Will God save us from Donald Trump?

Print More
Young Muslims protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before being escorted out during a campaign rally in the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Convention and Entertainment Center in Wichita, Kan., on March 5, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Dave Kaup 
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MUSLIM-VOTERS, originally transmitted on March 9, 2016.

Young Muslims protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before being escorted out during a campaign rally in the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Convention and Entertainment Center in Wichita, Kan., on March 5, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Dave Kaup *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MUSLIM-VOTERS, originally transmitted on March 9, 2016.

After the simmering verbal and physical violence of this past weekend in relation to Donald Trump’s campaign, I have a question for you:

Will God save us from Donald Trump?

By this I mean: given Trump’s increasingly manifest moral-psychological problems, and the increasing danger he poses to the Republic, both intensifying in proportion to the positive and negative attention he is receiving, how long will it be until divine justice prevails and he is finally brought low?

Such a question will make no sense to those who do not agree with my description of who Donald Trump is and what he is currently doing to our country. If you don’t agree, I will not here attempt to persuade you. I refer you to the video from the last year, and the last weekend.

But if you do agree, and if you are a person of faith, I invite you to consider further questions that extend deep into the roots of biblical faith.

Has God created the kind of world in which tyrants are usually defeated?

Is there a divinely-given structure to the universe in which tyranny, just of its own nature, burns itself out?

Does the good and just God of the universe intervene in human history to bring tyrants down?

These kinds of questions arise in every context in which tyranny arises and God is believed in. It could be a setting as simple as a family, school, or workplace, or as complex as a city, state, or nation.

Whatever the context, a tyrant arises. Driven by any particular number or combination of inner demons, this person dominates, bullies, and harms those he is supposed to serve. The greater his power, the greater the harm he does. For a time, no one seems able to stop him, despite many prayers and profound suffering.

But so often, in the end, tyrants are destroyed.

The Bible speaks often of tyrants being brought low. Isaiah 13:11 is a representative verse:

I [God] will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity;

I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, and I will lay low the insolence of tyrants.

This is a comforting promise to anyone under the heel of a tyrant. And very often history’s most brash and arrogant tyrants, the conquerors and emperors of the world, have indeed been brought low. They thought their reign would last forever, but it was over in the blink of an eye.

How did it happen?  Did God look down from heaven and say, “Enough!”

Or are tyrants brought down as a built-in consequence of their own actions? Might the downfall of tyrants look more like these lines from Psalm 1?

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;

but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.

In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

This wisdom psalm assumes that God has created the kind of world in which the lives of godly people, rooted in divine law and seeking moral virtue, yield good fruit. The wicked, however, self-destruct. The residue of their lives is like chaff that blows away in the wind.

There are logical reasons why tyrants are brought low, no miracles required. One reason is that their actions inevitably evoke opposition. Those who are denigrated, harmed, or threatened form the first circle of opposition. Those who are morally offended but not directly threatened often join them, if they are brave enough. Those tempted to remain bystanders find it increasingly difficult to sit on the sidelines, their self-interest giving way to the higher claim of conscience.

It is of the nature of the tyrant to respond to such opposition with more denigration, harm, and threat. This widens the resistance all the further, so clashes and suffering deepen. The tyranny then intensifies in response, leading to greater and more costly resistance. And so it goes, until the spiral reaches some kind of terrible climax.

I am NOT claiming either that God can be counted on to intervene when human communities are threatened by tyrants, or that a tyrant’s self-destruction will always occur before he does great damage. Many tyrants have been brought low only after they had time to do a great deal of harm.

I have no doubt that Donald Trump is becoming a kind of tyrant-in-waiting (a shocking development, really) and that one day he will be brought low. But I do not know whether he will be brought low on Tuesday; or at the GOP Convention this summer; or in the November election; or sometime after we Americans foolishly, tragically, unforgivably, make him president. I do not know whether he will be given time and power to do the kinds of harm that his behavior and that of some of his followers suggest might be possible.

That, really, is up to us. Because we still live in a democracy. At least for now.

  • Glen shellrude

    Wonderful… Though there is perhaps a greater evil waiting to step up… Ted Cruz.

  • Jack

    Kierkegaard once said that the worst of the worst tyrants often are not punished in this world and this life because the full measure of the evil that is in their hearts must be revealed for all to see.

    Trump is evil but he is probably not the worst of the worst, so based on Kiekegaard’s view, he may be brought down sooner.

    There are lots of ways of looking at your questions, David.

    What you do need to do, though, David, is to tell yourself and your liberal friends that the best way to convince people that Donald is evil is not to trot out specifically liberal litmus tests for who or what is evil, but to stick with politically neutral tests that get right to the heart of the matter — his character and how he treats other people. If we are to shine the spotlight on this rascal, that’s the only way to go. Focus like a laser on character apart from political positions.

  • David Gushee

    Real good point. That’s why I am trying to do. On some L/R tests, he is actually pretty good. But that is not the issue here, as you note.

  • Doc Anthony

    In 2015, I predicted that liberal Hillary Clinton would win in 2016. I’m still sticking with that prediction. She has the Money, the Media, and the Machine, plus Obama’s not-very-subtle endorsement.

    Trump is far better at speaking Plain English and tapping into national discomfort, but ultimately the Republicans are too divided anyway — and nobody really thinks Mexico will pay for a wall. So it’s going to be Hillary in 2016.

    I am sticking with another prediction also — that sometime in the next few years — not long at all — America is going to experience “God’s vote”, and THAT is going to be a catastrophic divine judgment.

    Maybe a natural disaster, maybe a nuclear disaster, almost certainly combined with an economic disaster. It will NOT be something that Americans can “fix” or vote away. “God saving us from Trump” will be the least of our worries.

    America has forgotten God. regardless of who you support or oppose in 2016.

  • Pingback: Will God save us from Donald Trump? – Courtesy Universal One Church Newsfeed – Universal One Church – Universal Church()

  • Ken

    Somehow, Trump believes that his success is measured by the size of his crowds. Jerry Springer draws crowds. WWE (professional wrestling) draws crowds. Gov. George Wallace drew crowds back in the early sixties. Horror flicks draw crowds. Riots draw crowds. Crashes draw crowds. Leni Riefenstahl captured the gathering of monstrous crowds back in the thirties. Amassing a crowd only affirms one thing: group think works. And sometimes, it gets ugly.

  • Ken

    Hey Jack… I get the sense that the phrase “liberal friends” is intended to put Professor Gushee out there in the great abyss, outside the comfortable confines of doctrinal purity. Raised and educated in fine evangelical institutions, I woke up one morning wondering how in the world the term “liberal” became a pejorative, and how under God’s blue sky Jesus became a flag waving conservative? Help me. Dr. Gushee is much to gracious.

  • Kay Frederick

    True words

  • Wayne C Bridegroom

    My Black pastor friends are glad for Donald Trump. Why? What’s been under the surface in the decades following the 60’s is now in open view. Whether personally or nationally, sin issues cannot be dealt with until they are acknowledged. It’s time for the church to step up and be the church.

  • Does God look down from heaven and say, “Enough!” Or are tyrants brought down as a built-in consequence of their own actions? I don’t think it’s either/or; sometimes it’s both/and. The Bible offers sufficient evidence to support both scenarios. But I would add that even the latter does not discount God’s sovereignty.

  • Doc Anthony

    Permit me to respond on that one. **Gay Marriage.**

    I don’t know about Jesus waving any flags, but 1 Cor. 6:9-11 seems quite clear and specific, regarding Jesus’ position on that one issue. Jesus is NOT a gay marriage supporter.

    I do not deny that Dr. Gushee is an evangelical. But on that important issue, yes, the phrase “liberal friends” seems appropriate.

  • Scott Shaver

    If it’s a character issue, why be selective and start with Trump? At this point based on track record and any other litmus test, Clinton’s a bigger target. Some “evangelicals” are very selective in their outrage.

    Explain to me why character is a bigger issue with Trump than Clinton?

    Looks like “Trump” is already being dealt with, or attempted dealing, by folks like Jack and Mr. Gushee within his own party (assuming Jack and David are both Republican or by another label “conservative). If not, one or the other should have already singled out Clinton in these “exposures”.

    If the issue is not being able to deal in good conscience with casting a vote for either front runner……do your heart a favor and exercise your right to abstention or write-in or whatever.

    I think this all boils down to the same old song and dance on both the “liberal” and “conservative” side of the “evangelical” aisle……namely, the front-running candidates don’t look, walk, talk,…

  • Jack

    No, Ken, I meant politically liberal, not theologically liberal, and no, either way, it wasn’t meant to marginalize Professor Gushee at all. It was meant the way it read. I am concerned that too many otherwise good criticisms of Trump are dismissed out of hand by his supporters because they equate liberal positions on complicated issues as morally good, and non-liberal positions as morally bad. I believe Trump is dangerous and want to zero in on the heart of the matter, which transcends the political. Professor Gushee seems to agree and his reply was very gracious. Even when I disagree with some of his posts, often strongly, I have to admit he makes me think and reassess. Given the frightening Trump phenomenon, it is making me think all the more.

    I agree with you that Jesus is not “a flag-waving conservative….” nor is he a liberal. He transcends political categories, because every one of them, like all governments, are flawed.

  • Jack

    Scott, it’s simple. I am both a theological and political/constitutional conservative. I have long worried about the far left. I know all about Obama’s flaws and Hillary’s flaws and her husband’s flaws and Kerry’s flaws and Jimmy Carter’s flaws and the flaws of the left even before the takeover. I’ve focused like a laser on them.

    But in Donald Trump, I feel like someone who’s been snuck up from behind and hit in the back of the head. I have always seen threats to our Constitution and way of life as coming from the hard left and now I am suddenly confronted with someone who is a colossal threat from the opposite side, the side that is normally my own, and whose entire personality and character is shot through with selfishness, cruelty, and arrogance. Unlike any other Republican in memory, I find him absolutely impossible to support without flushing my faith down the toilet.

  • Jack

    Doc, I agree with you about divine judgment, AND I also believe that Donald Trump is a reflection of what’s wrong with America and how we deserve such judgment. He’s the embodiment of everything that God warns about when He speaks of judgment on nations for their sins.

    The Bible says judgment begins in the house of God, and so it is chillingly fitting that evangelicals are voting for Trump in large numbers. The moral and spiritual deception it represents shows a moral and spiritual weakness in the church. For one thing, it suggests that too many Christians have become Republicans or Hillary haters first, and Christians second (at best). We are more likely to get our politics from Rush Limbaugh than from Psalms and Proverbs or even CS Lewis. We don’t care anymore about character; we have become a mirror of the secular left by caring only about whether the candidate utters politically correct slogans from our own end of the political spectrum.

  • G Key

    Re “Did God look down from heaven and say, ‘Enough!’…Or are tyrants brought down as a built-in consequence of their own actions?”

    I think the answer to this “(a) or (b)” question is (c): “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

  • G Key

    Oops… forgot to change the original “men” to the obvious “people”.
    My bad.

  • Jeff

    Just curious, Dr. Gushee, about the conversations you have had with Trump supporters and sought to find out why they will vote for him?
    I do not intend to vote for Trump and have been shocked by his popularity and that his ship hasn’t sunk yet, but seems to get stronger.
    However, the Trump supporters I have spoken with at work, church, or my neighborhood are mostly well-informed, intelligent, varying in education (most have undergraduate degrees and some have graduate degrees). Most admit that Trump is narcissistic, crude, and are even a bit suspicious of his promises. Many of them admit to the possibility that Trump is lying and will betray his voters. BUT, they feel that their chances are still better with him. They already feel betrayed by current government leaders. The lion den sounds safer than the snake den.
    Agree or disagree with my non-scientific sample, this is something not to be ignored. The nation is divided and the issues go deeper than this election.

  • David Scott

    I find it most ironic and disturbing that the evangelical community could very well be the supporters who elect Trump. I wish someone would explain to me why those who CLAIM to be Christian can vote for someone like Trump who personifies evil.

  • ben in oakland

    Simple.

    Power TRUMPS principle, every time.

  • Rich

    And not a word about socialism….something is wrong here.
    Hillary has a track record and she is a Clinton. Trump isn’t being investigated by the FBI. Trump may be crude but the naked ambition of the Clinton establishment (backed by an oligarchy that can’t be denied) seems to leave this forum cold.

  • Elroy

    Who will save us from you???????????????

  • Sorry One Nation Under God has been trampled on by both republicans and Communist Democrats God is for Trump Take that to the bank

  • Fran

    The “good and just God of the universe” will soon “intervene in human history” and put an end to all human rule, no matter who the rulers may be. God’s kingdom or heavenly government will soon replace all human governments and rule over humans in their place (Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 11:1-10). Man’s governments are on their last wobbly legs.

  • You are spot on, Fran. But the Bible is also quite clear that this time of peace when “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed” (Dan 2:44), etc., will not come easily nor will it come quickly. So we must be prepared to fasten our seat belts because it’s going to be a difficult and bumpy ride.

  • Scott Shaver

    Jack. I would say hold your nose and pull either the toilet handle or the ballot box lever.

  • David Scott

    If God is for Trump, He is a very poor judge of character, assuming character still counts for anything.

  • Scott Shaver

    Ken:

    America has always been an exercise in “group think”. Usually, in an election, success is definitely measured by the size of the crowds who turn out to vote.

    Sounds as if you’d be more comfortable with a system of monarchs.

  • Scott Shaver

    Which is exactly what the Republican establishment has done/accomplished over the last 8 years…….nothing.

    Precisely the reason for Trump’s popularity and momentum now. Cause and effect traces this scenario back to the “good men” of which you speak.

  • Scott Shaver

    Because “Trump Supporters” who have exercised personal faith in Jesus Christ are just as much CHRISTIAN with claim to the label as their whining and condescending albeit “poltically correct” brothers and sisters.

    How will you, David, uphold your CLAIM to be Christian by defaulting to Clinton? Assuming that political elections are a litmus test for Christian “morality”.

    Your logic cuts two ways.

  • Scott Shaver

    Sounds like you can turn just as easily sour on God as Donald Trump if elections don’t go to suit you, David.

    Why then are you appealing to Him as the basis of our choice at the ballot box?

  • David Scott

    Who said anything about Clinton? My comment was aimed solely at Trump, his hate-filled rhetoric, his profanity, his empty bluster, his misogyny, his racism, his gross lack of decorum or respect for anyone except himself. As a Christian, how do you condone this type behavior? Or, is this what American Christianity has become?

  • Ken

    Huh? My comment is not an indictment of democracy, it’s a challenge to Trump’s obsession with crowd size as validation of his “platform.” When asked a substantive question, he routinely sidesteps the issue and defaults to poll numbers and event attendance – the ultimate master of spin. He’s hubris on steroids.

  • Ben in oakland

    As the recipient of so-called Christian so-called love and so-called morality for the past 45 years– in other words, as an out and proud gay man– I have heard them and seen them condone this type of behavior regularly. I would say it is indeed what some large portion of American Christianity has become. Or perhaps, always has been.

    It always amazes me, except that it never does, that this type of behavior is a regular when it comes to gay people. But well known formicators and adulterers who parade their Christianity like a show horse never seem to be anything but excused for their egregious sins against God. Some of them even become heroes to the Christians we are talking about.

    It’s almost enough to make you suspect that what is directed at gay people– hate filled rhetoric, reviling and slander, outright lies– and condoned by so-called Christians has absolutely nothing to do with Christian morality and faith at all.

  • David Scott

    In my opinion, what we are observing now, the support of Donald Trump by Christian evangelicals, is parallel to the church’s failure to take a stand against slavery and the Vatican’s complicity with the Third Reich—-an abominable lapse in morality. I am now very reluctant to call myself Christian for fear of being associated with this misguided mob. As Gandhi once said, “I might have been a Christian were it not for some Christians I know.”

  • Scott Shaver

    “Meet the new boss…..same as the old boss”

  • Scott Shaver

    Precisely the point. “Who said ANYTHING about Clinton?”

  • Jack

    Well, I asked for it with my language, didn’t I….

    No, Trump doesn’t get my vote under any condition short of a Damascus-road conversion.

  • Jack

    David, I feel the same way. Polls do show that among self-identified evangelicals who go to church regularly, Trump lost their vote big-time. They voted mostly for Cruz and Rubio and Carson when he was still in.

    It’s the self-identified evangelicals who went to church infrequently if at all who, according to polls, voted in large numbers for Trump.

  • Jack

    But that, Scott, doesn’t explain why the discontented voters went more for Trump than for Cruz. Logic would dictate that they go for Cruz, for two reasons. First, he has no political history of doing anything less than fighting the establishment and getting hated by every one of its members as a result of it. And second, Cruz, being in Washington but not of Washington, presumably knows where the bodies are buried. He, more than anyone else with a pulse, would have the know-how to bring the establishment down if elected, since he has fought them up close and personally.

    So logically, the drive toward the unstable, unpredictable, and inexperienced Trump makes no sense if one’s goal is to stop or dethrone the establishment. The way to do it, assuming there is a way, is to support someone who’s fighting the louts from the inside enough to know how to beat them.

  • Jack

    Jeff, they have zero excuse because Cruz equals Trump without the things they admit they hate about Trump, and Cruz, unlike Trump, actually has a record of fighting the establishment that everyone is railing about.

    The people you know must have gotten their college degrees from mail-order mills or some of the more intellectually questionable Bible colleges. There is no evidence of critical thinking, moral reasoning, or spiritual discernment being applied to their decisions.

  • Jack

    No, Scott, the point being made is that Trump is, from a conservative evangelical perspective with its eyes wide open, the rare example of a Republican whose values, overt character and possibly chilling aims so fundamentally fly in the face of the Gospel, let alone simple, common decency, that he is not less evil than Hillary but equally so or more.

    Your problem is that you’re a victim of a kind of normalcy bias, believing that just because for the past half century, the major threat to our country has come largely from the extremist left, there would never come a time when an equal or greater threat would come from the other end of the spectrum. We are saying that such a time has arrived and that the threat is named Donald Trump.

  • Scott Shaver

    Who says it “has to make sense”, Jack?

    An insane political system with insane people will always produce insane results. This has been building for two decades.

    Better to make the best of bad ride IMO.

  • Scott Shaver

    And I say that your approach to the whole scenario is reminiscent of “Chicken Little”. That seems to be your “problem,” Jack.

    Paranoia masked as “principle”.

  • Scott Shaver

    Rejecting your brand of “responsible” Christianity is not a vote of support for Trump, David. It’s a rejection of pseudo-spirituality. You don’t get to decide (save for yourself) whether those who disagree with you are or are not “Christian”.

  • David

    Dear David Gushee:

    The fixation on violence aside, ‘Trump’ doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Nor does it happen because the Republican Party is an incubator of fascistic sentiments, although the GOP is certainly that.

    Trump happens because the DNC has no counter-program addressing the reasonable frustrations and fears of lower and middle class persons. It was inevitable that Trump or an equally demagogic figure would recognize and step into this political vacuum. It was never more than a matter of time.

    Perhaps ‘trump’ is the best thing that could happen to us. Perhaps it is time to stop using ‘trump’ as a whipping post and hold it up as a mirror from which to discern our own, hideous reflection. That, I think, requires discussion.

    Trump happens. Will God save us from trump? Better is, ‘OUGHT God to save us from trump?’ Those who will accept Trump will have no interest in candidates with genuine, political solutions to crises. In such times, good people will not stand. Why would…

  • Trump happens for other reasons too. The tendency of human minds when confronted with a set of opposites is to embrace one and annihilate the other, e.g., people will often see God as MERCIFUL or JUST, but not both. The Bible teaches that he is both. But people tend to embrace one and disregard the other. Was Christ a human being or God in the flesh? He was both. Is the Bible a book of human words or is it the Word of God? It’s both, but again people will often embrace one and disregard the other.

    As Gushee illustrates, the same thing happens with FREEDOM and ORDER. The word for too much freedom is ‘chaos’ and the word for too much order is ‘tyranny.’ When tyranny is entrenched, violent revolution will break out to establish freedom. On the other hand, (and according to the Bible, this is the secret of the rise of the Antichrist), a world that is chaotic from too much freedom will welcome the tyranny that results from too much order.

    A chaotic world has terrorists in it that…

  • A chaotic world has terrorists in it that may strike at any moment. When the trouble becomes too great, eventually the people say, “We don’t care what you, do just make it stop!!!” As the article explains, that’s why we’re seeing a meteoric rise in Trump’s popularity.

    Revelation 13 also predicts a world where there is total order, but no freedom whatever: “And it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” (Rev 13:16-17)

  • David

    Dear Alex Haiken:

    I read the Revelation in general and Re 13 in particular not as a discussion on the antithesis of freedom and order in society, but as a kingdom of God manifesto/critique of that system of idolatry/blasphemy/ideology/authority/wealth/power/coercion/violence/extortion/injustice/propaganda known as imperial Rome. I also believe that the mystery of iniquity attempts to draw every nation to incarnate evil in such forms under any system of governance, in any time or place, by any name.

    Revolutions create ‘freedom’ and tyranny. We sponsor currency attacks, insurrectionist movements to topple foreign governments, assassinations, erect compliant puppet regimes, and other international misdemeanors. We then project ‘chaos’ on terrorists who serve as scapegoats whom we punish vicariously punish for absolution of our own sins. ‘Terror’ narrative is an heretical ideology which the church is to reject at once to recover her true identity. See how long we stay ‘free’…

  • David, Regarding your reading Revelation about imperial Rome, I think you’re partly right. The problem is you’re viewing biblical time simply as “linear time” (a single time line with points along the way) as opposed to “cyclical time” (repeating time cycles). For example, the Ancients had 6-days of work and a 7th day of rest, 6 months of work and a 7th month of harvest, 6 years of work and a 7th year or Sabbatical Year of rest, 7 cycles of 7 years and then the great Jubilee, etc. These cycles repeated themselves. Days parallel the weeks, weeks parallel the months, months parallel the years, etc. Daniel 9 speaks of 70 Weeks of Years from restoration of the Jews from Babylonian bondage to coming of the Messiah. The Hebrew idea of prophecy is a pattern that is recapitulated; multiple fulfilments with one ultimate fulfilment – that is how Jewish prophecy was understood. Each of the multiple fulfilments is a type of and teaches something about the ultimate one. This concept is…

  • Oops, the end got cut off.

    This concept is continually repeated in the Bible. It may well take time to get used to seeing this in the prophetic writings — and none of us assimilates this on the first pass — but like it or not, this understanding operates in biblical interpretation.

  • David, Roman Emperor Domitian like Nero before him persecuted Christians. Roman Empire was very large but still small in comparison to the whole human race. Rev. goes far beyond anything Domitian or John could have imagined in their day. According to Rev 11, 12, 13, 17 & 18, an empire is coming with an emperor who will command EVERY soul on earth to do his bidding or die. This is the FINAL CYCLE when the whole world will be involved in making final decisions over God’s authority vs man’s. This is like previous cycles: Moses/Pharaoh, Daniel/Nebuchadnezzar, John/Domitian. Each time it involved more people but still not the whole world. Rev 13 says ALL will accept the invitation to “form themselves” into an image of the beast of empire. God’s purpose is for ALL- every person on earth to make a FINAL decision for or against Him and His authority. After everyone has made a FINAL decision, human history will be interrupted by the literal, visible return of Christ.

  • David

    Dear Alex:

    Biblical time, hermeneutical procedure, prophecy, theological purpose in Revelation, eschatology and the nature of our Christian existence in the world aside, we agree. Cyclic history is Eastern philosophy. In Revelation, time is theological. The 70 weeks hold no universal, hermeneutic to be used at our convenience, and I’ve no interest in speculation based on alleged ‘patterns.’

    The Re 4-5 Throne Room report is God’s ageless perspective. With Asia as a baseline, we should be discerning his purpose for all times and places, to respond aptly to his purpose. Instead we push Revelation into the future [final cycle] to avoid persecution for opposing idols of this age, while expecting to avoid judgment and have God’s kingdom in the next.

    Proclaiming inherently redemptive promises to mediate blessings bestowed solely by God’s kingdom, the ballot acts as a political sacrament. ‘Hold your nose and vote!’ Just burn your pinch of incense to Caesar!

    Remember Polycarp.

  • David

    Dear Scott Shaver:

    Since ‘you don’t get to decide (save for yourself) whether those who disagree with you are or are not “Christian,”’ [yours, Mar. 18 at 10:49 am] I respectfully suggest that you reconsider your words to David Scott [Mar 16, 9:55 am], ‘sounds like you can turn just as easily sour on God as Donald Trump if elections don’t go to suit you, David.’

    I am entirely sympathetic to David Scott’s at Mar 16, 4:22 pm. As I see it, ‘Christian’ [or church] and world are nearly indistinguishable.

    For reasons to which I allude [Mar 19:8:15 pm], I have no horse in this race. I won’t vote. For me, it’s a little too much like political prostitution. But I am entirely sympathetic to David’s assessment [03/16 @ 4:22 pm].

    Oh, and just for the record–I am a socialist.

  • Ahh, but David, in Eastern philosophy time is cyclic but STATIC. IN THE BIBLE TIME IS CYCLIC BUT PROGRESSIVE.

    Eastern philosophy/Hinduism can leave you with no PROGRESS, no GOAL or endpoint. Bible writers depart from ancient the view by showing there is GROWTH and CHANGE which equals a GOAL. Bible writers hold that time cycles are cycles of experience which can progress toward God. Unlike the New Age view, a soul may also spiritually spiral downward for instance into mass-murder, mayhem and sadism.

    Each cycle gets larger and includes more. Issues get larger spiritually and the meaning gets closer to God. Rev. 11-13 takes up Daniel 7-12 and expands it. John confronting Domitian is impressive even more so than Daniel confronting Nebuchadnezzar. The confrontation between the Two Witnesses of Rev. 11 and the Antichrist will make the others seem relatively insignificant in comparison. Everything before has been a microcosm of what is to come.

  • David

    Dear Alex:

    Yes. Although valid, my observation regarding Eastern thought dismissed your point with undue haste. But that aside, I see that I have failed abysmally to communicate the idea of apocalyptic as timeless perspective on all cultures in whatever stage of historical development they are.

    I have spoken from the perspective that the confessing [including very conservative and fundamentalist] church is largely in a state of apostasy and in John’s prophetic work imitates in multiple respects the same relationships observed between the beast, whore and false prophet. In the face of such weighty criticism, I’m frankly astonished to find a reply which instead continues to explain the futurist position which the idealist interpretation clearly rejects.

    I didn’t descend here to be one who chides, berates, insults or otherwise trolls participants. But I find environments that so function to be spiritually debilitating. You must sort out this yourself. Grace be on you all!

  • David, thank you for your follow-up note but I’ve already done the “sorting.” I certainly would not wish for you to feel more “spiritually debilitated” than you admittedly already do. Best that we simply respectfully agree to disagree on this.