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Tag Archives: debates

Afraid of the Truth

Recent studies have shown how algorithms used by social media sights favor a secular worldview.  After a whistle blower from Google was fired for expressing his concerns, cable news interviews of this former engineer have exposed how these algorithms block conservative content.  When you add the recent videos released by Project Veritas, it’s clear that progressives are afraid of the truth, unwilling to participate in a fair or friendly debate.

Now after Paul and Silas had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul entered the synagogue, as was his custom, and for three Sabbaths he engaged in discussion and friendly debate with them from the Scriptures, Acts 17:1-2.

During the first century, debates regularly took place in the center of town at marketplaces.  Philosophers took turns sharing their beliefs with those that followed either adding, defending or weighing the pros and cons.  The apostle Paul used this open minded climate to his favor, visiting a synagogue in Thessalonica on the Sabbath, examining the Old Testament.  Luke describes these discussions as friendly debates as each shared their biblical knowledge of the Torah.

But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] had also been preached by Paul at Berea, they came there too, agitating and disturbing the crowds, Acts 17:13.

After Paul and Silas were successful in convincing several Jews into converting to Christianity, civility departed.  Afraid that others might leave their synagogue, leaders gathered up some lowlifes and thugs to threaten Paul.  After fleeing Thessalonica, the bullying didn’t stop as news of a revival in Berea inspired synagogue leaders to round up another motley crew.  Apparently, being afraid of the truth is nothing new as when individuals begin to embrace biblical teachings, peer pressure is applied to change hearts and minds to revert back to what is considered socially acceptable.  Don’t be afraid of the truth; face it with an open heart.

by Jay Mankus

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Remaining Above the Fray

The expression above the fray refers to abstaining from getting involved in a heated argument, confrontation or debate.  While individuals may participate by adding their opinion, temperance is demonstrated by going the right distance and no further.  One of the reasons I have not activated my twitter account is to avoid being dragged into a no win situation of endless mudslinging back and forth.

But avoid foolish and ill-informed and stupid controversies and genealogies and dissensions and quarrels about the Law, for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him], 11 well aware that such a person is twisted and is sinning; he is convicted and self-condemned [and is gratified by causing confusion among believers], Titus 3:9-11.

Controversy is nothing new.  During the first century, philosophers meet in the marketplace to exchange their ideas.  When these new teachings conflicted with biblical principles, dissensions and quarrels about the God’s law triggered heresy, a departure from biblical beliefs.  In the passage above, the apostle Paul warns a servant of Christ to avoid getting sucked into these futile discussions.  In the centuries following biblical times, God raised up Christian historians who wrote apologetic books defending and justifying biblical truth.

Therefore if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ [as there certainly is in abundance], if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship [that we share] in the Spirit, if [there is] any [great depth of] affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ], Philippians 2:1-2.

The best solution to remain above the fray is by developing a Christ-like mind.  Arguments tend to bring out raw emotions that influences human nature to attack, lash out and seek revenge.  Yet, Jesus shares a contrary message, to let God judge the living and the dead.  Jesus had the power to call down fire from heaven as the Son of God, but he choose to live a humble life as a blue collar carpenter.  By taking time every day to meet quietly with God, this spiritual discipline empowered Jesus to carry out God’s will on earth.  When individuals begin to practice Philippians 2:2-5, attitudes will transform toward a heavenly mindset to remain above the fray.

by Jay Mankus

A Split Decision

In the context of boxing, split decisions occur when judges view a contest from opposing points of view.  Unlike unanimous decisions where there is a clear victor, contestants may sway judges by a great comeback or regaining control of a fight.  While modern technology and social media use round by round scorecards today, no one knows what the judges think until the final results are announced at the end of each bout.

 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand, Matthew 12:25.

Throughout the course of each day, arguments tend to result in split decisions depending upon your worldview.  These disagreements can create divisive debates that divide rather than unite.  After President Trump’s comments last Friday in Alabama about National Football players kneeling during the national anthem, professional athletes, owners and most of the media created a firestorm.  After these attacks went viral, citizens from the heartland, Nascar and veterans chimed in to support their president.  A week later, a split decision still exists, with convincing arguments on both sides.

 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges, Matthew 12:27.

During the first century, another controversy began to brew.  The Pharisees felt like Jesus was making a power play, introducing a new concept to Judaism.  This teaching was heresy in the eyes of religious leaders.  Jealous of Jesus’ ability to heal, a rumor spread about Jesus working behind the scenes with the Devil to fool everyone.  Using logic, Jesus began to poke holes in their theory, responding with the two passages above.  These words remind me of today’s current debate over standing or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem.  In the end, if America doesn’t come to a point where people agree to disagree, the end will be in sight.  Therefore, the next time you attempt to play the role of judge and jury, take a step back and let God be the ultimate judge.

by Jay Mankus

 

That’s the Worst!

In this age of raw emotions expressed on social media, perspective is often lost.  Subsequently, blogs, instagrams and tweets tend to exaggerate events, making things far worse than reality.  Thus, if you troll social media long enough, don’t be surprise if you find a comment claiming, “that’s the worst.”

Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue, Psalm 120:2.

Whenever I drive, my patience is at its worst.  Whether I am alone or driving my family, I am frustrated by the slightest mistake made by other drivers.  These offenses strike a nerve, usually getting me bent out of shape.  Unfortunately, I prematurely judge and label each individual behind the wheel as the worst driver I have ever seen.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; Luke 6:37.

Debates over what’s the “worst” varies.  Some claim accidental deaths, others suggest cancer victims and a few argue that the millions of aborted babies since 1973 is a travesty.  As for me, I believe eternal separation from God is the worst.  In a discussion with his 12 disciples, Jesus brings up the concept of losing your soul.  The context suggests the temptation to be rich, self-supportive and wealthy causes some to forfeit their soul.  In view of this, follow Jesus’ advice within Matthew 16:24-26 by giving your life away.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Words Written in the Sand

The Sunday Morning Television talk shows are notorious for setting up conservative minded individuals.  Prior to an invite, politicians are hopeful for a good showing, looking to get their name out on a national stage.  Yet, when the questions begin, many feel like they are on trial, attacked and bombarded for possessing Bible based beliefs.

They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger, John 8:6.

This atmosphere was normal for Jesus during the first century.  Whenever He interacted with Pharisees, religious leaders and teachers of the Torah, Jesus often endured a game of gotcha, waiting for Him to stumble and fall.  On one occasion Jewish officials attempted to use a woman caught in adultery as a trap.  Unlike most debates, Jesus uses a different strategy, ignoring their questions by choosing to write words in the sand.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” John 8:7.

The word chosen to describe writing by John, a disciple of Jesus, is not your typical verb.  The context in this passage refers to “writing down the record.”  Thus, scholars assume that Jesus begins to write down the secret sins of these religious leaders in the sand.  Upon hearing Jesus’ request in verse 7, one by one the crowd of accusers quietly goes back to their homes.  When Jesus finished writing, he appears surprised by the honesty of these Jews.  However, his last words to this woman are poignant, “go now and leave your life of sin.”  These words are just as relative today, a call to heed and obey.  Go and do likewise.

by Jay Mankus

 

Does it Really Matter Who the Greatest of All Time Is?

Debates are nothing new except perhaps the venue in which they take place.  Philosophers gathered in Athens to discuss and exchange their worldviews.  Jews went to the synagogues to hear rabbis share their interpretations of the Torah.  Today, opinions are posted, tweeted and vocalized on talk radio, with sports fans often adding their own two cents on who is the greatest of all time.

But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest, Mark 9:34.

This temptation is not limited to sports as even followers of Jesus wanted to know who was the best disciple.  I can imagine Peter saying, “I walked on water” before John chimes in “well, I’m the beloved one.”  Back and forth, each of the twelve probably revelled in their moment of glory before another voice drowns out the one before.  Sensing their discussion was getting out of hand, Jesus intervenes by defining the perimeters for the greatest of all time.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all,” Mark 9:35.

In eternal terms, the individual with the largest mansion in heaven will be the one who is the greatest servant of all.  In my mind, Mother Teresa is one of the front runners, but history provides ample choices to be number one.  Nonetheless, modern Christians must adhere to these standards or risk the chance of being rejected by Christ.  Therefore, don’t waste your breath on arguing who is the GOAT.  Rather, commit yourself to taking on the nature of a servant, Philippians 2:6-7.

by Jay Mankus

 

Don’t Waste Your Vote

My first experience with politics was during a debate I attended in Wilmington, Delaware during my senior year of high school.  Before the days of attack ads, candidates often met in public forums, hosted by local churches to give citizens a chance to see what each individual stood for and was against.  Since this site was where I went to youth group, I was a curious onlooker, sitting back and absorbing the 3 nominees.

Looking back, the most impressive individual in my eyes was a pro-life democrat.  Since the incumbent was a Rhino Republican with all the experience and money, my guy never had a chance.  Unfortunately, pro-life democrats at the national level have become extinct.  In fact, the Progressive Movement has swallowed up the entire Democrat Party with eyes on engulfing the Republican Party as well.  As Independents sell their votes to the highest bidder, its easy to become a disenfranchised voter.

However, as Election Day 2014 arrives on Tuesday, don’t waste your vote.  While you might have voted your party line, cast your ballet for who your peers suggested or bet on the person who promised you the most, make your vote count this year.  Listen to the 4 men in the you tube attached as each have experienced a defining moment.  In view of potential fraud, a biased media and illegal votes already cast in several states, make the most of your privilege to select the future leaders in America.

by Jay Mankus

 

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