Due North In A World Lost

(Letter From Editor)

Here we stand—in 2021—already facing turmoil. That is not a joyous remark by any means, it is only as I feared. I took time away from Truth In Focus and my other writing responsibilities to reflect and regroup. I watched in horror as the Capital was quickly ransacked my QAnon radicals devoted to President Trump all the while radicals of the left scheme their socialist ways forward as they subjugate the House, the Senate, and soon the White House. And I witnessed “Big Tech” eroding free speech under the guise of privatized policies. Failing to see, or accept, that the present public spaces are digital with Twitter, Facebook, Youtube as platforms of speech, economic activity, religious worship, and more. Everything we forewarned in our November Issue (2020) that tyranny is coming in multiple forms all at the service of globalism and the global economy has come. History has witnessed a paradigm shift soon to be completed as the new neoliberal order turns into a monstrous corporatized quasi-socialist beast.  

Now that the four horseman 1) Wokism 2) Socialism 3) Corporatism and 4) Globalism have arrived it is only appropriate to speak against them.

TIF has never been political, but rooted in principles. And this year will be no different. Now is the time to begin the process of renewal for generations to come. Imagination will play a fundamental role as we uncover the requirements for rebuilding society after its collapse in values, family, law, faith, and morality. Together we will embark on a journey just as the pre-socratic philosopher Anaximander who mapped the black sea and lead a colony to Apollonia (modern-day Albania). Transverse the lands as the Apostle Paul establishing the truth of the Gospel throughout the eastern and western worlds. And write as Plato in his Seventh Epistle concerning Italy and the political deluge he witnessed that left him with a revelation, “Wherefore the classes of mankind (I said) will have no cessation from evils until either the class of those  who are right and true philosophers attains political supremacy, or else the class of those who hold power in the States becomes, by some dispensation of Heaven, really philosophic.”

A true Christians and Conservatives it is clear that nothing perfect exists in the physical world, and even if it should, it will eventually collapse under its own weight. Mankind is left with a constant preparation for a New Eden while upholding the past including the dead who sacrificed to make the future possible. Indeed, no real eden will come from whence it first arose, but to imagine new beginnings is as American as it is human. Whether they are called colonies or city-states their purposes are designed to bring forth light and hope; justice and peace; law and order to a people. 

Presently the United States of America no longer represents that land of hope. It is therefore paramount to process present discourses in order to learn from failures and successes. This is not a call to rebellion. Rather the opposite. It is a call to dream again a better homeland for our children and grandchildren. Rarely in human history are the opportunity to recreate such a situation. A paradigm such as we have been witnessing, however, allows us to move beyond circumstances as a necessity to preserving sacred liberties and divine freedoms. 

Articles written by me will be focused on specific issues not just people and never on gossip. While there will be political coverage from writers like Kimberly Hagen concerning the Biden Presidency; my focus as the editor in chief is to bring theology and philosophy to the practical world concerning global concerns. 

Digital liberty, Corporate Tyranny, Food Politics, Climate Change, Sustainability, Abortion, Religious Freedom, Free Speech are all matters requiring redress. This year, I will personally be bringing forth concerns from around the world in order to build a coalition in the name of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. 

Virtue is required. Faith in God is a necessity. Truth and justice must be directives for us to obtain liberty. Rediscovering the meaning of education beyond the laptop are as important as defining a true Republic away from broken democracies. Our goal is to accomplish peace, goodness, and morality as means of transcendence for a society desperate for life and purpose; hope and meaning. 

Truth In Focus (TIF), All Things Veritas (ATV), MereBeautyInTruth (MBIT), EKR Report, and the newest to the network, Philosophers Rex, will all be receiving much needed care. In doing so I must split up my time wisely and productively. TIF specifically will become a weekly report minus specials that I shall continue such as my monthly Visual Philosophy series. ATV will turn to monthly posting as well with a TIF podcast and Christ the Coffee series returning. Apologies but I am a one man show still. It takes time. Yet, there is much to be done and added. Lastly, the Substack EKR Report will return to some normalcy as continue to share more of my personal life and thoughts with the world outside of TIF and ATV networks. As Philosophsarus Rex (also Substack), I am proudly beginning this journey with Thomas Doane as we enter a philosophy program together. There are still kinks for us to work out, but expect at least weekly posting to begin tonight.

There is no ship too large for this journey. Join us in helping make a better world for the future. 

Sincerely, 

Edward Kyle Richey

Present Your Bodies as Living Sacrifices: Part 1

(Christ Is King)

By: Edward Kyle Richey

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)

And do not be conformed  

As born-again Christians we are not to be part of this world living in the flesh or by the relative standards of the world. We are to live a life representative of Christ. In an earlier chapter of Romans Paul writes:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:5-6).

The world is living by the flesh; the world is living in sin. And every person ever to be born is born in retched sin. We know this because the collected infallible word of God, the Sacred Scriptures, tell us this to be the case. This understanding begins with the sin of Adam who caused the fall of mankind:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned… Romans 5:12

Thusly the world was and remains damned without grace; without the blood of Christ humanity cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Let me reiterate by providing two examples of men who have indeed sinned and who grasped their eternal position. King David, repenting for all he had done against God after lusting over another man’s wife, taking her for his own, and then murdering her husband, cries out in Psalms 51:4-5

Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

David understood his condition. He, as we all do, had a condition that is worse than any cancer or disease. We are all conceived with a terminal illness. In his sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, the great Jonathan Edwards would preach before his congregation a warning to all those who lacked Christ: 

And let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the Pit of Hell, whether they be old Men and Women, or middle Aged, or young People, or little Children, now hearken to the loud Calls of God’s Word and Providence (Edwards, 1741, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God) 

It must be noted that David did indeed have Christ, for he believed in the promise of the Messiah and it was that promise that brought all believers in the Old Testament to heaven. Now moving on to my second example. 

Scriptures inform us that this man persecuted the Church, he was set on imprisoning and killing Christians and yet, God had another purpose for him. This man’s name was Saul. He who would become the Apostle Paul was a man who had been bound by the shackles of sin; the very shackles that the world says are acceptable because they are “natural” but the world fails to realize that nature is the very nature that damns all to an eternal damnation away from God. What then is sin? In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul describes this sin of man:

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is important that we breakdown the nature of sin. God brought the laws to man in the Old Testament not because he believed the Jews could obey the laws perfectly, but rather to make humanity aware of their sinful nature (Romans 3:20; 5:20; 7:7-8). Sin has not disappeared and it never will until the return of Christ. To make sin more relative, consider that mass consumerism is sin when material goods overtake the providence of God. Every time I disrespect my parents, lust after another woman, curse, or cause ungodly dissension I am being anti-God; I am living on the wages of sin rather than the spirit of Christ. Romans 8:7-8 warns us of the dangers of worldly standards and man’s conformity to them: 

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Enmity, do you know what that means? Enmity is “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” Every time we please the flesh in opposition to God, we are being therefore hostile toward God. Displeasuring God for our own selfish desires ought to bring fear to our hearts. During a sermon on the phrase “enmity against God”, the “Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon would bellow out this fair warning:      

It does not charge manhood with an aversion merely to the dominion, laws, or doctrines of Jehovah; but it strikes a deeper and surer blow. It does not strike man upon the head; it penetrates into his heart; it lays the axe at the root of the tree, and pronounces him “enmity against God,” against the person of the Godhead, against the Deity, against the mighty Maker of this world; not at enmity against his Bible or against his gospel, though that were true, but against God himself, against his essence, his existence, and his person (Spurgeon, 1855, The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God). 

Sin is the opposite nature of God. God and sin never mix just as oil and water. This is why we must be transformed for transformation allows us to go before the Holy God of the universe. 

David understood his condition. He, as we all do, had a condition that is worse than any cancer or disease.

But be ye transformed 

Humanity cannot save itself from death. We learn this throughout the Bible, but take to heart these two verses: 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

Transformation, in the context of this verse, is equivalent to a “permanent state to which a change takes place”; a metamorphoses that can never be retracted once it occurs. This should both excite and frighten us. True believers in Christ should be shouting in joy for they are eternally secured (John 6:37; John 10:27-29; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:38-39; Romans 11:29; 2 Timothy 2:19). To be clear, to burrow a popular phrase, “once saved, always saved” is a doctrine I believe to be biblically sound. However, do not be quick to rejoice. Pastor and author of the book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan in a chapter titled, “Profile Of The Lukewarm” warns people who call themselves “Christian” to check themselves and to “not assume you are good soil” (Chan, 67, Crazy Love) a phrase used to insinuate the parable of the sower spoken by Christ. Therefore, let us turn to the book of Luke 8:4-8 which reads as thus: 

And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

In response to this parable Francis Chan wrote the following: 

I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns. Thorns are anything that distracts us from God. When we want God and a bunch of other stuff then that means we have thorns in our soil. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it (Chan, 67, Crazy Love). 

Chan later asks an important set of questions in his book, “Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world” (Chan, 67, Crazy Love)? The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that: 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Christ tells us in Luke 9:23-24 that: 

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 

These are not words that speak of a people that have conformed to the world, but have been transformed with their minds renewed.

Next, Part 2: The Renewing of the Mind

For I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel

By Brandon Galbreath

We all have character flaws. The funny thing is I just recently considered making a list of my own. I didn’t even know exactly what qualifies as character flaws. There are literally hundreds of them as I searched through all the listed flaws I came upon a useful three-category explanation. What is funny is that these character flaws are for writers creating characters for either literature, movies, or television. Again, I am a theologian not a thespian. However, I think we can apply them to real life. 

  • Minor character flaws are minor physical or mental quirks to a character’s personality. For example, you might have a someone that always seems to say the wrong thing or just makes for awkward conversation. 
  • Major character flaws usually come from life-changing events that affected that person. For example, Jane Doe has a fatal flaw of putting others before herself or putting herself before others. This major flaw in her character nearly gets her killed dozens of times.
  • Fatal character flaws are the ones that make or break a character. These are flaws they must overcome or die. As Christians, do think we have any spiritual character flaws? 

Today, I want to talk about spiritual character flaws. It is the fatal flaw of preaching a false gospel which we fine being proclaimed today. The reality of our situation is that true believers are becoming fewer and fewer. Meanwhile, false preachers, teachers, and apostates increase. The teachings that are being preached from pulpits today are conforming to the world. This means that Christians are turning their backs on God. Some do not realize they are doing so. Even worse many believe they are preaching the true gospel. But they are so distorted a misleading academia, a paranoid media, and brainwashed political ideologies that falsely proclaim Christ when in reality they are promoting a worldly agenda. 

A well-known professor and pastor in my area of South Texas said on social media, “that the gospel is not enough anymore.” This was his response to the growing pressure for pastors to acknowledge and preach social justice plus the gospel. Is the gospel message of Jesus Christ no longer enough? Let’s hold that thought and we will be back to answer this fundamental question.

I used to worry that all my sermons were exactly the same and my congregation would grow tired of hearing the same message. Then I thought about the topics that are repetitive in my sermons. I am always preaching about Christ and everything leading to Him. That is all that I preach. Just in case, I double checked to ensure there are no other topics that should be preached other than a Christ-Centered one. There are no reasons other than Christ Alone. I wish I could say that false teachers were few. Unfortunately a false gospel has spread across the world time and time again just like this pandemic. Scripture has much to say about false teachers, false gospels, and false prophets proclaiming the Will of God. It’s not a matter of whether we are living in the end times because we are always living in them. We need not concern ourselves with the exact timing of God. Instead we need only be prepared, to be centered on His Word, fixated on Christ, and do our due diligence by preaching and defending the Scriptures. Therefore, we must recognize and point out the errors in false teachings and present the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

“No Other Gospel”

Galatians 1:6-9 (KJV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Accursed is repeated twice in Galatians 1:6-9. That word appears only six times in the entire Bible, two of which in this passage. God’s Holy Word states that anyone who comes and preaches another gospel, whether it be a man or an angel, he or she will be accursed. That is a serious word in our English language and it a very strong word in the Greek language. 

 “ANATHEMA (ä-nä’-the-mä) ἀνάθεμα” literally means a man accursed devoted to the direst of woes set apart for complete destruction of the cursed. The accursed person is doomed because they become so separated from Christ. The Apostle Paul declares in the strongest manner that the Gospel he preached was the one and only way of salvation and to preach another was an attempt to invalidate the death and resurrection of Christ. Paul explains that he received the Gospel directly from God. He did not invent it himself nor did he learn it from someone else. It was a divine revelation from Jesus Christ. A person, who does not love Jesus, will not never see glory. He or she will be cursed forever. In the passage above the word anathema is used twice meaning doubly cursed. Scripture is telling us that if someone preaches a false gospel they are going to be absolutely and forever obliterated from His existence. That is why preachers and teachers of God’s Word need to take His Word so seriously because there is a judgment for teaching or preaching something that is in violation against the true Gospel. Those doomed preachers are the ones who say, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles? Then the Lord will say, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:22-23).

The Apostle Paul is never one to beat around the bush when it comes to the church and the Lord’s work. Paul preaches clearly on these points. He opens his Epistle by stating his name, then who the audience is, and goes right for juggler by declaring to the Galatians that they are cursed for preaching a false gospel and allowing false teachings into the church.

I used to work in insurance and financials where I had to pass a test to earn a certification. After that there was more testing and assessments. It was constant throughout the year. People needed trustworthiness, integrity, and due diligence from the people handling another person’s finances. Now consider handling and performing God’s Word, His ministry, and caring for His flock? There is more at stake as souls lay in the balance. No one has the right to tamper with the Gospel. When a pastor alters the Gospel, they have done a horrendous thing. They are robbing people of faith. Of hope. This is not the first time Paul had to address the church and call out a false gospel.  Before telling the Galatian church, he told the Church of Corinth as 2 Corinthians 11:4 states,

For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

Paul’s warning remains clear. 

It was a problem in the church back then and it remains so today. Christians must stand up and take bold action against false teachings. There is more to this than losing your job or your friends or family members. Eternity is at stake. We must confront falsity not matter the circumstances or cost for their is no cost greater.

So what is the true Gospel?

The word “gospel” means “good news,” and the good news is that Jesus Christ came to this Earth born of a virgin. He was both fully God and fully human. Even though tempted and tried in every way He lived a sinless life. While all of humanity is absolutely guilty of sin. We are dead in our trespasses. No hope, but one. Jesus bore the punishment for our sins and offered His life as a living sacrifice on the Cross. A penal substitution; an ultimate scapegoat that relinquished the Judaic sacrificial system forever. Jesus Christ died, resurrected on third day, appeared before hundreds, then later ascended into heaven where he will return from heaven to earth one final day. Jesus promised that if you place your trust in Him alone, confess and repent your sins to Him alone, then you will be saved by His Grace Alone. Christ will prepare a room in His Father’s house for you that is His promise. Until His return Christ commanded us to make ourselves ready for whenever the hour comes by living sacrificially and sharing the Gospel with everyone no matter their creed or background in life. That’s the real Good News. Is the gospel message of Jesus Christ enough? Not just the Message, but the Messenger who gave us the Good News physically? Yes, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is enough because He is alive!

I want us to look at a few false gospels that are relevant because they are prevalent today. However, I must stress that we need only to be aware of false teachings and not indulge ourselves in a life of complete study of these false teachings and religions. 

1st False Teaching: The Knowledge Gospel (Gnostic)

This would be the occultist, theosophy, esoteric and mysticism religions. Most of them basically have been adapted and come from Buddhism (also a false teaching). Just to name a few; the Wiccans, Nazi occultism, scientologist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Nation of Islam. 

2nd False Teaching— The Racial Identity Gospel

These are the preachers and teachers that believe only a certain race is chosen for salvation and the battle between good and evil comes down to racial divisions. Christian Identity, Black Theology, Pan-Africanism, Ku Klux Klan, White or black power it’s all the same false gospel. They preach a false white Jesus or black Jesus. 

 3rd False Teaching—The Quick-Fix Gospel- the Christian life is not a quick fix. It is a discipline, an art, a science.

 4th False Teaching—Social Justice

Social Justice today has a political agenda and puts Christ secondary if not nonexistent. It tends to be more popular among clergy than laity and its leaders are predominantly associated with radical leftist ideologies. 

5th False Teaching— The Politically Correct Gospel

Our contemporary culture expects us to tolerate, accept, and affirm all their radical beliefs and ideologies.  Not only are we expected to affirm people, but we are expected to affirm their ideas and philosophies and, in some cases, apologize for having not done all of this in the first place. And in that spirit, it seems that a great many believers in our time have come to embrace the ideas and philosophies of the world. Remember what happened to that generation of people right before the flood? Christ said in Luke 17:26-27, Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Jesus was saying that whenever the philosophy of life becomes carnal and worldly (like in the days of Noah), He would return. The gospel is not politically correct. Now this doesn’t give us an excuse to be insensitive jerks. We ought to be marked by compassion and grace. We ought to love and respect people unconditionally regardless of their lifestyle or beliefs. But Christians have a duty and a work to perform through the Great Commission. We must declare the good news faithfully with due diligence and Christ-like integrity regardless of whether it is popular or not.

Conclusion

We must never forget that the Christian life is a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ. A man does not become a Christian merely by agreeing to a set of doctrines. He becomes a Christian by submitting to Christ and trusting Him forever. You cannot mix grace and works because the one excludes the other. Salvation is the gift of God’s grace purchased for us by Jesus Christ on the cross. To turn from Grace to Law is to desert the God who saved us.

(This article originated from a sermon preached Sunday Nov. 15th, 2020 by Brandon Galbreath and was formatted for reading purposes).