Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Political Divide

American evangelicalism is addicted to political power. The movement is politically divided; it probably always was but the disunity was suppressed for the sake of power. Now as evangelicalism is being pushed to the sidelines, its divisions have emerged again. As long as American evangelicalism pursues political power its disunity will become more and more exposed.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Immigration

Immigration debates bring out a lot of hypocrisy.

Those whose forebears came to America when entry was unrestricted often seem to be the most strident in wanting immigration restrictions now. "I am in, so shut the door and keep the rest out".

On the other hand, I doubt that many of the Christians who are shocked by Donald Trump's rude comments would invite a hundred Haitians or Nigerians to come and live in their neighbourhood.

I notice that the people who are most enthusiastic about immigration reside in neighbourhoods where refugees cannot afford to live. Very convenient.

We claim glibly that all people are equal, but immigration laws ensure that all people are not equal.

If modern migration laws were in place, Jesus parents would not have been able to take him to safety in Egypt, unless he had got lucky in the green card lottery. Ruth would not have been able to marry Boaz, unless she had "essential skills".

Mass migrations of people have occurred throughout history.

God’s Instructions for Economic Life put no limits on migration. That only requirement was that justice should be the same for the migrants as for local people.

The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you (Ex 12:49).
You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God (Lev 24:22).
Migrants must be treated well.
Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt (Ex 22:21).
Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice (Deut 24:17).
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God (Lev 19:33-34).
There are no restrictions on this command. You cannot love people by shutting them out. God did not say to only love those with essential skills.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Prophets and Pastors

I get emails from people claiming to be the prophet in Rev 11, the next Elijah or something big like that 😏. I usually just ignore them.

I get many more emails from people who are more humble. They believe they have a prophet gift, but are not trusted by their pastor. This seems to be a universal problem for people with a prophetic calling. And there is no easy solution, especially when they get a word for their pastor.

These situations tend to end in tears, because pastors have all the power. How far it will go depends on how good the prophetic person’s relationship with their pastor is, and how far they are willing to push it.

The problem is with the pastor role, not the prophetic role. The one-man band pastor role is impossible for any person to do, so most pastors are living on the edge of failure. That makes them very insecure, but of course, they cannot acknowledge it. Therefore, having a prophet around, who might know stuff about them is really scary. It is worse, when the prophetic person claims to have a word for them.

A prophetic person is responsible to God for their words, not to their pastor. They should feel free to speak what God is saying, subject the following.

  • They need to be sure that their word is from the Lord. Do they have other people in the church that they trust whom can bounce things off.

  • They need to know how, when and to whom they should share the word. God can show that stuff, if he can give the word.

  • They need to be sure that their heart is right. A true word is killed by a wrong heart. When they have been rejected by a pastor and it seems like he is obstructing their ministry, it is really hard to keep their attitude right. They need to have a really strong love for the person receiving the word.

  • They need to be very clear about whom the word is to be spoken to. God might not want them all spoken to their pastor. For many words, just declaring them in quiet prophetic intercession will be sufficient. It releases the Holy Spirit and the angels to implement the declared word.

Having done all these, the word might still not be accepted. That is something a prophetic person has to get used to.

A question they need to be constantly asking is the following. Why do they need to speak to the pastor? Does he need to hear the word, or do they need the recognition he could give?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Thank you Mr President

In an article called Thank you Mr President, Bill Bonner has an amusing take on Donald Trump.

What “The Donald” understood better than the professional politicians was that democratic politics is basically a form of entertainment. It’s a sordid part of show biz – all hocus pocus… suspension of disbelief… and performance art – closer to nude mud wrestling than The Crown.

Trump, a lifelong celebrity, sensed that the role of president has little to do with geopolitical facts, mastery of the federal budget, or knowledge of history. It’s more like a reality TV show or a WWE wrestling match – with put downs, posturing and fake fights. In other words, it was right up his alley...

Mr. Trump understood, too, that the real task of government – bossing people around and ripping them off – is done by the Deep State, the cronies, the elite, and the lifers in D.C.

Bill Bonner is an astute observer. There is more than an ounce of truth to his observation that the role of the president is to provide entertainment while the real power of government is worked by the professionals in Washington. They carry on regardless of who wins the election.

However, Bill misses one key point. He does not seem to realise that the spiritual powers of evil are deeply imbedded in the Washington swamp. They control what happens, regardless of who is the Entertainer-in-Chief.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Hierarchy of Power

A political-spirit or government-spirit in the spiritual realms controls every town, city, nation and region on earth. Their authority on earth is perpetuated by a hierarchy of power.

  • Political-spirits and government-spirits in the spiritual realms control human political powers, such as kings, emperors and other political leaders. The people may change over time, but the spiritual powers remain in control.

  • Kings and political leaders have authority over large groups of people, so this gives political-spirits and government-spirits immense authority on earth.

  • Most people look to their political leaders to solve the problems that disturb their lives, so they mostly submit to them. They are unwittingly submitting to the political-spirits and government-spirits that control their political leaders. They should be looking to the Kingdom of God for their salvation, and to the Jesus as their king.

  • Political leaders and kings use military force and political coercion to control their people. This gives political-spirits and government-spirits their power an point of entrance to control them.

This hierarchy of power allows the big controlling spirits to exercise authority on earth, despite their defeat by Jesus.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Engaging the Culture

Christians have been uncertain about how they should engage with the culture of the world.

  • One response has been to withdraw from culture to escape its evil influence, but this leaves society unleavened.

  • The other common response is to engage with culture and attempt to control it from the top down by controlling the institutions that shape culture. Unfortunately, the world hates being controlled by Christians.

The best option is cultural engagement from the bottom up at the local level. Christians should be involved at every aspect of life, but on a voluntary basis. If we serve our community at street level and provide quality service with no demands, we will sometimes have influence. I explain how this works in Government of God.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Inflation

Bill Bonner has an interesting comment about wealth transfer under loose monetary policy.

Wealth can be increased or decreased. But it takes work, savings, and time. And at any given moment, the quantities of tractors, ham sandwiches, and Van Gogh paintings are fixed.

So if the stock market added $10 trillion to the wealth of equity owners, it had to subtract $10 trillion from the wealth of people who don’t own equities. That is the essential scam, and injustice, of the fake-money system.

In an honest market, if the price of some things go up, the price of others will fall in response to the shift in demand. Under monetary expansion, the compensating price decline does not occur. Those on fixed incomes are made worse off. Also those whose wages do not keep up. I explain more at Inflation.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Problem of Evil

Young men and philosophers like to raise the problem of evil when explaining why they do not like God.

The argument goes like this.

Evil exists on earth
If God is good
and all-powerful
he would remove evil from the earth.

Evil does exist on earth,
so either God is not good
or he is not all-powerful.

Therefore, a good all-powerful God does not exist.

This argument leaves out a couple of important steps.

An all-powerful God who is a creator
can constrain his power
by giving the people he created
control over part of his creation.

Therefore, it is not surprising
that there is evil on earth,
if the people he created
decided to reject him
and allow the powers of evil access into his creation.

God is good
so he does not take back the authority
that he has given to the people he created
when they mess it up.

Conclusion
We should be surprised that there is evil on earth
given that humans were given authority over it
and we should not expect that a good God
who keeps his word to constrain his power
would act immediately to eliminate the evil
that the people to whom he gave authority
allowed into the earth.

We would expect him to wait
until he is given permission by the people
that he created and gave authority,
before releasing his unlimited-power
that he had constrained
to give authority to the people he had created.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Boring

They will not admit it, but many men find “going to church” boring.

  • Standing for half an hour to sing songs is boring if you cannot sing.
  • Listening to a person without a life lecturing about life for half an hour is also boring.
  • Passing a few crumbs of bread and a thimbleful of grape juice is boring for those who knew how to party.
  • And the cup of tea afterwards is not every man’s cup of tea.
Men need action. If they go where the Holy Spirit is at work they should get action.

Philip was never bored, because he went where the Holy Spirit was moving (Acts 8:4-8).

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Reformation

I have been reading The Story of Christianity of Christianity by Justo L Gonzalez. The first twenty chapters cover the Reformation in detail.

When I first read about the Reformation, forty years ago at Theological College, I still trusted political power. I realised that they got things wrong, but thought the situation just needed a little tweaking because the wrong political powers won in some places.

Reading about the Reformation again, having lost faith in politics, I am struck by how much this period was shaped by political power and how much harm it did to the cause of God. When politics gets involved, God always loses.

The reformers relied on emperors, kings and princes for their physical protection, so they all compromised with political power to survive.

Political leaders believed that they could decide what version of Christianity their citizens should follow.

Confessions of faith were adjusted to please political leaders.

New translations of the Bible were tweaked to provide a justification for political power.

People who rejected the state religion were hounded and killed. Many thousands from all sides (Lutheran, Reformed, Catholic, Anabaptists, etc) were killed for their faith.

Economies were wrecked by war. Even the Anabaptists, who rejected political power, often resorted to military force to advance their cause.

The Thirty Years War was fought to decide whether Germany should be Catholic or Protestant. The Kings of Sweden and France joined in because they wanted to constrain the power of Habsburgs emperors.

Many Christians are wanting another reformation. They are wanting to use political power to advance the Kingdom of God. The lesson of the Reformation is that this is the wrong path. We need a restructuring of society that does not depend on political and military power.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Casulties

When an army loses a good soldier in battle, it works out what went wrong, and tries to prevent it happening again.

If a wolf captured one of his sheep, the shepherd protects his remaining sheep so the wolf cannot get at them again.

When the church loses a good soldier in spiritual battle, it says, “That was unlucky!” “Probably their fault”. And then carries on without changing anything.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Location

Location is important for spiritual welfare. The spiritual powers of evil leverage their power by controlling territory. Government-spirits or political-spirits control most towns and cities. They delegate small-power spirits to control smaller territories.

A king with no territory is not a real king, no matter how many crowns he puts on. The Holy Spirit needs demon-free territory where he can work. Followers of Jesus should join together in a location to establish territory that belongs to him.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Greatness and Goodness

Many American Christians want the greatness of United States to be restored. They want their nation to be strong enough to control the nations of the earth.

The problem is that America is not good enough to be a world superpower. It is not very effective at discerning good from evil, and usually picks the wrong side in disputes.

Its prophets are too blinded by political and military power to guide it into goodness.

If America were good, it would not need to be great.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Second Tempatation

The tempter showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-7). This was a very tempting offer, because it would give Jesus political control over the world. If he had political control he could force everyone on earth to obey God. He would control all the armies of these kingdoms. He could use this political and military power to establish God’s kingdom on earth.

Jesus rejected this temptation. His kingdom cannot be established by him taking control of the kingdoms of the world. He is not interested in using their power to accomplish God’s purposes.

Jesus’ Kingdom is a totally different from every other kingdom. It is based on free authority and voluntary obedience to the Holy Spirit within Kingdom Communities that provide all the services that human governments promise to provide, but never do.

Unfortunately, this temptation is still strong. Many Christians want to take control of the kingdoms of the world and use their power to establish the God’s kingdom (or get rid of evil). This has been tried many times, but it cannot work, because the Holy Spirit will not use political and military power to accomplish his purposes. Jesus Kingdoms based on love and loyalty. The Holy Spirit flees from political and military power, wheres the spiritual powers of evil are drawn to it.

There is no point in trying to control the kingdoms of the world, because when we do that we end up being manipulated by the political-spirits and government-spirits that manipulate and control them.

The tempter was honest about this problem when tempting Jesus. He offered the kingdoms of the world, but the price was bowing down to the political-spirits and government-spirits that control them. This is a two-for-one package. Those who gain control over the kingdoms of the world find themselves manipulated and controlled by powerful political-spirits and government-spirits.

Some Christians want Jesus to surrender to the second temptation when he returns at the end of the age. They want him to use political and military power to establish his rule over the earth. People who want this do not understand his ways.

The truth is that as the gospel advances, the kingdoms of the world will collapse under the weight of their own failure and their flesh will be eaten by the birds of the air. Those who are back them have chosen the wrong horse.

Those who follow Jesus will have obeyed the Holy Spirit to form Kingdom Communities that bring justice, peace and plenty without the need for political and military power (see Government of God). As the kingdoms of the world collapse and wither away, kingdom communities will multiply and shine like the sun.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Incarnation

In my previous post, I explained why Jesus had to be human. However, he also had to be God. Our God is so amazing that our finite minds struggle to understand who is. By becoming human in Jesus, God gave us a revelation of himself that our human minds can grasp. We can know God truly, because Jesus has revealed his character and nature to us.

Imagine a man who damaged the entrance to the hole of an ants’ nest by mistake when he is hoeing his garden. He had not known the nest was there, so he wanted to tell ants the ants that he cared about them, even though he has damaged the entrance to their place of safety.
Communicating with the ants is a nearly impossible task. The ants might hear his voice, but they would understand what he is saying. They might hear the noise, but they would not understand that human language carries meaning.

The ants would see the dark shadow of the man’s foot as it approached, so he was a source of fear. From their perspective, the garden he had created was a jungle in which they lived. They simply could not understand his care for the garden. The biggest animal they knew was a dangerous beetle that tried to eat them, so they would never understand the man’s kind nature.

Even if the man could discover the method by which the ants communicate with each other, it would not help him much, because this communication method would be capable of describing his love, honesty, knowledge, etc.

The only way that the man could communicate his character and personality to the ants would be to become an ant himself. He could then show them what he was really like. He could prove that the did not want to destroy them. He could show them that they could trust them.
The thought of a human becoming an ant is absurd, but it is what God has done in Jesus. He came as a human so that we could have a true understanding of his nature and character. This is why Jesus was God.

We cannot know God through human philosophy or human religion. We can know him through Jesus, because he came down to our level. We must shape our understanding of God by the revelation we received through Jesus’ words and actions. The only way to know God truly is through Jesus.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Incarnation

A creator god becoming a human, a created species, is an amazing event. What problem made this extreme event necessary.

God had created humans in his image and given them authority over the earth. Because humans have authority, the solution to any problem on earth has to come from a human.

The spiritual powers of evil tricked humans into rejecting God’s authority. By submitting to the deceiver, they handed authority on earth to the spiritual powers of evil. They set about destroying every aspect of God’s good creation.

The creation was becoming a problem.

  • Earth was being wrecked, but God could not do anything about it, because he no longer had authority to intervene on the earth. He needed permission from humans with authority on earth before he could act to rescue his creation.
  • Humans had given the spiritual powers of evil authority on earth, so they were not strong enough to defeat them.
  • The spiritual powers of evil would not willingly surrender their authority back to humans.
To break the impasse, a human person needed to take back authority over the earth. He had to rescue his fellow humans from the clutches of the spiritual powers of evil without being caught himself.

The only solution was for God to become a human. That is the incarnation. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and Jesus was birthed in her as God, yet also as a human.

Jesus was truly human, so he could take back authority on earth. He had the authority on earth to do what had to be done to defeat the spiritual powers of evil and rescue humans and the earth from their power. He never disobeyed God, so the spiritual powers of evil were never able to capture him. What a wonderful rescuer.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Political Power

Political theology has many problems, but the biggest is that political power is used by the spiritual powers of evil to leverage their power to maintain control over nations and cities. Once a political leader submits to a political-spirit, it has authority over all the people in the city or nation that are submitted to the politician(s). By manipulating a single political leader, a government spirit or political spirit can control a city or nation.

Politics relies on coercion and force. The spiritual powers love coercion and force and are drawn to them. The Holy Spirit avoids them. So wherever, coercion and force are at work, the Holy Spirit is absent, and the spiritual powers of evil are all over them.

The spiritual powers of evil use various hooks to seduce political leaders. They use finance and debt to manipulate some politicians. They often use a love of power to control the political leader. Some are seduced by sexual power. Some get to enjoy controlling other people. Others are taken in by pride. Often the spiritual powers of evil use more than one of these hooks.

These hooks are techniques that the spiritual powers of evil power use to gain control of political leaders, but they are not the real problem. If we get focussed on any of them, we will miss the point. The underlying problem with political power is the politicians and rulers are manipulated by government-spirits and political-spirits.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Politics

Politics is always a debate/struggle over who will have power/control.

Power is the essence of politics, so being involved in politics from a position of weakness is impossible.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

David Stockman

David Stockman comments on the change in the drivers of the US economy from an an earlier time.

Back then, Economy drove Finance: You therefore needed a main street contraction to trigger tumbling profits, which, in turn, caused Wall Street to mark-down the NPV (net present value) of future company earnings streams and the stock prices which embodied them.

No longer. After three decades of monetary central planning and heavy-handed falsification of financial asset prices, causation has been reversed.

Finance now drives Economy: Recessions happen when central bank fostered financial bubbles reach an asymptotic peak and then crash under their own weight, triggering desperate restructuring actions in the corporate C-suites designed to prop up stock prices and preserve the collapsing value of executive stock options.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Bitcoin and Gold

Economic textbooks say that money has several functions. The two most important are a medium of exchange and a store of value. The reason why a commodity can be used as a store of value is that is widely used as a medium of exchange. People hold it, knowing that they can exchange it for something that they want in the future.

Gold was once a common medium of exchange. Merchants had scales to weigh gold and silver. Small coins were developed to make buying and selling with gold easier. However, gold is no longer widely used as a medium of exchange. If you take a gold ring into Walmart and try to buy a toaster, they will look at you blankly.

Gold is now mostly used as a store of value. People who fear the future hold it, because they fear that other assets will lose value.

Ideally, a store of value will retain its value. However, in practice, people like a store of value that increases in value. However, the problem with a store of value that can increase in value is that speculators often pile in and push up its price. That has happened at times with gold.

Currently, bitcoin is not widely used as a medium of exchange. It is mostly used as a store of value.

Bitcoin has been designed to behave like gold. The amount available grows very slowly as digital miners work to produce it. This is good for its use as a medium of exchange, as it should grow in line with the growth of the economy as the number of transactions increases. The volume of a commodity used as a medium of exchange should not grow too fast, because it could lose its value.

However, scarcity can be a problem when a commodity is being used as a store of value, if more and more people want to use it that way. If an increasing number of people wanted to use gold as a store of value, then the price of gold would rise dramatically. Speculators would be then attracted to buying gold.

This is what is happening with bitcoin. The supply is limited to what is needed for a medium of exchange, but a rapidly growing number of people want to use it as a store of value (or increaser of value). The price has increased rapidly, which has brought in the speculators.
In our modern financial system is that banks have the ability to create credit. This allows them to fund speculation in whatever commodity is growing in popularity as a store (increaser) of value.

The problem with a commodity used as a store of value that can increase in value is that it can also decline in value. This could easily happen to bitcoin if attitudes changed.

We actually need a record of value that does not increase or decrease in value. If it could not change value, speculators would have no interest in holding it.

The best store of value is not a commodity or asset, because they can always become a target for speculation. A better store of value would be a record of value given, not an asset. I describe how this could happen in Money.