Friday Church News Notes
Volume 19, Issue 47 - November 23, 2018
Graphical Edition
The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, though this does not imply an endorsement.
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FACEBOOK: A SURVEILLANCE MACHINE THAT IS BEING WEAPONIZED (Friday Church News Notes, November 23, 2018,,, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “The Facebook Dilemma,” part one, Frontline PBS, Oct. 29, 2018: “Zeynep Tufekci, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, observes, ‘What Facebook does is profile you. If you are on Facebook, it is collecting everything you do. If you are off Facebook, it is using tracking pixels to collect what you are browsing. And for its micro-targeting to work, for its business model to work, it has to remain a surveillance machine.’ From 2012-2015, Rand Waltzman and his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Defense published more than 200 academic papers and reports about the threats they were seeing from social media. Waltzman says, ‘The concern was that social media could be used for really nefarious purposes. The opportunities for disinformation, for deception, for everything else, are enormous. Bad guys, or anyone else, could use this for any kind of purpose in a way that wasn’t possible before. That’s the concern. [The potential threat of people giving up their data] is that they are opening themselves up for being targets for manipulation. I can manipulate you to buy something. I can manipulate you to vote for somebody. It is like putting a big target on yourself and saying, “Here I am; come and manipulate me. I’ve given you everything you need. Have at it.” That’s the threat. What I saw over the years of the program was that the medium enables you to really take disinformation and turn it into a serious weapon. When you look at how it works, you see the opportunities for mass manipulation. People are easily misled, if you do it the right way. For example, when you see people forming into communities, I can exploit that to craft my message so that it resonates most exactly with that community. And I can do that for every single community. It would be pretty easy to set up a fake account, and large numbers of fake accounts, embedded in different communities, and use them to disseminate propaganda. It’s a serious weapon, because it is an enormous scale. It’s the scale that makes it a weapon.’ Dmytro Shymkiv, adviser to the president of Ukraine, 2014-2018, describes the propaganda center that was set up in St. Petersburg, Russia, called the Internet Research Agency, which has poured out disinformation to fight the anti-Russian government in Ukraine. ‘Russian propaganda against the Ukrainian government was massive on social media. There were so many stories that started emerging on Facebook. ... They scared people. ... They planted a story that Ukrainian soldiers had crucified a child, which is totally nonsense. It was proven that the people telling the story of the crucifixion were actually hired actors. So Facebook was weaponized. [Just as in the Arab Spring, Facebook was being used to flame division. But now by groups working in behalf of a foreign power, using Facebook’s tools built to help advertisers boost their content.] By that time in Facebook, you could pay money to promote these stories so your stories emerge on the top lines. You immediately get media response. You can test all kinds of nonsense and understand which nonsense people do not believe and to which nonsense people start believing which will influence the persons receptive to propaganda. And then provoking that person to certain action.’ [After Shymkiv met with Facebook executives and asked them to intervene, the response was,] ‘Sorry, we are an open platform; anyone can do anything within our policy, which is written on the website. We will think about this, but you know we have freedom of speech and we are a very pro-democracy platform; everybody can say anything.’”

MAN FILES SUIT TO CHANGE AGE FROM 69 TO 49 (Friday Church News Notes, November 23, 2018,,, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “Dutch man, 69, starts legal fight,” The Guardian, Nov. 8, 2018: “A 69-year-old Dutch ‘positivity guru’ who says he does not feel his age has started a battle to make himself legally 20 years younger on the grounds that he is being discriminated against on a dating app. Emile Ratelband told a court in Arnhem in the Netherlands that he did not feel ‘comfortable’ with his date of birth, and compared his wish to alter it to people who identified as transgender. Ratelband said that due to having an official age that did not reflect his emotional state he was struggling to find both work and love. He has asked for his date of birth to be changed from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969. ‘When I’m 69, I am limited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car,’ he said. ‘I can take up more work. When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.’ Doctors had told him his body was that of a 45-year-old man, Ratelband argued. He described himself as a ‘young god.’” The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS ISSUES WARNING AGAINST SPANKING CHILDREN (Friday Church News Notes, November 23, 2018,,, 866-295-4143) -The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a strong policy statement claiming that the use of corporal punishment in the home is harmful. The group, which represents about 67,000 doctors, defines spanking as “noninjurious, openhanded hitting with the intention of modifying child behavior.” The group’s previous policy encouraged parents not to spank, but stopped short of calling it harmful. According to polls, the use of spanking in the U.S. has declined over the past two decades, but 70% of adults still have enough sense to agree that a “good, hard spanking is sometimes necessary to discipline a child” (2014 General Social Survey, cited from “Spanking Is Ineffective and Harmful, Pediatricians’ Group Says,” New York Times, Nov. 5, 2018). There are still 19 states in the U.S. that either allow spanking in schools or do not have specific rules prohibiting it. God’s Word is unequivocal on the issue. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24). “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). Note that the Bible is enjoining the rod of loving correction, not the rod of hateful abuse.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIALISM AND COMMUNISM? (Friday Church News Notes, November 23, 2018,,, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from Jay Richards, “What’s the Difference?” The Stream, Aug. 7, 2017: “Too many of us are still clueless about socialism and communism. I blame biased media and fuzzy thinking. ... Still, sometimes, the truth leaks out. Last year, The Washington Post published a long piece by Ilya Somin. It’s about the ‘greatest mass murderer’ in the world. ... Guess who wins that grim prize. ... It’s Mao Zedong, the leader of China’s communist revolution. ‘From 1958 to 1962,’ Somin notes, ‘his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people--easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.’ Let that sink in. In under five years, a government led by one man murdered 45 million of its own people. Scholars have long known the basic stats. But historian Frank Dikötter has shown [Mao’s Great Famine, 2011] that the number is larger than previously thought. And many more of the deaths were deliberate, rather than ‘just’ the outcome of bad policies that led to famine. Millions were tortured to death, often for minor crimes like digging up a potato. ... Lots of people seem to think ‘communism’ just means ‘bad socialism.’ But that ignores the meanings of words and Marxist theory itself ... Here’s a brief primer: Marx and his disciples claimed that ‘capitalism’ must give way to ‘socialism,’ where private property would be abolished and an all-powerful state would own everything on behalf of the people. That’s what Marx meant by the word socialism, and that’s the main dictionary definition. This was only supposed to be a stage, though, not the end of all our strivings. At some point, under socialism, people would lose their silly fondness for property, family, religion, and other evils. A ‘new socialist man’ would emerge and then the state would ‘wither away.’ Everyone would enjoy peace, prosperity, and the brotherhood of man. Marx and his acolytes called that final, stateless paradise ‘communism.’ Here’s the point: Those regimes led by mass murderers with their gulags, death camps, man-made famines and killing fields were socialist. That’s not slander. It’s what these countries called themselves. USSR stood for the ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.’ You gotta break millions of eggs with socialism to make the communist omelet. ... That was sort of the theory anyway. In practice, socialism has just been evil. Unremitting evil, wherever it’s tried. Have a look at North Korea and now Venezuela. Socialism doesn’t lead to a higher plane of existence or a stateless utopia. It leads to a bottomless pit of immorality, poverty, and death. Why would we expect anything different? It’s based on a false view of human nature, history, labor, property, economic value, capital, and the role of prices.”

PHYSICALLY FIT AND SPIRITUALLY FLABBY (Friday Church News Notes, November 23, 2018,, 866-295-4143) - “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). “Bodily exercise does profit a little. The necessity for it in our time and place is well established. But it must not be allowed to place inordinate demands upon the stewardship of our time and money. I have a friend who spends two hours a day running, thirty minutes (plus showering and dressing time) three times a week in a health club at substantial cost, and three hours or more per week playing racquetball. In addition, he belongs to the local tennis club and plays there once or twice a week. He appears to be in excellent physical condition. He asked me to lunch not long ago because he wanted to talk personally. The all-too-common story was shared of a lack of joy in his work and family in particular, and a growing sense of boredom and frustration with life in general. I asked him if he was willing to take an honest inventory of himself. He was. He discovered that the time and energy spent on the physical compared to the spiritual was one hundred to one! His conclusion: ‘I’m physically fit, but spiritually flabby.’ That may become the epitaph on too many of our headstones. We may well be in need of regular physical exercise, and we should not ignore our physical fitness. But our spiritual fitness is of much greater importance” (The Preacher’s Commentary Series).

CONCLUSION: The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, but this obviously does not imply an endorsement. We trust that our readers will not be discouraged. It is God’s will that we know the times (1 Ch. 12:32; Mat. 16:3) and that we be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The News Notes remind us that the hour is very late, and we need to be ready for the Lord’s coming. Are you sure that you are born again? Are you living for Christ? “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:11-14).


Distributed by Way of Life Literature., publisher of Bible Study Materials and reports for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY (REPORTS AND FRIDAY NEWS) IS NOT DEVOTIONAL. IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.

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The Way of Life Literature preaching and publishing ministry is based at Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. A mail stop is maintained in Port Huron, Michigan.

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