Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mercy or Wrath

When the people of a city or nation cast off restraint and reject God, they lose their spiritual protection and leave the powers of evil unrestrained. They have the authority to bring judgment against the city or nation, but they often wait until sin is filled up so they can do more evil. The powers of evil execute judgment in a way that causes the most harm and pain, because they love to rob, destroy and kill.

God will sometimes pre-empt this judgment so that less harm is done, and to ensure that his purposes are accomplished. Because the people have turned away from him, he does not have authority to bless them, but the does have the right to send judgment.

By getting his angels to bring the judgment, rather than waiting for the powers of evil to deliver it, he can turn it for good, and use it to achieve his purposes. The holy angels hate executing judgment, because they love to do good. They will only do it, if they have a clear prophetic word from God’s prophets explaining how it will bring glory to God.

God’s people sometimes need to choose. Will they wait for the power of evil to execute their plans, or should they ask God to bring a pre-emptive judgment that is more merciful.

An example is the judgment after David counted his fighting men (2 Sam 24). When he realised he had done wrong, the prophet Gad came to him with three options:

  • Three years of famine in the land.
  • Three months of running before his enemies while they pursued with the sword.
  • Three days of plague.
David chose the third option. This was a bit selfish, because he was the one who had sinned, but the people would suffer most. This is a reminder that when the leaders of a nation sin, it is their people who suffer most.

When the judgment started, David realised that he had been selfish and cried out,

I have sinned; I, the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall on me and my family (2 Sam 24:17).
But it was too late, because the decision had been made.

Nevertheless, David had made the right decision, perhaps for the wrong reason. He explained the reason to the prophet when he made his decisions. He said to Gad,

I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man (2 Sam 24:14).
There were really only two options. One option was to come under judgment executed by God. The other option was to fall into the hands of man, literally the hands of Adam. David did not fully understand this, but Adam had lost his authority when he sinned, so falling into the hands of Adam literally meant falling into the hands of the powers of evil.

Two of the three judgments, would be executed by the powers of evil. The famine and defeating war were their plans for Israel once David’s sin had given them the right to do it. (The powers of evil are often divided and disagree over what they want to do. If David had chosen the plan of one group, the Holy Spirit would have rested the other group, so they would not be able to fulfil their plans.)

Even though David did not realise that he was avoiding falling into the hands of the power of evil, he did realise that it was best to choose the judgment that would be executed by God. God opened David’s spiritual eyes and he saw the angel of God with the sword of death outstretched. This was terrible, but it was better than would have happened if the powers of evil had been able to execute evil for three years or three months. Three days was merciful by comparison, and when David repented of his selfishness, God cut it short to less than a day.

When a nation hardens its heart, the power of evil get authority to work their plan in it. The Holy Spirit often shows a prophet what the powers of evil have planned. The prophet must be careful not to prophesy these plans, except as a warning (if you keep doing this, that will happen), because it increases the authority of the powers of evil to do their stuff. Sometimes, the prophets may see several forms of evil, that different factions of the power of evil would like to do (they are seldom united).

The prophets in this situation should ask God if there is a pre-emptive judgment that he can bring that would be better for the nation than what the Holy Spirit has shown them the powers of evil intend to do. It will often not be nice, but it will usually be better than falling into the hands of the powers of evil. The prophets may need to pray for a lesser more merciful evil, so that God has authority to execute it.

David, and through him Gad, had authority in Israel. When Gad prayed and told God their choice, it gave God authority to send his angel to release the plague. It was a terrible plague, but at least it was a good angel bringing it. This was better than releasing evil angels to do their thing.

In the same way, prophets may sometime have to make a similar choice. They might need to choose to give God authority to bring a pre-emptive judgment. That will be hard to do, but it is usually better than waiting for worse evil to come from the hands of the power of evil.

Gad had a relationship with David, so he was able to consult with him. Many prophets will not have a link to the political powers, so they will not be able to consult. They will have to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and make the decision for their nation.

Many prophets have seen terrible things happening to their nation. They should check before prophesying them, to make sure that God has not shown them what the powers of evil want to do, because their vision might be what will happen if the nation is left to its own devices, but it might not be what God wants to do. The prophets should acknowledge that judgment is inevitable for the nation, but recognise that there is a milder judgement that God could bring, if he were given permission to act in the nation.

Some prophetic people have bitter stomachs, often through frustration and rejection. If they are not careful, they can become hard, and slip into enjoying and prophesying what the enemy plans to do. They have the wrong half of the truth. True prophets make sure they understand God’s purpose, before they prophecy judgment.

In New Zealand, prophetic people have warned of a tsunami that destroys Christchurch, an earthquake that destroys Wellington, and a volcano that destroys Auckland. I suspect that these people have heard what the powers of evil would like to do, if sins are filled up and they get authority in the land. But these events are not God’s intent for the nation.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Three Types of Vision

Christians with discernment can receive three types of vision.

  1. Some visions show what the people deserve. They show what the wrath of God demands. Eg Amos 7:1.
  2. The Holy Spirit sometimes shows his people what Satan wants to do. When people turn away from God, they give him authority to fulfil his plans. He is a destroyer, so these visions are often destructive. Spiritual people who are not Christians may also receive these visions, but from a different source.
  3. Some visions show what God is going to do to turn his people back to him, as his wrath is tempered by his mercy. The purpose of these visions is refining and purifying (Amos 7:7-9).
  • They first two types may be the same. Satan has the right to execute the curses of the covenant.
  • The first type of visions should be prayed against. The mercy of God should be claimed. (Jer 18:20; Jer 14:21; Dan 9:4-19; Ps 106:23).
  • The first type should not be proclaimed as if were God’s will, as this would give the devil permission to do it. If it is announced, it should be conditional. “This is what will happen, if you keep on the way that you are going”
  • The second type should be prayed against. We resist the enemy by disagreeing with his words and visions and declaring. “That is not God’s will” (Eph 6:10-18).
  • The second type of vision should not be proclaimed as this would give glory to Satan. If Christians agree with this vision, it gives him authority to implement his plans, even if they are contrary to God’s will.
  • The third type of vision should be prayed into being. It might still be harsh, but because its purpose it mercy, it is right to pray for it. It is part of God’s refining process. When we declare these visions, it gives God’s authority to do his will on earth.
  • A prophet who always looks to God’s wrath is imitating Satan. A true prophet must centre on God’s mercy.
  • When a vision is received, we must pray to find what type of vision it is. We must get God’s perspective, before we proclaim the vision.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Speak without Manipulating

Prophets are God’s spokespeople. Their task is to speak out God’s message. They do not have to get the people to obey it. That is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. If prophets try to force people to change, they are being presumptive.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ready to Save the World

From Kingdom Authority (pp 80-81).

God had a plan to restore authority on earth, by sending his son and then the Holy Spirit to establish the kingdom. This was a good plan, but God did not have authority to implement it.

Most Christians assume that God is all-powerful and can do whatever he chooses, but if that were true, God could have put the situation right as soon as sin came into the world. He did not do that because he had freely given authority over the earth to humans. That gift was unconditional and God is faithful and true, so he could not go back on his word.

When humans sinned, God did not grab his authority back. That would turn it into Imposed Authority, and he was not interested in that. Although humans had surrendered to evil, God still recognised them as the legitimate authority on earth, so he could not intervene until he was invited by people with authority on earth. Getting that authority took thousands of years.

God was not slow to send Jesus, but sent him as soon as everything was prepared. During the thousands of years that had gone by since humans sinned, he was not sitting around twiddling his thumbs. He was waiting for people with authority on earth to give him permission to act. Because most humans had surrendered their authority to the powers of evil, this permission was quite difficult to get. He needed dozens of prophets to complete the task.

God knew that the powers of evil would not give up their stolen authority without a fight, so he did not send Jesus until everything he had planned on earth was ready. This is why he waited so long before sending him. He had to wait until the political situation was right and the people he needed were willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and do his will.

The Roman Empire was ruling most of the earth. Roman law established peace in Israel, allowing Jesus to move around freely. Israel was divided into three provinces with the Romans ruling Judea directly through a procurator. The sons of Herod ruled the other two provinces. This allowed Jesus to operate below the Roman radar by doing most of his ministry in Galilee. He could move across the Jordan, whenever he needed a place of safety.

  • Messianic expectation was at a high level. People were longing for the peace and justice of God.
  • The Jewish establishment controlled the temple in Jerusalem. They were ready for confrontation with Jesus.
  • John the Baptist was ready to announce the messiah.
  • Peter was being toughened up ready for when the church would get going in Jerusalem.
  • Paul was being trained up ready to take the gospel to the gentiles and write his letters.
  • John was ready to begin a journey that would end with him writing the book of Revelation. His prophetic work would give God authority to act long into the future.
  • Mary was willing to care for a baby, a huge burden for a young woman.
  • Joseph was willing to obey the voice in his dreams. He was brave enough to flee to Egypt; very scary for a Jewish family.
  • The wise men were ready to come and provide Mary and Joseph with economic security. They did not give Jesus toys for play. They provided his parents with gifts that could be sold in any economy at any time for their survival.
If any of these people had failed to fulfil their calling, God’s plan would have turned to custard.

The devil probably knew that something was up, but sending a messiah as a baby was so strange, he was confused. He would have killed Jesus, if he had the chance. The wise men set the cat among the pigeons by going to Herod to find the king, instead of following the star to Bethlehem. The devil stirred Herod into a killing frenzy in Bethlehem, in a futile attempt to get rid of a threat he did not understand (Matt 2:16).

After thousands of years, the time was right and everything was in place, so God sent his son. The prophets had announced the Messiah and described his ministry in full. Their declarations gave God authority to send his Son as a Messiah, but they were dead. He needed people on the ground to give life to these prophesies.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah (Luke 2:25-26).
Simeon’s prayers and prophecies gave God permission to send his Messiah. Anna’s prayers also gave him authority to send Jesus. She recognised him when he was born.

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher... She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying… she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38).

Anna and Simeon knew God intended to send the Messiah in their time. They announced his coming to those “who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”. Their prophecies and prayers gave God authority to send his son.

The great salvation had begun.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


A massive weight of expectation to lay on one day. More than any day can bear.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gospel Hope

I really liked these words from chapter 2 of Brian Zahnd's book called A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace.

Jesus is the Savior of the world! This world that you and I inhabit—where we go to work, do our living, raise our children, and try to find meaning and happiness— Jesus is the Savior of that! Jesus is not a heavenly conductor handing out tickets to heaven. Jesus is the carpenter who repairs, renovates, and restores God’s good world. The divine vision and original intention for human society is not to be abandoned, but saved. That’s a big deal! It’s the gospel!

In fact, in the eight gospel sermons found in the book of Acts, not one of them is based on afterlife issues! Instead they proclaimed that the world now had a new emperor and his name was Jesus! Their witness was this: the Galilean Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, had been executed by Roman crucifixion, but God had vindicated him by raising him from the dead. The world now had a new boss: Jesus the Christ. What the world’s new Lord (think emperor) is doing is saving the world. This includes the personal forgiveness of sins and the promise of being with the Lord in the interim between death and resurrection as well as after the resurrection, but the whole project is much, much bigger than that— the world is to be repaired!

If what we mean by “Jesus saves the world” gets reduced to “saved people go to heaven when they die ,” then Jesus is simply the one who saves us from the world, not the Savior of the world. But this is not what the apostle John meant when he spoke of Jesus as the Savior of the world. John was talking about something much bigger and much more expansive than individuals “accepting Jesus as their personal Savior.” John (and the rest of the apostolic writers of the New Testament) presented Christ as the Savior of God’s good creation and the restorer of God’s original intention for human society. This is the gospel! This is the apostolic gospel, and it’s a gospel that gives us an eschatology of hope. By eschatology of hope, I mean a Christian vision for the future that is redemptive and not destructive— more anticipating the New Jerusalem and less obsessed with Armageddon. In our anxiety-ridden world, who can doubt that we desperately need an eschatology of hope?

Far too many American Christians embrace a faulty, half-baked, doom-oriented, hyperviolent eschatology, popularized in Christian fiction (of all things!), that envisions God as saving parts of people for a nonspatial , nontemporal existence in a Platonic “heaven” while kicking his own good creation into the garbage can! Framed by this kind of world-despairing eschatology, evangelism comes to resemble something like trying to push people onto the last chopper out of Saigon. But this is an evangelism that bears no resemblance to the apostolic gospel proclaimed in the book of Acts. Christianity’s first apostles evangelized, not by trying to sign people up for an apocalyptic evacuation, but by announcing the arrival of a new world order. The apostles understood the kingdom of God as a new arrangement of human society where Jesus is the world’s true King. Put simply: because Jesus is Lord, the world is to be redeemed and not left in ruin.
Brian has hit the nail on the head. In these times, we desperately need an eschatology of hope. Unfortunately, from reading the rest of the book, I am not sure if he has found one yet.

I have always believed that God wants us to have and an eschatology of hope. That is why I wrote my book Times and Seasons.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014


I have always wondered why the leaders of England were so enthusiastic about entering the First World War. It seemed like such a pointless exercise, you would expect some people to have seen it. I have just listened to a lecture by Dr Robin Archer at the London School of Economics. He explains that a strong anti-war movement was active throughout Europe prior to the war. It quickly died when war broke out. He says that the language of honour was important in justification for the First World One.

Archer explained that the Honour Code common in Europe at the time had the following characteristics.

  1. Fear of shame due to loss of reputation and respect.
  2. A person facing this shame must demonstrate a willingness to engage in physical confrontation that risks major personal loss, up to and including death.
  3. The individual must eschew calculations of cost and benefits, or the balance of reasons.
The essence of the code was willingness to engage in uncalculating confrontation in order avoid loss of reputation.

The importance of honour can be seen in the speeches of some of the leading politicians.

Edward Grey - Foreign Secretary 3 August 2014:

If in a crisis like this we run away, I doubt whether whatever material force we might have at the end, it would be of much value in face of the respect we should have lost. Britain would lose all respect and sacrifice its good name and reputation.
Herbert Asquith Prime Minister 6 August 1914
I can only say, that if we had dallied or temporised, we as a government should have covered ourselves with dishonour. What are we fighting for: to fill an obligation, not only of law, but of honour, which no self-respecting man could possibly have repudiated.
Keir Hardie –Scottish Union Leader and Pacifist
Honour is always the excuse. We shall look back and wonder at the flimsy reason.
David Lloyd George, Future Prime Minister
Fate has reminded Britain of the great peaks of honour we have forgotten.
Emmeline Pankhurst Suffrage Leader
Every man should go to battle like the knights of old with absolute honour to his nation.
Quaker Leader
Avoiding war would have been dishonourable and discreditable.
George Murray, leading peace campaigner, who became an apologist for war, and wrote a pamphlet called How Can War Ever Be Right that appealed to honour and interest.
Interest-based arguments are unclear and uncertain. Honour based arguments are decisive. The argument for peace fails, because it judges war as a profit and loss account, and it leaves out of sight the cardinal fact that in some causes it is better to fight and be broken than yield peacefully, but sometimes the more active resistance to the death is itself a victory. When the question arises, there is no counting of costs, no balancing of good and evil, this is the very essence of honour
Every family that lost a son in the war with given a penny inscribed with the words,
Freedom and honour.
Andrew Fisher, who became Prime Minister of Australia.
Our last man and our last shilling shall be offered and supplied to the mother country in maintaining her honour and our honour.
This explains a lot. In issues honour, considerations of good and evil, or cost and benefit were irrelevant. Defending honour took priority, even if it led to pointless injuries and death.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Nassim Nicholas Taleb is quite well known for his book the Black Swan. It describes the events that no one expects to happen. The probability of these events occurring is impossible to compute.

His latest book is called Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder. In this book, he divides things into three categories: fragile, robust, antifragile. Fragile things need tranquillity, but they rarely get it. The antifragile grows stronger through disorder. The robust does not care, but it tends to be unattainable.

Antifragile systems are weakened, if they are derived of variation. Interventionists often do this. They aim to make things more robust, but because variation is reduced, they actually increase fragility.

Absence of fluctuations from a market causes hidden risks to accumulate with impunity. The longer it goes on without a market trauma, the worse the damage when a commotion occurs.

The problem with artificially suppressed volatility is not just that the system tends to be extremely fragile, it is that at the same time, it exhibits no visible risk. Also remember that volatility is information. In fact, these systems tend to be too calm and exhibit minimal variability as silent risks accumulate beneath the surface. Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policy makers is to stabilise the system by inhibiting fluctuation, the result tends to be the opposite. These artificially constrained systems, become prone to Black Swans. Such environments eventually experience massive blowups, catching everyone off guard and undoing years of stability, or, in almost all cases, ending far worse than they were in their initial volatile state. Indeed, the longer it takes for the blowup to occur, the worse the resulting harm to both economic and political systems (p.106).
United Stages policy makers assume that they are creating stability in the world. They are actually eliminating antifragility.
In spite of what is studied in business schools concerning “economy of scale”, size hurts you at times of stress; it is not a good idea to be large during difficult times. Some economists have been wondering why merging corporations do not appear to play out. The combined unit is so much larger, hence more powerful, and according to theories of economies of scale, it should be more “efficient”. But the numbers show at best, no gain from such increase in size-that was already true in 19789, when Richard Roll voiced the “hubris hypothesis”, finding it irrational for companies to engage in mergers given their poor historical record. Recent data, more than three decades late, still confirm both the poor record of mergers and the same hubris as mangers seem to ignore the bad economic aspects of the transaction. There appears to be something about size that is harmful to corporation.

As with the idea of having elephants as pets, squeezes are much more expensive relative to size of large corporations. The gains are visible, but risks are hidden. This leads to fragility (p. 279).
During the season that we are going into, we will need churches that are antifragile. They will not be megachurches.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Black Mass

John Gray’s latest book is called Black Mass. It is subtitled Apocalyptic Religion and Death in Utopia.

Christians apocalyptic literature describes a traumatic event that transforms society. With the enlightenment, thinkers neglected Christianity, but retained the apocalyptic hope.

Modern revolutionaries such as the French Jacobins and the Russian Bolsheviks detested traditional religion, but their conviction that the crimes and follies of the past could be left behind in an all-encompassing transformation of human life was a secular reincarnation of early Christian beliefs. These modern revolutionaries were radical exponents of enlightenment thinking, which aimed to replace religion with a scientific view of the world. Yet the radical Enlightenment belief that there can be a sudden break in history, after which the flaws of human society will be for ever abolished, is a bi-product of Christianity.

The history of the past century is not a tale of secular advance, as thinkers of Right and Left like to think. The Bolshevik and Nazi seizures of power were faith-based upheavals just as much as the Ayatollah Khomeini’s theocratic insurrection in Iran. The very idea of revolution as a transforming event in history is owed to religion. Modern revolution movements are a continuation of religion by other means.

Since the French Revolution a succession of utopian movements has transformed political life. Entire societies have been destroyed and the world changed for ever. The alteration envisioned by utopian thinkers has not come about, and for the most part their projects have produced results opposite to those they intended. That has not prevented similar projects being launched again and again right up to the start of the twenty-first century, when the world’s most powerful state launched a campaign to export democracy to the Middle East and throughout the world.

When the project of universal democracy ended in the blood-soaked streets of Iraq, this pattern began to be reversed. Utopianism suffered a heavy blow, but politics and war have not ceased to be vehicles of myth (pp. 2-3).
Modern Politics has been driven by the belief that the world could be shaped by humanity alone (p.15).
During the past generation, the Right abandoned the philosophy of imperfection and embraced a pursuit of Utopia (p.32).
Gray assumes this faith in political transformation has been destroyed.
The faith in Utopia, which killed so many in the centuries following the French revolution is dead. Like other faiths, it may be resurrected in circumstances that cannot be foreseen , but it is unlikely to trouble us much further in the next few decades. The cycle in which world politics was dominated by secular versions of apocalyptic myth has come to an end… Iraq was the first utopian experiment of the new century and maybe the last (p.184).
I think Gray is wrong. The neocon politicians that dominate American political thought have not been put off by Iraq, but are itching to have another go. They sorted Libya and Ukraine, and now they would like to have a go in Syria against ISIS.

The ultimate secular utopian movement is the Beast of Revelation. With the current political forces at work, it could be getting close.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Hebrew is an interesting language. It does not have a large number of words, so the same works can have several different meanings. The meaning of Hebrew text is not nearly and precise as the Greek text of the New Testament.

This means that we must be careful when reading the Old Testament. The English translators will have chosen the meaning of each word, based on the context, but there will often be other possible meanings. We must be aware that the English translation gives the appearance of a precision that does not exist in the original Hebrew text.

The Psalms often use doubling couplets. Scholars say this a type of poetry, and it is. But there is another reason for the doubling. The writer repeats the concepts in a different way to make the meaning clear. We should be careful about taking the meaning of once line of a couplet, if it is inconsistent with the other line of the couplet, because it could indicate that we have misunderstood the meaning of the words.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Dinosaurs (2)

We live in an age that is fascinated with by size and power. I presume this is the explanation for the popularity of Ice Road Truckers, and also the dinosaurs. However, Christians who are captivated with dinosaurs should understand that they are impressed with the handiwork of the powers of evil.

The more serious fascination with size and power occurs in the political arena. Modern people love big government and are fascinated by powerful leaders. The Bible labels these big human governments and political empires as beasts. These beasts are also the work of the spiritual powers of evil, in a desperate but futile effort to retain authority on earth. The accumulation of political power amplifies the principalities and powers to leverage their power on earth in a massive way.

The good news is that these Beasts will become extinct too. The Book of Revelation explains how the Beasts will be destroyed, like millstone thrown into the sea. They will disappear and never return (Rev 18:21).

In a way, the fate of the dinosaurs is a prophetic sign. They represent the peak of the activities of the spiritual powers of evil in the age before the birth of Jesus. They were wiped out during the flood, which was the biggest authority shift during that age.

The political beast described in Revelation represents the peak of the activity of the powers of evil during the current age. They will be wiped out and become extinct following the biggest authority shift during the age that follows Jesus ministry on earth. Their demise will be so dreadful that people of the world will lose their fascination with political empires. I presume that interest in dinosaurs will go the same way.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Dinosaurs (1)

I am intrigued by the modern fascination with dinosaurs. Christians are often asked where they came from. It is hard to be certain about this, but my answer is that they were not created by God. I presume they were made by the evil angels. During the thousand years between the fall and the flood, the spiritual powers of evil had a fairly free hand on earth so they were able to do enormous damage to God’s creation.

The evil angels do not have the ability to create new species, as God did, but they could modify the genetic material of existing species to make new ones. We know from the Bible that they did this to create giant people (Gen 6:4). I presume that before they made the giants, they practised with other species, and made some very large animals. As part of this they could have modified the genetically material of some birdlife and produced the dinosaurs.

The spiritual powers of evil love destruction and death. They are impressed with size and power and strength. Animals that are large, fierce and terrifying look like their handiwork.

The peak of God’s creation was humans (Psalm 8:5). He is more interested in quality than size and power. We are quite small and weak, but we have an amazing ability to think and understand. We have a huge capacity for love, justice and creativity. Humans are vastly superior, to the feeble adaptive efforts of the powers of evil.

The spiritual powers of evil created the dinosaurs for two reasons.

  • They wanted to show off, but failed. Their attempts at species modification produce size, but failed to match God on quality.
  • They wanted to make it too dangerous for humans to live on earth. They hoped the spread of the dinosaurs would make it impossible for humans to survive. This would give them a huge advantage, because God gave authority on earth to humans. If humans became extinct, there would be no one with authority to take authority on earth back from them. The powers of evil would be in the driver’s seat forever.
The dinosaurs came quickly and disappeared equally as fast. The reason is that they were not sustainable on earth. God had created a world that was not designed to support this type of life. The last of the dinosaurs were wiped out in the flood, because God did not want them on the ark, and there was nowhere else for them to go.

Saturday, December 06, 2014


I do not agree with the popular Tribulation, Rapture, Millennium Eschatology (TRM) that is still held by many Christians.

  1. I used to teach this eschatology, but when I studied the scriptures seriously, I found it was not there. It is produced by imposing a perverse interpretive framework on the scriptures. I have written extensively on this on my website and in Times and Seasons.
  2. The TRM eschatology minimises the victory of the cross and assigns the powers of evil authority they are not entitled to and they have made great use of it. It minimises the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
  3. The forecasts produced by the TRM eschatology are continually proved wrong by history. I have seen the dates changed dozens of times since I became a Christian (remember 1978). A model that continuously produces incorrect predictions is a worry.
  4. I have seen the damage done by this eschatology. I have seen young Christians pull out of their university courses, or sell their business, because they took this teaching seriously (fortunately most Christians don’t). They are now disillusioned with lack of purpose, because they forsook their calling and were disappointed when what their teachers would happen did not. This is sad, because they were the cream of the crop.
  5. The TRM eschatology is impossible to live by. If the tribulation will break out in 2017 (I think this is the latest date) and Christians will be raptured out soon, we should all be out preaching the gospel while hiding in the hills to be safe. Fortunately, most Christians who believe this eschatology ignore it when it comes to everyday life.
  6. TRM writers focus love to write about the Tribulation. They do not write so much about the millennium, because it is a rather ugly compared to the beauty of the Kingdom of God, with rebelious people be intimidated into obedience using police power and military force. Nothing like the Kingdom that Jesus described.
  7. I note that many churches are gradually discarding bits of the TRM eschatology. About time.
More at False Teaching about God's Plan

Friday, December 05, 2014

Truth and Love

The New Testament commands us to “speak the truth in love”. This is not a balance. It is a unique way of speaking. Loving people sometimes find the truth hard to say. Prophetic people love the truth, but they are often not good at love.

A prophetic word that is true, but not spoken in love becomes null. It is not better than an untrue word. I have seen many people bring a true word to another, but the word falls to the ground, because it was not spoken in love.

Love opens the way for the truth to penetrate a person’s heart. The reason that God needs to speak prophetically is that the hearer is not hearing what the Spirit has been saying to them. If they have a blind spot over something, they will often have closed their heart their heart to the truth in that area. When a person is broken, their heart is often scarred, which prevents the word from penetrating. Sometimes it gives evil spirits rights, which makes it even harder. Love opens the heart and allows the Spirit to penetrate, so he can cement the word in. Sometimes the love can be enough to cause the hearer to let down their guard (put up for protection from more pain) long enough for the Holy Spirit to get through.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Sovereignty and Choice

Making a god of sovereignty results in weak theology. God is sovereign, but it is only one aspect of his character. Sovereignty is not a concept representing philosophical perfection. It must mean something in terms of the character and activities of God.

God is constrained by his character. He is constrained by his choices about how he will operate that flow out of his character. If God is sovereign, he can choose to constrain his activity. That does not limit his freedom or omnipotence.

Once God created a finite world and finite people to live within it, and committed himself to working with them, he constrained himself to working within time. He is beyond time, so he can still move across time, but if he intervened on earth outside the order of time, his interventions would not make sense to those living within time. God has a strategy for restoring the earth. This involves a sequence of interventions on earth that makes sense in terms of finite time.

When God created people and spirits and gave them real freedom, he constrained himself. He could have kept them under his control, but he decided against that, because the wanted them to be free to do things that are contrary to his will. Having made that choice, it was almost inevitable that spirits or people would do things that are contrary to his will. This allows them to constrain his ability to accomplish in purpose in various ways. Every time I resist his will, I hold back his plans.

I wonder how many people the Holy Spirit spoke to before Abraham heeded the call to move to the land he was called. I presume he had spoken to many people, but was ignored. I presume some heard, but chose to disobey. Abraham was the first to hear and obey, so he received the promise of blessing.

Some will say that God knew in advance, the people who refused the call would refuse. That is playing games. Does it mean that he was not calling those people seriously, but just speaking to prove that they were rebellious? That would be insincere. If God’s will is limited to what actually happens, it becomes a bit meaningless.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Sovereign Capability

If God directly controlled every living being in creation, like a puppet master manipulates his puppets that would be amazing capability. Keeping track of each person and making them act according to a coordinated plan would be an amazing achievement.

However, God does something even more amazing. He sets the puppets free to their own thing. He limits himself to influencing them by making suggestions. A few are committed to doing his will, but most are openly hostile. Worse still, many angels who have rebelled, have the ability to control some of those who are hostile. This looks like an impossible situation, but God is able to accomplish his purposes on earth, without needing to control people.

God is able to achieve this through his amazing wisdom an power.

  • God’s wisdom is perfect and complete.
  • He knows what is happening everywhere all the time.
  • God totally understands human behaviour, because he created us. He knows how we will respond and behave in various situations.
  • The Holy Spirit is active throughout creation. He can speak simultaneously to every human on earth at the same time.
  • Everything he does moves people and events towards the fulfilment of God’s purposes.
  • The Holy Spirit can influence people who are hostile to God, because he knows what suggestions they will respond to.
  • Humans have limited imagination and often do not know what they want to do. They are open to the Spirit’s suggestions.
  • The powers of evil are pathetic and feeble by comparison. They can only be in one place at a time. They can only influence one person at a time, unless they get hold a poltical leader.
  • The powers of evil are disunited, so the often work against each other.
  • They often do not know what is going on, so they do things that hinder their cause.
This is amazing capability. God is so great, he can accomplish his purposes with one hand tied behind his back. It just takes a little time.

More in Kingdom Authority.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

God and Violence (3)

Understanding the determination of the spiritual powers of evil explains much of the violence in the Old Testament.

  • Whenever God gained authority to act on earth, they reacted with dreadful violence on earth. This often left God with no option, but to use violence against them.
  • Prior to the cross, the only way to deal with evil spirits was to separate from the people and things carrying them
  • Principalities and powers used military empires to control the world. The only way that God could constrain them was to stir up other military power against them.
  • Although God has proved his reliability again and again, the children of Israel seldom had sufficient faith to trust in him for their defence. They constantly rejected his way, and chose to defend themselves with military power. He often had to intervene in wars that they had started to protect his people and position.

Monday, December 01, 2014

God and Violence (2)

God is a god of defence. He works with his people to defend against spiritual and physical attack. However, he is primarily a God of peace, so he always looks for a peaceful outcome. When Moses was leading the people to the promised land, God instructed him to make peace with the people whose land they would pass through (Num 20:17; 21:21-22). If these requests were declined and the Israelites were attacked physically or spiritually, God came to came to their aid in the resulting war.

God sometimes stirs nature to destroy armies, but even then, his first option is peace. This was the case at the Red Sea. God could have destroyed the Egyptian people at any time, if he wanted, but he didn’t. He sent Moses to do prophetic signs that would make Pharaoh release the Israelites. Only when Pharaoh’s army went after the Israelites intent on killing them did God call on his angels to flood in the Red Sea to destroy his charioteers. The rest of Egyptians carried on living.

During the time when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, a host of evil spirits flooded the land of Canaan, because they knew God has promised it to Abraham, and they wanted to get there first. God did not want to start a war with the Canaanites, but he had to drive the evil spirits out of the land. The only way to do this was to drive out the Canaanites possessed and controlled by them.

God’s plan was to send his angels to stir up natural events that would fill the Canaanites with fear and terror, collapsing city walls and massive hailstones from the sky, dangerous hornets (Joshua 6:20; 10:11; Deut 7:20). The people living in the land would be filled with such fear and terror, that they would flee the land, carrying their evil spirits with them.

I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run (Ex 23:27).
This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you (Deut 2:25).
You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God (Deut 7:19-21).
No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go (Deut 11:25).
Unfortunately, Joshua did not understand God’s plan and started a war against the Canaanite kings. This tight contact allowed the evil spirits to stay in land by jumping across to the victorious invading armies.

More at Violence in the Old Testament.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cricket Bouncers

A couple of days ago, an Australian Cricketer who had been hit on the head by a fast bowl died of his injuries. The commentators are saying it was a freak accident, and that “bouncers” are an integral part of the game, so cricket does not need to change. This is nonsense.

Many sports have an element of danger, and the risks are accepted. But cricket is the only game where a bowler is expected to pitch a hard ball at more than 150 kilometers per hour directly at the head of the batsmen. This practice has no place in a civilised sport.

Cricket is supposed to be a game of skill. Bowlers bowl bouncers purposely to intimidate the batsman and make him fearful, so he will make a mistake with either against the bouncer or a subsequent bowl. The aim is to nullify the skill of the batsmen.

I notice that when thuggishness comes into a sport, it always favours those with less skill. The origins of the bouncer go back to the bodyline bowling, which was first used by the English team against Australia in 1932. They came up with the idea of bowling directly at the batsman’s body to nullify the skills of Donald Bradman. He was the probably the most skilful cricket batsman who has ever played the game, but the English captain believed that Bradman was afraid to stand his ground against intimidatory bowling. The umpires let the English bowlers away with it, so Bradsman's body was battered and burised, as thuggishness tried to overcome skill.

The bouncer is the descendent of the bodyline bowl. It is intimidation, not skill. It has no place in a serious game of skill. The death of Philip Hughes should make this obvious.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Sutton Affair

Last week Roger Sutton the head of the of the Canterbury Earthquake Recover Authority (CERA) was forced to resign, after being found guilty of serious misconduct.

The incident turned into a fiasco, when two senior government officials, the States Services Commissioner and the Head of the Prime Minister Department and Cabinet organised a press conference to announce the decision, despite advice from their communications advisors that this would be unwise. Although he was bound by a confidentiality agreement, they allowed Sutton to speak to the gathered media people and attempt to minimise his guilt by claiming that all he had done was hug a few people. The victim of his offending could not defend herself, because she respected a confidentiality agreement.

The incident appeared like an Old Boys Club looking out for each other, but it revealed something about the spiritual state of Christchurch. Many Christians have suggested that the city is dominated by a Jezebel spirit. The strange event described above confirmed it.

Jezebel used sexual seduction as an effective weapon.

When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out the window (2 Kings 9:30).
Therefore, when Roger Sutton was appointed to a senior role in Christchurch city, it is not surprising that his seductive tendencies began to manifest in his work place.

What is much less understood is that this spirit manifests more frequently in political manipulation and control. Jezebel was an expert at exercising control and power through political manipulation. She demonstrated this she got Naboth’s vineyard for Ahab.
She wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city. Now she wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people; and seat two scoundrels beside him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death (1 Kings 21:8-10).
When Naboth was dead, Ahab took possession of the vinyard.

Political critics and employment experts were shocked by the way that the Roger Sutton affair was managed. They could not believe that experienced officials would be so unwise as to attend a press conference with a man who was guilty of serious misconduct. However, these two officials were acting out of the Jezebel handbook. Replace the dinner for elders and noble with a news conference the story read likes this.
Call a press conference and put Sutton up in front of the people on television. Place two scoundrels beside him and get them to testify in his favour (Christchurch Translation).
The goal was to build up, rather than destroy, but the process was the same.

The critics could not understand why the Head of the Prime Minister Department was present, and why he hugged Roger Sutton at the end of the press conference. Of course, there had to be two scoundrels present to complete the Jezebel script.

Until the spiritual climate in Christchurch changes, we can expect to see more of these political manipulations.

The interesting question in this situation is where was the Ahab Complex that is always present before the Jezebel spirit manifests. I suspect that he had gone to its home in Washington to visit Chuck Hagel.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

God and Violence (1)

In the Old Testament, God seems to be a warring God, but that is an earthly perspective. God will not impose his authority on humans. He does not want his people on earth using war to accomplish his purposes. He wants his followers on earth to be people of peace.

In the Old Testament age, God had only a few people who walked in the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit could not be released in fullness until after the cross. However, there is a massive battle going on in the spiritual realms. God does not use imposed authority and power to constrain the evil spiritual powers. He uses his authority in the spiritual realms to release his angels to manipulate the struggles between the evil spiritual powers to accomplish his purposes. God does not start wars. He manipulates the outcomes of the wars that have been started by evil spiritual powers.

The powers of evil are not united. They often fight against each other to get better positions in the hierarchy of evil. The Prince of Persia and his followers fought against the Assyrian Spirit and his cohorts.

God mostly accomplished his purposes by sending his angels to fight against the principalities and powers and not letting a different one win. He fought against the spiritual power of Babylon, which allowed the spiritual Prince of Persia to defeat it. This allowed the Persian armies to conquer and destroy Babylon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Institutions and the Kingdom

The Kingdom of God is often described as people obeying Jesus. This is too narrow. The Kingdom of God covers human institutions too.

A Kingdom is a complete society. It has farms and families, carpenters and courts, houses and horses, roads and schools, engineers and entertainment, work and wells, merchants and midwives, artists and gardens. The scope of a kingdom covers every aspect of life. The whole of society is controlled by the king. There is no society apart from the kingdom. A new kingdom with a new king means a new society. Every aspect of that society will be under the authority of the king.

Jesus came to establish a new kingdom. This new kingdom requires a new society structured and organised in a way that reflects his character and will......

A kingdom is not just the people ruled by a king, but all the economic, legal and social institutions that support their lives. The Bad Authority Shift corrupted all human institutions, so as the Kingdom comes, they will need to be restored. When people receive the gospel, the institutions that make up their society will need to be transformed to align with God’s will.

  • People are born into the Kingdom by repenting and submitting to the authority of Jesus.
  • Institutions shift into the Kingdom when the people with authority over them submit their authority to Jesus by obeying his word and his Holy Spirit.
(Kingdom Authority pp.13,135)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kings and Jesus

A king kneeling and giving liege to a stronger king is resigning his kingship. He is agreeing to become a vassal, so he is no longer a real king. His role was totally changed. He lost his authority and became a ambassador or governor enforcing the will of the conquering king. He went from being a king to being a puppet.

Some surrendering kings were allowed to keep their title, but this done was to keep the people of the conquered nation under control. They would resist a foreign governor, like the Iraqi people hated Paul Bremer. The defeated people would often give up their resistance, if their previous king took the governor role, because foreign domination was easier to accept if it had a local face..

Herod was allowed to call himself king, but he was just a puppet. He had to go to Rome and plead for the role. If he did not carry out the directions of Rome he lost the Rome. He was not a real king. His role in Galilee was equivalent to the role of Pontius Pilate in Judea.

If kings surrender to Jesus, he does not need to keep them on as puppets to be the acceptable face of his kingship, because the Holy Spirit is his ambassador, conveying his instructions. The same applies to Presidents and Prime Ministers.

Authority Questions

The gospel of the Kingdom raises a couple of serious questions.

  1. Jesus prayed that God’s authority would be done on earth as it is in heaven. This raises a big question. How did the God who created the universe end up losing authority over the earth? What happened on earth and in heaven that meant his authority on earth has to be restored?

  2. Why has God taken so long? Things went wrong on earth right at the beginning. Yet God let thousands of years go by before he sent Jesus to put things right. Why did he let evil go on for so long, before he did something about it?

To understand these questions, we must understand the working of authority and the big shifts in authority that have shaped history on earth. These big authority shifts that have shaped history are the theme of this Kingdom Authority.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


The scriptures often describe God as reigning over the earth.

God is the King of all the earth;
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne (Ps 47:7-8).
These passages are description of the way things should be, not the way they are. God created the entire creation, so he owns it all and is entitled to complete sovereignty over it. The scriptures also acknowledge that he gave authority over the earth to human and many people now refuse to acknowledge his sovereignty, but they look forward to the time when his sovereignty will be restored.

God created the universe, so he owns it. He established the rules and principles under which it will operate. That is what makes him sovereign. He decided that humans should have authority over the earth. This was his will and decision, so while humans control the earth, he is still reigning , because his decree is still being implemented. He is in reigning, because he wanted humans to have a period of history when they are in control on earth (Kingdom Authority p.43).

Friday, November 21, 2014


I have just read a book called Shredded: Inside the Royal Bank of Scotland, The Bank that Broke Britain by Ian Fraser. RBS was one of the Too-Big-To-Fail Banks in the UK. Fraser tells an incredible story. The greed, incompetence and immorality of some of the bankers is amazing.

  • The bank sent millions of pounds on a corporate jet, but its IT systems were so shaky that bank managers had very inadequate information for making decisions.
  • The bank engaged in devious activities to suck people and businesses into increased debt.
  • Although bank had to be bailed out, it was ruthless in dealing with small business that owed it money. Many people lost their businesses and were ruined.
  • Senior managers contused to accept million dollar bonuses, while the bank was reporting massive losses.
  • The managers who had overseen the disaster continued to receive million dollar pensions, while junior staff who lost their jobs wore forced to give up their redundancy payments.
  • After being rescued by the government, the culture in the bank did not change. RBS continued to manipulate the LIBOR rate in ways that cost business huge amounts of money.
  • The men who destroyed the Royal bank of Scotland continue to deny responsibility, pretending it was bad luck, or blaming it on wider economic events.
  • The politicians were out of their depth and made serious makes. People who were surprised by the crisis are now trying to resolve it.
The culture of banking is still seriously rotten.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

God's Soverignty

God’s sovereignty is often presented as if he directs events on earth by remote control, but that would be a breach of his gift of authority to humans, and would turn us into puppets. He has the power to control people, but he limits himself to influencing people into freely choosing to do his will. He uses a variety of means to get people who do not know want to obey him to do what he wants.

  • The Holy Spirit can put thoughts into the minds of hostile people. If they accept his ideas, they voluntarily do God’s will without understanding that they are being guided by him.
  • He will often give the same thought to several people, so they spur each other on.
  • The Holy Spirit makes his suggestions well in advance, at a time when the person is receptive. He often repeats the thought until it is accepted.
  • The Holy Spirit presents his thoughts in a way that appeals to people, so they think it is their own idea.
  • When dealing with kings, he takes advantage of their pride. God was able to use King Cyrus to accomplish his purposes, because Cyrus accepted the suggestions of the Holy Spirit. He was led by God without realising it (Is 45:1).
  • When dealing with ordinary people, the Holy Spirit often stirs up emotions like fear or anger (Deut 2:25). Many Canaanites fled their land when they bought into the fear that he stirred up.
  • God sometimes uses evil spirits to deceive evil people (1 Kings 22:19-20). These spirits do not want to do his will, but if he makes a suggestion, they will often do it, because they do not have many original ideas. Unlike humans, angels were created to obey another person, so they are not very creative.
  • God uses physical events to prevent powerful people from doing evil things. He used the Red Sea to destroy Pharaoh’s army (Ex 14:27-28).
God does not control events on earth. He accomplishes his purposes by superior wisdom and the ability of the Holy Spirit to influence people, often despite their opposition, and without their understanding (Kingdom Authority, p.44)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kingdom Gospel

Jesus announced the gospel of the Kingdom of God, but his message is hard for us to understand, because real kingdoms no longer exist. Modern kings are just ceremonial figureheads trotted out for special occasions and the covers of women’s magazines. These rock star kings give a distorted view of the Kingdom of God, because they are worshipped, but they have no authority.

Real kings had absolute authority over every person and thing within their kingdom. A king without authority was not a real king. He is a pretender.

Authority is the heart of a kingdom. If there is no authority, there is no kingdom, so to understand the Kingdom of God, we must understand the nature of authority, and how it interacts between heaven and on earth.

Most kings imposed their authority with military force. God has a totally different approach. He uses Free authority to accomplish his purposes on earth. My book Kingdom Authority describes the difference between Imposed Authority and Free Authority and explains why this has constrained God’s ability to work on earth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holy Spirit and Authority

Over the last fifty years, Christians have rediscovered the power of the Holy Spirit. Power is really important, so we need the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. However, the Holy Spirit has not had a free hand to bring in the Kingdom of God. He is often constrained by lack of authority. If we want to experience the fullness of the Spirit and see him working to accomplish God’s purposes on earth, we must understand the working of authority. That is why the New Testament speaks about authority, as much as power.

Jesus has given us the keys of the kingdom. He said that what we bind or release on earth will be bound or released in the spiritual realms. Understanding the nature of authority transforms intercessory prayer. Prayer is not pleading with God to do things that he is reluctant to do, it is finding out what he wants to do and giving him authority to do it.

We have a marvellous gospel and the Holy Spirit is up to the job, but the Kingdom of God has still not come in the fullness that Jesus promised. The reason is authority. Two big authority obstacles stand into its way. My book called Kingdom Authority explains how they will be removed, so that God’s Kingdom can come as Jesus promised.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kingdom Authority

My latest book is now available at I think it is the most important book I have written.

For many years, I have wanted to write a book about the Kingdom of God, but I found that it was too hard. My problem is that the kingdom is so glorious that a thousand books could not describe its fullness. I have chosen instead to write a couple of shorter ones that describe important aspects of the Kingdom of God. That is all I can manage.

Kingdom Authority comes first. Authority is the heart of every kingdom. If there is no authority, there is no kingdom. Therefore, to understand the Kingdom of God, we must understand how authority works, in heaven and on earth.

(The book is a prequel to a book called The Government of God that I am working on now. It will show how the principles in Kingdom Authority are applied in practice. I hope to have it completed sometime in 2015.)

Kingdom Authority
Everything in this universe is shaped by authority. In the beginning God said, “Let it be” and it was. He had authority over everything. Two chapters later, God said, “Let us give authority to humans”. Why on earth did he do that? When Jesus was being tempted, the devil said, “I have authority over all the kingdoms of the world”. How did that happen? When Jesus preached the gospel, the people recognised his authority. Who gave him authority? By the end of the gospel Jesus was saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. How did that happen? The Book of Revelation says that Jesus has authority to open the scrolls that release God’s activity on earth. How does that work?

Kingdom Authority describes the history of authority in both the spiritual and physical realms. It explains the big authority shifts that have had massive impacts on earth. Most theologies jump from the fall straight to the cross, without much need for the stuff in between. That is a mistake, as if we ignore the events described in the Old Testament, we will fail to understand everything God is doing, and the big authority shifts that have constrained him.

If we do not know about authority, we will not understand why evil has been so active on earth. God gave authority over the earth to humans. The forces of evil have been active on earth, because humans gave them authority, while God did not have the authority he needed to deal with evil. It took a special human do that, and until he came the powers of evil had a ball.

Big Questions
Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. This raises a couple of serious questions.

  1. Jesus prayed that God’s authority would be done on earth and it is in heaven. How did the God who created the universe end up losing authority over the earth? What happened on earth and in heaven that meant his authority on earth has to be restored?
  2. Why has God taken so long? Things went wrong on earth right at the beginning. Yet God let thousands of years go by before he sent Jesus to put things right. Why did he let evil go on for so long, before something about it?
To understand these questions, we must understand the working of authority and the big shifts in authority that have shaped history on earth. The big shifts in authority are described in Kingdom Authority.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What is MCX

Many are called to the far shores of distant and foreign lands, but increasingly God is awakening a new breed of ‘missionary’ called to bring change right where they live.

They say the hardest mission field in the world is the one you live in right now and in an increasingly post-Christian world that couldn’t be more true. There is a growing need for us to re-learn what it looks like to live as followers of Jesus, as leaders and as disciple-makers in every sphere of modern society. From politics, to business, to the arts, media, and entertainment, the Kingdom of God is breaking in and we’ve got to be the ones leading the way.

The Missional Community Experience (or MCX) is a ground-breaking immersive learning environment and launching platform built specifically for this new kind of missionary. Because we believe that community (the spiritual family of God) is at the heart of global change, you will live together in shared housing, practice sustainable rhythms of prayer, work, mission and rest, and develop your gifts and calling alongside like-minded pioneers. Following the learning phase, you will put your skills and passion into action right here in Christchurch or individually in the location of your choosing.

If your heart longs for community, craves authenticity and wants to get equipped to make a lasting impact on the world around you, then MCX is for you!

This will be a great experience. To find out more go to MCX.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weak Economy

I listened recently to a talk that Jason Furman gave at the London School of Economics on the United States Economy. He is the Charman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Furman presented some interesting statistics. He explained that between 1945 and 1973, the income of the bottom 90 percent of households increased by 2.9 percent per year. With this growth, their income doubled every 24 years, which means that each generation could expect to have an income twice as good as their parents, on average.

Three things contributed to the growth: substantial increases in productivity (2.8 percent per year), diminishing inequality (as the top ten percent got a significantly reduced share), and greater labour participation as woman moved into the work force (from 33 to 50 percent of working age women).

Between 1973 and 1995, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent fell slightly on average, as productivity growth halved and inequality rose. These negatives were almost compensated by continued growth in worker participation of women (to 75 percent).

Between 1995 and 2013, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent rose very slightly. Productivity grew slightly, inequality worsened and workforce participation dropped slightly. Female particpation plateaued and male participation declined.

The change increase in inequality was significant. In 1973, the bottom 90 percent of households gained 68 percent of income. By 2013, their share had dropped to 53 percent.

No wonder many Americans feel bad about their economy. Many younger Americans are going to be worse off than their parents.

Jason Furmon had no effective solutions to offer. Nothing tried since 1973 has worked.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Poiltical Theory and Romans 13

Most people come to Romans 13 looking for a Christian political theory. I come at in a very different way. God gave a Israel a perfect system of government when they entered the promised land. They did not need a system of government while they were slaves, but once they began to live together in a small piece of territory, they did. The perfect system that God gave Moses was his law applied by local judges. I describe it in more detail at Law and Judges.

God’s perfect system of government was recorded in the books of Moses, so God did not need to give it again though Jesus or Paul.

I stumbled on the key to Romans 13 when I was pondering its meaning. My father always referred to the government as “the powers that be” It took me a while to realise this was a quote from Rom 13:1. One day I was wondering about this odd expression, and the conjunction of the plural “powers” with a singular verb “be”. I realised that it could be translated as “the judges that are”. I then thought “Where?” and “How come they just are, and are not appointed?”. It then clicked that Paul was referring back to two verses Deuteronomy.

Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand... before the priests and the judges that shall be in those days (Deut 19:17 ASV).
Thou shalt come unto the judge that shall be in those days: and thou shalt inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment (Deut 17:9 ASV).
The modern translations refer to the judges that are in office in those days, but the word office does not exist in the Hebrew text. A literal translations would is "the judges that shall be in those days" or the "the judges that are in those days". Paul would have been familiar with these texts. When he started thinking about justice and government, the Holy Spirit brought this expression to his mind.

These two verses summarise the perfect form of government that God gave through the Mosaic covenant: God's law applied by godly judges. So Paul was referring back to God’s ideal government. He was not creating a new political theory in Romans 13:1, he was simply referring back to the perfect system of government that God has already given to Moses and confirming that God's will for government had not changed.

Paul affirmed the system of law and judges that God had already given, just as Jesus did (Matt 5:17-18). (That is why Jesus had nothing much to say about laws and structures of government.). Paul follows his affirmation of “Gods law applied by local judges” by giving a few applications for life in the Roman empire, building on the more important behavioural stuff in Romans 12. (Law and government is always secondary for Christians.)

So if we want a Christian political theory, we cannot go to Romans 13, instead we must begin with Deuteronomy and Gods law and local judges. I have not found any biblical commentary or Christian political theorist who has seen the link between Romans 13:1 and Deut 19:17 and Deut 17:9. But that does not surprise me, because most Christians who are interested in political theory hate God’s law. However, they are missing an essential key, which explains why there has been so much confusion on this topic. (PS There is a masters thesis there for someone is wanting one).

More at Understanding Romans 13.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bad Banks

I have just read a book called Bad Banks written by Alex Brummer, a journalist from the United Kingdom. He describes the shenanigans in US and UK banks since the Global Financial Crisis. The subtitle is Incompetence and the Next Global Crisis. It is a disturbing book. He warns that the problems that caused the crisis have not been resolved and that banks have continued the same bad behaviour since, despite needing to be rescued.

He quotes Marin Taylor, who sits on the Bank of England Financial policy Committee, who says,

You cannot tell people to operate to professional stands on Monday and then, on Tuesday, give them the kind of sales targets that requires them not to operate to such standards.
The message of the book is summed up in the last couple of paragraphs.
The archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who spent 11 years as an oil executive and sat on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, reflected on the financial system from the pulpit of St Paul’s in the summer of 2013: “The biggest weakness of all in the analysis of the failure of banks to be good banks has been round understanding about human beings”, he said, adding that “at the heart of good banks have to be good people”.

Welby had listened to months of testimony from the bankers responsible for Libor rigging, the wrongful selling of PPI, and the collapse of HBOS. He had heard nothing to convince him that the bankers were contrite, that the institutions they served had truly changed their nature, or that there had been a revolution in banking practice. On that much there still seems to be widespread agreement among moral leaders, politicians, regulators, investors and the more thoughtful bankers. That there is still so much unfinished business, after the trauma of the worst financial crisis for a century, must be an enormous cause for concern. The era of bad banks is a long way from being fixed.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Where are the Evangelists?

I have written a lot about the prophetic ministry, because I want to see it restored to the Church. However, the ministry that we need restored more urgently is the Evangelist. Lack of evangelist is the greatest weakness in the modern church.

I do not mean that we need another Billy Graham. That old style of mass evangelism does not work in our modern secular culture.

By an evangelist, I mean a person who can meet a stranger in a shopping small or park and quickly establish rapport with them, and share the gospel in a natural conversational way. The evangelist that I am describing can ask a sick person that the Lord wants to heal for the opportunity to pray for them without causing offence. They can teach other Christians to do the same.

The house Church movement in China grew rapidly, because it had plenty of evangelists, who could share the gospel with the people they met. The house church in the west has plateaued due to a lack of evangelists. Without a constant stream of new converts, a house church turns inward and eventually stagnates.

Every church needs an evangelist to have a balanced leadership team. They evangelist can share the gospel effectively in a variety of situations and teach other Christians to do the same. This is essential for a growing church.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Being Prepared

Living through the Christchurch earthquake I have learned one thing about preparing for troubled times. We had no electricity, no reticulated water and sewerage for sixteen days. This is not very long in the overall scheme of things. If Western culture collapses, the disaster will last much longer and more painful, but the lesson is still relevant.

During the days following a disaster, the only people who can help you are the neighbours living close to you.

  • The government will be too busy trying to restore its operations to care about helping individuals. In a big crisis, it might be broke, anyway.

  • They city council will be too busy trying to get roads open and infrastructure restored to worry about ordinary people. They will look after the important people anyway.

  • The modern church cannot help. The leaders will be focussed on sorting out the problems with their builds and getting their church services restored.

  • The people you meet when you drive to church will be too far away to provide assistance. They will have their own set of problems and will be too busy to worry about you.

Ideally, Christians should be able to support each other in times of distress. However, they will only be able to do that if they live within easy walking distance of each other. If Christians lived close together, they would be able to support each other in times of distress. They would be able to reach out together and effectively support other struggling people around them. The body of Christ could be a great blessing to the world. Unfortunately the modern petrol-driven church is so dispersed that this could not happen.

A distinctive thing about my book Being Church Where Live is that it explains how this could change.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Useful Prophets (2)

The Bible describes the “men from Issachar who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). Every society needs prophets who understand the times and know what God’s people should do. Most of the time this gift has been lacking from the church.

When Rome fell, Christians were shocked. The Roman Empire had been around for 500 years, so they assume that it would be around forever. Christians believed that it was part of God’s plan for expanding his Kingdom. They were so used to it being there, that they could not imagine life without it. Worse still, church structures had aligned with imperial power structures, so Christians found it hard to cope without the order of the empire.

No prophets prepared Christians for the collapse of Rome. They had not warned Christians how to live in a world without an empire, so they struggled to cope, and enormous opportunity was lost. It took the church a 1000 years to regain the ground that was lost.

Murray Rothbard observed ruefully after 1991 that nobody in the libertarian movement had ever sat down and developed a transition program for the Soviet Union, on the assumption that Soviet communism would collapse and need to transition to a free market economy. No one saw the need, so the Russian economy was taken over by the oligarchs.

In the same way, Christian prophets did not see the collapse of the Soviet Union coming, so they did not teach Russian Christians how to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity. Instead, American Christians tried to plant an inappropriate megachurch model in the foreign soil of Russia, so political and economic powers remained strong and the church remains weak and irrelevant.

We have the same problem in the modern world. Democratic political power and the nation state have dominated life in the West that we find it hard to imagine life without them. However, they are not part of God’s plan of salvation, so they will not last forever. When the western political system collapses, will Christians be ready to take advantage of the opportunity, or will we be stunned and confused like the Christians in the Roman Empire. Unless the quality of our prophetic ministry improves, we will be stuck in the headlights of disaster, just like them.

We do not need more prophets warning of political and economic disasters. We need prophets who can prepare Gods people how to survive through the difficult times and deliver a new thing after the times of distress run their course.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Useful Prophets

Last week I had a dream in which I was standing among mountains, waiting to catch a plane out of the area. I saw a small jet plane come in and try to land, but the wind was so rough that it got blown off course and had to go round and try again.

When the plane came in for the second attempt, it was hit by an enormous gust of wind that flipped it round, so it was flying the opposite way. As it was being tossed around, the fuselage twisted and seemed to bend. It dropped from sight behind the mountain and I thought it was a goner. However it came and into sight again and flew in from the opposite direction and landed safely on a runway further away from the mountain ridge.

In my dream, I then saw a crowd sitting on wooden tiered seating (bleachers). They had gathered to watch the plane land, but they saw nothing from where they were sitting.

The crowd in the dream reminded me of the church. Important changes are taking all around, but the church is sitting on the side-lines irrelevant, waiting to see what will happen.

Plenty of prophets are warning of difficult times ahead, but you do not have to be a prophet to do that. Anyone with their eyes open can see that the world phases many problems.

Warning of trouble is only a minor part of the prophetic role. The more important and difficult role of the prophet is to prepare God’s people to remain strong through the times of distress and to be victorious out the other side.

Prophets should be telling God’s people what to do, so they will be ready when troubles come. They should be explaining how Christians can remain strong while the world is crumbling and weak. They should explain how Christians would be able to reach out to the people of the world who are struggling and draw them into a place of safety. They should be telling them how to started building the new thing that God want to establish in the middle of the world’s troubles.

We do not need more prophets warning of political and economic disasters. We need prophets who can prepare Gods people how to survive through the difficult times and deliver a new thing after the times of distress run their course.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Ransom for Murder

A reader asked the following question.

In your discussion of the death penalty under law and government, you state that Num. 35:31 allows for the payment of "blood money" or a ransom in lieu of the death penalty. It actually says "you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death." ESV Can you explain?
He is referring to my article Crime and Punishment. My answer is follows.

The first reference to financial compensation for crime in Exodus 21:22-25, includes “life”, so financial compensation is appropriate where a life has been taken. In a world without state social welfare, this provides financial sustenance for the victim’s family, so I am fine with that.

In Num 35:31, the subject of the command, which is the murderer, is qualified, so it does not apply to all murderers. It does not come out in the English translatons, but the qualification uses the Hebrew word “rasha”, which means “wicked”. I infer this to mean that no ransom is allowable for murderers that are staunch in their wickedness. This makes sense to me. Some murderers are so evil and incorrigible that the death penalty is the only realistic solution.

Generally, I take a minimalist approach to death. God loves life. So I assume that interpretations, that minimise the taking of a life are the correct ones. Violent cultures love taking lives. The prefer interpretations that maximise the taking of life.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


Conservatives get agitated about multiculturalism, but it is not the problem. Multiculturalism is a fact of life. Every nation has multiple cultures. Multiple cultures are normal everywhere, except in a local community.

The problem is democratic nationalism, which puts the majority culture in charge of every other culture. That is asking for trouble. Especially when the majority culture changes.

People who complain about multiculturalism are usually from a minority culture. They are complaining about their culture being squeezed by the majority.

When the majority culture complains about multiculturalism, they are usually upset, because the minority will not submit to their dominance.

Christians are big complainers about multiculturalism, because they used to be a majority culture, but are not just a minority one, and they are finding the adjustment painful. They are discovering the disadvantage of being a minority culture under democratic nationalism.

The problem is not multiculturalism, it is a fact of life. The problem is nationalism, which forces everyone to come into line with the rest of the nation. The solution is to get rid of nationalism and the nation state.

Monday, November 03, 2014


Islam is an imperialistic religion. Adherents are committed to bringing into the world into submission to Allah.

Christianity is an imperialistic religion. Adherents are committed to expanding the Kingdom of God throughout the world.

There is a difference.

Moslems have a mediocre gospel and no Holy Spirit, so they rely on military power to expand the influence of their religion.

Christians have a marvellous gospel and the Holy Spirit working with them to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom.

Unfortunately, many Christians have more faith in military power than in they have the Holy Spirit and the gospel. They would prefer to use the inferior method that Islam has to make do with. Odd.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Real Sport

A real sport will be played at Soldiers Field in Chicago tomorrow.

I suspect the American team will lose, because they do not cope well without helmets, body padding and long breaks to work out what to next.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Little Red Hen

The story of the Little Red Hen is based on an old Russian folk tale. It was popularised when it became the basis for the fifth Little Golden Books published in 1942. The story was used by Ronald Reagan as an economic moral story. However, very few people want to live entirely at the expense of others, as most people have to work for their living. The following is a version of the story which is more realistic from an economic perspective.

One summer day, the little red hen found some grains of wheat that her mother had hidden many years before.
“Wheat” the little red hen said, “I plant it”.

She asked the duck, “Will you plant these grains of wheat for me, in exchange for a slice of bread”.
“I will” said the duck. The duck tilled the soil and planted the wheat.
The rain fell, the sun shone, and the wheat grew. One day it was ready to be harvested.

The little red hen asked the goose, “Will you harvest this crop of wheat for me, in exchange for a slice of bread”.
“I will” said the goose. The goose harvested all the wheat, separating the grain from the chaff. He brought sack of wheat to the little red hen.

The little red hen asked the pig, “Will you grind this wheat into flour for me, in exchange for a slice of bread”.
“I will” said the pig. The pig took the sack of wheat to the miller who ground the wheat into flour. The pig brought several bags of flour back to the little red hen.

The little red hen asked the dog, “Will you knead this flour into dough for me, in exchange for a slice of bread”.
“I will” said the dog. The dog took the some flour and added some yeast. The dog kneaded the dough until it has risen.

The little red hen asked the cat, “Will you bake this dough into bread for me, in exchange for a slice of bread”.
“I will” said the cat. The cat took gathered some sticks to heat the oven and baked the dough until the bread was cooked. The cat took a large loaf of bread and gave it to the little red hen.

As the little red hen got out the knife to slice the bread, the duck, the goose, the pig, the cat and the dog all gathered around. The little red hen cut the loaf into thirty thin slices. She gave a slice to the duck, a slice to the goose, a slice to the pig, the slice to the dog, a slice to the cat, and took 25 slice for herself.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spiritual Mapping

A reader asked me about Spiritual Mapping. Here is my response.

I do not have any writing on spiritual mapping, but I think it is more helpful to focus on authority. Someone has authority over every piece of land on earth: usually the owner, or owners. Some pieces of land (and the buildings on them) have evil spirits attached to them. There will often be more than one spirit, but they work in hierarchies, so one will be in control.

The spirits will usually have got a hold on the land through their inference with a past or present owner. This will often happen when a traumatic events, like a war, massacre, or unjust events, that occurs there, especially one that creates fear or trauma for the person with authority in the land.

These evil spirits can only remain with the permission of the person who currently has authority over the land. That person often gives that permission unwittingly, by allowing the evil spirits to influence/control/dominate their life. If the person with authority over the land is a political entity, the position may have tactical importance for the spiritual powers of evil.

Insights into the identity of the spirit attached to a piece of land can be gained by looking at the history of the owners. Common patterns of behaviour might be obvious. These might show up in mottos and messages on tombstones and buildings.

People praying against these spirits need to know what they are doing. The spirits are there with permission of the person exercising authority over the land. We have authority to enforce them out, but the person with authority will be implicitly allowing them back, unless they have a change of heart, so our prayers may not have much effect.

Authority is crucial. The owner of the land usually has more authority in the situation than the person praying, so it is hard to triumph. So spiritual warfare must be accompanied by evangelism to be effective.

See Spiritual Realms.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Val Wolff

Soon after I became a Christian, I saw someone miraculously healed of sickness. That settled it for me. If God can heal one person, then there is no limit to what he can do. Our poor experience is our problem not God.

That is why I love reading accounts by Christians who have pressed into what God has made available through Jesus and his Spirit and are active in a healing ministry. Val off is one of these people. She is exercises a healing ministry in Durban South Africa.

Val’s book describes some of her experiences and the insights she has gleaned along the way. She begins with a testimony of her own deliverance from sickness after many years of suffering.

The book is relevant Christian who are wrestling with sickness. She explains how soul wounds can be the root cause of sickness. Val has some good insights about how speaking carefully is a key to healing and health. The final chapter explains how we can stand in victory.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kingdom Communities (1)

During a Time of Distress, religious structures will be torn down and Kingdom Communities will emerge in their place. Christians will be forced into deeper relationships with each other to survive in the hostile world. The Holy Spirit will flood them with love as they live out Jesus’ new commandment (John 13:34).

Kingdom Communities will transform their neighbourhoods. As the structures of society fall apart, they will demonstrate a way of life that will appeal to a shaken world. The number of kingdom communities will grow quickly as the new way of living spreads from place to place as the Holy Spirit moves in power.

Each community will be a microcosm of the Kingdom of God, providing everything that governments have failed to deliver, but without Imposed Authority. They will be united by love and service under Free Authority.

This an excerpt from my new book Kingdom Authority, which will be available later in November.