Why prepare to defend the faith once delivered to the Saints?

Why Study to Defend the Faith?

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – (2 Corinthians 10:5)

I have been told again and again, by pastors, that defending the faith is somehow irrelevant or separate from preaching the gospel. They’ll see me working on or reading something connected to defending the faith of Christ as found in the scriptures and immediately they tell me, almost before they have had a chance to think “Our main job is to preach to Gospel!” Now I’m sure they mean that the Gospel is the center of the scripture, but where in Scripture does it say that we should not bother with defending the faith or that to do so is somehow separate from preaching the faith?

Indeed the Scripture commands us, again and again, to defend the faith and never makes the separation between preaching or defending the gospel. Below is a short defense of the defense of scriptures and quite a few scriptures that in fact, command us to defend the faith

Why defend the faith? There is more to Christianity than going to church, having fun times, and social networking, though these certainly have their place. We are also commanded in the Scriptures themselves to defend the Faith “once delivered to the saints”, both privately and in the public arena. We are not trying to prove our faith, just be able to defend it.

This might be important considering the new statistics that show that kids are falling away from the faith in record numbers, including kids who attend church. All the fun times, emotional moments, and other entertainment can’t compete with 40 hours a week at public school of constant “facts” or philosophies which are presented in a way to make the bible appear to be an obscure and archaic book which is just not relevant to today’s world. This is not always intentional but that doesn’t make it any less misleading or harmful.

The Bible is not irrelevant, it is the word of God, and in fact is much easier to defend than a secular (atheist) worldview, in that it describes the world around us with far more accuracy than the secular atheist view. Though the idea of defending the faith might make some of us nervous and uncomfortable, we should be careful not to let this discourage us. By speaking truth in love we help others to see the reality of God, and the importance of the Scripture. The scriptures below are a few that show the apostles defending the faith, or command us to defend the faith, there are many more.

Jude 1:3- “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you, urging that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

Acts 18:24- “Now a Jew named Apollos…was mighty in the Scriptures…and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue.” 18:28 “For he powerfully refuted the Jews (Those rejecting Jesus as Messiah) in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.”

Acts 19:8, 9, 10 – “And he (Paul) entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when many were hardened, and believed not…he…separated the disciples, debating daily in the school… And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus.”

1Tim. 2:15-“Study to show yourself approved as workman unto God who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

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Rule of Law, Burns, Oregon

Be careful before always siding with the government on every issue, because governments don’t always side with God on all issues. Governments can become bullies, they can become corrupt and dishonest, and evasive. Even our local forest service here in Republic told me that they couldn’t find the information on how much it cost to close a road.

For years I have watched one large straight truck pulling a trailer with a piece of equipment on it and followed by a chase truck usually driven by a USFS employee, drive up the mainline to block access to some road. The tractor and trailer are contracted out, contracts are written on paper, but Ranger Sanchez told me, “we just don’t keep track of that kind of stuff.” That was his answer to a formal FOIA legal request, handed to him in writing. He also told me they had no record of the dozens of legal appeals filed by local and distant environmental coalitions; appeals that were used to put the local mill out of business and slow logging down to a standstill, and appeals which I can almost guarantee you are in fact still on file, as most of them were of legal status and filed according to a legal format.

The BLM agencies in Oregon and Nevada and Utah or in Wyoming are just as capable of being agenda dominated, highly partisan, indifferent (or hostile) to local ranchers, dishonest and playing for political purpose and moneyed outside coalitions. I have heard a lot of talk, very high and mighty, about the rule of law; but what happens when governments and their agencies don’t follow the rule of law?

The last thing I want to see is gun play in Burns Oregon, and bloodshed, in which undoubtedly good people on both sides could die. But keep in mind that these ranchers, not just the Hammonds, but all across the west have been dealing with government agencies that no longer have the settler’s best interest in mind, agencies of an almost all-powerful and belligerent government. There are reasons why they are frustrated. Let’s deal with them humanely and at the same time, how about a little government accountability? Can’t cows co-exist with tortoises and ducks? How much federal land do we need in the west, especially since access is becoming increasingly restricted and narrow in use.

Maybe there are more important issues; but when I see bullying, I tend to want to side with the bullied, not the bully. And don’t be distracted by all the side issues and red herrings and name calling; the issues here are land access and use issues, and my experience has shown that 99% of the time public land is becoming less and less public and more controlled by outside groups for popular urban ideologies. The real threatened species being our sheep and cattle ranchers. This is abusive governance leading to law breaking by people who are not prone to law breaking. That is the issue that I believe is triggering the other issues.

And gunning down disgruntled cowboys, no matter how we want to label them or even if they are confused or wrong in their approach, is not going to solve the problem

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They’re not Terrorists; Cattle and sheep ranching underfire in the American West

The beginning of ranching; Genesis 4:1-5
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

Please read entire Fox article before using ranching land rights issues for race baiting purposes, and try to inform yourself on what is actually happening in the American west;
You know I have just about had it with the racial thing- comparing the militia to rioting on the streets in urban centers is so far off the mark it seems that that the cry of racism is the only argument millennials can put up. This is a different issue with different causation. The armed “white people” are not burning down their neighborhood stores and rioting. They don’t walk down the middle of the street, they don’t have police records; they are ranching families fighting for a way of life; they wrest a living from land most of us would starve on. A Muslim immigrant couple walk into a government work place and gun down dozens of unarmed people without warning, and the media and whitehouse wrestle in angst for days, even weeks trying to decide if the crime was indeed terrorism. Frustrated cattle ranchers take over a government building in Burns Oregon and within hours they are labeled not only terrorists but racist as well. Get your racist heads out of your butts! Every issue is not a racial issue, though that may be beyond your millennial comprehension.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/01/04/rancher-family-reports-to-prison-does-not-endorse-oregon-siege.html?intcmp=hpbt2

endorse Oregon siege
By Hollie McKay Published January 04, 201
Ex-FBI rescue team commander urges patience in Oregon siege
As armed protesters occupied buildings on a federal wildlife preserve in Oregon Monday, the father and son whose cause they claimed to embrace turned themselves in to police in California.

On Sunday, Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son, Steve, 46, embarked on their road trip across their home state, took a flight to Los Angeles and then traveled some 25 miles south to Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution, in San Pedro, Calif., where they will finish their prison sentences.

“I wouldn’t say I was grateful. But maybe there is the capability of doing some kind of change that might make life worth living for us again.”

– Suzie Hammond
The Hammond family has “run out of hope” that the siege by self-professed patriots some 70 miles from their home in rural Oregon will change things.

“Our government is so broken,” family matriarch Suzie Hammond told FoxNews.com of their ongoing legal battle. “We can’t keep fighting the government – for decades this fight has disrupted our lives, our ranch operation.”

While deeply upset over their situation, Suzie Hammond stopped short of supporting the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, south of Burns. More than 100 protesters moved into the site on Saturday after participating in a peaceful rally in Burns on behalf of the Hammonds.

Suzie Hammond, reached at her home in the Oregon wilderness, said her family had no role in the planning or execution of the standoff and said she has no intention of visiting. The standoff is being led by Ammon Bundy – whom the Hammonds have met previously – and his brother Ryan Bundy, sons of rancher Cliven Bundy who had his own armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Nevada in 2014.

“I wouldn’t say I was grateful,” Hammond said when asked about the protesters’ bid to draw attention to their plight. “But maybe there is the capability of doing some kind of change that might make life worth living for us again. Soon, there will be no ranchers left.”

A longtime friend and neighbor of the Hammonds, Ruth Danielsen, told FoxNews.com that the Bundy brothers didn’t want the Hammonds to turn themselves in. But Danielson said the father-son rancher duo is hardly the image of angry domestic terrorists, despite being charged under such laws.

“They are the nicest humans you would ever want to meet, very polite, salt-of-the-earth types,” Danielsen said. “They are always giving hay away to other ranchers who need it and donating money to local schools and charities, really nice people. Not the people the government should be going after.”

A legal team for the Hammonds insisted in a statement released Monday that Dwight and Steve “respect the rule of law.”

“They have litigated this matter within the federal courts for over five years and, in every instance, have followed the order of the court without incident or violation. That includes serving the entire sentences imposed in this case by the judge who heard the evidence at trial and who concluded that imposition of a five-year sentence under these circumstances would ‘shock the conscience,’” read the statement.

The legal team plans to seek executive clemency from the Obama administration.

For the Hammonds, clashes with federal authorities in courtrooms and in the wild over farming and property rights are all too familiar. In the early 1970s, Dwight Hammond sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for water rights to fill his reservoir and won. In 1994, the agency tried to fence off a cattle trail that Hammond used that traversed federal land. Once again, Hammond sued and won.

“Then the BLM began secretly gathering ‘stuff’ against the Hammonds accusing them of arson, conspiracy, flying in restricted airspace, etc.,” Danielsen said.

According to an NPR report, Dwight Hammond was alleged to have made death threats against federal officials. In 2010 a federal grand jury indicted Dwight and his son Steve on 19 counts, including conspiracy to commit arson, for multiple wildfires in the Steens Mountain area. These charges of arson went all the way back to the early 80s – a span of over 25 years.

“If it was arson, why did they wait?” Danielsen noted.

In 2011 a new federal prosecutor was named and 10 of the original 19 count indictments were dropped, leaving nine counts spanning 15 years. The BLM and federal prosecutor decided to charge the Hammonds with an arson charge connected with the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. A jury found Dwight Hammond guilty of one of the nine counts, and Steve Hammond guilty of two of the nine counts — the two fires the Hammonds admitted to starting.

One was a prescribed burn on Hammond property that got away from them and burned 139 acres of adjacent BLM land. The other was in response to a lightning-caused fire, what is known as a “back burn,” which was started on Hammond property and burned an acre of BLM land. At the time, the Hammonds claimed the fires were lit to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires, but prosecutors argued it was to cover-up poaching.

“Neither of these fires would be considered ‘terrorism arson’ or even arson by a reasonable human. In fact they are standard range land management practices,” Danielsen argued.

But based on the Antiterrorism Act, Congress set the minimum sentence for a fire on federal property at five to 20 years. The prosecutor requested five years for each count, but a federal judge called the penalty “grossly disproportionate to the crimes” and used the Eighth Amendment as justification for the lighter sentence. Dwight Hammond served three months in prison and Steve Hammond served one year.

On appeal by the government, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the lower court, saying there was no discretion to lessen the sentences.

The BLM denied all of the Hammonds’ grazing permits in 2014, using the justification that arsonists are not good stewards of the land, and lawyers for the family stated that they continue to fight for the permits to be issued.

To ranchers in the West, the dispute is just the latest in a long line of cases in which they allege the government has used its control over grazing and right-of-way permits to undermine their way of life.

The animosity has increased as the federal government buys up more and more land in western states. In the dangerously dry sector of eastern Oregon where the Hammonds purchased their property more than 50 years ago, some counties are up to 90 percent federally owned, leaving ranchers reliant on government grazing leases for their livelihoods. In the 1970s, ranchers in the region instigated the “Sagebrush Rebellion” in an effort to ascertain public land, but the government continues to prevail.

The FBI has called for a “peaceful resolution” to end the siege at the national wildlife refuge, but over the weekend the Bundy brothers vowed to continue their stand as pickup trucks blocked the building entrance and protesters stood in their camouflage attire and winter clothing.

“The end goal here is that we are here to restore the rights to the people here so that they can use the land and resources,” Ryan Bundy said, while Ammon Bundy cautioned that if the government opted for more violent measures to end the standoff they would be “putting their lives at risk.”

The BLM did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but on its Facebook page stated that the offices in Oregon are “closed until further notice.” Foxnews

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Quote of Week; Black Abolitionist, Ex-slave Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded. The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible. It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34]. This constitutes my politics – the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . . I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.

[Frederick Douglass, The Frederick Douglass Papers, John Blassingame, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), Vol. 2, p. 397, from a speech delivered at Ithaca, New York, October 14th, 1852.]

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The Pantheism of Barack Obama; predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville 200 years ago, when he said pantheistic world views would lead to the failure of American democracy

The Pantheism of Barack Obama; predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville 200 years ago, when he said pantheistic world views would lead to the failure of American democracy

Often when I am writing against what claims to be an atheist world view, I forget that far more prevalent in contemporary America is a pantheism that embraces atheist views, but also picks and choose among all the various and manifold religions in America today. Millennials particularly feel themselves quite enlightened when they shift from one view to another, even while claiming to be Christian. Which helps explain the popularity of Barack Obama as well as their ability to absorb whatever behavior is acceptable among their age group without controversy. The following is direct from Tocqueville’s book on America written in the early 1800’s. (after Barack Obama’s quote)

“So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where already there are a lot of Eastern influences…And I’d say, probably I’ve drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith…So I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people” Barack Obama

”When the conditions of society are becoming more equal and each individual man becomes more like all the rest, more weak and insignificant, a habit grows up of ceasing to notice the citizens and considering only the people, of overlooking individuals to think only of their kind. At such times the human mind seeks to embrace a multitude of different objects at once, and it constantly strives to connect a variety of consequences with a single cause. The idea of unity so possesses man and is sought by him so generally that if he thinks he has found it, he readily yields himself to repose in that belief. Not content with the discovery that there is nothing in the world but a creation and a Creator, he is still embarrassed by this primary division of things and seeks to expand and simplify his conception by including God and the universe in one great whole.

If there is a philosophical system which teaches that all things material and immaterial, visible and invisible, which the world contains are to be considered only as the several parts of an immense Being, who alone remains eternal amidst the continual change and ceaseless transformation of all that constitutes him, we may readily infer that such a system, although it destroy the individuality of man, or rather because it destroys that individuality, will have secret charms for men living in democracies. All their habits of thought prepare them to conceive it and predispose them to adopt it. It naturally attracts and fixes their imagination; it fosters the pride while it soothes the indolence of their minds.

Among the different systems by whose aid philosophy endeavors to explain the universe I believe pantheism to be one of those most fitted to seduce the human mind in democratic times. Against it all who abide in their attachment to the true greatness of man should combine and struggle.”

Tocqueville, Alexis de (2011-04-21). Democracy in America – by Alexis de Tocqueville (V. 1 & 2 with linked TOC and footnotes) (Kindle Locations 9782-9784). . Kindle Edition.

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The world must be a place where Islam can be criticized

The Muslims do not need an American president to assure them that they have the only religion in the world that cannot be criticized. That they are the only belief system that must not have to deal with taunts or negative discourse. With their track record of intolerance towards other religions, they don’t need further entitlement. Christians in America had to endure movies like, “the Last Temptation of Christ” in which Christ was portrayed as a womanizer and homosexual, and atheist talk show guests and hosts that take shots all day long at Christianity and Christians. That’s okay, we can take it. Though we may protest peacefully if it’s bad enough. But there is no freedom of speech in Islamic countries. Somebody call Obama off his endless appeasement and entitlement program for the most oppressive religion in the world except perhaps for atheism. Has it helped? Hardly. In fact, making Muslims feel like they’re the only religion entitled to a “safe zone” has just given them a justification for Jihad like we saw in France. It may well be that this president’s constant refrain of the world must not be a place where Muslims or their prophet can be criticized, has helped to fuel this out pouring of violence and bloodshed. We don’t need that.

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The Onion scoffs at American Christians

The Onion scoffs at American Christians who believe their rights are being stepped on; how droll…

The Onion, a popular spoof news site with those millennials who have their rudders and minds set in the current of popular culture, recently posted a picture of American Christians huddled in a basement around a small Christmas tree; the idea being spoofed is that we American Christians have any reason to complain or even suggest that Biblical values, and therefore those that hold to them, are being persecuted. And mind you, we are not getting our heads lopped off as they are in the MidEast by Muslim people, who our present administration assures us are motivated by climate warming or economic issues, but not by their religion. Of course I haven’t heard a lot from my millennial liberal friends about the thousands of Christians who have been martyred or captured and sold as slaves inside the boundaries of Muslim countries, those great enclaves of freedom and peace.

However they do have time to smarm at those most ridiculous of all American people, those that believe in the fundamentals of the Christian faith and whose desire is to be in tune with the ancient scriptures that ruled the consciences of our founding fathers. You know, fundamentalists, the ones my geography text said were as big a threat as militant Muslims. But back to the point- should we who espouse a biblical worldview wait until it’s too late to begin to fight back? Should we ignore the fact that we can no longer pray in schools while the atheists are free not to pray? That we can’t teach the scientific evidence for a theistic origins of the Universe, while our atheist friends are free to teach their Darwinian view? That we cannot refuse to partake in homosexual wedding ceremonies while they can force us to partake in such weddings or pay the penalty? That contrary to thousands of years of legal protection in Christian nations, prenatal humans have been stripped of their right to life?

And do they think it’s a big joke that all such actions on their government’s part fly in the face of and violate the first amendment of the US constitution?

“That their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thomas Jefferson probably wouldn’t find the Onion post very funny either (not that most Onion fans would care, they get their morals by counting likes on facebook pages) he said;
“…the purposes of society do not require a surrender of all our rights to our ordinary governors . … experience has nevertheless proved they will be constantly encroaching on if submitted to them;.. there are also certain fences which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious [effective] against wrong and rarely obstructive of right, which yet the governing powers have ever shown a disposition to weaken and remove. Of the first kind, for instance, is freedom of religion.”
Jefferson, Thomas, Writings, Vol. VIII, p. 112-113, to Noah Webster on December 4, 1790.

It takes no courage to snark and hide yourself among the pack of mindless culture bound gerbils running towards the sea; but to stand against the flow, to willingly place yourself in the chair the culture has defined as the dunce seat- now that takes courage. And it takes faith, faith in something beyond the endlessly drifting culture

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