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Ray’s America

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Taps had been played, and two handsome and poised Airmen serving in the U.S. Air Force’s Honor Guard had just placed a folded American flag into my mother’s lap.

 It was Sunday. The sun shone bright in all its glory. I was seated beside my mother beneath a tent, surrounded by my family and our dearest loved ones. We were enveloped on all sides by at least a dozen large American flags held majestically upright by a group of veterans known as the Patriot Guard Riders who had arrived of their own good will for the single purpose of honoring my father.

 What came next was, undoubtedly, the most beautiful moment of my life….

 Gently breaking the silence came a tap, tap-tap-tap, tap, tap…. followed by the crisp sounds of horns and a soulful organ… And, finally, the raspy, breathy, and gentle voice of the late, great Ray Charles. My father loved Ray Charles. Both Ray and my father loved America. Mr. Charles even wrote his own verse to the beginning of the classic song, America the Beautiful, with special note to the bravery of those who valiantly fought to secure our freedoms.

“Oh beautiful, for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self, our country loved,
And mercy more than life,
America,
mmm America,
May God thy gold refine,
Til’ all success be nobleness,
And every gain divined.”

As the song played, all in attendance joined in – impromptu. I looked around in awe. Even the brave men and women with the Patriot Guard Riders, holding high the American flags, sang with us.

“America,
I love you- America,
You see, My God done shed his grace on thee…”

For 3 minutes and 41 seconds we sang together; family, friends, and strangers together as one people. Our sadness melted away into joyful love, a sense of divine unity and brotherhood, and pure gratitude for God’s blessings – both for our country and for our loved ones. There was no division, no color or class. Nothing stood able to tear us apart. In those moments, we were living out Ray’s beautiful America, my father’s beautiful America, our beautiful America.

Throughout our country’s history, including the truly ugly parts, God’s blessings have continued and his Grace has not once forsaken us. God set America apart as the beacon of progress on a shining hill. America is flawed, but she truly is beautiful. May we always remember and continue to cherish the small, quiet moments with good people (like my own on Sunday), knowing that we Americans and our willingness to sacrifice for one another are what makes our glorious country so special. May we never lose our faith in, nor our gratitude and appreciation of God’s blessings.

Thank you, Daddy, for teaching me sacrifice and gratitude.

*To the USAF Honor Guard and to the Patriot Guard Riders, thank you and may God bless you.

*And, to all those who serve our country, in any capacity, I humbly thank you.

[Editor’s note: Robert "Bob” Tilton passed away on August 30, 2017. Bob served his country in the U.S. Air Force and was a highly decorated pilot during the Vietnam War. He retired from FedEx after flying for 30 years. Read his obituary here. We all join in grieving with Paige for the loss of her hero, and one of America’s best. Let’s honor the forgotten heroes of Vietnam, for they sacrificed so much.]

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Culture and Religion

Stand against Marxism

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Stand against Marxism

As you may have seen, there’s a conference coming up called Stand Against Marxism Conference. Fellow GKer Sam Jones and I will both be speaking at this conference, alongside a long list of speakers, including Trevor Loudon, Janet Mefferd, Judd Saul, Steve Deace, Jon Harris and JD Hall. This two day event will be jam-packed with information from these voices who have chosen to take a stand against the Cultural Marxist infiltration into the church.

There are at least two people that I know of that will be speaking at this conference that are not biblical Christians. One is flat out not a Christian, while the other is Catholic. So how can I be consistent in publicly confronting pastors like John MacArthur for speaking with those promoting a false Gospel when I choose to speak at this conference alongside a Catholic & a non-Christian?

For example, I wrote an article criticizing Pastor MacArthur being scheduled to speak at the NRB Convention. My criticism of him agreeing to speak there was that the premise of the convention was that everyone was unifying around furthering the Gospel. Thus, it’s a blanket endorsement of everyone’s Gospel who was speaking or exhibiting. Well, there were people like Rick Warren, Roma Downy & Mark Burnet, as well as TBN. Why would you agree to speak at an event that was stating for all to see that those people are furthering the Gospel? You see, there might be another context in which it would be ok to speak at the same event as those people. However, it couldn’t be when the premise was furthering the Gospel or some other unifying factor around serious doctrine that we disagree with.

So when it comes to the Stand Against Marxism Conference, am I being a hypocrite by speaking with a non-Christian and a Catholic? I do not believe so. Here’s why:

When Judd Saul asked me to be a part of this conference, I discussed this concern with him. We had a very good talk about it, and the thing that I came away with was that the unifying factor for this conference is combatting Cultural Marxism and Social Justice, which is intentionally infiltrating Christianity. However, this is not a strictly theological issue, although it is compromising the Gospel and the most dangerous threat to the Gospel in our lifetime.

This is a political ideology that is using religion to further its goals, and our own evangelical elite are falling for it hook, line and sinker. You see, the ultimate strategy behind the social justice movement is to usher in the one world religion, one world government and one world currency that we see talked about in Revelation. So what these non-Christian Globalists are doing is trying to use God’s own people for their evil plans. They’ve already infiltrated our government. They’ve already infiltrated the entertainment world. They’ve already infiltrated the education system. Now, the final stand is infiltrating religion. And the most influential religion in the most influential nation in the world is Christianity here in America.

Both non-Christians and Christians can be concerned with this strategy. Non-Christians see this as a communist/socialist attempt to overthrow our American way of life, taking away our freedoms and liberty given to us in the Constitution. Christians see this not only as a political overthrow, but as a flat out compromising of the Gospel, changing biblical theology just enough to motivate acceptance of Social Justice within our churches.

Think about it: Many of these Social Justice Warriors have eschatology that teaches them that they need to establish God’s Kingdom here on earth before Christ can return. So they are so concerned with overtaking politics, education, entertainment and business that they are accepting of these false beliefs of Social Justice, because they are trying to alleviate all of systemic oppression to clear the way for Christ’s return. However, really what’s happening is they have a belief system that is so sinister, that they think they are establishing Christ’s Kingdom, when in reality they are laying the groundwork for the anti-christ’s rule during the tribulation. This is the definition of the term: Useful Idiots.

So when it comes to the Stand Against Marxism Conference, the unifying principle is opposition to Marxism. Both Christians and non-Christians see that the church is the last stand against this sinister movement. If we lose this battle, that’s it. Our way of life is done.

When it comes to the majority of us who are Christians who will be speaking at this conference, we understand theologically and prophetically what is happening here. We understand that we have to take a stand for biblical truth. But we also have to remember that many of those who are on our side in this battle against Marxism are not saved and heading towards eternal punishment in hell. So it’s important that, while we are going to battle against Marxism alongside some that aren’t saved, we must preach the Gospel and not in any way compromise our beliefs. Many of those that are leading the way in this fight need to hear the Gospel themselves.

This is the perfect opportunity for many of us to be clear in our beliefs, but also point back to the necessity of the Gospel. We could win this war against Marxism, but many of those who helped us win are still going to hell. So what’s the point? For us as believers, we cannot get distracted with political battles. We can participate in them, yes. In fact, it’s a good thing to participate in them. But we have to remember our primary goal: Preach the Gospel and point everyone back to Christ.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

-Mark 8:36

To register for the Stand Against Marxism Conference, please visit standagainstmarxism.com. We’ll see you there!

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Lecrae’s Jordan River baptism is unbiblical

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Lecraes Jordan River baptism is unbiblical

The rapper known as Lecrae posted a baptism video on Instagram and Twitter touting his upcoming album. The social media post sparked conversation on baptism and the merits of getting baptized more than once. Many comments had assumed that Lecrae, who has for years marketed himself as a Christian had already been baptized. Others tout Jordan River baptisms as something Christians do when they visit the Holy Land. There are a number of important biblical questions here that should be discussed. But first, here’s the post:

Believer’s Baptism?

The Bible has examples of baptism all throughout the Book of Acts. We see that in Peter’s Sermon, Peter instructs the convicted audience to repent and be baptized. We can go all throughout the Book of Acts, but my favorite example is is Acts 16, the passage read when I was baptized.

27When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” 29And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. Acts 16:27-34 NASB

People first believe, then they are baptized, promptly. That is the model throughout scripture with every Christian except the thief on the cross next to Jesus.

Number of Baptisms?

I challenge people to find a scriptural example of someone being baptized more than once. There may be a passage fitting for this question with the baptism of Jesus.

11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 

3Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:11-17 ESV

John the Baptist was presumably already baptized, seeing as he was baptizing many others. While one cannot blame him for wanting Jesus to baptize him, Jesus corrects the situation by saying it must be done to “fulfill all righteousness.” As we can see in verse 17, Jesus knew what he was talking about. John the Baptist is not then baptized by Jesus afterwards despite experiencing the awe of the Holy Spirit.

If John the Baptist was not baptized a second time, what scriptural support is there for any believer to be baptized a second time.

Legitimate Second Baptisms

Samuel Sey of Slow to Write wrote a piece on why he’s a baptist. It provocatively begins by stating:

I’ve been baptized twice. I was baptized for the first time two years before I became a Christian. And I was baptized for the second time six years after I became a Christian. But what happened in between that time is why I am a Baptist.

He goes on to explain how he had a meaningless baptism in his youth. Then when he actually became a Christian, his church wrongly disallowed him to be baptized. There are Christians who were baptized either as infants or when they never really believed. For them to be baptized when they are saved is perfectly in line with the scriptural model. Otherwise it is not rooted in the Bible for Christians to be baptized a second time whether they have just gone through something or as a “renewal.” For if it were, what is to stop baptism from being performed a third or fourth time for a believer. And if a believer can be baptized that many times, why then is baptism not practiced to the regularity that Communion is?

Lecrae Responds

So in one tweet, it went from being a baptism to a Mikvah. So after being questioned, he backtracked. His Instagram post delves deeper into explaining how baptism and Mikvah are the same, which further undermines the legitimacy of his defense.

But then after backtracking, he doubled down. He then compared his baptism after already being baptized to Jesus being baptized despite being God, as if the reasons for either are remotely comparable.

Thirdly, Lecrae insists that we “celebrate the heart” as opposed to criticizing him. But plainly put, there is nothing here to celebrate. He is a rich man of privilege vacationing overseas. There is nothing godly about what he is doing: calling a baptism a Mikvah under criticism and telling us to “celebrate the heart” instead of discerning the obvious theological discrepancy that sets a terrible example for believers. No, we should reject his his postmodernist statement of celebrating the heart which the bible says is deceitful. We should instead use our heads, for Christianity is a faith that promotes and enables us to critically think.

Final Thoughts

Can’t be baptized in the Jordan river and make the same old music. This new album is gonna be special.

This stunt is clearly self promotion and that elevates this from being a misunderstanding of scripture to an open mockery of the sacrament of baptism.

This is likely a sign of further decline as he increasingly distances himself from the “Christian” label in favor of going woke. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism (believer’s baptism), and believers ought to take that seriously.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

Why are we losing to the SJWs?

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Why are we losing to the SJWs

We are losing the war right now to the SJWs. There is a remnant of believers still here willing to take a stand, but we are losing. The Cultural Marxists are taking over the church. They’ve infiltrated our very own churches to the point to where they have a firm hold of influence that’s not going to be easy to shake.

One of the reasons why this has happened is because the church, as a whole, has become indifferent to false teaching. The mentality that we need to be tolerant of everybody and their ideas has softened the church to the point where nobody bats an eye when someone like John Piper breaches his heretical Final Salvation gospel. His false teaching is tolerated because we, as the church, accept him… thus, we accept all of his beliefs because of who he is. This is a problem, and the enemy has used it to their advantage.

We have this celebrity mindset within the church where we accept a particular teaching simply because a famous pastor says it’s true. It could be completely off or 100% true, and the church will believe it either way. That’s a serious problem. Discernment has gone out the window.

What we have to remember is that we can’t base our theological beliefs on anyone, including our favorite pastor…. Including our own pastor. We can use them as a springboard for our own study and to help us to understand particular passages, but we need to always be like the Bereans, comparing everything we hear with Scripture.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

-Acts 17:11

If we can be Bereans, that will go a long way in this battle.

The other reason why we are losing is because many within the church are following a pastor instead of God. This allows the enemy to use its strategy of celebrity influence over the church to usher in false doctrines influencing an unsuspecting group of people. Paul warned us that we need to stop being followers of individual leaders:

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

-1 Corinthians 3:4-9

Your favorite pastor is simply being used for God’s purposes. However, he’s not the one that we should be worshiping or glorifying… that’s supposed to be reserved for God and God alone!

A common response to those who criticize celebrity pastors is that the person doing the critique is harming the kingdom of God because that person is so important to God’s plans. To me, that is questioning God’s sovereignty and saying that God’s plans can be thwarted by us. Remember, God is sovereign and in control. Our theology should make us have a low view of ourselves and a high view of God. If you believe that disagreeing with a particular pastor is harming the kingdom of God instead of asking whether the critique is valid or not, that’s a part of the problem.

We should be okay when people disagree with us. We should welcome it. We should encourage it.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

-Proverbs 27:17

Engage in the debate. Pastors, welcome criticism of your beliefs. Constantly reevaluate what you are teaching. When someone criticizes you, go to Scripture and see if their critique is valid. If it is, change your ways. If it’s not, point the critic back to Scripture. But either way, it’s a good thing!

Ladies and Gentlemen… please don’t try to protect a celebrity pastor from all criticism. When you do that, you are actually doing more harm than good. The debate and conversation over ideas is what we need right now, but the Evangelical Elite have done an amazing job shutting down the public conversation. This allows them to not define their terms and clearly explain the general principles that they believe support their teachings.

This is dangerous when it comes to Social Justice. The SJWs are not having to defend their beliefs, they just continually spout them off with almost no pushback. We need that to change.

There’s one other reason why I believe that we are losing the war right now, and I’ll address that in my next article. If we can fix these issues, we can have a chance at Reforming the church back to Biblical Christianity.

Participate in the conversation. Join in the debate. It’s how this war is going to be fought. It’s going to be a long fight, and it’s going to be difficult. But in the long run, it’s going to be worth it!

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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