Us election result
The American President-elect is reckoned by most people to be a thrice-married misogynist, a sexual predator, abuser of women, xenophobe, racist and bigot. He has insulted Muslims, Mexicans, war heroes, the disabled and various other minority groups. As a billionaire he is on another planet than the one that 99 per cent of Americans inhabit. He boasts of paying no taxes, yet blithely promises to double the growth and prosperity of the USA. He has no experience of politics and makes wild statements that either offend or amuse. He is also a bully.
So why did America elect him? Maybe because he had his own popular TV show, something no other politician ever attained or even aspired to. What does this tell us about modern civilisation? Are we blindly following popular celebrities, totally regardless of their personal morality or qualifications to do anything other than entertain us? If that is true, then this is truly a sad day for us all.
I don’t think I will ever understand or feel optimistic about the Evangelical Right in America. They have ended up so sadly ignorant. An example of this is Eric Metaxas who, in the October issue (‘Profile’) supported Donald Trump and said that America blesses others. No, Eric, you don’t! You exploit the rest of the world in your worship of the dollar.
That said, there were two articles in November’s issue which have helped me a lot. It was a real blessing to read Skye Jethani’s analysis of the level of fear driving American politics (‘How did we get here? Trump vs Clinton and the Christian vote’) and the way to find a cure: to find the answer to his questions, so good that they are worth repeating: “Are we driven to vote because of anger, or from a posture of love? Are we seeking only what is best for ourselves and our tribe, or are we voting in a manner that loves our neighbours and even our enemies?” Thanks too for the chance to read about Tony Campolo’s humble faith in Jesus (‘Profile’). His expression of our saviour’s compassion is nothing short of uplifting.
I've been enjoying Eric Metaxas’ brilliant biography of Bonhoeffer. He articulately chronicles the way that so many in the German Church were taken in by Hitler. They turned a blind eye to his xenophobia and more outrageous statements. They were drawn to the strong leader who would make Germany great again and provide a defence against a feared onslaught of liberal values. How disconcerting then to read Metaxas’ endorsement of Donald Trump. Surely the point of studying history is to avoid repeating it?
The UK church is failing
Although I agree that we should unite around the creed and afford liberty of conscience in other matters, I do have some reservations about parts of Pete Greig’s ‘Letter to the UK Church’ (November). The letter was effectively a report on the state of Christianity in the UK. It talks about how many churches are thriving despite media reports and the recent statistics which show widespread decline. There is a lot about how the Church here is doing very well.
But is it? If we are doing so well, why is this country so messed up? I don't think the UK Church is in that good a state. We are failing our communities and neighbours. We are failing and neglecting people and I think it would help to admit that. Religious pride is a problem within the Church. But if we were humble enough to admit that we have some serious problems, then God would lift us up. If we say there are no serious problems, how can we tackle them?
Nick (via website)
Doctrine detective – blundering or breath of fresh air?
In both the October and November issues, David InstoneBrewer has not acted very wisely as a ‘Doctrine Detective’. His article on ‘Unoriginal sin’ (October) is ill-researched. Even the Greek word he quotes as key to a correct understanding is wrong. It should be ep’ho, rather than houtoos. His article seeks to wipe 2,000 years of elementary Christian doctrine off the table with a mere hint to a word in Romans 5 which Augustine supposedly used to invent this doctrine.
The whole Bible testifies to the truth of the doctrine of original or inherited sin. To say that this doctrine is a construct of Augustine is like saying that my marriage to my wife is an invention of the registrar, and is null and void because he did not dot an i. It is ridiculous.
Then, in his article ‘Salvation by Faith’ (November) David does not quote Ephesians 2:8 in its fullness, and thus his whole article, including the title, is nonsensical. He leaves out the important first half of the sentence: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...” (my italics). He could have saved himself the time to write this article if he had looked at the first half of the sentence, which explains the whole doctrine. I sincerely hope your readers have seen through these detective blunders and did not take them on board.
I thought David Instone-Brewer's article on “Unoriginal sin” was a breath of fresh air. I have never been happy with the idea that babies are sinful at birth. This does not seem to fit with the strong theme of God’s love for his creation which is a message throughout the Bible, but it does beg the question of when a baby does become sinful. I would very much value further information on this thinking. If original sin has such scanty biblical endorsement, then why for so long has it dominated theological thinking?
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come”, writes Paul to Timothy in the King James Version, and so I am constructing this piece of feedback in a more hurried way that usual.
Quite clearly, the election of a thrice-married man as US President, against the anti-Christian policies of his opponent is demonstrable evidence of the end times. Jesus tells us to “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:13, KJV), which is the main reason why I stayed up throughout US Election night, expecting the risen saviour to appear in the clouds at any moment. Alas he did not, but by then my plan was hatched. Since then I have spent every night stood in the garden, arms aloft. The rapture must surely occur at any given moment, and I do not intend on allowing ceilings to get in the way of my ascension. When the Lord takes me, I want to be ready. For he will come “as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, KJV). This is also why I have left all my doors and windows open. My antique coin collection and three-piece suite may have been stolen two nights ago, but I’m not stopping Jesus getting in. If you don’t hear from me next month, then I shall be with my saviour. However, if that does happen and you are still here to notice, I wish you all the best with the tribulation. Yours apocalyptically
Rev Roger D Votional
Some outstanding articles in the Oct & Nov editions of @Christianitymag, notably Everything Isn’t Awesome – @Jeffreylucas & Election coverage
@PeteGreig @Christianitymag great letter Pete alongside the super challenging and inspiring #dirtyglory
Well done @Christianitymag for catching Tony Campolo on his UK visit. Coupled with Pete Greig’s piece, it’s a galvanising November issue.
@Christianitymag Superb, imaginative and thought-provoking cover to the new magazine
Email Premier Christianity at firstname.lastname@example.org putting ‘feedback’ in the subject line. We reserve the right to edit letters for style and length. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the publisher.