Episode 418: The Pandemic, Power, & the Apocalypse

Back in 2016, Donald Trump gave a campaign speech promising that if elected “Christianity will have power.” The Holy Post crew discusses why this message has so much appeal to some Christians today, the way fear has come to mark our faith, and what we can do to counteract the trend. After the podcast is interrupted by a tornado, Christian asks if we’re seeing signs of the apocalypse. Skye says, “No” and shares his idea for a sermon titled “How Stupid Do We Think God Is?” Plus, listener mail.

15:25
winds
15:26
and uh so there were tornado warnings it
15:29
doesn’t appear that any actual tornadoes
15:31
did any damage anywhere at least not
15:34
that i’ve heard chicago they touched
15:35
down
15:36
in like the river north area rogers park
15:40
park really oh my goodness
15:43
wow that’s densely populated um
15:46
we lost like um half a tree here
15:50
and that was all but uh over in our
15:53
power just barely went out but came back
15:55
on my mom a few
15:56
uh two suburbs over in wheaton lost
15:59
power for
16:00
like 20 hours and uh whole streets
16:03
in wheaton were impassable because of
16:05
downed trees
16:07
so it was some power lines i saw
16:10
and yeah i was driving by on naperville
16:13
road and like
16:14
fences that lined the street were kind
16:16
of blown over
16:18
wow we lost one big tree branch but
16:21
other than that we were safe so i was
16:23
very thankful
16:24
i’m sure there’s not a lot of people
16:25
that can say that any trees down in your
16:27
yard sky
16:29
no actually this area wasn’t too bad
16:31
just little branches here and there but
16:32
you know the fact that it’s 20 20 i’m
16:35
just happy we didn’t have like blood
16:37
blooded in the streets or yeah you know
16:39
comets
16:40
fall in on us or something a bug of
16:42
frogs
16:43
right uh jason how’s uh aurora
16:46
it actually didn’t hit here very hard at
16:49
all i was really
16:50
i thought we’d get a hit a lot harder
16:51
but it was you know a couple tree
16:52
branches down
16:53
things like that didn’t ever lose power
16:55
at all the whole steeple on college
16:58
church
16:58
is gone yeah the old one or the new one
17:01
not the new one
17:02
not the the little one on the back part
17:04
of the church or the
17:06
okay yeah yeah they lost a steeple
17:09
that seems like it could be god’s
17:12
judgment i mean that’s clearly
17:13
a storm blows the steeple off your
17:15
church
17:16
but at what point let me just stop you
17:19
and just ask
17:20
because i know our listeners are
17:21
thinking that at what point
17:24
do you look at 2020 and then begin to
17:27
wonder
17:29
is this something apocalyptic like
17:32
i mean it just keeps coming the hits
17:35
just keep coming and
17:37
there is good biblical precedent for god
17:40
using the you know nature and animals to
17:44
like you know pour out his wrath and
17:46
judgment
17:48
uh-huh skye no just no
17:52
so never at any point truthfully i want
17:55
to know for sure
17:56
never at any point do you never ever
17:59
think i do
18:00
wonder what god is doing here no i never
18:03
do
18:03
really i don’t phil i really don’t like
18:07
when it comes to storms and stuff like
18:08
that no i
18:09
don’t yeah but i know not just one storm
18:12
but cumulatively
18:14
would you okay but christian christian
18:16
it’s a global it’s a global pandemic
18:19
it was a local storm in iowa and
18:21
illinois
18:22
it’s like how do you can’t it doesn’t
18:24
make sense i am
18:26
not talking about that i am not just
18:28
talking about a global pandemic and one
18:30
storm if you took
18:31
all of the events of 2020
18:34
and you lump them together you have to
18:36
admit
18:37
it it’s the tragic the tragic death of
18:41
kobe bryant
18:42
the what else i mean the pandemic
18:45
the olympics got canceled that was
18:47
george george floyd yeah i mean
18:49
and if you just take out the pandemic
18:51
this would be a pretty normal year
18:53
yeah we have stuff like this fairly
18:55
often it’s the pandemic
18:57
we also had the flying locusts
19:01
that we’re taking all over the sandstorm
19:04
like i mean it’s just that happens all
19:06
the time we just don’t report it
19:08
because it’s something things are worse
19:10
this year
19:11
than normal because of the pandemic yes
19:14
yes yes because of the pandemic there
19:17
was a pandemic just like this
19:19
a hundred years ago and that wasn’t
19:22
the end of the world clearly but okay
19:25
just
19:25
i want to go back to this question phil
19:27
you have to answer it okay
19:29
ever in your mind do you never think
19:31
this
19:32
gee i wonder what god is doing maybe
19:34
there is something we should learn
19:36
maybe something is going to happen do
19:38
you never those thoughts
19:39
there is always something we should
19:41
learn i don’t think god is pushing
19:44
around weather patterns
19:45
or viruses to send secret messages to us
19:50
because he’s already given us his word
19:53
which tells us what we need to know
19:57
that’s true and i don’t think he knocked
20:00
kobe bryant’s helicopter out of the air
20:02
and i don’t think he inspired kanye west
20:04
to run for president
20:06
and i don’t think i mean if you look at
20:09
the 20th century there was
20:10
the 20th century was so much worse than
20:14
what we have so far in the 21st century
20:17
in terms of chaos and death and violence
20:20
and pestilence so it’s
20:23
it’s just hard to say but you know we
20:25
didn’t experience most of it firsthand
20:27
we missed most of it we weren’t born
20:29
so you know everyone thinks that the
20:31
experiences of their lifetime
20:33
are the most impactful experiences that
20:36
have ever happened
20:37
because they’re the most impactful
20:39
experiences that have ever happened to
20:40
me
20:41
which is you know a little bit of
20:43
potentially
20:44
um disney princess
20:47
because it’s happening to me it has
20:51
great biblical meaning um but yeah
20:55
people have always pointed to current
20:56
events
20:56
and said this is it god’s judging or
20:59
doing or whatever
21:00
you know and it’s like it’s like
21:03
predicting the second coming the only
21:05
thing
21:05
we know for absolutely sure is that
21:08
everyone
21:09
who has ever predicted a date for the
21:12
second coming
21:13
has been wrong that’s true
21:16
except there is stuff that we do know we
21:19
do know that he will come in the clouds
21:21
and every eye will see him
21:23
what does that have to do that has
21:24
nothing to do with that has nothing to
21:26
do with predicting your knowledge
21:28
right okay that’s true but it does mean
21:31
that we will be able to see him when he
21:33
comes
21:34
and they’re right in other words it’s he
21:36
did when and he even says this he said
21:38
when someone says here there’s the you
21:39
know don’t believe it because it’s not
21:40
going to be a subtle thing
21:42
he’s not going to come back as the
21:43
invisible man right
21:45
and you have to look for the the uh the
21:47
hand print on the shower glass door
21:50
like in the movie it’s not going to be
21:51
like that but do you not think that
21:53
there’s going to be
21:54
anything that leads up to his coming at
21:57
all there’s like
21:58
no warning signs it’s just going to be
21:59
like bam he’s there
22:01
i think all of the traffic signals start
22:04
to
22:04
flash purple come on seriously i’m
22:08
asking a serious question
22:10
i don’t know firing minds i don’t know i
22:13
um when i was 19 years old working for
22:18
my first video production job and i got
22:20
sent out to
22:21
salt lake city utah to train on my first
22:24
computer graphics
22:26
system i had a a classmate who was
a few years older he was like 25.
he had already been married and divorced
and we were talking
and i wanted to find out why and he said
that he read the book the late great
planet earth by hal
lindsey which made everybody go nutty
for end times prophecy
and he was so convinced that the world
was about to end
that he thought i don’t want it to end
before i get married
so he rushed into a marriage so that he
could have the experience of being
married
before the world ended and it was a huge
mistake
23:05
and he ended up at 25 divorced and that
23:08
that had
23:08
that that imprinted on me i thought
23:11
people
23:12
go crazy and make terrible decisions
23:16
when they focus too much on trying to
23:18
predict the end times
23:20
so i’m not going to do that so ever
23:23
since then
23:24
i’ve just thought okay it is going to
23:25
happen and we do not know when
23:29
and that is all we’ve been told we
23:31
absolutely need to know
23:33
the funny thing is part of the reason
23:35
jesus and the apostles later talk about
23:38
the end and the coming judgment and all
23:40
that sort of stuff
23:41
is so that we would prepare and we would
23:44
take urgent action but the urgent
23:46
action they call us to take is action
23:49
toward
23:50
character and holiness and virtue it’s
23:53
be loving and kind and patient and
23:55
forgiving and
23:56
you know all the fruit of the spirits so
23:58
the irony is that this guy you’re
mentioning goes out and
essentially runs into a sexual
relationship because he doesn’t want to
miss out on the opportunity
which is the total opposite of what he’s
supposed to do he’s supposed to be more
self-controlled more patient
more kind and it’s just funny to me that
we
we apply this eschatological stuff to
24:18
our lives and then can
24:19
take away the polar opposite biblical
24:22
message of the
24:23
one that jesus and his apostles gave us
24:25
yeah probably
24:26
trying to gain the system it seems like
24:28
to to our own advantage
24:30
yes yeah and i i tend to strongly
24:35
react against going to extremes
24:38
i like to moderate i like to stay in the
24:41
middle i
24:42
yeah to to a fault to a fault that i you
24:44
know there are times where i should be
24:46
more
24:47
up in arms or and i’m not because i
24:50
my my tendency is to try to moderate
24:53
my response at all times so when i
24:56
see theology that uh tends to
produce extremes of behavior in people
i kind of have a natural innate pushback
you know to that sort of wow if that if
believing if interpreting that verse
that way
makes you behave like that ah i’m i’m
gonna
i’m gonna back away from that
25:21
interesting
25:22
maybe good may be bad i don’t know i
25:23
just don’t like freaking out
25:26
well i appreciate y’all’s perspective on
25:28
that okay i’m sure our listeners do too
25:30
so thank you for going so
25:31
i have a big branch down in my yard i am
25:34
not going to go out
25:35
and stand next to it and look for jesus
25:38
in the sky
25:39
i don’t think they’re connected and i’m
25:41
not saying you think that christian i’m
25:42
just saying
25:43
that no i’m just saying sometimes i do
25:47
wonder like i just i mean i desperately
25:50
want
25:50
christ to come back and his kingdom to
25:52
be established on earth and things to be
25:54
all right the world and so i think
25:58
part of me hopes like okay maybe it is
26:01
so bad right now and that’s because
26:02
something exciting is gonna happen
26:05
or you don’t think this is exciting
26:07
enough
26:08
this is an extremely exciting good i
26:10
mean exciting good
26:11
good exciting i think most of the
26:13
warnings in in scripture
26:16
are about not being ready in the sense
26:19
that
26:19
jesus comes back and you’re not walking
26:22
in the way of jesus
26:23
right so the solution
26:26
is not to try to run you know figure out
26:28
which which russian
26:30
nation your european union is going to
26:33
what and the where and the how
26:35
it’s just walk in the way of jesus and
26:37
regardless of when it happens
26:39
he’s gonna you’re gonna be fine you’re
26:41
gonna be right
26:42
you’re gonna be fine and if someone says
26:44
hey would you like the mark of the beast
26:47
say no probably not i’ll pass
26:53
no i don’t think so i don’t think i want
26:55
that uh that doesn’t mean it’s upc
26:57
codes it doesn’t mean it’s a vaccine it
27:00
doesn’t mean it’s a microchip
27:02
that like the ones we put in our dogs so
27:04
that we don’t lose them one day that’s
27:05
not the mark of the beast
27:08
you’re not gonna i think was it was it
27:10
um juan hernandez who said this last
27:12
week
27:13
or two weeks ago at okoboji said because
27:15
people were asking about the mark of the
27:16
beast he was teaching on revelation and
27:18
he said
27:19
you you will not accidentally get the
27:22
mark of the beast
27:23
if there is a literal mark of the beast
27:26
it won’t be something that you realize
27:28
oh crap i got i thought i was just
27:31
getting
27:31
i thought i just was downloaded the
27:34
target app
27:35
and now i’ve got the mark of the beast
27:37
that’s like if there is a literal mark
27:39
of the beast
27:40
it’s not going to sneak up on you you
27:43
will have to opt into it
27:44
you know related to that phil i have
27:46
been debating putting together a sermon
27:49
and it’s it’s working title is how
27:52
stupid do we
27:52
think god is
27:56
isn’t that jesus that’s your next book
27:58
right there
27:59
it could be how stupid do we think god
28:01
is because for to your point
28:03
if the mark of the beast is something
28:04
that a faithful christian might
28:06
accidentally stumble into
28:08
and acquire in some way you think god is
28:11
so stupid
28:12
as to say oh sorry you’re out now
28:14
because you accidentally downloaded that
28:16
app and you accidentally got that
28:17
vaccination when you were six months old
28:20
you forced not that it’s ridiculous you
28:22
thought you were signing up for your gas
28:24
station’s
28:24
frequent buyer program but you got
28:28
the mark of the beast so and i think
28:31
this relates to a whole bunch of
28:32
different areas of our of our
28:33
public christian lives and different
28:35
things that go on but we i really think
28:37
a lot of christians genuinely believe
28:38
god is truly stupid
28:40
and that’s why they’re so fearful that
28:42
they don’t make any missteps
28:44
but or don’t think that that’s yes i
28:46
totally do
28:48
i absolutely do no he just he just wants
28:51
us
28:52
the alternative view sky jatani dear
28:56
friend of mine
28:57
is is that he expects us to be smart
29:00
enough not to make dumb mistakes
29:04
i don’t know about that okay i think
29:06
you’re both wrong
29:07
i think i think that people don’t think
29:10
god is stupid
29:12
i think people forget how powerful he is
29:16
and that he’s not out there to trick us
29:18
or to lay a trap for us
29:21
well powerful people can trick you i i
29:23
think christian
29:25
i’d spend it a little differently it
29:26
isn’t that that people think god isn’t
29:29
powerful i think that people view god
29:31
as an impersonal force more than
29:34
a person and so they they think of i
29:37
mean dallas willard used this analogy he
29:39
talked about
29:40
a vision of god as just being like the
29:42
scanner at the grocery store
29:44
and as long as you have the right code
29:46
as long as you have the right thing the
29:47
scanner picks up
29:48
right thing if you have the wrong scan
29:49
the wrong code you get the wrong thing
29:51
so for example
29:52
um i mean this opens up a can of worms
29:55
but
29:56
there are certain christians who want
29:58
america to have a certain political
29:59
foreign policy toward the nation state
30:01
of israel
30:02
and they think as long as america
30:03
supports the state of israel god will
30:05
bless america
30:06
and and they then discredit all the
30:09
nuances of
30:10
god’s character and does he actually
30:12
care about the marginalized and what
30:13
about justice and what about refugees
30:15
doesn’t matter as long as america
30:16
supports israel we’re good it’s like no
30:19
it’s a much much more complicated
30:21
issue than that hey we’ve got the right
30:24
code
30:24
america’s got the right law toward
30:26
israel before god’s on our side that’s
30:27
what i mean by they think god is stupid
30:29
like he doesn’t have
30:30
a personal engagement and nuanced
30:32
understanding of a very complicated
30:34
things
30:34
and we can get by by tricking him more
30:36
or less with just
30:38
going through the right motion saying
30:39
the right prayers giving the right
30:41
amount of money
30:42
scanning the right law into our books
30:44
whatever that’s what i mean by that we
30:45
pretend that god is just this impersonal
30:48
force that we can manipulate
30:50
because he’s stupid but i think that is
30:52
a subconscious
30:53
thing i don’t think people consciously
30:56
think god is stupid
30:57
of course not of course not but we
30:58
behave like he is
31:00
yes right what are those tests
31:04
where you where you use a number two
31:05
pencil and you fill in the little
31:06
circles and the
31:07
antron yes yes we we think following
31:11
jesus is the equivalent
31:12
of of acing a scantron test
31:16
where i had all the right dots and all
31:18
the right circles and that’s the only
31:20
thing that god will look at is what
31:21
comes out of the scantron
31:23
machine right that’s a good analogy
31:25
thank you you can use that in your
31:27
sermon but you have to you have to
31:28
credit me at the end of the sermon
31:30
that would be a good dude i would be
31:32
happy to thank you thank you very much
31:34
hey we were going to talk about
31:35
something else
31:36
in fact we were talking about something
31:38
else we don’t have a ton of time now so
31:41
i think we can still briefly mention it
31:43
because there wasn’t a whole lot to say
31:45
but but it is a really good article in
31:47
the new york times
31:48
uh under the headline christianity will
31:51
have power you can look it up it was
31:52
written by elizabeth
31:54
diaz who covers religion for the new
31:56
york times um and she went to sioux
31:58
center iowa
31:59
to interview people who had supported
32:01
donald trump in 2016
32:02
and she pointed out something
32:03
interesting which i didn’t even know was
32:05
that one of the most famous things he
32:07
ever said during the primary he said
32:09
in sioux center iowa at dort university
32:13
and it’s the thing that everyone focused
32:15
on which is that is where he said and
32:17
this is a very conservative dutch
32:18
reformed community with a
32:20
dutch reformed school and this is where
32:24
he said he could stand in the middle of
32:25
fifth avenue and shoot somebody and he
32:27
wouldn’t lose
32:28
any voters and every journalist in the
32:30
world
32:31
focused on that like what did he just
32:34
say
32:35
it’s even hard to figure out exactly
32:36
what that means was he saying his
32:38
followers just aren’t very moral i mean
32:42
his followers are so passionate the
32:44
loyal
32:45
and loyal he could kill somebody and
32:48
they would still follow him
32:49
wait then i i would argue he was a
32:52
hundred percent correct
32:54
well that’s a whole different story but
32:56
what um
32:57
miss diaz focuses in on is is that
32:59
something
33:00
else he said in that speech may have
33:02
been more important than that
33:04
and uh so she quoted at length and and
33:06
he said to these
33:08
conservative christians and in the
33:10
northwest corner of iowa very near the
33:12
bible conference that we go to every
33:13
year
33:14
i will tell you christianity is under
33:16
tremendous siege whether we want to talk
33:18
about it
33:18
or we don’t want to talk about it he
33:21
said christians make up the overwhelming
33:22
majority of the country and then he
slowly then he slowed slightly to stress
this part
and yet we don’t exert the power that we
should have
33:32
it’s interesting that he said we because
33:34
he is
33:35
i don’t know that he ever stood up
33:36
before this point and said i am totally
33:38
a follower of jesus
33:40
uh but now he’s part of the we if he
were elected president he promised that
would change
and then he said christianity will have
power
if i’m there you’re going to have plenty
of power
you don’t need anybody else you’re going
to have somebody representing you
very very well remember that and
that that’s what she focuses in on this
article is
is his statement if you elect me
christianity
will have power and that’s what you know
34:09
we’ve been talking with with david
34:10
french about what’s the difference
34:11
between religious power and religious
34:13
liberty
34:13
that’s kind of what we’ve been hinting
34:15
at a long time it’s it’s interesting
34:16
because then
34:17
um what what mrs diaz misty is i don’t
34:20
know what her first name is don’t
34:22
remember
34:23
she travels around sioux center iowa and
34:26
orange city which is
34:27
right next door and interviews people
34:30
about so how do you think he’s done and
34:32
are you still going to vote for him this
34:33
year and you know what’s your response
34:35
to all the the hoop law
34:37
and the overwhelming response is he’s
34:40
done what he said he would do
34:41
he’s done what he said he would do you
34:42
know we have more we have more power now
34:45
we’re not losing as much
34:47
so it’s a really interesting article
34:50
um just to hear people it’s not
34:53
one-sided it doesn’t have an obvious you
34:55
know
34:55
liberal bias they’re not trying to make
34:56
these people look stupid they’re just
34:58
asking him the questions
34:59
you know how do you feel he’s done and
35:02
you know what what’s your sense of the
35:03
world
35:04
and it’s fascinating so i just i just
35:06
wanted to take a couple minutes
35:08
you know for skye and christian to say
35:09
okay how did you what’s your reaction
35:11
when you read that what did it make you
35:14
think i know christian mentioned that it
35:16
made you generally sad
35:17
uh but let’s just get a little bit of
35:19
response to what we saw from
35:21
such a detailed look at how
35:24
you know middle american christians are
35:26
feeling
35:27
well like i said when we started this i
35:29
felt like it rang super true
35:33
am i signed out no here you’re there
35:36
yeah you’re
35:38
saying i got a message saying you’ve
35:39
been signed out
35:41
oh not of this maybe something else
35:43
maybe maybe your mark of the beast app
35:46
so you know so that’s good yeah that’s
35:48
very good anyway
35:50
so i um you know it rang very true
35:52
because it sounds like a lot of people
35:54
that i know
35:55
in my area of the country things i’ve
35:57
heard them say forever
35:59
it did make me very sad uh and i’m not
36:02
sure
36:03
what we do about that i think that was
36:05
what was so hard and
36:06
what the article that we talked about
36:07
earlier you know we can look at this
36:10
and we can acknowledge that is probably
36:12
true but how do we
36:14
change it
36:17
yeah skye what did you make of the how
36:20
did you respond
36:21
i i’m kind of um i felt
36:24
bad because i don’t necessarily i don’t
36:27
blame these people
36:28
i think when you’ve when you see the
36:32
world
36:32
the way they have been formed to see it
36:35
i can understand why you don’t believe
36:37
you have any alternative
36:39
if you believe the world is in that
36:41
desperate a place if the country’s in
36:43
that desperate place
36:44
and the only option available to you
36:48
is this very flawed
36:51
broken immoral leader who nonetheless
36:54
says he will give you
36:55
and your religious beliefs influence and
36:58
power
36:59
i can see why people are in a corner and
37:02
want to do that i don’t necessarily
37:04
blame them when i i have less sympathy
37:07
however
37:08
for the church leaders and those with
37:11
greater influence who are here in this
37:12
culture to represent jesus who have
37:15
formed in them this view of their faith
37:18
and that’s where i think the blame lies
37:20
not with the person on the street
37:22
who doesn’t believe they have any
37:25
alternative
37:26
so uh i i i it’s sad it’s very sad
37:30
because i think it says something about
37:31
the state of the american church more
37:32
than it says about the state of american
37:34
politics
37:35
and there’s a ton of talk uh quotes from
37:38
different people
37:40
like this um in their area
37:43
area because they have their own
37:44
christian school they send their kids to
37:47
we feel like we are in a little area
37:49
where we are still protected
37:51
you know where we’re we’re safe we we’re
37:53
afraid of losing that
37:55
um and then you know if if trump is
37:58
re-elected then
37:59
i feel like we are safe for four more
38:01
years
38:02
so there’s this theme of safety you know
38:05
being
38:06
being at risk and it’s not not
38:08
necessarily you know that people are
38:10
going to come and shoot you
38:11
but that our way of life is going to
38:13
disappear
38:14
that we have values and they’re going to
38:16
disappear that’s what they’ve
38:17
capitalized on i mean that’s what the
38:20
trump campaign the republicans have
38:22
capitalized on and they have going back
38:23
to the 80s and i’m sure before
38:26
whereas we’re going to show you all the
38:27
things you should be really afraid of
38:29
and you should be really really afraid
38:31
of these things
38:32
we’re going to be the ones that protect
38:33
you from happening whether they’re
38:34
abortion
38:35
or you know crime or you know
38:39
be that what it may we the republicans
38:42
are going to keep your life the way it
38:44
is
38:44
protected safe and happy and what really
38:47
breaks my heart is that what that
38:48
reveals in us in our heart
38:50
is that we believe that our salvation
38:52
our happiness our peace
38:54
is in installing a correct political
38:57
leader and system
39:04
right which is essentially a false
39:06
gospel
39:07
and it’s a false god actually right yeah
39:10
so and that and that i wish that some of
39:12
these folks
39:13
i wish there was more interaction across
39:16
the country among christians in
39:18
different environments
39:19
like if you were to take a bunch of
39:20
christians in northwest iowa like the
39:22
ones that were interviewed in this
39:23
article
39:23
and put them in a room with a bunch of
39:25
christians from manhattan
39:28
right who live in like this liberal
39:30
bastion of democratic power
39:33
yeah and they could interact with each
39:34
other and realize we share the same
39:36
faith
39:36
we have the same hope in christ we’re in
39:39
very different environments and yet look
39:40
here are christians
39:41
thriving in a post-christian liberal
39:45
paradise absolutely you know the liberal
39:48
uh kind of nirvana and yet their faith
39:51
is strong and they’re doing great like
39:53
i wish there was a vision for we can no
39:55
matter what happens
39:56
politically we as the people of christ
39:59
can thrive
40:00
yeah and we don’t have to be driven by
40:03
fear
40:03
in our public engagement yeah the last
40:07
person they interview in the article is
40:09
is the um
40:10
latino pastor of a latino congregation
40:13
in
40:13
i think or in orange city or sioux
40:16
center
40:16
who you know has a lot of white
40:19
evangelical friends
40:20
and is an evangelical and so shares
40:24
many of their social concerns but when
40:26
they come to politics he says
40:28
yeah they they don’t bring that up
40:30
around me and i don’t bring it up around
40:32
them
40:32
you know i think they know that
40:36
um the things trump says and does aren’t
40:39
necessarily
40:40
great for the people in my congregation
40:43
and they don’t want me to feel awkward
40:46
and i don’t want to make them feel
40:48
awkward
40:48
you know so and that’s kind of part of
40:51
of
40:52
i mean it’s kind of exactly what you’re
40:53
saying is that doesn’t
40:55
here’s a group right in the community
40:57
that could say our perspective is a
40:59
little different
41:00
let’s talk about it but instead the
41:02
choice is
41:03
our perspective is a little different
41:05
let’s not bring it up because we want to
41:07
maintain
41:08
civility you know and we don’t know
41:11
what’ll happen if we actually disagree
41:14
with each other
41:15
we haven’t been taught how to
41:17
respectfully
41:19
have a difference of opinion and have a
41:21
civil conversation about it
41:23
and not let it fracture us into our
41:25
silos right
41:27
that’s what’s project yeah and our and
41:29
our leaders aren’t helping
41:30
because they’re not they’re not doing it
41:32
either you know because they’re
41:34
too afraid that i’m gonna i’m gonna lose
41:37
support of the people that are following
41:38
me it’s gonna threaten my ministry
41:40
so i’m just gonna i’m just not gonna
41:43
speak up
41:44
and and that’s why i put the blame there
41:46
rather than with
41:47
the people in the pew or in the voting
41:49
booth it’s our
41:50
christian leaders have failed to
41:52
disciple the american church
41:53
in this critical area of faith okay skye
41:56
so what do we do
41:57
how do we turn that around what what
42:01
vision
42:01
can you paint for us of something that
42:04
might begin
42:05
to to turn that tide i mean just from
42:08
that article
42:10
oh sorry i was gonna say what if you
42:12
wrote
42:13
a little ebook called the voting booth
42:16
i’ll suggest that name you could call it
42:18
the voting booth
42:20
and it could talk about christian
42:22
political engagement what if you did
42:24
that
42:24
what if i did that four years ago and
42:27
it’s already available on amazon for
42:29
anybody who wants it for like i don’t
42:30
know
42:31
we may need to point that out again we
42:33
might yeah
42:34
yeah but alternative to that would be
42:38
take this uh latino pastor from the
42:40
article
42:41
like why not get a gathering of church
42:44
leaders from that community from
42:46
different
42:47
traditions all christian whatever and
42:49
have them come together and
42:50
and have those open conversations or
42:52
invite your congregations to meet
42:54
together and do a panel discussion about
42:56
how do we view our christian faith in
42:58
the public square and why does it lead
43:00
some of us to vote differently and how
43:01
do we
43:02
have a bigger vision of this and just
43:04
come to a place of diverse
43:06
engagement and understanding to broaden
43:08
their vision a little bit but the more
43:10
you have and this is not just true of
43:11
conservatives it can be just as true
43:13
of liberals if if your entire
43:16
environment is an echo chamber where
43:18
you’re only engaging in one
43:20
cable news network or a handful of
43:22
websites or just the algorithm from your
43:24
social media feed that keeps shoveling
43:26
the same
43:26
messages into your in your um inbox then
43:30
yeah you’re gonna get you’re gonna come
43:32
to this myopic vision that this is the
43:33
only way to be a faithful christian
43:35
in the public square so we have to begin
43:38
opening up
43:39
the dialogue and it’s it’s up to church
43:42
leaders to take the risk to do that
43:43
and i know this is the problem with our
43:45
ecclesiology is so many of our churches
43:47
will punish pastors
43:49
who try to do that um but at the end of
43:51
the day
43:52
pastors are not accountable to their
43:54
people they’re accountable to the lord
43:56
and at some point we have to decide who
43:58
we fear more
44:00
all right we need to wrap this up
44:02
because we’ve gone long now since we had
44:03
a two-day
44:05
a two-day news segment interrupted by
44:09
an apocalypse which generated its own
44:11
storyline
44:12
uh we have a guest guy i think we have a
44:14
guest i hope so we’ll see
44:16
i hope we have i guess this this episode
44:19
might be shorter rather than longer
44:21
if not it’s probably long enough as it
44:23
is all right guys you guys uh have a
44:25
great week
44:26
and we will see you next time wait can i
44:27
say one quick what what what
44:29
what okay what what super exciting news
44:31
today everybody
44:32
you can’t tell anybody you can keep it
44:34
secret
44:35
but we are going to be screening at a
44:37
drive-in movie theater on october 10th
44:40
in chagrin falls ohio with the girl who
44:42
wore freedom
44:43
it’s our first in-person film festival
44:46
screening so
44:47
you’re the first to hear it here okay
44:50
social media for it we’ll keep you
44:51
posted you can buy tickets and join us
44:53
if you are driving distance from chagrin
44:55
falls ohio i have no idea where that is
44:58
north ohio near cleveland check it out
45:01
check it out
45:01
okay we’ll see you next week all right
45:03
bye everybody everyone
45:06
how do you like your sermons i’m
45:08
guessing you prefer something that’s
45:09
easy to listen to
45:10
easy to understand maybe a sermon with
45:12
three alliterated points and a specific
45:14
application at the end after all no one
45:17
goes to church on sunday hoping to be
45:18
confused when they leave
45:20
no we want answers and we expect our
45:22
bible teachers to give them
45:24
but that’s not how jesus preached
45:27
although he taught the truth
45:28
he rarely told it directly instead
45:31
jesus told it slant indirectly subtly
45:34
and often wrapped in a story that was
45:35
actually designed to obscure the truth
45:38
for many of his listeners
45:39
that meant his audience had to work to
45:42
understand him
45:43
it took effort and concentration that’s
45:45
totally different from the comfortable
45:47
setting we try to create today in our
45:49
churches with our
45:50
cushioned theater seats and built-in cup
45:52
holders
45:53
that’s why we’re doing a series right
45:55
now in with god daily about jesus
45:57
parables
45:58
each day i’m writing to help you
46:00
understand the critical truths that he
46:01
taught
46:02
and were hidden in these stories and how
46:04
they apply to things going on in our
46:06
world today
46:07
like how the story of the good samaritan
46:09
relates to religious pluralism
46:11
or connecting the unmerciful servant
46:13
story to black lives matters
46:15
this is a series you don’t want to miss
46:17
it’ll help you understand jesus in a new
46:19
way
46:20
and apply those truths to your world
46:22
right now and of course
46:23
many of the daily devotionals include my
46:25
hand-drawn illustrations
46:27
and audio versions if you prefer to
46:29
listen rather than read
46:31
you can sign up today at
46:32
withgoddaily.com
46:34
or by downloading the with god daily
46:36
mobile app from itunes or google play
46:39
so check out with god daily today it’s
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the daily devotional for people who hate
46:43
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stories and more

What is a Post-Jesus Christian?

 

Post-Jesus Christians are “Christians” who have decided to postpone following Jesus’s teaching until Jesus returns and ushers in 1000 years of peace.

Post-Jesus Christians hold that Jesus’s teachings do not need to be followed in our present era if they are a hindrance to obtaining the power they fear they need to help usher in the Kingdom of God.

Post-Jesus Christians (privately) hold that Jesus’s teachings are a nice thing to follow when dealing with the in-group of their fellow PJCs but may be disregarded when dealing with non-PJC neighbors.

Prophecy: What God Can Do For You

Post-Jesus Christians talk a lot about about prophecy, and unlike the Biblical Prophets, when they do, they punch down, rather than up:

You will know them by their fruit, because they only have one key message – God is going to “enlarge your tent” and “expand your influence“, he’s going to “give you great favor” and “bless you mightily”.

Later Craig Greenfield writes:

In Biblical times, there were two types of prophets.

  1. Firstly, there were those who feasted at the King’s table because they had been co-opted to speak well of evil leaders (1 Kings 18:19). They were always bringing these smarmy words of favor and influence and prosperity to the king. And the king lapped it up. Like a sucka.
  2. Secondly, there were those who were exiled to the caves, or beheaded (like John the Baptist) because they spoke out about the injustice or immorality of their leaders (1 Kings 18:4). The king didn’t like them very much. He tried to have them knee-capped.

An Inversion of Ben Franklin’s Morality

While many Post-Jesus Christians appeal to a historical “Christian Nation” , Post-Jesus Christians appear to be an inversion of founding father Ben Franklin, who in historian John Fea’s description, wanted to discard Jesus’s Divinity but retain and celebrate his ethical teachings.

Examples:

So what does this look like in practice?

Below are public quotations from prominent Court Evangelicals.  These quotations are less extreme that I would expect to hear in private.  A friend of mine speaks to supporters in private.  He reports that they would (privately) celebrate the stuffing of election ballots in favor of their preferred candidate as a righteous act.

1) Court Evangelical: Anti-Sermon on the Mount


John Fea wrote about a conversation he had with Rob Schenck  for the “Schenck Talks Bonhoeffer” podcast @ 19:27.  Here’s a quote from Schenck talking about a conversation he had with a prominent evangelical at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service:

I must tell you something of a confession here. I was present at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral — not the smaller one held  at  Saint John’s Episcopal church across from the white house, but the one following the inauguration at the National Cathedral and I saw one of the notable Evangelicals that you’ve named in in our conversation. One of them, I won’t say which and we had it short exchange and I, I suggested to him that we needed to recalibrate our moral compass and that one way to do that might be to return to The Sermon on the Mount as a reference point. And he very quickly barked back at me. “We don’t have time for that. We have serious work to do.”

2) Jerry Falwell Jr:  Anti-Turn the other cheek

John Fea writes:

We have blogged about Liberty University’s Falkirk Center before.  The more I learn about this center the more I am convinced that it does not represent the teachings of Christianity.   Recently someone on Twitter pointed out this paragraph in the Falkirk Center mission statement:

Bemoaning the rise of leftism is no longer enough, and turning the other cheek in our personal relationships with our neighbors as Jesus taught while abdicating our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield is no longer sufficient. There is too much at stake in the battle for the soul of our nation. Bold, unapologetic action and initiative is needed, which is why we just launched the Falkirk Center, a think tank dedicated to restoring and defending American ideals and Judeo-Christian values in all aspects of life.

John Fea’s Update:

Several smart people have suggested that I may have misread Liberty University’s statement.  They have said that the Falkirk Center was not denying that Jesus’s call to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individuals.  Instead, the Falkirk Center is saying that we should not “abdicate” (the key word here) our responsibilities to engage on the “culture battlefield.”

I think this is a fair criticism, and I indeed may have misread the statement.  For that I am sorry.  But I don’t think I want to back away too strongly from what I wrote above.  While several have correctly pointed out that Liberty University is not saying Jesus’s command to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individual Christians, the Falkirk Center does seem to be suggesting that it is “insufficient” for culture engagement.

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Trump Warned Evangelical Leaders of What Would Happen if He Lost the Midterm Election

President Donald Trump delivers a private, prophetic warning to Christian leaders about what’s happening in the country and how the midterms are going to be a referendum on your religion.

Christians are so fragmented and scattered we don’t have a coherent mechanism for sharing messages like the left has. That needs to change! We must spread the word, and take over these midterm elections.

The ‘Seven Mountains’ prophecy

There’s a plan to seize control of every aspect of the US; government, law and media. And it’s based on the bible’s Book of Revelation.

Morrison emphasises his values in first major speech

The Dark Ages have a certain appeal to some. It was a time when good and evil was white and black. Church overruled state. And the word of priests was as law.

It was when the Roman Catholic church effectively ruled the whole of the Western world. Under idealised eyes, it controlled every aspect of civil life. Parish priests held sway over small towns and communities. Cardinals and Popes could bend kings and nobles to their will.

In reality, things rarely worked out that way. But it was the accepted doctrine of the times.

Now, some evangelical groups want that all-encompassing power back.

They call themselves Dominionists.

Their declared goal is to take control of society. And the US government is in its sights.

It wants ‘One nation, under God’ … their god.

Only once this is achieved, followers believe, will Jesus return in the Second Coming, initiating the End of Days and the prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

It’s a cross-denominational movement which appears to have been born among television and radio evangelists in the 1970s. They cite one passage, Genesis 1:28, as justification:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

It is interpreted as being God’s mandate for his followers to control every aspect of life.

Now new apostles are preaching a message which puts church above state, and their interpretation of Christian lore above secular law.

And they have a plan to have this enforced.

An artist’s interpretation of a passage from the Book of Revelation, which refers to a ‘seven headed beast’.

An artist’s interpretation of a passage from the Book of Revelation, which refers to a ‘seven headed beast’.Source:Supplied

SEVEN HEADS ARE SEVEN MOUNTAINS

The argument goes something like this:

The long-awaited Second Coming has not yet happened as the criteria outlined in the Bible have yet to be met. Christians have not been taking part in their communities. Instead, they’ve been huddled in their own churches. This has exposed the very pillars of society susceptible to the influence of the devil.

It’s up to believers to change this, they argue, by seizing control of key institutions.

Some evangelical movements believe this is demanded by prophecy. They argue the Bible verses of Isiah 2:2-3 instruct their followers to take control:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.”

It argues there are seven such ‘mountains of the Lord’.

The key to this thinking is Revelation 17:1-18, which hinges on verse 9:

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains

The prophetic passage talks of an evil woman ‘drunken with the blood of the saints’ who rides a beast of ‘seven heads and 10 horns’. It ends telling how this beast will be turned against the woman, destroying her.

Most theologians see the reference to ‘seven’ as being Rome — famously built upon seven hills

But some evangelicals argue this beast — and its seven heads that are mountains — represents the structure of society itself.

“So this is now called the Seven Mountain Prophecy,” says advocate David Barton. “If you’re going to establish God’s kingdom, you’ve got to have these seven mountains, and again that’s family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.”

RELIGION: “With a plethora of categorised religions around the world, it’s the Church’s responsibility to reach the lost with the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ, and expand the Kingdom in ministerial efforts, both nationally and internationally.”

FAMILY: “God is calling fathers and mothers (both spiritual and biological) to bring order to the chaos that the enemy has unleashed against families in America.”

EDUCATION: “A reintroduction of biblical truth and Bible-centric values is the key to renewal and restoration in America’s failing educational system.”

GOVERNMENT: “We must see a shift in this arena in order to preserve the Christian heritage that America was founded upon. The goal is to put in place righteous political leaders that will positively affect all aspects of government.”

MEDIA: “ … the arts and entertainment industries wield significant influence. The body of Christ needs powerful, righteous men and women who are not afraid to take their God-given talent into the arts and entertainment arenas.”

BUSINESS: “We believe it is the Lord’s will to make his people prosperous and that He desires for His Church to use its wealth to finance the work of Kingdom expansion. Simply put: Prosperity with a purpose.”

‘Seven heads are seven mountains’ … a phrase being used to justify an evangelical push to dominate US government.

‘Seven heads are seven mountains’ … a phrase being used to justify an evangelical push to dominate US government.Source:Supplied

SEVEN MOUNTAINS MANDATE

White Christian evangelicals in the United States remain a powerful voting bloc. Though they are a diminishing group.

In the 1990s, they represented about 27 per cent of the total US population, Now, they amount to some 15 per cent.

And that loss of prominence has proved galvanising.

Dominionist thinking is becoming mainstream among this minority group, and Seven Mountains is regarded by many as a road-map to ‘regain’ control of the country.

The idea first emerged In 1975 when Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), had what they describe as a miraculous revelation. Both had been given a dream by God, they declared. Its message revealed the need to dominate the Seven Mountains (or Spheres) of influence.

Since then, the theology has been pushed into political circles through media events, youth movements and campaign activities.

Central to its teachings is that members must build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. And that starts with turning the United States into a Christian state.

The movement first met with some sympathy under the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.

At the 1980 Republican National Convention, attended by some 17,000 evangelical Christians, Ronald Reagan famously declared: “I know you can’t endorse me, but … I want you to know I endorse you and what you are doing.”

Reagan won in a landslide, primarily attributed to a ‘Moral Majority’. And his governance has since been called ‘the God strategy’ after evangelicals were appointed as Secretary of the Interior, Surgeon General and to the Department of Education.

But, under the Bush Republican presidencies, evangelical influence waned.

The Seven Mountains movement’s leaders felt they had been betrayed. Despite encouraging words during their campaigns, Presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush just did not follow up with the desired appointments.

President Trump, however, represents a new opportunity: an opportunity that has been delivering.

US President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with people who loudly profess their faiths. Picture: AFP

US President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with people who loudly profess their faiths. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

THE KING CYRUS FACTOR

The Seven Mountains movement experienced something of a revival in the early 2000s under evangelist Lance P. Wallnau and political activist David Barton.

Wallnau is one of the theology’s most vocal prophets. He is a forceful advocate of the need to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’.

But, now that only a few remote tribes in South America’s Amazon and the Bay of Bengal’s the Andaman Islands have not been ministered to, Wallnau is endorsing a broader interpretation of the passage. He sees it as an instruction to inject his version of Christianity into the way societies are run.

And President Trump is the vessel for such change.

Wallnau has declared Trump has a ‘Cyrus anointing’ upon him — a reference to the ancient Persian King Cyrus who, despite being no friend of Israel, defeated the Babylonians and set that nation free. Cyrus was therefore blessed by God for doing his work.

In the modern context, the ‘anointing’ of Trump means evangelical Christians can also set their religion ‘free’.

To that end, Wallnau boasted to fellow evangelical leader David Barton that he had ‘ninja sheep’ working with activists, politicians — and members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.

Seven Mountains advocates say they have infiltrated government with their ‘ninja sheep’ and ‘underground’ agents. Picture: AFP

Seven Mountains advocates say they have infiltrated government with their ‘ninja sheep’ and ‘underground’ agents. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

OF ‘NINJA SHEEP’ AND ‘UNDERGROUND’ AGENTS

Wallnau asserts Satan is in control of academia, entertainment, politics and business: “Our real enemies are the ones that are shaping laws, shaping media, and shaping the next generation.”

To fight them, he’s promoting what he calls the ‘7M Underground’ — an affiliation of producers, directors, attorneys, politicians and economists.

“We should be moving to the top of these mountains,” Wallnau said. “Christians are called to go into proximity to the gates of hell. That’s why they’re showing up in government. They should be showing up in journalism …

“I’m working with believers that I call ninja sheep — those are believers that are actual believers but have to maintain discretion with their public profile.

“And what we want to do is we want to reinstall a culture that honours God and that revives again a morality that’s essential to the survival of America as a Christian-influenced nation.

“So the underground is where we meet and we basically have now mobilised nationwide believers to intercede pray and be informed and then show up at the decisive flashpoints in culture where there can be a presence behind what Trump’s assignment is. So it’s pretty exciting.”

Barton seized upon the Seven Mountains as the logical outcome of his controversial (but incorrect) belief that the Founding Fathers of the United States were all born-again Christians. This means, he says, that the Constitution should be interpreted through Christian — not secular — eyes. This can be done through the Seven Mountains.

“ … those are the seven areas you have to have, and if you can have those seven areas, you can shape and control whatever takes place in nations, continents, and even the world,” Barton said in a 2011 radio interview. “Now that’s what we believed all along is you got to get involved in this stuff. Jesus said ‘you occupy ‘til I come.’ We don’t care when he comes, that’s up to him. What we’re supposed to do is take the culture in the meantime, and you got to get involved in these seven areas.”

President Trump greets preachers at a recent formal dinner held for evangelical leaders. Picture: AP

President Trump greets preachers at a recent formal dinner held for evangelical leaders. Picture: APSource:Supplied

‘TAKE BACK THE COUNTRY FOR CHRIST’

Separation of Church and State is enshrined in the US Constitution. Though this has always been an intense arena of dispute.

It’s intended to prevent the repeat of the crises many fled during the founding of the United States: combinations of individual churches and states that oppressed other faiths.

The Constitution itself specifies “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”.

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Seven Mountains and Dominionist evangelicals don’t see this as a problem. The United States is a Christian country, founded by Christians, they argue, so the Constitution should be interpreted through a Christian perspective. The Country’s motto is ‘In God We Trust’, after all.

“We realised that it only takes 3-5 per cent of a leadership operating at the top of a cultural mountain to shift the culture’s view of an issue,” the promotional page of an upcoming 7 Mountains ‘International Culture Shapers Summit’ declares. http://www.7culturalmountains.org/

Under Trump, they’ve been getting more than that.

His Vice President, Michael Pence, is an outspoken evangelical. The former conservative talkback radio host has even been declared a ‘covenant man’ — putting him alongside the likes of Moses, Jacob and Noah — for his apparent obedience to God in a corrupt and sinful political arena.

Trump’s new Attorney-General, Matthew Whitaker, once proposed banning non-religious people from being appointed to the judiciary. He also said judges needed a ‘biblical view of justice’: “What I know is that as long as they have that worldview, that they’ll be a good judge. And if they have a secular worldview, that ‘this is all we have here on Earth’, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.”

The President regularly trumpets the Christian character of his cabinet.

His first Chief-of-Staff, the since-sacked Reince Priebus, was a devout member of the Greek Orthodox Church. Ousted Adviser Steve Bannon came from an Irish-Catholic background, as did disgraced National Security chief General Michael Flynn. Former Attorney-General Jeff Sessions is a Methodist, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is Presbyterian. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos belongs to the Christian Reformed denomination. Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was born into a Sikh family but converted to Christianity and now attends a Methodist congregation.

That’s just a sampler.

But Trump’s even given an evangelical group open access to the White House — Capitol Ministries — to conduct bible study groups.

This is why — despite the never-ending cloud of controversy surrounding the president — his support among evangelical leaders has remained steadfast.

An American flag waves outside the United States Capitol building. The debate about the separation of church and state is heating up. Picture: AFP

An American flag waves outside the United States Capitol building. The debate about the separation of church and state is heating up. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

Charismatic, Pentecostal and Evangelical Christians are among President Trump’s most devoted supporters. And he knows this.

He won 81 per cent of their vote in 2016. A poll published shortly before the 2018 midterm elections by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 72 per cent of white evangelical Protestants still had a favourable opinion of him.

And Trump continues to tell them what they want to hear.

In a closed-door meeting with more than 100 evangelical leaders in August, President Trump said he had repealed a law preventing them from preaching politics from the pulpit. He hadn’t, though it is something he sometimes talks about.

He also said he had dismissed a law that prevents US religious and other tax-exempt institutions from endorsing political candidates. He hadn’t, though he has signed an executive order smoothing the way for religious groups to engage in politics.

It was enough to motivate the religiously conservative groups focused on abortion rights, a conservative majority in the Supreme Court, and support for Israel, to back his midterm election campaigns.

But US progressive churchgoers are increasingly bristling at Trump’s brash character, and divisive approach to race, immigration and women.

They’ve started to push back.

Among those raising their voice in opposition is Anglican bishop Michael Curry, who officiated at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. He’s pushing a manifesto — Reclaiming Jesus — and warning of a “dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches”.

The manifesto rejects white nationalism, calls out political exploitation of racial bigotry, denounces misogyny and sexual misconduct, defends immigrants and refugees — and advocates renewed focus on the poor.

“Representatives of Christianity were buying into political agendas that very often do not reflect the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth,” Bishop Curry said.

But the religious right is showing little sign of being moved.

And Trump’s keen to keep them on side.

Elections, he warned, were “a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment.”

“We’re going to protect Christianity,” Trump declared. “I can say that. I don’t have to be politically correct.”

Trump’s Terrible Year

Trump’s Terrible Year

Modern day prophets. They’re not who you might think.

.. But Biblically and historically, true prophets spoke out about injustice and exploitation. They spoke on God’s behalf when his people went astray and forgot the poor.

They punched up. Not down.

They spoke truth to power, not condemnation to the downtrodden and marginalized.

(As a fun exercise – have a read through the book of Amos and see how much these words resonate, or not, with the words of the so-called “prophets” of ultra-right wing Charisma News).

There are a whole lot of people who call themselves “prophets” today. But most of them barely ackowledge poverty, expoitation, or injustice. Jesus knew this, and that’s why he warned that there will always be a bunch of false prophets and false teachers running their mouths off who will “deceive many people” (Mt. 24:11).

You will know them by their fruit, because they only have one key message – God is going to “enlarge your tent” and “expand your influence”, he’s going to “give you great favor” and “bless you mightily”. 

Bollocks.

Of course God blesses. Of course God gives people favor, and even gives them influence sometimes. But these were not the main priorities of the Biblical prophets. This did not form the core of their message.

In Biblical times, there were two types of prophets.

  1. Firstly, there were those who feasted at the King’s table because they had been co-opted to speak well of evil leaders (1 Kings 18:19). They were always bringing these smarmy words of favor and influence and prosperity to the king. And the king lapped it up. Like a sucka.
  2. Secondly, there were those who were exiled to the caves, or beheaded (like John the Baptist) because they spoke out about the injustice or immorality of their leaders (1 Kings 18:4). The king didn’t like them very much. He tried to have them knee-capped.

I would suggest to you that, the leaders of the religious right in America, Charisma News, and so-called “prophetic leaders” of the charismatic and evangelical church (like James Dobson and Franklin Graham), have become the false prophets of this generation.

 

Case in point, their support of Donald Trump – possibly the most corrupt, immoral and unjust man to run for leadership in the Western World in recent years.

This man and his evangelical groupies have led a majority of white American evangelical Christians astray. (A Pew survey showed that 78% of white evangelicals support Trump).

These false prophets claim he is “God’s Trumpet” who will restore the power they long for – power over Supreme Court appointments. They hope to feast at his table when he comes into power and are willing to turn a blind eye to things they have been talking about for decades, including adultery, sexual assault, racism, misogyny, violence, etc.

They are the very definition of false prophets. And to my mind this calls into question every aspect of their ministry and teaching. They clearly DON’T have a hotline to God, because I know that God is particularly concerned about orphans and widows and foreigners. The very people that Trump bulldozes to build his next casino.

I urge you to consider what a true prophet sounds like. Listen to people who echo the prophets of the Bible, speaking truth to power and grace and love to the downtrodden.

Here is a sampling of Biblical prophets just to remind you what they sound like:

“Hear this, you who trample the needy and destroy the poor of the land!”
Amos the prophet (Amos 8:4)

“Seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 1:17)

“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice”
Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 22:13)

“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”
Ezekiel the prophet (16:49)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah the prophet (Micah 6:8)

“Thus says the Lord of hosts… do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the immigrant, or the poor…”
Zechariah the prophet (Zechariah 7:9-10)

Got it? It’s pretty clear to anyone who has immersed themselves in these scriptures.

The teachings of many modern day evangelical church leaders just do not resonate with God’s heart for justice, the way the Biblical prophets did.

So who will you listen to? I’d love to know, who you see as prophetic in this day and age? Share in the comments.

Five in Ten 7/11/18: Mark Taylor – The Trump Prophecies and SCOTUS

Mark Taylor, the “firefighter prophet” featured in the bestselling book The Trump Prophecies, discusses President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, and he explains why he believes Justice Anthony Kennedy may be only the second of five justices who will ultimately be replaced by Donald Trump. Mark’s story comes to the big screen when The Trump Prophecy opens across the country in selected theaters October 2 and 4. To find a theater near you and order tickets for the premiere, log on to www.FathomEvents.com.