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Posts Tagged ‘The Reformation’

SMC_Facebook_2“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19).

These familiar words of Jesus commonly are known to Christians as the Great Commission. While not the only call for evangelism in the New Testament, they certainly are an important proof text supporting the call of Christians to evangelize the lost.

The Apostle Paul provides another proof text in his epistle to the Romans. In Chapter 10 he writes, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?’ (Romans 10:14, 15).

Now someone may ask what these passages have to do with the topic at hand, the tech left’s attack on free speech and why Christians, and especially Christians, should object to it.

It is my hope that a little thought would make the relationship between these two passages and the issue at hand clear. Christianity is a religion of the Word. And how to people hear that Word? From a preacher. If the Word cannot be spoken and written, if it cannot be communicated to unbelievers, they have no chance of coming to faith in Christ.

Further, Christ commands us to go, to make disciples and to teach all his commandments. To fulfill this commandment, Christians must use words. That is to say, they must be able both to speak and to write.

For any civil magistrate to prohibit or to attempt to prohibit Christians from speaking freely means to prohibit them from doing the very thing Christ himself commanded his disciples to do. This represents an enormous abuse of power by the civil authorities and is itself a great evil.

Someone may object to my reasoning here by saying that internet censorship is not being done by the civil authorities, but rather by private companies who have the right to regulate traffic on their websites. This may seem like a plausible argument, but as I hope to show next week, Big Tech as represented by companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are not acting on their own when they deplatform conservative and libertarian political commentary. Rather, in this author’s opinion, these companies really are acting on behalf of Deep State to censor views it deems dangerous to its cause.

As some have put it, the Deep State has simply outsourced censorship, which in the United States cannot be done directly by government officials due to the First Amendment, to private corporations which are to a significant degree under the control of the Deep State.

As I noted last week, I hope to lay out the case that it’s the globalist Deep State that’s largely behind the push for social media censorship. Lord willing, I plan to make this case next week.

For this week’s installment, I’d like to continue with additional examples of deplatforming found in the Scriptures. Last seek we looked at deplatforming in the Old Testament. This week, our focus will be on deplatforming in the New Testament.

Deplatforming in the New Testament

Although the deplatformings recorded in the New Testament happened many hundreds of years after those we looked at last week in the Old Testament, the spirit, the purpose, behind them is the same. In both cases, it is the vested power interests attempting to quash any challenge to their authority.

The premier examples of deplatforming and attempted deplatforming in the New Testament can be found in the life of Jesus Christ himself. Throughout his earthly ministry, the Jewish religious authorities were Jesus greatest enemies and constantly sought out ways to silence him.

In one case, ordinary Synagogue members attempted to deplatform Christ by throwing him off a hill in Nazareth when they decided they didn’t like his sermon.

And in the end it was the combined efforts of the Jewish leaders, the Jewish people and the Roman civil authorities who joined forces to temporarily succeed in deplatforming Jesus when they brutally executed him on the cross.

Worth noting is the reason why the Jewish religious leaders and some of the Jewish people wanted Christ killed. It was not what Jesus did, but what Jesus said that drew their wrath.

Consider this passage from John’s Gospel. “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God’ ” (John 10:31-33).

Note well that it was what Jesus said, not what he did, that so angered these people, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You…make Yourself God.”

Consider another example, this one recorded by Luke. Early in his ministry, Luke tells us that Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth and there read the Scriptures and preached.

Jesus’ hometown crowd was on his side at first, but quickly became hostile when he recounted how the prophet Elijah was sent outside the covenant to Zaraphath to help a widow suffering from the famine and how Naaman alone was cured of leprosy by Elisha.

Luke tells us these good church goers were “filled with wrath” and led Jesus outside the city where they planned to throw him off a cliff. That’s deplatforming with a vengeance.

Note that here, as with incident recorded by John, the impetus for the attempt of Jesus life was what he said, not what he did.

At Jesus trial before the elders of the people and the chief priests, once again we see Jesus words were what got him in trouble. Luke notes that Jesus interlocutors asked him if he were the Son of God. When Jesus told them, “You rightly say that I am,” they rested their case, saying, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

John the Baptist also was deplatformed for what he said. In John’s case, his speech got him imprisoned and beheaded.

As Matthew tells us, Herod had John thrown in prison, “Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her [Herodias, his brother Phillips wife].’ ” Matthew records that Herod would have killed John for his saying but for the fact that he feared the people, who regarded John as a prophet.

Peter and John are another example of deplatforming. They were arrested for their preaching (speech) in the temple and dragged before the Sanhedrin who “commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

This is noteworthy, for Peter had just performed a miracle, healing a man who had been lame since birth. The Sanhedrin even admitted that “a notable miracle had been done” through the apostles. But the Sanhedrin did not order Peter and John not to perform miracles, they ordered them not to speak nor teach in the name of Jesus. It was the apostles’ speaking that concerned the Sanhedrin, not their miracle working.

Acts chapter 5 recounts how Peter and John were arrested and deplatformed a second time. On this occasion, there were not brought directly before the Sanhedrin, but were imprisoned. Scripture tells us that an angel of the Lord came and brought them out of prison, telling them, “God, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

Once again, we see the emphasis laid on the apostles preaching, their speaking, not on their miracle working. The angel did not tell them to go to the temple and heal people. He told them to preach.

The Biblical emphasis could not be more clear. Christianity is about words. It’s about understanding. It’s about belief. In order to understand and agree with the Gospel, one first has to hear the words of the Gospel. In order to hear and believe the Gospel, the information must be communicated in words.

The ministry experience of the Apostle Paul mirrors that of the examples above. Time and again Paul found himself in trouble, not for what he did, but for what he said.

Any number of examples could be brought forth to buttress this point. One example comes right after his conversion on the Damascus road. Acts chapter 9 records how Paul “Immediately…preached Christ in the synagogues,” and that he, “confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus was is the Christ.”

So how did the Jews in Damascus react to Paul’s preaching. Acts tells us they, “plotted to kill him.”

Another example of deplatforming can be seen in Paul’s speech to the crowd at the temple. Paul was addressing an already hostile crowd when he told of his commission by Christ to go to the Gentiles.

Acts notes that the crowd listed until Paul said “Gentiles” and then started to riot, crying out, tearing their clothes and throwing dust in the air. This resulted in Paul’s arrest, spending many years in jail, and being taken to Rome to appeal to Caesar. Paul was deplatformed because of what he said.

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Day 2 of The Trinity Foundation’s Reformation conference saw four separate presentations by two men whose work has long been associated with the Foundation.  Mark W. Evans, a minister from Faith Presbytery, the Bible Presbyterian Church presented a single paper in two sessions titled The Reformation:  Past, Present, and Future.

The other speaker of the day was Dr. Paul M. Elliott, president of Teaching the Word Ministries.  Dr. Elliott gave two separate talks, the first titled The Reformation is Not a Return to Pre-Reformation Positions, and the second The Reformation Is Not Co-Belligerence with Unbelievers.

For those interested, all four sessions from Day 2 plus the two sessions from Day 1 were recorded and will be available on the Trinity Foundation website.  The planned date of the posting is not known to this writer.

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Well, I just got back to my hotel room here in Johnson City.  Day 1 of the Trinity Foundation Reformation Conference, the full title of which is The Reformation at 500:  Is It Over or Is It Needed Now More than Ever?, ran a little later than expected, but this attendee isn’t complaining.

Trinity Foundation president Tom Juodaitis gave the opening talk.  In it, he focused on the two key principles of the Reformation – what some call the formal and material principles of the Reformation – Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone) and Sola Fide (justification by faith alone).

Mr. Juodaitis made the important point that there is a close connection between the spiritual liberty that comes with the preaching of the Gospel and the political and economic liberty that the West has enjoyed over the past 500 years.

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