Monday, April 30, 2018

Nationalism and Religion

Nationalism substituted the nation for the deity, the citizen body for the church and the political kingdom for the Kingdom of God, but in every other respect replicated the forms and qualities of traditional religions.
AD Smith in Nationalism and Modernism.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Deceit and Lies

Daniel prophesied a terrible political power (beast) that would trample the earth. Its demise will bring a great victory for the Kingdom of God (Dan 7:27). (If this prophecy is to be fulfilled in our time, then there is only one nation powerful enough to fit).

Daniel says that when it rises to power.

It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground (Dan 8:12).
He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior (Dan 8:25).
Lies and deceit seem to be thriving in the current season.

More at Times and Seasons

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Love not Rules

The Instructions for Economic Life provide guidance to God’s people for living together in a new land. His main goal was that they learn to love their neighbours (Love 19:18).

God is not a control freak. He wants his people to be free, so he did not give detailed regulations spelt out in black and white, but gave general principles and left the people to work out how to apply them by thinking about how they could love their neighbour.

The Pharisees wanted detailed rules, down to the level of which herbs to tithe on (Matt 23:23). But God is not interested in rules-based behaviour, he wants love motivated behaviour. Following detailed rules is often easier because it does not require thinking, but that was not what God wanted. He gave general instructions for economic behaviour and left his people to work out want they meant while loving their neighbours.

The principle applies even more in the age of the Spirit. The Instructions for Economic Life are not detailed rules. They provide general boundaries, but our daily actions must be shaped by loving one another within their guidance (Rom 13:10). Likewise, the Holy Spirit does not give us detailed minute-by-minute instructions on what to do each day. He teaches us how to apply God’s general Instructions for Economic Life while living one another by prompting and questioning.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sports Nationalism

I find it rather bizarre when a competition between individual athletes is turned into a competition between nations. I suppose that it is better than fighting wars to decide who is best, but why do nations need to prove that they are better than other nations.

I also feel sorry for the athletes. They do all the hard training, but their nation takes much of the credit.

The concept of an individual athlete representing their country is quite odd. An elected politician cannot represent me, so how can an unelected athlete be my representative.

I am sure that many Christian are really stirred up about their nation's sports performance. I just wish they would be as stirred up about the Kingdom of God.

I am very wary of cheering for a national team. It is odd to say "We won" when all we did was sit on a couch, and perhaps cheer.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games are nearly over. Here in NZ we have had wall-to-wall television coverage, but I presume the people in the United States and Europe hardly knew they were on.

The so-called commonwealth is a purposeless group of nations connected to Britain as a residue of the British Empire. Originally, the games were called the Empire Games. The games were a way for the British to bring their colonies together and show their prowess off to the world.
The British Empire was renamed to the British Commonwealth when it colonies were given political freedom, while economic domination by Britain continued out of sight. Following the demise of British power post-World War 2, it is no longer called the British Commonwealth, but simply the Commonwealth. Although there is not much common wealth.

The wealthy nations of the commonwealth like Australia, Canada, and England like these games because their elite sports people can go for gold medals with some of the best competitors in their sport excluded and minor competition provided from some of the poorer or smaller countries of the world.

I am not sure what is the point of an international competition where three-quarters of the nations of the world are excluded. It is not really an international competition.

Gathering in one place for a big competition might have made sense back in the 1950s, when international travel was limited. Air travel has changed that. Now most sports have regular frequent international competitions, and most top athletes compete regularly with the best in the world, so getting a group of nations together for a pretend international competition does not make sense.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

International Hypocrisy

International hypocrisy has struck again in Syria.

Donald Trump (a man of great moral wisdom 😊) with support from the leaders of the UK and France have decided that Bashar al-Assad is evil and must be punished, without waiting for the official OPCW investigation to be completed. (The same intelligence agencies who were sure about WMD in Iraq are sure that they know what happened).

Meanwhile, Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is continuing his unprovoked war in Yemen without restraint. With US logistical support, the Saudi air force has bombed schools, hospitals and other infrastructure. Save the Children estimate that 5000 children have been killed. A Saudi blockade of Yemeni ports is shutting out imports of food, with the result that 400,000 of children are on the verge of starvation.

Yet Prince Salman is rewarded for his evil with a visit to the US Whitehouse. The leaders of the UK and France are falling over themselves to sell billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Saudi.

Evil seems to look better when it is accompanied by oil wealth.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Blood of Jesus

Some Christians seem to be embarrassed by the blood of Jesus. This is sad because the blood is at the heart of the gospel.

We need to distinguish three things with regard to the blood.

  1. What the blood actually does in situ.
  2. How it is offered
  3. What it does when offered.
1. When it is in the body, of person or animal, it is life. We cannot live without it. It also carries antibodies to kill viruses. Once blood is outside the body, it quickly dries up and dies.

2. The only way it can be offered is by a death (of the animal or Jesus) if you exclude the other possibilities of the bloodletting by physicians in the 19th century, cannulation at a blood bank, or self-harming. I presume that the Bible has none of the latter in mind, so death is necessary for blood to be shared.

3. What blood achieves can only be discovered through revelation. 1) can only partially inform 3).

The translation of Hebrews 9:22 is misleading. Saying that blood produces “forgiveness”, makes it sound like the blood changes God’s attitude to us, ie God is changed. The word translated as forgiveness is “aphesis” which also means freedom. “Without blood there is no freedom”. This makes it clear that it is our situation that is changed by the blood, not God.

We are redeemed by the blood, ie bought back (Eph 1:7). If blood changes our situation and sets us free, the big question is who we are set free from. God does not enslave, so it must be the spiritual powers of evil that we are set free from.

More at Propititation and Redemption.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Free Book

The Kindle version of my book Being Church Where We Live is available free for two days beginning Saturday 7 April 2018 at 12:00 AM PDT.
Key Themes for Radical Christians

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  • Power Pairs
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  • Balanced Ministry
  • Role of the Apostle
  • Prophets in the Church
  • Real Pastor/Teachers
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  • Dynamic Deacons

Sunday, April 01, 2018


The resurrection was a huge victory for Jesus.

  1. The resurrection took nothing away from the crucifixion. The pains and suffering of Jesus was not reversed. The penalty for sin was still paid. Redemption was available for all who would trust in Jesus.

  2. The resurrection was a huge defeat for the devil, who thought that he had killed the only real threat to his power. By rising from the dead, Jesus exposed the Devil’s weakness. He could not get Jesus to sin and he could not kill him, so he now was powerless against him. Jesus could go on and complete his mission and the devil was powerless against him. He could ascend into heaven beyond the reach of evil.

  3. The resurrection was a massive defeat for the principalities and powers that carry out the devil’s purposes. God used the resurrection to destroy their power.

    He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion (Eph 1:20.21).
    The principalities and powers had worked through the Roman empire and the Jewish religious to destroy Jesus. The resurrection turned their best efforts into failure.

  4. The resurrection proved that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the Jewish prophets. David had prophesied that body of the Messiah would decay or be buried in a tomb.

    Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay (Acts 2:31).
    The world has had many would-be messiahs. Jesus is the only one who has risen from the dead. The resurrection confirmed that he is the saviour of the world.

  5. The resurrection was writing on the wall for human political powers. The resurrection proved that Jesus was Lord of all the earth.

    God has made this Jesus… both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:26).
    If Jesus is Lord, the Caesar is not. If Jesus is Lord, Obama is not. When Jesus was raised from the dead, God established him as the true king of earth. Human empires and powers that do not surrender to him will be swept eventually be swept away.

    The resurrection enthroned Jesus as King of Kings. All human principalities and powers will eventually have to surrender their authority to him. That should really have happened sooner.

  6. When Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he made this declaration.

    All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matt 28:18).
    This was after the resurrection, but before the ascension. All authority in heaven and earth had been given to Jesus. This was the consequence of the resurrection. Jesus had promised that the Kingdom of God was close. He had called for people to get ready for its coming. The resurrection marked the coming of the Kingdom of God, because the reward for his life and death struggle with the devil was authority over all the earth. The resurrection enthroned Jesus as King of Kings and brought in the Kingdom of God.

  7. The resurrection made it possible for Jesus to ascend into heaven and sit down at the right hand of God. His ascension was the final working out of his resurrection in fulfilment of Daniel's vision.

    In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed (Dan 7:13-14).
    The dominion that had been given to Adam and Eve, but was lost by them was restored to Jesus. Because he is at the right hand of the father, it can never be taken away, so his kingdom can never be destroyed. The kingdom established on the day of the resurrection can never pass away.