Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Patriotic Prophets

When asked about his prophecy about Russia, Bob Jones said that there are too many patriotic prophets in the United States.

Many American prophets are prophesying patriotism instead of the truth.

I am staggered by the patriotism that distorts so much of the prophecy coming out of America at the current time.

Here are some examples,

The prophetic ministry will continue to anoint America's leaders moving forward just as they anointed Trump in this election, but their voice and authority shall grow." (Stephen Powell)
Nations outside the USA remember this: as the USA goes, so goes the world. The Lord is not just setting the USA unto divine order in 2017, but also the world (David Tomberlin)
We are moving into a year of "Trumpification" here in the United States like maybe no other year in our history. This word was coined to represent the effect of our next President on the affairs of men. This is a time where, regardless of political allegiance, we as Christians in the US must desire for revival to impact our nation with a shift for righteousness and morality. We have heard a slogan for months from our incoming President that he desires to "Make America Great Again." (Gale Sheehan)
This man is unstoppable because I'm unstoppable. My Kingdom is unstoppable, and this man has a mandate from Heaven; he has momentum that is not his own. His movement will not dissipate, it will grow, and it will reach beyond the borders of American governing. It will inspire; it will stir up a nest (Stephen Powell)
The Glory of God Falling on the White House …United States of America, the new day is upon you marked by My glory with a beacon of hope and breakthrough (Lana Vawser)
The contrast with the biblical prophets is stunning. Amos and Jeremiah were not cheerleaders for the kings of Israel and Judah. They held a plumb line against the nation and tested the hearts of the people.

The OT prophets promised wonderful things, but they were conditional on the people turning back to God. The promises of the patriotic prophets seem to be unconditional. They will happen, because "God is sovereign". No change needed.

Jesus brought the good news of the kingdom of God, not the goods news of a nation state.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Discipleship

The early church did not emphasize evangelism or social reform. It emphasized discipleship and Christian community formation. Evangelism and social reform followed.
Howard Snyder

Saturday, February 25, 2017

No Love

A civil government cannot love. It must set rules and enforce them. Political authorities cannot love. They can take money from some people and give it to others. They can force people to do things that they do not want to do. The can stop them from doing doing things they want to do. But political authorities cannot love.

Political authorities cannot build the Kingdom of God, because it is a kingdom of love. They are cannot serve the kingdom, because they cannot love.

My new book called the Government of God will be available on Amazon.com in May this year. In this book, I will explain how God’s government is radically different and better than any government we know. The coming of his kingdom will radically change the operation of government on earth.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Spiritual Powers of Evil

Political power cannot work, because it amplifies the authority of the spiritual powers of evil. They concentrate on attacking the political leader or king. Once they conquer him/her, they have control of the entire nation.

We think democracy is superior to kingship, but nothing is different. The spiritual powers of evil would through the democratically elected leader in the same way as they work through kings. That is why elections seldom bring change. The spiritual powers of evil transfer their control to the new leader, and things continue the same.

Since kings and political leaders are the instruments of the spiritual powers of evil, we should recognise their true nature. We may have to submit to their power, because they are stronger than us, but we should pretend that they are good.

The individual people may start good, but they will not be strong enough to resist the stronghold that controls their nation. Thus political power always leads towards evil and away from the Kingdom Of God.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kings are Evil

God gave his perfect system of government to Moses (voluntary judges applying his law). Allowing Israel to have a king was a serious compromise, because having a king proved disastrous for Israel.

This should not have been a surprise, as the king idea was copied from the evil nations that surrounded Israel. Good cannot spring from evil. Samuel warned that kingship would be a disaster, would rob their wealth, divide their families and steal their freedom.

The problem is that political power corrupts even a good heart. Saul was a good humble man, but political power wrecked his life.

David had a beautiful heart as a youth. He loved God and worshiped him with a humble and contrite spirit.

Yet David turned out be a terrible king. He copied the nations around him and went to war each spring. That was never God’s plan.

David committed adultery with the wife of a loyal friend. That was bad, but he had her husband murdered by a devious use of state power.

He had broken four of the Ten Commandments.

  • You shall not kill
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You should not covet your neighbour's wife.
  • You should not bear false witness.
David robbed his people of justice. Absalom was able to seize power by helping the people who had suffered injustice under David’s rule.

David appointed a taskmaster to seize the surplus wealth from his subjects . He appointed another to run forced labour gangs (2 Sam 20 24). There was no justification for this harshness in the law (where all government isvoluntary). Slavery was used to build the temple. What a contrast with the tabernacle which was built gladly with voluntary labour.

At the end of his reign, David made another mistake and took a census of the people. God gave him a choice of consequence. He chose a punishment that would hurt the people, but leave him untouched. This was an ugly thing to do. Only when thousands of people had died in the plague, did he change his mind and chose a different option, but it was too late.

David was by far the best king that Israel ever had. Yet he committed all the evils that modern despots are condemned for.

David was a skilled fighter and very successful in war. He would have a great temporary military leader. If he had gone back to being a sheep breeder and poet after defending Israel, he would have been a great man.

All the other kings of Israel were worse than David.

Solomon committed adultery and idolatry. He used forced labour and slavery. Many other kings followed idols. Most were violent and fostered injustice.

Israel was not kept safe, (the reason they wanted a king) but were continuously invaded and impoverished by foreign armies. The kings’ mistakes eventually led the nation into exile.

For the people of Israel, the kingship was a massive mistake. This was not surprising. Attacks by their enemies were the natural consequence of forgetting God. They thought that a king could protect them, but that would be impossible, while their forgetfulness continued.

For modern people, placing their hope in a political leader is the same mistake.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Salvation by Works

Christians know in their lives that they cannot be good by their own effort. They realise that they need the fruit of the Spirit to be good. Yet many think that good can be advanced by the effort of politics and kings. Unfortunately, without Jesus and his spirit, any good achieved by political power will quickly evaporate, because it is based on human works.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Common Good

Common good based on state power is not good, because it prevents the coming of the Kingdom of God by providing a weak substitute. It makes people think they can have the benefits of the kingdom without giving allegiance to the King.

Common good is not good, because only God is good.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

No Criteria

People will argue that governments do good. The problem is that when it comes to governments, we do not know what “good” means. The bible does not give criteria for assessing a government, because they are not part of his plan.

Only God knows whether the actions of government are good, because only he knows whether the action fits with his purposes.

If the people have forgotten God, the government cannot protect them from the consequences. That might appear to be good, but if it prevents the people from turning back to God, it is not good. What may appear to be good is actually bad, because it leads away from God. Political actions that appear to be good, may be bad, if they cause the people to stop trusting God.

The only way a government be sure it is doing good by applying the Law of God in God's way (voluntary judges). Unfortunately, that never really happens. Moreover, the government action would be unnecessary, because it would happen anyway.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Perfect System

God showed how he wanted a community of people to live together in the Land in Exodus and Deuteronomy. He gave no government, as we know it. He gave no group of people to make laws or rule over the rest.

He simply gave a set of laws and promised to raise up voluntary judges. The Israelites rejected God’s way and chose a King. Samuel is clear that this was a massive step down.

We are no better. We reject God’s way and chose democratic politics (rotating kings in a permanent kingship). Consequently, we are now reaping the whirlwind.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Plan B?

In his book called Kingdom Conspiracy, Scot McKnight argues that kingship was plan B for Israel. That is not right. The kingship was plan X, an evil plan.

Kingship was not a suggestion by God. The people chose to have a king by copying the evil nations around them. Yet copying the nations was exactly what God had told them not to do.

God relented and gave them a king. He was able to use some kings to achieve his purposes, but they were never part of his plan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Caesar

Jesus said to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Everything is God’s, so Caesar has nothing. Jesus rendered nothing to him, except for surrendering to the brutal power of his soldiers.

A Christian cannot be a democrat or a republican, because they owe their allegiance to Jesus.

Christians cannot give their allegiance to a political government, whether it is democrat or republican, because it is an alternative king.

Christians must give full allegiance to Jesus and his Kingdom, so they cannot give their allegiance to any other king.

Christians cannot be willing citizens of a nation state, because the nation state is an alternative kingdom.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Politics

In Kingdom Conspiracy, Scot McKnight is good when he says that the Holy Spirit works through the church. Kingdom work is always in the church.

However, he does not go far enough. He allows a place for politics and government. He says that they can do good, but it not kingdom work.

If Jesus is Lord, we must acknowledge that politics is evil.

Political governments are evil.

They can do things that appear to be useful and good, but they lead away from the Kingdom of God.

Christians have to acknowledge their power, but we must not expect them to advance the Kingdom of God.

Jesus had nothing to do with political power. He saw the Roman Empire, as well as the Herodians and others who colluded with them as his enemies (Mark 12:13). He loved them, when he encountered them, but they remained his enemies.

We must love our enemies, not pretend they are good.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nature of Politics

The vehement and angry argument going on between Christians about Donald Trump is disturbing. It reveals the nature of politics

Politics has winners and losers, so it always leads to division.

Politics accentuates fleshly behaviour.

Politics sometimes appears to do good, but it always leads away from the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom cannot be extended by political power.
Politics relies on coercion and force, and these are anathema to the Kingdom of God.

Political power massively amplifies the authority and power of the spiritual powers of evil that gain control of kings and governments (principalities and powers). This is why human governments always demand more and more power and ultimately becomes evil.

I cannot understand why Christians obsess about political power, when they have such a wonderful gospel. The Kingdom of God is much better news.

Friday, February 10, 2017

What?

When I realised that the US Presidential election was a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I thought that the nation must be under a curse to have such a terrible choice.

I now find the vehement and angry argument between Christians about Donald Trump equally disturbing. Some Christians are prophesying a great turn around for the nation, but I cannot see how the Holy Spirit can work in such a divided body.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

When Politics becomes Lord

Sean Palmer writes about Jesus is Lord.

Jesus, Peter, and Paul were tortured by the state because they would not deify the state! They said, “Jesus is Lord.”

“Jesus is Lord,” was never simply a private commitment governing personal ethics centered around the nuclear family. When Paul tells the Colossians that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God,” he is spitting into the face of the god who was visible everywhere, Caesar. What the contemporary church misses when we say “Jesus is Lord” is that those words, all by themselves are a slap in the face of worldly political powers. All of them! When we are baptized and declare “Jesus is Lord” we are determining that we stand against any and all powers that are in any way antithetical to the will of Jesus, including our own choices.

Yet by the standard of the first Christians, our modern proclamations of Jesus fall woefully short. When modern Christians say “Jesus is Lord” we mean it in a privatized, insular way foreign to the disciples. What we mean is that from this point on I will make particular personal commitments regarding how I organize my life. I will try to live with integrity, character, and personal ethics. It’s spiritual veganism.

Claiming Jesus is Lord has become something we do because we choose to make some tweaks to better our individual moral code. Mind you, this isn’t bad. When Christians are able to live up to our stated goals, the world is made a better place. But that’s not nearly close to what it means to call Jesus Lord. Rather, the claim that Jesus is Lord means we reject everything and everyone who attempts to place him or herself in lordship. I worry that we no longer believe Jesus is Lord — at least not in the politically-threatening, turn the world upside down way it did in the early days of the church. To state it bluntly, the politics and priorities of Jesus have become subservient to the platform and priorities of our chosen political parties.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Christian fatalism

A view known as "meticulous sovereignty" is common among many Christians. On this view, believers say that whatever happens to them – good, bad, or indifferent – is part of God’s plan. They believe that God has a perfect plan for their life, and that everything that happens is his will. I call this heresy “Christian fatalism”.

One form of Christian fatalism is the widespread belief that Donald Trump was elected, so he must be God’s choice for president. This is not necessarily true. Plenty of kings and presidents rise to power contrary to God’s will.

Meticulous sovereignty is actually closer to Islam than to Christianity. Islam teaches that everything happens is the will of God. This belief leads to passivity in the face of evil.

Fatalism makes people feel better when things go wrong, but it makes people passive when they have a bad experience. They must grin and bear it, because it is God’s will.

Christian fatalism is not the message of the scriptures. The people living on earth are caught up in a struggle between good and evil. God has many victories. But sometime they spiritual powers of evil have their way. Our role is not to passively submit to whatever happens, but to join with God in resisting evil.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

New Nationalism

The Economist has an interesting comment on the re-emergence of nationalism.

The new nationalism owes a lot to cultural factors, too. Many Westerners, particularly older ones, liked their countries as they were and never asked for the immigration that turned Europe more Muslim and America less white and Protestant. They object to their discomfort being dismissed as racism.

Elite liberals stress two sources of identity: being a good global citizen (who cares about climate change and sweatshops in Bangladesh) and belonging to an identity group that has nothing to do with the nation (Hispanic, gay, Buddhist, etc). Membership of certain identity groups can carry material as well as psychological benefits. Affirmative action of the sort practised in America gives even the richer members of the racial groups it favours advantages that are unavailable to the poorer members of unfavoured groups.

Nationalists dislike the balkanisation of their countries into identity groups, particularly when those groups are defined as virtuous only to the extent that they disagree with the nation’s previously dominant history. White Americans are starting to act as if they were themselves a minority pressure group.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Trump Sanctions

Amidst his flurry of activity, Donald Trump imposed additional economic sanctions on Iran. This is a rite of passage for any American politician wanting to be taken seriously as a foreign policy leader.

Since the Iranians gave the US a black eye in 1979/80, (the movie about Operation Eagles Claw has not been made yet), they have been the favourite victim for United States politicians looking for someone to bully. Their crime was to throw out the son of the dictator that the CIA and MI6 imposed upon them in place of a democratically elected government in 1953 (for the benefit of BP Oil). Many sanctions have been in place since that time.

Donald Trump imposed sanctions because the Iranians tested a ballistic missile (something they are entitled to do under international law) and Yemini Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi frigate. The Saudis have been bombing and wrecking Yemen with American support of the last couple of years. Trump does not realise that Houthis and Iranian Shia are about as different as Pentecostals and Anglicans.

The White House spokesperson mistakenly said that the Houthis had attacked an American ship. I suppose that was a reasonable mistake, because the US probably supplied the ship a long with $billions of military equipment they have supplied to the Saudis.

Trump confirmed that the Iranians are fostering terrorism. He does not seem to realise that Shia terrorism is not a problem these days. The real problem is the Sunni terrorism that has been sponsored and financed by the Saudis all over the world. Yet all American presidents have turned blind eye to this Saudi duplicity, because they love their oil and the armaments industry needs the sales.

The Iranians began developing the technology for missiles after the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Back then, before his nasty phase, Saddam Hussein was an American ally. With American encouragement and reconnaissance support, he invaded Iran. Vastly outgunned, the Iranians engaged in a World War 1 style defence with massive casualties. Nearly a hundred thousand civilians died, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of military deaths.

Saddam Hussein launched chemical weapons against Iranian cities using ballistic missiles. Iran had no missiles to strike back against Iraqi cities.

Americans are scared of Iran, but the military spending is far greater among their neighbours in the Middle East.

Gulf Cooperation Council member countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and their flunkies) spend approximately $98.5 billion on their militaries annually, compared to Iran’s $10.6 billion. Data released by the U.S. Congressional Research Service indicates that the GCC acquired $38.5 billion worth of new arms between 2004 and 2011, thirty-five times more than Iran’s acquisition of $1.1 billion for the same period. Similarly, data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute indicates that the Gulf states have a massive lead over Iran in terms of spending on military munitions.

In addition to cutting-edge military wares, the Gulf countries enjoy access to superior American training, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems, and Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Battle Management capabilities (C4I/BM).
Americas should be more concerned about their Middle Eastern clients, as they are armed to the teeth with weapons and technology supplied by the USA, the UK and France.

Iranians are spooked by this massive military build up by their traditional enemies. That is why they want better weapons.

The Iranians should not complain too much about Donald Trump’s feeble sanctions. Others have been far tougher. When Ronald Reagan was president in 1988, the US navy shot down an Iranian airliner killing 290 crew and passengers, many of the woman and children, by mistake of course.

Treaty of Waitangi

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand. On this day in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and the Maori chiefs of the tribes of New Zealand. This country was unique, because the indigenous people were not conquered, rather the British settlers and the Maori tribes reached agreement on how they could live together.

This was a brilliant start. I cannot think of any other country in the world where such a thing happened.

Unfortunately, the British settlers did not carry on the way that they began. They got greedy for land and brought in the troops to defeat Maori who were unwilling to sell their land. Land confiscations continued up until the First World War. In one large city, land was taken while the adult men were away in Europe fighting for the British.

Fortunately, that was not the end of the story. Over the last half century, successive government have negotiated treaty settlements to make restitution for the stolen land. I explain the reasons why this restitution is important in an article called the Treaty of Waitangi.

The process has not been perfect. But it has bought peace between the races, something which is missing in many parts of the world.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Religion in Society

Shadi Hamid made some interesting comments to the Economist about the role of religion in society.

In less religious or post-Christian societies, a mainstream Christianity is no longer capable of providing the necessary group identity. But that doesn’t mean other ideas won’t fill the vacuum. In other worst, be careful what you wish for: an America where religion plays less of a role isn’t necessarily a better one, if what replaces religion is white nativism....

The Trump phenomenon reflects the failure of Christianity to offer a convincing political formula for the 21st century, and the tendency for new ideologies to fill the void. Christianity has gradually lost its ability to offer a resonant politics for most Americans and Europeans. If religion can no longer speak to our politics, then people will search for something that approximates its certainty and conviction. What makes these substitutes more dangers than a politics infused by mainstream Christianity is they that are less coherent and principled.


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Soverignty

Ben Davis has an interesting comment on sovereignty at Jesus Creed, where he reviews a book called Divine Providence by Bruce Reichenbach.

Sovereignty, he suggests, invokes the image of a political relationship, namely, that between a governing ruler and the governed. On this score, not everything that happens aligns with the governors will, nor does he/she get to determine the outcome of everything they want. The scope of the governor’s rule is set by the freedom allowed for their people. If significant freedom is granted, then it stands to reason that the governor is limited in their range of action – assuming, of course, they continue to respect the integrity of this arrangement. Thus, “In granting significant freedom to their subjects, sovereigns make it possible for their authority and will to be freely obeyed and also freely resisted,” Reichenbach notes. Furthermore, “If sovereigns command their subjects to do some act and if the subjects are free, they can refuse – although at the same time they must bear the consequences of their refusal.”