Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on a recent article in Christianity Today analyzing "The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict" reveals that James Comey's favorite philosopher—theologian is moral "pragmatist" Reinhold Niebuhr, the subject of the former FBI director's master's thesis. Niebuhr, who believed that those in politics should use the force of government to correct or balance social wrongs, was also the favorite theologian of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Madeline Albright, and Martin Luther King. Some have claimed that Comey's efforts to target and control those whom he felt had exceeded their authority (namely, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) explains his recent bizarre administrative behavior. The so-called moral "pragmatism" of Reinhold Niebuhr has produced bitter political fruit. Political authority not based on God's Law will never bring one scintilla of deliverance from the social and moral evils consuming our nation and culture.
Every generation or so, a populist leader arises to grip public attention, the electorate to support grassroots policies that other politicians have ignored. Recognizing that Americans have rushed to support two populist candidates during this cycle's primary season, Richard Ritenbaugh cautions that populism has a tendency to spin out of control.
John Ritenbaugh, comparing human behavior in the wake of natural disasters, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, to unnatural disasters, such as bombs and military attacks, suggests that in the latter devastations people become dispirited, listless, as though they had lost their reason for living. Sadly, what has happened to our socio-cultural milieu in the past 70 years has been a systematic undermining of morality, and a bizarre redefinition by leftist, progressive social engineers as to what constitutes normal and as to what constitutes abnormal. In this nation five unelected judges, three of them bitter feminist women, have, at least in their woefully deficient, reprobate minds, nullified or abrogated God's Edenic Covenant with mankind, which established marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Earlier these reprobate justices rejected God's prohibition on murder, allowing abortion of millions of unborn children These amoral, secular, 'progressive' humanists have made themselves total arbiters of morality, pushing a hopelessly twisted form of pragmatism, thinking they have no accountability beyond this current life. We cannot expect the current compromised, corrupted aggregate of pandering elected politicians to be in sync with God. What the secular, 'progressive' humanists have not factored into their equation is that God is still alive, and that there are consequences for what they and we have done. God Almighty, not the United States Supreme Court, will have the final say in this matter.
The prophet Elijah set the standard for all the prophets, calling forth God's power to bring about a drought and calling down fire, embarrassing and exterminating the priests of Baal. After warning the people not to halt between two opinions, he fell into a dilemma of either fearing God or fearing man, and ended up fearing Jezebel rather than God, thinking he was alone in his zeal for God. Sadly, some of our fellow splinter groups have succumbed to the Elijah complex, thinking they are the only ones carrying on the work of God, looking down on their brethren as Laodicean or unconverted. We dare not elevate our self-importance over our brethren in different groups. God foretells seven churches, but one body, all contemporaneous when Christ comes again.
John Ritenbaugh, observing that Republican leaders who claim to be "Reagan Conservatives" have been voting with the Democrats on all the key issues such as amnesty, border security, Obama-care, etc., concludes that these R.I.N.O.s (Republicans in name only) are actually voting according to a philosophy of pragmatism (having observable 'practical' consequences), walking by sight rather than faith instead of being guided by godly principles and righteousness. Pragmatism relies on what is convenient rather than what is right, cowardly kicking the can down the road for future generations to pick up. This philosophy is engendered and practiced by secular humanists who pander to the pressures of mob rule and prides itself on studying 'reality,' 'existence,' 'knowledge,' and reliance on 'rational' methods. Of course, to a secular humanist, God is not rational, and situation-ethics and compromise trump righteousness and principle. Pragmatism was responsible for the prolonging of slavery in the southern states, just as it is now responsible for R.I.N.O's and would-be 'conservatives' to endorse amnesty and the dissolving of borders.
Two Herod Agrippas, father and son, ruled parts of Palestine during the period of the early church, touching the ministries of James, Peter, and Paul. While they won over many first-century Jews, they had far less success with Christians, whom they persecuted from time to time to curry favor. Their history fills gaps in the Bible's depiction of this critical period.
Once, reason and common sense were valued in America. ...
After twenty months of primaries and caucuses, conventions, campaign speeches, countless roadside signs, and front-lawn endorsements, the extended election season has finally ended. ...
Idolatry is probably the sin that the Bible most often warns us against. John Ritenbaugh explains the first commandment, showing that we worship the source of our values and standards. God, of course, wants our values and standards to come from Him and Him only, for there is no higher Source in all the universe!
David F. Maas: Mother Eve, when she observed the fruit of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, became convinced that it looked desirable to the eye (Genesis 3:6), having an outwardly pleasing form, but she soon found out that the inner core contained death. By looking at surface appearances only, the entire human race has fallen for deceit, duplicity, and slickness ever since. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: Americans have a memory problem—and always have. ...
God gives us a great deal of freedom under His law, but do we have the authority to bend or break the rules under extenuating circumstances? David Maas shows that the law applies at all times to everyone.
Human civilization has experienced two major sociological ages since the beginning of its appearance on the earth. Currently we are in transition to the third age or Third Wave, which has frightening prophetic consequences. However, it's the Fourth Wave, God's soon-coming Kingdom, we need to catch!
We frequently hear our culture labeled as postmodern. What is postmodernism? How is it related to relativism? Richard Ritenbaugh explains these terms and shows examples of them in politics, music and advertising — and gives God's opinion of it.
In the end, philosophy is merely man's search for answers without God. Mike Ford exposes philosophy's fundamental faults and directs us toward real truth, found in God's Word.
John Ritenbaugh warns us that in our relationship with God, we must emphasize principle over pragmatism, because pragmatism inevitably leads to idolatry. Jeroboam, in setting idolatrous shrines and festivals at Dan and Bethel, appealed to the carnal desire for practical convenience (I Kings 12:26-33). These practical compromises eventually led to the desecration of the Sabbath and the holy days, ending in the captivity of Israel. When doctrine is diluted, it turns into outright idolatry. Like ancient Israel, we have to guard against the tendency to gravitate toward ministers speaking smooth and pleasant things at the expense of turning from the truth. If we are led into deception, it is because our carnal nature wanted it that way (Jeremiah 17:9).
John Ritenbaugh asserts that keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in a central location enables us to realize that we are involved in something larger than our own salvation- part of a universal and eternal mission, giving us unity toward God's purpose. Jeroboam, motivated by political ambition and self-centered fear, incrementally and surreptitiously established a more convenient idolatrous festival, replacing the Levites, and establishing new centers of worship in order to prevent his people from keeping the legitimate Feast of Tabernacles in Judah. The modern parallel seems quite clear.
John Ritenbaugh suggests that people who opt for a fifteenth Passover do not do so from a pure motive for seeking the truth, but instead reflects an irresponsible grab for power. Unfortunately, major reinterpretations and alterations have significantly distorted the meaning of Passover and Unleavened Bread, blurring the distinction between the two events. Even major Protestant theologians realize the drastic changes which placed humanly devised practices on the same status as the commands of God. Beside rendering themselves blind to the true significance of Christ's sacrifice, proponents of the fifteenth Passover (old and new) unwittingly follow Jeroboam's precedent of leading his people into rank paganism.
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment
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