My Thoughts on the Republican National Convention

Overall, The Republican National Convention was not as bad as it could have been, though it certainly was a circus.  You certainly had a number of blunders (i.e. Laura Ingram giving a Nazi salute, plagiarism, cries of “lock her up” and the booing of Ted Cruz)  that took away from the message the Trump campaign wanted to get across, but you also had a spectacular performance from the Trump children that got everything back on track.

Things got off to a horrible start with a clear case of plagiarism.  No, I don’t think Melania Trump realized she had plagiarized but that doesn’t excuse anything.  As a teacher, I deal with this topic quite a bit.  What drove me nuts about this is that at first all of the Trump supporters tried to claim it wasn’t plagiarism at all, denying the obvious.  Excuse after excuse was given, but no apologies. Worst of all was Chris Christie who said it didn’t matter because only 7% of speech had been lifted from Michelle Obama.  Really, that’s our standard of plagiarism?  Someone will have to inform high schools and colleges across the country to update their rule books.  It was not till days later that we found out what really happened.  A speech writer made a mistake.  Ok, that is unfortunate but not the worst thing in the world.  But, for me, the bigger question is, will all those Trump followers admit they were wrong?  Probably not.  That would take character and that’s not the Trump campaign’s strongest suit.

Night two featured Chris Christie and his prosecution of Hillary Clinton.  It was a great show to watch and it seemed to be a crowd-pleaser amid the shouts of “Lock her up.”  I actually don’t think this was as bad as some would said it was.  It did stir up the base and further hammered home Trump’s theme of “Crooked Hillary.”  Of course, Christie overplayed his hand by playing loose with the actual facts quite a bit, but it did help the narrative.  I think it might have been effective.  Dr. Ben Carson was simply an embarrassment.  He pins Hillary to Saul Alinsky and then one step further to Satan Himself.  Really?  This is what passes for political debate these days?  No wonder why he didn’t win a single state.  He has such a great life story, it’s shame this is how might be remembered.  Of course the highlight of the night was House Speaker Paul Ryan.  I simply love this guy.  He gave one of the best and concise articulations of conservative political philosophy I have ever heard.  It was positive, informative, substantial and inspirational.  This ought to be the face of the party, not the angry orange man.

Night three is the night of nights in my opinion.  Scott Walker did a great job and gave a full-throated endorsement of Donald Trump.  I thought the video of Marco Rubio was a waste of time.  And then came my hero, Ted Cruz.  Cruz gave a passionate defense of conservative ideology and then just when you thought he might endorse Trump (i.e don’t stay home in November) he urged us all to vote our conscience.  The crowd erupted in boos and displeasure.  I was never more proud to be a Cruz supporter.  But, he did sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee and Trump called him on it.  Was it inappropriate?  No, it was patriotic.  Trump himself declared on CNN in March that he considered the pledge null and void since he was mistreated by others in the party.  Well, Trump then went on to mock Ted’s wife and even threatened to spread some made-up gossip about her as well.  As if that were not enough, Trump then went after the senator’s father trying to link my to the JFK assassination.  Add to this Trump promoted tabloid falsehoods about Ted allegedly cheating on his wife and ever failed to refer to him as “Ly’in Ted.”  So, by Trump’s own standard – the pledge is null and void.  We also need to consider the fact that Trump knew Cruz would not endorse him but wanted him to speak anyway.  Ted Cruz is da man.  Ending the night was Mike Pence’s acceptance speech.  I doubt anyone will remember it after the Cruz controversy.  But Pence is a good man and this speech raised my already positive view of him.

The final night of the convention was all Trump.  The speech itself was ok.  In fact, I think it is by far the best speech I’ve ever heard Donald Trump deliver.  If you knew nothing of Trump’s track record and only began paying attention this night, Trump may not sound that bad.  There was talk of the wall, but nothing of Mexico paying for it.  There was talk of banning people from coming to our country – but not all Muslims – just those from enemy nations.  It was a bit of a milder Trump.  The speech was much more substantial than what he has given in the past.  Yet, still it was rhetoric based on fear.  It was all about what Donald would do.  Never mind Congress, he’s going to do everything himself as if he were some benevolent dictator.  There was nothing in speech that would sway a #neverTrump guy like myself.

Well, that’s my basic rundown.  Below you’ll find my minute-by-minute live Tweets (look my up – @kevinjthompson).  The Tweets are in chronological order if you start from the bottom and work your way up.

He stayed on messsge and gave the best speech I’ve ever heard him give. But still #neverTrump #RNCinCLE

Donald, you had primary voters in Florida recite a loyalty pledge to you! Do younot remeber this? #RNCinCLE

We must break free from petty politics? Can I remind you of this next time I hear “crooked Hillary” or “Ly’in Ted.” #RNCinCLE

Show me where Hillary Clinton ever said she wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment. You lied, sir. #RNCinCLE

Glad to hear Trump mention school choice. #RNCinCLE

I never heard anything about Mexico paying for the wall tonight. #RNCinCLE

Ok, Trump and I agree on sanctuary cities. #RNCinCLE

Trump keeps saying “I” – little mention of Congress or anyone else. Conservatives, this is the tyrant you’ve been worried about! #RNCinCLE

No, @realDonaldTrump – you are not my voice. I don’t degrade and insult others like you do. #RNCinCLE #neverTrump

I want 2 hear a politician say that these days aren’t so bad, but I want 2 make them better. Instead this is always the worst in history.

So @realDonaldTrump humbly accepted the nomination and then immediately bragged about his vote count. #RNCinCLE

There’s one thing we can all agree on, these Trump kids are impressive. #RNCinCLE

Apparently Trump is very pro-woman. I guess you keep your enemies closer… #RNCinCLE

I have summers off so in 4 years I want to go to a national convention. #RNCinCLE

Was this the same Peter Theil conservatives were protesting a few short months ago for pulling out of NC? #flipflop #RNCinCLE

I never ever imagined @realDonaldTrump would make it this far. He exceeded every expectation. Still #neverTrump though. #RNCinCLE

Ok, @MSNBC is obsessed with the balloon drop. #RNCinCLE

Ok, so I like Mike Pence. #RNCinCLE

Anyone else waiting for a Trump tweet about Cruz? #RNCinCLE

Whoah! Gov. Pence, you are lying to suggest there are only two names on the ballot? #RNCinCLE

“I’m a Christian, conservative, and a Republican in that order.” – Mike Pence – I’ve heard before but still like hearing it. #RNCinCLE

Newt should have been the veep. #RNCinCLE

Telling people to vote your conscience is now considered controversial and offensive in the Republican Party. #RNCinCLE

“Vote your conscience.” My absolute favorite line of entire convention! You are the man, @tedcruz #RNCinCLE #neverTrump

After this speech by @tedcruz the delegates should all rise, demand to be unbound and and redo the roll call. #RNCinCLE #neverTrump

I heart @tedcruz #RNCinCLE

I would much rather see @tedcruz accepting the nomination tomorrow night instead of @realDonaldTrump #RNCinCLE

Wow, Cruz mentioned Trump’s name as well. #RNCinCLE

If Trump never took “Little Marco” seriously, why should I? #RNCinCLE

I stood by @ScottWalker when he stood for what was right. I will not stand with him in support of Trump. #neverTrump #RNCinCLE

No, @ScottWalker – a vote 4 someone other than Trump is NOT a vote 4 Hillary. Just because you are coward doesn’t mean i will. #RNCinCLE

Governor Walker, America deserves better than Trump. #RNCinCLE

Wow, Scott Walker actually mentioned Donald Trump’s name. #RNCinCLE

Dr. Carson, my God can’t be removed from anywhere as if progressives had control of Him. #weakgod #notmyGod #RNCinCLE

I’m surprised Saul Alinsky didn’t come up until Day 2. And I’m pretty sure Carson just linked Hillary to Satan. #RNCinCLE

Whenever someone prides themselves as not being politically correct all I hear is – I want to be a jerk and not care about others #RNCinCLE

I hope @realDonaldTrump does indeed support school choice. #RNCinCLE

Donald Trump Jr. wasn’t bad but seemed a bit weird taking about his dad almost in a rags to riches way. #RNCinCLE

Is anyone else noticing how the RNC consists of mostly anti-Hillary and not much pro-trump? #RNCinCLE

That delete joke was funny. #RNCinCLE

Chris Christie says @HillaryClinton has flawed judgement. If anyone knows about flawed judgment – it’s a Trump backer. #RNCinCLE

Ok this talk about division is Paul Ryan slapping down Trump, rightly so. #RNCinCLE #NeverTrump

This Ryan speech is just pure conservatism. This is message the party ought to embrace. #RNCinCLE

Paul Ryan ought to be accepting this nomination Thursday night! #RNCinCLE

I heart @PRyan !! #RNCinCLE

Wait, did Mitch McConnell just say Obama is not a liar? #RNCinCLE

Anyone else watching MSNBC just to watch Brian Williams cover Mrs. Trump?

Gospel Points – A Panel Discussion on Issues Regarding the Family, Part 2

Family Strong 2

This week we will be airing the second segment of a panel discussion at the Community Strong Family Conference hosted by Rock County Christian School back in April. Gospel Points was the official sponsor of the discussion featuring three local pastors – Phil Allen (Daystar Christian Fellowship – South Beloit, IL), Marc Grindle (Roxbury Church of Christ – Janesville, WI) and Tim Johnson (Rock Valley Chapel – Beloit, WI). In this final segment the panel tackles two more questions, (1) Is spanking Biblical necessity? and (2) Are you concerned about Target’s new policy concerning transgender bathroom policy?

Listen to the streaming audio on podomatic or download the mp3.

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Don’t forget to join our new Facebook Gospel Points group!
Chat about the podcast, theology and politics!

Gospel Points – The Reformed Pubcast

Pubcast

With the theology of Calvin and the thirst of Luther, this week we’re talking about the Reformed Pubcast, the wildly popular podcast hosted by Les Lanphere and Tanner Barfield.  The podcast seeks to discuss reformed theology while also talking up their love for craft beers.  Les Lanphere joins us once again to chat about how the podcast was started and how the Pub Facebook group grew into huge discussion group that takes up much of my newsfeed each day.  Also, don’t forget about the documentary Les old us about last week.  There’s still time to give your support!

Listen to the streaming audio on podomatic or download the mp3.

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Free E-Book Alert – John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology

In celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of John Calvin’s birth (2009), Burk Parsons, editor of Tabletalk magazine and associate minister at St. Andrew’s in Sanford, Fla., has brought together an impressive group of pastors and scholars to reconsider Calvin’s life and legacy. Contributors include Jay Adams, Eric Alexander Thabiti Anyabwile, Joel Beeke, Jerry Bridges, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, D. G. Hart, Michael Horton, Phillip R. Johnson, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, Keith Mathison, Richard Phillips, Harry Reeder, Philip Graham Ryken, Derek Thomas, Thomas Ascol, and others.

In twenty succinct chapters, these men examine Calvin the man; his work (as a Reformer, a churchman, a preacher, a counselor, and a writer); and his teachings (on subjects as diverse as the Holy Spirit and prayer). What emerges is a multifaceted portrait of a man whose contributions to Christian thought and Christian living were significant indeed, a man whose life, work, and teachings are worthy to be remembered and studied even in the twenty-first century.

Download the book here.

A Few Political Predictions about the 2016 Race

This year, like most pundits, most of my predictions have been almost 100% wrong – but that has never stopped me before so why stop now?  Here are a few educated guesses as to what might happen during the rest of this unpredictable election cycle:

Hillary Clinton will NOT choose Tim Kaine as her running mate.

Mark Kirk will not return to the US Senate, Duckworth will win without a problem.

The Ron Johnson/Russ Feingold will be very close but will end with Feingold heading back to Washington.

The Republican National Convention will officially nominate Donald Trump without a major floor fight.

Paul Ryan will easily defeat (i.e. mop the floor with) his primary opponent.

The Republicans will keep the House but lose the Senate or end up with a 50/50 split.

Donald Trump will do much better than anyone is saying right now, and will at least come close to winning.

At this point these are the only predictions I am willing to make.  Everything else is anybody’s guess.  And, of course, these are predictions and not endorsements.

Gospel Points – Calvinism

calvinist

Though many have found the doctrines of grace to be highly offensive, Charles Spurgeon suggested that Calvinism was only a mere nickname for the gospel. This week we’ll be talking about Calvinism with Les Lanphere of the Reformed Pubcast. Les will chat with us about wide range of topics regarding this issue, including his personal journey and will fill us in on his exciting new project, a documentary about Calvinism featuring such names as James R. White, Michael Horton, Tim Challies, and Joe Thorn.  You learn more and support the documentary here.

Listen to the streaming audio on podomatic or download the mp3.

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Gospel Points – A Panel Discussion on Issues Regarding the Family, Part 1

Family Strong 1

Back in April the Gospel Points Podcast sponsored a panel discussion at the Community Strong Family Conference hosted by Rock County Christian School.  I was honored to moderate the discussion featuring three local pastors – Phil Allen (Daystar Christian Fellowship – South Beloit, IL), Marc Grindle (Roxbury Church of Christ – Janesville, WI) and Tim Johnson (Rock Valley Chapel – Beloit, WI).  In this week’s segment the panel tackles two questions, (1) How can the family become an idol? and (2) How should a Christian family react when a member comes out of the closet announces same sex attraction?

Listen to the streaming audio on podomatic or download the mp3.

Other listening options:

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