Thoughts Given to a Friend on Israel and the Palestinians 

Here are thoughts to help with your article.

1.  It is very important to not conflate the three very different situations in Israel within the Green Line (an armistice line- never a defined border) and Gaza and the West Bank.  Anti-Israel people, BDS, always conflate them, and I wonder if it is not intentional. I will explain.

2.  It is crucial to note that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has a definition of anti-Semitism.  It may not always be overt, but emphasizing Israel’s errors far out of proportion, much worse in occupation or oppression and persecution shows an anti-Semitic bent.  Why more Israel than Turkey, Iran, China, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. The big crime regimes are death with so much less than Israel. It is amazing.

Now for the specifics

1.  After the 48 War, the world did not resettle refugees as was normal.  They could have settled in the West Bank or other Muslim nations but were kept in camps.  This had never happened before. Israel settled an equal number of refugees from Arab and Muslim countries.  So this became a big cause but it was purposely set up to fight Israel.

2.  After the 67 war, there was dialogue with Jordan and Palestinians about autonomy or Jordan being responsible for the Palestinian areas.  It never went anywhere  It was a big and complicated time.  The 73 war did not change matters.  The 67 armistice line became known as the Green Line.

3.  After the Oslo accords, Clinton and Arafat, and Abbas tried for a 2 state solution.  Barak offered most of the West Bank except for the major Israel settlement blocks, or 95% with land swaps.  E. Jerusalem would be the capital.  Arafat walked away and stared at the intifada violent uprising.  Clinton said to Arafat, “You made me a failure.”  It began to appear to Israelis that they were being played by the Palestinians who had no intention to make peace.  Barack let the last labor government and labor never recovered.

4  Though Israel elected the conservative Likud, their leader the famous Ariel Sharon, the war hero of the 73 war and a founding military leader since 1948 became the Prime Minister  He concluded that Israel needed to separate from the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank.  With the support of Abbas, (Arafat had died) he released Gaza to independence.  His view was that it this worked, he would do the same thing with the West Bank. However, instead of peace, Hamas overthrew the Palestinian Authority and then armed for attacking Israel.  They even destroyed the agricultural greenhouses that Israel gave them.  The settlements near Gaza were taken down and Israelis lost homes and agriculture. But they did it.  Sharon died, and his plan seemed doomed due to violent rejection.  Sharon left Likkud when he withdrew and formed the Kadima Party to support the withdrawal.

5.  When Olmert succeeded the unconscious Sharon, He entered new negotiations.  He was even more generous than Barak. He gave more land, E. Jerusalem would be the capital of the new state.  Again, Abbas walked away.  For Israel, this would be the end of the matter.  For the majority of Israelis, the Palestinians proved they did not want peace but were playing the world so they could destroy Israel.

Where do we go from here?   Apartheid.  BDS

Apartheid was defined as a legal system that does not give full rights and citizenship to people of a particular ethnic or racial minority status   So let’s apply this to Israel

1.  Israeli Arabs are citizens of Israel.  They have full rights.  They can go to universities, be appointed to various roles, and have and do serve on Supreme Court.  For the 20% Israel Arabs, there is no apartheid.  There is a disparity of state spending since governments favor the groups keeping them in power. Only now has an Arab party joined the government and large amounts are being spent in the Arab town.  To speak about apartheid in Israel for Israel-Palestinian Arabs is absurd.

2  Gaza has been released.  They could declare independence and be a state  They won’t do so because they want to conquer all of Israel.  They can be part of Egypt.  But there’s no apartheid. There is a military blockade that would end the Hamas Party leaders would end their war against Israel.

3.  The West Bank (Judea-Samaria)  Usually those who claim apartheid and foster BDS are referring to the West Bank.  The West Bank is a disputed territory.  But it is not a state so it can’t be.  Are the Palestinians treated differently? Yes, they have their own government but are stateless. Israel’s settlements have citizens who are Israel citizens. They vote for the Knesset.

Palestinians vote for the Palestinian Legislature which has been suspended by Abbas to keep Hamas at bay.  So they do not have citizenship in a nation-state. That is the center. They are relatively free but not always treated well.  No one really knows what do to.  Should the Palestinian areas be linked to Jordan for Statehood but semi-autonomy so Jordan’s government will not be overthrown?  Jordan’s population is majority Palestinian but Jordan fears that more will overturn the government.  Israel does not want to give them full citizenship but fears the loss of a Jewish-controlled state which is the whole purpose of Israel’s existence. Some have argued it could be done, but then the refugees?  Barak and Olmert envisioned the refugees returning to the West Bank but not over the Green Line.  So that leaves us with a mess.  The nation has embraced the status quo.  Someday it is hoped that the Palestinians will come to their senses and make real peace. But until then we are left with the status quo.  Apartheid isn’t. But there is nothing in the Bible requiring all people to be in a nation-state, a modern invention.  There is Puerto Rico!

I hope this helps.

God Bless,

Dan Juster

Definition of Love and Rejection of the Bible

One of the key foundations of the conflict between the Biblical World View and the prevailing culture is the clash of definitions.  Love and justice are defined in profoundly different ways.  We are watching the disintegration of the West due to profoundly false definitions.  Biblical definition profoundly influenced the development of western thought and law.   Of course, the definitions of the left often are left vague, but one can reflect and come to a valid conclusion as to what the definitions are.  In the past, Marxists gave a clear definition of justice.  “To each according to their need and from each according to their ability.”  Thus, justice was defined by equality of income and living standards.  In Lenin’s time, this led to the limitation of space where 25 meters per person would be allocated, and large houses would be divided.  And love?  The love of the Marxist was a sentiment that wanted the best for the greatest number in their age to come based on the equality motive.  The end was the Marxist millennium, a world of equality and prosperity for all.  It is an eschatological but atheist vision. 

The secular definition of love is a sentiment that seeks to indulge others in their desires.  As long as the fulfillment of desires does not destroy or hurt others, we should fully support all in what they want for themselves.  Such indulgent love is not based on biblical Law in any way.  The criterion of not hurting others is profoundly short-sighted.  Yes, there may not be immediate violence to others, but the long-term destruction for people, for society, for children, and their future is deep and lasting.  Lifestyles?  LGBTQ including the polyamorous, we support and indulge.   Abortion?  We support and indulge and define the pre-born child as not a human person so we can indulge the desire of the pregnant mother to abort the child.  We provide the marijuana through the long haul it gives a marshmallow brain.  The humanistic definition is profoundly at war with the Bible because the Bible definition coheres with the Law of God.  The humanistic definition especially rails against the Law of God and the doctrine of Hell.  In their definition of love, if there is a God would never assign someone to Hell.  How do they know that?  Their subjective desire.   The leftists will rail against their opponents, march for supposed rights and cancel all others who disagree as haters.  They are committed to every aberrant lifestyle and will fight for it.  Their definition of haters is all who do not support their indulgent love definition.  

In the Bible, God loves every human being and thus provides a way to escape Hell.  He desires that every person be saved and attain their God intended destinies in this life and in the Age to Come, eternal life.  But God’s love and all true love is passionate identification with others that seeks their good guided by God’s Law.  That good is defined by God’s destiny intention for them which is only within the parameters of God’s Law.  God’s love in line with his Law defines his intention for our sexuality, for economic provision, for caring for the needy and so much more. But it is not humanistic indulgence.  The refusal of Love with Law leads to Hell.  That refusal is clear in the rejection of the Gospel that provides our atonement.  “He that has the Son has everlasting life . . .  but he that has not the Son shall not see life. . . the wrath of God remains on him.” (5:24)  Yes, God’s love with Law is compatible with the doctrine of Hell and requires it.  Our culture is in profound rebellion to the God-definition of Love. 

Our culture is in profound rebellion against the biblical definition of justice.  Justice is an order of righteousness where each person can fulfill their God-intended destiny.  For each, God’s intended destiny is good and loving.  However, empirical study as well as studying the Bible shows us that disparity of wealth distribution is necessary for the dynamic of wealth expansion that enables the most destiny fulfillment.   Destiny prevention is injustice.  Food, clothing, provision, friendships, and so much more is God’s intention for all, but not economic equality. 

The anti-biblical quests for justice produce social disintegration.   We have noted the Marxist definition, but there is a neo-Marxist idea of equity that has now permeated the culture, universities, the Democratic party, public schools, the military, and even the Army.  The left speaks of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  These are words that resonate, but the self-defeating program is to see the percentages of each definable group, ethnic group, and racial group, be represented in university faculty and students, in the corporate board room, in the professions, be in line with their percentages in the larger population.  Dumbing down in schools enables more equal academic attainment!  The African American disparity in attainment is the main frustration.  Indeed we should all be frustrated, but racism, though the factor, is not the main factor. 

So now we find that Asian Americans, Indians, Koreans, and Chinese, have to be diminished.  Their percentages of attainment are too great.  They must be admitted to elite colleges at lower percentages.  Jews also have too much attainment.  Whites as well do.  Hispanics?  Yes, they are included but was they naturally will attain greater parity, maybe they will need to be diminished.  Then what do we do about basketball?  I won’t go there.  The Biblical answer to disparities is to recognize that people have varying desires for their lives and do not easily make way for percentages.  The Gospel is the #1 key to success.  Secondly, we restore the family and quality education for blacks and for all.  For this we need choice. 

Everything depends on defining love and justice rightly.  When we do so we see that God’s love, justice, holiness, and Law require exclusion for the rebellious.  We will see the wrong definition of Love as a profound rebellion against God.   

What is my biggest burden?  It is that Christians and Messianic Jews are swayed by the cultural nostrums and definitions and give up the Bible definitions of Love, Justice, and judgment.  See my book Social Justice or more. 

Pain at the pump

The newscasts from America constantly speak about “Pain at the Pump.”  We find similar stories in Israel as well.  However, this is an unfortunate way to put the headlines. It should be “Pain in the Cost of Living due to high Energy Costs.”   There are other factors driving inflation and high costs, but in America the central factor was the Biden Administration’s abandoning energy independence and cutting back production.  No, the primary issue is not Russia, for if the U. S. was independent, it would not have been such an issue.  Israel as well could be energy independent but the anti-carbon environmentalists have prevailed here as well.  Climate Change/Global Warming is now so important that it takes the place of national security for which energy independence is crucial.  

We should note that energy costs affect most product costs.  Just about everything must be transported.  Energy costs are a big part of the increases in food and other products.  Farms use fuel for their farm machinery.  Those who must fly for business find their costs are higher.  The costs are passed on to the consumer for business travel. So also, we find higher costs for trains.  All products are now more and more costly. 

There are three responses to climate change.  

The first sees this as a dire existential threat.  All hands-on board!  Damn the consequences.  It is radical surgery time: shut down fossil fuel.  These are the folks in control in America.  They will lead many in the middle class to suffer and some to poverty.  Russia, China, India, and Africa are not cooperating, so this direction is like tilting at windmills.  China imports coal from Russia and builds new coal plants!  The radical way will not work. 

The second response is to deny the problem.  The human-caused climate change idea is said to be based on bad science, a lie, or a conspiracy.  I have read enough from a minority of credible scientists to have questions, but I am not a denier, just more skeptical.  I think doing nothing is not the right response.  What if there is some truth to it?

The third response is for more gradual progress.  Go for the new safe nuclear option as Bill Gates is doing.  Do solar where it is feasible.  Wind farms are a limited help in the energy mix and are polluting in manufacture and disposal.  Then use relatively clean natural gas as a transition fuel, hydrogen truck engines, and more.  Continue to produce and use enough fossil fuel until alternatives are really feasible.  Make energy independence a top priority in Israel and the U. S. 

Taking over the Land

CONFUSED ABOUT ISRAEL POLITICS AND THE ISSUE OF TAKING OVER THE REST OF THE LAND IN ISRAEL? Well, it is a very confusing issue with deep political divides. Here are a few points to put it into perspective. 

1. Right-wing religious national parties would probably take over the land come hell or high water, no matter what the nations think. However, they are not in this government, and when they were in previous governments they could not implement their vision. One sees that the radical right-wing religious seek to establish settlements that were not approved by the State of Israel. Sometimes this brings big violent clashes between the settlers and the police/army who have to dismantle these outposts again and again Sometimes the government will legalize them post facto. The attitude of these people is that if the government of Israel will not take the Land, we have a biblical mandate to do so that transcends the government. Note how they interpret the Bible as applying today. 

2. The larger right-wing parties would like to take the whole Land but they bow to U. S. and international pressure to do so. This includes Yamina and included Likud when they were in power. Generally, they simply preserve the status quo with the Palestinians on the West Bank (Judea-Samaria)

3. The centrists want to preserve Israel and its majority of Jewish voters. They would like to see a two-state solution but do not see it as feasible now because of the situation of the Palestinians and the power of the radical Muslim Hamas group. 

4. The left, represented by Labor and even more radically by Meritz, want a two-state solution, does not want to foster the status quo and wants to go all out for it. 

The Israel public however is just as complex as the parties and includes the ultra-Orthodox who are anti-Zionist. Unlike the nationalist Orthodox, they see the state of Israel as an aberration that should not exist before the Messiah comes. Their biblical interpretation is the opposite of the first political group. 

Most Israelis are right of center, and most are secular but moving toward keeping more traditions. They moved right after the Palestinians rejected Prime Minister Olmert’s peace offer which was beyond generous and more than any government could offer now. However, they are not in favor of illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Jewish settlements and new towns should be legal. 

One thing, not enough discussed is how Israel has allowed multiple Palestinian settlements in Area C which is under their control in the Oslo accords, whereas A and B are fully under the Palestinians. Why does Israel allow this? Because Europeans like the facts on the ground for a future Palestinian state. They see area C as fully Palestinian. Israel has been foolish to allow such illegal buildings. I often pass such settlements as I drive past French Hill toward the highway that goes down to the Dead Sea. 

I think one of the biggest issues is that the Israel Government simply is too wimpish to enforce the Law. This is not to say that settlements should not be approved or that Palestinians should not have more housing. They really do need it and have been treated poorly. But Israel really should enforce the Law always. There is a great need for permits for housing for both Jews and Palestinians. However about a lawless society. 

Where do Messianic Jews stand?  All over the map on these issues, but more would be on the right.  However, there are Messianic Jews who support all the positions except anti-Zionism of some of the Ultra-Orthodox. 

Afghanistan, Nation Building and Strategic Leadership

Watching the debacle in Afghanistan has been very depressing to say the least.  As former British P. M. Tony Blair recently said, this was incredibly stupid decision.  He used the term imbecilic.   When Donald Trump came up with the idea of withdrawal, I was strongly against his position and spoke against it.  When Joe Biden carried out the withdrawal, it was so poorly done that it left most of the world astonished.   Really the brass that planned this should all resign.  They at least could have stayed until after the evacuation.  But no!  The issue of Afghanistan was no longer for me the thought that we could build a western democratic nation (I never bought this), but the importance of maintaining a strategic base as a crucial bulwark against Islamic radicalism and terror.  In addition, there was a contingent of people that partnered with the U. S. and NATO, and loyalty to them was crucial.  Retired General Jack Keene summarized the view of most military leaders who begged both President Trump and Biden to not give up the strategic base in Afghanistan.  Only 2,500 military personal were needed.  They are not in direct combat and there were very few casualties.   This base was a key to access to the whole Middle East and a key to intelligence on the ground to thwart terror.  We will face new terror attacks and I fear the greater loss of life from this decision. Western democracies are decadent and without courage.  They lack understanding of the larger issues of strategy in fighting radical Islamism, and are unable to inspire a conviction-less godless population.  Indeed, Western nations are mostly drifting away from republican values into a semi socialistic technocracy (control by rich technocrats.)  The illusion of democracy is maintained, but with the control of media by corporate/government collusion and then giving social benefits that quiet the socialists, the West is hardly a vibrant contingent of nations that can confront evil.   The loss of faith in the God of the Bible is a huge part of the character deficit in the whole population.  

However, the above is introduction.  How should the United States and its allies comport themselves in the war against Islamic terror and what may be a war with China (a cold war, hopefully) as China moves to take over Taiwan and then control the whole Asian Pacific.  I won’t speak to the Chinese threat now.  

The whole strategic battle is to win the war against Islamic terrorism.  This could be a hundred years war, and the enemy has strategic patience which the West lacks.   But if the West had such patience, what should be the goal?  We must learn the lesson that the goal cannot be to build nations among peoples who do not share our values.  When the United States invaded Iraq, I dearly hoped that the U. S. would quickly take out Saddam and then leave the Sunni Baathists in power and say to them, “Now cooperate with us or we will be back.”  Iraq was a buffer against Iran.  I could not see how an election in Iraq would solve anything since the majority Shiites would come to power and would ally with Iran.  They would then turn on their former oppressors.  This is what happened.  This led to the reaction of ISIS.  I hoped I was wrong.  How could so many see that this would not work but not the leaders of the U. S.?  How do leaders become so lacking in wisdom and think that other people deep down are democratic loving freedom seekers.  They are not.  These values took centuries of tradition and thought to develop and implement. Mao rightly said that the one who controls the gun rules. If the ones with the guns are ruthless enough, as Saddam was, they can control the population.  As the Chinese Communists at Tiananmen Square, a ruthless response maintains power.  Does that mean that a democratic society is impossible in other cultures?  No, we see it in Korea and Japan, but there was a history that made this less a tenuous project.  How would it happen?  It would be that a strong ruthless leader or group of leaders begins to want to move their society toward these values and over the course of say 50 years, with education and gradual progress, someday it could happen.  Too quick a change would lead to the fragmentation of the nation among warring factions.  This was the project of the Shah of Iran but his ruthless part was too much for the West that could not understand the cultural limits he faced.  The West abandoned him and traded him for the more ruthless and totally demonic evil tyrants.   

So how does foreign policy get conducted?  First, we find those authoritarian leaders who want cooperative relationships and will fight terrorism.  It is up to them to move their society to greater freedom.  The United States cannot succeed in doing this by occupation.  We can encourage them with carrots to move their nation forward. Secondly, we should show fierce loyalty to those who are fighting on our side.  Thirdly, we should maintain strategic beachheads that help us do this work, the air base in Saudi Arabia, and what should have been the base in Afghanistan.  Yes,  we should be loyal and not abandon those who stood with us.   No we could not build a nation out of the tribalism of Afghanistan, but there was the attainment of a strategic position and a loyal group of allies in the Kabul region and beyond.  It could have been maintained indefinitely.  Just was we have troops in Europe and Korea (now for over 70 years) we could have maintained a presence that would have been a forward base to fight terrorism.  It is the same in Iraq and Syria.  American airpower should have been projected to protect the Kurds, but again the allies were abandoned.  Despite the errors of Iraq under George W. Bush, we could have made it known that we would absolutely protect the Kurds, against Turkey or Assad of Syria and within Iraq.  We would not permit them to be bombed or to become refuges from their villages, but would stand with our allies.  “Do not test us on this” should have been the word.  Why should anyone trust the United States now?  Should Taiwan?  I worry about this one.  

Finally, it should be known that the full might of U. S. air power would be used against genocide wherever feasible.  Rwanda’s genocide could have been stopped;  so also the genocide in Syria.  The rule should be that whenever we can use our air power to stop genocide at minimum risk to the United States, we will do so.   Our air power should be used in Nigeria to fight the terrorists.  We should fight and support all those who fight Islamic terror which now seeks to take over Nigeria, Chad, and really much of Africa.  Islamic radicalism really does seek to conquer the world and will come from Africa to the United States!

If the U. S. would show that it was serious about this war, even if it takes a hundred years, then credibility would be restored.  And of course, Muslims need the Gospel.  Alas, I do not see courageous leaders who can inspire the population to follow long term.   Even Reagan turned tail and fled Lebanon after the terrorist bombing instead of going after the terrorist full bore (1982).  Israel as well abandoned its Christian allies in Southern Lebanon and turned the territory over to Hezbollah.  Yes, there were a few casualties now and then and Israelis screamed.  We were disloyal to our allies.  The war that followed in 2006 produced many more casualties that staying in the loyalty would have prevented. What is it about political calculations, that saves lives ib the short term at the price of leading to a disaster of casualties in the future of unimaginable proportions.  There will be a war with Gaza and Lebanon simultaneously at the time of Iran’s choosing.  Then those short-term stupid decisions will be seen for the foolishness they were (see the editorial in the Times of Israel by David Horowitz, 8/22).  Due to Israel’s lack of strategic courage, we allowed Hezbollah to arm and now have 150,000 rockets aimed at our major cities.  The war will come. Then how will that decision to withdraw form our allies in Southern Lebanon look?

I am only a layman but follow these things closely.  Policy is a lifetime interest. Why in the West do we constantly choose short term peace that will lead to a long term conflagration?  With Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, the United States replays the same stupid short sighted decisions.  It shows the lack of faith, courage and more in the West.  It reveals our decadence.  One writer said that the one that wins has the will to fight. 

Biblical Anti-Racism

I have evaluated Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory that grows out of it, (from here designated CRT) in several articles on my Facebook official page based on reading works from supporters and reading from those who are critics of the theories, both secular and Christian critics.  My conclusion is that CRT is profoundly contrary to the Biblical World View.  One book, by Voddie Baucham, a black Baptist theologian and missionary to Africa, gives a profound evaluation on a world view basis. 

The quest for equality of worth was originally a biblical norm.  Heresies from that norm are dangerous.  They turn the biblical ideas of justice into either a Marxist idea of equality of outcomes, as in income, or to the new idea of equity in outcomes.  It teaches that American society is to be divided into different ethnicities including categories of new sexual identities represented by the letters LGBTQ etc. On this basis of equity financial prosperity, educational access, and success in various life roles and positions are to be divided by the proportion of the numbers of such people in the society. Such a quest will be a never-ending failure and a source of continual strife.  Can you imagine this dividing for those of Asian background (the Chinese are really not the same as Japanese, Indians, Philippinos, or Indians) Hispanic and others?  Biblical justice is defined in my book Social Justice.  Justice, first of all, is motivated by love.  Love is defined by passionate identification with the other that seeks their good guided by law.  Their good is their destiny fulfillment which begins with loving and knowing God and then fulfilling his calling which is according to the gifts and talents he gives.  Justice or civil righteousness is an order where the maximum number of people can fulfill their destiny.  The Bible makes it clear that God’s ideal will includes sufficient material provision for people.   The Bible does not orient us to divide in conflict over the goods of society.  Rather it calls us to a different way.  

First of all, anti-racism or anti-ethnocentrism begins with Biblical affirmations that all human beings are created in the image of God.  Each human being thus carries unique value and is worthy of being respected and treasured.  Only people influenced by the Bible gave credibility to the idea of the equal basic worth of human beings.  Study the history of the world and you will not find this idea outside of the influence of biblical faith.  Yes, societies that claimed to be Christian often did not live out the implications of biblical faith.   They reflect the well-quoted statement of G. K. Chesterton responding to people who said, “Christianity has been tried and found wanting.”  Chesterton responded and said, “No, Christianity has been found difficult and untried.”  The most profound charter of anti-racism and the only charter comes from the Bible or law influenced by the Bible.  This unique universalism of the Bible has been the foundation of human rights such as found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, largely authored by the godly Christian scholar Charles Malik.  Though there are movements for equality and equity not based on biblical norms and some contrary to biblical norms, I don’t believe due to the sinfulness of fallen humans that such movements will succeed.  Again, such equality movements are only in nations that have biblical influence in their history. In rebellion against God, these movements are bound to lead to failure and more despair.   New Testament affirmations against racist and ethnic superiority and domination are unique and profound.  “From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having set the appointed times and the boundaries of their territory.   They were to search for him and perhaps grope around if and find Him.  Yet He is not far from each of us, for in him we live and move and have our being.  Jacob (James) can say concerning the tongue, “With it, we bless our ADONAI and Father, and with it, we curse people, who are made in the image of God. . . My brothers and sisters, these things should not be.”  

In Revelation 21:26, each nation brings its distinct glory into the eternal Kingdom, the New Jerusalem, the new Kingdom.  So, every nation in the redemption has a distinct glory and will make a distinct contribution. Rev. 21 shows the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham. He was not chosen, and Israel was not chosen as the superior race, but as a servant nation to bring the nations of the world into the Blessing of God.  

Biblical assertions of the foundational equal worth of all human beings if etched into the United States Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal” and have inalienable rights from the Creator.  The Good News leads to reconciliation between all races and ethnicities who become one with Jewish followers of Yeshua.  They are called new creations in the Messiah (II Cor. 5:17) and are given the highest status together, “Raised with him and seated with him in heavenly places,” at the very throne of God (Eph. 2:5). 

Contrary to CRT and CT, there is objective truth.   We are not relativists.  For CRT proponents their quests for equality and equity are power assertions of choice based on what philosophers call an emotive preference.  It is not based on objective truth and ethics.  There is no answer in CRT as to why the strong should not dominate and enslave the weak and make them serve them.  There is no answer to Nazism except for personal emotive aversion.  Nazis like the idea of the domination and survival of those who can conquer.  It causes humans to evolve and become stronger. It fits Darwin!

We are speaking here of the ultimate foundations and the picture of ultimate redemption.  However, the human race is divided by self-centeredness, strife, hatred, prejudice, the domination of one nation by another and even slaughter and genocide.  The profound level of sin and its effect on the world is clearly revealed in a study of world history.  CRT people point to the sins of western civilization but rarely point to the slavery and genocide that has been a great part of world history, especially in the East or in Africa or even in pre-colonial Mexico for example.   

The Gospel of the Kingdom makes its debut in Israel and Yeshua announces  Good News to the poor.  The power of God is so great that Yeshua announces his ministry through the power of the Spirit as being Good News to the poor, recovery of sight to the blind, the release of prisoners, etc.”  (Luke 4:18) The Gospel first comes to those in society beginning in Israel with those who are marginalized.  This is so contrary to Roman culture.  The often misunderstood beatitudes in Matthew 5 are very much in line with Luke 4:18. Blessed are the poor, for poverty no longer determines their identity or destiny.  The meek who are trampled upon will inherit the earth. The mourners will no longer be trapped in mourning, for they will be adequately comforted.  The great reversal of conditions comes with the coming of Yeshua.  If one is truly in Yeshua then one can no longer claim to be a victim since his power enables us to fulfill a destiny and purpose in him with eternal reward. 

Gospel realism states that all have sinned, and that sin will land us in Hell if we do not repent and receive the great atonement of his death for our sins and resurrection life in his Spirit.  Once this is embraced, God calls us to be joined to communities of reconciliation.  Galatians 3:28 provides a most radical anti-racist text, that in Yeshua there is, “Neither Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave for free.”  Rather we are all one in him and form one new humanity in him (Eph. 2:15).  This should not be read as eliminating Jewish calling and identity or homogenizing ethnic identities.  The Bible values the good in cultures, but the Bible is also the norming norm for evaluating what is good and bad in cultures.  Biblical multi-culturalism does not like CRT trivialize the value of all cultures by claiming they are all equal.  However, the value of our ethnic identity, even Jewish identity is now made secondary to the centrality of our oneness and equal status in Yeshua (Eph. 2:5).  The Bible, therefore, calls us to the ministry of reconciliation, to be reconciled to God and to one another.  

The Bible also is very clear about our priorities of commitment in sharing the Gospel. It is first to the poor and marginalized.  They have the first right of refusal.  The preaching of the Gospel is offered first as well to the Jews as the covenant people (Romans 1:16) but other than this, the first right of refusal in the great Gospel offer is to the marginalized, the poor, imprisoned, the crippled, the disposed of, the ill, the rejected.  This offer is not made on the basis of race preferences but without regard to race and ethnicity.  Not many of high status first responded, says Paul.  While the Bible allows for disparities of wealth, those who are rich are exhorted in the strongest terms to invest their wealth to lift the weak and poor or they and also that their riches will perish.  God, says James, has chosen the poor of this world to inherit the Kingdom.  (James 2:1-4, 5:1-6).  His warning to the rich is delivered with severe words of warning.  Lifting the poor is part of the essence of the Gospel and its outworking.  

Generally, the history of the world does not include multi-ethnic, multi-racial societies (my view is that race is a social-cultural construct but ethnicity is real and objective).  The Roman Empire comes closer to this but still was far different than the United States and its liberties. So, the Bible does not speak to the situation of the new reality of such societies directly, but its principles have profound implications.  If a particular race or ethnicity has a high proportion of those who are poor, marginalized, and imprisoned, that race or ethnicity should receive a high or disproportionate focus of outreach and care.  This is the clear implication of Luke 4:18 and the teaching of Yeshua and the Apostles.  In one sense the Gospel is race-neutral but in another sense, the issue of race is dealt with on the basis of the Gospel mandate if a group is poor and marginalized.  Yes, the rich are offered the Gospel, but they are not the primary focus of the efforts!  The power of the Gospel really does deliver!  Salvation is more than going to heaven. 

I note that the issue of privilege can never be solved by multiplying civil laws. Those with two parents in a loving marriage have the privilege.  Those who are beautiful versus those who are homely (this does affect hiring!), those who are handicapped versus those who have normal physical abilities, those who come from prosperous homes versus those from poor families, those children who were not abused, and those who were, show all kinds of privilege and disadvantage.  CRT does not know what to do with the prosperity of Asians who obviously are not white and not held back by white privilege.  There are social patterns and values in Asian families that do give them a leg up (privilege).  The Bible teaches that God gives different giftings and callings; gifts and talents are distributed by God. However, again the answer is the Gospel.  Those who embrace the Gospel and live in and from the Kingdom of God are empowered by the Spirit and can hear the voice of God leading them to a successful life.  All levels of underprivilege can be overcome by the Spirit and power of God. 

The outworking of the Gospel is to create communities of reconciliation.  Before society is influenced (the New Testament talks little about this) we are to create communities that are a model for society, communities of transformation with great interethnic love and mutual appreciation, serving and humility.  

At this point, I evaluate the American Church as mostly a failure.  There are wonderful exceptions.  The idea of mobilizing the churches in mass to be involved and focused without distraction on the poor and marginalized just has not captured the minds and hearts of the 20th century and now the 21st century Church in America. Yes, again, I can point to wonderful exceptions.  There have been rescue missions, ministries like David Wilkerson in Teen Challenge, reaching gangs and those dealing in drugs.  What would have happened if the Black, White and Hispanic churches pledged themselves in mutual love and commitment and created massive programs for the needy.   

I will return to the issue of who should repent.  For CRT all whites are guilty and should repent and even pay reparations (almost forever and ongoing!).  The Pole, the Arminian, and the Ukrainian who came last week to America now have white privilege and have to repent for white privilege and systemic racism.  CRT fosters false guilt and no possibility of real redemption.  However, the Bible does foster repentance from real guilt, and corporate guilt can be inherited if there is no repentance and restitution.  First, any individual who has held prejudice in his or her heart must repent.  Secondly, we repent for the history of racism in the Church bodies, both the racism that was overt and the actions of not caring or apathy.  Every individual who did now care about poor blacks can repent of apathy and leaders can repent for not leading churches out of apathy.   When the Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God repented for purposely embracing segregation as a policy in their past, this was appropriate repentance for real guilt. The next steps would be involvement in poor communities, preaching the Gospel, mentoring, serving, educating, and more.  Perhaps whites who had ancestors who held slaves can repent and renounce the sins of their ancestors and act redemptively in involvement to lift poor black people. That would be wonderful.   The United States can still repent for not passing laws in the past that would have eliminated discriminatory practices, such as housing loans for those who qualify but are black. Great progress has been made on this.  Such repentance needs to ask God’s forgiveness.  Bible teaching is focused on real guilt, not a generalized fake guilt where the specifics of sin are not made clear.  The idea that an institution is racist can only be the case if people with racist intent set up institutions that discriminated in unfair ways.  There has to be clear objective evidence (CRT does not believe in objectivity!)  The institution may inadvertently be wrongly organized and need changing but racism is a wrong redefinition of the term. 

One more thing that will be hated by secularists is that the poor and underclass blacks have to repent when they embrace the Gospel, repent of bitterness, anger, and hatred, and to forgive the whites that did wrong to them.  Of course, they repent of their violations of God’s laws.  When CRT teaches that all cultures are equal and that such standards as punctuality, correct math answers, precision, language skills, etc. are racist, they destroy the potential for blacks to succeed.  All cultures are not equal. Some are better and others as judged by the Bible as the norming norm.  The Bible teaches that all have radically sinned and that our debt before God is incomparably greater than any debt we are owed.  This stand brings mutual humility and forgiveness though we indeed weigh the sin of the wealthier as much greater.  

When CRT lays guilt on all whites, no matter their history, and points to vague institutional guilt due to disparate levels of success in racial and ethnic groups, it lowers the potential for real healing and progress.  CRT really offends truth when socialistic solutions to help the poor are considered the only absolute answer.   Those who oppose such solutions are racist, eg. Medicare for all.  Actually, vouchers for the needy would bring competition and much better medical care for the poor than government-run health care.  

So, we begin our anti-racism program with massive church repentance and a massive re-direction of the Church.  May there be a movement toward this end that will grow and grow.  Some years ago, Donald McGavran argued that churches grow best when they are more homogenous.  People gravitate to their kind of people, their style of music and worship, their cultural ways of being.  While we may give some acceptance to this being natural, the Gospel requires that we act beyond being comfortable with our own kind.  A mostly white Church and a mostly black church need to deepen mutual involvement and relationships to demonstrate the power of reconciliation and effective ministry together. 

The program of the churches that commit themselves to anti-racism focus first on the basic Gospel and discipleship programs.  It incorporates those who are won into the church with a strong emphasis on discipleship.  Training programs are also needed for parenting.  Rebuilding marriage and biblical families in the black underclass will be a crucial emphasis.  

However, we have to begin with the situation as it exists with many coming from single-parent mother-led homes. Discipling the mothers is so important.  Many single mothers are illiterate.  They need education and training.  Some of the best programs I have seen begin with children and teens and puts them into tutoring programs and then full-time schools with a Gospel emphasis.  There are several such programs.  Until vouchers are available from public funds (they are available in some states) we need to mobilize wealthy people and all who can give to fund such schools.  The CHATS (Church Hill Activities and Tutoring and Schooling) program in Richmond, Virginia, is one such program I support.  They maintain a full high school and the success rate is amazing.  It challenges the lie that blacks must fail due to racism for the graduates of this ghetto school to succeed, and greatly so.  Overcoming massive illiteracy is crucial.  Public schools in ghetto communities graduate many illiterate poor from high school if they stay in school!  Practical job training needs to be part of such schools.  Christians can provide vocational training. 

Other programs that attract children and teens in sports and art are helpful. This opens people up to the joy of performance and beauty.  

If the Church had focused on prayer, power ministry, and serving as it should have, we would not have the racial issues today which frankly are exploited by the neo-Marxist left to foster their revolution.  

World Viewish Thinking and Evaluating Social and Political Movement

Dr. Arthur Holmes, of dear memory, was one of the most famous Evangelical Christian philosophers of the 20th century.  So many learned both the history of philosophy and the theory of knowledge, epistemology, from the British Dr. Holmes.  His students constantly heard the phrase, “world viewish thinking.”  What did homes mean by this phrase?   It was that the Bible gives us a coherent worldview, not just Bible verses about the plan of salvation to gain eternal life, or the second coming of Yeshua.  This worldview provides us with the foundations of understanding on God and his creation, the nature and worth of human beings, a definition of justice, God ‘s moral order, God’s heart for the poor, economic principles and so much more.  Holmes had massive influence on some of today’s philosophers, some of whom are in now retirement age, but younger ones in their prime.  The noted historians Mark Noll and Nathan Hatch, philosophers Merrill Westphal who taught at Yale, and Talbot’s distinguished William Lane Craig, whose papers I graded as an assistant in department.  I will apply what Holmes taught in my own words. 

Debates between Christians including Messianic Jews with other Christians and Messianic Jews and also with those who do not follow Yeshua often produce a lot of heat and little light.  This is because they do not examine their assumptions for the debates which assumptions for Yeshua/disciples should flow from a biblical worldview.  The contours of a biblical world view provide the evaluation criteria for judging philosophical, psychological, social and political views.  However, as George Barna noted in his polls, perhaps less then 5% of Evangelicals, surely less that 10% have a coherent Christian worldview.  I am not speaking about systematic theology per se, but worldview does overlap with it.  It the deals not only with the meta narrative of the Bible, which is crucial, but what systematic theology used to title, human life in this age.  I try to deal with some of this in my book The Biblical World View, an Apologetic and in my book Social Justice.  Of course, in this short posting, we cannot go into detail, but we can make a beginning.  Let’s just name a few. 

Relativism is the view that there is no objective truth, but we only have preferences in the way we see things.  The Bible says God is the source of objective truth, and that truth begins with his revelation in the Bible.  Because of that, ethical norms are clear and fixed (this does not mean there are no moral dilemmas).  In addition, God created an orderly world so that objective scientific empirical knowledge is possible.  The great defense of objective scientific knowledge is found in Michael Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge.  Whenever a person speaks about “my truth” over against “the truth” you know you are dealing with knowledge relativism and must not succumb to it.  Furthermore, ethical truth is not a matter of emotive preferences, but defined by God’s revealed standard.  But how many are the confused believers who get shaken from their moorings by the propaganda and the social pressure of their culture.  People are socialized into their views.  A biblical people must resist this. 

For example, when we deal with transgenderism, the Bible brings us back to the trustworthiness of God in creating male and female.  From Genesis to Revelation the biblical norm of male and female is clear, and monogamous marriage or celibacy are the absolute standards for sexuality in the New Testament.  

When we deal with critical race theory (CRC) the question is not whether or not the institutions of our society are organized to exclude blacks or other minorities. That is an empirical question to be studied.  Rather the issue is that CRC defines whites as inherently evil in a more significant way than blacks.  It fosters racial division.  It then seeks to solve the problem by undercutting empirical measures of success that that are based in an objective world.  The biblical world view requires us to affirm that all have sinned and stand guilty but through Yeshua we find reconciliation, mutual support and the end of racial hostilities.  Everything is not due to white supremacy but due to sin before God. All groups historically were subject to tribalism and seek to dominate others for the sake of their tribe’s prominence and power.  The Bible affirms good in all cultures, enables evaluation of cultures, and diminishes ethnocentric pride.    

Today’s elite says all cultures are equal.  This trivializes the distinct good values and expressions in cultures and rejects the Bible as the norming norm by which we evaluate what is good and bad in cultures.  We reject cultural relativism. 

Marxism and todays social justice warriors base their definition of justice (though not always disclosed) on a Marxist definition of economic equality.  This is a wrong definition.  I believe that one can derive a definition of economic justice from the Bible whereby see that economic justice has to do with a system of economics that brings the greatest provision for the greatest number so that people are not prevented from fulfilling their God intended destiny.  All are not called the same wealth and its management.  Injustice is destiny prevention.  In this we as well see the great economic aspect of the evil of racial discrimination.  A decentralized free enterprise system with checks and balances is the best system for providing the greatest provision for the most.  It does allow for freedom to gain wealth and does not prescribe equal wealth.  However, the Jubilee Year principle (Lev. 25) and many of the prophets’ statements show that accumulation must have a limit.  Today we are moving toward a dangerous corporate socialism, not really socialism, but control by corporations and super wealthy people who virtue signal toward socialism!   Decentralization of enterprise is very important. 

There are so many areas where a biblical world view enables critical evaluation and prevents the contamination of our thinking with incompatible worldly positions.  The Social Sciences are another such realm.  Psychology, social psychology, and sociology are examples. What theories of counselling are compatible with the Bible, and which are not: neo-Freudianism, behaviorism, cognitive behavioral therapy, reality therapy, family systems and more?  All have some truth but understanding human nature and sin from a biblical perspective are crucial.  Psychological or soul healing is based on repentance, receiving Yeshua, the power of the Spirit, deliverance, identification with the death and resurrection of Yeshua and the power of the healing community.  All must be evaluated with these keys for restoration.  

The Biblical world view presents us with the possibilities of bettering the society but warns us against false utopian thinking.  Only the Messiah brings a world order of peace, prosperity and the end of war.  Western movements that have a utopian bent, Marxism, Neo-Marxism, Socialism and Corporate Socialism (really corporate fascism) are all heretical off shoots from Christianity.  Why do I say this?  Because they all profess the equal worth of human beings without the biblical basis of human beings being created in the image of God such that every human being has an equal creation worth before God. Without this foundation the quest for equality will breakdown.  Societies that were not influenced by the Bible do not even think in these terms at all unless influenced by the West. India, Thailand, China, Islamic Countries do not have the idea of the equal value of every person.  British historian Tom Holland, though an atheist, was very clear about this.  This does not mean that we do not fight for social betterment for people in our societies.  We do and must.  However, we must not lose sight that all social progress that ignores the Gospel of the Kingdom will ultimately come to naught.  The Gospel of the Kingdom is the way to reconcile races, ethnicities and to see social progress. 

Some Evangelical Christian Social justice warriors are far from the Biblical worldview.  The 19th Century Evangelical social justice warriors should be our model for applying the Biblical world view.  They fought slavery, child labor and slave level wages for workers.  However, this also shows that a Biblical worldview does not support the idea of the separation of church and state as now defined since the Bible tells us that God will severely judge nations that depart from his basic laws.  This is why if we seek to see our nation not suffer the wrath of God’s judgement, we do not on the basis of liberty, accept serious crimes against humanity through prostitution, pornography, and abortion.  Abortion is a violation of the sacred value of the baby being created in the image of God. 

I can go on and on.  I hope that in the future biblical world view education becomes part of the life of the Church including Messianic Jewish congregations.  It should begin with children, then with junior and senior high young adults.  I would love to see a curricula developed that debriefs young adults and college age students in regard to the false things they learn from their schools and social media.  Better yet, I would love to see more education done from a solidly biblical worldview perspective.   

Does the Bible Support the Separation of Church and State?

Every once and a while a Facebook friend will voice opposition to my posts as contrary to the separation of Church and State.   This is especially so for those who are personally against abortion but support the right to an abortion.  (Jimmy Carter)

My thesis is that the Bible does not support the separation of Church and State as it is presently understood.   That present understanding is the separation of God and government.  However, this was not the historic consensus as seen in such symbols as “In God we Trust” on the money of the United States and “One Nation Under God” in the pledge.  It is also reflected in Chaplains offering prayer In the Congress. 

It is true that the Bible does present, for the ancient world, an unusual separation of powers, prophet, priest, and king.  This is a great advance.  However, the Bible teaches that all nations are accountable to God and his law.  If the nation goes too far in perversion, violence, and injustice, it will be severely judged by God.  The Biblical ideal is for the nation to acknowledge God and his basic Law, which is not only written in the Torah but is variously perceived in the nations.  In China, this is called, “the will of heaven.”  In India, it flows from Brama, despite the polytheism and idolatry.  Africans and Native Americans note that law is from the supernatural realm.  

In Amos, Isaiah and Ezekiel, and others, a list of nations is presented as coming under terrible judgment for violating God’s standards.  The Psalms reiterate again and again that the nations are to acknowledge God.  In Psalm 9:10 we read “The wicked will turn Sheol, as will all the nations that forget God.”   This is repeated again and again. 

There was wisdom as a result of a long battle for tolerance in the United Kingdom and America. The idea was that the nation would acknowledge God and his law but would not enforce one sect of doctrinal belief to the intolerance of others.  There was a Church of England but not of the United States.  The United States early on would see Jews as embracing the same moral law from God. Yes, there could be atheist dissenters, but the corporate nation would embrace God. Most state constitutions acknowledged God. I believe it was a mistake that the U. S. Constitution was a compromise that did not acknowledge accountability to God and his Law. Yet in the 1950s we see the prevailing understanding of separation was not according to the Supreme Court of 1962 when Bible reading and prayer were taken out of the public schools.  I remember it well in my Sophomore year.  It was stark.  One day it was there and the next day is gone forever.  The decision was against a 200-year consensus of understanding.  In the movie The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille spoke in the intermission about the United States as a nation that was accountable to God and his law in contrast to the Soviet Union.  That was in the late 1950s.  

Americans find themselves in a society that has abandoned its historic view of national accountability to God.  As such, the best we can do is seek to foster laws that are in accord with God’s Law.  I have argued that my vote is according to what I perceive to be the platform that fosters righteous laws, which the Bible says is essential to avoid God’s severe judgment.  It is for the candidate that fosters such laws. Indeed, the Bible warns against those who establish unrighteousness by law (Isaiah 10:1)   Such a nation is in for severe judgment.  I do not desire that severe judgment.  Would the day return that the nation would acknowledge accountability to God and his law? 

The New “Dangerous” Left Wing Government 

My readers may be getting communication from Prime Minister Netanyahu claiming that the government that Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid-There is a Future) and Naftali Bennett (New Hope) will form is potentially a dangerous left-wing government.  This is far from the truth and a dangerous left-wing government is not now possible.  Some are also upset that the government could form with the support of the Arab party Ra-am, led by a Hamas sympathizer.  However, Bibi cannot make that argument since he sought the support from the same party and would have accepted it if he had enough Knesset (Parliament) members on his side to form a government.  One reason he failed was that one right wing protential party, religious Zionist, would not join Bibi if he had the support of Ra-am. 

If Yair Lapid is successful, the government will be moderately right-wing but hampered in implementing new right-wing policies with regard to new settlements on the West Bank and annexing more of the West Bank, and reigning in the Supreme Court.   Let us describe the parties and why the new government will be a moderate right-wing government.  

First, Lapid has said that if they succeed, Bennett will go first in a rotation and be the Prime Minister for the first two years.  Bennett seems very capable.  He is more conservative right-wing than Bibi and rejects outright a two-state solution.  While he is in the government, there will not be progress toward a two-state solution, or the government would fall.  

Second, is Gideon Saar, recently in Bibi’s party.  He also is against a two-state solution.  His policies are Likud but he had enough of Bibi who offended and marginalized him (as he did to Bennett before).

Third, is Avigdor Liberman, of Israel Batainu (Israel our home), a largely Russian party.  Liberman is also very conservative.  He has not rejected a two-state solution but the land swaps he would seek would not be accepted by the Palestinians.  Liberman desires to see the Ultra-Orthodox required to work for a living and do some kind of national service.  He is thus despised by them. Lapid agrees with him on this, but if the Ultra-Orthodox joins the government Liberman and Lapid will have to suspend any such plans. One ultra-Orthodox party says they won’t be in a government with him or Lapid. Stay tuned. 

The above three are conservative on free enterprise and on a two-state solution.  The government can only survive if they are accommodated. They will be, but not by moving to annex West Bank land but by keeping the status quo and working on other problems. 

Then comes Lapid and New Hope.  They have the most members in Parliament but not nearly enough to dominate.  Lapid seems a centrist in economics and is for a two-state solution but with strong security and keeping the larger settlement blocks.  The government he is forming will not progress to that.  Lapid believes in free enterprise but wants to lower the cost of living, especially housing and food which is way too high.  Salaries for teachers, social workers, and others are way too low.  But Israel only has so much money. 

Blue and White under Benny Gantz is also centrist.  He was a very good general and defense minister.   He will support progress and some kind of unity to make it through this period. 

Labor under MK Michaeli, is liberal but no longer socialist.  They are left of center and will be concerned to improve the lives of the ordinary citizens.  Labor has moved from the left to the left of center. 

Finally comes Meretz.  They want a two-state solution, a generous one for the Palestinians.  They have socialistic tendencies.  In a coalition, they will seek greater wages and benefits for the underpaid. 

Ra-am is the Arab Party.  They seek hospitals, roads, and more and better policing for crime. Bibi was promising that. 

Meretz is the smallest party to be offered a part in the government, 4 seats only in the Knesset. 

So don’t believe the propaganda.  This is no left-wing government.  A left-wing government is not possible in Israel at this time.  This is all about many, including former colleagues, no longer wanting Bibi to lead Israel and to have a time of transition to see him retire.  If Bibi retires, Likud could do well, and its next leader would probably be Prime Minister.  How likely is that?  Right now, not very likely. 

We need a stable government. We have no budget and are in danger without a stable government.  So, pray for Israel.  Bibi did many great things for Israel. Many believe that with his trial for bribery and his alienating so many that he is not finishing well. 

Party Politics and a Biblical World View

The recent elections in America raise some difficult issues for followers of Yeshua.  I would like to go deeper into a larger question.  That question is whether or not we can be “all in” with a political party.  As an observer of politics since the Nixon-Kennedy election, I have watched the change among white Evangelicals from the majority being Democrats or at least voting for Democrats to being Republican voters.  How did that happen?  Evangelicals were quite favorable to Roosevelt.  My Evangelical relatives spoke of Roosevelt with reverence, and that includes my mother. (I am Jewish through my father).  They saw the Democrats as the party supporting policies that would advance ordinary people, modest people like most Evangelicals were at that time.  They also felt a responsibility for the poor. Many were immigrants’ children and had the experience of hard knocks.  My own view is that the big change came due to social issues.  The right tax rates, money supplies, banking policies, and other matters of economic policy were too abstract for so many.  There was more trust for national leaders.   When the Democrats supported abortion, easier divorce, and then became pro-gay or LGBTQ as it is known today, there was a great Evangelical shift.  This is understandable.  The Black community and many Hispanics (they are more divided than Blacks) saw government support for lifting their community as more important than abortion, gays choosing to marry, or easier divorce since one could choose not to have a divorce or to live a gay life.  The issues of being supported to overcome poverty was considered a greater issue than the others.  So Black Evangelicals stayed mostly Democrat.  

I am very much on the side of the Republicans on the social issues, but my views on many other issues are more nuanced.  We have to look at things from a biblical worldview perspective.  There are first the issues of principle and then the empirical issues of what works.  Here are some Biblical norms that few talk about but should.

  1. The Gospel is primarily spoken to and for the poor, the oppressed, and the captives.  (Luke 4) This is in line with the prophets who deal with two primary sin areas that bring the judgment of God.  The first is idolatry. The second is the treatment of the poor, the needy, the widow, the orphan etc.   
  2. A study of the Bible brings out the fact that human beings are fallen, prone to evil and greed.  Therefore, the Bible is oriented against the great concentration of wealth and power in the few or a controlling oligarchy.  Such concentrations will not turn out well.
  3. The Bible enjoins a broad distribution of wealth while allowing growth in prosperity by diligence.  However, because wealth is primarily in land, that is re-distributed and returned to ancestral families every 50 years.  That is the great equal opportunity idea of the Bible, the Year of Jubilee.  Note the prophets railing at those who had added field to field and built large houses on large estates and did not obey the jubilee law.
  4. The Bible requires leaving gleanings, the corner of the field, and a partial tithe for support for the poor. 
  5. Loan sharking is absolutely forbidden.
  6. The Bible enjoins a strict sexual morality and family order. 
  7. All of this is based in the fact that every human being is created in the image of God and to be treated with respect and dignity.  The courts of law and justice must show this truth.  

These are the principles.  Then there is the empirical reality.  The development of economies in the world are so very different than the older agrarian economies.  We now have wealth connected to huge corporations and industrial enterprises, many multi-national.  Modern governments in developed societies have produced huge bureaucracies.  The question for society is what is the best system of economic organization for lifting the greatest number of people, providing adequate income for gainful work that treats employees with dignity.  In a modern society, we also deal with health care and its availability and delivery.  The problem with socialism is that it leads to greater poverty and does not produce the creativity and drive to increase the wealth of the society.  The problem with capitalism as it has developed is that it has produced huge disparities of wealth distribution where there is too much power in a few and many are exploited.  They then control the government through lobbies and contributions.  Unions have been helpful, but some unions are now part of the problem.  Some unions have negotiated packages that are bankrupting cities with six-figure pensions.  This is unfair to people with no unions or weaker unions.  I think teachers’ unions are now destructive and have produced a destructive monopoly.  An education for decent vocations is a crucial issue and hence competition is crucial. 

Can free enterprise be designed that limits obscene wealth and power concentrations while allowing the motivation of reward for enterprise?  Can this success be of greater benefit to the many?  Can we see profit-sharing, stock for employees, and more for employees?  Also, how shall we deal with robotics?  What if there are just not enough jobs; will there be a robotic dividend for people.  The idea of greater leisure due to robots was the talk of futurists decades ago.  They speculated on a much shorter work week. I think Andrew Yang who runs for mayor of New York is thinking about these things.  Higher minimum wages may lead to job losses and robot replacements.  Do Evangelicals wrestle with these issues?

Then finally we think of reforms in-laws and penalties for crime.  Can we think more deeply about the fact that the Bible has no prisons for non-capital crimes, but requires restitution with penalties?  It is justice but restorative justice.  How should that orient us to reform in the justice system? 

I often think that because people do not credit the Torah and the authority of the Hebrew Bible, they miss the important teaching of the Bible and its principles for societies.  These are reasons why I cannot really be totally at home with political parties.  These parties are coalitions of interest groups.  Many of the positions of political parties are for the sake of gaining the support of those interest groups and for the sake of keeping politicians in power.  But the policies on issues in these parties do not cohere with each other.  Have you ever thought about how arbitrary it seems that a party’s policies on different issues do not form any coherent whole?  Only the Bible can give a coherent whole on issues and then pursue the truth empirically as to what works best in implementing the principles. I try to wrestle with some of this in my book “Social Justice.”