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Eugene Peterson on Donald Trump and the state of American Christianity

Eugene Peterson lectures at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle in May 2009. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

During the last election cycle, prominent Christians of all stripes voiced their opinions about the American political landscape. Eugene Peterson, however, did not speak out at that time.

Perhaps this is because the 84-year-old was busy finishing his final book, “As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God.” Or maybe nobody took the time to ask him what he thought. Regardless, I wanted to hear Peterson’s thoughts and decided to ask him about Donald Trump and the state of American Christianity. The author of the best-selling “The Message Bible” did not mince words when speaking about either topic.

RNS: You mentioned earlier that these are difficult times. What do you think of what we’re experiencing right now, politically? What are your views of Donald Trump and the political mood animating our world?

EP: I think we’re in a bad situation. I really do. Donald Trump is the enemy as far as I’m concerned. He has no morals. He has no integrity. But I have good friends who think he’s wonderful. But I think they put up with it less and less. People are getting pretty tired of him, I think. Some of us were tired of him before he was elected. I think we can put up with it, though. I don’t think it’s the end of the road.

>>READ ALSO: “Eugene Peterson on why he’s leaving the public eye and whether he fears death”<<

RNS: In “As Kingfishers Catch Fire,” you say that we are facing some of the same cultural situations in our world that you identified years ago. For example, you talk about an “undercurrent of fear fueled by neurotic or manipulative religion.” Can you explain what that means?

Image courtesy of Waterbrook / Multnomah

EP: I think there’s a whole part of the Christian church which operates out of fear. It’s a negative kind of gospel, which I think is quite contrary to the Gospel that Jesus brought to us. I’m not happy with that. As with Trump, I think we can survive that too. Overall, I’m optimistic. That’s the short answer.

RNS: You’ve seen the church change a lot. You’ve seen Christianity, if I can generalize here, change a lot. Are you more encouraged or more discouraged by what you’re seeing in the American church?

EP: I’m not sure it’s either/or. I do feel like pastors are not doing their job. Look at what’s going on in the church, at least in my Presbyterian church. It has a consumer mentality. It’s about what we can sell and how we can attract people to come to church.

I think the thing that’s most disturbing is the megachurch because megachurches are not churches. My feeling is that when you’re a pastor, you know the people’s names. When 5,000 people come into the church, you don’t know anybody’s name. I don’t think you can be a pastor with just a bunch of anonymous people out there. In the megachurch, well, there’s no relationship with anybody. I think the nature of the church is relational. If you don’t know these people that you’re praying with and talking with and listening to, what do you have? I feel pretty strongly about that.

Now, there’s a lot of innovation in the church, and overall, I can’t say I’m disheartened. I’m just upset by the fad-ism of the megachurch, but I just don’t think they’re churches. They’re entertainment places.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

95 Comments

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  • I only differ with the honorable Eugene Peterson in the area of scope. Peterson’s concerns for the church appear primarily to be limited to megachurches. I believe the elevation of events over relationships and gifting over character flow downstream from the megachurch to the small church on the corner. The human heart is a worshipping heart. We all worship something or someone. Sadly, the system of what is called “church” in America functionally elevates professional ministries above Jesus Christ. Eugene Peterson says megachurches are not biblical ekklesia (i.e. churches). I would submit that most of what Americans call “churches” today, whether small, medium, large, or mega, are actually professional ministries. While of these professional ministries provide biblical, helpful services (e.g. Bible teaching, worship music, kids programs etc.), they are not biblical ekklesia (i.e. church).

  • I believe there is a mega church model that works. Within the mega church there are hundreds of small 10-50 member small churches meeting on a regular basis to worship, outside of church these groups are doing life together. That is real relationship, real worship, and real ministry can happen in that environment.

  • In terms of defining ekklesia as pondered by Camino1, if I may attempt to answer him, though not asked; ekklesia is a community of fellow minded people who share one another’s joys and sufferings in the bonds of Christ. Working and playing together…bearing one another’s burdens…bearing the burdens of those outside the community. Praying, studying, and singing together. Striving to walk as Christ commanded us and bringing the Gospel to the lost. ekklesia demonstrates a heart and attitude of service to all, and even when it rises to the level of “professionalism” that in itself is not a stark departure from its proper paradigm. And as noted by James Paul below, character is of greater value than gifting.

  • I like and have great respect for Eugene Peterson. Use his The Message as my Bible interpretation now.

  • 501c3 churches are government churches. Paid for by all people living in this country. Main function and sine qua non of these “churches” is paying the pastor.

    Eugene H. Peterson has probably made a fortune from credibility he has gotten from these “churches”.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+11%3A52&version=NABRE See Matthew 23.13 footnote.

    Key of Knowledge Matthew 16.19

    Blew whistle on teen sex and was excommunicated as “troublemaker” by government church in collusion with medical system.

    https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Wounded-Costly-Church-Discipline/dp/0877845336 John Howard Yoder in appendix sees discipline as way of building community in churches.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+18.20&version=NABRE
    20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

  • “Donald Trump is the enemy as far as I’m concerned.”

    Nice.

    St. Paul to the Romans: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good.”

    St. Paul to Timothy: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”

  • Yes, I think we owe him a modicum of respect but our ultimate allegiance has to be for Jesus.

  • So would you say that Adolf Hitler’s authority came from God, and that his henchmen had been placed in positions of authority by God?

  • We should not put up with Trump though some Christians support him, For some Christians who supported Trump, their support of Trump revealed their priorities more than their identifying themselves as Christians did.

  • Hitler – or any other tyrant – get their authority from God, but it’s ultimately up to them to follow Christ or to disobey Him. They can abuse their power, and they will have to answer to the Lord on Judgement Day.

  • “Hitler – or any other tyrant – get their authority from God”

    This is a very toxic belief that I’m sad to see is still so prevalent in Christian circles. This idea that God is involving himself in our politics is what has led to rampant nationalism in the church and outright idolatry. It’s how so many professing Christians excuse Trump’s ridiculous and clearly un-Christ like behavior, claiming “God uses flawed people” for his purposes, an argument strangely absent when God presumably put Obama in office. Frankly it’s blasphemous to claim God gave Hitler (or any other tyrant) their authority.

  • Methinks you need to take a look at a Bible before you claim something like “only follow, but no not worship.” Jesus has a throne and is worshiped as God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity. Look at Hebrews 1:8 and Revelation 5:9-14, for example. Even God the Father calls the Son “God” in that Hebrews verse. And in Rev 5:14, Jesus the Lamb was worshiped.

    Why are you denying the deity of Jesus Christ?

  • It’s not an excuse or a “free pass” to let politicians steam-roll over the populace. As I said, all authority comes from God (read Romans chapter 13), but leaders can be all over the map when it comes to how they use their power. Everyone will have to give an account of what they did on earth. As to your anti-Trump diatribe, I’m not even touching that…

  • No, not at all. People have free will. They are not robots.

    EVERYONE will be held responsible for they do with the living God and what they do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While I don’t necessarily believe in “poisoning the planet,” environmental issues have nothing to do with any of this.

  • Megachurches are individual fiefdoms! Meaning Christianity is no longer about Christ, but about power and greed! This “crossing over” was the great personal shock I felt in August, 1980, as a professional journalist covering the GOP-affiliated National Affairs Briefing in Dallas — where religious “hit lists” and hit squads largely were planned to defeat not just Carter but democratic incumbents in general. It meant Southern (for the most part) evangelicals had “crossed over” into dominion extremism, or empire-thinking. Two competing versions of Christianity are in the Bible [as a brief explanation here], remember, arising in the first couple centuries after Christ’s crucifixion — Creationism (e.g., God creates as Life evolves), and the Kingdom of Empire (argued by Roman soldiers). I was reared as a moderate Baptist fundamentalist, i.e. In a purge in ’79, for all practical purposes, the SBC kicked all “moderates” (incl. President Carter) out of the denomination. The New Right and Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority had tied the knot; and Sunbelt “riches” were the future. The beginning of the Southern (or Conservative) Resurgence, it was! Remember, too, Carter’s administration — just months earlier, I think– finally had cut Falwell’s church tax-exemption status in Va. because his school(s) refused to integrate; thus the preacher had “a bone to pick”! But hard-line, evangelical churches (and those heavily populated with white extremists, are most vulnerable, yes), it meant if they could just support corporate-backed, conservative Republicans at the polls, then doors would open to funnel corporate donations to them to “grow their empire.” Which is what’s happened. Wes Howard-Brook (among other researchers now) a noted Seattle Bible scholar and religion professor) has written two excellent books on this subject, if any reader wishes to know more. Personally, as a kid, my dad (a common housepainter) had planted one of St. Paul’s messages to me about this deep in me, in the wake of church schisms in our own little church. That is, “Stay out of Empire thinking! It’s no good!” Those feelings were triggered when I witnessed the spectacle that time in Dallas.

  • Trump is the enemy? This is the statement that raises the biggest question regarding Eugene’s response. I don’t know enough about Trump, or Peterson’s meaning. I can make imaginations that have me agreeing whole heartedly with EP’s statement.
    What I know of Trump’s past leave me with a brash playboy all American with no substantive response to Christ or Christ’s church.
    I see from Trump’s response to Pence and his faith, an openness and some form of humility towards the G_d of Mr. Pence. I understand about Pence’s faith that he is Catholic. Without knowing the man I have evangelical suspicions. He may be fully genuine as a follower of Christ, or just genuine in following the Catholic Church or/and her Pope.
    I am happy to see Trump embrace prayer. I am happy to see his support of Israel. But I don’t know if he is a wolf wearing sheep skins.
    We who are Christian expect the politics of the end times to favour the enemies of God. Obama did not have Israel’s back even though he maintained generally the status quo toward Israel. I think he advanced the cause of evil in many blatant ways.
    Trump is not in the clear though, even if I have some forms of hope from his actions.
    Regarding obeying the government, democracy answers part of that question, changing bad government at election time. In the event of a Godless government, death may be better than obedience.

  • *** How’s that? ***
    Dead-on description of the Clintons. The modern-day Ahab and Jezebel.

  • With a notable, deadly exception: As Secretary of State, Hillary cozied up to ISIS a la’ Benghazi. And the Clinton Foundation was giving megabucks to Muslim-ruled countries.

  • Substitute the name “Clinton” or “Obama” for “Trump”, and your statement is at least as factual, maybe even more so.

  • Unfortunately, it’s not a real translation. It’s merely his paraphrase of the real Bible, and he includes new age / occult phrases in it. Not fit for Christian consumption.

  • Dan, I was reared in a “moderate” church as well — actually the Religious Left — and I remember everything you’ve described here, both political and religious.

    How ironic that my viewpoint is completely at odds with yours. Jimmy Carter was SUCH an inept president, swamped with issues he could not handle or control, it didn’t take any maneuvering to defeat him in 1980 – he had already defeated himself. The economy was so bad, there was double-digit inflation, and prices on gas and groceries and houses went through the roof during his term in office.

    He was defeated in a landslide, by voters all over the country who were not in league with Texans or the SBC or any other churches, for that matter. They were fed up with Jimmy Carter; it was that simple. Reagan’s campaign slogan could have been: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

    As for the SBC split, that didn’t actually occur officially until the early 1990s, when those who did not really believe the Bible as it is written left to start the CBF – Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The only thing that bothered me about it all was that action wasn’t taken much sooner to steer the SBC back to the Bible. Since that time, many mainline denominations have departed from God’s Word in unprecedented ways.

    During the 1960s, SBC seminaries were staffed with non-Bible believing professors, some of whom were atheists! That trend just got worse and worse throughout the 1970s, becoming more toxic by the day, and something needed to be done. Bible-believing Baptists tried to reason from the scriptures with the “liberals”, but they never could come to agreement. Those were sad days. But sometimes Christians have to obey the Lord’s words in 2 Corinthians 6 in order to obey Him.

  • Maybe. Time will tell. Trump can’t do any worse than they did, and he might do better.

  • ***Donald Trump is the enemy as far as I’m concerned. He has no morals. He has no integrity.***

    I’m not a Trump fan, but let’s be honest — this description applies to Hillary Clinton at least as much as it does to Trump! At least he’s not taking any salary, whereas she claimed she and Bill left the White House flat broke (nope, I don’t believe it, they couldn’t have moved to Westchester, NY, if they had been) and then he hit the dinner circuit, charging megabucks per plate.

    And, really, that’s minor compared to Hillary’s (and Bill’s) myriad of other issues.

    I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read EP’s statement that “5000 people are not a church”. Really? Didn’t he write his own paraphrase of the Bible? And doesn’t the real Bible say in the book of Acts that 5000 people were “added to the church” in one day? That’s too funny. EP deigning to make rules that God didn’t make! Thanks for the chuckle.

    And how did EP miss the scripture passage in Ephesians 6 where the Lord says that we “wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with powers, principalities, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places…” ?

    Maybe he needs to go back and read the real Bible again.

  • Here’s that passage from Colossians 2:

    6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
    7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding min thanksgiving.

    8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
    9 For in Him the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily

  • Sinner88, did you read the scripture verses which Scott Roberts posted? Another verse says that in Christ Jesus the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. See Colossians 2

  • Claire,
    His response to the Paris Agreement already shows that in some areas, he can do worse. Or take healthcare. Or take eliminating worker protection and environmental regulations. In all of these areas, he is showing that he can do worse. At the end, we will see where he did not do as badly as Obama, but there will be other areas where he has already done worse.

  • Pastor Peterson answered the questions he was asked by the interviewer. The interview is being “blogged” in segments. This post is just one segment, the third I’ve seen so far. Inappropriate to say what is NOT said in this brief exchange.

  • Elgin: God uses the ungodly leaders as well to do execute his plans. Read Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and the prophecies included the Banylonians to take the Israelites captive because of serving other gods. Presently the USA used to be a Godly nation. Over the years they have strayed. During Obamas years it was more evident than ever. Hopefully under Trump there is a move by Govt back to God. Time will tell. Whatever happens God is in Control. As in this article politics seems to be taking the leading role in judging leaders. As with anything, the more you practice the better you become. Same with Christianity, the more you pray and read the Bible the more you understand and trust God. Second Chronicles 7: 14 describes today’s World and Christianity. The Christian must conform to Gods edict and then God will answer.

  • It doesn’t matter what I say. It’s what the scriptures say that matter. All of them. Deal with it.

  • Deal with it? I don’t need to. People like you have become cultists and aren’t taken seriously anymore. God didn’t give Hitler his authority anymore than He gave it to Donald Trump. You are delusional, absurd, and wrong.

  • Sorry, but you are nuts. Religions have become cults. Fundamentalists have taken Christianity to the absurd and reduced it to a political organization. Churches have invalidated the worship experience.

  • Well said, Clarence. The Religious Left had their turn under the Clintons and Obama and caused a lot of destruction which will take years (if we have years left) to change.

  • Sinner88, you have no idea what the Lord has taught me. You have made a lot of assumptions which are groundless because they are false.

  • I don’t attend a megachurch and I know that some megachurches are problematic because they don’t follow the Word of God as they should — but
    Let’s don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The Bible says (book of Acts) that “5000 people were added to the church in one day”. That was just one day! The early church continued to grow exponentially after that.
    A tiny church can be just as wrong in its doctrine and teaching as a megachurch. It’s not about size. It’s about faithfulness to God’s Word and love for all people.

  • I’m no Trump fan, but I agree with his stand on the Paris Agreement. I don’t know what will happen with health care, but a new plan could not be any worse than what we have right now with Obamacare.
    Obamacare was created to implode, which is already happening — premiums are continuing to go up year after year, taxes are prohibitive, and the only people who can “afford” it are those who are already dependent upon the government (taxpayers) for everything.
    That was “supposed” to lead to a single-payer system, which would have been disastrous for our nation. So while I’m no Trump fan, I am very grateful that Hillary is not there to continue that agenda.

  • Claire,
    the scientific community overwhelmingly belongs to the CE. Therefore, though the Paris Agreement is still inadequate, it buys us time and a chance to work with almost all other nations.

    I agree with you regarding Obamacare. After all, it was written by those from the health insurance and healthcare sector. But Trumpcare cuts the positive of Obamacare while keeping the negatives.

    And no, single payer would reduce health care costs because it reduces one of the largest portions of health care costs: administrative costs. The more insurance companies and the ore plans, the higher the administrative costs.

    I do agree with you on Hillary. But Trump is not the answer. And we will not have enough viable choices until we seriously invest in third parties whether they be conservative ones or non-conservative ones.

  • I am not familiar enough with the current Republican alternative to Obamacare to give my opinion about it. I would love it if medical experts, including Dr. Ben Carson, could give input (and maybe they have). Medical personnel whom I know personally have been extremely unhappy with Obamacare, with the effects of it on medical costs and related issues.
    Trump may not be the answer to Hillary, but he was the only viable option. I pray daily for God’s mercy on our nation.
    Curt, I want to thank you for a respectful dialogue here. Although we do not agree on everything, this is a real and unexpected pleasure. God bless you.

  • Claire,
    There is away to become familiar, read the House and Senate versions of their healthcare plans.

    BTW, there are other medical experts besides Ben Carson. The AMA released statements on both the House and Senate versions of the proposed health care bills. The links to those statements are below:

    https://www.ama-assn.org/ama-statement-house-passage-american-health-care-act

    https://www.ama-assn.org/ama-health-reform-vision

    And thank you for the kind words and the respectful way you answered. Respectful web discussions are too rare for comfort.

  • Trumpcare is a shameful mishmash of politicized policies. And the GOP should be ashamed as well.
    22 million will lose healthcare and have no way to get treatment. That is a human catastrophe that every ‘good’ Christian should be aghast at. People are going to die by the hundreds of thousands for want of basic care. And then the most horrible thing is that they call themselves ‘pro-life’. This is orwellian.

  • Unfortunately, Trump was the only other viable choice in comparison to Hillary (not a great standard for measurement). I truly believe that was evidence of God’s judgment on our nation. We are ripe for it.

  • Well, look at it this way: It would take some time for the death toll to reach 60,000,000. It’s totally possible that our national disobedience to God has reached such incredible heights (or depths, depending upon one’s view) that He will allow us to reap what we have sown. He has judged other nations, and we are ripe for Judgment.

  • are you waiting for the apocalypse?
    are you anticipating the Rapture?
    Do you know how many times people have awaited the end times and they never came?? Jesus said that God would change the world in his lifetime and the poor would be lifted up, etc. etc.
    Not holding my breath….

  • At this point, there is great confusion, since there have been multiple versions and multiple amendments. GOP is very good at obfuscation.

  • Penny,
    Yes, it is good at that. But the 2016 primaries and election showed that both parties are broken. And their brokenness will continue to hurt our nation until enough of us are ready to invest in third parties and their candidates to make those candidates viable options. And since there are both conservative and non-conservative 3rd parties, that investment into such parties can be a bipartisan effort.

  • Both parties are broken and out chaos president has us all riled up. So it’s important to stay calm and think critically, which I think you are doing.

    The brokenness is a result of the bruising nature of our discourse on the national level, state, locality, and even in families (the later includes my own extended family). We need new thinking. “Problems cannot be solved on the level on which they were created” (citation needed).

    I haven’t thought much about third parties, maybe because it seems impossible. Well we are told it’s impossible. Thank you for raising that possibility.

  • so what would be a real translation of the ‘real bible”???
    The KJV is biased and has errors. Others, RSV, are not poetic or don’t ‘sound’ right. There are bibles now for Men, Women, Teenagers–all the same bible.

    Jesus spoke Aramaic. I have friends who are Lebanese. They speak Aramaic, and the Aramaic bible, which I have a copy of, has beautiful, poetic language that demonstrates a love of the land and the animals. The Aramaic bible is called the Peshitta.

    The Aramaic words pf Jesus were transformed by Paul into Greek. (He was the first to write, around 70BC) and it differs greatly from the Synopic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). John pulls out completely from the other three gospels and was written later on Cyprus. John almost certainly didn’t know Jesus and was using his religious imagination to come up with the apocalyptic images of violence he presents.

    So from Aramaic to Greek, to Coptic, to Latin (Rome), to other languages. The west leaves out completely the early versions of the Syrian bibles, kind of a blind spot we in the west have. Armenia has the oldest Christian churches in the world and they are fiercely Christian and devout, but they don’t argue about politics like we do, using their bible.

    Throughout European history the bible was translated. Before the printing press everything was copied by hand so bibles were rare. Copyists, scribes would write comments into the margins and sometimes rewrite the text. We think that’s how Paul’s phrase “let the women keep silent in church” came to be in Paul’s writing. He was a misogynist but he didn’t write that. Almost all religious scholars think a scribe added it to suit what was going on in the church he served.

    Eugene Peterson is one of many throughout history who have made versions that clarified what was confusing or poorly said or just didn’t make sense, for example Paul’s Letters to the Romans, which are full of high flown and abstract language that is difficult to understand, let alone find spiritual meaning.

    To say, “Not fit for Christian consumption” Clair, you are setting yourself up as an arbiter of when it Christian and what is not. Again, that’s your opinion and not fact. Christianity is very diverse. Every Christian understands in a different way. What makes your understanding the only one that is valid??? Anyone of us can speak as an authority for ourselves but it’s not right to get all authoritarian and say what is appropriate as “Christian” for others. Everyone has the right to think for themselves and work through what is “Christian” for them.
    In other words, “Speak for yourself.”
    Altha made an observation and you denied her exeprience with Eugene Peterson’s book. IMHO, not very helpful

  • Not lies. News. Not from Breitbart, whom I do not follow. Your denial does not change the unpleasant facts.

  • The Biblical view of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s comparison to King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, as seen in I or 2 Kings.

  • God also didn’t give Hitler his authority any more than He gave it to Barack Hussein Obama. If you’re going to say that about one leader, you have to say it about them all.

  • There are cults, yes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any true believers and true pastors and true churches. Christ Jesus said the gates of Hell would not prevail against His church.

    I have never ever seen a more politicized religious group than the Religious Left. They don’t even preach as Christ Jesus preached, and they teach people to look to the government for their needs.

  • There haven’t been multiple versions or multiple amendments re Obamacare — which, BTW, was enacted unlawfully. But who cared? Certainly not the liberal “progressives”.

    Medical personnel whom I know personally have been extremely unhappy with Obamacare, with the effects of it on medical costs and related issues.

    They are comprised of liberals and conservatives and libertarians and apoliticals. The one thing they have in common is that they KNOW how dangerous O (actually did not) Care is for the country.

  • Appreciated, Curt. Sticking to the subject (and avoiding hyperbole) make posts and posters look much more intelligent.

  • I did not deny anyone’s experience with Eugene Peteson’s book (that description of his paraphrase is apt). I told the truth, that his paraphrase is not a translation. It is HIS thoughts about the Bible and should have been written that way, not as a “Bible”.

    Believers who were once in the New Age and the occult recognize the new age / occult phrases he used. Modern translations which are faithful to the original languages are the Word of God.

    When was your Aramaic Bible printed?

    Your dating of NT books is way off, which has been proven by Bible scholars. Paul was a Jew just like the other apostles and they all were faithful to obey the Lord in their writings.

    Read up on Jewish rabbis / scribes, and you’ll see how ultra-careful they were in writing the Scriptures. The Lord has watched over His Word, has preserved it for us today, that we might learn of His Love, His Truth, His power — that we might come to repentance and be born again, becoming heirs of eternal salvation, avoiding the eternal misery of Hell. That is His will for every person.

  • Clair,
    No problem. Part of the problem with attacks for positions is that it stems from the general desire to be punitive with those we view as opponents. America has a very punitive society.

  • There’s no need for me to read that. I have read what Christ said, and everything He said has come, and is coming, to pass.

  • I don’t mind disagreement. Everyone has an opinion. It is sad when disagreement is misinterpreted as hate, or is purposely twisted to make it look like hate.

  • Are you sure that Christ Jesus said that? Citation, please.

    For one thing, His lifetime has no end. For another, the end of the age is not yet. But we are 24 hours closer to it than we were this time yesterday.

    God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

  • To be clear, Curt (my first post wasn’t clear IMO), the fact that Trump and Hillary were our viable candidates was evidence of God’s judgment on our country — although I do think that we might have more time and opportunity under Trump to make needed changes than would have been possible under a Hillary administration.

    When Bill Clinton was running way back in the fall of 1992, I felt the Lord showed me then that BC would be elected and that would be evidence of His judgment. I haven’t seen anything since then that has caused me to doubt that.

  • Claire,
    Though I can see your point with the choice between Hillary and Trump, I can’t agree with your assessment of BC’s election even though I never supported him.

    As Christians, we need to distinguish what is righteous in society and what is righteous by the Gospel that the Church preaches. To give an example, I see no problem with society passing laws that give full equality to the LGBT community. But the Church must always preach repentance to the LGBT community. The point being that society is something we share with unbelievers. And we have to decide how to share that society.

    The real fault of our society, IMO, is what Martin Luther King Jr. said about American society in the late 1960s: it is a thing-oriented society rather than a person-oriented society. By that, King meant that to too many people, gadgets, profits, and property rights were more important than people. Our obsession with things drives our tendency to objectify people. When preaching the Gospel, we need to announce a higher standard than what King said about being thing-oriented. But what King said lies at the heart of how we should share society with others. We should be person-oriented than thing-oriented.

  • “I’m not a Trump fan, but let’s be honest — this description applies to Hillary Clinton at least as much as it does to Trump”

    A life-long practicing Methodist (who got started working for poor children) vs a life-long, practicing p*ssy-grabber (born rich, and worked ONLY for himself): your moral compass is seriously BROKEN.

  • Curt, for some reason I am not seeing your current message here. About the s/s “marriage” issue: Every nation is built on someone’s ideology. The only question is, whose. There was no Constitutional support or Civil Rights support for inventing a new definition for marriage.

    You said, “We should be person-oriented than thing-oriented.” But you also said that we’re supposed to “share real estate” with people who differ, so why then attempt to be person-oriented instead? Why not support thing-orientation in the name of Tolerance?

    I agree about being person-oriented, of course. I think it is extremely Un-loving to lead people to believe the lie that their sin does not carry the penalty of eternal punishment. I get this belief from God’s Word.

    And, really, the ultimate in being thing-oriented vs. people-oriented is killing the youngest, most innocent, most helpless people among us for the sake of convenience (or any other reason; convenience is far and away the main reason).

  • LOL That’s not a happy laugh; it’s a sarcastic one.

    Bill Clinton’s (a life-long Southern Baptist) history of using women for his personal pleasure goes back decades — and he did more than grab them. Hillary has enabled him in this, even to the point of embarrassing herself by claiming on national TV that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was “a vast right-wing hypocrisy”. If Linda Tripp had not told the truth about that, and if there had not been evidence to prove it, BC would have gotten away with that just like he got away with the others.

    It is rank hypocrisy to condemn Trump while remaining silent about Bill’s a-morality and Hillary’s enabling of it. I have never liked Trump, but this hypocrisy is ridiculous and shameful.

    As for Methodists — you’re barking up the wrong tree. I was in the UMC for 20 years. It was filled with Bill Clintons and Donald Trumps, including more than one pastor. As for Hillary’s “working for poor children”, she has actively encouraged the slaughter of the youngest, most innocent, most helpless children among us. She has NOT worked on their behalf — just the opposite.

  • Claire,
    And when those ideologies marginalize people, what happens? And think about your statement:


    Every nation is built on someone’s ideology.

    Remember that from the beginning of our nation through to at least the 1960s, our nation’s ideology was white supremacy. Should we have said then what you say now?


    Every nation is built on someone’s ideology.

    And isn’t there a Constitutional and Civil Rights call to defend the rights of the LGBT community? After all, The Constitution includes Amendments that defend the rights of whom? Are we straights superior to the LGBT community so that those rights only apply to us? Did the Civil Rights movement not challenge the idea that the rights spoken of in The Constitution belong to everyone even though they did not even wrestle with the plight of the LGBT community? Why do we leave out the LGBT community when talking about the rights guaranteed in The Constitution? Are excused from doing so because ‘Every nation is built on someone’s ideology‘?

    And if you are talking about how it is unloving to lead people into sin, remember that worshiping other gods than God the Father through Jesus is a sin. And yet we honor the right to worship for all sorts of religion. Is it society’s responsibility to change the sexual orientations and identities of the LGBT community or is it just the Church’s responsibility to preach repentance to that community?

    And I agree with you about abortion. And there are other instances of correcting being thing-oriented rather than person-oriented.

    Finally, how many people from the LGBT community do you know? Have you asked them about what it is like to be not treated as an equal?

  • Again, I am not seeing your current message here. I’m running short on time right now anyway, so I’ll cut to the chase and say this:

    I truly believe with all my heart that the root of our modern-day issues in this country is that so many people (including, but not limited to, professed Christians and people in leadership) are calling evil good and good evil.

    Read Isaiah 5 (Christ Jesus repeated some of that to the Pharisees) and you’ll see how egregious that is in God’s sight and what horrific penalties ensue. The passage I’m speaking of starts around v. 20.
    If I don’t get back to you this weekend (busy days ahead), have a good one. 🙂

  • Well said, Scott. Somehow I missed this post until just now. God bless you, brother.

  • Claire,
    Our nation is not a covenant community of God. It consists of Christians and non-Christians. And so you have to be more specific as to which evils are being called good and vice-versa.

    It isn’t for society to preach repentance for all sins.

  • Maybe one more post. 🙂 Again, your most current post is not showing up.

    For many years, this country has had freedom of religion. The definition of marriage was one man / one woman during all those years. The issue is not a religious issue.

    Again, there was not a Constitutional or Civil Rights precedent to re-define marriage. There is no “gay” gene. Skin color is a biological factor. A number of Bible-believing black pastors have confirmed this significant difference many times over.

    Yes, I know some LGBT people. We get along well, and some are close friends, like a guy whom I taught in Sunday School years ago and now is dying of AIDS. A dear friend’s brother is also wracked with AIDS, though he takes meds that somewhat slow the progression. Two dear friends have died of AIDS. These are just some of the ones I have known and know.

    I also know some people who used to live that lifestyle (yes, they call it a lifestyle). Two of them lived that way for almost two decades. She said that her dear grandma never quit praying for her, and the Lord was faithful to draw her to Him. She was delivered from that bondage, healed, and restored to the person the Lord created her to be. His story was not the same, except for his salvation, but similar.

    Today they have been happily married to each other for more than 25 years and have two children. They began a support group about 20 years ago for others who were caught up in that lifestyle, offering genuine love, prayers, compassion, and caring. During that time, MANY have also been set free by the power of Christ Jesus the Lord through that ministry. He is faithful.

    Please be sure to read Isaiah 5, beginning with v. 20, some time this weekend, prayerfully. I’ll be looking forward to hearing your response to it.

  • I sincerely hope you are not “loving” anyone into Hell by not lovingly telling them of their sin — speaking the truth in love — and offering them the opportunity to become children of God (John 1), to be healed, delivered and restored by the Love, Truth, and Power of God.

  • Ah, now I see this post. 🙂

    Curt, are you a Christian? The only reason I ask this is because you keep talking about “our nation” and “society”. But Christians are citizens of a much-higher “society” — the kingdom of God.

    What were Christ Jesus’ last words to His disciples before He ascended back to the Father? (Acts 1)

    Christians are to proclaim the Gospel everywhere — no limits, all over the world. Beginning with our “Jerusalem”, our local area.

    Of course our nation consists of Christians and non-Christians — virtually all nations do. Does this change Christ Jesus’ charge to those who are His disciples?

    Christ Jesus said that He will be the Judge of ALL people of ALL nations. Every person who has ever lived will give account of their lives to Him. He said He will separate the sheep from the goats, and He told of each group’s eternal destiny.

    IF His people do not share the Gospel which sets the captives free, how can they hear? How can they be saved from sin without someone to tell them how? How can they miss Hell if believers “love” them there with silence?

    Isaiah 5 mentions severe penalties for those who call evil good and good evil. The Lord spoke through another prophet, Ezekiel, about the severe condemnation which will come upon believers who do not warn sinners of the penalty they will incur if they continue in their sin.

    I know, the true Biblical message is not popular today. Christ Jesus prophesied this would come to pass, and the apostles were faithful to reiterate His warnings.

    We are 24 hours closer to the end of the age than we were this time yesterday. Now is a grace period during which men can be saved, healed, delivered, and restored. But the day is fast approaching when this will not be the case anymore.

    Please please please make this a matter of sincere, earnest prayer. There is no way I can emphasize the importance of this enough.

  • Claire,
    If you are talking about my comments here not showing up, I am not sure why.

    First, that we have had freedom of religion and traditional marriage as the norm does not imply that religious freedom is not the issue. Many amendments listed in the Bill of Rights have been inconsistently applied. And the fact that it was religiously conservative Christians who first wrote laws criminalizing homosexuality while there are many, some of whom claim to be Christian, whose religious beliefs support homosexuality shows that there is a religious issue involved.

    As Christians, we see some of the sins that people do. But society is not being called on to criminalize every sin. Nor should society be called on to exercise church discipline. We have to remember that no current nation can play the role of God’s covenant nation during NT times. That means that we should distinguish between what evil society calls good could should be criminalized and that which should not.

    While the Church should preach against all sins, Society should not be.

  • Claire,
    Yes I am a Christian. But we belong to more than one society. And how well we witness to the world depends on how we share society and the world with others.

    We should note that there is a difference between proclaiming the Word and legislating it. Society isn’t called to make the same distinction between good and evil that the Church is called to do

  • boring…
    you must not have a life to lead with all the nonsense you post here, days later.
    I’m bored with your stupidity and blindness.

  • C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Chuck Colson, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas Aquinas, and every other Christian I learn from has made “Sweeping and rather judgmental statements” according to their detractors. It is necessary, for reformation back to the gospel. Fight it for the sake of fighting it, you may be punching at the wind.

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