Any serious prospective university undergraduate would surely focus entirely on the education that he would receive and that same yardstick must be used by those within the Church of God.
After the spiritual mayhem of the 1990’s when false teachers altered the true doctrines that the Church of God had taught for nearly 2,000 years (compare 2 Peter 2:1-3), those who would not submit to such heresy had to make a choice of where to attend. There were those who seemed to make decisions based on reasons other than doctrine. However, the answer is to find the Church of God organizations which teach the biblical truth without fear of favour. Those who choose for other reasons might still make it into the Kingdom of God after perhaps having to endure serious pain and suffering; but those whose main focus is on doctrinal fidelity will certainly make it into God’s Kingdom subject to staying faithful until the end of their lives.
Attending where the whole Truth of God is taught will give members the best chance of making it into the Kingdom of God. Choosing where a person attends based on criteria other than doctrinal teaching could be a dangerous approach. It is much better to attend where the Truth is taught without compromise, political expediency or any other consideration than to be where a more liberal view may be taken.
The question was “Do You Believe That You Are, or Are Part of, the True Church of God?” The answer is simple. Yes, we believe that the Church of the Eternal God and its international affiliates in Canada, the UK and German-speaking areas are part of the true Church of God, and, most importantly, certainly fit into the category where doctrinal fidelity is at the very heart of the Truth that is taught boldly, fully, and without compromise.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
Our new booklet, “God’s Teaching on Sexual Relationships,” was sent to our Graphic Designer, Shelly Bruno, for finalization.
A new Member Letter (January 2018) has been written and is now posted. In this letter, Robb Harris encourages us to focus on the job at hand—staying close to God andannouncing God’s intervention to establish His Kingdom on the earth.
“Hawaii’s Nuclear Alert Disaster–a Foretaste of Things to Come,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
“An emergency alert notification sent out on Saturday claiming a ‘ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii’ was a false alarm,” caused by an employee who “pushed the wrong button” from a “drop-down menu on a computer program.” Before a retraction was issued, much more went wrong, showing the complete incompetency of those responsible for the entire warning system. The “mayhem in Hawaii raised the specter of an accidental nuclear war,” leading to “global annihilation.” Many feel that the Trump administration has “heightened tensions and increased the risk of accidental calamity.” An example from bygone radio broadcast days shows that panic can ensue when the unimaginable appears to become reality. The sad truth is that the incident in Hawaii and subsequent developments in Japan are a foretaste of prophesied events which will cause “suffering beyond all imagination.”
Three new ad videos have been produced by Mike Link, featuring our free booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families!”
“Schutz vor der großen Trübsal, Teil 2,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Protection from the Great Tribulation, Part 2.”
“Seek Righteousness and Be Courageous,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
A large part of living a Christian life involves choosing how to respond to difficult situations. The choices we make when faced with calamity demonstrate our willingness to bring our lives into submission to God. When we find ourselves under pressure, we can find great relief by seeking righteousness and acquiring the courage to put that righteousness into action.
“A Body that Cannot Survive,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We live in an age that predominantly exemplifies the Laodicean attitude. This attitude focuses on the self and not toward our redeemer, Jesus Christ. We must always remember that the head leads the body in all things and not succumbing to a Laodicean attitude requires us to focus on Christ.
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, Robb Harris, Michael 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