Saturday, February 27, 2021


Alan Roxburgh explains that we do not need to know the future to be prepared for it.

Our unraveling present is the womb wherein the Spirit is gestating the future. We don’t need gurus pointing to some future. We need to release one another into the ordinariness of our neighbourhoods. Leaders form people who ask: What is the Spirit gestating amongst us and in our neighbourhoods so that we can join with God… It is by discovering how to discern the Spirit in our communities that we live into God’s future.
In my book called Being Church Where We Live, I describe how followers of Jesus can join together to be prepared for whatever future life brings to us.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Judging Empires

Many of the Old Testament prophets prophesied against the empires of their day. Prophesying against empires will be part of the role of some mature prophets.

Empires are not subject to the conditions of the Mosaic covenant, so I was curious to see what criteria the Old Testament prophets used when judging empires. I was surprised to find that in most cases, the prophets announcing judgment against an empire did not list a number of failings, as they did when prophesying against Israel and the surrounding nations.

Rather the Old Testament Prophets judged empires for being empires. In their view, the desire of an empire to rule over the entire world was an afront to God because it is his world, and he is the only one who should rule it all.

Brian Zahnd defines an empire as a rich, powerful nation, which believes it has the divine right to rule other nations and has a manifest destiny to shape history according to its agenda. This is perceptive because these are prerogatives that belong to Jesus alone.

By trying to control the world, or a big part of the world, empires are standing against Jesus and insulting him. They also open themselves up to the intervention and control of the spiritual powers of evil, who also want to control the world and see empires as a useful instrument of their power (Rev 18:2).

God is always opposed to empires and is committed to bringing them down; so it is only ever a question of time. He will sometimes allow an empire to persist because it is useful for advancing his purposes (usually destroying or constraining a previous empire), but once his objective is accomplished, the empire will be destroyed. In the eyes of a prophet, the days of an empire are always numbered.

According to the prophets, God condemned emperors and empires for the following characteristics, all related to the nature of an empire.

  • Seeking power and control over the entire world.
    • The Tower of Babel was the first attempt to control the world (Gen 11:5-7).
    • Babylon the Great loves power; it is called the City of Power (Rev 18:10).
  • Plotting evil against God’s purposes and trying to take his place (Nahum 1:9,11).
    • Egypt made plans that did not align with God’s purposes (Is 19:3).
  • Pride and arrogance are the heart of empire.
    • Babylon has the arrogance of the haughty and the pride of the ruthless (Isaiah 13:11).
    • Nebuchadnezzar boasted about what he had done (Dan 4:30).
    • Belshazzar set himself up against God (Daniel 5:22-14)).
    • The king of Babylon believed that he could rise higher than God (Isaiah 14:13-14).
    • Babylon was lounging, confident in its security (Is 47:8).
    • Babylon the Great boasted of its greatness (Rev 18:7).
  • Empires seek alternative sources of power, such as magic and sorcery
    • Babylon relied on magic and sorcery (Is 47:9,12).
    • Egypt relied on mediums and spiritists (Is 19:3).
  • Empires increase their power by creating terror amongst the people of the nations.

    • Babylon aimed to create terror (Is 14:12).
    • Babylon is a scary warclub (Is 51:20).
    • Babylon is a nation of warriors (Jer 51:56).
    • The sword of Babylon is ruthless in destruction (Ezek 32:11-12)
  • Empires corrupt the nations that they control.

    • The powerful rulers corrupt their wisdom for the sake of splendour (Ezek 28:17).
    • Babylon the Great led the nations into adultery (Rev 18:3,9).
  • Empires seek control of wealth.
    • Babylon the Great created huge wealth for itself and the nations it controlled (Rev 18:3,14,17).
  • Because empires oppose God, they often persecute his people.

    • Egypt oppressed the children of Israel (Exodus 3:7-9).
    • Babylon the Great persecuted the prophets and the saints (Rev 17:14; 18,14).

Prophets will use the same criteria to assess modern empires. God still judges empires for pride and arrogance, which leads them to seek control of the entire world. He opposes their ruthless violence and reliance on magic (technology) to maintain their power and control. He hates their manipulation and control of many nations for their own purposes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

National Covenant with God

Many Christians in America and other places believe their nation has a covenant with God. I believe that a nation can make a covenant with God, but it is different from what most Christians assume.

We tend to assume that the New Covenant makes the covenant with God a personal thing, but that seems to be a very Western, individualistic way of looking at the covenant. I believe that God is much more communal.

The leaders of a nation have the authority to make a covenant with God on behalf of the people who have submitted to their authority. However, two conditions would have to be fulfilled for such a covenant to be effective.

  1. The leaders of the nation would have to renounce all previous covenants made with false gods. That was a problem for the American founding fathers, because they had covenanted with greed and military power, etc, and they never renounced those covenants, before apparently making a covenant with God.

  2. A covenant with God is always one-sided. He specifies the terms of the covenant, including what is required for fulfilment and the consequence of keeping or rejecting it (a nation cannot just claim the covenant that God made through Moses with Israel). Most nations throughout history that have tried to make a covenant with God have done it the other way round. They decide what they will do for God, (often not much) and what they expect him to do for them (usually quite a lot). I suspect that it what the American founders did. They demanded God’s blessing on their enterprise without actually committing to obedience to his standards.

Given these conditions, I cannot think of any nation in the world that has a genuine covenant with God.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Eschatology Efforts

Many Christians spend a lot of time studying eschatology or end-time teaching, but I suspect that most of this is a waste of time because it does not help them follow Jesus better or hear his Holy Spirit speaking more clearly.

I have studied eschatology because I am a teacher, but I cannot think of one time during the forty years that I have been serving Jesus in which I made a different decision, or better decision, based on eschatology teachings. On the other hand, I can think of many people who made awful decisions because they thought Jesus was coming soon, or were afraid of things they thought might happen.

Instead of worrying about scriptures that are not clear (they will be clear when their fulfilment comes), followers of Jesus should focus instead on obeying the passages that are clear and putting them into practice in their lives. They should concentrate on learning to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and obeying him.

In every season, Christians should focus on building relationships with a few other Christians and learning to serve and support each other. They should try to encourage and challenge each other, while practicing Jesus’ new commandment. It does not matter what kind of church they are in, if you trust them and they are willing to love you. With this kind of relationship, followers of Jesus will be safe, regardless of what happens in the world (and when Jesus returns).

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Failed Prophets

This article by Julia Duin describes a disturbing problem for the American church. While some are refusing to back down, and others have admitted their mistake, many others are sitting quiet hoping that their words about Trump will be fulfiled, and if not, forgotten. They need to come clean about where they stand.

My concern with the modern American prophets is that none of them are explaining what is happening in America at this time. Most are promising a great revival. That is a possibility, and it might be what God would prefer to happen, but it seems unlikely, because it would need a massive change in attitudes to Jesus (and to politics) and an even more massive change in the way that the church functions.

I would expect true prophets to be warning what would happen, if this revival that Christians have dreamed about for many years (but not experienced) does not come. That might be a more realistic message.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Book on Economics

God’s Economy has three parts.

Part One describes God’s Instructions for Economic Life. Jesus confirmed these instructions and adapted them to work in a society in which tribal connections have broken down. He explained how they apply to the communities of love that he was establishing amongst the people who chose to follow him. He shifted the focus from neighbours to people who are committed to loving one another, but the core principles are the same.

Part Two applies God’s Instructions for Economic Life to modern society. God does not expect the people of the world to live according to these instructions, but he requires those who have chosen to serve Jesus to apply his wisdom in their lives and communities.

These instructions are only practical amongst people who are being the church where they live. They can apply God’s instructions without relying on government enforcement while continuing to live in a world that is dominated by the existing power systems. God’s economy will become a witness and sign to a world that has lost its way.

The first two chapters of Part Three describe the problems with modern money and banking. These flaws inevitably produce economic instability, inequality and often extreme poverty. Followers of Jesus need to understand these problems, but they do not prevent them from living out God’s Instructions for Economic Life within their Kingdom Communities.

The last three chapters of Part 3 explain how better money and financial institutions can be established within their Kingdom Communities in preparation for the time when the kingdoms of the world collapse and fall.

Getting everything that needs to be in a book about God’s Economy is almost impossible. I have concentrated on economic ideas that are new and different, rather than trying to cover everything that might be relevant. I focus on the changes that are necessary for the emergence of the Government of God.

Jeremiah Johnson

His voice grates on a Kiwi ear, but this thirty-minute talk called by Trump and Idolatry by Jeremiah Johnson is worth a listen. He was one of the first to apologise for his prophecy that Donald Trump would win the presidential election.

He explains the difference between Old Covenant and New Covenant prophecy. He lists four important differences.

  • New Testament prophets no longer operate in the same authority as they did in the Old Testament (standing alone between God and humans).

  • New Testament prophets have now been placed in the body of Christ where they are to develop community and accountability.

  • The primary focus of New Testament prophets is not predicting future events, but reveal Jesus to his body (and what God is doing).

  • The words of New Testament prophets are not infallible, so what they prophesy must be tested.

I witness with the word that he shared toward the end of the video.

We have unified under a false movement of prophets and politicians.

If God had given Donald Trump another four years, parts of the charismatic prophetic movement would have that they were invincible.

God has sent a spirit of confusion. It is a judgment on a movement that has placed prophet and politicians in a place that only Jesus should have.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

God's Economy

From the Preface to my book called God's Economy.

I grew up on a farm, so I left school early to work in farming. After a couple of years, I realised that I did not have the strength and stamina that farming needs, so I decided to go to university. While working with sheep and driving the tractor, I had plenty of time to think about the poverty and suffering that were rampant throughout the world. The problems seemed to be economic and political, so I enrolled to study economics and politics.

After four years of study, I realised that I was digging a dry well. The assumptions that economists have to make to ensure their models work are so unrealistic that their theories are irrelevant to the real world. It seemed that during the first three years of economics, they told you all the solutions, but in the fourth year, they explained why they would not work. (I noted that my fellow students who went into politics, often only did the three-year course, so they went out boldly assuming they had effective policies).

While growing up, our family had gone to church every Sunday, but for me, it was just a habit. When I reached university and encountered modern philosophy, I gave up my religious habit. However, just when I became disillusioned with economics, I heard the gospel of Jesus clearly for the first time. I surrendered to him and committed to living by his word and Spirit.

A few months later, I had an exam for a post-graduate course on comparative economics. The lecturer was a staunch Marxist. Full of my new-found faith, I wrote in my paper that Marx has no solution to human problems and that Jesus is the answer. I gave a similar response in a paper on macroeconomics.

Surprisingly, I passed the course with first class honours. However, at the beginning of the following year, one of my professors asked to meet with me. He disclosed that he was an atheist, but acknowledged that my faith seemed to be genuine. He told me that it was not enough to say that Jesus is the answer. I needed to explain how he could be a solution to the problems that concerned me. He concluded with a telling question: “What would the economy and society look like if everyone was a Christian”.

I could not answer his question, but I knew that I had to find the answer to it. I did not know enough about God, or his solutions to economic problems, but I made it my goal to find out.

I went to seminary for three years and studied theology and New Testament Greek. Later I studied Hebrew for two years to get a better understanding of the Old Testament. While employed as an economist, I read every book and article that I could find that is relevant to economics and the gospel.

About ten years ago, I felt that I was ready to answer the question that my atheist teacher had asked, but one more obstacle lay in the way. I still had faith in political power. I believed that God’s people could use political power to establish his Kingdom on earth. I needed to grasp the failures and futility of politics.

Modern economics is mostly politics. The solutions dreamt up by economists can only be implemented by a government with coercive power, so economics becomes a servant of politics.

  • Fiscal policy explains why politicians should take money from some people and use it to benefit others.
  • Monetary policy explains how governments can control the creation of money and who should benefit.
  • Labour economics guides politicians who want to control employment practices and pay.

Modern economics and politics are hard to separate. Economic principles get caught up in political power.

Jesus refused to use political power to advance the Kingdom of God (Luke 22:25-26; John 18:36). Political spirits and government spirits have used political authority to leverage their power on earth. Evil cannot be used to accomplish good.

When I studied this issue seriously, I discovered that God had already given a system of government to Moses that does not rely on force and coercion. I described his system of local judges applying his law and voluntary military leaders protecting their community in a book called Government of God (2017). It explains how Kingdom Communities can function without political power. They can voluntarily provide all the services that human governments promise, but fail to deliver.

Once I understood the problems of political power, my understanding of the nature of economics changed dramatically. The policies of modern economists cannot enter the Kingdom of God because they need to be imposed from the top by human governments with the power to make people do the right thing. I began seeking a politics-free economics.

I discovered the Instructions for Economic Life that God gave to Moses (see chapter 2). I also found that Jesus had validated these instructions in his teaching about economics (see chapter 3). God’s instructions allow a community of people to develop an economy that can function effectively without the need for political power and coercion.

The advance of the gospel by the power of the Spirit should produce a radically different economy. The most significant change is that there will be no human government to enforce economic policies. Economic change will come as more and more people choose to follow Jesus and are prompted by the Holy Spirit to obey his commands.

God’s economy is not modern capitalism. Modern capitalism is a system in which all activities are commercialised. Big businesses collude with political power to gain wealth at the expense of ordinary people. Materialism and consumerism are advanced at the expense of relationships. The strong are rewarded, the weak suffer. God’s economy is radically different from modern capitalism.

This book describes the changes to economic activity that will occur as the Government of God comes to fullness. It seeks to answer the following question: “What would an economy look like if most people chose to follow Jesus and the Holy Spirit was able to establish the Government of God?”. This is the question my economics teacher asked me back in 1975.

As the gospel advances, followers of Jesus will form Kingdom Communities that implement his system of justice, protection and welfare (as described in Government of God). God’s economy will emerge as these communities apply Jesus’ interpretation of the Instructions for Economic Life.

The practical outworking of God’s economic wisdom will vary according to local cultural and living arrangements. People will have to work out the details by following the leading of the Holy Spirit and adapting the principles to their local situation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Free Book

The Kindle version of my book called God's Economy will be available for free on Amazon for the next three days. If you are concerned about the state of your nation's economy, you should read this book.

If you don't have a Kindle download the Kindle app and you can read it on your phone, tablet or laptop.

Monday, February 15, 2021


When I read the book of Revelation, I don’t see God whacking the world, I see him letting people who have rejected his gospel way of love and service and chosen instead to trust in political and military power get a complete experience of full-blown political and military power. This massive political power will eventually collapse under its own weight, as warned by the prophets, hurting many people as it falls (because it has amplified the powers of evil), but God will use the remnant he has prepared to rescue and restore the people of the world by the power of the Spirit when their eyes are opened to the futility of political and military power.

More in Times and Seasons.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Prophets and Nations

Many prophets have had their fingers burnt predicting the outcome of the US presidential election. This is not surprising, because predicting the outcome of elections is a mug’s game, like predicting the sex of babies before they are born. You have a fifty percent chance of being right, so even if your prediction is right, you were probably just lucky.

Elections predictions do not help God’s people understand what to do and how to live. They seem to be mostly about boosting the ego of the prophet. That said, God needs prophets who can explain to his people what is going on in their world, so that they will know what they should do and how they should live. They need to know what God is doing, so they can join with it, and what the spiritual powers of evil are doing, so they can resist and not be deceived. In a world that is dominated by political power and facing tumultuous events, a true prophetic voice will need to address these things. That is what Jesus did.

However, this type of prophecy is a tough call that only a few prophets will have the maturity/purity to handle. In addition to being able to hear God speak, they will need to be able to leave the political loyalties that they grew up with behind (Jesus disciples could not do that so they could not understand what he was saying).

These prophets will need to rise above the left/right thinking that dominates discussion in the media. They may need to shake off incorrect end-times thinking that they absorbed as young Christians. They will need to be able to get above the petty issues of the day-to-day world and get the big picture of what Jesus is doing.

In these times when the church is struggling and confusion abounds, we need this prophetic role more than ever, but looking at the current state of the prophetic movement, it seems further away than ever, too. Hopefully out of some serious soul-searching about the current debacle, a purer prophetic voice to the nation(s) will emerge.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Prophet to the Nations

One role of the OT prophets was to monitor the covenant that God made with Israel and challenge the nation’s failure to comply, and warn of the consequences. That role has finished because God has not extended the old covenant to other nations, but established a new covenant through Jesus. The role of covenant guardian perhaps still applies to the nation of Israel which claims to be under the old covenant, but it would be serious critic, rather than a cheerleader for what the Israel government is doing that the American church has become. The nation probably needs modern prophets to challenge its failure to comply with God’s covenant.

The other role of the Old Testament prophets was to speak to the surrounding nations and warn them what was going on spiritually and what would happen if they carried on in the way they were going. See Isaiah 13-21, Jeremiah 46-52, Ezekiel 25-30. There were others including Elijah, Elisha and Jonah. Daniel and Joseph spoke to the emperors of their time.

These prophetic words to nations and rulers were not couched in the context of covenant, because God did not have a special covenant with the surrounding nations. They warned the nations of what would happen if they continued on their existing path. This was a substantial part of the prophet’s ministry and I see nothing in the New Testament that says that this role is discontinued, or that God has stopped speaking to kings and nations. Why would a God who speaks stop speaking? Rather, Rev 10:11 suggests that the role will continue.

What has changed is that God no longer relies on one prophet to speak to many nations. He will use many prophets, but just a few speaking to each nation or ruler, because the role has been split up and spread around since the Holy Spirit has been poured out widely. "One to many" should have been replaced by "many to each one". The modern prophet movement is a long way from being able to exercise this role, but it is still needed.

The United States is on a dangerous path, far more dangerous than most Christians realise, and it is being led down that path by nationalistic/patriotic failed/false prophets. The nation really needs a clear prophetic voice to warn it if of the dangers it faces (and that has nothing to do with the Old Covenant).

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Seven Mountains

The problem with the seven mountains teaching is that it is partly true. The so-called mountains (media, government, education, economy, family, religion, and arts and entertainment) are really important for shaping the direction of society. The problem is that in the past, Christians often dominated the culture of their nation, so they tended to dominate the seven mountains (some more than others). That was wrong because people who were not Christian hated having Christian ideals imposed on them against their will. God does not impose his authority on people. He prefers that people serve him because they love him.

As the gospel advances, the influence of Christianity on the seven mountains should increase, but this influence will come as followers of Jesus serve the people of the world and demonstrate excellence in their spheres of influence. They should rise up because they have the wisdom of God and are fuelled with a spirit of wisdom and humility, and are willing to serve generously. They must not attempt to impose God’s standard on they spheres/mountains they serve in. Rather they will love and serve, and do their work more excellently than anyone else. If they are squeezed out, they will not fight back.

The mountain that will be hardest to change is the mountain of government. All government is a way for one person, or a small group, or a majority of the people to impose their will on the rest of society. That means they have no place in the Kingdom of God, which is based on love and service, not imposed power and authority.

The problem with the seven mountains teaching is that many Christians want to use political power to impose Christian values on the seven mountains. This gives God a bad name, because people hate being forced to do things against their will.

The Kingdom of God is established by love suffering and service. In my book Government of God, I have described an effective model of government that that is not imposed using force and coercion.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

The Gospel of Jesus

Bad News
When the spiritual powers of evil tricked humans into rejecting God, they set about making life miserable for them and wrecking the beautiful world that God had created.

Good News
God loved the world so much that he sent his son Jesus to live on earth and die to pay for us the ransom that the spiritual powers of evil demanded. He raised Jesus from the dead to destroy their power and returned him to a place of honour in the spiritual realms. From there, Jesus sent a living Spirit to empower those who follow him and teach them how to live in peace and harmony.

Gospel Challenge
Change sides and give your allegiance to Jesus and work with him and his Spirit to restore the good world that God created.

Monday, February 08, 2021


The news media in New Zealand are developing a fascination for Islam. Most don't know much about the religion of Islam, apart from what they have seen on television. In the past, they have only seen Islamic terrorists bombing crowds and Islamic State soldiers beheading people. So the graceious response of Moslems to the Mosque shooting in Christchurch has surprised people who knew very little about the religion. Most don't want to sign up to a religion, but they have become curious about what is going on.

One reason for the confusion is that there are different streams to Islam, just as there are different streams in Christianity. Humans love factions. The historic split between Sunni and Shia streams is, like the Catholic-Protestant distinction in Christianity, very important to the people involved, but from the outside looks fairly trivial.

More importantly, there are large numbers of Moslems around the world whose faith is fairly nominal, just like the large numbers of nominal Christians, who take the name of Jesus, but not much more. They call themselves Moslem because their parents and grandparents were Moslem, but their religion has very little effect on their day-to-day lives, apart from a few cultural practices.

All of the world, more radical groups of Moslems want to take their religion more seriously. These are a bit like the Pentecostal movements, who see themselves as challenging their wider religion to become more serious in their faith.

A few really hard-core groups have focused on the violent parts of the Koran and made Islam violent. They have taken up weapons to fight for the advance of Islam. Al Qaeda and Islamic State are the two most prominent of these groups in recent years. These are the groups who have had the most attention on the television, so they are not representative of most Moslems, just as the IRA was not representative of most Catholics in Ireland.

The more cultural form of Islam has two things about that make it appealing for some people.

  1. Cultural Islam is an easy religion because its rules are simple, and relatively easy to follow. There are five pillars: things that a good Moslem should do.

    1. Profession of Faith (shahada) – declaring with conviction that "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God". This really only has to be done once, but most will recite the words more frequently.
    2. Prayer (salat) - pray facing Mecca five times a day: at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and after dark.
    3. Alms (zakat) – giving generously to the poor.
    4. Fasting (sawm) – fasting during the daylight hours of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
    5. Pilgrimage (hajj) - every Muslim whose health and finances permit it should make at least one visit to the holy city of Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia.
    The hardest of these is the daily prayers. The rest only have to be done if and when circumstances allow.

    These five pillars contrast with Judaism which has 613 commandments that adherents must obey. And of course, Christianity has thousands of rules that must be obeyed by people who have mistakenly turned their faith into a system of rules. So if you have chosen to live by religious rules, as many people have (I have not), Islam is a good option, because its rules are less demanding than any other religion.

  2. Islam is an extremely fatalistic religion. Moslems submit to the will of Allah and just accept whatever happens as his will. This makes them very stoic and strong when they go through evil events, because they believe it is god's will, and they just resign to it.

    In contrast, most Christians see life as a spiritual battle between good and evil, so life is a challenge to understand what God is doing and be part of it, and to see what the spiritual powers of evil are doing and stand against them in faith. If we make the wrong choice, then we can be harmed by the enemy. So troubles often come from him, rather than God. This makes life challenge.

    Christians who have blind faith that God is in control of everything and just accept it as God's will are behaving more like Moslems. Fatalism more common amongst Christians than it should, given our world view.

    I presume that it was the fatalistic stoicism of the victims and their relatives that appealed to the news media after the Mosque attacks in Christchurch. They saw these terrible events as God's will, so they just had too submitted to him and kept going. Their god is not always rational, so what happens does not always make sense, but just accept it anyway.

    The problem with this fatalistic stoicism is that it makes people passive. This is an enormous obstacle to economic and social development, because people just accept what happens, and don't try to change their situation, because that would be fighting against Allah.

When Christians encounter Islam, they should seek to understand which type of Islam they are dealing with.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Waitangi Day

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand, the day when the founding of our nation is celebrated. New Zealand is different from most countries that were colonised by European countries in the nineteenth century, because a treaty was agreed between the British government and the leaders of the indigenous Maori people. This treaty, or covenant, was signed on 6 January 1840.

This was a great start for a nation, but unfortunately the treaty was ignored for the next 100 years, because it was never put into legislation by the new parliament.. The Maori people were ripped off left, right and centre, and towards the end of the nineteenth century, some experts thought they might die out.

In the last forty years, efforts have been made to recognise the treaty and to put right some of the injustices that were done. I cannot say that there has been strong support for this change, as most New Zealanders do not care. The changes were really pushed through by middle-aged, European politicians from different parties, who were not leaders, but who gained sufficient influence to push through the changes they wanted. Geoffrey Palmer got Treaty of Waitangi clauses introduced to some important pieces of legislation. Doug Graham got the Treaty settlement process working effectively, and Michael Cullen, Chris Finlayson and Andrew Little have completed a number of important settlements.

Most Christians do not understand the importance of these changes, but settling some of the injustices was really important for the spiritual status of New Zealand. I explain the spiritual consequences of covenants between nations in and article called the Treaty of Waitangi, that was first published in 1883, All Christians need to understand the importance of honouring covenants, regardless of the circumstances in which they were made.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Reset Opportunity

Would you like to join others who are learning to “be the Church” seven days a week, exploring forming Christian community in 21st century regional Australia.

Focused around a dairy farm in northern Tasmania this opportunity is available. Team members who join will have a desire to participate in the daily rhythms of the farm which seek to integrate faith, work and play in authentic, Christ centred ways.

Paid positions available include:

  • assistant dairy manager (full/part-time)
  • milking assistant (part-time)
  • traineeship/apprenticeship in dairy farming (full-time)

Previous experience is a bonus but not essential, a minimum commitment of six months is required. Could suit single, couple or gap year students. International applications welcome.

The successful applicants will have the desire to involve themselves in building an interdependent faith community that seeks to establish the “Kingdom of God” at a personal, family and district level.

If this opportunity stirs something in you please email: to initiate further discussion.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Restoring Prophets (7) Refusal

Sometimes a prophet will refuse to admit that they were wrong. They will make excuses or blame other people for the failure of their prophecy. The most common excuse will be that the prophecy was not fulfilled because people did not pray enough. Another common excuse is to say that a prophecy was not fulfilled because God’s people did not obey the prophecy.

Some prophets will avoid admitting the failure of their words by spiritualising their prophecies. For example, in America some are saying that Trump is still the president with God's anointing, and that Biden is not a real president, because he does not have God's backing. But they did not say this would be the situation when they prophesied prior to the election, so it sounds like special pleading.

A prophet that refuses to acknowledge that they have made a mistake over an important issue is a serious problem for the elders of his/her church. The elders cannot force the prophet to acknowledge a mistake if they refuse to do it. They may have to agree to disagree, but this will undermine their trust of the prophet.

If the prophetic error had serious ongoing consequences, they might need to distance themselves from the prophet. If the consequences are dangerous, they might choose to tell the church that they no longer trust the recalcitrant prophet. However, this should be the last resort in only the most serious situations. One incorrect prophecy does not justify the breaking of relationships. A series of mistakes on important issues with serious consequences is a different issue.

In the case of the big name prophets who made prophecies about the US presidential elections and are refusing to acknowledge that they are wrong, but are persisting with their claims, church leaders might need to stand apart from them and declare publicly that they perceive them to be failed prophets.

A prophet who refuses to acknowledge mistakes and accept correction is on a path to becoming a false prophet. I suspect that some of the big-name prophets in America are so committed to nationalism and political power, that they will not be able to admit they were wrong. This a dangerous place to be, because there can be no restoration without repentance. Those who have made an idol of political power, zionism or nationalism are actually leading their people into idolatry and have become false prophets. Sadly, unless they renounce their idolotry, they probably cannot be restored.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Restoring Prophets (6) Big Man Problem

A big problem in the current situation is that many of the prophets who go the election wrong are pastor-leaders of big churches. They are at the top of a hierarchy, so there is often no one close enough to challenge them. The people in their church will be committed to their message and style. These sheep who look up to them as their pastor will quickly forgive them.

If the pastor-leader does change direction, or admits that they were wrong, they will get a very negative reaction from the people who have followed them. They don't want the person that they have trusted with their lives to admit they are wrong, because that would undermine the foundation of their life. Not surprisingly, when a few of the big name prophets have admitted they were wrong, they have received a very hostile reaction. In this context, a restoration will be impossible to manage.

The church needs these leaders to keep on leading and preaching so that programs will keep going, and the money will keep on flowing. Asking one of them to step down for a season would be hugely disruptive. It is hard to see how an effective restoration process could take place. For example, three days after I received an email with a link to Kris Vallotton’s video of his apology, I received another email promoting his latest book called “Spiritual Intelligence”. I was struck by the huge disconnect, and wondered if a chapter about being wrong was missing from the book, but I also understand that his publisher would be putting on pressure to ensure that sales of the book do not flag.

I have always been uneasy about prophets becoming the pastor-leader of a church, or a pastor leader relying on his wife to be the main prophet to his church. In these situations, it is almost for the prophet to take time out to participate in a process of restoration if they make serious mistakes.

Prophetic ministries working in isolation are dangerous. If these prophetic leaders are restored, they should be restored in a safer leadership structure. The New Testament model is elders who are pastors, evangelists and prophets submitting to each other and leading together in unity. There is safety in the prophetic elder submitting to the others. The same applies to pastors and evangelists.

When prophets who have made a mistake, they should be restored to a leadership model that is based on balanced ministries submitting to each other. We need a radical change in the leadership model adopted by the church. That is a much bigger problem for the church, and is outside the scope of this article. However, I have described a leadership model that can better support the prophetic ministry in Being Church Where Live.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Restoring Prophets (5) Dazzled by Power

The biggest danger for a prophet to a nation is being dazzled by political power. The prophet can easily fall into pride because they enjoy having an influence on the powerful people in their nation. They begin to enjoy being in the room when big decisions are being made.

Being dazzled by power seems to be the main reason that many prophets failed during the latest episode during the American presidential election. Too many were dazzled by political power and came to believe that they could influence it to advance the Kingdom of God. They were dead wrong.

Moses and Paul are great examples. They are the two people with the greatest achievements in the scriptures, yet they remained humble and ambivalent about political power.

  • Moses probably had more political power than anyone who has ever lived, yet he remained the most humble (not seeking advancement) person on earth. God had made called him to be the leader of a new nation and reinforced his support with many signs and wonders. Moses had no interest in retaining political power for himself.

    Early in his ministry, Moses pushed his power down and spread it around to the head of families and tribes. He said they should only come to him for problems that he could not handle (Deut 1:9-15). He did not create a political or administrative role for his sons. He exercised the power that he held very begrudgingly. He would only do this job as long as God promised to go with him. Moses knew that political power is impossible to exercise without God, and almost impossible with God, so he did not seek after it.

  • Paul is another example of ambivalence towards political power. Paul was trained up to be part of the Jewish establishment and had the additional advantage of being a Roman citizen. He used this privilege to get out of trouble a couple of times, but he never attempted to use political power to support the preaching of the gospel or to advance the Kingdom of God. When the people of Iconium thought that Paul and Barnabas had been sent by the gods, Paul did not try to get himself established as the ruler of the city so he could bring in the Kingdom. Rather he challenged the people with the gospel and then fled the city (Acts 14:1-20).

Being dazzled by prophetic power is a big problem for the prophetic movement.

Without an understanding of the futility of political power, prophetic involvement in the political system will be on shaky ground. Fascination with political power can prevent Christians from seeing what God is trying to do. They will tend to get obsessed with getting the right people into power because they fall for the deception that the next election is the most important in their nation’s history. This is a political lie designed to enhance political power.

Political power has become an idol for far too many prophets. God will not use an idol to advance his purposes. Faith in political power leads them to focus on changing the political leaders of the nation in the false hope that this will bring the Kingdom of God closer. Unfortunately, most efforts to bring political change usually lead to disappointment.

God does not work through political power. His Kingdom cannot be established by political power. Jesus never suggested that his Kingdom could be advanced if the centurion who demonstrated faith when his servant was sick was appointed governor in Pilate’s place. He focussed on advancing his own Kingdom.

The accumulation of political power amplifies the authority of government-spirits in the spiritual realm. This means that political power is actually an obstacle to God achieving his purposes. He prefers to work through thousands and thousands of small kingdom communities in local neighbourhoods because that stretches the resources of the spiritual powers of evil so thin that they become ineffective.

Prophets who have been dazzled by political power will need to humble themselves and develop a clearer understanding of how God works in the world. Unless they change their way of thinking about political power, they will continue to be vulnerable to deception. This will be a huge challenge for the prophetic movement, which will be difficult to overcome. I suspect that many prophets will struggle to do it.