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Politics versus Spiritual Growth II

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Question #1:

You see, everybody says that they want a real meritocracy, but when push comes to shove, nobody actually does, because that means that some people are just not going to make the cut. At the same time, everybody wants to feel as if they're in a meritocracy, so they invent a compromise: the people who have merit are those who stand for "the right kind of stuff" and the ones without merit are those who stand for "the wrong kind of stuff." Urban poor do not have merit because they stand for "the wrong kind of stuff," while Rural Trump supporters automatically have merit because they stand for "the right kind of stuff." That's how the political calculus works.

Response #1:

Better not to have any feelings about it one way or another. In my reading of scripture, nations get the leadership they truly deserve. Therefore the only way for Christians to positively affect their nations is by being "salt" to that nation – something we can only be individually through personal spiritual growth. Any time spent on politics is wasted time – at best.

Please see the links:

Blessing by Association

Politics and Political Action on the Eve of the Tribulation (the "salt" principle)

Politics versus Spiritual Growth I

Culture and Christianity XI: Lying, Suicide, Tattoos, Investing, Drugs, Music, Family, Dating, Politics

Culture and Christianity X:  Military Service, College, Politics, and Race Relations

Culture and Christianity IX: Politics, Tithing, Music, Crucifixes, Alcohol, and Gambling

War, History, and Politics

Politics and Society in Satan's World System (in SR 4)

Question #2:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for you message and I hope you are well and still growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

I’ll take a look at this latest study (BB 2B Eschatology), the more since it is in a summary form. Where do you believe we are in the "prophetic clock"? I ask because I am wondering if you think the "Brexit" thing will somehow catalyze events in this regard.

On another note, I’ve been meaning to ask you: what do you think of A.W. Tozer and the content of his sermons? That is, if you have ever heard of him.

May our Lord kindle ever more our love for Him so we can keep growing in His truth, love and justice.

Kind regards,

Response #2:

Never been a reader of Tozer (have heard of him, but that's about it). As to Brexit, even with all of the information we have about how things will develop once the Tribulation begins, it's difficult if not impossible to see how the present puzzle pieces are going to fit together, especially inasmuch as they are constantly and kaleidoscopically changing. The one thing I do see is a trend towards upheaval and the breaking down of institutional resistance to the sorts of things we know will have to happen with rapidity once the last phase of the end times commences. So I suppose all I can say about this is that it is a "sign of the times", even if we can't dogmatically draw a straight line between this event and antichrist's seizure of revived Rome.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Dr., I hope all is well with you and your family. Your ministry is always in my prayers.

Quick question, in light of all the turmoil going on in the world, what is a follower of Christ suppose to pray for? We know these issues are a results of sin and we know God has a timetable to make things whole and right, but what are we suppose to pray about? The issue with terrorism, policing, degradation of morality, etc. Are we suppose to pray that His will be done? We know that to be the case. Are we suppose to pray for peace? We know that won't happen until the return of Christ? Are we suppose to pray that we love each other, etc? It's an impossibility without being regenerate with the Holy Spirit and others coming to the knowledge of Christ crucified.

I am really torn on this issue, specifically in light of terrorism, morality and specifically racism issues in this country.

Your scriptural advice is needed.

In Christ our Lord

Response #3:

Here is the advice scripture gives:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1st Timothy 2:1-2 KJV

This sort of general prayer for "all men" (unbelievers as well as believers) and particularly for those in authority can be done even with the knowledge that things are going to happen God's way no matter what. After all, it true of all prayer whenever we pray that God's Will will be done, and that is certainly not a reason to refrain from any prayer (our prayers are part of the divine decree as well – if in fact we actually prayed them). The one thing I would add is that this praying should give us a measure of peace and confidence rather than upsetting us. When we pray we are putting things in God's hands and leaving the matter to Him, realizing that we are not to worry about anything because He has control of everything. Thus, prayer on all matters is a major way of "casting all our cares on Him" (Ps.55:22) . . . realizing that He cares for us (1Pet.5:7).

A song of ascents. Of David. My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.
Psalm 31:1-3 NIV

Things are rotten in this world because it is a rotten world; it will never be otherwise until our Lord returns and replaces the devil's rule with His own. So if we can "lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1Tim.2:2), we should be satisfied with that. Our job is to grow, progress and minister; if things are not so terrible so as to physically stop us from doing this, then we should be grateful that we have the "elbow room" we need to live our lives for Christ.

It's always a trap for a Christian to become obsessed with politics and political goings on to any significant degree. The knowledge that we have of the truth, and the opportunity we have to put whatever concerns we do have into the Lord's hands through prayer are important means to gain an emotional distance from the world and its troubles. After all, being the targets of the evil one, we have enough trouble of our own already. And that is really what is going on of significance in this world. The story told by the newspapers, TV stations and internet is very misleading. From God's point of view, the only correct point of view, it is the daily battle being fought out by the Church of Jesus Christ which is of true significance. So when we pray we are right to pray for things to stay on an even enough keel for us to get by – but our main effort should be placed in the most important area: in support of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are fighting the real fight every day.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Thanks for the quick reply. It is not that I am politically active but I like watching the news rather than TV shows and I can rightfully say I have the right perspective in terms of how to view it as such. I was curious about prayer in general and I appreciate the bible verses.

I think one of my main issues now is that I have a lot of free time during the day because our company is being disbanded and my work load is less. I work from home and it provides a lot of time on my hand. Since I have all this time until my job situation has some light, you tend to drift.

I will try to not to turn on the TV to watch the news.

Thanks like always In Christ our Lord

Response #4:

Yes, I don't believe anyone could watch a lot of cable news and not get apoplectic from time to time. But I'm not worried about you at all.

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

Have you heard of the alt right? They're an anti-Semitic group of white nationalists that are all uniting behind Trump and his anti-immigration stance.

On a gospel related note, I am amazed by the kindness of Paul and how gently he deals with wayward believers, or believers who are engaged in gross sin. Not a single Evangelical pastor I've seen is as kind as Paul.

Sincerely

Response #5:

I've not heard of this group or this flap (but I'm not following this election stuff as closely as some).

On politics, I think you know my opinion: that wise believers will have as little to do as possible with that realm of human activity. It's tough to shut it out entirely in our day and age, it's true, but there's more happiness in doing so than in not – and more productivity for the Lord. That doesn't mean we can't be aware of what's going on and naturally it's virtually impossible not to form some opinions, but we should always remember that what is really going on is being controlled by the Lord for His own purposes (His opinion is the only one that counts, after all), and that there are no political solutions to the real issues of life, only divine ones. That said, anything that even smacks of anti-Semitism should be avoided like the plague – and I note that it apparently exists at the highest level of the other major party as well (based on recently leaked emails). It just goes to show that organizing against any person/group necessarily entails organizing with some other person/group – and just like the Nazis vs. the Communists in 1930's Germany, e.g., they all turn out to be the devil's pawns. The only way not to fall afoul of that trap is to stay far away from it altogether. N.B.: this is going to be an even greater problem going forward, and especially once the Tribulation begins.

On Paul vs. evangelical pastors, most sermons I've ever heard don't have any teaching content at all, so it's an invidious comparison (vis-ΰ-vis Paul). Also, Paul wrote under divine inspiration, so everything he wrote is true. He was encouraging, pleading, but also very tough when he had to be (tougher than any pastor I've ever heard of . . . anyone who was doing things right and not ruling a cult, that is); consider 1st Corinthians 5:1ff., just as an example.

Sin is sin. No pastor (or apostle) can forgive it; but God does forgive it when we confess it, because Christ died for it. The problem for believers is that unless we "pursue sanctification" (Heb.12:14), we are likely to drift backward into habitual sin, which leads to ever-increasing discipline, which in turn produces a crisis, which will force a decision, and if the believer decides that abandoning faith is easier/preferable to giving up the sinning or dealing with the punishment, faith will be lost, and without faith not only is there no behavioral/temporal sanctification but there then remains not even any positional sanctification / holiness . . . and "without [positional] holiness no one will see the Lord" because only believers are saved (see the link: "Apostasy and the Sin unto Death").

The only correct way to deal with any biblical subject is by teaching the absolute truth about it, whether that hurts feelings or not. I get that "tone" is important, and also emphasis, but if what is taught is correct, a "too gentle tone" will not for all that stop a believer who is slipping the wrong way from being helped, at least by coming to understand what's at stake (whereas if he/she is brought up short by a "sharp tone", there is the risk that the response is to the tone or person giving the message, rather than to the truth); on the other hand, there are times when an issue is so critical and the recipients of the message in such dire danger that more sharpness is required. That explains the book of Hebrews, and also many of the Old Testament prophets (Hosea, Micah, pick your prophet).

Different pastor-teachers have different personalities, skill-sets, life-experiences, media, audiences, so approaches will vary even among that very small set of individuals who are actually teaching the truth in depth. So it is certainly understandable and acceptable for a positive believer to seek out the best match for him/her – as long as, mutatis mutandis, the same level of spiritual growth can be achieved. If, however, it is the case that the "best place" to grow is not the "most comfortable fit" in terms of respective personalities, I, for one, would chose the "best place" and make my peace with the peripheral turbulence that went along with it – for the sake of growth, progress, reward, and to better please my Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours in our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

It's easy for me to stay out of the political arena because my political views are so idiosyncratic that none of the parties, third parties included, align with them. I've been called a right wing fascist and a bleeding heart millennial liberal by different people.

Response #6:

As long as I'm called a Christian, I don't care about other labels.

Three good reasons not to attend either upcoming political convention:

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
Psalm 1:1 NIV 1985

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

As our existence in the world unfolds, so do our life events, and always as we never expect or plan. I've spoken often of the pitfalls of the reactive mind state and how easily we allow ourselves to be sucked up into the swirl and spin of what's lighting up everyone's radar. We direct our attention, so the quality of our consciousness is our own precious responsibility. Politics, mass shootings, Syria, 1.5 million refugee children, racial divide, LGBT, celebrity deaths, hurricanes and the like keep the mind inflamed. These coupled with our personal tempests are cause for stillness and reflection, which is where I find myself at this time. In short, I have left the church. I don't associate with its followers save my own family. Someone once said that the world is changed by your example, not by your opinion. That is where I am with my faith at this point. Exemplifying the teachings of Christ. Period. My religion is kindness and compassion, helping others, and doing no harm. Doing the right thing. Period.

In the past year, I have witnessed the most heinous behavior from self-professed "Christians" that makes their example virtually indiscernible from unbelievers; at work, in the political arena and in church. [details omitted]

That brings me to now. Now is all we have, and what we do (not what we say), is all that matters. Exemplifying Christ. Kindness and compassion. Do no harm. That's it. We will see/hear none of that during tonight's presidential debate.

Actions matter. That's all.

Praying for your peace. Always.

Response #7:

You have traveled a very rough stretch of road since last we chatted, that is certain. I pray that you will find peace and comfort in your new situation and in days ahead. You certainly seem to me to be entitled to some breathing space.

The world is an uproar – but then as the devil's world it always is, to some degree or another (though not to the degree we will soon see when the Tribulation commences). As I say, I pray for your peace, and I would imagine that liberating you from your past situation is part of what the Lord has in mind in bringing you to that peace. Some of this, of course, we have to pursue ourselves. It may seem to some like a lack of civic virtue, but I'm not engaging myself in all of the craziness that's swirling around, trying instead to concentrate on doing a good job at work and with this ministry. One can't necessarily divorce oneself from everything – there are friends and family to "contend" with (my mother is in a hospice situation and her mental state now at nearly 96 is not the best), and other things that are part and parcel of being in though not of the world. We can't very well help but know what is going on; we don't have to let ourselves care that much about things we can't control, however.

I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your friends. I know from personal experience what a heavy load the loss of near and dear ones can put on us. As to your job, for what it is worth, I want to commend you for acting with honor. I think that what you did, while it couldn't have been easy, exemplifies Christian integrity – what it should be.

For me, the only thing that matters is Jesus Christ, drawing more closely to Him day by day through the truth of the Word of God, attempting to walk more closely with Him day by day through considering and applying that truth to my life as it unfolds, and helping others with this through this ministry. If the love of Christ guides us, not only will what we do be a worthy witness to Him, but what we say and think as well.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

The reason I'm leaving the religion, but not Jesus:

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/what-s-behind-evangelical-support-donald-trump-less-you-think-n666146

Response #8:

It's good to hear from you. I hope your new situation is working out for you, and that you are beginning to heal up and rest up emotionally after all you've been through.

As to your link, well, you know my feelings about true, biblical Christianity and politics being incompatible. As I have often observed, when Christians (individually or collectively) give up the pursuit of spiritual growth through diligent attention to the truth of scripture, some sort of hollow substitute is generally embraced, political causes being one of the most common of the alternatives the devil eagerly supplies (and that also never happens without serious compromise of principles because of the nature of politics).

In a very short time the Lord will return and evil government of every sort will be completely eradicated and destroyed. In the meantime, we believers who do understand what is really important in this life have an incredible opportunity to make a true difference for Jesus Christ through growth, progress and production on behalf of His Church. Somewhat ironically, while no amount of blood, sweat, tears and treasure wasted on politics can ever change the devil's world until our Lord does so, it is precisely by sticking to the tasks our Lord has assigned us that believers can have a truly significant impact for the places where we live as well. For we are "the salt of the earth", and it is through the potency and quantity of such "salt" that groups and nations are blessed (see the links). What we see swirling around us in the ether of this world are only the symptoms of a much more critical spiritual battle which is going on, hidden from the eyes of the unbelieving world – and, sadly, hidden too from the vast majority of believers who have chosen to reject the "good part" (Lk.10:41-42). But that is where our true fight lies (see the link: "Strangers in the Devil's Realm"), and that is where we should put all of our efforts for the sake of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Your friend in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is our all.

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

First of all, don't trust the polls. The polls, statistically speaking, are not worth the paper they're printed on. For all we know, Donald Trump could be the most popular candidate.

I am appalled that so many Americans, the majority of this block being Christians, are supporting America's first dictator. Most Americans do not know what it's like to live under a dictatorship. My parents do, but no native-born Anglo-American does. We think of dictators as tin-pot military generals with comically sized hats ruling over a hilariously named country in South America, but that is not true at all. Putin is without a doubt a dictator, and Donald would be one too. A dictator is an autocrat who denies democratic principles of free speech, double jeopardy, and various other legal principles that we who are of the Anglo-American political persuasion take for granted, as England, being the originating nation of the Magna Carta, has a real tradition of restraining government power.

I am so jealous of Canada. They figured out how to do multiculturalism, federalism, and politics in a way that makes it work like a smoothly-oiled machine. In my humble opinion, the only difference between Canada and America is that we have a presidential system while Canada has a parliamentary one. This shows that the founders were gravely mistaken in drafting a constitution with an executive branch.

Response #9:

Of course they don't have completely free speech in Canada (if a pastor says something which is politically offensive, he can be jailed for it). That's an important consideration for someone like myself who has to say what the Bible says no matter whom it chaps. I would probably be indicted there for last week's posting for suggesting that the Bible says what it says on that topic.

As to current events, I quote from Psalm 37 – which is very good to read carefully in its entirety and take to heart:

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Psalm 37:1-2 KJV

This advice works well for the current regime and for whatever regime is about to follow (and for whatever regime follows after that) . . . all the way to and through antichrist.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

It's so very hard to ignore this election, because I see Trump as a new Crassus. If he wins, we really are going to see a transformation of the US at least as large as how the first triumvirate transformed the old republic.

Response #10:

It might help to remember that 1) God is in control of absolutely everything; 2) nothing will keep the Tribulation from arriving precisely on time; 3) all countries always receive the government they deserve; 4) but while believers are powerless to affect any of this by worrying about it or, even worse, getting involved in it, we CAN affect things in a positive way by continuing to grow spiritually so as to be ever "saltier salt": it is the remnant of believers which preserves and blesses any nation, and it is the size and, very important, the quality of that remnant that matters. So if you are doing anything "wrong" it is in distracting yourself from spiritual growth by wasting time and emotional energy on this subject over which you can have absolutely no influence no matter how strong your opinions nor how vociferously expressed.

The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Psalm 33:10-11 NIV

It's also very much the case that, given how close we are to the end, things are likely to be more distracting (regardless of worldly political viewpoint and preferences) and demonstrably worse in every way the closer we get. How much more so once the Tribulation begins! So best to think of all this present political hoopla as an inoculation against more challenging things to come. We have to get through this if we're going to be able to get through what is surely on the way:

"If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?"
Jeremiah 12:5 NIV

Our job as those gifted by the Lord to help others through the Word of God is to grow and prepare and learn how to cope with such troubles so that we may comfort and guide and help others who are less well prepared (which is most of the church-visible at present here in our Laodicean era). Once "T-Day" arrives, there will be many of our brethren who are scrambling – finally – for the truth. If we can help them, that will be blessed; if we can't because we have wasted our time fretting about things which can't be controlled, that will be a tragedy.

Saying a prayer for your spiritual comfort and perspective.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Bob,

I have been well, lately, even though I still continue to fight 'the good fight' in my mind, most of the time it kind of fades into the background as I more and more realize that policing my own thoughts is not quite the answer. Today, though, I wanted to ask your thoughts and what the bible might say about losing friends?

To my shame, it was politics that got in-between me and him; though, I will say that he was the one that drove the wedge. I guess, at least for him, the discussion got heated, and he used his personal knowledge of me to say some...well, very vicious things I wish not to repeat, nor do I want to disrespect him or make it seem worse than it actually was, but he made it perfectly clear to me that he looks down on me and does not respect me. Some of the things he told me made me think "is that what you really think about me?", when half of it is not even true, and much of it could just be projection onto me for what he himself is displaying?

So today I essentially left a 'goodbye' letter to him, and I let him know that I always have and always will love him. I did in not so many words let him know that I wish him well, but I just realized that I didn't let him know that my door is always open to him, even though I am sure he knows...the sentiment was there, but I can't be sure? I don't hate him, this isn't holding a grudge or unforgiveness, and if anything...I am really sad to see him go, even though I suppose I am technically the one separating myself from him. I don't feel anger or bitterness towards him, this isn't a revenge "fine don't be my friend then" scenario, it is literally a "I can't do this. I can't have this in my life right now..." kind of thing.

Am I wrong to do so? I am not cutting him off, as in refusing to talk to him anymore again, ever, but I am still emotionally hurt by what he said, some. He can come to me at anytime, it's just that our regularity in our contact with each other isn't going to be there anymore. I really do think that being his friend, for right now, may be a detriment to my mind, maybe even my spirituality, a little bit? He absolutely (his words) hates faith, so for right now, at least, I don't think anything is going to change his mind, at least not me.

Response #11:

On spiritual warfare, it's as Paul says, "being ready to reprove every disobedient thought once you have come into the fullness of mature obedience [in respect to guarding your thoughts]." (2Cor.10:6). In other words, once we have captured the "high ground" through becoming mature and once we have made it our practice to walk closely with the Lord, then we will be able to fend off assaults and recover our position when we are thrown off. And, by the way, this gets better both in the near and far term, meaning that there is such a thing as near term spiritual momentum and long term spiritual momentum: if both are in play, we will find that much of this is automatic because we have been making the Word of God our priority for a long time and we are presently doing so as well; but if we have not been in the habit of doing so over a long period of time or have fallen off in doing so in the present, then our position will be weaker, the "automatic" spiritual perspective we would otherwise have will have also fallen off, and then when we do decide we want to fight this fight we will be in the position of a person trying to put out a fire by forcing hydrant-level pressure through a drinking straw. So it all comes back to consistency in spiritual growth and consistency in our daily walk in applying the truth we have learned. If we have gotten to the point of both spiritual maturity and success in progressing in our walk with the Lord and passing the tests that come to believers at this level, then the next thing we should be doing in taking the slack out of our lives is beginning to prepare for and engaging in whatever ministry the Lord has for us – and He has something for everyone one of us – instead of living our lives as if we were here merely to enjoy ourselves. And all genuine ministry always comes down to spreading the truth or helping others to do so:

(10) As each one has received a [particular spiritual] gift, [so let us be] ministering it to each other as good stewards of the multi-faceted grace of God. (11) If anyone communicates, let him do so as if he were speaking words directly from God. If anyone serves, let him do so from the strength which God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1st Peter 4:10-11

On the question of friendship, a good friend is of course a blessing from the Lord, but truly good friends tend to be few and far between. As we get older, what is really important to us in this life tends to come to the forefront and thus the differences we have with "old friends" who date from an earlier period in our lives when, for example, the Lord and His truth were not as important to us as they have now come to be, tend likewise to become more pronounced. And if the "old friend" is not a believer in Jesus Christ or is a lukewarm believer, then maintaining the friendship will often be a precarious thing and, if we are honest with ourselves, even possibly a questionable thing – of course we want old friend to be saved or if saved to become serious about the truth, but that is not in our hands after all, even though we can continue to provide a good witness.

From your description of things, it's hard for me to imagine a solid, positive Christian behaving in the way you describe your friend behaving. Now you certainly have heard from me on many occasions (or have no doubt at least read it on the website) that politics are a danger and a distraction for any believer. Given that you are growing spiritually and thus becoming ever more critical of your own behavior, to the extent that you feel the breech was something that might be your fault then of course you're going to feel bad about that. But no one is perfect, we all have opinions, and if we have someone close with whom we feel we can talk then sooner or later we are going to express some of those opinions. If that is all you have done, then all you have done, it seems to me, is to have instigated something that was bound to happen sooner or later in any case. That it happened with rancor over something insignificant is unfortunate. But if it had not happened in this way then if you have been equally insistent about some principle of the Word of God you would have been likely to have produced the same effect. When we are responsible for such rifts, even only partially and in cases where the other party is being completely unreasonable and over-reacting massively, human beings that we are we are going to feel bad about it. It's okay to feel bad; but it is a mistake to draw erroneous conclusions from our feelings and worse still to act on those incorrect conclusions (see the links: "Erroneous Guilt" and "Who controls our thoughts and emotions"). We need to consider in such situations that the Lord will often allow such provocations in order to bring about His will for our lives, oft times delivering us from certain situations and relationships which really aren't good for us (Judg.14:4; 1Ki.12:15). I don't know all of the details, but I have seen this many times in the past.

Keeping you in my prayers day by day, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Thank you for your swift and very descriptive reply, as it helps me either to confirm or correct that which I already suspect or know, but having an outside perspective or 'second opinion' is important to me so that I do not make faulty assumptions. Lately, I think the Holy Spirit has blessed me with a far keener sense of what is Christ-like, and what necessarily isn't, and over the past months it has helped me greatly. Sometimes I fall into the trap of "I must become better for the Lord", where I should be thinking "The Lord will make me better, as he has already accepted me.", and while I hesitate to call myself 'mature', since I feel I should not be the judge of my own status, I do think I am much better now than I was years ago, and even months ago. More and more I find myself automatically, or my first reaction to situations, being to look at it through a spiritual lens first and foremost.

I know I have not been emailing you as frequently as I used to the past few months, even the past couple of years almost, but I am finding myself (for a lack of a better way of saying it) not really needing to. I again don't think I am ready to be called spiritually mature by any means, but I typically keep a much more level and cool head than I used to on matters, while keeping in mind that the necessity for a outside perspective will be needed one in awhile. You and Ichthys have played a big part in tuning my 'spiritual compass', as it were.

Thank you again, and I will ask the Lord to continue to watch over you and bless you.

Response #12:

You are most welcome, my friend. And thank you for your most encouraging email to me probably ever. It's great to see and hear of your spiritual progress. And while I am always happy to hear from you and to correspond with you, when you say "I have not been emailing you as frequently . . . [because] I am finding myself . . .not really needing to", that is the most encouraging thing of all – because it means that you have gotten your spiritual legs under you and are indeed beginning to make good progress in your walk with Christ. The fact that you don't wish to consider yourself spiritually mature yet is also a positive sign, one of true humility, which is in fact a manifestation of that spiritually mature (as can be seen from the great apostle's diffidence in the following quote).

It is not as if I have already gotten possession [of what we seek] or am already brought to completion, but I am pursuing in hopes of attaining the [prize] for which I was attained by Christ Jesus. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. As many of you as are [spiritually] mature, let us think this way, and if you think in any other way, even this will God reveal to you. But with respect to the progress you have made, keep on advancing in the same way!
Philippians 3:12-16

In the service they sometimes say, "see one, do one, teach one", meaning, the learning curve can be steep and fast, so that one goes quickly from being taught to doing to teaching in turn. You are on the right trajectory with a good velocity towards perfecting your walk with the Lord . . . then towards helping others do the same through whatever ministry the Lord calls you to.

Keep running a good race, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

Someone on Reddit asked the question, "are religion and science in conflict?" I posted the following answer. However, it did not gain a positive reception, even though I thought it was very good. Could you offer feedback?

I think the fact that Neil DeGrasse Tyson is talking about reconciling science with religion (keyword) tells us that he sees "faith" as something that can never be reconciled with the epistemology of scientific skepticism. He sees one as hierarchical and authoritative, while he sees the other as decentralized and libertarian. He believes that only decentralized, investigative, and anti-authoritarian means of acquiring knowledge are valid, and that faith can only give the illusion of knowledge, but never actual justification. Or to quote Mark Twain, "faith is believing what you know ain't so!"

However, skepticism only plays one particular role in the scientific endeavor, which is the part of devising controlled test. The part that involves constructing the theories themselves, on the other hand, resembles what we would call "faith" much more than it does skepticism. Usually a scientist starts with a guiding hypothesis or an intuition that he has an unusually high amount of confidence in and then draws out the implications. Similarly, science as an enterprise can be just as hierarchical and authoritative as religion: how often do people with genuinely good ideas and new theories get rejected simply for disagreeing with the prevailing orthodoxy?

Unfortunately, one of the reasons the conflict of "science" versus "religion" is unsettled is because there isn't a clear definition of what constitutes "science" and what constitutes "religion" to begin with. If Neil DeGrasse Tyson possesses a positivist epistemology combined with utilitarian morality combined with a materialist ontology etc... couldn't those elements taken together as a comprehensive system constitute a genuine religion? There's also the fact that much of Tyson's "religion" is not mutually exclusive with Christianity: take materialism for instance. Christianity does too have a materialist ontology... in the sense that we consider matter to be a real and actual feature of reality. Where Christianity differs is that we don't consider matter to be the ultimate ontology; that role is reserved for God and God alone.

There are also numerous historical errors in Marx's conception of history that no modern historian accepts: "feudalism" is largely agreed to have never actually existed as a distinct system, but rather there was a gradual shift from the situation in the later period of the Roman empire to the modern understanding of Westphalian sovereignty, progressing smoothly as a continuum. Even if "feudalism" existed, there are only two places on planet Earth it emerged: the Anglo-Normand-Saxon urheimat and Medieval Japan, which would make it far from a "universal" stage of history that "all of humanity" must go through (then progressing to capitalism, then communism). The fact that the "communist revolution" first happened in a country that had yet to undergo capitalism (Tsarist Russia) is also a big clue that his ideology fails to correspond to reality. The collapse of communism in the late 80s and early 90s happened because of economic problems with Marxist thought, but I'm focusing my criticism at the moment purely at his philosophy of history.

I do agree with you that this kind of removal of a previous era of peace and prosperity does constitute a rather large judgment from God that Americans would be very wise to note on the cusp of the upcoming election.

Response #13:

It seems like a very well-reasoned and legitimate perspective, and an important one too for scientists who have a skewed view of the supposedly pristine nature of what they believe (note the word) and of what "Christians" may or may not believe (we can fairly lump together scientists who are not Christians but it is not really possible to lump together all those who self-identify as Christians, whether they really are or not). Just demonstrating so efficiently the need for materialists to question some of their basic assumptions is in my view a very valuable apologetic thing to do. I want to congratulate you for this piece and also very importantly for your objective tone – that is very important in effective apologetics (one reason why it's not my forte). If you did not receive a warm response, it probably means you've hit way to close to home for comfort for those who reject God, and that you did so in a reasonable way too (which is not "red meat" enough for many out in cyberspace who are ideologically if not spiritually in the right camp).

There's an election? Okay, I do know about it, but I'm somewhat sorry I do since it's God's "election" of us that really matters. Neither candidate and neither party is going to ward off the Tribulation, and in terms of government, as I've said many times, God gives each country the government they deserve (a fact which should send shivers down the spine of every citizen of this country). I am going to try to persevere with this ministry as long as I am at liberty to do so, whichever party it chaps and even if it chaps them both. At present, no one seems to care much (and I count that a great blessing). I did like your Scylla vs. Charybdis, fascists vs. communists analogy though. If our only choices are Stalin and Hitler, there's clearly no democratic solution to be had – Q.E.D.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20 NKJV

Yours in Jesus Christ the Savior, our dear Lord.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Bob, 59,427,652 right-wing conservative "Christians" in this country voted in favor of putting a self-affirmed sexual predator in the Oval Office. A bigoted, racist, homophobic, xenophobe endorsed by Putin, the KKK, White Supremacists and the NRA. My 21-yr old granddaughter is frightened and beside herself. She feels as though this paves the way for any sexual predator or potential rapist to commit their crimes, not be prosecuted and even be awarded with the Presidency! CHRISTIANS VOTED IN FAVOR OF THIS!

Christianity has failed! Miserably!

Response #14:

I work at a university so I am very cognizant of how upset many people are today. But we belong to Jesus Christ. Whatever has happened, is happening, will happen, God never ever lets us down.

God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?"
Hebrews 13:5b-6 NIV

We are the elect of Jesus Christ, the only "election" that really makes any lasting difference in this world of dust, rust and lust.

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
1st John 2:17 NKJV

Keeping you in my prayers day by day my friend, for your peace and spiritual growth.

In Jesus Christ our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

I am hanging in there. This test/discipline/growth has been going on for years and at times I get weary. I am not discouraged and I am encouraged by some of the things the Lord has done and shown me over the years particularly my growth and trust in him.

I don't know what will happen next week but I am hopefully he will do the extraordinary like he did with the election. That to me, personally, is a sign that our Lord can do and does the unexpected.

I am always grateful for Him accepting me into His family and always have room to grow more like Christ and this is just a step in that direction.

I am grateful for you, my wife and everyone else that God has put in my path to strengthen me. She has been a spiritual stalwart and full of faith, anxious at times, but a great example of a spirit filled person.

We shall see and keep soldering on for Christ.

On a another subject, politics is the devil's game because it is so wrapped up in emotions. With so much divide in the world, something calamitous must happen to unify the world under Antichrist. That gets me curious about politics but I just don't know how the Lord will do it. That is interesting and fascinating to me and makes me appreciate that he has ultimate control of everything and most people don't believe it unless you are spiritually mature and by His grace I hope to be in that category.

Take care and thanks for your prayers. I will keep you abreast of what transpires next week.

One last thing, I am putting your studies down for a bit not your weekly emails, just the second round of topical studies to actually tackling Greek. I made an excuse because I thought it was an impossible task but I feel the Spirit is telling me to get more enriched learning and this is the best way. I prayed for wisdom and I know, while the journey might be somewhat arduous, it will be fun.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #15:

Thanks for the update, my friend. I will be keeping you particularly in prayer this week (do let me know how it goes).

Likewise, I'm curious to see how things develop over the next ten years. It may be that we will be able to see how events are likely to go, but the absolutely unexpected is also possible. We don't have any prophecy to go by (aside from the trends of Laodicea which are, sadly, on track) until the Tribulation actually begins.

Best wishes for your Greek studies – do feel free to email me if you run into something you can't solve.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Remember: this man was elected with 81% approval from Evangelicals. They formed a strategic alliance with the Devil himself. Now it's time for the piper to receive his end of the bargain.

Evangelicals have fallen into the trap of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Communists were their enemy, fascists were the enemy of communists, so they made an alliance with fascists. But the enemy of my enemy is simply the enemy of my enemy; nothing more nothing less.

Response #16:

Any Christian who gets involved in politics on any level has "formed an alliance with the devil himself". It's a worldly game that cannot be won by those who are not of this world.

(7) Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
(8) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
(9) For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth.
(10) For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
(11) But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Psalm 37:7-11 NKJV

So to my friends who think a wonderful new day has dawned I say, don't be surprised if you are bitterly disappointed (Ps.60:11); and to my friends who think the world is coming to an end I say, it is surely coming to an end, but see to it that you don't come to an end with it by "fretting yourselves" and taking unwise action. It is those who wait on the Lord who will receive an inheritance (v.9); it is the humble (not those who take to the barricades) who will inherit the kingdom (v.11); but those who give into anger and act upon it will find that "it only causes harm" to oneself (v.8).

Trusting in the Lord is always good and righteous, but being overly upset about worldly events – how is that trusting the Lord to work things out for good for those who love Him? And if we make the mistake of acting on that mistrust, we are really playing the devil's game then – that is just what he wants. Whether on the left or the right, being upset or overjoyed about what's happening in politics will only dispose a person to being coopted by antichrist. Believe me, the devil is clever enough to have figured out a way to coopt both sides. All he needs is for both sides to play his game of political action.

As those who belong to the Kingdom of God, our true citizenship is in heaven, not on this earth (Phil.3:20). It's very easy to get distracted in this life by all manner of things that happen in the world. What we as mature Christians who trust the Lord more than what we see or hear or feel strive to do is to walk closely with the Lord "even though the mountains are falling into the heart of the sea" (Ps.46:1-3), trusting Him to be with us every step of the way.

Yours in the Name of the Great King about to return to us, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

My fear is becoming like the man who buried his talent. Keeping any progress, let alone making new progress, is exponentially more difficult now. A great concern of mine isn't falling away during the Tribulation. It's taking in a "modernist" point of view to the point where my Christian beliefs degenerate into Unitarian Universalism. Why? Well, I am in graduate school, and statistically speaking this is what graduate school does to people. I found that this has already happened to my political ideology (and it is well-known that graduate school has a habit of turning conservatives into liberals in a way that an undergraduate education doesn't). It is true that, in your case for instance, that this didn't happen.

Sincerely,

Response #17:

Keep your eyes on the prize, my friend. This world is passing away, but we who stand fast in Jesus Christ will live with Him forever in glory in the New Jerusalem.

"Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him."
2nd Chronicles 32:7 NKJV

I have the strength to endure all things in the One who empowers me to do so.
Philippians 4:13

By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

You wrote about the question as to whether our Lord's affirmation of Pilate's question as to whether or not He was a king was "somewhat indirect": "I don't see any need to characterize it that way. Similarly, people are always complaining that Bible-believing Christians are either "too up front" about their faith or are "hiding it under a bushel". ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.'"

I thought I was the only person who noticed that! Also how do you manage to avoid getting into heated political debates? I find it very, very hard during this time and especially during this election to avoid them, both with people on the extreme right and the extreme left.

The problem with politics is that politics is always interested in you.

Sincerely,

Response #18:

It's a little bit like driving in traffic. I'm sure no one is perfect on that point, but with time, persistence, and experience, you can learn how to drive from point A to point B and not to be upset and/or engaged in the craziness which often occurs on the road. Actually, staying relatively unconcerned about politics is a bit easier because it doesn't really directly affect us the way coping with crazy drivers can. It may seem like it does, but it really doesn't. God is in control of the historical process. Christians should know that. Therefore everything that is happening "on the big board" is going to happen the way it is meant to happen, whether we are happy, sad or indifferent about particular events. What happens "on the small board" turns out to be what is really important, absolutely counter-intuitively and unbelievably too to the world at large. A person could give all of his/her time, money and energy – all of it – to some political cause and not move the needle in any way; even if said person's cause or candidate "wins" the efforts of that person did not do it, and the effect of the "win" if any is only what was going to happen in any case. But if a person makes even a slight effort on behalf of Jesus Christ and His Church, it always moves the needle – because the fate and prosperity of any nation/locality/group/family is always dependent upon the degree of "salt" present, namely, "how big and how potent" is the remnant? So that to the degree that we get upset or enthused about anything political, to that degree we are only making it harder to stay in the real fight. Knowing this does help in keeping the right perspective, but it is still always a day by day fight to do so – just like maintaining our spiritual equilibrium when driving in traffic.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and in the cause of His kingdom – where our real citizenship is to be found.

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

Have you ever been sympathetic to liberal politics? I feel a strong inclination in that direction, but I have been so far keeping my nose clean from participation...largely out of fear that I may help provoke the advent of antichrist. And I don't think I would like for that to be my legacy.

Generally revolutionary/radical political ideology provokes a reaction from the status quo. Case-in-point: the civil rights movement and Nixon. Second case-in-point: the Obama administration and Trump. Third case-in-point: the socialist government of Chile and Pinochet. Each one was a revolution followed by a subsequent reaction, and the reaction was always bad (to varying degrees). What if I get myself into a hole so deep I provoke the advent of the ultimate reactionary movement?

Response #19:

The one thing I can assure you of with an exceptionally high level of confidence is that, even as talented and gifted as you are, your action or inaction in and of itself is not going to bring on the fundamental changes that prepare the way for the beast. That is not to say, of course, that this should remove any reticence on your part regarding "getting involved". You are very well aware by now, I should think, of my opinion about Christians mixing in politics – namely, that there are few worse ideas. You won't change anything for the better – but you will definitely be changed for the worse. Even if a hypothetical case could be made for a "good cause" which had no negative consequences for the people/nation it "did good" to (and we are really in "la-la land" here), just because the Christian in question who signed on would be expending all his/her time, emotion and resources on this cause would mean that he/she would essentially be rendering him/herself hors de combat in the plan of God. In worldly military affairs, soldiers who shoot themselves in the foot to get out of action are usually dishonorably discharged (or worse, in some times and places); Christians who do the same through whatever method are certainly going to run afoul of the Lord's will for their lives at the very least – and given the time in which we live and dangerously high percentage that whatever "side" is picked might just turn out to be that of the beast (even if we don't think so at present), more may well be at stake than the "mere" loss of all eternal rewards.

On a personal note, you had told me, I believe, that you were interested in ministering the Word of God in some way in the future. That is a very noble thing (1Tim.3:1), and has the potential of great reward (1Pet.5:4); and for what it is worth, you seem to me definitely to "pack the gear" for it. But such ministry involves sacrifice: it does take time, effort, and consistency, and there is only so much of that to go around. One such sacrifice, therefore, is to put as much of the world as we can behind us (with the devil who motivates it) and concentrate instead on the Word of God.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20:

In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have sent you this email. Political action is bad, no matter which ideology it comes from. However, keep in mind that Simon the Zealot (as his name hints at) was heavily into political action too. So there's hope for me yet.

How applicable is this verse for interest in politics?

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
(1 Peter 4:7)

I confess to have a particular weakness on this score, and I greatly appreciate you not entertaining it and patiently putting up with it.

Sincerely,

Response #20:

A good verse to apply indeed!

We all have our weaknesses, my friend. Being "self-controlled and sober-minded" about all things at all times is not an easy lift for any of us. But God helping us we can and we will begin to put our Lord first more and more day by day so as to accomplish what He wants from us in this evil and temporary world.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

On "speaking evil of rulers" (Acts 23:5, e.g.): Should this include observations and opinions? E.g., it can logically be established that most politicians are liars since they are required to swear an oath that, as near as I can tell, they ignore? (Fraud in most civil courts.) Should that be considered "speaking evil" of them? It seems to me that in the near future, we will have to express such opinions and even worse in terms of our Tribulation government. Have I misunderstood?

Response #21:

When you say "Should this include observations and opinions?", do you mean our individual evaluations, verbally expressed, about politicians and leaders? If so, as far as I know no one is obligated to say anything about any political leader, no Christian, that is, who is putting the Lord first and turning his/her back to the world as much as possible. We are not required in this country, at any rate, to be politically involved or spout opinions about politics or politicians, or to get het up about politics generally. In fact, that is really a bad idea for Christians who want to grow, in my opinion. Politics is the devil's game and will never do any believer any good at all. And once a believer commits to the idea of political action, spirituality always suffers – if it is not completely destroyed (never mind the inordinate amount of wasted time, energy and resources that could be put to better, spiritual uses).

Question #22:

I actually gave up on politics years ago; can't see any point in even voting. But in private conversations, when the subject comes up, I will sometimes express my extremely low opinion. I worry sometimes that I might be "speaking evil" of the rulers. In general, I try to keep my mouth shut, but there are times when it's escapes me. I keep trying.

Response #22:

There are also these verses:

Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Romans 13:7 NIV

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
1st Peter 2:17 NIV

So honor and respect are due to those in authority. This may be a little harder for us in a democracy to generate than for those in a system of complete top-down authority, but the principle is still valid. We all "stumble in many ways" (Jas.3:2), and it is probably a very rare thing for any Christian in this country never to express a negative sentiment about the powers that be. It does seem to me, however, that there is a big difference between recognizing and attempting to fulfill this principle despite the occasional lapse on the one hand and plunging headlong without a second thought into the culture of vitriolic partisanship with which this country awash on the other.

Question #23:

As for rulers, outwardly, I would show them respect, as I do everyone, because of their position. Showing them honor when most are dishonorable is more difficult, though I'm not sure I see any requirement in our society (except for a military salute) to show them honor. Maybe I've misunderstood the meaning of honor as used in Romans and 1st Peter. I can keep my opinions to myself but changing them will be far more difficult.

The screed going on out there is one of the reasons for my bad attitude and when I get that from a friend or neighbor is generally when I slip.

Response #23:

Romans 13:7 is speaking about respect and honor which is "due". So, for example, we stand up when the national anthem is played – that is "due honor". We would, I assume, address the president (this one and/or the coming one, whoever it turns out to be) as "Mr./Madame President" or "Sir/Ma'am", regardless of what we may personally think about this one or that one – that is "due honor". So we are not required to consider people whom we deem dishonorable as "honorable" because they occupy a position of honor or esteem; nor are we to force ourselves to respect them personally because they occupy a position of respect; but we are required to comport ourselves in an appropriate way, "rendering due honor/respect" to those in such positions. It's a very important distinction, and I thank you for this response and for giving me an opportunity to clarify. The military salute is a great analogy. A soldier "salutes the rank, not the person holding it".

Question #24:

Thank you for the clarification. It's a great relief knowing I'm not in violation beyond keeping my mouth shut in those conversations where politics come up.

Response #24:

You're most welcome.

Write any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

If communism (complete abolition of private property) is an unbiblical extreme, then the United State's extreme propertarianism is just as unbiblical and as bad as communism. I am terrified to post this as a blog post, because I seriously believe that I will be arrested if I teach what the Bible teaches about private property. However, as far as I can tell, this is absolutely what the Bible teaches. I will gladly change my mind if new evidence comes to light, but as far as my reading abilities can tell, that is not possible.

First a definition of terms:

Communism (n). Common ownership of the means of production. A logical consequence of the definition of communism is that there is no private property. With the exception of primitive tribes in the Amazon, Paupa New Guinea and sub-Saharan Africa, there has never been a communist society. Said primitive societies are only communist because there aren't any "means of production" to own in common, so saying that they are communist is vacuously true.

Socialism (n). Public ownership of the means of production. Socialism is not communism, but socialism when successful does lead to communism. There have been several socialist countries in the modern era, the most famous being the Soviet Union i.e. the union of soviet socialist republics. No socialist society has achieved communism, and many anti-communists, such as George Orwell, have criticized existing socialist governments of actually achieving hyper-capitalism (private ownership of the means of production, except that the political apparatchniks are the capitalists).

According to the law of Moses, God demanded Israel to be a socialist society. Israel was an agrarian society, so the means of production were the land. The land is what was used to produce all material wealth. And God explicitly states that the public has the right to redistribute the land as the public sees fit. This is public ownership of the means of production. Because socialism when successful always leads to communism, the end result of Israel were she to have perfectly kept the law would have been a communist society. Karl Marx's father was a rabbi, and much of traditional Judaism teaches that the reign of the Messiah will be very similar to that of a communist country, which again, as I have said earlier, has never came into being. It is without doubt that Marx received much of his understanding of socialism and communism from traditional Jewish teaching of the Bible. Now why am I writing you this email? So what if the law of Moses taught a form of communism (obviously not Marxism)? Because J. D. Rushdoony famously believed in theonomy. That is, a reinstitution of the laws of Israel for the United States. He believed that the United States should have brought back the death penalty for a wide range of crimes. However, Rushdoony famously also believed in libertarianism, that is, complete government abstinence from the economic sector and bringing back the gold standard. What I'm saying is, that Rushdoony had no idea what he was asking for. You cannot be a libertarian and believe in theonomy. There would be no free market, because there would be no private property. What Rushdoony really advocated for was fascism. He wanted a fascist government where Christianity was the state religion. The Law of Moses can never really be instituted, because communism can't be actualized. Marriage is supposed be a relationship where "from each according to ability, and to each according to need" is true, and where the two people have every motivation to do just that, and most marriages fail.

Lastly on the topic of leftist economics, according to Aquinas, private property is just an idea. We accept private property because it is for the greater good. But private property is not something "inalienable" as Locke falsely claims and today's libertarians believe. Not even the founders believed in the inalienability of property rights because they supported eminent domain (this is probably why Jefferson replaced "property" with "the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence). I'm obviously against attempts to try to achieve communism. Stalin and Mao thought that they could usher in the millennium and ended up creating something that seemed positively tribulational instead. We probably need a free market and probably need a strong centralized government to keep people in check, as Hobbes speculated. I wouldn't be against the government trying to impose bans on Internet pornography, for instance, because the government has a vested interest in ensuring good moral behavior from its citizenry.

Response #25:

I would have disagree with the premise. Not only was there private property under the Law but also many protections against its alienation from its rightful owner through debt and specific provisions for its return in case of such alienation. So far from being "an illusion", in the ideal working out of the Law nothing would separate a person from their ancestral inheritance – a far more lasting and solid relationship between family and property/inheritance than anything imagined thereafter – and a very important symbolic point therein too, because Israel and the inheritance in the land is a shadow of the believer and his/her inheritance in the New Jerusalem, a wonderful blessing which will in fact be inalienable for all eternity.

About all I can say on this string of emails in addition to that is that what the Law envisioned and commanded – apart from never being instituted or obeyed – can only work 1) if it comes from God directly (which it did); 2) if God is directing the state so governed (only rarely did Israel in her history come close to fitting that bill), and 3) if all the people in the state are believers specially set apart by God. Israel was meant to be special in that way, but at times almost no one was a believer (cf. Jeremiah chapter 5). So I would be hard-pressed to imagine anything more hypothetical.

Believers in this world find themselves in all manner of secular states. Our job is not to reform them or to attempt to create utopia (a fool's errand – sponsored by the devil). Our job is to grow spiritually, walk closer with the Lord day by day, and help others do likewise through individual ministry. If we get worked up about politics, whether actual or theoretical, to that degree we are only shooting our spirituality in the foot. And we best be careful not to shoot it in the head thereafter.

Looking out for your spiritual welfare as always.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Sorry again...talking about politics is a nasty habit that your recent email has prompted me to curb. But one thing that I have noticed, from both the right and the left, is that neither side applies reason. We are told that the wisdom from God is always reasonable, but politics is positively the mind-killer.

Response #26:

One of the problems with politics from the viewpoint of trying to follow Christ is that it is virtually impossible to divorce involvement therein from deep emotions wedded to a bad cause. All "causes" are bad, after all, and giving into the "means justifies the end" mentality upon which all politics are based is worse. The result of unleashing these forces in one's heart usually is that reason becomes a mere handmaiden for anger, fear and lust. A good reason to stay away (especially since God is already in control so that trying to wrest the steering wheel from His grasp is a foolish thing to do). Another good reason to stay away is so as to follow good biblical advice:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." Therefore, "Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord."
2nd Corinthians 6:14-17a NIV

But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
1st Corinthians 5:11 NIV

So whether it is a case of unbelievers trying to advance Satan's one-world agenda or misguided believers trying to establish some sort of divine state, almost every influential person a Christian would come into contact with in politics is very likely to be someone with whom a believer who truly loves Jesus Christ should have nothing serious to do. I don't say that there are not exceptions, but to me they only prove the rule that the danger is there.

Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
1st Corinthians 15:33 NIV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

"He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him."
(Proverbs 18:13)

To give an answer before one hears the case is to "pre-judge" the case. In other words, it is to have prejudice. Therefore he who is prejudiced, it is a folly and a shame to him.

Not everything in our "politically correct" society is wrong or unwise.

Response #27:

I agree with the verse (of course) and the first statement but find the conclusion puzzling. Political correctness means assuming (or taking the pose of assuming) that A is good and B is bad, even though a person supporting A may be bad and a person support B may be good. Generalizing about anyone is dangerous, and from the Christian perspective, dead wrong. That includes assuming that person X is good because of the group to which X belongs without really knowing anything about person X, just as with assuming that person Y is bad because of his/her associations without really knowing anything about person Y. God treats us all as individuals without prejudice one way or the other; that is how we are supposed to behave as well, politics aside.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #28:

A Shift in my Political Views: I find myself more and more thinking that Thomas Hobbes was right and that conservative politics is simply more rational than left-wing politics. Authority in the social realm is more or less good for everyone, and people who have nothing to hide don't have anything to fear from government.

Response #28:

Here's my take on politics:

LORD, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.
Psalm 131:1 NKJV

God is in control of all things. So people who think they are able to have any influence on events whatsoever via politics are only deluding themselves. But believers can actually have an indirect influence – by being "salt" (see the link). God gives every nation the government, climate, economic conditions etc. they deserve, and He looks upon the remnant of believers in that nation first and foremost. Everything we do as believers to grow spiritually, walk closer to Jesus, and help others do likewise through ministry will redound to the blessing of our nation; but every failing does not. And if we get involved in any political crusade of any flavor (regardless of the theoretical "goodness" of the cause), we are only distracting ourselves and becoming part of the problem rather than part of the divine solution (through failure to grow, progress in produce in substituting straw for grain). It's OK to have opinions. Everyone has them. But if we take our opinions too seriously (as if they matter at all) then we are going to do less for the Lord and that will detract from our national well-being rather than further it. Given the small number of believers in this country who really are trying to grow, progress and produce for Jesus Christ in the right way, that effect, whether positive or negative, is all the more amplified – most likely beyond anything we presently suppose.

Your in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Stay away from Donald Trump. I think Habakkuk's words summarize him quite well: "If you think wine deceives, how much more so does he!" (Habakkuk 2:5)

Response #29:

On the Habakkuk verse, this refers to antichrist:

(4) Behold, he (i.e., antichrist) is swollen up [in arrogance]. What he desires in his heart is not right – but the righteous [person] will be preserved by his faith. (5) If you think that wine deceives, [how much more will he!] [He is a] presumptuous man, and never at rest. He has enlarged his appetite [as wide] as the grave, and like death he is never satisfied.
Habakkuk 2:4-5

By staying out of all politics, a believer need not worry about being deceived by falling in which the beast's movement . . . whoever he turns out to be (something that will not be ultimately revealed until the Tribulation begins: 2Thes.2:8).

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Our President is under Satanic attack. Witches plan to cast binding spell on Trump. Pray that God through the power of his Holy Spirit returns these whammies to the casters seven-fold.

Response #30:

During WWII, I think it is fair to say that while there were at least five creditable candidates for "antichrist", all the major leaders and their administrations were attended to by the evil one and his minions. The degree of influence and the satanic strategy varied, but where politics is present, the devil is never absent. No human being is going to influence Satan to do something Satan is not already planning to do. So this is much ado about nothing, except that it is the kind of thing that has the potential to get people stirred up on one side or the other for one reason or the other. But here is what I read in scripture:

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
Psalm 118:9 KJV

Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
Psalm 146:3 NKJV

So while it is good and appropriate to pray for all in authority over us regardless of whether we like them or not or agree with them or not (Tit.2:1-3), we Christians understand that it is the Lord who is in control of things in reality, even if the world doesn't see it and even if the devil has deceived himself and his followers about it. Therefore the best way to influence things for the good – and in fact the only way – is to strive to be "salt", part of the remnant according to grace which is growing in potency through the truth of the Word of God day by day. That is the only thing that can deliver any nation, because that is the only that God honors in the end (cf. Gen.18:17-32).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #31:

"The contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations." - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

One would pause for a moment to think about why a hostile enemy of the United States would so fervently endorse immigration to America.

Something curious I noticed: before the rise of Trump, many Americans simultaneously considered themselves patriotic and yet welcoming themselves of immigrants. This sentiment was best captured by former president Bush the Younger, who said that "family values don't stop at the border."

In essence, these patriots are patriotic of American soil. It is our magic dirt that has the amazing power to transform those who step on it into freedom-loving Americans, whether they be Chinamen or Hindus, or crazed Somalis or La Raza conquistadors from Mexico.

Response #31:

Anyone who's actually ever lived for any length of time in any other country will realize pretty quickly that this is the best place in the world to live for all manner of reasons. Not that it is perfect – and in the very near future of course . . .

I'm very grateful to be here despite all manner of warts (like the annoying political classes in their collective entirety) and godless abominations (like income tax), if only because this is the one place in the world where I can conduct this ministry the way I conduct it with no great fear of reprisal. Not saying that some other places aren't also "good" on this point, but even the best few other places I can think of do have a few warts and abominations on that most critical score which are not only annoying and taxing but actually stifling to at least some degree when it comes to teaching the truth in an undiluted way. Here, as long as taxes are paid and politics completely avoided, there is a degree of actual free speech on the one thing that really counts, the truth of the Word of God.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Hi Doctor.

How is your 2017 so far?

I'm certain someone has mentioned something or you've seen yourself, but what do you think about Jared Kushner and all his unfortunately likeness to the Bible's description of antichrist? Clearly, if he is in fact he's holding a LOT back, but so far seems to be the acetic you alluded to yet arrogantly proud and vengeful like we'd expect Satan's son to be. He also seems to be an extreme Hasidic, messianic Jew who's convinced now is the time for "messiah" to come. I can definitely see how he'd be a major player in bringing the AC to the forefront if he isn't him. Not to mention his power base being at 666 5th Ave, but that can be a ploy.

Trump is turning out to be what my suspicions were saying, another puppet of Satan used to bring the world into his lap and he's doing it while fooling many American believers into his causes. Great apostasy in the making and it seems all too easy for him. I'm glad I took your advice regarding politics, evil through and through.

Please let me know what you think when you can, and bless you for keeping up the fight.

In Christ,

Response #32:

Good to hear from you, my friend!

On your question, we have no way of knowing before the fact, and the beast could easily come from the other side of the political spectrum or (possibly even more likely) from out of nowhere politically. Even leaning a little bit in the wrong direction could prejudice a clear view of the truth going forward. So until we know, probably better to deliberately put all such speculation aside as much as possible. When I think about how much so many things have changed in the last ten years in every way, and when I see the pace of change accelerating, what could be the case in (nearly) ten years from now could be massively different from anything anyone is currently anticipating on every front (foreign policy, economics, society, culture, politics, technology, you name it). Also, if it's not true in this case you ask about, it's a pretty big slander to insinuate that it is, and that is definitely something believers should stay away from.

Thanks for all your prayers too!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #33:

Honestly, I think he more fits the description of the people AC know, the "small faction" of power. He's crazy rich, is firm in his belief of the coming "messiah" and is essentially dick Cheney at this point regarding his influence and Prez unfortunately seems to be easily swayed by him. Wouldn't be surprised if he's the guy who lets him take the reins not long from now anyway. I could see 8 years Trump, 2 years Jared and 7 years Satan line up fairly easily.

I'm glad you're doing ok brother, please keep up the great works.

Response #33:

While there may seem to some to be a potential "fit", it is a whale of a slander to lay on anyone if it's not actually the truth but only a supposition which turns out not to be true. Since at present there is no way to be sure, speculation that lays any mental or emotional weight on the issue is a very dicey proposition for the reason of possible (likely) false judgment. And since anyone who's even potentially a candidate has to be half Jewish, there is the double danger of antisemitic slander if one is wrong (and it's at least possible one is wrong). When we add to that the fact that fixating on anyone or any group or any paradigm is likely going to give us blinkered judgment (so that we might not see the real antichrist coming as a result), well, better to leave it alone in my humble opinion. There are plenty of people I naturally dislike and have to fight to keep a Christian perspective regarding – doesn't make them "the beast" either, however.

Best wishes on your move and with your business, my friend! Keeping all of that along with you and your family in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

 

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