Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/5/22

  • Putin, the admirable “strong man”?

I mostly keep my mouth shut when it comes to political topics because I’ve frequently encouraged my fellow believers to think in terms of being sojourners and ambassadors in this world rather than being deeply-rooted temporal citizens, but please indulge me this paragraph. I’m 65 years old and I’ve seen a lot of things in my lifetime, but this ongoing, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and its 41 million citizens by Russia is one of the most despicable things I’ve ever witnessed. We’re also mindful that this invasion and the punishing retaliatory economic sanctions imposed on Russia have the very real potential to spiral into something “apocalyptical.” Immediately prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week, a few American politicians and political commentators bizarrely referred to Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, as being “smart” and “savvy,” and the military buildup as being “genius.” As we’ve seen over the last ten days, rather than being “genius,” this unprovoked invasion was perhaps the dumbest and most insane thing Putin could have ever done, both in terms of the Ukrainian and the Russian people. Why this fawning over Putin? I did some research and discovered that a number of politically-minded “Christian” leaders are also on record, pre-invasion, for admiring Putin as a defender of “Christian moral values” in contrast to the declining “morality” of Western Europe. That is absolute craziness. Putin is an autocrat who has his political opponents jailed or assassinated. Putin is no friend of evangelical Christianity. In 2016, he directed the passage of a law criminalizing evangelical efforts outside of church walls. And now, Putin has the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians on his hands, not to mention the one-million-plus refugees who have fled Ukraine and the destruction of billions in infrastructure. The admiration and “rehabilitation” of Putin the murderer as some type of paternalistic defender of “morality” previous to the invasion is what happens when misguided Christians put “morality,” alleged “law and order,” and nationalism ahead of the Gospel. Shame on every individual who ever expressed admiration for mass murderer, “Vladimire” Putin.

Pope Francis’ visit to the Russian embassy in Rome on February 25th in an attempt to broker a peaceful conclusion to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was obviously not successful. However, I believe the world will someday turn to the pope for guidance and leadership in the face of some cataclysmic event. The religious unsaved around the world are praying for Ukrainians during this tragedy. They are a tragedy as well! The unsaved, religious and nonreligious, can only be made right with God by accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.

The Roman Catholic church’s 40-day Lenten observations began this past Wednesday. During Lent, Catholics are forbidden from eating meat on Fridays under threat of eternal damnation. God’s Word addresses false teachers who forbid marriage and certain foods: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-5

Catholic apologists’ reflexively responded to the RCC’s twenty-year clerical sexual abuse scandal by claiming that the percentage of pedophiles in the priest population is no higher than that of public school teachers or Boy Scout leaders. Catholic sociologist and researcher, Richard Sipe, posited that the percentage of pedophiles within the priest population was double that of secular institutions and this report bears that out.

Incredulous Catholics continue to recoil at the blatantly inane, legalistic, picayune practices of their religion as recently demonstrated by the invalidations of thousands of baptisms because of the attending priest’s use of the wrong pronoun in the baptismal incantation. Nowhere in sight is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Catholic apologists love to point out that anti-Catholicism was widespread in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. What they always avoid mentioning (or give only very short shrift to) was the papacy’s historical condemnation of religious freedom and democratic government, and the severe persecution of Protestants in Catholic-controlled countries in those times.

23 thoughts on “Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/5/22

  1. Good Morning Tom! Your thoughts about Putin and Ukraine are echoed here also. Layers and layers of deception abound. Sometimes the magnitude of what is unfolding before us can start to weigh one down, if we forget that Jesus warned us about all these things that must come to pass and not to fear them because He had overcome the world. I am reminded that when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, three times He used the words “Peace be to you” (John 20:19-29). He and He alone is the source of our peace. In these trying times, I find that I have to remind myself of that reality more often. Hoping and praying that you have a blessed day my brother. Love in Christ – Bruce

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Bruce. Amen to all of your comments! We are to keep our focus on Christ in every storm, and this one in Ukraine is a very “unusual” one.
      Thanks and blessings to you today, Bruce! Maranatha!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. RE: “I did some research and discovered that a number of politically-minded “Christian” leaders are also on record, pre-invasion, for admiring Putin as a defender of “Christian moral values” in contrast to the declining “morality” of Western Europe.” 😳😳😳💔

    Liked by 2 people

  3. RE: “However, I believe the world will someday turn to the pope for guidance and leadership in the face of some cataclysmic event.”
    I agree,brother!’ Amen that the Lord through His Holy Spirit has shown many of us that the pope is a fraud/liar!! 🙌🙏🏻❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Another good Round-up Tom. I have the same inner struggle as my heart beckons God to intervene into the dire Ukrainian disaster. I know the Lord’s intents are for His Kingdom and this world stands condemned already.
    But He also does intervene in the lives of His people, none can be set upon apart from His will.
    I struggle knowing that this world is on a devilish course, will culminate into a satanic government, prophesied by God, leading to judgment and His Kingdom.
    Might God, though, show Himself strong in Ukraine, turning back a convoy with guilt and conviction? Might He answer the cries of the body of Christ there, all over the world, even in our living rooms?
    Forgive me for this long comment. I do so want to be aligned with God and my heart breaks for Ukraine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Lisa Beth. Yes, God’s ways are so far above ours. My heart breaks for the Ukrainian people. It’s anguishing to watch the news coverage. However, a brother in the Lord told me he has friend who is a missionary in Ukraine who says there is now a HUGE demand for Bibles there. Few think about God when life is pleasant, but turn to Him in dire circumstances. We pray!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m only a couple of years behind you in age, Tom, and I don’t understand how anyone, unbelievers included, could see Putin as admiringly strong. I have also heard him called a master tactician who makes other world leaders pale in comparison to how he plays his cards (or doesn’t play them).
    Anyone who didn’t see Putin for what he is should be getting a better picture now.
    He has wanted to do this for years but he was waiting for what he thought would be the right time. I hope, but highly doubt, that he is beginning to see that there is no right time for this type of behavior. I can’t imagine him actually believing his reasoning for this move. I suppose he had to come up with some reason for his evil deed. I’m glad to see that most of the world is seeing through his propaganda. He constantly accuses others of propaganda. I’m glad he’s not very good at it.
    It is, indeed, hard to watch this play out. I’m glad that your readers and that so many Christians have Ukrainian and Russian people in their prayers. May God thwart the plans of the evil ones who are involved in this mess.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Chris. This “rant” was in part sparked by our discussion about Putin and Ukraine previously.
      Yeah, this admiration of Putin by some Americans in the last six years was bizarre to the max.
      Putin has said himself that he desires to resurrect Russia’s “empire” so Ukraine is just the first domino.
      We pray!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 1. Ukraine has been heavy on my heart. I am praying for the country like crazy.
    2. Also good point about Putin going against Evangelicals. We must not forget that.
    3. When the world goes to the pope more for peace, we are going to see I think the rise of a political pope again…and maybe the end times?
    4. Wow: “14% of clergy have been accused of abuse since 1950” That is so high. That’s over 1 in 10. So frightening, horrifying and scary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the good comments, brother!

      This invasion is a nightmare. Yes, I’m praying as well. Did you notice the chain and cross around Putin’s neck in the photo? The ultimate in nominal Christianity.

      I couldn’t help but think that Francis attempt at diplomatic intervention was a precursor of things to come.

      14% of Catholic priests in New Zealand have been accused of abuse, I imagine even more were predators, but their victims remained silent.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There’s a religious element to this invasion. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church broke away from the Russian Orthodox church in 2018 and aligned with Greek Orthodoxy, so the Russian patriarch is trying to reassert his authority/control (with the help of Putin). No genuine Gospel either way.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow didn’t know about the Ukrainian orthodox church breaking away from Russian Orthodoxy. That’s crazy there’s a religious dimension to this…very crazy.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’ve read a few articles that conjectured the religious dispute is one of the main reasons for the invasion, but I think it’s much more about Putin reasserting Russian dominance over former Soviet satellites, especially with Ukraine pushing for admittance to NATO.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. We continue to pray for the people of Ukraine. It is incomprehensible that anyone claiming Christianity would admire Putin. That is so sick! So many are Christians in name only. Truly we are livening in perilous times.

    From an article on MSNBC…

    “Franklin (Graham) visited Russia in 2015, and ever since, has promoted Putin as a godly leader. A few days before the invasion of Ukraine, he asked people to “pray for Putin” but not for Ukrainians, creating a decent amount of backlash.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Yes, Christians leaning towards Christian Nationalism got caught up in the lie that Putin is the defender of “Christian morality.” I’ve read bloggers here on WordPress echoing the Russian lie that Zelenskyy and Ukraine are actually the bad actors. Not that I’m a fan of Zelenskyy but it’s sad that Christians got sucked into another conspiracy theory, this time Putinism.

      Liked by 1 person

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