“Shattered” by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes: A Review

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“Bang-bang-bang: Three blockbusters, any one of which could alter the course of the campaign, pushed out in two hours. The first two seemed like sure winners for Hillary, but the WikiLeaking of Podesta’s e-mails threatened to offset or even overwhelm them.” (340)

History will reveal that one of the most unqualified and beatable major party candidates for the American presidency not only reached the nation’s highest office to the shock of everyone, but his defeat of the former first lady/New York Senator/Secretary of State ranks as one of the greatest political upsets in history. It trumps (pun intended) Harry S. Truman’s defeat of Dewey by a mile.

Yet with hindsight, Trump’s election victory is a credit as much to Hillary as a candidate and the campaign she ran as it was to Trump and his ability to dominate the news and to turn out voterswho love him. In their book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes chronicle the former Secretary of State’s 2018 presidential run from its genesis prior to the primaries to the bitter end.

One thing is clear: Hillary was a bad candidate with a flawed strategy. So flawed she lost to a womanizing billionaire who claimed to be an evangelical. That’s bad.

The narrative begins with Hillary forming her campaign focusing on the errors she committed in her failed primary run in 2008 against former President Barack Obama. In that campaign, Obama was a no-named first-term Senator from Illinois who managed to defeat the presumptive Democrat nominee. Not wanting to lose again, Hillary was quick to secure all the Super-delegates and the best of the best campaign workers she could. In the end, that strategy helped her win the primaries but cost her the general election.

What Hillary could never fix was herself as a candidate (her negatives have always been high) and her campaign was constantly a royal mess. A common theme regarding the strategy adopted by her campaign manager to study analytics rather than focus on the tried and true (but old school) get-out-the-vote. When Hillary’s emails, past, and comments continued to hurt her, that strategy haunted her especially in the rust belt which she abandoned.

This work is a great book for political junkies that enjoy breaking down campaigns. I have read similar titles on general campaigns that look at both sides, but this volume focuses exclusively on the Hillary campaign. Given the epic fail of Hillary’s camp, it seemed worthy of focusing on. Given political norms, Hillary should have walked into the White House, the problem was that Democrats had chosen Hillary Clinton as their candidate without a bench to challenge her. That was their downfall. So serious that they could not even beat Donald Trump.

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All Around the Web – November 19, 2018

AATWJoe Carter – 9 Things You Should Know About Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre

First Things – QUEERING SCIENCE

Denny Burk – Masculinity at the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California

Chuck Lawless – 12 Questions for Self-evaluation as a Church Leader

Baptist Press – Tax on churches looms, ERLC coalition urges repeal

John Stonestreet – Before Your Kids Get a Smartphone

Tim Challies – Is It Worth a Trip to The Holy Land?

Facts & Trends – Pastors Repeatedly Face, But Feel Unprepared to Address Sexual Brokenness in the Church

Townhall – New Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen Says The Term ‘Pro-Choice’ Ignores ‘Systematic Racism’

Atlantic – Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

Fox32 – Kansas City Health Department pours bleach on food meant for homeless people

Babylon Bee – Outrageous: Thousands Of Russian Trolls Are Taking Jobs Away From Hard-Working American Trolls

Babylon Bee – Pro-Choice Group Apologizes For Video That Accidentally Humanized The Unborn

All Around the Web – November 17, 2018

AATWTrevin Wax – What Expressive Individualism Does to Sin

TGC – Where Did Satan Come From?

Chuck Lawless – Why I’m Excited about Paul Chitwood as New IMB President . . . and What My Commitment Is 

John Stonestreet – HOW TO GAIN CONTROL OF YOUR KIDS’ SMARTPHONE. . .

Facts & Trends – 7 KEYS TO GROWING YOUR CHURCH’S MIDWEEK SERVICES

Thom Rainer – Revisiting the Billy Graham Rule for Pastors

Randy Alcorn – What Are the “High Places” in the Old Testament, and How Does That Apply to Us Today?

Facts & Trends – 4 Ways The Church Can Support Adoptive and Foster Families

Things of the Sort – Why Does Church Membership Matter?

Evangelical History – Graduate Work in Theology or History?

Tim Challies – This is the Church in China

The Blaze – Before and after pictures of California wildfires show extent of devastation

Babylon Bee – Broward County Brings In Expert Consultant To Speed Up Ballot Count

Babylon Bee – Reformed Pastor Completes Brief 47-Year-Long Sermon Series On Book Of Romans

Babylon Bee – Hillary Clinton Receives Large Cash Advance For ‘What Happened 2’ Ahead Of 2020 Presidential Run

All Around the Web – November 16, 2018

AATWKevin DeYoung – Eleven Ways Christians Can Love One Another

Thom Rainer – Seven Reasons the 10+ Year Pastorate Is Becoming More Common – Rainer on Leadership #484

Chuck Lawless – 7 Reasons to Consider Different Worship Styles in Multiple Services

TGC – A Significant Root of America’s Racial Strife

TGC – 3 Reasons to Take Your Children to Funerals

Crossway – 5 Reasons to Obey the 10 Commandments

Jared Wilson – Let Your Internet Yes Be Your Real-Life Yes

TGC – What You Didn’t Know About Angels

Slow to Write – The Leading Cause Of Death In Canada

Facts & Trends – Christian Student’s Stance Sparks Protests at UC Berkeley

LifeWay Books – Five Ideas for Better Reading

Babylon Bee – Church Elders Demand Recount After Congregation Votes To Replace 30-Year-Old Carpet

Babylon Bee – Hillary Clinton: ‘The Only Crime I Ever Committed Was Stealing The Hearts Of The American People’

Babylon Bee – CDC: This Year’s Uggs Season Could Be The Worst In A Decade

The Mechanics of Planning Our Preaching

Last week I explained why every pastor should plan his preaching a year in advance. In this post, I want to explain the mechanics of how to do it each year.

 

1. BRAINSTORM FROM JANUARY-NOVEMBER

Every pastor knows his church and ought to be able to anticipate some of its needs. In addition, there are certain books, passages, and subjects that pastors come across they want to preach. For eleven months out of the year, I jot as many of these down as I can. If I am leading toward preaching through a lengthy book (like Genesis or Romans) I try to think through how to do so. Maybe it would  be best to preach, for example, Genesis 1-11 and then take a short break and pick up in chapter 12 or maybe it would just be best to start in Romans 1:1 and continue until it is completed.

Also contemplate on what sort of doctrines and topics you would like to preach. Topics might include marriage, money, faith, temptation, the fruits of the spirit, grace, the cross, and on and on. Doctrines might include the atonement, theology proper, eschatology, etc. Consider the logistics, invest in resources, and take any notes or ideas you have.

 

2. WRITE OUT EVERY SUNDAY AND MARK EVERY HOLIDAY AND SPECIAL SERVICES

After brainstorming for eleven months, I get out my calendar and write down every Sunday of the next year and then mark every important holiday or special service that might call for a unique sermon. These include Resurrection Sunday, Christmas (which might be a series), Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. Some add Sanctity of Life Sunday, New Years, Independence Day, and other special occasions.

In addition to these, if possible, mark the days you plan on being on vacation. My church blesses me with two paid Sunday’s off each year. I work with my wife to plan these Sunday’s out. One year she was pregnant and so we knew to reserve a Sunday around the end of the pregnancy so I could better serve her and our growing family. Other years I was taking summer courses in seminary and so reserved at least one Sunday for that.

 

3. SEEK TO PREACH VARIETY

For me, I prefer to preach a variety of books, texts, subjects, etc. For example, I like to begin each year digging in the life of Jesus. So from the first Sunday of the year to Resurrection Sunday, I walk our congregation through the ministry of Jesus. For the past few years, this has meant walking verse by verse through the Gospel of Mark. I know right now that I will begin next year in Mark 8:27 where I left off last year.

I also like to preach from the Old Testament. I have preached from both short minor prophets (like Haggai, Joel, and Jonah) and lengthier historical writings (like Exodus). I always try to make sure our people are exposed to the Old Testament.

In addition to an Old Testament book I seek to cover a New Testament book. So far I’ve done Colossians, Philippians, Galatians, and others.

I usually pick at least one subject. Thus far in my preaching ministry, I have preached on the Fruits of the Spirits, the spiritual disciplines, spiritual roadblocks, and other topics.

I always seek to preach at least one doctrinal series. Our churches are suffering with a lack of doctrinal depth and I do not want to forsake preaching the truth of orthodoxy. The key here is to show your congregation the truth and its application. Over the years I have preached on Theology Proper, Christology, the atonement, ecclesiology, and eschatology.

Finally, I always try to do at least a small series for Christmas. Sometimes its just a two-part series. Sometimes its more.

The above is only a guide. If I am preaching through a lengthy book, I will have to sacrifice one or more of the above. If I am preaching through Romans, for example, I might hold off on a doctrinal series knowing that one cannot avoid preaching doctrine when preaching through Romans.

 

4. PLAN YOUR PREACHING

Now you can plan your preaching. I read through Mark, for example, and meditate on where to begin a passage and where to end. From there I trace it through Easter. I then contemplate on how many weeks it will take to exposit through this or that book, how many weeks I’ll spend on this or that doctrine, etc.

 

5. BE OPEN TO THE SPIRIT

This is a practical guide for the pastor, but the ultimate lead should be that of the Holy Spirit. You know your people but God knows them better. You are their pastor and are called to shepherd them. This might, at times, require an interruption of a series or a changing of your planned sermons. When events pop up in the culture and in the congregation the man of God must address them. Don’t be a slave to your preaching calendar; be a slave of Christ in whom you proclaim.

 

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All Around the Web – November 15, 2018

AATWDavid French – We Don’t Know How to Stop Mass Shootings

Rod Dreher – Bolshevising Queering Science

David French – The Two Temptations Facing Young Evangelicals

DA Carson – How a Christian Witnesses with Good Deeds

SBTS – The missions legacy of Billy Graham

Ligonier – Are Those in Hell Aware of God’s Presence?

EPM – Four Things That Remain Solidly True No Matter the Mid-Term Election Results

SBTS – 10 ways to respond to opposition

Art Rainer – 3 Scary Money Stats

New Yorker – A Hundred Years After the Armistice

Babylon Bee – Man Identifies As 20 Years Younger In Order To Land Youth Pastor Job

Babylon Bee – Democrats, Republicans Vow Not To Learn Any Lessons From The Election

From Lewis’s Pen: Being Good

From Mere Christianity:

That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to he good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or—if they think there is not—at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we arc good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it. (63)

All Around the Web – November 14, 2018

AATWDenny Burk – Stan Lee wrote the stories of my youth

Tony Merida – 6 Theses for Saturating the Nations With Sound Doctrine

Andrew Walker – ETS Paper: On Creation, Revelation, and the Meaning of Male and Female

TGC – 3 Beliefs Some Progressive Christians and Atheists Share

Bill Mounce – Do You Ever Leave a Translation Meaningless? (Hebrews 13:3) – Mondays with Mounce 331

Thom Rainer – SEVEN SENTENCES THAT MAKE PASTORS CRINGE

Chuck Lawless – 7 Reasons the Worship Style Should be the Same in All Services

TGC – ‘Boy Erased’ Suggests Sexual Desire Can’t Change, So Religion Must

Practical Shepherding – How does a pastor’s heart stay warm to God’s word?

Babylon Bee – Nazis Clarify They’re Only Calling For ‘Democratic Nazism’

Babylon Bee – Andy Stanley’s Old Testament Removal Tools Now Available In Christian Bookstores

Martin Luther on How John 1:1 Contradicts Modalism & Arianism

In the introduction of each chapter in his book Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar (Zondervan, 2003), Dr. William Mounce applies the Greek lesson to the practice of exegesis assuring the reader that the work they are about to do is worth the effort. In his chapter on nominatives and accusatives, Dr. Mounce discusses John 1:1 and argues that the lack of article beforetheos (“God” – in the nominative case) shapes our Christology and Trinitarian theology by referencing Martin Luther. He writes, As Martin Luther said, the lack of an article is against Sabellianism; the word order is against Arianism (27).

I have often wanted to read Luther’s argument on this in more detail and finally found it. In his Sermon for the Principal Christmas Service: Christ’s Titles of Honor; His Coming: His Incarnation; and the Revelation of His Glory (taken from John 1:1-14), Luther explains how John 1:1 contradicts both modalism (or Sabellianism) and Arianism.

On Arianism

The Arian heretics intended to draw a mist over this clear passage and to bore a hole into heaven, since they could not surmount it, and said that this Word of God was indeed God, not by nature, however, but by creation. They said that all things were created by it, but it had also been created previously, and after that all things were created by it. This they said from their own imagination without any authority from the Scriptures, because they left the simple words of the Scriptures and followed their own fancies.

Therefore I have said that he who desires to proceed safely on firm ground, must have no regard for the many subtle and hair-splitting words and fancies, but must cling to the simple, powerful, and explicit words of Scripture, and he will be secure. We shall also see how St. John anticipated these same heretics and refuted them in their subterfuges and fabrications.

Therefore we have here in the Books of Moses the real gold mine, from which everything that is written in the New Testament concerning the divinity of Christ has been taken. Here you may see from what source the gospel of St. John is taken, and upon what it is founded; and therefore it is easy to understand.

This is the source of the passage in Ps. 33, 6: “By the Word of Jehovah the heavens were made.” Solomon in beautiful words describes the wisdom of God, Prov. 3, 22, saying that this wisdom bad been in God before all things; and he takes his thoughts from this chapter of Moses. So almost all the prophets have worked in this mine and have dug their treasures from it.

But there are other passages by this same Moses concerning the Holy Ghost, as for example in Gen. 1,2: “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Thus the Spirit of God must also be something different from him who breathes him into existence, sends him forth, and yet he must be before all creatures. Again, Moses says in Gen. 1, 28-31: “God blessed the creatures, beheld them, and was pleased with them.” This benediction and favorable contemplation of the creatures point to the Holy Ghost, since the Scriptures attribute to him life and mercy. But these passages are not so well developed as those which refer to the Son; consequently they are not so prominent. The ore is still halfway in the mines, so that these passages can easily be believed, if reason is so far in subjection as to believe that there are two persons. If anyone will take the time and trouble to compare the passages of the New Testament referring to the Holy Ghost with this text of Moses, he will find much light, as well as pleasure.

Now we must open wide our hearts and understanding, so as to look upon these words not as the insignificant, perishable words of man, but think of them as being as great as he is who speaks them. It is a Word which he speaks of himself, which remains in him, and is never separated from him. Therefore according to the thought of the Apostle, we must consider how God speaks with himself and to himself, and how the Word proceeds from within himself. However, this Word is not an empty sound, but brings with it the whole essence of the divine nature. Reference has been made in the Epistle to the brightness of his glory and the image of his person, which constitute the divine nature, so that it accompanies the image in its entirety and thus becomes the very image itself. In the same manner God of himself also utters his Word, so that the whole Godhead accompanies the Word and in its nature remains in, and essentially is, the Word.

Behold, here we see whence the Apostle has taken his language, when he calls Christ an image of the divine essence, and the brightness of divine glory. He takes it from this text of Moses, when he says that God spoke the Word of himself; this can be nothing else than an image that represents him, since every word is a sign which means something. But here the thing signified is by its very nature in the sign or in the Word, which is not in any other sign. Therefore he very properly calls it a real image or sign of his nature.

The word of man may also in this connection be used in a measure as an illustration; for by it the human heart is known. Thus we commonly say: I understand his heart or intentions, when we have only heard his words; as out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks, and from the word the heart is known, as though it were in the word. In consequence of this experience the heathen had a saying: Qualis quisque est talia loquitur. (As a man speaks, so is he). Again: Oratio est character animi (Speech is an image of the heart). When the heart is pure it utters pure words, when it is impure it utters impure words. With this also corresponds the gospel of Matthew, 12, 34, where Christ says: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” And again, “How can ye, being evil, speak good things?” Also John the Baptist says, John 3, 31: “He that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaketh.” The Germans also have a proverb: “Of what the heart is full, overfloweth out of the mouth.” The bird is known by its song, for it sings according to its nature. Therefore all the world knows that nothing represents the condition of the heart so perfectly and so positively as the words of the mouth, just as though the heart were in the word.

Thus it is also with God. His word is so much like himself, that the Godhead is wholly in it, and be who has the word has the whole Godhead. But this comparison has its limits. For the human word does not carry with it the essence or the nature of the heart, but simply its meaning, or is a sign of the heart, just as a woodcut or a bronze tablet does not carry with it the human being, but simply represents it. But here in God, the Word does not only carry with it the sign and picture, but the whole being, and is as full of God as he whose word or picture it is. If the human word were pure heart, or the intention of the heart, the comparison would be perfect. But this cannot be; consequently the Word of God is above every word, and without comparison among all creatures.

There have indeed been sharp discussions about the inner word in the heart of man, which remains within, since man has been created in the image of God. But it is all so deep and mysterious, and will ever remain so, that it is not possible to understand it. Therefore we shall pass on, and we come, now to our Gospel, which is in itself clear and manifest.

“In the beginning was the Word.”

What beginning does the Evangelist mean except the one of which Moses says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth?” That was the beginning and origin of creation. Other than this there was no beginning, for God had no beginning, but is eternal. It follows, therefore, that the Word is also eternal, because it did not have its origin in the beginning, but it was already in the beginning, John says. It did not begin, but when other things began it was already in existence; and its existence did not begin when all things began, but it was then already present.

How prudently the Evangelist speaks; for he does not say: “In the beginning the Word was made,” but it was there,” and was not made. The origin of its existence is different from the beginning of creation. Furthermore he says: “In the beginning.” Had he been made before the world, as the Arians maintain, he would not have been in the beginning, but he would have himself been the beginning. But John firmly and clearly maintains: “In the beginning was the Word,” and he was not the beginning. Whence has St. John these words? From Moses, Gen. 1, 3 “God said, Let there be light.” From this text evidently come the words: “In the beginning was the Word.” For if God spoke, there had to be a Word. And if he spoke it in the beginning, when the creation began, it was already in the beginning, and did not begin with the creation.

But why does he not say: Before the beginning was the Word? This would have made the matter clearer, as it would seem; thus St. Paul often says: Before the creation of the world, etc. The answer is, because, to be in the beginning, and to be before, the beginning, are the same, and one is the consequence of the other. St. John, as an Evangelist, wished to agree with the writings of Moses, wished to open them up, and to disclose the source of his own words, which would not have been the case had he said: “Before” the beginning. Moses says nothing of that which was before the beginning, but describes the Word in the beginning, in order that he can the better describe the creation, which was made by the Word. For the same reason he also calls him a word, when he might as well have called him a light, life or something else, as is done later; for Moses speaks of a word. Now not to begin and to be in the beginning are the same as to be before the beginning.

But if the Word had been in the beginning and not before the beginning, it must have begun to be before the beginning, and so the beginning would have been before the beginning, which would be a contradiction, and would be the same as though the beginning were not the beginning. Therefore it is put in a masterly way: In the beginning was the Word, so as to show that it has not begun, and consequently must necessarily have been eternal, before the beginning.

“And the Word was with God.”

Where else should it have been? There never was anything outside of God. Moses says the same thing when he writes: “God said, Let there be light.” Whenever God speaks the word must be with him. But here he clearly distinguishes the persons, so that the Word is a different person than God with whom it was. This passage of John does not allow the interpretation that God had been alone, because it says that something had been with God, namely, the Word. If he had been alone, why would he need to say: The Word was with God? To have something with him, is not to be alone or by himself. It should not be forgotten that the Evangelist strongly emphasizes the little word “with.” For he repeats it, and clearly expresses the difference in persons to gainsay natural reason and future heretics. For while natural reason can understand that there is but one God, and many passages of Scripture substantiate it, and this is also true, yet the Scriptures also strongly oppose the idea that this same God is only one person.

On Seballianism/Modalism

Thus arose the heresy of Sabellius, who said: The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are only one person. And again Arius, although he admitted that the Word was with God, would not admit that he was true God. The former confesses and teaches too great a simplicity of God; the latter too great a multiplicity. The former mingles the persons; the latter separates the natures. But the true Christian faith takes the mean, teaches and confesses separate persons and an undivided nature. The Father is a different person from the Son, but he is not another God. Natural reason can not comprehend this; it must be apprehended by faith alone. Natural reason produces error and heresy; faith teaches and maintains the truth; for it clings to the Scriptures, which do not deceive nor lie.

“And God was the Word.”

Since there is but one God, it must be true that God himself is the Word, which was in the beginning before all creation. Some change the order of the words and read: And the Word was God, in order to explain that this Word not only is with God and is a different person, but that it is also in its essence the one true God with the Father. But we shall leave the words in the order in which they now stand: And God was the Word; and this is also what it means; there is no other God than the one only God, and this same God must also essentially be the Word, of which the Evangelist speaks; so there is nothing in the divine nature which is not in the Word. It is clearly stated that this Word is truly God, so that it is not only true that the Word is God, but also that God is the Word.

 On how John refutes both in a single verse:

Decidedly as this passage opposes Arius, who teaches that the Word is not God, so strongly it appears to favor Sabellius; for it speaks as though it mingled the persons, and thereby revokes or explains away the former passage, which separates the persons and says: The Word was with God.

But the Evangelist intentionally arranged his words so as to refute all heretics. Here therefore he overthrows Arius and attributes to the Word the true essential of the Godhead by saying: And God was the Word; as though he would say: I do not simply say, the Word is God, which might be understood as though the Godhead was only asserted of him, and were not essentially his, as you, Arius, claim; but I say: And God was the Word, which can be understood in no other way than that this same being which every one calls God and regards as such, is the Word.

Again, that Sabellius and reason may not think that I side with them, and mingle the persons, and revoke what I have said on this point, I repeat it and say again:

“The same was in the beginning with God.”

The Word was with God, with God, and yet God was the Word. Thus the Evangelist contends that both assertions are true: God is the Word, and the Word is with God; one nature of divine essence, and yet not one person only. Each person is God complete and entire, in the beginning and eternally. These are the passages upon which our faith is founded and to which we must hold fast. For it is entirely above reason that there should be three persons and each one perfect and true God, and yet not three Gods but one God.

Summary

If your still with me or maybe you’ve skipped to the end, here is Luther’s basic argument as explained by James Cantelon in his book Theology for Non-Theologians: An Engaging, Accessible, and Relevant Guide

Martin Luther used one Scripture to expose the error of both heresies. He alluded to John 1:1 and said, “‘the Word was God’ is against Arius; ‘the Word was with God’ is against Sabellius.