An Evil One

June 24, 2014

“This ought to be the epitaph of this administration: In the last five years under this president more babies have been aborted than jobs have been created,” Bauer said on Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference in Washington, D.C.

Don’t Repeat History

June 22, 2014

Or at least the bad parts of history.

(Kim R. Holmes, a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, oversaw the think tank’s defense and foreign policy team for more than two decades.)

President Obama is fond of saying he was elected to “end” wars, not start them. He clearly is tapping into Americans’ well-known weariness of wars and sees himself as merely carrying out their will.

But there’s a problem. Americans may indeed be war-weary (although how much may be exaggerated), but that only means they assume Obama’s policies will actually end the wars and bring peace.

By this measure, the president’s “no war, no way” policy isn’t working. Clearly, Iraq is exploding into a major new war that our continued presence could possibly have prevented. By the same token, our precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan may result in the Taliban’s return to power.

President Obama is banking on the gamble that we can walk away without any damage to our security. After all, this is the essence of “ending” a war versus actually winning it. So long as we’re not dragged back into the fighting, the thinking goes, there’s really no skin off our nose if our side loses. Otherwise we’d be doing everything in our power to make sure that doesn’t happen.

What would we do if there were another 9/11?

Clearly this is not the case. By withdrawing from Afghanistan on a timetable dictated by politics, not military conditions on the ground, we are leaving our friends to their own fate. This implies not only that the original purpose of fighting the war — i.e., preventing safe havens for terrorists who can kill us — was not worth it, but also that all our sacrifices could be in vain.

The president seems to believe the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot deteriorate enough to drag us back in. But what if he’s wrong? What makes him think a reconstituted Taliban, either partially or throughout the country, won’t be a magnet for future terrorists plotting another strike on our homeland?

What would we do if there were another 9/11? Launch a few cruise missiles, as President Clinton did in 1998 after our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked, which did nothing to stop the attacks on New York and the Pentagon?

Or what if a new terrorist regime is carved out of Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? That could lead to a full-fledged regional war, possibly involving Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even Jordan and Israel. Are we to stand by as oil prices go through the roof and terrorist plots on us are hatched from there as well?

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in Iraq and Afghanistan we are failing mightily in the prevention department. Make no mistake: It was Obama, not President George W. Bush, who failed in that particular duty. When Obama entered office in 2009, Iraq was in fairly good shape. The war was not yet over, but if we’d maintained a residual military force for training and advising Iraq’s security forces and for counterterrorism missions, asush had planned, the ISIS threat would have been mitigated. And Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would not have been as dependent on Iran.

We are left with an escalating civil war in Iraq that could very well have been prevented. President Obama’s shortsighted focus on pulling out of Iraq not only left a power vacuum now being filled by Iran and Islamist terrorists; it also risks a greater conflagration that pales in comparison with what we are now seeing.

We’ve watched this movie many times before. After World War I, war-weary Americans thought merely “avoiding” wars would stop them. Hitler showed them differently. We thought we could walk away from Vietnam, only to witness the “killing fields” of Cambodia.

Once again we seem to be learning the wrong historical lessons. For America, it’s not merely “staying out” of wars that prevents them. It’s a strong engagement on the ground with training, diplomacy and military support to deter attacks on us and our allies.

Originally posted on the Washington Times.

Breaking News

June 20, 2014

How is this BREAKING NEWS? “Tiger will play at Quicken Loans Ntl next wk, according to his Fb page.” SERIOUSLY?!?!

My dear bride and I have been married for sixteen years. We have learned a great deal over those years together. What was a rocky beginning has become a sweet and glorious union. There is seldom a day that goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for my wife. Our marriage isn’t perfect, because neither of us within this marriage is perfect (though she is surely closer to perfection than me). However, I can say by the grace and mercy of God that we have a good marriage. There are different lessons that we have learned over the past sixteen years. Some were more painful to learn than others and some are lessons that we will need to continually grow in. There are many who read this blog and have been married longer than us. No doubt, you have more wisdom to offer on this subject then me. I would welcome your thoughts in the comments below. As a pastor, who has counseled many couples, and as a veteran of sixteen years of marriage, I have found that these ten personalities have no place in Christian marriage:

Secret Agent: We can’t have secret expectations. Our spouse needs to know and we need to give voice to our expectations within the marriage relationship. It isn’t fair or even wise to keep these thoughts from our spouses. They need to know. If we aren’t willing to give expression to an expectation, than it shouldn’t be one. In truth, we are often reluctant to share these silent expectations, because once we hear them uttered from our mouths we realize how petty and unnecessary they are.

Debater: Debates are good in politics, the classroom, and at the water cooler. They aren’t helpful in marriage. Never argue for the sake of arguing in your marriage. Don’t debate to win a point, a round, or a plan. It is a lose-lose proposition. Be willing to discuss and disagree, but never debate.
Warrior: Our conflict is not with our spouse. Our battle is not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Our spouse is never to be viewed as our adversary and neither are we to be viewed their adversary. We are united together in Christ to wage this good fight alongside each other, not against one another. I am not her enemy and she is not mine. We are compatriots and fellow soldiers linked arm and arm waging battle with evil as our Lord Jesus leads us in this good and holy fight. Let us “stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24) and not against one another.

Mommy/Daddy Me: Most of us love being parents, but this cannot supersede our first calling as a husband or wife. It is a grievous mistake to place our children over our marriage relationship. If our marriage is suffering, our kids are suffering. If our marriage is thriving, the blessings cascade down upon our children like the oil poured out upon Aaron’s head and running down his beard (Psalm 133). It is like the dew of Hermon which falls on the mountains of Zion–it gives life.

Finger-Pointer: Our wife’s sin is not just her issue “to get over.” Neither are our husband’s sins purely his struggles “to get past.” We are united together. We are one flesh (Gen.2:24). God has given us one another to walk the path of righteousness hand-in-hand. Let us “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).
Holy Spirit Impostor: One of the great traps of Christian marriage is being more concerned about my spouse’s spiritual state than my own. It is a kind of super-spirituality that comes in the guise of love and righteousness, when it is anything but. Rather, it smacks of hypocrisy. We are not the Holy Spirit and we are not our spouse’s conscience. It is far too easy to be distracted from our own responsibilities when we have our target fixed on another.

Milquetoast: Loving and appreciating grace does not mean avoiding all hard things in marriage. Some Christian husbands and wives are confined by the false belief that being grace-centered means avoiding all conflict, disagreement, and confrontation. We are “grace people,” and sometimes the greatest manifestation of that grace is the willingness to breech hard subjects and wade through difficult issues. A gracious spouse will speak the truth, always in love, but will speak the truth (Eph. 4:12) for the betterment of their spouse and their marriage to the glory of God.

Accuser: Things forgiven in the past are not weapons to be wielded in the present. It doesn’t matter whether they were sins or errors committed before the marriage or after the wedding vows were taken. It doesn’t matter whether they were particular sins committed against us or someone else. Forgiven matters are forgiven. Are there consequences? Sure. May we need to discuss these things in counseling or pray about them together? Yes. But they are not a sledge-hammer to be used in times of disagreement, an example to use for the sake of argumentation, nor a thought to hold our spouse captive to our wishes. They have been buried in a deep chasm and sealed with our forgiveness by the grace of God. There they are to remain, unless they need to be brought forth and never as something to hold over the head of the other.

Me Monster: “Love does not insist on its own way” (1 Cor. 13:5). We must not seek our own interests first. If we are both pursuing the other’s interests than both of our needs are met, not begrudgingly, but willingly.

Dictator: Christian marriage is not to be domineered by one spouse or the other. The husband is the head of the marriage union (Eph. 5), but he is not its king. Both the husband and the wife serve one single King. He dictates the rules, character, and purpose for this relationship. Whether our inclination is to seek control of the marriage by force or passive aggressive silence, it is wrong. We are not try and dominate where we have no right. Ultimately, this marriage is not “ours” to do with it what we will. It is His. It falls within His dominion and we both serve His Kingdom, not our own. Our marriage is to be a living breathing earthly sign pointing to the reality of Christ’s union with the Church (Eph. 5). This is what is to dominate, dictate, and rule our marriages: the glory of Christ our exalted Head, King, and Bride-Groom. Not us. What a glorious thing Christian marriage is!

Children are a Blessing

June 12, 2014

Not….this…”we see children as products to be bought and sold.”

A Christian Directory

June 10, 2014

Look not for too great matters in the world: take it but for that wilderness which is the way to the promised land of rest. And then you will not count it strange to meet with hard usage and sufferings from almost all. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as if some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice in that ye are partakers of the sufferings of Christ,” 1 Peter iv. 12, 13. Are you content with God and Heaven for your portion? If not, how are you Christians? If you are, then you have small temptation to rebel or use unlawful means for earthly privileges. Paul saith, he “took pleasure in persecutions,” 2 Corinthians xii. 10. Learn you to do so, and you will easily bear them.

Richard Baxter, A Christian Directory (1665)

“The character of the Church and of the state depends on the character of the family. If religion dies out in the family, it cannot elsewhere be maintained.”

Charles Hodge

I’ve been asked this question many times not just through my Practical Shepherding website, but even more recently in my own church by visitors. It is a common scenario. You move to a new area. You get find your new residence and job. You get the kids enrolled in school. Where you settle in a local church often becomes a longer, more drawn-out task.

After checking out all the churches you desire to visit, here are four questions to ask yourself as you narrow the search to make a decision.

1. Is this a church where my family will be regularly fed by God’s Word?

This is the first question that needs to be asked. Not just are they faithful to the Word of God, but will this church preach and teach in such a way that my soul and the souls of my family will be nourished? In other words, are they preaching expositionally through books of the Bible as the regular, steady diet of the congregation? This approach does not automatically answer this question, but it is a great place to start and evaluate.

2. Is this a church where I am convinced the care of my soul will be a priority?

Does this church have real pastors/elders who see their primary task to be the spiritual care and oversight of the souls of the members? In other words, just because they have powerful, biblical preaching does not mean your individual soul will be tended to on a regular basis. Ask the pastors. Ask other church members. It will not take much investigation on whether this work is a priority of the leadership of the church.

3. Is this a church where my family will experience meaningful Christian fellowship and accountability?

To know this, it will require a bit of a commitment to one church for a time to build relationships, attend some church fellowship events, and get to know some of the pastors and leadership. Yet you must have a realistic expectation as you are not yet a member, so do not expect to be treated as one.

4. Is this a church where I can serve God’s people and use my gifts for its benefit?

It will help to know where you are gifted and what some of the needs of the church are. Some needs can be filled by your simple presence and commitment. Also, do not assume you know what those areas of need are by your limited observations.

You should be able to know the answers to these questions within a few months of attending one church if you give yourself to the process. If you can answer in the affirmative to all four of these questions, it is a good possibility you have found your next church. At that point I would encourage you not to delay but to pursue membership.

Important Final Note

One final element is the key to persevering with the zeal required in this search. You and your family should feel a sense of persistent unease knowing that you are not in covenant fellowship with a local church and are not under the authority of undershepherds caring for your souls. The freedom and absence of accountability many experience in the search for a new church can cause a sinful complacency.

In other words, you do not ever want to become comfortable being one of God’s sheep who has wandered away from the fellowship of the flock and the accountability of shepherds to care for you, even if that journey at the time feels fun and exciting.

Brian Croft is senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also the author of Visit the Sick: Ministering God’s Grace in Times of Illness and Test, Train, Affirm, and Send Into Ministry: Recovering the Local Church’s Responsibility to the External Call. Brian blogs regularly at Practical Shepherding.

As McCarthy writes, the Republicans are so intimidated by Obama, and the media that is still so protective of him, that they’ll never even try to impeach him.

The allegations are so compelling and clearly true that the reader is left to conclude that Congress has no choice but to act, though we know it won’t.

Seven cases in which Obama has “amended” Obamacare without legislative action, thereby usurping the powers reserved to Congress by Article 1 of the Constitution;
Unilateral “amendments” to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act;
Unilateral amendment of the welfare-work requirement;
Five instances of Obama’s unilateral “amendments” of immigration law;
Making “recess appointments” when the Senate was not in recess;
Dereliction of the duties of commander in chief, including in response to the Benghazi terrorist attacks of 9-11-2012 and in enabling Iran to gain nuclear weapons while vowing to prevent it;
Fraud on the American people in undertaking the Libyan war and in trumping up the phony argument that the obscure “Innocence of Muslims” video caused the Benghazi attacks;
And too much more to catalogue here.

On December 20, 1998 the House of Representatives approved a two-article bill of impeachment against President William Jefferson Clinton. In it, Clinton was accused of lying to a grand jury, suborning witnesses’ perjury in a civil case, and other such criminal conduct. What was missing from the Senate trial on that indictment — and from the nation at that time — was the political momentum to remove Clinton from office. So, like the only other president so far to be impeached, Clinton was not convicted in the Senate trial that followed.

Andy McCarthy, a former senior federal prosecutor, has written the new book Faithless Execution, which is both a powerful case for the impeachment of Barack Obama and also a politically savvy explanation of why it will never happen. It’s brilliant and frustrating. Brilliant because of the constitutional analysis of the impeachment mechanism and frustrating because it recognizes that no matter how deserving of it he may be, Barack Obama will never be impeached.

Article II Section 4 of the Constitution says that the President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States “…shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Treason and bribery are, of course, crimes prosecutable in federal court. When impeachment is discussed — and it’s not in polite company these days because timorous Republicans are frightened by mere mention of the “i-word” — it’s largely understood to encompass only criminal conduct.

But that’s not what the Framers understood it to mean. The main “go-to” treatise on the Constitution I use is The Heritage Guide to the Constitution published by the Heritage Foundation. It says, “Because ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’ was a term of art in English impeachments, a plausible reading supported by many scholars is that the grounds for impeachment can not only be the defined crimes of treason and bribery, but also other criminal or even noncriminal behavior amounting to a serious dereliction of duty.”

McCarthy is one of those scholars, illustrating the point with references to an impeachment that was contemporaneous with the Constitutional Convention and debates among its members. The term “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as McCarthy points out, “…is a concept rooted not on statutory offenses fit for criminal court proceedings, but in damage done to societal order by persons in whom great public trust has been reposed.” One example he gives, the 1786 impeachment of the British governor-general of India, proves the point. William Hastings was impeached not only for the crimes of bribery and extortion, but also abuse of power.

McCarthy’s recitation of the history of the Constitutional Convention’s consideration of impeachment is worth the price of his book. I won’t give it all away, but the quotations from James Madison on the need for Congress to be able to remove the Chief Magistrate for “perfidy,” and the profound influence Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England had on the convention’s members (it spoke of the maladministration of officers who would be subject to impeachment), are essential to understanding the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard.

So if a president is guilty of significant malfeasance or misfeasance in office he can be removed by impeachment. But will he be? Only if the nation’s political mood demands it.

The most important lesson Faithless Executiondraws from those points is that impeachment is a political mechanism available to a political body — the Congress — that is separate and distinct from the judiciary. It’s not a legal mechanism, and unless the political momentum across the nation is clearly in favor of impeaching a president, it cannot be done.

Impeachment is one of the two tools the Constitution affords Congress for reining in a president’s conduct. The other, because Congress at least supposedly holds the purse strings, is that it can deny a president funding for any action that Congress disagrees with. Obama has, by uncompromising political maneuvers — aided and abetted by Republican leaders who are more afraid of Obama than of any president in living memory — neutered that congressional tool. The only thing left is impeachment.

Both presidents who were impeached, Clinton and Andrew Johnson, escaped conviction in their Senate trials. That’s not to say they weren’t guilty of everything charged. But it does say that the political momentum was in the president’s favor and against impeachment.

Impeachment is a political tool and one that is, by the Framers’ design, very hard to achieve. Every president is elected by gaining a majority of the popular vote (and let’s not quibble about the Electoral College: it’s now just a rubber stamp of that vote.) The House — especially the Boehner-led House — dares not approve or even bring to a vote any impeachment of a popularly elected president unless the majority of Americans are resolved to removing him. As McCarthy writes, the Republicans are so intimidated by Obama, and the media that is still so protective of him, that they’ll never even try to impeach him.

About half of McCarthy’s book is devoted to a draft bill of impeachment against Obama. And this is where McCarthy’s book becomes frustrating. The allegations are so compelling and clearly true that the reader is left to conclude that Congress has no choice but to act, though we know it won’t.

McCarthy’s Bill of Impeachment is drafted principally around conduct that isn’t criminal but is the malfeasance and misfeasance that Obama has undertaken since he became president. It’s stated in dispassionate terms because, as McCarthy writes, a bill of impeachment is like an indictment. It’s not a place for hyperbole, but only for a hardheaded exacting assessment of whether a compelling case can be made. This one includes:

Seven cases in which Obama has “amended” Obamacare without legislative action, thereby usurping the powers reserved to Congress by Article 1 of the Constitution;
Unilateral “amendments” to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act;
Unilateral amendment of the welfare-work requirement;
Five instances of Obama’s unilateral “amendments” of immigration law;
Making “recess appointments” when the Senate was not in recess;
Dereliction of the duties of commander in chief, including in response to the Benghazi terrorist attacks of 9-11-2012 and in enabling Iran to gain nuclear weapons while vowing to prevent it;
Fraud on the American people in undertaking the Libyan war and in trumping up the phony argument that the obscure “Innocence of Muslims” video caused the Benghazi attacks;
And too much more to catalogue here. As McCarthy writes, the case seems overwhelming.

It’s not just that Obama’s presidency is tantamount to a ritual burning of the Constitution. McCarthy’s book is not the vessel containing our nation’s political salvation. It is, on one hand, a measurement of how far Obama’s malfeasance in office has gone and, on the other, a frank assessment that nothing will be done about it while he remains in office.

Every potential 2016 voter (and candidate) should read this book. It’s a guide to what a president cannot do and shouldn’t attempt, and an outline of what needs to be undone

We are weak

June 1, 2014

Negotiation with terrorists=Americans no more vulnerable + distract from O’s scandals and international weakness.