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Darkness to Light - Vol. XVIII, No. 5

Darkness to Light
Volume XVIII, Number 5

2020

Presented by Darkness to Light Website
Director: Gary F. Zeolla


In This Issue

Hallmark Channel Update

Christianity Today, The Christian Post, and President Trump Update

Churches are Essential

My Social Media Pages

New on my Christian, Fitness, and Politics Websites


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Hallmark Channel Update

By Gary F. Zeolla

        Back on December 20, 2019, I posted an article titled Hallmark Channel Email on the Darkness to Light website. I then ran that article in this Darkness to Light Newsletter in issue Volume XVIII, Number 1, on January 1, 2020.

      In that article, I said I was going to stop watching Hallmark Channel due to it airing a commercial featuring a homosexual wedding. I was criticized for letting “one little commercial” keep me from watching an otherwise wholesome TV channel. I published an email exchange I had with the person making that criticism in a discussion titled Viable Alternatives to Watching Sin for Entertainment, which I ran in Volume XVIII, Number 3, which was published on April 17, 2020.

      In that discussion, I explained what concerned me was that commercial was just “the camel’s nose in the tent.” I predicted that Hallmark would soon produce a movie featuring a homosexual couple. The person I was talking to seemed to dismiss that possibility. But I was proven correct on Saturday, August 15, 2020, when Hallmark aired a movie titled “Wedding Every Weekend.”

      Since I stopped watching Hallmark, I did not watch that movie, but I heard on NBC Radio News on iHeartRadio that it was a compilation movie, with four different weddings featured, one of them with a homosexual couple. But checking the TV guide on my cable service, it looks like the movie featured a heterosexual couple who attend four weddings on successive weekends. But apparently, one of those weddings was with a homosexual couple. In that case, the homosexual wedding was more in the background than part of the main storyline. However, the NBC report also said Hallmark promised to produce movies in the future feting a homosexual couple as the main couple.

      What that means is, Hallmark is apparently using a gradual approach of introducing its viewers to homosexual relationships. First, just a commercial with a homosexual wedding, then a homosexual wedding in the background of a heterosexual storyline, then a full homosexual storyline. In that way, its viewers will be gradually be conditioned to accept such relationships on its TV network. That is how TV in general brought about an acceptance of homosexuality in our culture, as I detail in my article Television and Homosexuality.

      In the above Hallmark items, I said that if everyone in America who claimed to be a Christian stopped watching when a network produced such ungodly programming, the networks would get the hint and stop producing such programming due to the dropped ratings. But with Hallmark going the exact opposite direction and promising to produce more such programming, that tells me “Christians” are still gleefully watching Hallmark Channel. Sadly, they will probably continue to do so, even as it lowers its moral standards more and more.

      That is how we ended up with the cesspool that is modern TV programming. And it still amazes me that so many Christians can enjoy watching sin for entertainment. And yes, homosexual sex is a sin. If you doubt that fact, please see my two-volume set God’s Sex Plan.


God’s Sex Plan: Volume Two: What the New Testament Teaches About Human Sexuality - Many issues are discussed in this book that are related to sex, including but not limited to: monogamy, marital sex, polygamy, incest, homosexuality, premarital sex (fornication), extramarital sex (adultery), celibacy, transsexualism, reproduction, infertility, contraception, abortion, sexual harassment and assault, masturbation, pornography, gender roles, and school and other mass shootings (yes, those are related to this topic).


Christianity Today, The Christian Post, and President Trump Update

      By Gary F. Zeolla

            On January 1, 2020, I published Part One of my article Christianity Today, The Christian Post, and President Trump in Volume XVIII, Number 1 of this Darkness to Light Newsletter.  That article was then posted on the Darkness to light website.

      When I wrote that Part One, I thought I would publish Parts Two and Three in this newsletter and then post them on the website. But I had complaints I was getting “too political” in this newsletter and on my Christian website. As such, rather than running Parts Two and Three of this article in this newsletter and on the DTL website, I have incorporated that material as a 24 page chapter in Volume Two of my three-volume set Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump.

      That works out better anyway, as those parts further defend Trump against the impeachment and other charges leveled against him. As such, it is best to read them in the context of my Impeach trilogy. Volume One and Volume Two of that trilogy are now available. I hope to have Volume Three available sometime next month (October 2020). Click on the preceding links for further details and for ordering information.


Churches are Essential

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

       At the start of the Coronavirus (CV) pandemic and the resultant lockdowns, I supported the church closures ordered by the various governmental authorities in accordance with Romans 13:1-7 and 1Peter 2:17. But now it is time for churches to reopen, in defiance of the authorities if necessary, in accordance with Hebrews 10:23-24 and Acts 5:29.

 

More Bible Passages

 

      That verse in Hebrews is being often repeated in this regard, as it very clearly is a call for Christians to assemble together in worship.

 

      23Let us be holding fast the confession of the hope [or, confident expectation] without wavering, for the One having promised [is] faithful. 24And let us be considering one another for [the] stimulation of love and of good works, 25not abandoning [or, neglecting] the assembling together of ourselves, as [is the] habit of some, but encouraging [one another], and so much more as you* see the Day approaching.

 

      However, this passage is by no means the only passage in the New Testament (NT) that enjoins communal worship upon believers. It is in fact taught throughout the NT that believers are to be gathering together, not just for worship but, as this Hebrew passage indicates, for the encouragement of each believer by other believers. It is also within the context of communal worship that believers can best exercises their God-given spiritual gifts, of which, every believer has been given.

 

      This prescription of communal worship is seen in the model prayer Jesus gave us to pray:

Our Father, the [One] in the heavens, let Your name be regarded as holy.

10Let Your kingdom come.

Let Your will be done, as in heaven, [so] also on the earth.

11Give us today the bread sufficient for the day.

12And forgive us our debts [fig., sins], in the same way as we also forgive our debtors [fig., the ones having sinned against us].

13And do not lead us into temptation [or, testing; or, trials], but deliver us from the Wicked [One] [or, spare us from evil].

      Because Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory into the ages! [fig., forever!] So be it! (Matt 6:9b-13).

 

      Please note all of the first-person plural pronouns I have bolded. Those plural pronouns indicated this prayer was intended to be prayed in unison by a communal group of believers, not in private by a single believer.

 

      Then Jesus’ teaching on discipline of wayward believers only makes sense within the context of an ongoing communal worship setting:

            15“Now if your brother sins against you, be going, and show him his fault between you and him alone; if he hears you, you gained your brother. 16But if he does not hear [you], take along with you yet one or two, so that ‘by [the] mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.’ [Deut 19:15] 17But if he refuses to listen to them, tell [it] to the assembly [or, church]; but if he also refuses to listen to the assembly, he shall be to you just like the heathen and the tax collector (Matt 18:15-17).

 

      Christian communion is vital for this encouragement to repentance and right Christian living. That is again seen in Paul’s epistles. But first, it must be noted how Paul addresses most of his epistles. Most all of them are directed to the “church” (or assembly) in a particular city or to believers (plural) in a particular area (Romans 1:7; 1Cor 1:2-3; 2Cor 1-2; Gal 3:1; Eph 1:1; Phil 1:2; Col 1:1; 1Thes 1:1; 2Thes 1:1). Then throughout these epistles, Paul consistently uses plural pronouns to refer to those he is addressing.

      Only the letters to Philemon, Timothy, and Titus are addressed to individuals. But the two letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus are collectively called the “Pastoral Epistles” as they are Paul directing these two pastors as to how to pastor their churches. He most especially gives them directions for appointing elders and deacons in their churches (1Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). He also gives them directives to give to their congregants (1Tim 2:1-15; 2Tim 2:14; Titus 2:1-15).

      Otherwise, in Paul’s epistles, he recognizes, as Jesus did, that it is only within the context of a communal setting that church discipline can be practiced, with the goal of repentance on the part of the one who has sinned (1Cor 5:1-8; 2Cor 2:1-11). But most of all, Paul recognizes that each believe has been given a spiritual gift and that gift needs to be exercised within the context of a communal setting:

 

            4Now [there] are varieties of spiritual [gifts], but the same Spirit. 5And [there] are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6And [there] are varieties of divine workings [or, activities], but the same God is the One supernaturally working all such [things] in all. 7But to each [one] has been given the manifestation of the Spirit for the advantage [of all] [or, for the common good]….

 

            26What then is it, brothers [and sisters]? Whenever you* shall be coming together, each [one] of you* has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation [or, a translation]. Be letting all [things] be for building up [or, edification]. (1Cor 12:4-7; 14:26).

 

      In-between these paragraphs is Paul’s lengthy discussion of the body of Christ and how we are each part of that body, each performing a specific function. But that body operates best within the context of a communal setting. Peter than agrees with this attitude of Paul:

 

      10Just as each [believer] received a spiritual gift, [be] serving [with] it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold [or, widely varied] grace of God. 11When someone speaks, [let him speak] as [the] oracles [or, inspired utterances] of God. When someone serves, [let him serve] as from [the] strength [or, ability] as God supplies, so that in all [things] God shall be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might [or, dominion] into the ages of the ages! [fig., forever and ever!] So be it! (1Peter 4:10-11).

 

      Backing up a bit, in the Book of Acts, the Christian faith is carried throughout the then known world by the planting of churches in each community the Gospel is carried to. This is seen in the repeated references to “the congregation” or “the whole congregation” (4:32; 6:2,5; 15:30; 21:22).

      Most powerfully, after Peter and John are beaten for preaching the Gospel, they return to their fellowship of believers to received comfort and encouragement. The congregation in turn praises God for His providence in the matter (Acts 4:23-30).

      Then in The Revelation chapters 2-3, Jesus Himself directs letters to the “angel” (probably pastor) of seven different churches (or assemblies) in Asia-Minor. The directives are to the “angel” as the representative of that entire body of believers. Then throughout the rest of The Revelation, we see collective worship of God and of the Lamb (4-5; 7:9-11; 11:16-19; 15:3-4; 16:4-6; 19:1-8).

 

The Point

 

      The point of all of these Bible passages is that the Christian faith was never intended to be carried out in isolation. It was intended from the start and throughout the history of the Christian faith to be a communal faith, not an individual faith.

      We must each individually repent of our sins and trust in Christ for our forgiveness, but then we are to join a body of believers for instruction, for fellowship, for encouragement and growth in the LORD (Acts 2:37-47).

      What all of this means is, watching a church service or sermon on TV or online or listening to such on the radio or via a podcast is not “attending church.” It can be helpful. In fact, and I would even encourage the reader to seek out such godly and Bible-based teachings. In this regard, I would recommend the Bott Radio App. It provides many teachings live or On Demand. I have not listened to all of the preachers, but the ones that I have listened to are very worthwhile and Bible-based.

      However, that does not replace attending an in-person church service or home Bible study. And no, doing so via zoom does not replace being in-person at a church service or Bible study either. You simply cannot exercise your spiritual gift nor fellowship adequately via zoom or other remote means. True fellowship requires person to person interaction.

 

But Don’t Ignore the Pandemic

 

      In writing all of this, I am NOT saying Christians should just ignore that a pandemic is ongoing. The CV is still with us and probably will be for some time, with or without a vaccine. But if people can congregate at sporting events, for protests, for political rallies, to go shopping at big box stores, to go to casinos, and for a myriad of other reasons, people can attend church and home Bible studies. Yes, precautions need to be taken and maybe some creativity utilized. Thus, for instance, consider the following I read on the website for my local newspaper as I was working on this article:

 

      Two Leechburg area churches are offering outdoor worship opportunities in response to covid-19 restrictions.

 

      The Revs. Gary and Lisa Lyon, co-pastors at Cross Roads Community Presbyterian Church in Leechburg, [PA] added a monthly outdoor service in June. The 40-minute service is open to anyone.

      Those attending are asked to bring a mask, portable chair and follow social distancing guidelines.

      And don’t worry about dressing in your Sunday best.

      “It’s casual,” Gary Lyon said. “I wear shorts.”

      Those in attendance can expect traditional worship components such as music and singing, but held on the banks of the Kiski River, located on the grounds of the Leechburg Volunteer Fire Department.

      “Lisa and I have always felt a personal connection because outdoor worship can be so powerful,” Gary Lyon said (Trib).

 

      Other churches are utilizing a drive-in style of congregating. That is not as good as full in-person services, but it is still better than just “doing church” online.

      For those churches without such options and which need to hold indoor services, then precautions need to be taken via disinfecting common areas and surfaces between services, limiting attendance to say 50% of capacity, so social distancing can be practiced, requiring the wearing of masks, and alterations to communion services so as not to spread they virus via the communion elements. I provide more specific recommendations and examples of such creativity for holding church services in various articles and commentaries on the CV section of my politics website.

      It should also be noted, all of these recommendations and creativity would also apply to home Bible studies. They also can and should resume, with appropriate steps taken to prevent the spread of the CV. But I will say that those who are at high risk of serious consequences from a CV infection probably should stay at home. But I would encourage all others to attend in-person church services and Bible studies in accordance with Biblical teaching, but with appropriate CV precautions.

 

Disclaimer

 

      I need to give a disclaimer in that I personally have not been able to attend church services or home Bible studies for many years due to my health situation (see Multiple Chemical Sensitivities). I have learned to keep up with my own spiritual state on my own via personal Bible study, prayer, and listening to sermons on the aforementioned Bott app, along with listening to Christian music. But still, I struggle spiritually and dearly miss attending church services and home Bible studies. And it breaks my heart that so many other Christians have been put into a similar situation as myself. But there is no reason for it to continue. Church services and Bible studies can and should resume, with the appropriate precautions.

 

References:

      All Scripture references are from: Analytical-Literal Translation of the Bible (ALT). Copyright © 1999-2020 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org). Bolding added for emphasis.

Trib Live. In a time of covid-19, 2 Leechburg area churches among those taking services outdoors.

 


 

My Social Media Pages

By Gary F. Zeolla 

 

I now have four Social Media pages. They are:

 

Facebook

     

Parler

 

Snippy

 

Twitter

 

      My “handle” on all of these sites is “GZeolla.”

      I am sure the reader has heard of the first and last of these four sites, but you might not have heard of the other two. That is because they are newer sites that were developed by conservatives in reaction to the other two “shadow banning” conservatives. I might have been so shadow banned of late, though I am not sure. I just know there have been many times I have posted comments on Facebook or Twitter that I thought would bring a significant reaction, but nothing, no response whatsoever. But even if I haven’t already, I am sure to be so in the future, as those sites crack down on conservative speech. That is why I set up accounts on Parler and Snippy, to be sure I have a place to voice my opinions. Both sites promise not to censor people’s comments, beyond what is required by law.

      Note also, I rarely post to Twitter due to its 280-character limit. If the reader hasn’t figured it out by now, I’m, not good at being concise in my writings; hence why I needed three volumes to fully cover the impeachment fiasco. But by being so exhaustive, I thoroughly cover every topic I address. And if the reader peruses all of my writings on a given subject, you will be well-versed on the topic at hand.

      That said, even Parler has a 1,000-character limit, which I find a bit restrictive. Only Facebook and Snippy have no such limits, so I mostly post to them, though, since I could be getting shadow banned on Facebook, Snippy is my favorite site.

      On these social pages, I post about new items being posted on any of my four websites: my personal website, my Christian website, my fitness website, and my politics website. I also post personal updates, such as my powerlifting training workout logs and videos and details on any contests I enter, pictures from family gatherings, and the like.

    I also will often post links to articles from Trib Live. This is the website for three Pittsburgh, PA area newspapers, including my hometown newspaper. I read their website every day. Trib Live is left leaning in its perspective across all three of its newspapers and on its website.

      The comments at the end of articles are also mostly left leaning, being posted mostly by people from the very blue city of Pittsburgh. I had been posting on the comments section, until the Trib changed its rules. Those rule changes allowed people to post snide comments about me, saying I am not able to prove what I am saying is true. But the Trib then blocked my every effort to document what I am saying is true.

      I found that to be very frustrating. The reason can be seen in my Impeach trilogy, Appendix One of Volume One and Volume Two each contain 42 pages of references, and there will be a similar number of pages in Volume Three. Those 120+ pages of references constitute hundreds upon hundreds of hours of research, to be sure everything I write in these three volumes is exactly accurate. That is my pattern in all of my writings, to document all that I claim. But the Trib would not let me post such documentation nor link to nor even mention where I do so in my various writings, so I gave up on posting on its website.

      However, I still link in to and comment on Trib articles on my social media pages and on my politics website. In those posts, you will see mention of Allegheny County. Pittsburgh is located in the center of this county, while I live within this country though outside of the city limits. As of August 2020, Bill Peduto is the Mayor of Pittsburgh. Ritz Fitzgerald is the County Commissioner of Allegheny County, and Tom Wolfe is the Governor of Pennsylvania. All three are Democrats and quite liberal.

      Finally, I ignore all comments and replies that utilize “foul” or indecent language. That means, if you reply to one of my post using such language, I will not even read your comments, let alone respond to them. I also will not respond to ad hominem attacks.

      Simply put, if you cannot respond to the substance of my post in a civil manner, without resorting to name-calling, personal attacks, or foul language, you will not get a response. And if my post is a link to one of my articles or books, then read that item before responding. If you do not, I will just refer you back to it, and that will be that.


New on Darkness to Light Website

Below are new articles on my Christian website that have been posted since the last issue of this newsletter was published.

An Hallmark Channel Update has been added to the end of the discussion on Viable Alternatives to Watching Sin for Entertainment.
8/17/20


New on Fitness for One and All Website

Below are new articles on my fitness website that have been posted since the last issue of this newsletter was published.

Vol. XVIII, No. 4 is the latest issue of the free FitTips for One and All newsletter.

Supplement Proponents’ Claims: Part Three is a new article.
8/1/20


2020 Tetra-Trinity #2 Powerlifting Training Plan: Rotations III and IV of VI has been completed with all of my workouts for this time period.

2020 Tetra-Trinity #2 Powerlifting Training Plan: Rotations V and VI of VI is a new page. It will chronicle my workouts leading up to my next contest, which, God-willing, will be in mid-September.
7/26/20


New on Biblical and Constitutional Politics Website

Below are new articles on my politics website that have been posted since the last issue of this newsletter was published.

“Losers” and “Suckers”? is a new article.
9/6/20


Joe Biden in Pittsburgh (Lies and Mischaracterizations) is a new article.

The following are new pages:

Coronavirus General Commentaries: September 2020

Coronavirus Trib Live News Articles Commentaries: September 2020

September 2020 Commentaries
9/5/20


Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump: Volume Two is now available in eBook formats.

This second volume of this three volume set continues the discussion about the impeachment proceedings in the US House. It covers the public hearings before the House Judiciary Committee and events that occurred up until the impeachment trial in the Senate. It also directly answers a question the author has often been asked—how can the author, as a conservative Christian, support such a “crude” person as President Trump?
9/4/20


The DNC, The Coronavirus, and the Economy is a new article.
8/21/20


My new book is now available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.

Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump: Volume One: Beginnings Through HIC Hearings (Early September Through Late November 2019)
8/15/20


My new book is now available in eBook formats.

Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump: Volume One: Beginnings Through HIC Hearings (Early September Through Late November 2019)

This is the first of a three-volume set. This three-volume set covers the impeachment of Donald J. Trump that occurred over the fall of 2019 to the winter of 2020.  It was yet one more attempt to oust the President from office by Democrats, who never accepted he won in 2016. A complaint about a phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Zelensky led an impeachment inquiry to begin in early September 2019, and the resultant proceedings tore America apart at the seams.
8/11/210


Observations on the Funeral for John Lewis is a new article.

The following are new pages:

Coronavirus Trib Live News Articles Commentaries: August 2020

Coronavirus General Commentaries: August 2020

August 2020 Commentaries
8/1/20


Coronavirus Surges Across the South (The Authorities Have Lost All Credibility) is a new article.
7/14/20


The following are new pages:

Coronavirus Trib Live News Commentaries: July 2020

Coronavirus General Commentaries: July 2020

July 2020 Commentaries
7/1/20


Don’t Apologize for Me to Blacks is a new article.
6/20/20


God’s Sex Plan
Volume One
What the Old Testament Teaches About Human Sexuality



Also by Gary F. Zeolla:

Zeolla.org is the personal website for Gary F. Zeolla.
Author of Christian and of fitness books, Web sites, and newsletters,
and a top ranked and multi-record holding powerlifter.

Fitness for One and All website and FitTips for One and All newsletter.
Helping people to attain their health, fitness, and performance goals,
with an emphasis on powerlifting.

Biblical and Constitutional Politics
“Political articles and commentary from a conservative Christian and politically conservative perspective”

 


All material in this newsletter is copyrighted © 2020 by Gary F. Zeolla or as indicated otherwise.

9/7/20