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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

On Friday, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, had his opinion piece published in the religion column of the Elk Grove Citizen newspaper. This article was titled “Is abortion sin?”

In it, this alleged minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ wrote about a women that came to him in a crisis pregnancy situation. Here is a portion of the column.

She, too, had a good reputation or I wouldn’t have let her babysit my kids. She didn’t want the embarrassment of a child born out of wedlock.

“You don’t want to keep this child, do you?”

She shook her head. Not even for adoption.

She raised her head, knowing that my wife and I had an adopted sibling group of three.

“No,” she said, tears soaking her blouse.

“Is abortion a sin?” she asked.

Some would give a quick answer, but I couldn’t. This was the woman I trusted with my children. I knew her heart.

She continued her worry list. She wanted to go to school. She wanted to date without having a baby in tow. She couldn’t handle the perceived embarrassment to her family.

I could’ve spouted Bible verses, but so could she. Instead, we talked pros and cons. I told her that abortions are never easy on anyone, pro-life or pro-choice. I told her that the spirit of Christianity is on the side of life and redemption and that I’d known women to suffer from abortion trauma for years.

After an hour, Sandy stood to leave. As she did, I reminded her that God had room for both mom and baby on this earth. However, no matter what she decided, nothing would separate her from the love of God.

Sandy had her abortion the next week. While she eventually finished school, married and had children, her decision to still a beating heart still troubles mine. That’s because there’s no easy answer to Sandy’s sin question. There never is.
Link: EG Citizen: Is abortion sin?

This case of spiritual malpractice really makes me angry. Did you get that “I knew her heart” and “her decision to still a beating heart still troubles mine”? He also says that he could have “spouted Bible verses” I wonder which ones?

Romans chapter 6 immediately comes to mind. Paul writes,

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

The real situation was this. The woman in this article liked to practice fornication (sex outside of marriage) but after repeatedly practicing that behavior she became pregnant. Her pregnancy was the direct consequence of sin in her life. She was following the lust of her flesh not the biblical standards of righteous living. She knew what God’s standard is in this situation; namely, bear the responsibility of her actions, have the child and give the child up for adoption or raise the child.

Killing her baby is a second sin, not a corrective to her disobedient lifestyle.  Going to this pastor was her attempt at taking the weasel way out of this situation. She wanted absolution for killing her child. The pastor knows that he gave bad council or he wouldn’t be haunted by “her decision to still a beating heart”.

There is a reason that I used to carry the sign “Abortion: One dead, one wounded, one rich” in front of the local abortion clinic. Abortion is an evil and violent act that has lifelong consequences. The premise that justifies abortion is a lie.

This lady and her pastor have both refused to acknowledge their sin. They conspired to sin so that grace may abound. They have cheapened the blood of Christ and made it to no affect.


Suppose there were two brothers. One brother decided to kill the other because that brother seems more loved by his parents. Well he knows that God wouldn’t like him to commit murder. He needs an out, a loophole if you will, to justify the crime in his own mind. So the brother seeks the advice of Reverend Scratch. Rev. Scratch says,

I could’ve spouted Bible verses, but so could he. Instead, we talked pros and cons. I told him that murders are never easy on anyone, pro-life or pro-choice. I told him that the spirit of Christianity is on the side of life and redemption and that I’d known men to suffer from murder trauma for years.

After an hour, he stood to leave. As he did, I reminded him that God had room for both him and his brother on this earth. However, no matter what he decided, nothing would separate him from the love of God.

He murdered his brother the next week.

Oh, and God’s response to this exercise of “choice” can be found in Genesis 4:8-11

  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

The Christian counselor wrote, quote
“Who is the only humane choice ahead
If you can’t support it
Why don’t you abort it instead?”

You say you pray to the sky
Why? When you’re afraid to take a stand down here
‘Cause while the holy talk reads like a bad ad lib
Silence screams you were robbing the crib

Say it ain’t none of my business, huh?
A woman’s got a right to choose
Now a grave digger, next you pull the trigger what then?
Whatever happened to sin?

—Steve Taylor
Whatever happened to sin? 1983

Posted by william on 06/26 at 06:07 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brexit Vote

Great Britain has just voted to leave the European Union. I think the main reasons were immigration and money.

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Vote totals from BBC


Immigration
In a formerly Christian nation that is now overrun with immigrants that support jihad and Sharia Law, I’m not surprised. Mohammed has been the number one boys name in that country for many years now. The only way to counter Islam is with Christianity. Secular Humanism and its values of equality of worldviews and pluralism can never defeat Islam. In a nation that has forgotten God, Brexit is too little too late. It may slow the Islamization of Britain but only a wholesale return to Christ can change their fate.

Money
Germany and Great Britain have been bankrolling the EU for many years now. With Britain out, the entire EU is in danger of collapsing. Germany’s bail-outs of Greece and other nations places them on dangerous financial footing and Brexit may be hard for them to absorb.

Look for financial markets to dive on Friday as uncertainty prevails. Why people in American financial circles didn’t see this coming is beyond me. (Wishful thinking or too many Democrats on Wall Street?)

I’ve expected Brexit to win for a few weeks now. People are unhappy with status quo politicians that won’t protect their citizens from internal and external threats. Call it the Trump phenomenon if you will but it is real. Maybe as a result, we will get to see how bad government leaders have been cooking the economic books.

“May you live in interesting times” is a phrase that comes to mind.

Posted by william on 06/23 at 08:59 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Verity Baptist get booted

The Huffington Post and other outlets are reporting that Verity Baptist is getting booted by their property management company.

A Baptist preacher who made headlines last week after praising the June 12 mass shooting at the LGBT nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, might be out of a church soon.

The property owner of the Sacramento, California, business park where the Verity Baptist Church presides has opted not to renew the church’s lease, The Los Angeles Times reports. Although Verity’s lease doesn’t end until March 31, 2017, officials for Harsch Investment Properties have asked the church to leave without any penalty for breaking the contract.
Link: Huffington Post story

Looks like Mrs. Jimenez will be having services in her house again.

Posted by william on 06/23 at 08:52 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Review: Verity Baptist Church

I am reluctant to unchurch other Christians from other branches of Christ’ Church; however, when they get off the path and into non-sense, I’ve been willing to call them on it. The folks at Verity Baptist seem a ripe target for such a critique. Had their pastor—Roger Jimenez—not become a news story recently, I’m sure he would have escaped my notice.

The comments below are based on material available or linked to their website. See it for yourself at Verity Baptist

After looking through their website, you have to conclude that this is not your run-of-the-mill Baptist church. Their statement of faith is partly contained on the page about What We Believe

Portions of this page are Protestant and/or Baptist but others appear contrary to the mainstream of Christendom.

After reviewing the website of Verity and their affiliates (they don’t like the word “denomination”), I am reminded of the old joke, “What do you call a room with 40 people in it that each have their own opinion? A Baptist church.”

Verity is a different breed but their website is rather poorly done so it requires some digging to figure parts of their theology.

I would love to set their beliefs side-by-side with the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed but there is so much missing on their website that it is impossible to do a thorough comparison with the entire Creed.

The Nicene Creed is the most ecumenical of creeds. Except for one clause, all branches of the Christian Church agree on this Creed. Think of the Creeds as the fence around the flock of Christ’s Church. There God’s sheep may wander anywhere within the boundaries of the Creed—some emphasizing some parts more than others—but always within these boundaries. If a person or group strays outside of the boundaries set by the Creeds then they are no longer Christian. Thus the Creeds can be used as a measure of the Orthodoxy of any group or sect.

Below are parts of Verity’s website that can be compared to the Creeds or other documents.


Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, and that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary. 

Yes Jesus was God in the flesh but he was also man.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.  Through him all things were made.  For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven:  by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
Nicene Creed 381 A.D.

As stated on their website, Verity is not in agreement with the historic Creeds. Their bullet point is either incomplete or incorrect.


Universal Church

Verity summarily rejects one clause of the Creed when they say, “We believe in the “local church” we reject the teaching of the “universal church”.

The whole of Christianity has always held that “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Nicene Creed 381 A.D.

Christ has one body, the Church. The church includes all believers in all times and all ages; past, present, and future. This is the historic understanding of the term “Universal Church.”

If Verity is not part of this body then it is outside of Christ.

This is red flag number one when examining this group.


The Bible

Verity gives not one but two bullets to the King James Bible (KJV).

We believe that the King James Bible is the Word of God. We believe God inspired and preserved it.

This is not an all inclusive list; we believe anything and everything found in the King James Version of the Bible.

While this doctrine is not unique to Verity—I encountered the same claim about the King James Bible when visiting The Church of God of Prophecy back in my high school days—such claims are nonsense. This idea in not much different from Episcopalians clinging to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as the superior expression of worship.

Just to contrast, let me quote another Baptist group on their view of the Scriptures.

We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally and plenary inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore has truth without any admixture of error for its matter. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.
– First Baptist Church Woodland, CA 1967

This view is more correct than that espoused by Verity.

The Bible was written in three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

By the time of Jesus, the books we know as the Old Testament were translated into Greek. This was known as the Septuagint. From the word for seventy because seventy scholars did the translation. Jesus frequently quoted from this version of the Bible.

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The whole Bible was later translated into Latin. Many of the manuscripts used by the translators of the King James Bible were from Latin sources.

I prefer the King James Version but it is not always the most accurate translation.

One problem that Verity has in proclaiming the KJV as The Word of God is that they are saying that the books of the Apocrypha are the Word of God also.  You see, the original King James Bible was not just the 66 books recognized by the historic church (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) but also these other books. Here is a scan of the original edition (1611) of the King James Bible showing its table of contents.
Link: 1611 KJV Table of Contents

Another issue confronting Verity’s claim is that the English language was much different in 1611 as can be seen from this part of Genesis. I promise you that the version of the King James Bible that they use for worship is not the same as this screen shot of the 1611 version.

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Scan of Genesis from original King James Bible—1611

Lastly, those that claim the King James Bible over all others is THE Word of God are intellectually lazy. Remember, in their world, every other version of the Bible on the planet past, present, and future is not the Word of God; it is defective.

Verity’s sister church in Texas says,

We believe that the King James Bible is the perfect Word of God. We believe that it is inspired and preserved. We believe that all other English translations of the Bible are corrupt and are perversions of God’s Word.
Link: Steadfast Baptist Doctrine

Most ministers whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox are expected to know some level of Greek and Hebrew. These guys seem to use the KJV as a crutch so they don’t have to bother learning all that other language stuff. I think this is in part, a way to get around having to deal with seminary education.

After further research I found that this was in fact the case. No minister of a church linked to Verity’s website claims to have any formal Biblical training. Apparently if you learn the Roman’s Road and say you are called, you too can be a minister.
This passage is typical:

Pastor Anderson started Faithful Word Baptist Church on December 25, 2005. He holds no college degree but has well over 140 chapters of the Bible memorized word-for-word, including approximately half of the New Testament. Today, most Baptist churches are started by Bible colleges. However, the Bible makes it clear that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, not a school.
Link: Faithful Word Baptist



We aren’t statements

We are Non-dispensational.

Verity rejects Dispensationalism but embraces Premillennialism and believes in a mid-tribulation rapture.
Link: Prophecy Timeline

Verity’s view of the “end times” can be found via Links page of their website. They seem to be especially hostile to other pre-mills that believe the “Rapture” occurs before the beginning of the “Great Tribulation”. 

What Verity uses in place of Dispensationalism is another moot point on their website. There is no indication of what they view as the relationship of the New Testament church with the Old. This is concerning especially since they anti-Semitic (see Reading List below).

We believe in the autonomy of the local church. This means that we are independent of all denominations, conventions, and fellowships. We have Jesus Christ and the Bible as the head of our church and not some Pope, Prophet, President, or Board of directors.

Their zeal to dis the papacy and any other form of church government is so extreme as to unchurch everybody but themselves. Churches have a hierarchy of some sort because fallen men need to be held accountable; especially those in the pulpit. If we learned anything from Jim Baker, Robert Tilton, Jimmy Swaggart and others like them, accountability is important. Church hierarchy was the model of the early church.

“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre”
Titus 1:7

This is another red flag.


We take a stand against the Charismatic and Ecumenical movement of our day .

The Pentecostals and Charismatics of our day are just splinter groups of mainstream Baptists. Their theology is much the same except for the obvious emphasis on the Holy Spirit and their belief that spiritual gifts are still in effect today; whereas most Baptists believe that the gifts like speaking in tongues ended with the apostolic age. Most of these groups are Dispensational and Pre-mill.

We reject the teaching of Calvinism and believe that God wants everyone to be saved.  

Verity earlier in their list of what they believe rejects a universal church but here appeals to universal salvation. This is the logical outcome of Arminian theology but it is not based in Scripture.

“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
John 10:26-28

Only those given to the Son by the Father will be saved, not all men. This was predestined before the world was created.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” 
Ephesians 1:4

Only those God chose before they were ever born will be saved. God chooses not man. If it makes you feel better, you don’t have to call it Calvinism, just the say the Bible teaches us … and call it good.

We oppose worldliness and believe in a holy separated life.

Dear readers when you see a phrase like this, a big red flag should be waving in your mind. This is command and control language which means the church has an absolute right to decide what you do in your spare time and even what jobs you can or cannot hold. This is an opportunity for cult-like behavior which depends solely upon the whim of the pastor and how he defines “worldliness” and “separation”.

Example: When I was in the Navy, I knew a guy named Scott. We went thru training together but he and I were assigned to different bases. One day I got a letter from him explaining that he could not play organized sports because they were worldly and he was to abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22). He was unable to provide any further explanation; his church said organized sports was the appearance of evil and that was the end of the discussion as far as he was concerned. To him, it just made sense.

In groups that want to control their members, this verse in Thessalonians is frequently used as a proof text that members must follow the dictates of their shepherd.

Any group that substitutes arbitrary rules in place of the Christian Liberty of their members is a group to be avoided.

Yet another red flag.


The Black List

Buckle-up as we take a wild ride way down the rabbit hole.

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Not to be confused with the NBC TV show with James Spader, Verity Baptist and their denomination literally has a Black List of other Baptists that they have declared heretical because these folks say that non-believers need to repent.

This list includes Billy Graham, Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, John MacArthur, Charles Spurgeon, and many more. Link: Repentance Blacklist

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Verity’s smoking gun purporting to prove repentance is a work of man


These guys are trying to play Three Card Monty with this supposed proof text.

Walter Martin, a Baptist minister that dealt frequently with the cults used to say; “A text without a context, is a pretext…usually for error”.

Let’s take a look at the story of Jonah.

God was going to judge Nineveh if they didn’t repent. God was judging their works. A repeated theme of the Wisdom Literature in the Bible is that out of evil men proceed wickedness. God sent Jonah to Nineveh. Jonah preached and the people believed his message and as a result, the people of Nineveh repented “turned from their evil way” so God withheld the judgement that he had threatened them with.

The word “turned” in this verse means repented. Look it up in Strong’s

Jonah 3:10—taken in context—says the exact opposite of what these guys are trying to claim.

The fallacy of their argument is the assumption that men have the ability to exercise free will and choose God instead of evil.

Jonah spoke to the people of Nineveh, they listened; their response was repentance, based on their putting on sack cloth and ashes and crying mightily to God. This is the work that God saw in the verse quoted above (Jonah 3:10) and God changed his mind and spared them.

Jonah was upset with God that the people of Nineveh repented. Jonah wanted God to nuke the city ala Sodom and Gomorra. Jonah was not mad at the people for listening to his preaching and exercising their free will to repent. Instead he was angry with God for opening the ears of the people and causing them to repent. It was God’s working that brought the repentance; Jonah was just God’s chosen instrument.

This is the point of Jonah chapter 4. This chapter is an illustration of God’s Sovereignty. He is ruler and His will shall be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Man’s reaction when encountering God is always to fall to his knees and know he is unworthy to be in God’s presence. We are stained with sin and only by being washed in Christ’s blood can we be cleansed. If you encounter God and do not have a changed life then you are not saved.

Anybody what to say Pharaoh?

Repentance is a change in direction. We go from darkness to light, hell to heaven, bondage to freedom; or whatever metaphor you wish to use to describe it. Jesus told the harlot go and sin no more.

Repentance is a work of the Holy Spirit. Man left to his own devices can never be saved. He will never choose it. If he could then Christ died in vain.

To quote the song, “Changed hearts make changed lives and I see one in you.”
—Sweet Comfort Band 1982

Repentance is a part of genuine conversion. To divorce conversion from repentance is unscriptural. The two are inseparably linked.

For Verity to claim that you have any part in your conversion or salvation is salvation by works. This especially includes claiming that a man can choose Christ of his own free will. We all deserve hell but God choose some for himself. He is the potter, we are the clay.

Once saved, always saved?

I’m not going to go into a full throated discussion of this topic but I have to inquire about the logical contradiction in the various What We Believe statements. Five need to be viewed together instead of separately.

First Group

We believe that salvation is by grace, through faith, and not of works. This means that salvation cannot be earned by any work (church attendance, baptism, repenting of your sins, etc, etc). Salvation is putting your faith in Jesus Christ and that he died, was buried, and rose from the grave to pay for your sin. You receive salvation by simply asking the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.

We believe in the eternal security of the believer (once saved always saved). Just like there is nothing you can do to earn salvation, there is nothing you can do to lose it.

We reject the teaching of Calvinism and believe that God wants everyone to be saved.

I already talked about the fact that men cannot—in a free will sort of way—put their faith in Jesus Christ, only God can give us saving faith. We love Him because he first loved us. However, for this discussion, let’s take the three statements above at face value.

The last sentence of the first statement quoted in this section says, “You receive salvation by simply asking the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.” The second proposition quoted above says, “…once saved, always saved…” The third proposition says “that God wants everyone to be saved.”

Let’s look at how this might play-out in the life of some young person we will call “Martha”. I am making up a name for the purposes of this discussion and not trying to get anyone that might really be named Martha into trouble with Verity or their leadership.

Martha is thirteen and attends Verity when she is in town visiting with her cousin. Pastor Jimenez really impresses her with his sermon and she walks the aisle and prays the sinner’s prayer just like they have it on their website.

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I know I deserve to go to Hell. But I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and rose from the grave to pay for my sins. Please save me and take me to Heaven when I die. Amen.   Link: Verity Bible Way To Heaven

She is really sincere when she does it.

A few years later, Martha is nineteen and attending college at U.C. Berkeley. In order to graduate, she is required to take a women’s study elective. In her class, the teacher says that ten percent of the population is homosexual but don’t always know it. Over several months, Martha is encouraged to explore her sexuality and decides she is bisexual.

She then visits her cousin and goes again to Verity. She is interested in joining the church when she encounters these statements from the church website.

Second Group

We believe that church membership is a privilege and not a right and church members are subject to be removed from membership and not allowed to attend the services if they violate the qualifications of church membership as set forth in the Holy Scriptures and the by-laws of Verity Baptist Church.

We believe that sodomy (homosexuality) is a sin and an abomination before God which God punishes with the death penalty. No sodomite (homosexual) will be allowed to attend or join Verity Baptist Church.

Do you see the contradiction that Martha faces? On the one hand Martha is promised that she is saved “there is nothing you can do to lose it”  and “that God wants everyone to be saved” while at the same time she is told that God will punish her “with the death penalty”. This death penalty includes everlasting torment in hell.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. “
I Corinthians 6:9-10

But once saved, always saved, right?

In Fact Pastor Jimenez says, No matter what you do after you receive “the gift of eternal life” it can never end. Otherwise God lied, and we know that God “cannot lie”.

Anyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved forever. Being saved is a one time event. All you have to do is ask.
Link: Verity Bible Way To Heaven

Oh and Martha can’t repent because that is works and not faith.

• Verity says that God wants everyone to be saved but how do they wiggle out of this box?
• How can they promise both Hell and Heaven simultaneously to the same person?
• How is someone able to be saved but not able to be counted as a member of the body of Christ?

This is the ecclesiastical version of Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru.

Given my scenario—which I think is realistic in today’s society—either once saved always saved is wrong or the condemnation of homosexuality is wrong. Since the latter is clearly taught in the Old and New Testaments then the former is clearly false.

Verity’s answer about God having to save you if you say the right incantation (sprinkled with faith) smacks more of Harry Potter or Celtic Druids than the Christian religion.

Reading list

A disturbing window into the soul of Verity can be found on their Links page under the innocuous title of After the Tribulation. This link redirects you to www.framingtheworld.com

Look at the books offered on this website. Many are by authors such as Texe Marrs.

This guy really hates the Jews. Here’s the description of his book Serpent of the Jews

“Amazingly, the Jews have proven to be exactly what Jesus prophesied. They are the People of the Serpent, unregenerated hypocrites whose religion is unparalleled in its treachery, its wickedness, and its unbounded filth. The Kabbalah and the Talmud, authored by the rabbis, are the very code of hell, the doctrines of devils.”
www.texemarrs.com

On his website, Marrs also is promoting ideas like 9/11 was an “inside job” by the Bushes, Mossad, and the CIA. This is John Birch Society craziness on steroids.

Another book featured on this website is The Holocaust Hoax Exposed by Victor Thorn.
So, akin to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and any other figment of the imagination, the tale of six million Jews being exterminated in National Socialist death camps is nothing more than a deceptive ruse.
Amazon.com review The Holocaust Hoax Exposed

Another book featured on the website is Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
Per our friends at Wikipedia, this book was a forgery that was first published in 1903 and is still available in print today.

“Henry Ford funded printing of 500,000 copies that were distributed throughout the US in the 1920s. Adolf Hitler was a major proponent. It was studied, as if factual, in German classrooms after the Nazis came to power in 1933, despite having been exposed as fraudulent by The Times of London in 1921.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protocols_of_the_Elders_of_Zion

Here’s another reason Verity and their fellow travelers reject Dispensationalism. In Dispensational theology, God does a special work at the end of time that causes many Jews to repent and convert to Christianity. I guess if you think Jews will usher in the end of the world and the Great Tribulation, it might not make sense that God would go out of His way to redeem them.


Conclusion
If the historic Creeds of Christianity are used as a guide that establishes the boundaries of the Christian faith, then Verity seems to have hopped the fence in search of greener pastures. At best they are like the crazy uncle that lives in the church basement and at worst they are a Cult that has departed from the faith.

 

Posted by william on 06/19 at 09:08 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Tale of Two Baptists

In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, two very different reactions were reported by Baptists groups.

Chick-fil-A in Orlando was open the following day-a Sunday-to provide chicken and lemonade to blood donors wishing to help wounded victims. Just because Chick-fil-A is supportive of traditional marriage does not mean that they turn a blind eye to their community in a time of extra ordinary need.
Chick-fil-A responds to Orlando massacre


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Photo from Washington Times


Meanwhile, here in northern California, KCRA-TV was featuring a local pastor that was preaching a different message on the very same Sunday. Here are parts of their story.

During a portion of his teaching, Pastor Roger Jimenez, of Verity Baptist Church on Northgate Boulevard, was talking about sodomites, saying that it is “unnatural to want to be with some of the same sex.”


“People say, ‘Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died?’ Here’s the problem with that, it’s like the equivalent of asking me, ‘Well, aren’t you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?’” Jimenez said. “No, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think that Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight.”


“The point that I was making is if God puts the death penalty on it, God says they deserve to die, and they die, this is not something that we, as Christians, need to be mourning,” Jimenez said. “In the same way that this gunman who went in there and killed all these people, he violated Scripture. God says that he deserves to die for taking their lives. We don’t need to be mourning his death either.”

Jimenez went on to say that the main focus of his sermon was about how the government and media is going to use this even to push their agenda, which is to take away gun rights and limit freedom of speech.

KCRA: Pastor upset more didn’t die

Pastor Jimenez is mixing Scripture with current events and some of his own ideas and the whole combination is falling short. I would like to try to separate some of the threads in this story into components that can be more easily analyzed.

I’m going to look at the subject of this news story thru a worldview influenced by a Reformed point of view. As such, let’s begin with the first point of Calvinism, Total Depravity.

The short version of Total Depravity is that men are spiritually dead.  We are all sinners separated from God.

Some sins; however, are condemned in both Testaments; among these are murder and homosexuality. The Bible is clear that murders and homosexuals will not go to heaven or inherit the kingdom of God.

One word used in the New Testament that includes homosexuality is Pornia which is defined as: adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
—Strong’s Concordance, Word 4202

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Roman1:25-32

That all sinners are separated from God is a given, but clearly some sins are the result of the rebellion of a people under God’s judgment. This was true when Paul wrote it back in the days of ancient Rome and is again true of the West.

It is true that homosexuality is a sin that is worthy of death under the Old Testament system established by Moses. However, there is no warrant for belief that a vigilante that goes around killing notorious sinners is allowed by Scripture. A sinner killing other sinners is still a sin and not something worthy of celebrating.

Sorry but The Punisher and Death Wish are both entertainment and not meant as guides on social reform for willing citizens.

Only government is allowed to use the sword to punish evil doers. Yes self-defense is also biblical but anyone that says playing judge, jury, and executioner is wonderful is not speaking in accord with Scripture.

Pastor Jimenez somehow thinks two wrongs make a right action. On this point I dissent.

I think that Chick-fil-A giving folks food and drink is a much more biblical approach. Jesus said it is ok to do good on the Sabbath.

“Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?”
—Luke 6:9

As I dug deeper into Verity Baptist Church, I found enough to do a blog on their group but I will let that wait for another day. I would like to close on a quotation from their website so you can get a flavor of what Pastor Jimenez has to say about the “rainbow people”.

We believe that sodomy (homosexuality) is a sin and an abomination before God which God punishes with the death penalty. No sodomite (homosexual will be allowed to attend or join Verity Baptist Church.
Verity Baptist Church-what we believe

Posted by william on 06/15 at 10:12 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Friday, June 10, 2016

1984: Joe Miller Agrees

More proof I’m ReallyRight as today Joe Miller publishes 5 Ways Orwell’s 1984 Has Come True Since Its Publication 68 Years Ago.

It’s debatable whether George Orwell surmised the ominous threat of totalitarianism that inspired him to pen the dystopic vision, 1984, would extend worldwide and resurface nearly seven decades after its publication. But the novel’s apt description of a world on end have undoubtedly come to pass.

Innumerable examples evidence how 1984 would better be described as a dark portent than a fascinating read, but one thing — the political language dubbed Newspeak, employed by the ruling government, Ingsoc — seems to have served as an instruction manual for the American empire. —Claire Bernish
Link: 5 Ways Orwell’s 1984 has come true

 

 

Posted by william on 06/10 at 06:12 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Thursday, June 09, 2016

1984: Orwell’s Dystopia has Arrived

For those that haven’t read this book in a while, here is a portion of the plot synopsis from Wikipedia. I have added emphasis to a portion; you will learn why in a moment.

The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue in Newspeak), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line. The instructions that the workers receive specify the corrections as fixing misquotations and never as what they really are: forgeries and falsifications. A large part of the ministry also actively destroys all documents that have been edited and do not contain the revisions; in this way, no proof exists that the government is lying.
Wikipedia 1984

In his novel 1984, Orwell envisioned that it would be an all present and all powerful government that would be running the Ministry of Truth ; however; in modern America, we prefer to let large corporations do the unpleasant lifting for government. This allows something Orwell overlooked in his dystopian world, plausible deniability .

Plausible deniability is the ability for persons to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by others because of a lack of evidence that can confirm their participation, even if they were personally involved in or at least willfully ignorant of the actions.”
Link: Definition of Plausible Deniability

The irony that this particular book—1984—is the victim of document destruction is all the more poignant.

The perpetrator of this action happens to be Amazon.com

Amazon Secretly Removes “1984” From the Kindle
Thousands of people last week discovered that Amazon had quietly removed electronic copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from their Kindle e-book readers. In the process, Amazon revealed how easy censorship will be in the Kindle age.

In this case, the mass e-book removals were motivated by copyright . A company called MobileReference, who did not own the copyrights to the books 1984 and Animal Farm, uploaded both books to the Kindle store and started selling them. When the rights owner heard about this, they contacted Amazon and asked that the e-books be removed. And Amazon decided to erase them not just from the store, but from all the Kindles where they’d been downloaded. Amazon operators used the Kindle wireless network, called WhisperNet, to quietly delete the books from people’s devices and refund them the money they’d paid.

An uproar followed, with outraged customers pointing out the irony that Amazon was deleting copies of a novel about a fascist media state that constantly alters history by changing digital records of what has happened. Amazon’s action flies in the face of what people expect when they purchase a book. Under the “right of first sale” in the U.S., people can do whatever they like with a book after purchasing it, including giving it to a friend or reselling it. There is no option for a bookseller to take that book back once it’s sold.
Joe Miller: Amazon Secretly Removes 1984

Gizmodo’s original story can be found here

This action by Amazon, which has happened before as the article in Gizmodo points out, is one of the reasons that I don’t purchase eBooks. It is also a reason I have grown adverse to buying downloadable music if I can get a physical CD instead.

The fine print in the Licensing Agreements is that you don’t really own the eCopy, the seller does. You just paid for permission to use it. Furthermore, after you give them money, they have the right to unilaterally change to the Terms of Use Agreement.

Ultimately, this is also true of your Windows or Apple Operating System. In fact, most of this stuff actually has an expiration date buried in the software —although it us usually two or three decades in the future.

This is what I dislike about anything proprietary. With the flick of a switch, someone can delete your entire library of eBooks, adobe PDF docs or anything else. Worse yet, they can secretly edit these same works and you would never know. As in 1984, there is no paper trail to follow because there is no paper.

Also, storing things on other people’s servers is problematic. It is common knowledge that Google reads everything you send or receive via Gmail or store on their servers.

Even without this ability, look what things have been purged from our culture.

I dare you to find a copy of Disney’s Song of the South. The plot is black folks on a plantation help to keep a white family together. Yeah, the blacks are the heroes in the movie but Disney has buried it.

Leslie Neilson did a live action Mr. Magoo movie in 1997 but again you can hardly find it.

If things run afoul of Political Correctness they get purged from popular culture.

Any references to Indians or Christians in our country are experiencing the same purge: Braves, Redskins, Warriors, Crusaders, etc. How did Star n’ Bars become a symbol of racism?

If you recall, following 9/11, Hollywood briefly wanted to digitally remove the Twin Towers from movies previously filmed in New York. Yeah, really! They wanted to purge any images that the Towers ever existed instead of getting mad at the folks that blew them up. As far as I know, the only Hollywood movie to purposely delete the Twin Towers was the first Spiderman movie. If you can find the first theatrical preview for the movie, it had a helicopter suspended between the Towers in a large web. Based on the preview, the men in it had just committed a bank robbery. Also, the final battle at the end of the movie was scrapped and re-shot because it had footage of the Towers.

In the computer age, with the flick of a switch, Amazon can delete a book from your library or update it to remove offensive content. Apple can drop music from your iTunes library; Netflix can edit offensive religious material from a movie. Need I go on?

Then there is social media. Express support for traditional marriage or call homosexuality a sin and you might have your account banned from Facebook. (I Know people this has happen too.)

Support traditional family values and the day is near when you will be denied government employment and student loans.

Doubt global warming and some politicians in California want you to be subject to criminal sanctions. (Yes this is a real bill in the state legislature.)

The brave new world is here. Failure of citizens to conform in thought and deed is slowly being criminalized. Freedom, Truth, Patriotism, and Faith are the enemies of the Liberal State.

Posted by william on 06/09 at 08:20 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Jesus the Only Way to God Under Attack Yet Again

I have several articles in various stages of being written for the blog but this story just seems to be the most important in its own way.

Once again, it touches on Calvin’s Five Points which is really ironic considering it’s about a Baptist church. Just for context please remember that Portland Oregon is regarded as the most atheist city in America. The website—World Net Daily—where I found this article is also based in Oregon.

The sign below hinges on a key claim of Jesus.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6


image


This doctrine is under constant attack by our culture (and many so-called Christians). It is nice to see someone standing for the truth of Scripture instead of itching the ears of sinful men.

“I’m not politically correct. I’ve never been politically correct, but I think I’m biblically correct, and that’s what matters to me”— Rev. Michael Harrington
Tiny Church in Holy War with Islam

Posted by william on 06/08 at 06:55 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Monday, June 06, 2016

The Compassion of the Wicked is Cruelty

Did you marvel when you saw these news stories last week?

U.S. President Barack Obama has cited the biblical Golden Rule to defend the controversial “federal guidance” he issued instructing all public schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms of the opposite biological sex or risk losing federal funding.
Obama Cites Golden Rule to allow boys into girl’s bathrooms

Rescuers are scouring bear-infested woods in northern Japan for a little boy who was abandoned by his parents as punishment.
Japanese boy left in woods as punishment

• Ever wonder how Liberals can claim that abortion is a good moral choice?

• Ever wonder why Peter Singer can be hailed as a champion of ethics when he advocates animal rights, abortion, euthanasia, and the killing for children under the age of two that are deemed defective?

• In short, have you ever wondered about a world where wrong is right, up is down, perverted is normal, and criminals are virtuous?


We here at ReallyRight.com are here to help. The answer has probably been in your hands all along, it’s just that no one pointed this out to you. Let us introduce you to Proverbs 12:10.

I’m sure this verse has been one that had you read it, you would just sail bye it, but let’s take a closer look. In particular, the second part of Proverbs 12:10 has not been rendered correctly into English in many popular translations.

New King James
A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

King James Version
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

American Standard Version
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

The following versions are closer to the mark:

New American Standard Version
A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

God’s Word Translation
A righteous person cares [even] about the life of his animals, but the compassion of wicked people is [nothing but] cruelty.

In short, the second part of Proverbs 12:10 should be rendered, “The compassion of the wicked is cruelty.”

I have to give credit for this to David Chilton, although I don’t know if he ever put it in writing anywhere.

Here are some commentaries that I felt helped to understand the passage.

But the tender mercies ; literally, the bowels, regarded as the seat of feeling. The wicked cannot be supposed to have “tender mercies;” hence it is best to take the word in the sense of “feelings,” “affections.” What should be mercy and love are in an evil man only hard-heartedness and cruelty.
Pulpit Commentary on Proverbs 12

In 10b most interpreters find an oxymoron: the compassion of the godless is compassionless, the direct opposite of compassion; i.e., he possesses either altogether no compassion, or he shows such as in its principle, its expression, and in its effects is the opposite of what it ought to be (Fl.). Bertheau believes that in the sing. of the predicate אכזרי he is justified in translating: the compassion of the wicked is a tyranny. And as one may speak of a loveless love, i.e., of a love which in its principle is nothing else than selfishness, so also of a compassionless compassion, such as consists only in gesture and speech without truth of feeling and of active results. But how such a compassionless compassion toward the cattle, and one which is really cruel, is possible, it may be difficult to show. Hitzig’s conjecture, רחמי, sprang from this thought: the most merciful among sinners are cruel - the sinner is as such not רחוּם. The lxx is right in the rendering, τὰ δὲ σπλάγχνα τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἀνελεήμονα. The noun רחמים means here not compassion, but, as in Genesis 43:30 (lxx ἔντερα or ἔγκατα) and 1 Kings 3:26 (lxx μήτρα), has the meaning the bowels (properly tender parts, cf. Arab. rakhuma, to be soft, tender, with rḥm), and thus the interior of the body, in which deep emotions, and especially strong sympathy, are wont to be reflected (cf. Hosea 10:8). The singular of the predicate אכזרי arises here from the unity of the subject-conception: the inwards, as Jeremiah 50:12, from the reference of the expression to each individual of the many.  Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary on Proverbs 12

This rendering of Proverbs 12:10 also happens to fit into Calvinism’s idea of Total Depravity. (For a detailed discussion you can refer to site such as this: Five Points of Calvinism Chapter 1)

So next time you want to quote Romans chapter one to someone but they won’t sit still long enough to let you, just remember this passage.  Solomon distilled much into one succinct phrase, “The compassion of the wicked is cruelty”. Almost a thousand years later, Paul built upon this in his letter to the Romans.

So in our world of soundbites and bumper stickers, add this to your mental toolbox; then next time you see the wicked acting according to their nature, you’ll understand that the compassion of the wicked is cruelty.

Posted by william on 06/06 at 08:30 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Bern the Witch

Sorry, but I can’t help cheering for Bernie Sanders in his battle with Hillary Clinton. Bernie has such an uphill struggle against the Clinton Machine that he should have been out of this a long time ago. However, Mrs. Clinton is such a horrible and unqualified candidate that even her Party doesn’t like her.

Without the Super Delegates that pledged to her a year ago she would be filling out a resume or retiring to enjoy her life with Bill. (Like that will be actually happen.) I disagree with Bernie’s policies but I believe that he is a real alternative to the former New York Senator.

At least Bernie has blazed his own trail for much of his political career. He is the longest serving independent and didn’t become a Democrat until a year ago. He has more political experience than Bill and Hillary put together.

What are Hillary’s accomplishments?
• She slept with the President
• She let people die in Benghazi
• She had an unsecure server in her house that was hacked on several occasions and exposed national security secrets

The deck is stacked against Bernie but you’ve got to admire him. It’s a David and Goliath match that has been fun to watch. If June 7th is kind to him, just maybe the Dems will get their wish for a disputed convention. It worked so well for them in 1972.

Posted by william on 06/02 at 09:08 PM
BloggingPermalink

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SEIU Going for 22% Pay Increase

Taxpayers and business owners of California, lest you thought that our beloved Legislature was done with you, think again. The other shoe is about to drop on your fiscal head.

While you are toiling away at your jobs with the shadow of a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage hanging over your head, standby. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has big plans for you. They are advocating an across the board 22 percent raise for all state workers that they represent. Of this, two percent of this increase will go towards retirement.


image
SEIU Flyer


Still time to go to Texas or face the wrath of these economically illiterate elites running this crazy state.

Posted by william on 05/24 at 06:42 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pregnancy Scare on Airplane

When speaking about popular culture, I have heard it claimed that movies with historical settings often show you more about modern culture than they do what really happened in the past. Movies like Mel Gibson’s The Patriot ” and Russell Crowe’s Noah ” come to mind. I’m sure that my readers can name several other flicks that also fall into this category.

It is not often that much of pop-culture can be distilled to one single event or news story but I think I found one that covers many bases at one time.

I wish to present this gem that was offered by Microsoft Network (MSN) earlier today.

Kim Kardashian Has Pregnancy Scare on an Airplane
Article: Kim Kardashian has pregnancy scare on an airplane

Many questions and issues are raised by this one celebrity puff piece.

What is a pregnancy scare? And how does one experience a “pregnancy scare” on an airplane.

Normally I would ignore such an article but look at the context this week.

• The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is having a systematic breakdown in commercial airports all over the United States. Lines are three hours long in many areas just so passengers can get thru the security checkpoints.

• Two days ago a terrorist attack caused the crash of a flight from Paris to Cairo, Egypt. Even having three air marshals on the flight did nothing to prevent this attack.

• Now we have a genuine “pop tart” in the news because of something that happened on a plane.

Air travel is definitely in the news this week.

So how does a big time celebrity have a “pregnancy scare” on an airplane?
Did some TSA guy pull her aside for a cavity search and then act like Bill Clinton?
Did she behave stupidly and try to get into the mythical “mile high club” only to later regret it?

As the article points-out, Kardashian is married and a mother of two children. So what does pregnancy have to do with a plane flight? Doesn’t the phrase “pregnancy scare” seem like a backhanded way of portraying pregnancy as a bad thing? It seems like the language someone who identifies themselves as “pro-abortion” would use.

So the set-up is this: sex symbol woman that has virtually every crevasse of her body all over the Internet, seems worried about the consequences of sex catching up with her behavior, and somehow this all involves an airplane too . What a strange mixture of issues is converging on this one article.

As it turns out, Kardashian decided to take a pregnancy test in the midst of her flight and broadcast the results live on the Internet to all of her followers.

Kim Kardashian had a small pregnancy scare on Thursday, so she did what anyone would in that situation: She took a pregnancy test on an airplane and broadcast it to the world via Snapchat.

“I’m legit in the airplane bathroom about to take a pregnancy test because I’m having a little bit of a scare,” Kim announced in her first Snapchat video.



I’m sorry but why would someone ever share this on the Internet? Is Kim on the fetish channel?

Think about it; she is live streaming her streaming of pee to test for female hormones and then look for a plus or minus.

The letters T.M.I. come to mind. Too Much Information.

Kim do the rest of us a favor and keep your privates parts private and your martial behavior in your bedchamber.

Whoever wrote this story claiming that Kardashian “did what anyone would in that situation” is clearly living in a different world that I am.

Like I said at the beginning, this story touches on lots of aspects of pop-culture. It is a sad commentary on societal decay. As the Litany would say, from this too good Lord deliver us.

Posted by william on 05/20 at 08:29 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Minors and Microsoft Band 2

My son is an avid reader and as an incentive to push him, we offered him some cash if he would get a certain point value by the end of the school year. (Each book he reads at school has a point system based on content and grade level.)

Earlier this month, he achieved the goal set for him and wanted to use his money to buy a Microsoft Band 2. About a week ago, the Band arrived from Amazon. It was on sale again for $175.

I had him charge it while I was at work and when I got home, I told him that I would connect it with his Lumia 640.

image


What should have been a five minute procedure ended up taking 3 ½ hours.

First, the Band is designed to sync with the Microsoft Health application. Unlike Apple products, the Microsoft Band works on Windows, Android, and Apple phones. What I learned is that on a Windows phone, there is no ability to log off of the Microsoft Health app. It is defaulted to use the user signed into the phone. Well the Lumia 640 was my old phone. I uninstalled the app and then reinstalled, hoping to get a log-in prompt. This failed.

I deleted my email accounts, entered my son’s email account, and tried again. The Microsoft health app then tried to log into my son’s account.

I need to give you a bit of background to understand what happened next. My son is listed as my son on my Microsoft Live account. As such, I have some ability to monitor his Internet activity and control things like purchases that he makes on the phone. By having his age listed, I can also control what he does on the XBOX.

When the app tried to log on to my son’s Microsoft account, it gave him an error stating that he was too young to use the Band and locked him out of the app. We deleted the app and reinstalled. The app jumped to this same blocked message.

I ended up wiping the phone completely and starting over. After I tried to run the Microsoft Health app, it once again locked him out due to his age. Please remember that without the ability for him to connect to this application, the Band is a $175 brick.

I researched this on the Internet and found that the Microsoft Health app will only allow connections with people 18 and older . Nowhere is this documented on Microsoft’s sales information on the Band. I then researched how to change his age on the youth account. Once I changed his age to 21 in my Live account, I was told by the website that this made him an adult and he could no longer be under my supervision. Reluctantly, I agreed to this.

Then we tried the MS Health app again. We were still locked-out. So once again I had to wipe the phone and start over. This time when the Microsoft app was installed, it reluctantly allowed him to connect. My problem is that the version of Windows 10 on the phone is a beta copy and not an approved production release. By wiping my account, I’m sure I broke the link to get further updates on the phone.

I think it is stupid that Microsoft targets youth to buy their Band and then won’t let them use it because they are youth. Thus we need to lie to MS about the age of our children to use their products.

What kind of society are we living in? We aren’t supposed to care which bathroom our children use or if they get an abortion but they have to be over 18 to buy a glorified watch?

Clearly there are lawyers involved in this somehow. You’d think Microsoft would get their highly paid lobbyists to fix any issues that might prevent youth from using their products. I’m sure Fitbit has no such concerns about their products. In fact I doubt many people in Fitbit’s ads are over 18.

The bottom line is when you get your kids a Microsoft Band 2 be sure and lie about their age before trying to connect it to the Internet. Great product, but lying is not good behavior to model for your kids.

Posted by william on 05/17 at 09:41 AM
TechnologyPermalink

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Review: Golden 1 Forces Quicken Use

A week ago, my financial institution killed my ability to use Microsoft Money. Up to this point, I’ve been happy with Golden 1 Credit Union but this move has given me pause to consider moving my finances to another business. 

Three reasons why I’m not happy:
• Golden 1 lied
• Quicken is inferior
• Privacy and Security concerns


Golden 1 Bad IT Guys
Golden 1 lied to their customers when they claimed that their software upgrade just made their site more secure and gave customers more options. They never stated that they would be discontinuing support for Money ahead of the upgrade. Not in emails to customers nor on their website. This is lousy customer service. In fact, they state just the opposite.

Does everything work the same as before the upgrade?
We worked hard to make sure that all functionality within Online and Mobile Banking remains the same.
https://www.golden1.com/OnlineServices/NewLook

The above statement has clearly been proven false.

My wife and I wrote to Golden 1 about this and got the following response. In effect, we were told to go pound sand.

Thank you for your email. Microsoft Money was discontinued in 2009, therefore it is not compatible with our website. Although you may have been able to use the service after it was discontinued, technical support is no longer offered. Golden 1 supports Quicken for Windows 2014 and 2015, Quicken for Mac 2007 and Essentials, as well as Buxfer and Mint.

When Golden 1 upgraded their website, the Quicken file format changed from QIF to QFX. I think they hosed some Quicken users as well.

Again, money was compatible with their website before the upgrade.


Quicken Inferior by Design
You may ask why I’m so upset? Quicken has always been an inferior product to Money.

Here are some samples of the differences:

Transaction entry screens

image
Microsoft Money entry screen


image
Quicken entry screen

Money gives you a way bigger area to enter a transaction on the same screen as your account register. In Quicken you have to resort to pop-up windows to find something comparable. This is a clunky design that is not user friendly.

Money lets you hide items that are reconciled without affecting the bank balance.  This allows you to limit your day-to-day interaction to recent items. Historical data is one mouse click away. If you try this in Quicken it will literally change the numbers that it shows for your bank account. This is stupid behavior.

I do accounting for a living. My bank balance is a record of withdrawals and deposits and that is the only things that should change it. If I want to slice and dice my financial information, I can run a report. Reporting is a separate tab in both programs.

In Money my ending balance is my ending balance and the check register stays the same (reconciled items are older and to see them you just scroll up).

In Quicken, this is a convoluted question. If you select to show only unreconciled items instead of all transactions then the running balance in the account goes into crazy land.

imageimage

Here are screenshots for the same transactions in Quicken toggling between All Transactions and Unreconciled Transactions. In money the running balance would not change.

The download and matching of transactions in Quicken also seems inferior to Money. Matching transactions in Money was intuitive but Quicken requires much more clicking to do the same task.

The other gripe I have is the invasiveness of Intuit. When I install Money, I click on setup.exe and install the program and go. If I have a Money file, I just double click on it and I’m off to the races but Intuit is different and not in a good way.

When I installed Quicken, it offered to import my Money file. Once I did that, I was forced to go to a registration screen and either create a new Intuit account or login and tie-in my Quicken account to my Turbo Tax account. Without your financial data being tied to Intuit via the Internet you cannot run the program. 

Quicken also gladly offers to keep a copy of all your banking data on their website. As invasive as their program is, I wonder if they are anyway.

The Quicken program does not have a product key required for installation, just the requirement that you have an Intuit account. Without a product key, Quicken can be installed on as many devices as you wish but the program needs an Intuit account in order to run.


Quicken Bugs
I did experience two bugs in the program while messing with all this nonsense.

First, on my Windows 10 desktop, Quicken was unable to connect to the Internet. After messing around for longer than I should have, I finally found the “Mondo Patch” for Quicken 2016.
Link to Mondo Patch
Once installed, I was able to get beyond the registration screen.

I later installed Quicken on my wife’s Lenovo laptop and did not experience this issue. After waiting about 10 minutes, the program finally patched itself before completing setup.

A second bug that I experienced was the mess Quicken made of my Money file. Quicken duplicated about twelve transactions in my check register and overstated my bank balance in excess of $4,000. Quicken created duplicates of items that had been reconciled in the previous month plus some other nonsense. I really hated going into my check register and deleting transactions but that’s what it took.

Not a good first impression!


Price
Before I get to my next section I did want to mention price.
Microsoft Money Sunset is a free download Money Download is here

Of course I couldn’t just get the basic version of Quicken, I needed Quicken Deluxe to import Money files. The program sells at Fry’s and Best Buy for $75. Thankfully, it sells at Sam’s Club for $55.

I wish back in the day that Microsoft had purchased Intuit but the Clinton Administration nixed the deal.

The Microsoft Corporation, in the software industry’s largest acquisition ever, agreed today to acquire Intuit Inc., the producer of the leading personal finance program, Quicken, in a stock swap valued at about $1.5 billion.
Microsoft to buy Intuit


Privacy
I have problems with all my personal information being retained by Intuit. Over the years my concern has grown. I have come to understand that they are retaining large amounts of data on users of their products.  This information is a lot of knowledge and corporate power that they could wield. Intuit is maintaining files on millions of people.

Writing about Mint—another Intuit company—and online privacy concerns I found this:

Finally, besides security issues, there are also privacy issues associated with using such sites. The sites are sitting on financial behavior information that would be extremely valuable in aggregate to marketers and others if they chose to sell it, an option Mr. Patzer of Mint.com has spoken about in the past.

Plus, even if a site promises now not to sell aggregate data about customers, it could change the agreement at any time and go ahead and sell the data. In addition, if such sites go bankrupt, even if they currently don’t sell data, trustees may decide to sell it to maximize the value of the assets.
Should you trust Mint?

I found this in the Quicken privacy policy.

If Quicken or its assets are acquired by another company, or in the event of a merger, consolidation, change in control, transfer of substantial assets, reorganization, or liquidation, we may transfer, sell, or assign to third parties, information concerning your relationship with us, including, without limitation, personal information that you provide and other information concerning your relationship with us.
Quicken Privacy Policy

See also Quicken-Intuit privacy hole

Bottom line is “we might keep your info safe but if we transfer it elsewhere, you’re on your own”.

Also, in the privacy notice, it says NOTE that on April 1, 2016 Quicken has changed ownership and is no longer a part of Intuit.

The notice then goes on to say that Quicken will continue to use the Intuit ID
This will remain in effect as a service that Intuit provides to the Quicken organization.

So presumably Intuit gives Quicken a copy of my financial data because I use their log-in services?
So does this mean hackers have two sets of data they can target? Or can be sold to a third party?


Security Concerns
Intuit seems to have better image control than the University of California at Davis campus.
However, every once in a while, their company makes the news.

As you might recall, there was a security scare with Intuit just last year.

On Thursday the company had stopped transmitting state returns filed via TurboTax because of “an increase in suspicious filings and attempts by criminals to use stolen identity information to file fraudulent state tax returns and claim tax refunds,” Intuit said in a blog post at the time. The company began transmitting state returns again on Friday afternoon Pacific Time after determining that the faked filings “did not result from a security breach of its systems,” according to a follow-up post.
http://www.cnet.com/news/turbotax-back-to-full-speed-after-fraud-concerns/

Intuit glitch affects one percent of their users.

A programming glitch in Intuit Inc.‘s TurboTax software has posed a potential security problem for as many as 150,000 users and may force them to change their passwords, the company said Thursday.
ABC News Technology story

That’s right, one percent is 150,000 thousand users. That means over 15 million use Turbo Tax.

As more people move to web based solutions, I think the likelihood that Intuit or Quicken gets hacked increases. I wish consumers like me could reduce this part of our digital footprint to minimize the impact that this will have.

Conclusion
I sure miss the old days of keeping my finances between me and my bank.

Posted by william on 05/15 at 11:01 AM
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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Jim Cooper’s Funny Business

I was minding my own business today when I saw the most incredible thing, this framed sign was next to the ice tea dispenser in the Elk Grove Dos Coyotes restaurant.

Jim Cooper—our local Democrat Assembly member is the small business of the month. Where is this award from; perhaps Texas?
image


Cooper is a waste of a politician. He wants to take away our freedom and give more power to the state. His only legislative claim to fame was introducing a bill to require Apple to put a backdoor into their phone operating system so government could snoop on its citizens any time they wanted.

Cooper, et al, hostile to business
Cooper and his Party have made California the worst business climate of any state in the union.

Lest you think I exaggerate, here is a small sample:

2014

California is the Worst State for Business for the Tenth Year in a Row
http://chiefexecutive.net/California-is-the-worst-state-for-business-2014/

Meanwhile, California, New Jersey and New York are ranked as the worst places to own or relocate a business due to their complex tax structures with comparatively high rates.
http://www.nfib.com/content/playbook/california/10-best-and-worst-states-for-small-business-taxes-64479/

2015

It must be rainbows, butterflies and unicorns for Sacramento liberals, as California successfully defends its crown as America’s CEOs again named California the worst state to do business-for the eleventh straight year.
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/05/27/california-wins-worst-state-to-do-business-for-11th-year/

California’s Worst Rankings
#50 Regulatory climate
#50 Incentives climate
#50 High school attainment: 82.1% of adult population
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2015/11/19/californias-business-competitiveness-where-it-ranks-best-and-worst/#1c70f126af6c

California has received a grade of F in small business friendliness, according to Thumbtack’s fourth annual Small Business Friendliness Survey, which surveyed over 2,000 small businesses in the state on a broad range of policy factors.

California not only earned an F in overall friendliness, but in ease of starting a business, business regulations, labor regulations, tax regulations, licensing forms and environmental regulations. The state also received a D+ in health and safety regulations and zoning regulations, as well as a C- in training and networking programs and C in ease of hiring.
http://www.turlockjournal.com/archives/30100/

Cooper lives off public sector
Before getting to the Assembly, Cooper ran for sheriff on a platform of financing the department solely by revenue from traffic cameras. Somehow the media didn’t think this was noteworthy enough to document at the time. The only reference I can find is listed below.

Proposed new taxes. Big proponent of red light cameras (in fact, it was the first thing he brought up when asked about budget issues on the 1380 KTKZ debate).
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/archive/index.php/t-292887.html


Lastly, California government—including Cooper—doesn’t produce anything. Cooper is getting $173,000 in retirement plus his salary as an Assembly member.

Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, $173,820. Cooper retired two years ago at age 50 as a captain with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
http://www.redwoodtimes.com/article/zz/20160410/NEWS/160419866

At least 16 other state lawmakers collect two checks each month, including Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), who retired two years ago at 50 as a captain in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. When added to his legislative pay, Cooper’s annual pension of $173,820 brings his total income each year to $273,000.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-pension-stacking-20160410-htmlstory.html

The idea that Cooper could be called a small business man is ridiculous.

Do you believe in coincidence?
Lastly, I find it suspicious that a business based in the liberal enclave of Davis, just happens to pick Cooper as the business guy of the month at the same time ballots are being mailed to voters in his district.

Dos Coyotes has never had a business of the month until Cooper’s name just happened to show-up on their wall. I know, I frequently eat there.

I think this is backhanded in-kind contribution for some unnamed favor that Cooper did for them.

Posted by william on 05/14 at 06:22 PM
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