A Spiritual Disease

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20)

The natural speaks of the invisible; the physical realm reflects spiritual reality. Wars and pandemics reflect spiritual conflict and sickness.

Can you discern?

I was warned years ago about a coming pandemic from my nurse epidemiologist wife. There is a pandemic. The Wuhan virus is real. It spreads rapidly. It is not as lethal as the “experts” say unless you are old or sickly. For the healthy, it is no worse than any other flu virus. So, why has the response been so dramatic from authorities and their talking heads in the media? Christian, please know that I am speaking of what the Bible defines as the world system. You should always be suspicious of what the world system parrots. It usually parrots Satan. There is something very deceptive and deceitful about the response. The demonically empowered world system is using fear to control and deceive. Whenever anyone uses fear to motivate, you should suspect their agenda. Some fear is godly and based upon wisdom, but that sort of fear will generally be generated by your natural wisdom and, for the believer in Jesus, from the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. It won’t be screaming at you from an outside source. The devil uses fear to motivate. God expects faith from His own.

The Wuhan flu reflects a spiritual sickness that covers the whole earth. This sickness is deadly, and I mean eternally, if it is not corrected, but it strikes the spiritually sick and weak first. The main characteristic of this spiritual sickness is deception and deceit. The purpose is the same as it always has been: to kill, to destroy, and to turn people away from God.

The powers that be in this earthly realm are but tools in Satan’s hand. Satan uses their lust for power and greed to turn them to his purpose. The response of the world’s leaders in this pandemic has been to deceive people and use fear to control and manipulate. Their concern is not for the safety of their subjects but for power.

It is disappointing to me to observe how many so-called Christians have responded to this crisis. Through times of trial and tribulation we are called to trust in the Lord. But so many professed Christians, especially here in the west are quick to trust in government and to obey their rulers without question. Is the western church dying? God calls His people to gather regularly for worship, but when our leaders forbid it and threaten us we obey them without question. When we read in scripture of the martyrs and martyrs today in distant places we should ask ourselves if we are willing to suffer death for our Savior. In America churches are going to the government for a hand out (PPP) with faith that government will protect them. They don’t have faith that God will provide. They think that God is working through the same government that condones the slaughter of the innocents. They trust in the government just as Israel and Judah trusted that Egypt would save them from Assyria and Babylon. “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Rev 12:11)

There is a horrible spirit of deception at work in these last days. And there is a contagious spiritual sickness of unbelief.

“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Th 2:1-12)

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Lessons Learned From the Pandemic

The plague in Rome. Italy, 17th century.


The sheltering plans were entirely unnecessary. The “experts” and their models were wrong again. We did not need to create a depression.

Parents have been forced into doing home school. Many are learning that public education is unnecessary for education. Take the saved taxes, return it to parents and let them pay for good daycare if they both have to work. It would be less expensive than what we’re paying for public education. Most parents report that they can get the school work done in a few hours. This is comparable to the actual learning time in public school. I heard a report that 23% of students are not participating with on-line public education. That set of students is probably the same 20 -30% who don’t want to be in school, who don’t pay attention anyway and who disrupt learning for the rest. The same 30% that teachers spend the majority of their time on and tailor their teaching to while the majority are bored to death. Parents are being forced to actually be aware of what is being taught and public schools are unable to foist their stealth agenda upon vulnerable children. We can presume that most of the communist, ant-Christian brain-washing is not being promoted on-line, just as the perverted sexuality brain-washing is absent.

More Americans are convinced that China is our enemy along with the deep state bureaucracy and the media. We know that most of what purports to be “news” on mainstream television is truly fake news.

We’ve learned that liberals, progressives, Democrats, the bureaucracy and elites like Bill Gates have an agenda that does not include our health, safety or prosperity. Their agenda is a new world order of global government with them in power. It really is all about power and money and they care nothing for most people. As evidence, the One World at Home Together Kabuki show sponsored by Global Vision and the WHO, which brought us the pandemic in league with China. This is the same crowd that has been trying to use the global warming hoax to establish their new order, Green New Deal, etc. They have no compunction against instilling fear and panic on hapless people in order to achieve their goals. As Rahm Emanuel once articulated, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” This crowd agrees. And they have their collaborators in law enforcement. I support law and order and most law enforcement perform a necessary, often dangerous and thankless task. But, unfortunately there are increasing in the ranks those who thrive on power and control. They are “jack booted thugs”, the new Gestapo who enjoy oppressing their subjects. They bristle with anger at those who would dare to question their authority. They drool at the prospect of any new or contrived “emergency” that they can exploit to bully the citizenry and display their “ultimate” power. The pandemic has seen too many incidents where these thugs have bullied worshippers, protestors and families enjoying the freedom to recreate. They fail to understand, or perhaps accept, that their authority only comes from the consent of the governed, our constitution and ultimately from God. God commands them to enforce justice, not blind obedience.

We’ve learned that liquor stores and infanticide centers are essential, but churches are not. A pandemic that “might” kill thousands is an emergency for most people but the millions of children that are slaughtered on the altar of convenience are no big deal for most people. We’ve put up with it for decades.

The pandemic has shown that we don’t care much for the aged. This pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the elderly and specifically in nursing homes. CDC shows that almost 40% of the deaths have been in long term care facilities. In Rhode Island the percentage is 75%. In Linn County, Iowa, we were forced to limit social contact to our own household (a fancy way of saying, shelter-in-place). This order was not state-wide, but specific to our region. And the order came primarily because of outbreaks in nursing homes. One facility near me had 60 of 100 patients infected with 17 dead. Understand that the patients in these places don’t go out into the community and visitors have been barred for more than a month. So, the logical conclusion is that the employees are bringing the infection in. (Unless there is a secret government plot to kill off the elderly and balance the Social Security budget). A troll asserted that infecting these facilities was unavoidable and that the workers were unaware. I agree that they were unaware, but that is no excuse for carelessness. By her logic, 60% of patients at our hospitals should be infected. That hasn’t happened. That’s because most hospitals use effective infection control procedures. My wife was an infection control specialist for 15 years at the University of Iowa. It all boils down to training and implementation of proven techniques. I suspect that this is not happening in our nation’s nursing homes. Anyone who has ever had a loved one in a nursing home knows that the level of care in most of these places is deplorable. And that happens because most people are too cheap to pay for decent care or take care of Granny at home.

Churches have been forced to close and this has caused some to re-evaluate what it means to be part of God’s body. The crisis has made us realize that continuing community may depend upon following Acts 2:42, meeting in the courts and house to house. Has God worked to wreck pop-culture Christianity, which focuses on centralized leadership and ministry? Could this be the end of the American mega church model that provides entertainment more than an encounter with Jesus Christ and genuine Christian community?

The pandemic has shown that most Americans are sheep who are willing to give up their freedoms for a minimal assurance of security. And that we are scared to death of death. There are few Patrick Henrys here. The transition to a pagan culture is almost total. Few Americans have faith that God offers a better Kingdom.

There is a remnant of people who still believe in the things that made America a great nation blessed by God and they are willing to fight for it. Across the land people are beginning to rise up in protest to imprisonment. The forces of tyranny will be vanquished. That’s a promise from God. He is coming soon and there will be judgment. Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

A Simple Messianic Seder

Last Supper2

Some ask, “But aren’t the feasts for the old covenant?” It’s all God’s word; how do we apply it in the new covenant. Jesus said that no part of the law would pass away “until all is fulfilled.” Has all been fulfilled? Why did the church stop celebrating the feasts? Why did they cease to move in the gifts? Why did they reject the authority of scripture?

To begin to understand how the disciples may have thought about this event, we have to realize that this took place during a traditional Passover meal. The Passover observed in the first century was different than the modern Jewish holiday. It was more like the Passover celebrated by Moses and the Hebrews before the exodus. In the first century, they still had a temple, a priesthood and observed sacrifices, unlike modern Jews.  During Jesus’ three years of ministry, He most likely observed the Passover with His disciples at least twice. But this time, it was different. Jesus broke tradition at His Last Supper. The unleavened bread that Jesus broke had always been a reminder to the Hebrews of the manna that God provided in the wilderness. During the Passover meal it was intended to remind them of God’s miraculous provision and care for them in providing for their physical needs. He kept them alive! Life literally came from heaven. When Jesus said, “This is my body that is broken for you. Take and eat,” it must have stirred a memory for the disciples from an earlier time in Jesus’ ministry. It was not necessarily a good memory. The event is recorded in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel. It occurs the day after Jesus had fed 5,000 men plus women and children. This huge crowd followed Him to the other side of the sea at Capernaum. His ministry was growing exponentially. It was flourishing. He was known throughout Judea and the Decapolis region. And then, He tells the people that He is the bread that came down from heaven. People began to complain. Jesus responds, “I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he shall live forever. And truly the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) He told them that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood! John records, interestingly in verse 6:66, that most of the crowd left. It was bad marketing, Jesus. The Jews, who wouldn’t even touch a dead body, probably thought to themselves, “This man is a pagan. He wants us to be cannibals. The Pharisees are right about this man.” He asked the disciples if they wanted to leave. Peter responded, “where else would we go? You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Peter and the disciples most likely did not understand what Jesus was saying, but they believed He was God in the flesh and they accepted Him by faith, even though they did not understand. What great faith! Oh, that we could have that sort of faith. So, Jesus was repeating at this Last Supper what He had earlier taught in Capernaum where He was soundly rejected. It certainly must have caused the disciples to think about Jesus being their source of life like the manna from heaven in the wilderness.

The symbols:

  1. Lamb: Christ our sacrifice. The next day John saw Jesus coming, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. (Joh 1:29)
  2. Bitter herbs: bitterness of slavery to sin. Don’t you know, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Rom 6:16)
  3. Matzo, unleavened (no yeast, fungus) bread: pierced and striped. Your glorying is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven multiplies through the whole lump? (1Co 5:6)
  4. Wine: In the same way he took the cup, when he had eaten, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. (1Co 11:25) 4 cups: separation, deliverance, salvation, community. Moreover whom he predestined, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Rom 8:30)
  5. Charoseth: the fruit of the Spirit.


Prayer: How blessed You are, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who sent Your only Son, Y’Shua the Messiah, to be the light of the world and our Passover lamb, that through Him we might live. Amen.

Do these essentials:

Bless the children

First cup, holiness.

Story of shame to glory: Stephen’s sermon. Acts 7.

Second cup of deliverance

The Korech  or the sop (unleavened bread, bitter herbs and charoseth, bitter and sweet); Jn 13:21-27

Third cup, redemption, salvation. Mark 14: 18-26

Fourth cup, completion, community

Speaking in Tongues? Agree to Disagree


“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1Co 13:12-13)

I was grieved this morning to hear some responses to a FB post from Charisma News entitled “Why Praying in Tongues Is Key to Hearing Holy Spirit

Now, to be honest, I may not agree with the writer’s conclusion (there is so much more involved in hearing the Holy Spirit, starting with meditation on scripture), even though I pray in tongues. What surprised me were some of the vitriolic responses.

“There is no proof of anyone praying in Biblical tongues in the modern times. Inane gibberish is not praying in tongues. Perhaps the gibberish is prompted by a demon and it is their not understood words coming
from the speaker that is blaspheming God. Can anyone convince us that the gibberish is a prayer talk of the angels? “ “Anyone that teaches that gibberish IS speaking in tongues is presenting a false gospel! “

“why then are most of these people proud and arrogant??”

I understand that those who promote the gift of tongues can sometimes be off-putting and arrogant. Believe me, tongue talkers don’t have a monopoly on arrogance. There are no second class Christians! I am sure that God does not rank us by the gifts that He bestows and every believer has the Spirit of God dwelling within. But, to say “these people” are arrogant sounds a little arrogant and judgmental to me. And, the other side of the coin is that too many folks who do not believe in tongues for today are quick to accuse those who do of being demonized heretics. This grieves the Holy Spirit.

I think we should all be humble enough to admit that we don’t have all of the truth yet. There remain a few debatable doctrines that honest Christ-loving Christians can disagree on without demonizing each other. Before you yell, “heresy” I affirm that the Bible, as originally written, is inspired and authoritative. It is the complete revelation of Christ in this age. Jesus is “the perfect” of 1 Corinthians 13:8, not the canon of scripture. Knowledge has not yet passed away and we do not yet see “face to face.”

Let us agree on those things that the scriptures are absolutely clear about and agree to lovingly disagree on debatable issues. I think that is why the church fathers penned this:

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; The Holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.” – The Apostles Creed

Gospel of the Kingdom

Last Supper2

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Mat 6:10)

The idea of God’s kingdom on earth is a classical Christian belief. Christians affirm this belief in the Apostles Creed: He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead”. In modern western Christian thinking the concept of salvation is usually confined to the spiritual realm. We usually think of salvation in terms of a personal relationship with Christ by faith. We rarely discuss the idea of a progressive fulfillment of the concept to the physical earthly realm. We tend to think of heaven as the goal. But Jesus preached the “gospel of the Kingdom of God”. Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels are full of references to the “gospel of the Kingdom”.  Yes, its good news that Jesus died for my sins so that I can be a part of His Kingdom, but the gospel is bigger than that! Yes, Jesus died for us, but why did he do that? He did it in order that He might have a people for Himself “….who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”(Tit 2:14)


Compare the modern man-centered gospel vs the gospel in the Bible:

  • Me centered vs He centered
  • Jesus loves me, saved me, blesses me, vs Jesus will come again, rule and reign, cause every knee to bow, make all things new.
  • Me going to heaven vs Heaven coming here to earth, to us.
  • Come to Jesus and get life vs Jesus called you, so give your life.
  • Jesus is mine vs I am His.
  • Self centered vs other centered.

But, biblically speaking, salvation is the restoration of the entire creation. That restoration starts with the individual spirit, but it will progress to the entire physical creation. Biblical salvation ends with the physical realm; the restoration of Eden.

Restoration is not accomplished in a single moment.  Quoting George Ladd, “The Kingdom of God belongs to the age to come. Yet the age to come has overlapped with this present age. We may taste its powers [Lazarus] and thereby be delivered from this age and no longer live in conformity to it.” The focus of the modern western Church has changed. The common message is usually about how to escape hell and get to heaven. It shows up in how we evangelize.  We ask questions such as, “Are you going to heaven?” or  we invite people to come to Jesus and get healing, peace, prosperity or some other personal benefit. You don’t very often hear an evangelist say, “Come to Jesus and die to yourself.”  Most Christians are not expecting His imminent return and the establishment of an earthly Kingdom. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1Co 15:24-25)

The hope of the early church was expressed in Titus 2:11-13. Jesus will rule on earth with His church. (Rev. 20:4-5; Zech 14:16) God created the earth for a dwelling place with man. His plans are not frustrated; He is not a loser; He doesn’t have a plan B.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly, righteously and godly, in this present world, looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,….” (Tit 2:11-13)

Only an Arminian Can Minister to a Person’s Greater Need

I recently heard a great message on Mark chapter 2 where Jesus heals a paralytic that four friends bring to Him. The main point of the message was that Jesus has authority to forgive sin and heal. Mark is establishing Christ’s deity. The pastor posed the question that many might ask, “Why didn’t Jesus heal the man right off?” The pastor’s response was twofold: Jesus was establishing His authority as springing from His deity and two, Jesus ministered to the man’s greater need first, that being his need of spiritual healing. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mar 2:5) The man’s greater need was spiritual healing as opposed to physical. That led me to wonder, can we as believers and Christ’s ministers of the gospel tell people that their sins are forgiven? In John’s gospel, chapter 20, verse 23 Jesus grants authority for His disciples to forgive sin. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”


Jesus has ordained His disciples to carry out His ministry of reconciliation. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2Co 5:18-19) Also in Colossians 1:20-23 “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” The question then is, is this ministry to all mankind or simply to the elect? And if it is only for the elect, how do we know who to minister to? To whom can we say, “Your sins are forgiven.”?


The differences between Calvin and Arminius have divided theologians since the early part of the 17th century. I say that the controversy has divided theologians because many Christians are either unaware or unconcerned about it. In my experience, few Christians understand the differences. This controversy has divided great men of faith such as Wesley and Whitfield. Some church movements like the EFCA have decided that the question is debatable and therefore take no formal position. I’ve heard sermons and read different commentaries or systematic theology texts that convince me one way and then the other. Grudem favors Calvin. Williams supports Arminius. The differences are important and worthy of study, but should not cause us to question another’s salvation. We agree on the deity of Christ, the Trinity, Christ’s sacrifice, resurrection and return.


There are five main tenets of Calvin’s doctrine that are remembered by the acronym TULIP (it’s a Dutch thing), where each letter refers to the following:

  • Total depravity; man is born into sin and is incapable of regeneration on his own
  • Unconditional election; God chooses whom He will save based upon His own will and not upon any work or inherent merit of those He chooses. (Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:5,11, Galatians 1:15)
  • Limited atonement: Christ’s sacrifice for sin only applies to the elect, asserting that God’s grace cannot be ineffectual and as such does not apply to those that He chooses to condemn.
  • Irresistible grace; If you are one of the elect, you cannot resist the calling.
  • Perseverance of the saints; God will keep until the end those that He has called.

The overarching theme of Calvin’s doctrine is the total sufficiency of God’s grace. All glory is given to God. (Romans 3:24, 11:6) Arminius argued against unconditional election, limited atonement and irresistible grace. I might say that the main theme of Arminian theology is justification by faith.


The primary scriptural text for unconditional election is Romans 8:29-30. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” This verse does teach us that God does predestine or choose certain persons for salvation, but a condition is implied when it says,”For those whom He foreknew…” We know that God is not bound by time. He knows what we will do before we do it. We also know that God does not choose us because of any inherent goodness in us or any good work on our part. Before God regenerates us, we are totally depraved. The verse points to a process involved in our being regenerated. We are first called, then justified and finally glorified. Remember, becoming a part of God’s family and His kingdom involves a process. There are numerous verses that explain how a person gets “saved”, but we know that the process involves a faith response from the person who is called. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” (Romans 3:21-22) Then there is Luther’s favorite verse which led to the reformation and the confirmation of the doctrine of justification by faith,”Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2) Even faith is a gift from God and not a work of our own. But, our response to God’s gift is part of the process. Ephesians 2:8 explains how grace works through faith, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,…” Could it be that God knows who will receive the gift and elects them? Our response involves an exercise of the will. Do we have free will, or does God force the elect to choose Him? That leads to the question of irresistible grace.


Consider again the account in Mark 2 of the healing of the paralytic. Note that the paralytic did not pray to receive Christ. He did not confess any sin or confess that Jesus is the Savior. The paralytic expressed no faith of his own. Jesus was responding to the faith of his friends. Christ freely offered forgiveness without any conditions. To the Calvinist, that would be proof that the man was one of the elect, for they believe that Christ’s atonement for sin only applies to the elect. I believe that this tenet of Calvin’s doctrine conflicts with God’s Word. 1Jn 2:2 says,”And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”  And John 1:29 says “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” Also see Hebrews 2:9, “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.


If we accept that Christ died for the sins of the world does that mean that God forgives all sin for all mankind? Here is where the Calvinist accuses the Arminian of being a universalist, I believe without merit. Clearly, the Bible teaches that not all are saved and that many will suffer hell. Does being a member of God’s elect, a member of His family and a part of His kingdom involves more than forgiveness of sin? Does God forgive sinners and still reject them? Do people suffer hell because of their sin or because they reject a relationship with Christ? Christ warned that He would tell the unsaved, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” Is it possible to forgive someone and still not be in a relationship? Could Jesus forgive the paralytic who never knew Him?


Later in Mark’s gospel we learn that there is only one unforgivable sin and Jesus seemed to be implying that all other sins would be forgiven for all. Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”- (Mar 3:28-29) In this passage, the scribes were accusing Jesus of doing miracles by the power of the devil. They were rejecting Christ for who He is. I believe that the only unforgivable sin is to reject Christ. Further on in this passage Jesus goes on to explain who is a member of His family when His mother and brothers come to “rescue” Him. Jesus says,”For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35) Being a member of His family, being “saved” requires submission to His Lordship and obedience to His will. There is no hint that the paralytic had advanced to this stage and yet Jesus said he was forgiven. The Calvinist might say that Jesus forgave the man because He knew that the man was one of the chosen. But, how do we know who is chosen? And, how can we be ministers of reconciliation without offering forgiveness?


We must recognize that true salvation goes beyond forgiveness. There is another step in the process. “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.(1Jn 4:14-15)See also Ro 10:9. Do not equate forgiveness with salvation. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Ro 5:10


Calvinist: “Have you been called by Christ into His kingdom?”

Sinner: “How would I know?”

Calvinist: “If you believe in and trust in Christ for your salvation, then you must be chosen.”


Arminian: “Christ forgives you for your sins and wants a relationship with you. Will you receive Him?”

Sinner: “How do I receive Him?”

Arminian: “By faith, which He will grant you.”

The Charismatic Gifts


Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to be The Comforter, the Helper, the Equipper of the saints and that He would draw people to Christ. The Charismatic gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon believers in Jesus are mentioned frequently in the New Testament and are enumerated in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” (1Co 12:3-11) These manifestations are other than natural or normally occurring phenomenon. They are intended to be signs which glorify God and draw people to Him. That is why they are referred to as the sign gifts.


Sadly, these gifts continue to stimulate controversy and division in the body of Christ.

Some contend that the functioning of these gifts has ceased after the Apostolic age and that the purpose of signs and wonders was to validate the message of the Apostles. Those who teach this are referred to as cessationists. There is not a strong scriptural basis for this position. The common reference they use is in 1Corinthians chapter 13, verses 8-10, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” (1Co 13:8-10). For the cessationist, “the perfect” is the canon of scripture and the closing of the canon would make the gifts unnecessary. This is a weak argument because “the perfect” is correctly the second coming of Christ, for as we continue reading we see that “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1Co 13:12) Seeing “face to face” and knowing fully can only happen when Christ returns. Knowledge most certainly has not passed away with the close of the New Testament.


The most frequently cited proponent of cessation theology was professor Warfield of Princeton University who wrote Counterfeit Miracles. His argument is built primarily on the idea that there is a lack of evidence for true miracles after the first century (he considers any reports after the first century to be fake) and on his logic that such miracles are unnecessary to the building of God’s Kingdom. In Renewal Theology professor Wiliams of Regent University successfully refutes Warfield’s logic and lack of evidence, pointing to the writings of church historians Justin Martyr and Ireneaus recording numerous miracles after the first century.[i] Professor Wayne Grudem, Trinity University, also provides a detailed apologetic for the continuation of signs, wonders and miracles in his Systematic Theology. [ii]

Division in the body occurs when cessationists accuse those who experience the gifts or report miracles of being fake, insincere, unsaved or demonically inspired. Such accusations inflict deep wounds. Remember, that no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. To be sure, there is abuse that occurs with those who seek to exercise the gifts and there is an abundance of fakery, especially with television evangelists. This abuse and false testimony must be addressed and dealt with. I will discuss this at length later.


First, let’s deal with the concept of cessation from a biblical standpoint. The writings of the New Testament were in regular use from the first century on and most, if not all, were recognized as being inspired by the Holy Spirit. They all had a consistent message of salvation through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. They consistently spoke of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith. They were generally accepted and preached throughout the church. So, when a church council met in the fourth century to establish the “Canon” of scripture (The Old Testament had been recognized by Hebrew scholars for centuries) it was more so a matter of recognizing what they knew to be true. One of the guiding principles for recognizing divinely inspired scripture is that such writing had to necessarily be of timeless and universal value. It could not be for a specific time or a certain people exclusively. (Some “modern” teachers reject the authority of certain scriptures that offend them based upon this false idea that it was only for a certain time and place. This is a deadly error.) They followed Paul’s inspired guidance in 2 Timothy chapter 3, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2Ti 3:16-17) ALL scripture had to be profitable, not just parts of scripture.


1 Corinthians chapters 12 -14 address the use of charismatic gifts in the church. Though it may have addressed a specific problem in Corinth in the first century, the message is timeless and universal. Rest assured that other local churches throughout history have dealt with the same issues as the Corinthians. So, Mr. Warfield and Mr. MacArthur, if the charismatic gifts had ceased to function after the first century, why did the church fathers decide to include a letter that would only have value to the Corinthians of the first century? They would not. If the entire letter was not profitable, then why include it? There are other letters addressing most of the other issues that 1 Corinthians covers. The message of the entire Bible is valuable today! 1 Corinthians 12-14 is for today!


There are a variety of scriptures attesting to the practice of the gifts by the body in general and not just the Apostles. “God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (Heb 2:4) The release of Peter from prison in answer to the prayers of the saints certainly qualifies as a miracle. Grudem defines a biblical miracle as, “a less common kind of God’s activity in which He arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to Himself.”[iii] Paul recognized miraculous works among the Galatians in his absence, “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—“ (Gal 3:5) He also references “workers of miracles” in Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:28). Jesus gave authority to His 70 disciples to heal the sick and cast out demons. Stephen and Phillip worked miracles (Acts 6:8, 8:6-7). Scripture is clear that the charismatic gifts are for the entire body.


Interestingly, the most confusion, dissension and abuse has centered around the gift of tongues. I surrendered to Christ through the ministry of a Pentecostal denomination. Eventually, I rejected Pentecostal orthopraxy and doctrine. I served as a pastor of a charismatic church. The Pentecostal position asserts that speaking in tongues is always the first sign that a person has been “baptized in the Holy Spirit”and that the Acts 2 experience at Pentecost should be normative (thus the term Pentecostal). They hold to a “second blessing” doctrine taught by Jonathan Wesley. Such teaching leads people to seek after a certain gift and having once attained it to thinking that other believers who have not are less blessed. This is extremely harmful and contrary to the message of the gospel.


The scripture is clear that all who believe in Jesus receive the Holy Spirit when they first believe, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,” (Eph 1:13) Furthermore, there are examples of believers in Acts exercising other charismatic gifts without first speaking in tongues and in my own experience I have encountered others exercising gifts of healing, words of wisdom or knowledge, and prophecy who never spoke in tongues. My wife has never spoken in tongues. She once was praying for a woman who could not conceive. Her doctor had told her that her tubes were blocked permanently. She wanted children. As my wife was praying she was suddenly filled with supernatural faith and believed that the Lord Jesus was speaking to her that the woman would conceive. My wife told the woman what she believed the Lord was speaking. Within a year the woman had a child and eventually had five. I believe this was an example of a gift of healing, faith and a word of knowledge all combined. This is the way the Holy Spirit works. I’ve had people “read my mail” who have never spoke in tongues. Charismatics believe that the Holy Spirit still bestows signs and wonders today and that any believer can be used by God to work miracles. We do not believe that one must speak in tongues to be used in this way.


Pentecostals and Charismatics have been mocked and accused by cessationists over the gift of tongues. Detractors are correct in pointing out that the tongues of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2 were most likely known foreign languages of the people in attendance at the feast from 70 countries. Since that is true, if the Pentecost experience is supposed to be normative, it would seem that the “baptism” would be manifested by known foreign languages. In practice it rarely is. Which might cause one to be suspicious about the authenticity of the experience. On the other hand, cessationists make the mistake of assuming that there is only one type of tongues. But there is a tongue that is not a known language. There is a tongue that speaks only to God and there are tongues of angels. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1Co 13:1) What language do angels speak? 1 Corinthians 14 is the Bible instruction for the use of tongues in the church. It begins, “For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.” (1Co 14:2) Does God only speak in the known languages of man? I think not.


If you read through chapter 14 believing that there is only one type of tongues (known languages) you are going to be confused and might think that the Bible contradicts itself. It does not. Verse 4 says that tongues is for self edification or speaking to God. Verses 5 and 13 mention interpretation. That would have to be a message from God (prophecy) or of a known language (sign to an unbeliever). Verse 10 speaks of “languages in the world”, ie. known languages. Verse 14 says that I can pray in the Spirit “without understanding”. I must be speaking to God. Verse 17 says I can give thanks to God without others understanding. Verse 22 says that tongues are a sign to unbelievers. They would have to understand. It would have to be a known language. But it also says that prophecy, a message from God, is for believers. Verse 23 says that if the church is all speaking in tongues the unbeliever will think we are crazy.  But, tongues are a sign to unbelievers! That must be a different type of tongues. Verse 25 speaks of the secrets of the unbeliever’s heart being revealed. That would be a word of knowledge. The conclusion, the timeless, universal conclusion of 1 Corinthians 14 is, “So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.” (1Co 14:39-40) A word of caution here: God’s definition of decency and order does not equal modern Baptist decorum. Throughout the Bible there are accounts of God doing things that modern man might think strange.



I learned about the functioning of the charismatic gifts from John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement and from Jack Deere, who was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He had to leave his post there because he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit where he spoke in tongues and prophesied. He wrote Surprised by The Spirit. I was taught and I believe that the charismatic gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are not given permanently to individual believers. They are not residential with the person. They are situational and bestowed for a certain time and place as the Holy Spirit wills. A person doesn’t “have” the gift of healing. I was once asked by a young cessationist youth pastor from DTS why John Wimber didn’t go to the local hospital and heal everyone. Obviously, that was not the Holy Spirit’s plan. I have seen bona fide signs and wonders. I was at a healing conference in Anaheim where we went to learn about praying for the sick and hearing from God. The Vineyard had a strong emphasis on the priesthood of all believers and equipping all of the saints for the works of ministry. We didn’t have healing lines where some “anointed” evangelist lined people up and prayed for everyone. At this conference, someone shared what they believed was a word of knowledge that God was going to heal people who were blind in one eye. A call was made to have those who qualified to come forward. Hundreds came forth! Wimber reminded them that this was for people who were blind in ONE eye. Hundreds turned around and about a dozen or so stayed (there were about 4,000 at the conference). Then they instructed us, all of us, to lay hands on them and pray for healing. The next day it was reported that 4 had experienced healing. They were referred to an eyes doctor for confirmation. It was a miracle! A true sign of God’s love and power. A true sign of how God wants to use us to advance His kingdom. When the signs were seen, some trusted Christ for the first time.


Sometimes these prayer times, with everyone seeking to minister, would get messy. Sometimes people would react in unusual ways. In 1992, ABC News with Peter Jennings did a special report called “In the Name of God.” I don’t think their intentions were to glorify God. In one episode, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I9YCue3Fkk&t=313s) they came to the Vineyard in Anaheim. It was a powerful service where people were praying for each other. Some people fell on the floor, some were weeping along with other unusual manifestations. Afterward, Peter Jennings interviewed John Wimber. He asked John if he thought that all of the “manifestations” were a sign from God. He was surprised when John said, “Oh no, most of them aren’t.” His response was that they were ministering to many sick people and he didn’t believe that it was his job to be the Holy Spirit’s policeman. He always felt that God is perfectly capable of doing that. Wimber was criticized for his lack of discipline in his ministry. Perhaps some of the criticism was warranted. But, his detractors also forget that he gave the left foot of fellowship to the Kansas City Fellowship and the Toronto Blessing church because they refused his guidance about identifying weird manifestations (barking, roaring) with the Holy Spirit. Wimber related an account where an old parishioner came to him complaining about all of the messy manifestations and asking what he intended to do. He held up his Bible and said, “I won’t let it go any further than this book.” He said, “She took comfort from that! She must not have read it!”


My exhortation to my brothers and sisters is this: Don’t quench the Holy Spirit. Do everything in order, God’s order, not man’s.














[i] Williams, Renewal Theology, Zondervan, 1996.

[ii] Grudem, Systematic Theology, InterVarsity Press, 1994.

[iii] Ibid., p. 355


Response to The Gospel Coalition and Kendra Dahl Regarding Preaching to Hurt Women

Woman caught in adultery

I recently got involved in a somewhat intense discussion on Facebook in response to a post by The Gospel Coalition. The writer of the referenced story was Kendra Dahl. Her column was titled, “Pastor, Preach Like Hurt Women Are Listening’ dated Feb. 14 2019. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/pastor-preach-hurt-women/

My first thought was, “Of course!” Much of what she says goes without saying. It’s only common sense that people in pastoral and preaching ministries need to be compassionate and carrying toward hurting people in their churches. That’s what Jesus is doing and if they properly represent Him they should do likewise. I think the vast majority of preachers are doing a good job at this. It is surprising to me that women are singled out, as if to imply that their pain is greater than men. I’m not sure that Jesus makes that distinction. But, apparently Kendra Dahl, and by extension The Gospel Coalition, think that preachers need to be more careful to not hurt women who have been hurt by abortion. She identifies post abortive women as “victims” because they are hurt by the words that people say about this sin. She emphasizes women who have been victims of sexual abuse and lumps them in with all women who are wounded by what they have done and what people say about this grisly practice. I’ve heard statistics that abortions resulting from rape may only account for 3% of all abortions. Even if we are to be generous and estimate that 10% are true victims of abuse, that still leaves 90% of abortions being done for simple convenience. Some people attribute abortion to ignorance, but, forgive me, I think that’s a cop out. It’s hard to believe in this sophisticated age that women don’t understand that they are eliminating what will be a child. That’s why they are going to the abortionist. If they thought they had a tumor, they would go to a surgeon. So we might estimate that 90% of post abortive women are not really victims, except that they are victims by choice. When a woman decides to kill her child, I don’t think Jesus sees her as an innocent victim. The child that she decides to kill is the innocent victim.

Dahl cites an abhorrent statistic that 25% of all women will have had an abortion by age 45. Millions of children are being killed for convenience. I have seen estimates from Barna research that the rate of abortion, and other sins, is relatively the same in and out of the church. So, it’s safe to say that one in four women sitting in the pew have had an abortion or properly speaking have committed infanticide and 3.6 of them have done for convenience. Dahl and the Gospel Coalition want to remind preachers not to hurt their feelings. She writes, “Consider the shame that post-abortive women can feel as abortion is lamented from the pulpit.”

Dahl is correct in stating that, “Everyone in the congregation needs to hear a call to repentance and receive the assurance of forgiveness in Christ.” Yes, we all need to hear the call, but she neglects to remind us that we must answer the call in order to be healed. True healing and forgiveness only comes when we confess our sin to God and turn away from doing it again. In my experience in pastoral ministry I find that when people refuse to admit and confess their sin, they never get healed from it. Unfortunately, I have encountered too many post abortive women who make excuses for their sin instead of confessing it. Thinking of one’s self as an innocent victim is not conducive to confession. Consider what she writes, “We limp into the pew having been assaulted by headlines and social-media commentary—words and pictures that trigger memories, shame, fear, and disgust. Despite the healing power of the gospel, the effects of our traumatic experiences linger. Our consciences accuse us day and night, and we are spiritually weary. We doubt our belovedness; we wonder if we really belong to Jesus; we wonder if the gospel is sufficient to heal our bleeding wounds.”

There is quite a tone of doubt in her comment. Doubt in the power of the gospel, doubting God’s love, doubting her salvation, etc. The first step to complete healing is to believe the gospel and trust Christ completely! The power to heal and forgive is not in the message alone. It is in Jesus Himself. Never doubt Him.

Note that she feels assaulted by headlines and social media comments, not preachers. Why isn’t the story aimed at journalists and media commentators? I don’t know of any preachers assaulting wounded women, but TGC thinks that preachers need to hear this. Could this be subtle pressure to avoid the topic altogether? In fact, that is exactly what the vast majority of America’s preachers are doing for fear of offending 25% of the women in the congregation. I admit that some social media commentators are mean spirited and I would never encourage that. But, the reason that the outcry against this holocaust is coming from social media is because it is not coming from the pulpits. Some of us feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to speak up. As it was with the Nazi Holocaust and American slavery, the pulpits are virtually silent. They’re too busy building mega churches. When we do speak up we are accused of lacking compassion. Some anti abortion ministries show graphic images and are attacked by rabid baby killers and Christians alike. There is a group known as Created Equal that travels college campuses with a jumbotron showing graphic images. They cite tremendous progress in changing minds and hearts. William Wilberforce is credited with ending slavery in Britain by showing graphic images. Abortion is a grizzly evil. It may never be eliminated unless people are awakened to the horror.

The church is failing to be a biblical witness to this evil. I have held a baby who was born because I did reach out with the compassion of Jesus to convince the mother to keep her child. I support our local crisis center that offers post-abortion counseling. My concern here has to do with the influence of TGC on America’s pulpits. Preachers lacking compassion is a miniscule problem from what I have observed. On the other hand, 99% of preachers in this land never address the subject. That is a glaring problem that TGC should address.

To never discuss this great national sin fails to provide truth or compassion. I’ve walked with Jesus for 37 years. My sin was heinous and I am grateful for God’s mercy and compassion. I’ve been in pastoral ministry. I’ve visited many Bible believing churches. I am a faithful member of a strong Bible preaching evangelical church. But, in all these years, I rarely hear a message about this holocaust. I don’t believe that mean preaching is a serious problem. It’s a straw man. Ignoring the problem is a serious problem. I think I know why it happens.



A Response to the Revoice Conference and the LGBT Agenda in God’s Church



God calls His church to be the witness of the gospel of His Kingdom. Jesus commands us to have compassion on all people, including the lost and all sinners. He calls us to be ministers of His grace to all who are in bondage to sin. We must recognize the dignity of all people, including those trapped in sin. As such, the church must be welcoming to all, regardless of their present state. We must love the sinner and hate the sin.

The church must be cautious of abandoning the truth of God’s inerrant Word in a quest to be culturally relevant. We must hold to the whole counsel of God that His law is an integral part of His grace that leads us to repentance and salvation in Christ. In our present post-Christian culture there is an organized effort to normalize certain perverted sexual behaviors not only in society in general, but now in the church. According to God’s Word, all sex outside of a heterosexual marriage is a perversion of God’s law and His plan for humankind. The recent Revoice conference is only the most recent example of this effort to corrupt God’s church. These deceivers are attempting to popularize a teaching that same sex attraction is not a sin by itself and that the celibate homosexual can be a functioning minister in the body. This teaching clearly contradicts God’s Word. We know that God looks upon the heart and that all sinful proclivities are sin regardless of whether the person acts upon those sinful desires. Romans 1:26-27 make it abundantly clear that same sex attraction is a sinful desire which results from idolatry.

Those who are promoting this doctrine, in the name of “love and acceptance” are rejecting the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the life of all believers. There are now “ministers” representing themselves as homosexuals and lesbians. They proudly proclaim this as their identity. Such people speak for organizations like The Gospel Coalition and others are ordained as ministers in so-called Christian churches. The Bible is clear about God’s desire for us: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;” (1Th 4:3-5) These people are denying the power of God to change people.2 Timothy admonishes us to avoid such: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2Ti 3:1-5)

Should the church allow ministers to harbor covetousness as long as they don’t steal? Do we tolerate our brothers and sisters to harbor hatred and unforgiveness as long as they don’t murder? I was an alcoholic before I came to Christ. Popular secular philosophy would proclaim that I will always be an alcoholic, but that is not the gospel. I was delivered miraculously by God’s grace. I am no longer an alcoholic.I am redeemed! I am free! I am sanctified! This is God’s plan for all of His saints. There will be no drunkards, murderers, coveters, or sexual perverts or any other sort of sinner in the Kingdom of God. If we were to permit the sectarian division of the church by our sins it would be a shame. Are we going to allow alcoholics to remain in their sin and to proudly proclaim their sinful desire as long as they don’t drink?

We must welcome those who are in bondage to perverted desires, but we must not allow them to proudly proclaim the sin that is in their heart and continue to harbor that sin as if it is normal. They must seek counseling and deliverance privately as directed by the Holy Spirit and their shepherds. The love of Christ does not leave people in their sin.

Big Ag is Killing Us

When we think about farmers most of us probably have pastoral images of a hard working rural family struggling to make a living off the land. But, what does the term “Big Ag” conjure up? I recall this old news program sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland, “America’s supermarket to the world.” There was a movie about ADM based on a true scandal. “The Informant” was based upon the story of Mark Whitacre who was a whistleblower/ informant for the FBI in an investigation of price fixing by ADM. It’s a funny movie worth seeing and the main character was a sort of tragic clown. Whitacre actually went to prison for embezzling in the process of his work for the FBI. ADM was investigated for illegal price-fixing on Lysine and eventually settled, paying more than $100 million in fines. In 2004 ADM also settled for $400 million in a class action for price fixing on high fructose corn syrup. That’s what comes to my mind when I think of “Big Ag.”

We have been hearing a fair amount of advertising lately about supporting farmers. America does need farmers. I’ve heard ads from farm organizations seeking to pressure Congress and the EPA to raise the E15 (ethanol fuel) standard. And with the new Trump trade policies, farmers are complaining that their bottom line is suffering. In fact, big agriculture successfully lobbied the administration for an increase in farm subsidies to counteract the new tariffs. “USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.” Ironically, they’re complaining about EXPECTED losses even though most of their profits for this year are already set by contracts. If they are to experience any losses those wouldn’t happen until the 2019 harvest. We are presented a picture of poor, suffering farmers, but is that really the case?

We hear about family farms and it elicits an image of a small nuclear family on a little tract, struggling to survive. In fact, “Family farm” is not a synonym for “small farm.” In 2015, 90 percent of million-dollar farms were family farms. The agricultural industry is perhaps one of the largest beneficiaries of government largesse. According to the EWG Farm Subsidy Database, “The federal government spends more than $20 billion a year on subsidies for farm businesses. About 39 percent of the nation’s 2.1 million farms receive subsidies, with the lion’s share of the handouts going to the largest producers of corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice.”

Almost of all the commodity payments and crop insurance indemnities are going to millionaires and multimillionaires as measured by farm household net worth. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, “America’s Diverse Family Farms: 2017 Edition” reports that, “Large-scale farms (large and very large family farms) accounted for just 2.9 percent of all farms, yet received over a third of the commodity payments (35 percent) and almost half of the crop insurance indemnities (46 percent).” And that “Large family farms, which received 32 percent of commodity payments and 34 percent of crop insurance indemnities, had a median household income of $347,000 (about six times the median income for all U.S. households).

The Farm bill truly is welfare for the rich. And remember, you and I pay for it. Fact: The Farm-Subsidy System Primarily Helps Large Agricultural Producers. The farm-subsidy system provides limited assistance to small family farms. In 2016, small family farms accounted for 89.9 percent of all farms, yet received only 27 percent of commodity payments and 17 percent of crop insurance indemnities. In addition to all of this, farmers are exempt from federal fuel taxes. If you own a business, you pay federal excise tax at the pump, but farmers are exempt. They buy diesel for their tractors without any tax. It costs the rest of us millions.

Besides getting all of that welfare, big agriculture has added to our costs of transportation to prop up their corn industry with federal ethanol standards. Ethanol may be less expensive at the pump than regular gasoline, but it will cost you more in reduced mileage. E10 gasoline, which is the gas we use in America, actually gives you 2-3 miles per gallon less than gasoline. E85 reduces mileage 7-8 miles per gallon.

In addition to reducing your gas mileage, running ethanol in older cars (newer cars have been re-designed to accommodate) actually does damage to the engine.” A 2012 study by Auto Alliance showed that some cars (model years 2001 to 2009) showed internal engine damage as the result of using an ethanol fuel blend. Damage to the valves and valve seats was evident in some of the cars tested. One of the 16 cars in the Auto Alliance study failed emissions compliance standards, which means it emitted more pollution than allowed by the EPA.”

The original impetus for the government to promote ethanol was to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But, with new discoveries in America, we are now the world’s largest oil producer. Then, the government began pushing ethanol as part of the demand for “green” energy to reverse climate change. But, studies have proved that producing ethanol from grain requires more energy than the combustion of ethanol produces. “An acre of U.S. corn yields about 7,110 pounds of corn for processing into 328 gallons of ethanol. But planting, growing and harvesting that much corn requires about 140 gallons of fossil fuels.” 131,000 BTUs are needed to make 1 gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 BTU. We are actually burning more carbon producing ethanol than the energy it produces. So much for reducing our carbon footprint. If there is such a thing as anthropomorphic climate change, we’re making it worse. Even the EPA admits that ethanol production is harming the atmosphere and soil.

It is estimated at this time that roughly 30% of our corn production is used for ethanol. There is little doubt that ethanol production has led to a significant increase in food costs. Have you looked at your food labels? That high fructose corn syrup (hfcs) is in almost everything we eat. Most of our meat is fed on corn.

Have you studied the health impacts of all of that hfcs in our diet? Heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death in America and hfcs plays a significant role in all of those diseases. All of that extra sugar in our diet is really killing us. The corn we are using today for our food is not the same as the corn your grandpa grew. Big farms today are using genetically modified corn, mostly from Monsanto. Have you seen the advertisements for “Roundup Ready Corn”? They are literally putting weed killer, glyphosate, in the corn and telling us that it is safe. The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” A number of EU countries now ban the use of this killer.

These days it seems like many people claim to have gluten allergies. Some researchers think that the real culprit is glyphosate. Monsanto is big Ag and they are killings us.