Bible Based Concerns for a Biden Administration or Any Other

I was recently reflecting on the issues that need much prayer if Joe Biden is finally confirmed as president, issues for which we need to pray much and in which we need a righteous stand.  Here are a few.  I call them Bible-based concerns or Torah based concerns.

  1. The abortion issue is #1.  While the greater saving of lives may be more by promotion and witness than by law, a law giving abortion rights to the end of the 9th month can and will bring terrible judgments on the nation.  A Biden administration will return to the policy of full funding for abortion re: Planned Parenthood.  Biden has said he will try to repeal the Hyde amendment which prevents taxes from direct use for abortion, thus giving a conscience respect to pro-life people.  Also, they would want to return to the policies of the Obama era seeking to strong-arm other nations to have abortion rights.
  2. The LGBTQ agenda which seeks to cancel all who morally opposes this agenda as haters and their views as hate speech.  This agenda includes forcing private creative art businesses to give their services to support gay marriages and other celebrations making the believer violate conscience.  It also requires biological men to be given access to women’s dressing rooms, or in schools to the shower rooms of the girls.  It may destroy women’s sports by allowing biological men to compete with girls.  It will require the military to accommodate transgenders as well.  There could be pressure for other nations to embrace the full scope of the LGBT agenda. 
  3. Religious freedom.  On this, there may be opposition to the non-profit status of organizations that do not do gay weddings and support the gay lifestyle.  Also, there may be a return to the Johnson amendment which restricts the free speech of churches.  Trump removed this restriction.   On other religious freedom, issues see #3 above.  We also need to be aware of the freedom of the team at the public school to pray publicly or the coach to pray without it being official.  Also, people have been fired for their public profession of their views on marriage, etc.  There is boycott and cancel culture pressure. 
  4. Defending persecuted Christians in other countries though American policy pressure may be weakened.  
  5. Censorship by social media and big tech of Christian/Messianic Jewish and conservative views may increase.  Paypal, banks, and other services can block accounts for organizations that support traditional values.  Tremendous pressure could be brought to bear on those who hold to traditional values. 
  6. The continued oppression of the black community by removing vouchers for private schools is possible.  In my view of biblical justice, every person has a right to educate their children in a world view context in which they believe and where they can succeed.    One of the keys to elevating the black poor is private vouchers to escape the cycle of failure and poverty.  
  7. Enterprise zones and opportunities for blacks by business incentives are important.  This includes apprenticing and training.  We need to pray these efforts developed by President Trump, Senator Tim Scott, and HUD Secretary Ben Carson continue. 
  8. The issue of prosecuting those who violated the law in bringing FISA spying applications against Trump officials and taking us through almost 4 years of investigations that were political and unjust may become moot.  We as Bible people do want justice. 
  9. Dealing with Antifa and the violent left and their destruction of businesses and cities may be very weak.  Will a Biden administration deal with the criminal acts of such people?  Biden will not be radical enough for these groups. 
  10. Support for Israel.  Will a Biden administration roll back the progress made on recognizing Jewish rights in Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and their rights to the Golan and to settlements in Judea and Samaria?  Or will they go so pro-Palestinian that the progress will be lost?
  11.  The Iran situation is a major issue for Bible believers.  It is our desire that Israel is protected, and that Iran never gets a nuclear bomb. They even profess that they would drop it on Tel Aviv.  Leaving the Iran deal and pushing hard on Iran in sanctions has been a key to the new alliances between Israel and Sunni Arab nations.   This is another crucial Israel issue. 

Let us pray much on these biblical issues, but first of all that we can share the Gospel with full freedom.  That Gospel includes content that some will now say is hate speech since the Gospel is good news in the light of our violation of the Law. The Law includes standards that are rejected by our society and warn people about sin and hell including sexual sin.  Without the Law, people do not see that they are in danger of Hell before a holy God.  See the book by Ray Comfort, Hell’s best Secret.  Do note that the Gospel preached as classically presented will be called hate speech.  We cannot stop that, but in the cancel culture, will the government seek to prevent such preaching and presentation? 

 

White Privilege and Black Challenges 

While staying at our hotel during the time we were teaching at the New Jerusalem Congregation outside of Wheaton, Illinois, I happened to hear an interview where the black person being interviewed gave one of the better presentations of white privilege.  Unfortunately, I did not get his name.  I think it was on ABC on Saturday morning.  

The subject explained that white privilege did not mean that there were not underprivileged whites or underprivileged from other ethnicities, but that blacks were underprivileged on the basis of the color of their skin in a unique way.  Therefore white skin color gives whites a leg up.  I thought about a time when I was ministering in Brazil.  I remarked that Brazil seemed to be a wonderfully integrated society.  Blacks and whites intermarried, and every shade of skin and variety of ethnic appearance was common.  My host disagreed with my conclusions and said that shades of skin color produce a hierarchy of privilege.  It was not that one could not succeed, but there was more of a barrier to the darker the skin.  I have no doubt that that is true.  Why is this the case?

  1. Human beings favor those that look like them.  They relate more easily to those with a greater reflection of their own appearance.  I cannot quote from the studies, but I have read such in the past.  Whatever group is a majority will tend to favor their own kind over against the minority. 
  2. Secondly, there is a fear of blacks, partly due to skin color favoritism in our psyche and partly due to the actual crime statistics.  However, this fear tends to diminish in a neighborhood where the middle class and upper-middle-class blacks live.  In one of our homes in Maryland where we lived for ten years, we had black neighbors next door and across the street.  I think all accepted them fully. Our children played together.  One was a veterinary doctor and the other in high tech.  Part of the issue is class status and not skin color.  However, where the police are concerned, the testimony is overwhelming that blacks are pulled over disproportionately without reason and are treated more harshly in the same situation as whites.  Note the testimony of Senator Tim Scott. 
  3. There is no question that the black community experiences a disproportionate level of economic disparity in economic outcomes.  
  4. Yet there are some realms where being black can give a leg up such as in school admissions at some universities.   

 

So, what is to be done?  Some argue that the answer is massive funding for reparations from slavery or affirmative action where the positions of blacks in schools, jobs, government service, and more is strictly proportionate to their numbers.  A spoils system thus replaces a meritocracy.  But this is not possible.  Does one really want an equal proportion of brain surgeons by fiat?  Or engineers to build buildings and bridges?  Or nuclear physicists?  The skill of creating a flourishing business cannot be parcel out to ethnic proportions. 

There can of course be government programs and incentives to help.  One is charter schools and vouchers for private schools for the parents’ choice.  A second is economic incentives for the father to marry and raise his children. Welfare can be so reformed.  Another is economic incentives for business development in the cities as well as incentives for businesses to train and hire. 

Ultimately, the solution will not be found by the disadvantaged becoming more and more demanding and bitter over their disadvantage.  Exponential spending increases sometimes throw good money after bad in programs that do not work.  50 years of experience causes us some doubt about many programs. 

This last week in devotions I was reading Matthew 5.  I have been reading the Bible since I was 12 ½ and read through it for the first time when I was 14.  I am more and more amazed by the Bible, its unity, and its profound quality.  I still find new insights and things I have missed.  Again, I was reading Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”  I prefer Luke’s version.  “Blessed are the poor.”  It is more stark, and leaves out the words “in spirit.”  Matthew 5 tracks with Luke 4, where Yeshua says that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him to, “Proclaim good news to the poor.”  The Gospel is the proclamation of a great reversal.  The poor become rich in faith through the Gospel and this leads to God’s provision. That through the power of God there is a supernatural quality to life that overcomes all the disadvantages, including one like mine in where I lost my father at a young age, or being raised with terribly dysfunctional families and yes, to being raised in the context of a poor black neighborhood with a single mother parent.  I am in favor of good programs as noted above, but I ultimately believe that only the Gospel can enable the marginalized to overcome; it will not come by quotas or asserting victim status. This only breeds division as we see with the offense Asians that they are not accepted at Harvard in proportion to their attainments.  The Gospel can lift people like nothing else and make people the heads who have been the tails.  Sometimes I dream that a mighty revival will hit black churches and bring about changes we can hardly imagine.  Then the blacks will lead the revival and the white churches will have to receive from the blacks.  The Azusa Street revival in 1906 that led to the formation of the Pentecostal Movement was led by a black preacher with an anointing that was unparalleled.  “Do it again Lord, but multiplied in city after city.”

 

 

Social-Political Action and the Antichrist

Some Christians have criticized other Christians for being too political.  Can we clarify what too political means?  

As a student of Wheaton College in the 1960s anti-war years, the Evangelical faculty held up the examples of the great reformers of the 19th Century.  We were inspired by the examples of ministers of the Gospel who also engaged fully in the political and social issues of their day.  The great revivalist Charles Finney and his fight against slavery is an example.  So also, Jonathan Blanchard, the founder of Wheaton who stated as written on his memorial plaque in the old main tower, Blanchard Tower, that his purpose and motivation was to see, “The Law of God become the law of the Land.”  This orientation continued until the end of the century when the Evangelicals fought against child labor and got child labor protection laws passed, also anti-prostitution laws.  The driving motivation was those matters that were foundational in Biblical law, morality, and ethics. Then what happened?  A theology developed in England under a teacher who taught that working to improve this world was a diversion from our effort to get people into heaven. This theology was marginal until World War I.  Two things then happened.  First, many of the large denominations began to accept German critical theories of the Bible and undercut confidence in the Bible and the Word of God.  Evolutionary ideas were part of this.  Secondly, the war-shattered confidence that Christian efforts could improve society in any meaningful way.  It would be a very short term gain at best, so our efforts should be to get people into the lifeboat to go to heaven.  Of course, people had to make a living so there would be vocations for Christians, but this was a secondary matter.  The great philosopher Dr. Arthur Holmes of Wheaton used to say in our class, “We have lost a hundred years.”  The consensus of Wheaton was for prayer, revival, evangelism, and also passionate social involvement.  The idea of influencing the cultural formation centers of society was a common desire.  

How much is too much social/political action?  I think we understood that if evangelism and discipleship were not strong the other spheres of society could not be influenced for good over the long term.  Prayer and the power of God were necessary to all.  A strong Church was the center and church vocations were highly valued. Everyone has to know their calling and the proportion of their investments in time and energy in different spheres of society, but also to recognize the importance of the whole.  When I left Wheaton, I did come to realize that most of Evangelical Christianity did not share the passion of Wheaton for this comprehensive emphasis. 

However, beyond this, there is another point.  When do we seek to mobilize the whole Church for political and social action in an unusual thrust of emphasis? Beyond normal responsibility.   History tells us that this is when the issues are foundational issues of Law and morality in the culture and matters of life and death.  The issue of slavery is a primary life and death struggle.  Those Evangelicals who believed this responded with great mobilization. This includes William Wilburforce at the beginning of the 19th century in England and those named above in America.  Of course, there were those of a more quietistic bent who criticized the involvement.  We at Wheaton were all in on the social involvement orientation and did not want to give the culture to the devil.  

There are issues that are matters of scientific-social study that do not rise to the level of primary life and death struggle.  For example, economic policy is a matter of what will produce the greatest good for the greatest number in the population.  Believers try to study the issues and take the best position they can.  We should be chastened by noting that there were Christian Socialists and not just anti-Christians socialists who wanted the state to control all and to shut down charities and churches.  Socialism is in my view is a wrong economic theory, but it is not inherently atheistic.  Christian socialists looked at the harsh individualism of unbridled capitalism as anti-Christian!  They certainly wanted robust Christian freedoms and human rights.  Many political issues are judgments about programs and policies that are debatable on an empirical basis. 

In the 20th century, two movements produced Christian mobilization for social and political action.  Sadly, both largely failed in the short term, but the witness they gave was important.  The two were the Christian resistance to Communism and Nazism.  Both were perceived as from the spirit of the Antichrist and had to be resisted at all costs.  It was a minority who made such resistance in martyrdom.  These resisters stood for human rights, conscience, and liberty. One great example is the Barman declaration which was signed in 1934.  This was early in Hitler’s reign before serious killings began.  However, they saw the tyranny of Hitler’s making the state dominant over the Church. Would that the greatest number of the churches would have been mobilized behind these courageous leaders.  History would have changed greatly for the good. They were criticized for their stand, but today we look back on this group of German pastors and theologians and see them as a bright testimony.  They saw the spirit of the antichrist and sought a mobilization of resistance.   However, most missed it and stayed submitted to the tyranny.  And most denied that things were so drastically bad.  This is one reason why the church in Germany is powerless today and constitutes a small minority. 

The spirit of the antichrist was also behind and is behind Marxist atheistic communism.  In Russia, the push back required small cells and underground action.  Many Christians were soon killed in the blood bath.  Yet, how many even in the west thought communism would be progress. Today we think of these resisters as heroes. 

The spirit of the antichrist coming into political control or potentially coming into political control justifies unusual mobilization for social and political involvement.  We need to resist the gathering storm and now wait until the full destruction comes upon us. If we perceive potentially life and death issues form an antichrist spirit gaining control in our nation, then an emphasis on mobilization, on promoting our cause, on information is justified.  We cannot shrink back at the cost of job loss or marginalization. We must speak out and live boldly.  No, those who do such are not overly political.  Yes, they have to always lead with the caveat of the centrality of prayer, evangelism, and discipleship wherever possible.  However, the mobilization is a fight of life and death.  When the great Detrick Bonhoeffer joined in the plot to kill Hitler, he did not have sufficient prayer support to bind the powers of darkness that protected Hitler. He was executed.  Today we see him as a hero.  

Christian survivors from Nazi and Communist oppression (some experienced both) warn us of the signs here.  Soft totalitarianism is here.  They argue that this is the time of resistance.  Christians often see it when it is too late.  They rationalize that it is not so bad.  Then great tragedy and death take place.  I would recommend Mike Brown’s great book Jezebel’s War on America.  He could have easily said Antichrist’s war on America.  There he gives an account of these life and death issues.  Cancel culture seeks to persecute Christians who preach God’s Law and traditional morality.  The issues of abortion to the 9th month, loss of religious freedom, cancel culture, and the loss of jobs for failure to salute to anti-Biblical agendas is a growing movement.  The LGBTQ agenda does not just foster basic freedom for their group but fosters shutting down those who have a different moral vision and accuse them (us) of hate speech.  Due to the cancel culture arising from this, people have lost jobs, low and high positions over the intimidation of these people.  It is life and death, not only in the matter of abortion, but the destruction of traditional norms in the society will lead to literal death.  The suicide rate of transgender people who do transition surgery commit suicide at a rate of more than 40% of the average.  See Mike Brown’s video, “In His Image,” on that.  The breakdown of sexual morality for relativistic sexual ideas leads to more criminality, violence, and death.  We can look at other issues that motivate.  Coddling Iran will lead to more death and indeed did so.  I believe that the anti-Israel orientation is of the antichrist spirit as is of course anti-Semitism.  More Christians will die in other lands from persecution without strong advocacy from the United States.  Then we have social media that has the ability to control buying and selling and communicating.  Pay Pal cancels accounts!  Banks refuse to lend. This is eerie and anticipates the mark of the beast as a requirement for buying and selling.   China has this down to a T.  My evaluation is that Christians did not become overly political.  Rather, they also bathed their involvement in prayer.  Were some carnal in their approach. Yes, maybe a large number but still a minority.  But I think the motive was an intuitive grasp, many unnamed, to rise up and push back against the antichrist.  One book I am loving that makes this so clear is by Rod Dreher, Live not by Lies.  The testimony of those who lived under antichrist oppression is key, and they are warning us that the country is drifting toward this.  Do I think our push back can succeed without revival?  No, but we must both seek revival and push back. Thank God for someone like Mike Brown who is so pushing and mobilizing others to resist.  So also Denis Prager, and Jorden Peterson.  Someone might ask about the radical right white supremacists.  Yes, this also is the spirit of the antichrist and must be resisted.  However, these folks do not control large corporations nor are they visible in legislatures and government leadership.  So, our battle has to be focused on where the problem is. With prayer, revival, and resistance, we can win.  If we don’t and we see more darkness and the tribulation is fully upon us, then our total victory is near. 

Seven Mountains and the Accusation of Being too Political

Some of my friends have argued that Trump lost the election because Evangelicals idolized Trump too much, and God was not pleased.  It is said that they were too much into politics and not enough emphasizing the Gospel and revival.  I really cannot judge this conclusion.  I know this was not true of most of my Facebook friends and others who supported Trump.  It may have been true of some, but no one has done an objective survey to prove this.  I have doubt that this is true.  I have seen some fall into this imbalance.  

However, it prompts me to again write on the 7 Mountains, that Christians are responsible to influence our society through the seven mountains that are the most important spheres in the cultural formation of a people.  The originators of this view, Bill Bright, head of Campus Crusade for Christ, and Loren Cunningham, the leader of Youth with a Mission, were not radical dominionists who believed that Christians were going to take over the whole world and rule before the return of Yeshua.   When I first heard this teaching in the charismatic world, my response was, “Well what do you know, the charismatic church is discovering Reformed theology.”  Calvin, Wesley, and many others taught that we were to work to see society submit to the Law of God; also Finny the revivalist and the founder of Wheaton, Jonathan Blanchard.  This is what motivated the anti-slave movement, and they were very involved in political actions.  Here is my take on the issue. 

Christians (and Messianic Jews) are responsible for engaging all the most important spheres of society (the seven mountains were called spheres by past thinkers).  However, the priorities have to be right.  One of the concerns I have had in the Seven Mountain teachers is that they present the issue as if all seven mountains are equal.  However, traditional sphere teaching from our forebears noted that the Church is the most important sphere, the largest mountain according to the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 16 on his establishing his Church where the gates of Hell would not prevail against it.   It is the Mount Everest of the mountains.  Unless the Church is revived, growing in evangelism and discipleship, and expanding its leadership, any hope for the other mountains or spheres to be conformed to the Law of God is not going to be successful.  Sometimes I think that the teaching on the seven mountains sees it as such a good thing that people go into the other mountains in vocations that we are not emphasizing raising sufficient numbers of leaders for the Church mountain.  The Church mountain disciples people for roles in all spheres. Then reformers taught that two other spheres are more central (two mountains are taller than all but the Church) than the others since everyone has to be involved in them. It is the family and civil government.  They did not single out education for they saw education as mostly in the family sphere and education as an extension of the Church and family.  One can see that these are the inescapable spheres.  They have a government which will affect our lives, and we have to be responsible for them.  So yes, it is true, before we look at education (the next most important) and media, arts, etc. we have to deal with the civil government. 

The way to frame the issue is not to say that Christians have become too political.  Many who say this really do not believe in the great importance of our civic responsibility. In normal times this is less a priority but still important. Each person and leader has to ask if the prosperity and success of the Church is our primary concern among the mountains even if our vocations are in the other spheres.  Unless this is in the right order, we will fail on our Kingdom of God extension and in our influence in the other mountains.  

In regard to the last election, then we some claim we were we too political.  I think that is a wrong way to ask it.  Rather it should be were believers giving too much emphasis to the importance of the direction of the civil sphere in their engaging this election.  It is difficult for me to generally agree with the critics on this, but I agree that this was true of some, but I don’t think most.  I think rather than the civic/political sphere can sometimes be life and death level issues for Christians/Messianic Jews.  If they see that the issues are at such a level, then to not fully engage in that season would be very irresponsible.  How can we judge being too engaged when we are talking about life and death.  

Let’s take an example.  When Hitler came to power, most German Churches either supported him while others disagreed but decided to be silent and not be political.  However, a group of Church leaders signed the Barman Declaration since they saw Hitler as superseding the place of God and his word and violating the sovereignty of God in the conscience of the Church and its members.  These leaders were accused of being too political by some.  Then they were persecuted by Hitler.  This was early in Hitler’s rule before it was clear to many that he would slaughter the Jewish people and engage in a world war.  Were they too political?  Most today now extol those leaders since they saw ahead on the issues of God’s sovereignty over both the state on the Church and the life and death issues that would follow. 

In the same way, we are dealing with the issues of the soft totalitarianism of the left that now have an influence in the Democratic party.  Some desire to limit religious freedom so that the baker and wedding planner are required to enable gay marriage.  Some have voiced the desire to remove the non-profit status of churches who do not approve of gay marriage.  There is clearly an attack on the sovereignty of God and the liberty of Christians.  Christian owned businesses are boycotted, denied concessions at airports, and more because the owner has Christian conviction.  Leaders are removed from their positions in companies because they have stood for Christian morality.  This is parallel to the issues of the Barman declaration.  They spoke out when they saw the state seeking to supersede the convictions of Christians based on the Scriptures and to assume a sovereignty only God could claim.  They became involved politically. Hence the Declaration of Independence notes that rights are God given, not granted by the State.  But the left does not believe this, and cancel culture seeks to destroy religious freedom rights by intimidation, firing and economic suppression. 

However, there are also life and death issue.   We are told that we are to “rescue those being led away to death.”  The abortion plague is one such life and death issue.  How can we be too political when our motive is life and death?  Then in addition, we know that open borders and loose policies dealing with undocumented immigrants who commit a crime will lead to death. It has already led to heinous deaths.  I am not against very open immigration policies, but we must filter out the criminal elements.  Open border policies and sanctuary policies are policies of death.  So also defunding the police policies will lead to much more death in minority communities. Reform, and better training yes, but a smaller police presence where gangs are shooting minorities?  Again, this will lead to death.  Note also the policies on religious persecution in other lands.  Not seeking to sanction those who persecute Christians will lead to more deaths. What else in policy will lead to more deaths?  Transgenderism will lead to much more suicide.  Those who have done the surgery have a 41% greater rate of suicide.  See the video by Michel L. Brown, The Image of God.  Also not supporting the family will lead to children without two parents leading to more delinquency and more gangs and drug dealing and death.  So also, destroying options to get out of the failing schools and to have vouchers and charters will lead to fewer escaping the treadmill of poverty. This also has an effect on crime and death.  

Never in my lifetime have I see the issues so much as life and death issues.  I think deep and concerned engagement is justified.  It is not being too political.  Having said that, I still think that the health of the Church, revival, evangelism, and discipleship should always be first in our hearts.  But how healthy is a church that does not engage then the issues are life and death issues?  

In the old days, the difference between the Democrats and Republicans was on the size of government programs, welfare programs, support for unions, etc.  The issues were not life and death. The Vietnam war was said to be Johnson’s war, a Democrat.  Civil rights were resisted by Southern Democrats and supported by the Republicans under Republican Everett Dirksen of Illinois.  It was in divide within the parties not between them.  Civil rights was a life and death issue, and it was right for the Church to fully engage.  Today we are dealing with historic life and death issues.  We may lose but we have to take a stand.  I don’t believe the Church was too politicized.  That young adults are said to have left the church over this is proof of the weakness of their relationships with Yeshua and their lack of discipleship in a biblical world view.  

Cancel Culture

While the presidential election hangs in the balance and looks bad for President Trump right now, I want to speak about one thing that I was glad about from him; pushing back against cancel culture. In a previous post, I recommended a book by Rod Dreher, “Live not by Lies,” that brilliantly shows the power of big tech, corporations, banks, pay pal type services, to destroy the lives of business and people that promote traditional religious views and morality over against the wrong philosophy of diversity (see Jordan Peterson on these topics). This has happened in the U. S. His description of the Chinese Communist Government, constantly surveilling their people and bankrupting them if they do not conform was very alarming. Our dear friends in China are willing to go to torture and death for Jesus, but can they withstand being shut down totally by the power of the state? I have to believe that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church   But what has come in the United States is a softer version of what we see in China. It is still terribly dangerous. We see the control by Facebook, Twitter, and more. We can and should create alternative social media. We should be able to move all our friends to the new service with us.  This is being discussed in the congress. We should own our own data. 

When a bank will not give an account to your business because you are not politically correct and buys into the wrong definitions of the left “woke” social justice movement, we are in for trouble. One of the great inventors in the tech industry, Brendan Eich, was hounded out of his position as CEO of Mozilla. He was a founder of the company but “woke” employees drove him out for a position that was professed by President Obama 12 years ago!  Eich created the famous Java script programming. His sin? He supported Proposition 8 in California against gay marriage which at that time was passed by the voters, though later thrown out by the judges. But more minor infractions get one fired. Bobby Beathard built the great championships teams of the Washington Redskins football team. His son, an NFL former player, is a believer in Jesus. On his door after his resignation, he wrote, “All lives matter to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” That is a violation. There are other coaches who were fired for public praying though not forcing anyone to pray with them.  We see an Atlanta Fire Chief fired for his book on marriage teaching traditional morality and marriage. 

What are we seeing? The powers in our culture are going after those who promote historic Christian moral positions. They are economically pressured to conform or else. Beto O’rourke, a former candidate for President, asserts that Churches that do not support gay marriage should lose their tax-exempt status. All of this is religious discrimination pure and simple. Though discrimination due to religion is illegal as is racial discrimination, violations are not being enforced. Religious rights are not just about private behavior but a public profession, promotion, and evangelism!! We need to see more legislation to protect religious freedom. A few years ago, Vice President Pence, as Indiana governor, instituted protections for traditional people to opt-out of personal public support in their private businesses so as to not foster events endorsing what is traditionally considered immorality. The big tech giants said they would not do business in Indiana. Pence backed down. We need legislation for religious freedom. I am hopeful that cases before the Supreme Court might reaffirm that according to the first amendment that such discrimination is illegal. Those who are discriminated against should be able to sue for big damages. Also, those who are forced to personally support immorality when they have a private artistic business should have liberty. This is a big matter for prayer. I wonder how many of my friends realize that this is happening.  This is part of what we mean by cancel culture. 

 

A Leftist Worldview Political Sign

A few years ago, we bought a house in Kansas City, Missouri.  It is our base for travel in the United States and South America.  The prices are the best, so inexpensive for a very nice neighborhood!  We have the basement for ourselves and rent the upstairs.  We noted that some have Biden/Harris signs.   There were no Trump/Pence signs.  It is too dangerous since the leftist (not all Democrats) will remove the signs, burn them or even vandalize the house.  You can see a few pro-Trump people, but their sign says, “Vote Life.”  However, there is another sign that has been put out by Democratic Voters.  It is a whole philosophy in a nutshell.  It says,  

Black Lives Matter

Love is Love

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

No human is illegal

Science is Real

Kindness is Everything 

Before my analysis, take a self-quiz and ask if you can interpret each phrase.  Here is my attempt.   

I can unabashedly say, Black Lives Matter.  And indeed, I can understand that saying “All lives matter” is not a fair response because the proponent is calling attention to black lives.  However, the majority of people in this movement do have a slant, and being really accepted in the movement is buying into the slant.  It is that the primary problem of the poor black community is police racism and brutality.  It is a significant problem with a minority of police and I supported black Senator Tim Scott’s reform bill.  But I don’t believe that systemic racism and the police are the primary problem.  I think the primary problem is that that many need the Gospel.  The other issue is policy, bad policy that does not end the killing of black on black crime and provide real education and jobs.  Yes, there is racism, but I disagree with how the issues are framed.  I follow great civil rights leaders like Robert Woodson on this. 

Love is Love is a pro-LGBTQ statement.  If you study the biblical term for love in Hebrew, Ahava, it is indeed true that this word is used for all kinds of love, both loving good, and loving evil.  All love is not good. Some love is good, and some love is bad.  We are commanded to only love what God loves and reject what God rejects.  The command for us to love is based on a biblical definition which I have summarized.  “Godly love is passionate identification with others that seeks their good guided by God’s Law.  Their good is God’s good intended destiny for them.” In this regard, we seek only to endorse love within the boundaries of God’s will.  No, not all love is legitimate.  

Women’s rights are Human Rights.  Amen to the statement but not their meaning.  Do I want to see women treated well, not abused, not treated as sex objects, and given equal wages for the same job?  Absolutely.  But underneath this statement is abortion as a human right.  Women’s rights do not extend to killing another pre-born human being.  This will coarsen the whole culture, leads to God’s judgment, and has a connection to future infanticide (this is being defended now by some), killing the old and those who are handicapped.  

No Human is Illegal.  Well, of course, every human is legal as created in the image of God, but not all immigrants are legal because they did not come legally.  So, there are legal and illegal immigrants.  There are various responses to this from people who believe in open borders, to legalizing the dreamers, children who grew up here, to legalizing people who are here, productive and long-term residents.  This can be argued while securing the border and controlling the number of immigrants in the future according to the absorption capacity of the country and not undercutting the jobs and wages of the lower-income people.  It is also important to keep out criminals, drug dealers, human trafficking, and violent gang members.  These people harm Hispanic immigrants the most.  This phrase, with some, is a call for open borders. 

Science is Real.  I am a student of the theory of knowledge, epistemology.  As part of that, we study the nature of science.  Scientific conclusions are rarely settled conclusions and new information is often changing the conclusions.  This statement is a call to bow to the prevailing opinions of science, sometimes propaganda masquerading as a science like the opining that transgender surgery is safe and good, or that children with gender dysphoria have enough of a clue to choose their gender (the great majority grow out of it if given the chance).  On COVID and how best to overcome it, and on global warming, there are credible scientists who disagree with prevailing opinions and how best to respond.  We need to hear them and not cancel them.  This statement is really an anti-science statement.  It is rather saying, completely support the prevailing public media opinion on what science is saying.  This would be the end of much scientific progress.  

Kindness is Everything.  No, kindness is not everything.  Loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength and mind is everything and then “loving your neighbor as yourself.”  Love is defined by my response to the “Love is love” statement above.  God tells us to not be kind to people who do capital crimes in the Torah.  Kindness to such criminals is cruel to the victims.  Kindness itself is usually very good and important but it also has to be exercised within the boundaries of the will of God. 

These statements probably indicate an anti-biblical anti-classical moral viewpoint. 

Revealing the Hearts of Many

I write this just a few days before I am to fly to the United States.  Our trip was delayed and was to have taken place in mid-May but our flight was finally scheduled by El Al for Thursday night. As I was praying today, the words spoken about John the Baptist were given to me, “So that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”  I saw immediately the application to Donald Trump and this election season.  Facebook now is a great revealer of those thoughts.  I am only speaking of professed believers.  

Read this as a phrase introducing each point.  The thoughts of many show . . . 

  1. disdain for their fellow believers who do not agree with them about voting for Donald Trump.  That is troubling.  They belittle others.  
  2. that they really have succumbed to a humanistic spirit and have gone soft on the LGBT agenda and its danger to religious freedom.  
  3. that they really have gone soft on abortion and are willing to support those who have a radical abortion agenda.
  4. that they really do not see the centrality of Israel and the progress that has been made with Iran, the new peace agreements and moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
  5. that they almost idolize Donald Trump and will take any criticism of him as illegitimate. 
  6. that they are narrow in partisanship and do not see that some ideas from the Democrats are important and right.
  7. that they are narrow in partisanship and do not see that some ideas form Republicans are right. 
  8. that they are weak in defending the importance of law and order when parts of the U. S. cities are burning. 
  9. that they are weak in their passion for civil rights for all and making more progress against racism. 
  10.  that they will accommodate radicals and their agenda or ignore that agenda to show they support black lives. 
  11.  that they dismiss evidence with a back of the hand brush off without seriously looking into the evidence. 
  12.  they have fallen into the partisanship of those who deal with the COVID crisis and dismiss either the consensus or those who are credible and disagree. 
  13.  that they live in information bubbles and do not fairly take into account narratives and evidence that disagree with their favored narrative.      
  14. that there is backsliding form Biblical Law as the norming norm that should determine our orientation to everything in life, including political and social issues. 
  15. That they really want acceptance from the mainstream society; to look reasonable and with it. 

 

I think it is the intention of God that all will check their hearts and repent where they have fallen into sub biblical orientations.  I again note Mike Brown’s book on Will Evangelicals Pass the Trump Test.  As a revivalist, you can imagine that Mike is very good on many of these points.  I hope and pray that many are seeing these points; I know several who are. May it lead to deeper prayer and the revival we all seek.

Why are Secularists so Interested in Life from Outer Space?

We frequently read news article about life from outer space.  This is presented with great excitement.  It is not that life has been found.  Rather, the scientists have found planets that have conditions that are thought capable of supporting life.  In addition, scientist have found pre life chemical constituents that are considered by evolutionists to be the building blocks that could evolved into life.  These discoveries are then linked to the idea that inorganic matter in the right circumstances will of course produce life because naturalistic evolution is true.  

At this point, no one has yet shown how inanimate matter can give rise to even the lowest forms of life and not even close to the massively complex organization of a simple living cell.  The massive unproven additional assumption and propaganda is that if life is found, it establishes evolution.  Yet, the central issue with evolution and life as pointed out by many, like Orthodox Jewish scientist Gerald Schroeder, is that there is no scientific explanation that shows the remotest possibility that life could evolve form non-life or that a cell could evolve from pre- cell components.  The complexity of the cell is like a whole city and could never be explained by naturalistic evolution.  This is pointed out as well in a book by America’s possibly leading philosopher, Thomas Nagel in his book Mind and Cosmos.  Therefore, if life were found, it would only prove that God, for reasons known only to him, had created life on other planets. The great literary giant and apologist C. S. Lewis accepted this possibility.  

The same orientation is found in those who are caught up in the quest for information on unidentified flying objects, UFOs,  with the exciting idea that earth has been visited by intelligent beings from outer space.  Classified information about this is now being released.  For the secularist again, somehow this would be an evidence in favor of naturalistic evolution.  This is a non-sequitur, that is something not logically entailed.  There is simply no connection between evidence for naturalistic evolution to visitations from outer space beings.  All of the massive objections to naturalistic evolution remain.  God may have created life on other planets. The Bible also teaches that God created other intelligent beings called angels or messengers.  We know very little about such beings, how they operate or fallen angels and where they live and how they operate.  

The way such issues are presented is self-delusional, based on assumptions and not on evidence at all.  The human quest to refute the conclusion that life is a product of intelligent design is futile quest that is bound to fail forever.  The way these issues are presented is often propaganda for naturalistic evolution.     

 

 

 

Hoshana Rabba

The seventh day of Sukkot is called Hoshana Rabba in Judaism.  I am sending this out to you since this day begins this Thursday evening.  I previously sent a post on the meaning of Sukkot in general.  Now I want to concentrate on this Seventh day.  Remember the 8th day celebration that follows, a day of new creation.  That is also an important sabbath day.

This Feast is connected to prayers for rain and good crops for the coming year.  As we have just celebrated the end of the year’s harvest, we look forward already to the new harvest that will come at Shavuot or Pentecost.  The key to that harvest is rain and hence the prayer for rain with the hope that the early rains will start soon after the Feast and then continue into the Spring where we will see the latter rains.  We are so much more conscious of this living in Israel.  It is was on this very day of the Feast that Yeshua stood up and said,

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.  Now He said this about the Ruach whom those who trusted in Him were going to receive; for the Ruach was not yet given since Yeshua was not yet glorified.”

As rain produces fruitfulness and both satisfies our thirst and brings increase, so the Spirit satisfies our spiritual longing and brings increase, for by the Spirit we are able to see the harvest of people into the Kingdom.  It is again fitting to remember the harvest themes of this season.

Scholars tall us that this might have been spoken in the context of the water pouring ceremonies at that time.  The priest would draw water from the pool of Siloam and put this out in the Temple as an offering, signifying both giving our lives and calling for rain as well.

A great miracle was also connected to this time; the healing of the blind man in John 9.  We again have a Sukkot theme, namely that Yeshua is the light of the World.  This statement of Yeshua in John 8:12 promises those who follow Him will have the light of life.  Thus the blind man is healed as an illustration in the physical of being healed of our spiritual blindness.  His words, “I was blind, but now I see.” John 9:25.   The context is the glory of the lamps that were lit in the court of the women that produced a grand glory over the Temple and the City.

As we celebrate Hoshana Rabba, let us remember these wonderful themes and renew pray for the renewal of the power of the Spirit in us so that we may have inner satisfaction, walk in His light and be part of the great harvest. It is fitting to pray for revival indeed.

Black Lives Matters Demands

The Black Lives Matter organization demands are less about saving black lives and more about enforcing a socialist ideology.  I believe it is a pretext and front organization for a Marxist revolution.  They are using the blacks intentionally through false narratives to foster the revolution. The BLM leaders in the national organization have exposed this and the local chapter leaders are indeed on board. What do they seek?  Do the protestors know what the BLM organization is seeking?  I doubt many do.  The more violent ones may know their demands.  I have printed their demands as they listed them.  Here are a few responses.

  1. End the war on black people

Because there is not a war against black people, you can never meet the demand.  This is a demand leading to never-ending conflict.  There are about 7,500 blacks killed by black on black crime per year.  President Trump and the Congress already passed sentencing reforms to remove unfair sentences for blacks.  The police caused about 12 unarmed black deaths per year that are questioned and some do lead to police convictions.  However, there is no war on black people.  However, there is systemic black racial disparity in achievement and life positions.   This can only be solved by restoring the black family, incentivizing welfare to do this with workfare so poor blacks have stable jobs.  It is by restoring the black family which BLM rejects as a goal.  One huge issue is black education through charters and private schools that delivers the funds to the black parents instead of some very well-funded failing schools.  And of course, for us, the Gospel and the Church are the most important keys.

  1. Reparations for past and continuing harms. 

Reparations mean that the guilty pay.  Who should pay for this?  Most Americans were immigrants after the period of slavery and had no relationship to slavery or Jim Crow.  Should they pay?  Only if being white makes one guilty by skin color which is a BLM theme.  Or should Hispanics pay?  They are a larger and larger portion of the citizens.  Should the Asian immigrants pay for it in their taxes?  It is fair to them?  Should black immigrants from Africa pay?  Who receives and who pays?  Do the African immigrants pay or receive?  This is another demand that can never be met.  New programs to lift the poor in education, job training, enterprise zones, mentoring programs can and should be paid for.  Programs for the poor cannot be racially based, but programs for the poor will most impact blacks.  There is no clarity on this demand and just giving money away will end doing more harm than good.  Yes, we want to lift the poor and the Church has a key role in this. 

     2. Divestment from the institutions that criminalize, cage, and harm black people; and investment in the education, health, and safety of black people. (Invest-Divest)

This is another vague and impossible demand.  Prison reform has taken place under President Trump, not Obama.  Investing more in public education will be a failure.  Baltimore has the third most funded education per pupil.  BLM does not mean to call for private vouchers or charter schools, but socialist public education being given more money.  As communists, they would be against private religious schools.  The issue is not money but the family and competence in the schools  If their solution was tried, they would end up being just as frustrated. Little progress would be made. 

     3. Economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure our communities have collective ownership, not merely access. (Economic Justice)

What does this mean?  The founders of BLM are Marxists.  They are demanding socialism.  Collective ownership is socialism.  Or are they wanting to have communal ownership by ethnic groups?  This will never pass and would be unconstitutional, that is to force private property into communal ownership structures, either centralized or decentralized. This is essentially calling for the end of free enterprise. Knowing these folks are Marxists, they probably are talking about equal income schemes.  They could create companies or corporations that would buy businesses and real estate owned by the community as stakeholders.  I don’t think they are thinking of doing this.  That would be an interesting idea

   4. Community control of the laws, institutions, and policies that most impact us. (Community control)

What does this mean?  Does it mean fragmenting Federal, State, City, and County governments and having new definitions of political boundaries defined by race or ethnicity or neighborhood?  It will not happen.  Cities and states will not disband and give up their authority.  Yes, neighborhood associations can have input to the city and state and act, make petitions, and work to change laws for the city.  They can have local neighborhood bodies that do a lot.  But there is no constitutional power to make laws, unlike cities and states. 

   5. Independent black political power and Black self-determination in all areas of society. (Political power)

This will never happen.  What does this mean?  They are asking for segregation in political power so that blacks make their own laws through their own separate votes.  This is a recipe for separatism and turning back the clock on integration.  Since Brown vs. Board of Education (I think in 1954) there has been a steady move in law that justice requires equal treatment and integration. They are now asking for special benefits and re-segregation.  Amazing!

The BLM platform and demands is a recipe for continued poverty for blacks, for increased crime, and more blacks dying.  The BLM organization and its platform is said by some to not be the platform of the protesters who ware seeking police reform.  However, the leaders of the protests in the cities are usually official BLM leaders of the various cities that do embrace the platform and the demands. They support the Marxism. Again, it is a cover and pretext for Marxist revolution. They are using the black community for their ends and have hijacked the legitimate protests for reform.