Jul 22, 2016

Will Turkey's Failed Coup Push Erdogan Toward Iran, Russia?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks after an emergency meeting of the government in Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday. (AP)

(U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT)—Along with its many implications at home, the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey may have important repercussions on Ankara's foreign policy, especially regarding Syria....

The real pressure for a policy shift comes from external factors, including terrorist attacks blamed on IS, the struggling revolution in Syria and the vital importance of economic and political ties with regional heavyweights such as Russia and Iran at a time when relations with the West have soured.

The coup turbulence is likely to affect the list of Erdogan's foreign friends as he drags Turkey even faster down the road of an authoritarian, party-state rule. One should have no doubts that Erdogan this week kept a tally of which countries condemned the coup attempt, which kept silent and which waited to see who would prevail. The support of two countries—Russia and Iran, both Turkey's rivals in Syria—must be thickly underlined in his book now.

Unlike Ankara's Western allies, Iran did not wait for the coup's failure to speak up. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced support for the government in Twitter messages in the early hours of the unrest. In a subsequent phone call, President Hassan Rouhani told Erdogan the coup attempt was "a test to identify your domestic and foreign friends and enemies."...

The most significant prospect in the coup aftermath is the possibility of further rapprochement with Russia and Iran to settle regional problems. The two Turkish pilots who downed the Russian jet are reportedly among the arrested putschists, which could help to expand the revived dialogue with Moscow.

In sum, Erdogan has two options on Syria: to maintain the status quo and ride the wave of solid nationalist-conservative support, or to take further steps toward change by boosting cooperation with Russia and Iran. The second option merits stronger consideration, given the additional external factors at play....

Read More

French President Francois Hollande on Tour of Europe's Capitals to Push 'EU Army'

Francois Hollande
French president Francois Hollande has already announced a proposal to strengthen EU defence policy. (GETTY)

(EXPRESS)—French president Francois Hollande is touring EU capitals this week to push the vision of a 'European army'.

After a trip to Portugal yesterday, France's socialist leader will visit Ireland tomorrow to gather support for greater EU integration ahead of a key summit in September.

Britain is not invited to the meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia, later this summer following last month's Brexit vote.

The gathering is being billed as a chance for the remaining 27 EU member states to respond to the UK's exit by refocusing efforts on deepening ties between themselves.

Mr Hollande is using his trips this week to "insist on security and defence aspects" being a major topic of the summit said French officials, according to the EurActiv France website.

Speaking in Lisbon, he said: "We are up against challenges and that of terrorism is without doubt one of the largest ones."...

The day before the Nice atrocity last week, Mr Hollande had announced a proposal to strengthen European defence policy.

He said: "I note that our German friends are also prepared to be involved. We will therefore be able to launch this initiative together".

The plans aim to increase the EU's ability "to make [military] commitments beyond its borders and to strengthen security in our partner countries and neighbours", Mr Hollande said in a speech.

Earlier the same day German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen called for Brussels to use Brexit as an opportunity to press ahead with greater military cooperation between member states....

Read More

The Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Authority of the Bible (Part 1)

Ron Rhodes

Dr. Ron Rhodes
Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries

What Is Inspiration?

Biblical inspiration may be defined as God's superintending of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities (and even their writing styles), they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs. Inspiration means that "the Holy Spirit of God superintended the human writers in the production of Scripture so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted written."

When you break the doctrine of inspiration down to its essential elements, there are seven key factors:

  1. Divine origin and causality;
  2. Human agency;
  3. Written verbally (in words);
  4. Plenary (all of Scripture is inspired, not just parts of it);
  5. Only the "Autographs" (the original documents penned by the biblical authors) are inspired;
  6. Because Scripture is inspired, it is inerrant; and
  7. Because Scripture is inspired and inerrant, it alone has final authority.

The word inspiration literally means "God-breathed" in the Greek. And because Scripture is breathed out by God, it is true and inerrant. Consider the following syllogism:

  • Major Premise: God is true (Romans 3:4).
  • Minor Premise: God breathed out the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16).
  • Conclusion: Therefore, the Scriptures are true (John 17:17).

As illustrated above, the inerrancy of Scripture can be inferred by premises that are themselves taught by Scripture.

We read in Scripture that truth is an attribute of God (Jeremiah 10:10; John 1:14; 14:6; 17:3), and that God speaks truthfully—that is, He does not lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2; Romans 3:3-4).

We also are told that Scripture is "breathed out" by God (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Word of God, then, is true (John 17:14,17; cf. Psalm 119:142; 151; 160; Revelation 21:5; 22:6).

Inspired Scripture

The Holy Spirit is the Agent of Inspiration

Second Peter 1:21 tells us that "prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The word moved in this verse literally means to be "borne along" or "carried along." Even though human beings were used in the process of writing down God's Word, they were all literally "borne along" by the Holy Spirit. The human wills of the authors were not the originators or the carriers of God's message....God did not permit the will of sinful man to divert, misdirect, or erroneously record His message. God moved and the prophet mouthed these truths; God revealed and man recorded His word.

Interestingly, the Greek word for "moved" in 2 Peter 1:21 is the same word found in Acts 27:15-17. The experienced sailors could not navigate the ship because the wind was so strong. The ship was being driven, directed, and carried about by the wind. This is similar to the Spirit's driving, directing, and carrying the human authors of the Bible as He wished. The word is a strong one, indicating the Spirit's complete superintendence of the human authors.

Yet, just as the sailors were active on the ship (though the wind, not the sailors, controlled the ship's movement), so the human authors were active in writing as the Spirit directed.

(To Be Continued...)