Trump: a better world?

Here is a letter (with permission) written by someone close to a person who believes that Donald Trump’s administration is going to change the world for the very much better. One of this person’s examples is that a drastic overhaul of the world money system is on the cards where a distribution of wealth will lead to the end of world poverty – and peace.

The letter

You are right, what is happening in the world today is a very great evil, of Biblical proportions in fact, and one can not enter into the devil’s realm and strongholds unless one is properly protected. Otherwise those demons that pass as men could say to you, as the demons in the book of Acts said:

Acts 19
13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

So, how do you protect yourself? Paul says we need the full armor of God:

Ephesians 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

You have to trust in Jesus as the savior of your soul and the forgiver of your sins. And of course, all the other pieces of armor as well, like the breastplate of righteousness, but only the true righteousness that is bestowed on you by Jesus, not our own little puny righteousness that is full of holes.

And finally, I am afraid the Bible does not predict this man-made Utopia that you envision, where if poverty were only eradicated everyone would be nice to each other. Mankind is fallen, Utopias have been tried before, look at communism for instance. What could be a better system? Everyone pools their resources and shares them out, a doctor earns no more than a laborer, etc, etc. But they were all doomed to crash and burn, because of that fatal flaw in the human creature, sin. The only result that came from all these idealistic schemes was that the evil bastards rose to the top like scum and the poor were as oppressed as ever. The only time there will be that kind of happy, perfect world again is when Jesus returns and establishes his kingdom again. Meanwhile, look what Jesus himself predicts the world will look like before he comes:

Matthew 24

3 “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Who is “them?”

Father forgive them for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:24a).

In good translations of the Bible, a note is attached to the above words of Jesus suggesting that the saying is a textual variant because it does not appear in the early manuscripts of Luke. Alan Kirschner presents a strong argument to support this suggestion.

In the light of the rest of Jesus’s words and the New Testament as a whole, I suggest that these are either not the words of Jesus or that Jesus is referring not to all those involved in his crucifixion but only to a select few’ or more accurately an “elect” few (a scriptural concept/term – 41 verses in the Bible ).

I was in conversation with a pastor friend on Wednesday about the crucifixion, specifically about Colossians 2:13-14. Verse 13: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins…” When did Jesus forgive us all our sins? When we were made alive (and believed)? Most Christians will say when we first believed. This may come as a shock but nope; it was forgiven before you were born. That may be news to you; it is news to me- very good news. We continue with our passage, Colossians 2:14: “having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” So, all our sins (past, present and future) have been taken away and nailed to the cross before we were born, and after those who crucified Christ were born.

For my pastor friend and most Christians (namely, who believe they came to Jesus on their own gas – in their natural state), Jesus nailed every human being’s sin to the cross; it’s one’s choice to decide whether one wants to accept this redemption. This means that Jesus shed his blood for every human being without exception, that is, was punished in their place and forgiven; and it’s up to “whosoever” to decide to follow Jesus. Where is the most famous “who(so)ever” in many English translations of the Bible (for example, the King James Version)? John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

My pastor friend says that “whosoever” means “whosoever decides to believe…” There is nothing in the text about choosing/deciding. The problem lies not in what the text means, but what most readers mean by “whosoever,” because 1. that is how it is used in English, and 2. the verse must “surely mean whoever decides,” because that is the preconception readers bring to the next – after all, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman, they say, and won’t force Himself upon you. (Have you ever heard in your church during prayer time from the preacher’s lips, “Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal your sins to you.” This is nonsensical. He blows where he wills – John 3:8).

We return to John 3:16: the literal Greek of John 3:16 says: “ For God did so love the world, that His Son — the only begotten — He gave, that every one who is believing (or, “the believing ones”) in him may not perish, but may have life age-during.” There’s nothing in the text about deciding anything, silly.

En passant, If most men and women who fall in love, do not force themselves on one another (happy that force) no one would get married, or, if you prefer, partnered.

Crazy flight path from Sao Paolo to Johannesburg solved. Thank you dear UN

In a recent post I registered surprise at the flight path of a Sao Paolo – Johannesburg flight.  Guess what, I found a great answer to the conundrum on the United Nations flag – their map of the world.

Here’s the flag (“false?”:  why doubt the UN, the only organisation we have left to bring world peace?).

The black line indicates route from Sao Paolo (left) to Johannesburg (right).


sao paolo to johannesburg

As the UN tells us, that globe map must be false. If you can’t trust the UN, life is not worth living. N’est-ce pas?

Matt Slick. Non-damnable heresies: No big deal?

With regard to the gifts of the Spirit such as tongues, prophecy, and miracles, you should take very seriously your position on whether you are a cessationist or a continuist of these gifts, says Jason Mullet (minute 33 ff), a cessationist. He continues: “If I am wrong as a cessationist, then I would be saying that true gifts from the Spirit of God have ceased. I would be saying to those who genuinely have the gift of prophesying, of miracles and the gift of tongues, that this was not from God. I would be at best quenching the Spirit, at worst, blaspheming the Spirit.”

Now to Matt Slick (his real name). I love almost all of his apologetics. Slick says that after deep study of the scriptures, he is a continuationist. As we see above, Jason Mullet gives good reasons to assert that  to be wrong about continuationism-cessationism is a serious matter: at worst blasphemy. Yet for Matt Slick, it’s “no big deal,” for him it isn’t  a primary part of the Gospel.

 I don ‘t think Slick would consider wrong beliefs about the gifts a heresy. He distinguishes between damnable and non-damnable heresy. His example of the former is the rejection of the incarnation ( the Word made flesh); his example of the latter is the rejection of hell. 

Consider the five points of Calvinism. Slick like moi, is “Reformed” (“calvinist”): a five -point-Calvinist. Here are the five points in logical order:

  1. Total Depravity (comprising radical corruption, total inability and original sin).
  2. Unconditional Election: God chooses those to be saved based on his wisdom and will, not on how good we are or our will. So, salvation“depends not on human will or exertion,but on God, who has mercy (Romans 9:16).
  3. Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement): Christ shed his blood (paid the price) only for those the Father gave Him: “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day” (John 6:39).
  4. Irresistible Grace: a dead person when raised to life, cannot resist the pull  and say I wanna stay dead.” I once saved a wanna-be suicide from death (in Tel Aviv, drug overdose). Later, he tried again; he did it.) When it comes to Christ raising you, you are no longer the same person, you’re a new creation, filled with joy. Irresistible joy (not same as “happy”).
  5. Perseverance of the Saints (Once Saved Always Saved).

The sovereignty of God shimmers through all the five points – as well as through the whole Bible: God ordains everything: Isaiah 46 – 8 “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. 9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’.

Slick says that “it’s no big deal” to disbelieve in the above five points because, he says, it’s not an essential of the “Gospel.” He bases his view, firstly, on what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”

Secondly, the second person of the trinity (“indeed”) took on flesh: “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24).

And thirdly, justifcation (salvation) by faith alone (without works). “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law” (Romans 3:28).Good works are the fruit of faith. This is what James means when he says “As you can see, a man is justified by his deeds and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). There is no contradiction between Paul and James, by implication no contradition between God and Himself, who inspired ( or better “expired” breathed out) the scriptures; every word of it. Slick’s favourite example of why he thinks the five points are “no big deal” is that when he married his wife, he never asked her whether she was “reformed.” He says he only found out (if I remember his words well) ten years later.

How do I see these two topics of the cessation-continuation of the gifts and Reformed theology (God’s sovereignty so well described in the five points): I agree with Matt that your belief in the gifts of tongues, prophecy and miracles is not essential (Mullett gives good reason to mull over this one again) but I disagree that the five points are non-essential. Now, if the five points are essential to the Gospel, to reject them or any of them would, it seems, be heresy. A damnable heresy? I’m not sure.

I love Matt Slick. No big deal?