Thursday, September 29, 2022

Original Sin (6) Spiritual Captivity

When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, they unwittingly submitted to the spiritual powers of evil and came under their authority. All of their descendants were born under their authority, so by default, the spiritual powers of evil had authority over their children too. The same applied to all their descendants.

Paul explains that the two dominant spiritual powers during that first season on earth were called Sin and Death. So every person born on earth was already under the authority of Sin and Death, and they had no way to escape their influence.

In Romans 7, Paul explains that people know what they should do, but they are captives of Sin.

I am carnal, having been sold under Sin (Rom 7:14).
I find this principle at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there beside me (Rom 7:21).
I am seeing a different law in my members, warring with the law of my mind, and leading me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members (Rom 7:23).
We begin as a blank sheet with an empty memory in our mother’s womb. Our first experience of life occurs there. Because our parents are under the influence of evil, babies quite frequently experience evil there before they are born.

Because our parents are in captivity to the spiritual powers of evil, we are born in captivity to them too. This is not so-called original sin. We are not contaminated by Adam’s sin. Rather we are born in captivity. No matter how much we might want to do good (being born in the image of God), the spiritual powers of evil will be able to get an opportunity to hurt and harm us. They will sometimes be able to persuade us to do evil. So we find ourselves doing evil, even though we may not want to.

Solution – New Birth
The solution to the problem of entrapment in sin is a new birth. We need to be born again outside the captivity of the powers of evil. That is why Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again of the Spirit. At the time of his first birth, his parents were in spiritual captivity, so he was born in spiritual captivity too. So although he had resolved to serve God, he was unable to escape the influence of the spiritual powers of evil who had enslaved him as soon as he was born.

We are all born to parents who are in the captivity of the spiritual powers of evil. These evil powers have ensured that they have deceived us into submitting to them in our own right. We need to be set free from their captivity.

When we surrender our lives to Jesus, he sets us free from the authority of the spiritual powers of evil. The cross destroyed their authority over us, so we can be born outside the captivity of evil. This set us free to follow Jesus without being resisted by evil. It allows the Holy Spirit to work in our lives without his efforts being disrupted by the spiritual powers of evil.

Paul says that we died and rose with Jesus. When we die in him, the spiritual powers of evil lose their authority in our lives. When we come to new life in Jesus, we are set free from their activity.

This full series can be found at Original Sin.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Original Sin (5) Passing Sin Down

Deception is still the best weapon of the spiritual powers of evil. They have spiritual authority over all humans, so they have the right to speak to them, even though they don’t speak the truth.

The spiritual powers of evil have always attacked every descendent of Adam and Eve to deceive them into sinning. Once they have sinned, they can hit them with shame and cripple them.

The spiritual powers of evil get other people to do things to us that hurt or harm us. This makes us angry or afraid. This is often our first sin, and it causes us to strike back to hurt or harm others.

Different people can be manipulated differently. The spiritual powers of evil push some people into pride, and they push others into guilt and shame. Both these sins shut us out from God.

Some humans go no further than this. Others get a taste for evil and push further into it. A few choose to pursue evil seriously. For most people, the spiritual powers of evil do not have to do much to push them into sinning. Most children automatically copy the behaviour of their parents anyway. Parents who are in captivity to sin will often hurt their children, by speaking negatively or angrily, withholding their love, or failing to provide for all their needs. These actions make the child feel insecure or fearful, often while still in the womb.

Children who are fearful and hurt do things to harm others. We tend to react to being hurt by hurting others. In this way, children inherit the sins of their parents without the powers of evil having to do much at all.

If we have good parents, the influence of the spiritual powers of evil will be minimised. But if our parents are really held tight by the evil powers, we might be permanently corrupted by them when growing up, and get a serious taste of evil. If the harm is severe, they might be able to influence us to pursue evil. Unfortunately, this happens to some people.

Christian Parents
Being born to parents who have been set free from their spiritual captivity by choosing to serve Jesus is a huge advantage. The spiritual powers of evil will harass their children to prevent them from escaping too. They will prompt the parents to upset their children in ways that will cause them to respond by sinning.

The spiritual battle is stacked against us. There are millions of evil spirits in the world, waiting to attack every human born and tip them into sin before they are aware of what is happening. Therefore, it is not surprising that all humans have sinned. This gives the spiritual powers of evil an ongoing authority over us until we are set free by faith in Jesus.

Our spiritual antennae have not been switched off by something that has changed in our brains. Rather our spiritual senses are shut down by guilt and shame. The spiritual powers of evil can use deception to cloud our thinking, so they use this power to push shameful and proud people into sinful behaviour. That is original sin.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Original Sin (4) Corrupted Soul or Body?

Apart from deceiving them into sinning, what harm did the spiritual powers of evil do to Adam and Eve? Did they corrupt the human soul in some way? Did they destroy our spiritual discernment and their ability to discern spiritually?

  • Our mortality was not a work of the spiritual powers of evil. We now die after 80 to 90 years. The first humans lived much longer than that, but I don’t believe that God created us immortal. I believe that humans needed access to the tree of life to live forever. Adam and Eve lost that, but we regain it through Jesus.

  • Fallen humans were made vulnerable to sickness. This is mostly because the spiritual powers of evil created bacteria, viruses and various parasites that could attack the human body and make us sick and sometimes cause us to die. I don’t know if they were able to manipulate Adam and Eve’s DNA to make them and their descendants vulnerable to sickness. I am not sure if they did, but they did learn how to attack the DNA of individual humans to generate cancer and other diseases. Some of these genetic weaknesses are passed on to children. However, I am not sure that they were able to establish a genetic weakness that affects all humans.

  • I am not sure that the spiritual powers of evil were able to touch the souls or spirits to change Adam and Eve so that they and all their descendants could no longer discern spiritual things. After they had sinned, Adam and Eve were aware of the presence of God and could still communicate with them, so they had not lost all their spiritual sensitivity. Cain, Enoch and Noah, were their descendants, but they were still able to hear God speaking.

  • I believe that the main weapon of the spiritual powers of evil to shut Adam and Eve down spiritually were guilt and shame. Their main issue when God came near them was shame, so they tried to cover themselves with clothes made of fig leaves, but this did not resolve their guilt, and their shame remained. Shame created a serious barrier between them and God. Shame sunk into their soul and made them spiritually blind.

Cruel and Nasty

Monetary policy is an ugly and cruel fraud.

Economists use the term “monetary policy” to describe the role of central banks (the Reserve Bank here in NZ, the Federal Reserve in the US, and the Bank of England in the UK). Central banks are responsible for managing the supply of money to their economy, including the issue of banknotes and coins. These days the issue of notes and coins is less important, so their main role is controlling the supply of bank money.

In the 1960s and 1970s, most central banks used “reserve ratios” to control the supply of bank money, ie they set the percentage of their loans that the banks had to hold in reserve. They often regulated the amount of lending to different sectors of the economy and operated capital controls to stop money from leaving the country.

In recent decades, they have switched to “inflation targeting” and controlling the supply of money by adjusting the interest rates that banks have to pay for borrowing from the central bank (the Overnight Cash Rate OCR in New Zealand). The central bank adjusts this rate every few months depending on the rate of inflation in the economy. All interest rates in the economy tend to move in the same direction (eg mortgage rates and fixed deposit rates). Economists call this activity “monetary policy”.

In my view, monetary policy is a vicious fraud.

The ugliness of this approach was highlighted here in New Zealand yesterday, when a few economists suggested that the Reserve Bank needs 50,000 people to become unemployed to bring inflation under control (the Governor of the Reserve Bank will not say this openly). This is barbaric. To control inflation, 50,000 people will have to lose their jobs (In the United States and the UK, they will be millions). How is that humane?

What will happen to these people who lose their jobs?

  • The worst affected will be people whose lives are already precarious.

  • Some will get new jobs, but this does not help the inflation problem.

  • The Reserve Bank needs people to permanently lose their jobs.

  • Some will be unemployed for quite some time.

  • Some will get an unemployment benefit, but many will not because they have a spouse who is still employed.

  • Even those who get a benefit will have a significant loss of income, which will set them back in life.

  • Many of these people who lose their jobs will have children.

  • What effect will an unemployed parent have on children in crucial stages of development? No one knows what the long-term effect on these children will be. Some will suffer irreversible harm.

I do not understand how economists can be so blasé about the economic and social effects of Reserve Bank activities. No wonder economics is called a dismal science.

The worst thing is that the 50,000 people who must lose their jobs to eliminate inflation were not responsible for the inflation that the Reserve Bank is worried about. Why should they suffer to solve a problem that they did not cause?

In recent decades, central banks have massively increased the supply of money by keeping interest rates at historically low levels, partly in response to the Global Financial Crisis and Covid. Low interest rates were supported by quantitative easing (buying up government bonds and other debt securities. The central banks claim that they took this action to keep the real economy (factories and shops) where people work from collapsing. However, most of the easy money flowed into the non-productive sectors.

In New Zealand, most of this easy credit flowed into the residential housing market, which benefited wealthy people at the expense of the poor. In the United States and the UK, in addition to residential property, most of the easy money flowed into equity and bond markets. The banking and finance sector made huge profits, and the wealth of the One Percent increased significantly, at a time when ordinary people were struggling economically.

Now, this easy money has flowed out into general inflation, supported by pointless sanctions on many food and energy products, and governments are getting worried.

However, if anyone should pay the price for bringing inflation under control, it should be those who have benefited from it over the past decades, especially the banks who have made excessive profits and the One Percent who have increased their wealth. Only a mean and nasty government agency would throw 50,000 New Zealanders, who are mostly poor, onto the economic scrap heap to correct a problem that benefitted other people.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Original Sin (3) Unclear Process

The doctrine of original sin does not explain the process by which human souls are corrupted. How were humans changed so that they find it hard to do good? Who inflicted this harm? What did they do? What has deadened our facility that has the ability to see into the spiritual realms and communicate with the beings that populate it?

There are three possibilities. God did it. Humans did it to themselves. Or the powers of evil did it.

1. God
Most theologians imply that in response to Adam’s sin, God changed the human soul so that it was corrupted and incapable of doing good. The reason that theologians do not come out and say this directly is that it makes God the author of evil. It seems odd that God would change humans so that they would be more evil.

The other problem with this option is that there is no record in the scriptures of God corrupting human nature. When God announced the curse that Adam had put on himself by sinning, he explained that the earth would be corrupted so that thorns and thistles would grow, making it hard to grow the food he needed (Gen 3:17-9). He was going from living in abundance to living under scarcity. Genesis is clear that Adam was not corrupted. It was the ground that would be affected.

Eve was changed so that delivering babies would become painful, but there is no suggestion that she was changed so that she had a propensity to do evil. Rather, God said that women would continue to be drawn to men, which is a good thing (even if they dominated them harshly).

The scriptures never suggest that God corrupted the human soul to make original sin effective.

2. Self-Corrupting Humans
The second possibility is that humans corrupted themselves. It is possible that God made Adam and Eve in such a way that if they sinned, their souls would be totally corrupted by that one act. The problem with this option is that God created Adam and Eve in his image, so it is hard to believe that he created them so fragile that one sin would totally destroy his image and turn them into the opposite of how he created them.

According to Genesis, the souls of Adam and Eve were not totally corrupted at the moment that they sinned. They carried great shame, so this naturally made them afraid of God. They tried to cover their shame by making covering of leaves, which shows that they still wanted to do the right thing. If they were fully corrupted, they would have been delighting in their evil state. They were still seeking and listening to God when he came to them, so it seems that they were not in the state that the doctrine of original sin said that they should be in.

3. Spiritual Powers of Evil
The more plausible option is that the spiritual powers of evil harmed the souls of the first humans so that they struggle to serve God and develops a propensity to do evil.

When Adam and Eve were deceived into sinning, they were surrounded by millions of evil spirits who continued to harass them and persuade them to continue sinning. (Most had gone off to attack the animal world and plant world and to harm the earth that God had created, but many would have continued to attack the first humans.)

Paul tells us that Death and Sin ruled from the time of Adam until the giving of the law. Death had gained authority over Adam and Eve when they had sinned, so he was able to control them. God had warned of this when he had said that if they disobeyed, they would die of death. Death stirred up Cain to kill Abel. Cain then became scared of other humans trying to kill him (Gen 4:13-14). He knew that Death was at work in the world. Death continued to wreak havoc on earth up until the flood when he caused huge numbers of people to die by attempting to wreck the earth.

The spiritual powers of evil continue to harass people and deceive them into sinning.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Original Sin (2) Too Much

The doctrine of original sin explains too much. Despite the claims of the Calvinists, the human soul has not been totally corrupted. Unregenerate humans can still do good, and many do far more good, than some Christians. The people that I know are not totally corrupt. Some are very loving and kind. They often make good choices. They have often sacrificed their lives for the good of others. Most people still seem to have an active conscience, although, like Christians, they can choose to ignore it.

Most humans can hear God speak. Adam and Eve continued to be aware of God and continued to hear his voice after they had sinned. The scriptures give many examples of people who had rejected God, but who could still hear him speak. Some humans see into the spiritual realms, but only see the bad side.

A few humans get caught up with evil and pursue it seriously in an ugly way, but that seems to be quite rare. The behaviour of most non-Christians is not much different from those who have chosen to follow Jesus. All humans seem to be able to make a choice between doing good and doing evil.

Saying that humans are all totally corrupt is misleading and unfair. We should be more precise about how humans were changed by the fall.

Spiritually Blind
We live in a reality that is both physical and spiritual. The spiritual realm is probably more important than the physical, but we see the physical side of reality far more clearly than we see the spiritual, possible due to the fall.

Humans obviously have a facility within us (not floating over us, or beside us) that has the ability to observe and communicate into the spiritual dimension of life. That ability has been badly damaged by the fall (original sin is not a very good term for describing what happened). I presume that this facility is within the brain (not the heart, which is just a pump that responds to adrenaline), but I have no idea how it actually works.

Some Christians call this facility their “spirit”, and there may be some scriptural justification for that, but that does not tell us much more, given that the Greek and Hebrew words for spirit also mean wind, which suggests something that can’t be seen, but has an effect that can be observed.

Some people have this facility to observe the spiritual world with a greater capacity than others do, just as some have greater intelligence and some have heightened compassion. I do not think it is just a gift of the Spirit (although discernment is one of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives) because some non-believers have this heightened ability too.

No matter how much neuroscientists learn, they will not be able to see this facility because their tools can never observe the spiritual dimension. They might pick up the effect of the spiritual on the physical, but they will not be able to observe the interaction. They will see effects in other parts of the brain, but they will never know what caused them.

I reckon that the deadening of this facility that interacts with the spiritual realms is the major effect of the fall. I presume that it is restored when we are born again. However, it is essential for followers of Jesus to be aware that they have this facility, and develop their ability to use it. This awareness is something that has been lost with the secularisation of our culture.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Original Sin (1) Origin

Augustine of Hippo developed the doctrine of Original Sin in the fourth century AD with his claim that when Adam and Eve’s sinned, all humans sinned with them. Participation in original sin means that all humans:

  • share in the guilt and shame of Adam and Eve;
  • have completely lost their original righteousness;
  • have a nature that is utterly corrupted;
  • are incapable of doing good;
  • are utterly disabled and opposed to all good.
  • cannot please God in any way.
  • lack spiritual discernment.
While not doubting the seriousness of human sin and its impact on human life, I have several problems with this doctrine.

Bad Translation of Romans
Augustine relied on a Latin translation of Paul’s letter to the Romans. He used Romans 5:12 to develop his doctrine of original sin, but the Latin translation was defective and misleading. His misconception has travelled through into most modern English translations. A literal translation of the Greek text follows

Therefore, just as through one man,
the Sin entered into the cosmos,
and the Death through the Sin,
so also Death spread to all humanity,
whereupon all sinned.
The first part of this verse is quite clear. One man called Adam opened the way for sin to penetrate the world. And his sin opened the way for death to enter the world.

The second half is trickier because it says that Death got hold of all humanity, and that caused all humans to sin. The problem is that this is the wrong way around for traditional teaching. So most English translations change the last line into “because all sinned”. Translators prefer this reading because it makes sin the cause of death, which fits with their theology, but it is a distortion of Paul’s words, and it does not explain how or why all people sinned. It just states that they did, whereas Paul is doing something deeper.

Paul says that after the first man sinned, Death spread to all humanity. This becomes clearer if we understand that in this part of Paul’s letter, Sin, Death and Wrath are strong spiritual powers (called world dominators). Chapters five to seven of his letter are easier to follow if we understand this reality. Adam and Eve were deceived by a tricky spirit called Satan the accuser. Although, they submitted to his authority and came into his captivity, he was quickly pushed aside by a more powerful world dominator called Death.

Paul says that Death controlled the world from Adam to Moses. He even reigned over those who did not sin like Adam (Rom 5:14). This is interesting because Death had control in many places where there has been no sin, ie Death got there before Sin, although he often worked with him. Death usually got there first.

Paul explains that Death gained control over all humans and opened the way for his mate called Sin to attack them and get control of them. This is how Sin got at all people. So the pattern in Romans 5:12 is correct. Death got control of all humanity, and following that, Sin spread his control to them all. Death gained control over them and he allowed Sin to attack everyone, and as a result of his pressure, everyone has sinned.

Paul confirms this view in 1 Corinthians 15:56.

The sting of the Death is the Sin, and the power of the Sin is the law.
Death is not the sting of sin. Sin is the sting of death. It is Death that initiates the sting. Sin is the consequence of the sting.

If we understand that Sin and Death are powerful spiritual beings, this verse makes more sense. Sin gained his power from the law. Once God had given the law that specified crimes (and punishments), Sin used the law as a basis to accuse people and demand that God punish them. This massively increased his power on earth.

Prior to the giving of the Law, Death was the dominant spiritual power on earth. He worked with Destruction to terrible stuff on earth in the season between the fall to the flood. He also empowered Sin to work on earth as his sting. It was another way of saying that Sin was his sidekick.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Fake Friendliness

I notice that many Christian Influencers frequently use my Christian name to introduce their promotional emails. This makes it seem like they know me personally.

Hi Bill
I have something important to tell you...
Hi Jack,
How do you become a man that truly shapes history?
I realise that modern software makes this fake friendliness easy to achieve, but it is dishonest, given that the email sender does not know me, and if truth be known, has no intention of getting to know me.

These influencers are pretending to be my friend to promote their ministry by making me feel good. I am surprised that Christians have taken this dishonest practice over from worldly advertisers. It is an ugly side of an insidious celebrity culture that has permeated the church.

Thursday, September 15, 2022


I am intrigued by the way that people identify with sports teams in the regions where they live. When the local team wins, they say, “We had a great win last night”. When the team loses, they say, “We played badly”. Speaking about an upcoming game, they say, “I hope we can win”.

I never use the pronoun “we” when referring to a sports team. I always say “they” because they are not me. If the local team wins, I am not entitled to take any credit for it. I did not play a single second of the game. I did not give them wise plans about how to play. I did not contribute to the cost of running the team (unless I bought one of their sponsor’s products by mistake) so I cannot take credit for their achievements. If they have won a tough game, the team and their management are the only ones who can take credit. They won; I didn’t.

It seems that people have a deep need to identify with something bigger and more powerful than themselves. For some, it is a sports team. For others, it is a nation. However, the danger with this drive is that it can easily slip into idolatry. I have found that my need to identify with something bigger than myself is fulfilled by God. He does it for me, so I don’t need to identify with a sports team or a nation.

This need to identify with something bigger and more powerful seems to have had the same emotional and spiritual drivers as the loyalty of the Old Testament Israelites to their local “high place”. The following is a common expression in the Old Testament,

Yet the high places were not taken away; the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places (2 Kings 12:3).
The high place was a local geographic feature to which the people were attached. They often placed a Baal there because it represented power and control. These people were not stupid, so I presume they knew that the power of the high place was not real. When Gideon cut down his father’s idol, he was not scared of what the idol would do to him. He was afraid of what his father and the other people in the village would do (they had real power).

The people were attached to these high places because they had a need to identify with something bigger and better than themselves, but God saw it as idolatry.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022


When Paul travelled up to Jerusalem for the last time with an offering from the Gentile churches to support the church in Jerusalem, he took eight men with him (Acts 20:4-6).

  • Sopater of Berea
  • Aristarchus of Thessalonica
  • Secundus of Thessaloncica
  • Gaius of Derbe
  • Timothy
  • Tychicus
  • Trophimus
  • Luke.
I don’t think that they were there for the glory. Rather, he was carrying a significant amount of money, most likely in gold coins. This made it a dangerous journey.

At the time, there was no police protection. If someone beat Paul up, and took his coins, there was no police force to track them down and restore what was stolen. The money so carefully collected would be gone forever.

Paul took eight men with him for protection, not so he could beat up the potential thief, but to provide weight of numbers for safety. When several people stand together in unity, praying for protection, it would be a bold person that would take them on.

More at Defence and War.

Friday, September 09, 2022

Widows Wealth - Meaning of the Parable

One of the enemy’s cleverest tricks is persuading humans that their problem is with God, rather than with them. The spiritual powers of evil have persuaded most people that God is angry with them, and needs to be appeased, when the truth is that it is they who are angry with us and want us to suffer. They needed to be appeased, because humans unwittingly placed ourselves under their authority and they refused to set us free. Jesus died to redeem us from their power, because that is the price that they demanded for setting us free (when they made that demand, they presumed Jesus would not be willing to do it, so they would not lose their slaves).

If our gospel requires God to whack a good son to relieve his anger towards a bad son, we have got something seriously wrong. (We certainly dont understand the parable of the Prodigal Son.

It can’t be God’s justice that requires the good son to be whacked on behalf of the bad son, because punishing one son for the sins of another is not justice.

Widows Wealth

A widow had two sons. She gave each son half of her wealth to manage on her behalf. The youngest son listened to his mother’s advice and made good investment decisions that gained a good return. Unfortunately, the eldest son did his own thing and made some bad decisions, which led to a massive loss of her wealth.

The widow was really upset by her elder son. He was embarrassed by his mistakes, so he tended to avoid her, while he attempted to recover the wealth that he had lost. Unfortunately, everything that he did made the situation worse, so his shame increased. Worse still, the debt collectors were after him and wanted to throw him in prison.

The widow loved her son and was sad that he did not come to see her. She was sadder about that than she was about the loss of money. She had some strategies that would have worked for the younger son, which would have helped her older son do better, but shame prevented him from receiving them from her.

A Christian friend of the widow who was concerned about the barrier that had come between the mother and her eldest son organised for some gang members to beat up the younger son. He said that the punishment inflicted on the younger son would cover the sins of the elder son and break down the barrier so they could be at peace.

Her other friends said that beating up her young son to deal with her anger with the oldest son was illogical. According to the scriptures, punishing one person for the sins of another is unjust, even if he is a brother.

The widow said she was not angry with either son, just frustrated with her friends. She told her oldest son that she had already forgiven him. Once he finally accepted that truth, their relationship was restored, although the wealth never was.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Widow’s Wealth – A Parable

A widow had two sons. She gave each son half of her wealth to manage on her behalf. The youngest son listened to his mother’s advice and made good investment decisions that gained a good return. Unfortunately, the eldest son did his own thing and made some bad decisions, which led to a massive loss of her wealth.

The widow was really upset by her elder son. He was embarrassed by his mistakes, so he tended to avoid her, while he attempted to recover the wealth that he had lost. Unfortunately, everything that he did made the situation worse, so his shame increased. Worse still, the debt collectors were after him and wanted to throw him in prison.

The widow loved her son and was sad that he did not come to see her. She was sadder about that than she was about the loss of money. She had some strategies that would have worked for the younger son, which would have helped her older son do better, but shame prevented him from receiving them from her.

A Christian friend of the widow who was concerned about the barrier that had come between the mother and her eldest son organised for some gang members to beat up the younger son. He said that the punishment inflicted on the younger son would cover the sins of the elder son and break down the barrier so they could be at peace.

Her other friends said that beating up her young son to deal with her anger with the oldest son was illogical. According to the scriptures, punishing one person for the sins of another is unjust, even if he is a brother.

The widow said she was not angry with either son, just frustrated with her friends. She told her oldest son that she had already forgiven him. Once he finally accepted that truth, their relationship was restored, although the wealth never was.

Saturday, September 03, 2022


The idea that Paul would tell Christians that they should submit to an emperor like Nero is absurd. Nero was a terrible man He did some evil things. Some historians think that he was mad. In many ways, Rome was a terrible empire. The small minority who were citizens had a good life. Many of the rest of the people were slaves, and those who were not slaves were often not much better off than slaves. The idea that God put Nero in place to make life on earth better for all people is ridiculous.

See Understanding Romans 13.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Future Church Strategy (10) Conclusion

I have been a little disconcerted by the response to my series of posts on Future Church Strategy. The posts describing the problems faced by the church were very well received, with lots of likes and positive comments. However, when I began to suggest solutions, the enthusiasm dropped away. I would not mind if people showed that my proposed solutions are unbiblical, or if they came up with better ones, but the lack of interest in doing something different is quite disturbing.

I have experienced this before. When I published my first critique of the church in the early 1980s, in a little booklet called the Bride of Christ, it was extremely well received. Several thousand copies went out very quickly (this was before the internet made communication easier). However, I noticed after a while that people were mainly interested in the critique of the church. The New Testament analysis of what the church should be seemed to have gone right past them.

When I republished the material under a new title with fuller and clear descriptions of how the New Testament teaches that the church should function, I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to leave out all criticism of the existing church and focus on sharing a positive vision. The book, called Being Church Where We Live, was not nearly so well received, although it shared the same concepts.

I conclude that people are aware of the severe problems the modern church faces but are unwilling to make the costly changes necessary to turn the situation around. They agree with the warnings about the challenges we are facing, but seem to be hoping that catastrophe will not happen, or if it does, they will be able to muddle through by doing what they are already doing.

Thinking this way is human, but it is a dangerous strategy for leaders, who should be showing their followers the path ahead. I can understand the New Zealand Rugby Union and the political leaders of the European Union adopting this “head in the sand” strategy, but I expect more of Christian leaders.