More than Just Conservative (9)

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us (Isa.33:22).

It is the nature of humanism (the world’s second oldest religion), to replace the commands and laws of God with our own. But this behaviour always comes with a price: God’s judgment. He spoke through Hosea,

...since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children (Hos.4:6).

This is what we have observed from the garden of Eden, till today. Hitler, early in his rule of Germany, spoke of his as the “thousand year Reich.” Thankfully, it was only twelve years before the Third Reich perished in the war-torn ruins of Berlin.

The salvation of God is to be reflected in the totality of our lives, our families, our communities and our nations, and the above text illustrates this fact: the judiciary, the legislature and the executive are to obey Jesus Christ. When a nation submits to God completely, the promise of God is that “He will save us.” This was evident in Israel’s history, and will indeed be evident in the future.

But Israel didn’t want that when Jesus was around. In the Parable of the Nobleman (Luke 19:11-27), Jesus predicted what Israel’s attitude would be towards Him: they would say, “…we do not want this man to reign over us” (v.14). And when He was on trial, they declared to their pagan governor Pilate, “…we have no king but Caesar” (Jn.18:15).

There was nothing new about this. Ever since they had left Egypt, Israel had spent most of the time in rebellion against the Lord. The brief interludes of revival under godly kings were atypical of Israel. Thus Isaiah had to acknowledge around 700 BC, that

an ox knows its owner, and a donkey its manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand …where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint (Isa.1:3, 5).

Later, Israel reached the peak of its rebellion, when they got rid of the Son of God. But 40 years later judgment arrived in AD70 at the hands of the Romans, just as Jesus had predicted in Matthew 23. He said then that

…upon you may fall all the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the porch and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation (Mat.23:35-36).

All around the world, nations are in decline because the Church has been in decline. We have been failing to provide the leaven of the kingdom of God, because we have ignored the law of the Lord. The Bible tells us that

the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple…the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether…moreover by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is  great reward (Ps.19:7,9,11).

No doubt there will be some reading this who will be thinking, “but we’re under grace, not under law.” But what must be understood is that law and grace always go together. Since the Garden, God has only ever dealt with sinful people on the basis of His grace, but His law gives us the only legitimate framework of legitimate social and ethical behaviour.

The indifference and contempt for God’s law in the church has to go. As the Church has progressively ignored God’s law for 350 years, humanistic legislators have been stepping in to steadily replace it with their own forms of “justice.” And so we abort about 90,000 babies annually in Australia (with State and Federal government sanction), and society thinks nothing of it.

Well, God thinks about it, and calls it murder: the shedding of innocent blood (Prov.6:16, 17). I expect Him to hold us to account for our negligence in this, and many other areas.

But all this can change-quickly. When Jerusalem was being rebuilt in the days of Nehemiah, Ezra was sent there by Artaxerxes king of Persia. Ezra was

…a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the Lord his God was upon him (Ezra 7:6).

This was a significant opportunity. Artaxerxes commanded Ezra that

…according to the wisdom of your God which is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges that they may judge all the people who are in the province beyond the River, even all those who know the laws of your God; and you may teach anyone who is ignorant of them (Ezra 7:25).

Artaxerxes knew something most of the church today doesn’t: the observance of God’s law is of vital importance to the stability of any nation. God had said through Isaiah,

if only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea (Isa.48:18).

We must be more than merely conservatives. We must say with David, “Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps.119:97). When the church loves and embraces God’s law, and successfully presses for its adoption throughout the nations of the world, we can really expect to see powerful changes take place, along with the fulfillment of this promise:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance (Ps.33:12).

Tearing Down What’s Left of Christian Civilization

Jun 23, 2020 by Gary DeMar

First it was the removal of Confederate statues and monuments. Next, it was Christopher Columbus. Then it was George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and even Abraham Lincoln. More are to come, and they will never be finished. The next target? John Nolte says Mount Rushmore may not survive.

All pictures of white Jesus because Shaun King says Jesus was not white, thus, a white-looking Jesus is a symbol of racial injustice:

They are a form of white supremacy.
Always have been.
In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went?
EGYPT!
Not Denmark.
Tear them down.

Denmark? Now, that would have been a trip for the ages. Israel had many of what we know today as Europeans living there. Israel was occupied by the Romans. You can’t get more European than that. As Jews, Joseph and Mary could more easily “blend in” among their own people who spoke the same language than they could in Egypt. They escaped to Egypt because of the age of their child and the threat of Herod and because of a very specific prophecy (Hosea 11:1Matt. 2:15).

Jesus being Jewish, likely had very light brown skin. Jesus wasn’t white, but he wasn’t black. This may surprise a lot of people, but Jews are Caucasian. Today, “white” is a cultural construct that’s used as a weapon.

Do you think they will stop with pictures of white Jesus? The Bible will be next because it was used to support slavery and teaches that homosexuality is a sin. The desecration of churches will follow the cancel culture revolution. Remember the church in Washington, DC, that was set ablaze. Well, they are back trying to finish what they started by defacing the columns of the church with “B-H-A-Z,” for “Black House Autonomous Zone.”

View image on Twitter
St. John Church in Washington, DC.

The French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and China’s Cultural Revolution come to mind. The tactics are similar and the ultimate goal is to rid the world of any authority where there is a God with laws, or should I say, to get rid of one God and His laws so a new god and its laws can be erected and worshipped.

Once it’s determined that every man, woman, and child can do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6), there is no end to what’s left of the old order to be destroyed. Once they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).

On a side note, the Bible does not cancel its history. The books are open for everyone to see. Nothing is hidden. There is David’s adultery and his duplicity in the death of Urriah the Hittite to hide his sin, and yet his psalms grace a large part of the Bible. There are few Bible personalities who come away unscathed.

If cancel culture were applied to the Bible, there would be little to read. Look at the list of people from the Old Testament as examples of faith in Hebrews 11. Most of the them would be cancelled given today’s standards, many of whom grace stained glass windows in churches.

By This Standard

By This Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today

Millions of Christians, sadly, have not recognized the continuing authority of God’s law or its many applications to modern society. They have thereby reaped the whirlwind of cultural and intellectual impotence. They implicitly denied the power of the death and resurrection of Christ. They have served as footstools for the enemies of God. But humanism’s free ride is coming to an end. This book serves as an introduction to this woefully neglected topic.

Buy Now

There is no space here to outline the failure of the Church to work toward a Christian Civilization and a Christ-like culture. In fact, there a millions of Christians who have been led astray into believing that such a goal should even be attempted. Consider:

You can never Christianise society. It is folly to attempt to do so. I would even suggest that it is heresy to do so. Man must be born again. How can they live the Christian life if they have not become Christians? Good fruit can only come from a good tree, a good root; and the idea that you can impose a Christian life or culture upon non-Christian people is a contradiction of Christian teaching.

Not every person has to be a Christian to have a Christian civilization in the same way that not every person has to be a secularist to have a secularist civilization. The slave trade was stopped in England at the direction of Christians even though many people engaged in the slave trade were not Christians.

When a fixed moral standard is eradicated, all is permissible for a larger goal, even an undefined one. Statues, churches, and Jesus aren’t the only things to go. It must all go for the promised greater good that never comes. For example, a Wells Fargo Bank was looted by rioters with sledgehammers:

To what end? It doesn’t matter. The world is adrift in relativism, placed on the vast ocean without a sail or rudder, going where the wind goes hoping for a soft landing on some paradise island. Think Mutiny on the Bounty.

What we are seeing today was spawned centuries ago. Christianity was shoved to the sidelines when the Enlightenment claimed “that no authority could sit in judgment on human reason, that man’s reason and experience were the measure of all things.” [1] This sterile worldview was not satisfying, so like all failing worldviews, a new paradigm was reared to offer meaning for those seeing purpose. Andrew Sandlin offers a brief summary of Romanticism, the then new ideological savior from the sterility of the Enlightenment:

This rationalism [of the Enlightenment] produced a cold, sterile world, and in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Romanticism emerged as a reaction. Romanticism didn’t like the idea of universal or shared reason and experience. It wanted to champion what was unique about every individual, not what humanity had in common. Romanticism is the first wholesale movement of individualism in world history. The really important thing was individual thinking, feelings, emotions, desires, and interpretations, not what all humans shared. Historians call this “the inward turn”; it’s a turning point in Western history. Objective truth outside us is no longer important, whether that truth is God or the Bible or the church or creeds or shared human reason or experience.

The struggle for meaning would come to an end in 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Now there’s something to topple since it is the engine of so much misery in the 20th century, the same misery that we will see again if the cancel culture crowd gets its way.

This is a great opportunity for the Church of Jesus Christ. But one wonders if enough Christians have the wisdom to offer a comprehensive alternative. There’s a great deal of work to be done.

 

  1. P. Andrew Sandlin, Christian Culture: An Introduction (Mount Hermon, CA: Center for Cultural Leadership, 2013), 23.[]

More than Just Conservative (8)

Freedom for the individual is a necessary social condition so that people can fulfil their callings. But freedom does not exist in abstraction. Nor does it exist between the ears only. It requires an environment where a person has the liberty to act, without restraint, in order to achieve certain goals. This atmosphere, or social condition, is a political system that has minimum government, allowing individuals to pursue their God-given callings in the way they think best.

There is a force at work today that aims to take freedom away. This force is religious in nature and anti-Christian in its motivation. It is, like all non-Christian belief systems, an endeavour to create heaven on earth: Utopia- without God.[1]

The fallen human heart loves the idea of a political solution to our problems. After all, if there is a political solution to some or all of life’s problems, I won’t have to change. “Personal responsibility?  Don’t give me that line!”

We can generally measure the level of personal maturity of the community, by its response to proposed political solutions to national problems. And when the community reacts with acclaim and enthusiasm to a government plan which requires massive expenditure increase, we are reminded that we Christians have a lot of work to do, educating the community.

The embrace of true conservatism means that people have to change the way they think, and especially, what they believe. Ultimately, it is really a spiritual and a theological issue. Because it begins spiritually, we Christians ought to be the first to identify and articulate what genuine Christian conservatism is. Tragically, we have sometimes been as seduced as Eve ever was, by the false promises of the counterfeit political Messiahs, who have numbered legions in history. And they keep coming.

Utopians love to assert their rule over others, and they believe in salvation by legislation. “See a problem? Change the law!”

People like to celebrate the New Year with fireworks, but sometimes those celebrations get out of hand and someone gets injured. The Utopian solution? Ban the public from using fireworks! The only people who can have them? Government employees!

Firearms get misused. The Utopian’s answer? Place severe restrictions on ownership. But as the twentieth century showed, gun control frequently led to genocide. Those without weapons are defenceless.

When I was a boy on our farm, we sometimes needed to remove trees, by placing explosives under them. The tree was in the way, and using explosives was a cheap and quick way to solve a problem.

Dangerous? Potentially, yes, but as long as we acted responsibly, no problem. We could buy the relevant explosive material over the counter, no questions asked. But now that terrorism has become an international concern, not any more. Buying explosives? Why, we could be terrorists!

Late in 2012 a married woman was abducted while walking home alone late at night in Melbourne, raped and murdered. The Leader of the Federal Opposition, Tony Abbott, had a solution: spend $50 million on surveillance cameras!

Tony: I don’t think so. This is not East Germany in 1965. This is the very thing that Orwell implicitly warned us of in 1984: government by the elite, through the Surveillance State. He may be a Rhodes scholar (like the humanists Bob Hawke and Kim Beasley), but Tony needs some frank instruction in Biblical ethics.

He thinks he’s a conservative? What about a general warning of the dangers of the night for unaccompanied women? What about a reminder of the responsibility of fathers and husbands to look after their daughters and wives? What about capital punishment for murder? And what if women carried a handgun in their purse, in case of attack?

How far we have fallen from a Biblical understanding of individual liberty.

We Christians must be the first to acknowledge these facts: there is no perfect world, or perfect society; no Utopia.

Why is that? Well, sin has been with us since Adam and Eve. The Bible tells us that “all we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…” (Isa.53:6), and “the heart is more deceitful than all else, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer.17:9). Thus the dreamers who promise to remedy social problems with some grand government plan are dangerous people to any community.

Of course, they are not the real problem. The problem is within us. That foolish, ignorant people who ignore history and what the Bible says about human nature believe in them, vote for them, and then ultimately get disillusioned when the facts of failure become readily apparent, if they survive the experience.

So, conservatism begins with a measure of negativism about the human heart, and about the inability of politics and politicians being able to effect real change. That might seem hard, but is very, very necessary, if we really want to avoid yet another experience of pain and disillusionment at the hand of government. All over the world, we should have had enough by now. But we probably haven’t.

Real and lasting change in any community begins with individuals, families and churches, believing what the true Messiah said, acting upon His Words, and taking responsibility for their actions. There is no other way of true liberty.

I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts (Ps.119:45).

 

 

[1] Ian Hodge, “Freedom and Utopianism,” 2011.

Who Will Be Allowed to Die: Granny or the Economy

Gary North (www.garynorth.com), June 18, 2020

The Wall Street Journal ran an article about coronavirus deaths. It reported that of 116,000 fatalities from the coronavirus, about 50,000 of these were residents of nursing homes.

This means that 43 governors shut down their states’ economies and wiped out the jobs of at least 20 million Americans and maybe 30 million in order to save the lives of 50,000 people who were going to die anyway within a couple of years.

Of course, nobody puts it this way. That’s the way I put it.

Granny was going to die anyway. She and her 49,999 peers were not in the economy. Their departure from this mortal coil did not leave any economic evidence of the fact that they left. It would’ve been noise.

Pandemics kill people. They especially kill old people who were going to die anyway. It kills them a little earlier.

America was sent into a frenzy by epidemiologists and virologists who said that this pandemic was going to kill tens of millions of people, or it might not, but we need more testing, which we never got, because we don’t really know, so lockdown the economy.

The 43 governors took away our freedoms. They confined people in their homes. They destroyed tens of thousands of businesses. Congress then responded by a $2.3 trillion bailout. It’s going to spend another trillion dollars, and maybe even more. The economy has suffered the worst setback since the Great Depression. For what? The lockdowns didn’t do the 50,000 residents any good. They died anyway. Maybe the lockdowns saved another 25,000. Nobody knows. Nobody will ever know.

So far, politicians have wiped out the economy in order to save people who were in nursing homes. But 66,000+ have died anyway. The worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us, although it may flare up again. But, for now, it’s about 1,000 people a day who die from it. That’s a lot of people, but people die for many reasons. We don’t know how many will die if the economy is completely opened up. We are not going to find out, for this reason: the economy is not going to be opened up to where it was in February. It is going to stay partially locked down for the rest of the year, probably most of the next year, and maybe permanently. We don’t know.

We also are not told how many of the 66,000 dead who were not in nursing homes were above age 65. Most old people aren’t in nursing homes. They are walking around. Anyway, they used to be walking around. Then they were locked down. My guess is that if the study that revealed that 50,000 residents of nursing homes died also covers the ages of those who died who were not in nursing homes, the results would show that an abnormally high percentage were over 65. Now they won’t have to go to nursing homes. Their families will be able to save the money. That has to be worth something to the overall economy. But, of course, no governor is going to go public with this assessment. It is not politically correct. Too many old people vote.

What we do know is this: the pandemic has been a minor affair statistically. It was nothing compared to the pandemic of 1918. What is not a minor affair is locking down the American population. Tens of millions of Americans have lost their source of income. They are kept on the dole by the new American welfare state. There are locked in their homes, and governments are paying them money that governments don’t have to keep them in their homes.

The economic absurdity of all this should be obvious. The pandemic threatened mainly granny, and granny kicked the bucket anyway. So did 50,000 of her peers. I would call that a failed policy.

RESURGENCE

The policies remain partially in force. If there is a resurgence of the coronavirus, will the American population allow another series of lockdowns? I don’t think so. I think any governor that attempts it is not going to be reelected this fall if he is on the ballot. I think Americans have had enough. I could be wrong. But the voters do have the ability to get even. Governors are aware of this.

The voters are now in a better position to do a cost-benefit analysis. The economic cost of a return of the lockdowns will be horrendous. The cost of doing nothing will be bad for granny and her friends in the nursing homes, but the prognosis for them is bad anyway. They are not long for this world. That’s why they are in nursing homes.

The chief fatality of the coronavirus has been the idea of a balanced federal budget. That idea was in the intensive care unit before the coronavirus hit. It is now on a ventilator. Its next stop is the morgue.

More than Just Conservative (7)

The darkest pages in history are often the most instructive.[1]

The French Revolution ushered in the idea that social institutions that have stood for hundreds or even thousands of years, could be torn down with gay abandon and replaced by government edict. This revolution was both explicitly and implicitly anti-Christian, being founded on the atheistic beliefs and philosophy of Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot. The Christian structures of society were subject to ridicule and abuse, while the goddess of Reason was exalted. It was “liberty, equality and fraternity, or death!” Especially death, as Madame Guillotine received a rigorous workout.

When King Louis XVI was confronted by a mob, he ordered his more than 600 Swiss guards to surround him, hoping that this act would dissuade them from attacking. It didn’t work. They were all savagely murdered. The mobs ripped them to shreds and mutilated their corpses. “Women, lost to all sense of shame,” said one surviving witness, “were committing the most indecent mutilations on the dead bodies from which they tore pieces of flesh and carried them off in triumph.” Children played kickball with the guards’ heads. Every living thing in the royal palace in Paris was butchered or thrown from the windows by the hooligans. Women were raped before being hacked to death.[2]

The instigators of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions of the twentieth century (along with the Fascists in Italy and Germany), in many ways sought to emulate the French Revolution. Lenin in Russia claimed that the failure of the French Revolution was that they hadn’t killed enough people, so his solution was an obvious one. And when Mao violently assumed power in China, he sought to outdo Stalin (who succeeded Lenin) in terms of the ferocity and unpredictability of his attacks on communities and individuals. It is still difficult today to determine just how many people Mao killed, but it could have been more than 60 million.

Why should we draw attention to this?

Professing conservatives need to know what is the alternative to true conservatism. It’s not that conservatives should be afraid of change; far from it. But what we ought to be afraid of, is attacking and tearing down legitimate social structures such as the family and the church, as if they were in some way evil or outmoded, and need to be destroyed.

At the bi-centenary of the French Revolution in 1989, of the political leaders present, only Margaret Thatcher had the courage to be critical of what the Revolution stood for. Today, the West has not really repudiated the French Revolution at all, for there are elements of it which have become embedded in government policy, world-wide. And this has had consequences.

Today,

The traditional model of a vertically-structured society under the centralized authority of the state has shown itself unable to satisfy even the narrowest definition of societal order. Wars, depressions, genocides, torture, police-state brutalities, assassinations, economic dislocations, imprisonments without trials, and a twentieth century death toll of some 200,000,000 victims of state power, attest to the failure of political systems to provide their promised protection of life, liberty, property, and the creative processes that sustain a civilization.[3]

Australia has witnessed a withdrawal from genuine conservative political theory. In 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre, an ostensibly conservative Prime Minister in the person of John Howard enacted a 1.5 billion dollar gun-buyback scheme, to remove “assault weapons” and automatic shotguns from the community. Yet later, in welcoming President Bush to the Australian Parliament in 2003, Mr Howard indicated that one of the things that bring Australia and the U.S. together, “is the belief that individuals are more important than the State.” That sounded very conservative, but his earlier legislation indicated that individual Australians had better get used to the opposite.

The Italian Fascist Mussolini spoke of this doctrine. In “Fascism: Doctrines and Institutions,” he wrote that “The fascist conception of life, stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State.”[4] Mussolini put his finger on a fundamental difference of priority. This difference has great implications today.

The origins of conservatism’s concern for individual liberties are found in the Bible, because the gospel begins with the individual.

Freedom begins with internal regeneration, and then steadily works its effects outward. If spiritual freedom is not allowed by civil rulers to work its way toward political and economic freedom, then God at last breaks the chains of bondage that restrain the covenantal blessings of freedom. This is the message of the Book of Exodus.[5]

But recently, a purportedly conservative State government in NSW enacted legislation that made it a criminal offence to “consort” with people with a criminal record, and one man has been gaoled as a result. Now, he’s consorting all right-in gaol. In Victoria, a purportedly conservative State government, under the guise of “Child Protection,” has taken two children from their parents for this reason: the children were obese.

As Walter Williams pointed out,

One does not have to be in favour of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one has to believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.[6]

A political leader claims he’s a conservative? Good, but show me the fruits of his conservatism. Three supposedly conservative governments in Australia haven’t seemed to know the meaning of the term.

 

 

 

[1] Gordon Craig, “Germany 1866-1945,” 1980, p.viii.

[2] Ann Coulter, “Godless.”

[3] Butler Shaffer, “Wet Sidewalks cause Rain,” Lew Rockwell’s website, 1/1/2013.

[4] Quoted in Di Lorenzo, T., “Fascialism: The New American System,” Lew Rockwell website, 11/6/09.

[5] Gary North, “Authority and Dominion,” 2012, p.1563.

[6] Walter Williams, “Liberals, Progressives and Socialists,” Lew Rockwell’s website, 8/8/2012.

New World Order Leader Calls for Post-COVID-19 World Planning

Gary North (www.garynorth.com), June 13, 2020

After 60 years of listening to lefties announcing their plans for a New World Order, I have learned to use such announcements as an opportunity to remind myself that these buffoons are really losers. They are intellectual losers. They are institutional losers.

I realize that there are conservatives who take these people seriously, but I do not. I have seen too many of them come and go. Their grand schemes never get implemented, and the bits and pieces of their schemes that do get implemented by governments are then used by government bureaucrats to feather their nests.

The New World Order is a phrase, not reality. It is rhetoric without a plan.

Here is a recent example. It was written by the man who founded the World Economic Forum half a century ago, Klaus Schwab. The WEF is the annual meeting held in Davos, Switzerland, where about 1500 of the movers and shakers of the world get together to schmooze, listen to boring speeches, spend what the rest of us would regard as fortunes on accommodations, and then complain that their hotels were not close enough to where the action was. These people are rich, but they are as clueless as the rest of us.

Nobody is more clueless than Klaus Schwab. His essay is here.

He sees the pandemic as an opportunity to extend the non-existent New World Order.

COVID-19 lockdowns may be gradually easing, but anxiety about the world’s social and economic prospects is only intensifying. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable.

To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism.

This is rhetoric. These people have been calling for this kind of reconstruction of the world’s order ever since the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. Out of that conference came the League of Nations, which had no power. Then, two decades later, German resentment against the treaty led to World War II. Out of that came the United Nations, which also has no power. There is a pattern here.

Who are “we”? He doesn’t say. Why are the world’s citizens supposed to trust this unnamed “we”?

How, exactly, is the world supposed to jointly act? There is no world government. There are about 200 nations, whose political leaders want retain their power. They don’t want to share it with foreigners.

The justification for all this is the pandemic. The pandemic so far has produced a slight blip in the death rates. The economic problems have been mainly the result of government lockdowns. But he does not see it this way.

National governments are in disarray. They did this to themselves.

This will have serious long-term consequences for economic growth, public debt, employment, and human wellbeing. According to the Financial Times, global government debt has already reached its highest level in peacetime. Moreover, unemployment is skyrocketing in many countries: in the US, for example, one in four workers have filed for unemployment since mid-March, with new weekly claims far above historic highs. The International Monetary Fund expects the world economy to shrink by 3% this year – a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points in just four months.

The governments did this to us. The pandemic did not.

The following is good news for us, but bad news for the NWO crowd.

All of this will exacerbate the climate and social crises that were already underway. Some countries have already used the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to weaken environmental protections and enforcement. And frustrations over social ills like rising inequality – US billionaires’ combined wealth has increased during the crisis – are intensifying.

Power is slipping away from these people. They are panic-stricken. Trillions of dollars are going to traditional boondoggles, not fighting climate change. Climate change is on the back burner, which is turned off. It is yesterday’s crisis. It is old hat.

Left unaddressed, these crises, together with COVID-19, will deepen and leave the world even less sustainable, less equal, and more fragile. Incremental measures and ad hoc fixes will not suffice to prevent this scenario. We must build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems.

These people have had over a century to put all this together. Yet it is obvious that the world is in complete disarray. This old man sees it slipping away, and he is desperate to do something about it. But all he can do is publish an article on his own website. He doesn’t have any power.

These crises will be left unaddressed. They have been left unaddressed for 30 years. No national government has done anything about climate change. The United States has pulled out of the agreement. It’s just a PR stunt anyway. But it’s all they’ve got. It really is. They don’t have any other crisis around which to mobilize governments, other than the pandemic. Schwab is trying one last time to make hay while the sun shines. It isn’t going to work. Nobody is paying any attention.

As a man trying to make hay while the sun shines, he is grasping at straws.

The level of cooperation and ambition this implies is unprecedented. But it is not some impossible dream. In fact, one silver lining of the pandemic is that it has shown how quickly we can make radical changes to our lifestyles. Almost instantly, the crisis forced businesses and individuals to abandon practices long claimed to be essential, from frequent air travel to working in an office.

There isn’t any cooperation. Trump did not want the lockdowns. The governors independently locked down their states. The experts on the pandemic are in disarray. They don’t have a plan. They don’t agree with each other on anything. Internationally, every nation has had a different approach, and almost none of them has been successful. The pandemic continues to spread. It’s nothing like the flu of 1918, but it is a testimony to the inability of governments to stop it from spreading. The pandemic is pointing to the fact that governments are impotent to do anything about something important.

Likewise, populations have overwhelmingly shown a willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of health-care and other essential workers and vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. And many companies have stepped up to support their workers, customers, and local communities, in a shift toward the kind of stakeholder capitalism to which they had previously paid lip service.

Populations have been forced into their homes by politicians. They are now demanding that they be let out. There is no agreement on what should be done. If anything testifies against the existence of any kind of coherent international plan, the responses of nations and individuals and businesses to the pandemic should offer tremendous proof.

Clearly, the will to build a better society does exist. We must use it to secure the Great Reset that we so badly need. That will require stronger and more effective governments, though this does not imply an ideological push for bigger ones. And it will demand private-sector engagement every step of the way.

This man is calling for fascism: the ever-praised government-business alliance. This is crony capitalism on an international scale. Crony capitalists are the people who show up every year at Davos. They are the billionaires who have profited from the government-business alliance. This man is coming in the name of some kind of reset to make this international and not just national. Surprise, surprise.

He comes in the name of government-imposed fairness and equality. We have heard this blather ever since 1897, when Vilfredo Pareto announced to the world that Western Europe was a society in which 20% of the population owned 80% of the assets. That 20/80 distribution has not fundamentally changed, except perhaps to get even more unequal. Nevertheless, the author continues with his rhetoric.

The Great Reset agenda would have three main components. The first would steer the market toward fairer outcomes. To this end, governments should improve coordination (for example, in tax, regulatory, and fiscal policy), upgrade trade arrangements, and create the conditions for a “stakeholder economy.” At a time of diminishing tax bases and soaring public debt, governments have a powerful incentive to pursue such action.

Moreover, governments should implement long-overdue reforms that promote more equitable outcomes. Depending on the country, these may include changes to wealth taxes, the withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies, and new rules governing intellectual property, trade, and competition.

Exactly which governments are going to do this? In the midst of a pandemic and massive government deficits, which governments are going to implement such a program?

Where is such a program written down? Nowhere. No economist has offered it. It’s pie-in-the-sky by-and-by.

The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability. Here, the large-scale spending programs that many governments are implementing represent a major opportunity for progress. The European Commission, for one, has unveiled plans for a €750 billion ($826 billion) recovery fund. The US, China, and Japan also have ambitious economic-stimulus plans.

There will be no more of these large-scale programs. They are dead on arrival. Governments have to keep their existing welfare state programs functioning. There is no extra money for some vast system of restructuring according to a nonexistent plan.

Rather than using these funds, as well as investments from private entities and pension funds, to fill cracks in the old system, we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run. This means, for example, building “green” urban infrastructure and creating incentives for industries to improve their track record on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.

The green agenda has gone nowhere for three decades. Why does he think it will go somewhere now?

The third and final priority of a Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges. During the COVID-19 crisis, companies, universities, and others have joined forces to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and possible vaccines; establish testing centers; create mechanisms for tracing infections; and deliver telemedicine. Imagine what could be possible if similar concerted efforts were made in every sector.

What we have seen since mid-March is a bunch of bureaucratic chickens with their heads cut off. There is no plan. There is no agreement. There are no testing centers. There is no vaccine. There are no diagnostics that everyone has adopted. There is complete chaos. He wants to use this chaos as an example of why the public should turn over vast power and vast amounts of money to crony capitalists. It isn’t going to happen.

He ends his string of platitudes and dreams that never come true with this:

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every facet of people’s lives in every corner of the world. But tragedy need not be its only legacy. On the contrary, the pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.

CONCLUSION

This man is 83 years old. He has a doctorate in economics. He has a doctorate in engineering. Neither of those doctorates has given him any advantage in coming to grips with the political reality around him.

He is calling for a transformation of the world economic and political system. Yet we are seeing the disintegration of the dreams that he and his crony capitalist buddies have been promoting for half a century. The government deficits are massive. The coronavirus is still with us. The experts are in disarray. There is nothing even remotely resembling the existence of a comprehensive plan to deal with the coronavirus, let alone restructuring the world’s economy and political order.

This man is representative of the mindset. These people are utopians. They have been given too much money by governments. They have been given too much power by governments. They have made a mess of it ever since the end of World War II.

Their dreams and schemes have now blown up in their faces. So, they call for more power and more money. They are not going to get either one.

Every spare dollar is going to go to extend the welfare state that has been created since mid-March. If the Democrats take over, they’re not going to waste time or money trying to put together a national plan to fit with a nonexistent international plan along the lines verbally sketched by Klaus Schwab. There will be pork galore, but there won’t be a New World Order.

More than Just Conservative (6)

Everyone likes the idea of good government. But how do we define “good?” People’s expectations of what “good” means differ markedly. I’d like a government that can consistently run a budget surplus, that doesn’t harm innocent people, keeps all its promises and reduces taxation.

For others, good government is one that provides all sorts of handouts to those it defines as needy, that favours big companies with tax breaks, but increases the tax rate on people as their salary increases, is seriously interested in reducing the carbon footprint, or preventing the destruction of old growth forests, or stopping the export of livestock on the grounds of “animals welfare,” or preventing law-abiding people in the community having unlimited access to firearms.

In one of Jesus’ conversations, He showed a surprising interest in the adjective “good.” Replying to a question from someone who addressed Him as “Good teacher,” Jesus replied,

Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone (Mk.10:17-18).

This should teach us something: everything good comes from God. And if that’s true, then good government would find its origins in the Bible, gaining its master-plan from God and His Word, while evil governments ignore or despise God’s Word.

Can it be as simple as that? Absolutely.

Does the Bible really say much about government? It actually says quite a lot, if we will go looking.[1] Speaking of Jesus Christ, it says that “…the government will rest on His shoulders…”, and “…there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace…” (Isa.9:6, 7).

Think of this important comment from North:

It should be the ideal for every system of civil law to remove all positive sanctions by the State and impose only those negative sanctions authorized by biblical law. The State is to impose negative sanctions only: punishing public evil. It is not a wealth-creator; it is a wealth-redistributer. It is not safe to entrust to the State the power of making one man rich at the expense of another. It is also not moral.[2]

Jesus defined “good” as those things that came from God, but the tyrants of the twentieth century (such as such as Stalin, Hitler and Mao), were God haters. They ignored and despised God’s Word, and their political, social and economic policies reflected this attitude. Stalin’s predecessor Lenin made this clear when he defined the meaning of his dictatorship as “unlimited power, resting directly on force, not limited by anything.” They all believed that their definition of government was legitimate and good, yet they were cumulatively responsible for the death of over a hundred million innocent people. They were humanists, and few people today would call theirs, “good government.”

Because the Bible’s definition of good government is so radically at odds with humanistic definitions, we should avoid like the plague the notion of governments “doing good.” According to the Bible, government should not be about providing positive sanctions to people in the community, but is only responsible to ensure God’s law is maintained. No redistribution of wealth (except in cases of restitution for criminal behaviour, as determined by the courts), no graduated taxation rates, no taxation higher than 9%,[3] no compulsory education, no conscription, no standing army, and few restrictions on people leaving or coming to the country. And in summary, no interference with what people do with themselves, except if they are in breach of God’s law.

It was Chesterton who commented that “when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing: they believe in anything.” Historically, when people reject the true Messiah Jesus Christ, they seek another one, and they most commonly focus on government. Government “provides,” because it has access to vast sums of wealth through taxation. Evil people think, “there must be a way to access that money.” Yes, there is a way: to get sufficient politicians to see things your way!

Many of us don’t want government to do good by humanistic definitions. We would prefer that they kept out of our lives and our bank-accounts, letting us do what we want.

A philosophy of government derived from the Bible would ensure that governments kept out of the “doing good business,” because:

  1. a) It never lines up with Biblical philosophy and practice.
  2. b) They waste vast amounts of our money.
  3. c) They subvert and oppose the work of responsible individuals, families and churches.
  4. d) They employ a vast army of bureaucrats to take responsibility for tasks that God made individuals, families and churches responsible for.
  5. e) They never finish up doing much good at all.

Then we have to pay through taxation, and who benefits the most? Why, bureaucrats and politicians, of course!

Conclusion:                                                                                                                              Since the garden of Eden, disaster has always been the result when people ignore God’s commands and come up with their plan. And here are the ultimate questions: Whose definitions will you pay attention to? What sort of government do you want?

 

 

[1] See Gary DeMar, “God and Government.” See also my 11-part series, “The Christian Vision of Government,” 2012.

[2] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.54.

[3] See I Samuel 8.

Trump, Cuomo, Pelosi, and the Bible

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You knew it would happen. Trump stands in front of the historic St. John’s Church, often called the Church of the Presidents, that was just firebombed and holds up a Bible.

The pastors of the very liberal church denounced him even though the sign says, “ALL ARE WELCOME,” unless you’re Donald Trump holding a Bible. I guess this means it’s only the Church of Some Presidents.

“Rioters are welcome. President Trump isn’t. Rioters do not need permission to deface our building. Trump is not allowed to hold up a Bible in front of it.”

It seems that more people were upset that Pres. Trump stood with a Bible than the fact that some of the church buildings had caught on fire from all the “peaceful protestors” who claimed they were honoring the life of George Floyd.

Here’s what most people are not seeing or hearing:

In Richmond, Virginia, Beth Ahabah, a 225-year-old Reform Jewish congregation, had the windows in its grand 116-year-old building smashed by rioters. The building is now covered over with plywood. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a 175-year-old building, also in Richmond, was defaced with graffiti. Finally, rioters in Richmond broke the windows of the West Broad Church of Christ, an African-American congregation. They left intact the one pane of glass reading, “Welcome.”

*****

In Los Angeles, Congregation Beth Israel’s walls were defaced with graffiti reading, “F___ Israel” and “Free Palestine.”

Elan Carr, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, visited the synagogue, and stated, “This graffiti is yet more evidence that anti-Zionism is Antisemitism.” (FrontPageMag)

To demonstrate how out of touch with reality the Left is, consider the following. “The president held up the Bible the other day in Washington, DC,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo began as he held up a copy of the Bible. “Here in New York we actually read the Bible, and there are some passages that I think are especially appropriate today.”

He then quoted, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called Children of God,” from the Gospel of Matthew. If the New York Governor had actually read the Bible, especially the Gospel of Matthew, he would have noted what Jesus said about marriage:

“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE [Gen. 1:275:2],  and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? [Gen. 2:24Eph. 5:31]; So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:4–6).

Marriage is between a man and a woman and not between two men or two women. These are inconvenient truths to Gov. Cuomo.

If the Governor had read a little further, in Luke’s gospel, he would have found this inconvenient verse:

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby [John] leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (1:41; 44).

John is said to be a “baby” (βρέφος/brephos) with consciousness, but Gov. Cuomo would deny John’s personhood and would have supported Elizabeth having the right to kill him, making Cuomo like Herod (Matt. 2:16–18). The Greek word βρέφος (brephos) is also used for when Jesus was born (Luke 2:12; also see 18:15; Acts 7:192 Tim. 3:151 Pet. 2:2). According to the Bible that Cuomo claims to have read, an unborn child is a person deserving the full protection of the law. In New York, a woman can kill her unborn baby anytime she wants if she declares it’s for “health” reasons, and New York law does not define “health.”

The hypocrite and Roman Catholic Nancy Pelosi also read from the Bible she does not believe in.

Then there is this from Bible scholar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY): “Looking forward to having the religious right uphold their principles + sign my bill [against usury]. Unless of course, they’re only invoking religion to punish women + queer people.” Actually, as has already been pointed out, the Bible clearly condemns abortion and homosexuality but does not condemn interest, even high interest. Usury is not defined as “high interest rates” as she claims. And even if it was, interest rates are at historic lows.

By What Standard?

By What Standard?

The sovereignty of the self-contained God is the key to every field, in that only the God of Scripture makes all things possible and explicable and is thus the basic premise not only of theology, but of philosophy, science and indeed all knowledge.

 

The Mosaic law prohibited interest on a narrow class of loans: charitable loans to fellow Israelites and resident aliens. It did not prohibit interest on all other loans.” She may want to read “Usury, Interest, and Loans: A Brief Summary of Biblical Teaching, With Bibliography” by someone who has written “9,000 pages of verse by verse exegesis of the passages in the Bible that relate in any way to economics.”

But back to Pres. Trump’s photograph holding the Bible at St. John’s Church where some of the buildings had been damaged by fire from some of the rioters.

Historian Dr. Gary North wrote the following:

On June 2, Donald Trump pulled off one of the great photo ops in American political history.

Somehow, he understood the power of walking across the street, holding up the Bible in front of what is known as the Presidents’ church, and announcing that he was going to bring law and order back to America’s cities, which are being torn by violent thugs, revolutionaries, and thieves.

Crucial to the scenario was his walk to the church. I don’t remember anything like this in American history. It is a time of crisis. Thugs, looters, and arsonists have taken over parts of American cities on a scale never before seen. This dwarfs the riots after Martin Luther King’s assassination. Therefore, what Trump did is exactly the right positioning for the President of the United States to take.

He was standing on a sidewalk. Sidewalks are public places. He held up the Bible. He understands the power of that symbol. So do liberals.

America’s Christian History

From the founding of the colonies to the declaration of the Supreme Court, America’s heritage is built up on the principles of the Christian religion.  And yet the secularists are dismantling this foundation brick by brick, attempting to deny the very core of our national life.

 

Unlike Cuomo and Pelosi who cherry picked from the Bible, Pres. Trump held up the entire Bible that included the call for the civil magistrate to be a “minister of God … for good” (Rom. 13:4). Of course, that cuts both ways. The Bible makes it clear that the civil magistrate is obligated to follow God’s law (Matt. 22:21), to make distinctions between good and evil (Rom. 13:1–10) including laws against theft, assault, and murder.

What’s true for you and me is also true for the civil magistrates and their agents (police) and politicians who violate their oath of office with every vote they make. It’s this aspect of the Bible that Leftists like Cuomo and Pelosi and their agitprop followers hate and why they reference it sparingly and selectively.

Dr. North again:

[Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde] did not complain about the rioters who, the night before, set a fire in front of the church, painted graffiti on its walls, and threw rocks through windows. No, no, no. That was just a group of liberal Democrats getting together to sing “kumbayah” and “Michael, row the boat ashore.” Somehow, things got out of hand. Arson happens.

The hypocrisy of theological liberals has always been a delight to me. They spend their entire careers calling into question the authority of the Bible, but when it suits their purposes, they quote it, usually out of context.

This impresses the atheists who staff the nation’s media outlets. It doesn’t impress people who believe in the Bible.

Liberals are so transparent in their hypocrisy that they become living symbols of muddled thinking.

There is no neutrality. Someone is always holding up some symbol of authority on how we should then live. For the Marxists it was Das Kapital. For the Nazi’s it was Mein Kampf. For today’s Leftists it’s Rules for Radicals. It all comes down to a single question: By What Standard?

More than Just Conservative (5)

Christianity’s continual willingness to stand against culturally approved evil in the name of Christ …makes the church a revolutionary force. Christian revolution begins with the individual and has its concrete effect on the culture. Whether or not it exercises control, it always takes its stand with the external requirements of God against the idolatrous attractions of the moment. … All orders, old and new, are subject to the same eternal law that the church serves, and therefore are judged by the same standard.[1]

Over forty years ago, it was Francis Schaeffer in his book and video series, “How Should we Then Live?” who got me thinking a lot more about the relevance of culture, and the responsibility of Christians to redeem it.

We know that the Reformation substantially changed the culture of those countries it impacted, for the better. Think of Bach, Rembrandt and Milton. The leaders and members of the church in that era faced daunting circumstances, perhaps worse than today, and they understood that the gospel had application to all of society, and to all of life.

That meant that the church needed to engage in a steady building process, laying foundations for those who would come after them. This has always been the task of the church. In relation to culture, think of this:

Creation is what God makes by Himself, and culture is what He makes through us. William Herridge wrote, “A thoroughly cultured person is one who is thoroughly matured in every part of his life, so that he is able to fulfill the purpose of his creation.”

Of course, we’re speaking of much more than becoming artists, musicians or writers. God has made us as individuals with specific abilities and contributions to make to our families, churches, communities and nations, which all will benefit from. Our task over time is to change the whole of culture everywhere, so that it is subject to the scriptures.

When the British went to India, the nation was steeped in idolatry and paganism. The Hindu custom was that when a man died, his wife would be burnt with him on his funeral pyre. Too bad for her. The British were not all Christians, but they had enough Christian influence in their hearts and minds to put a stop to this barbaric practice.

In the twentieth century, there was another form of idolatry present in the world: Nazism. Despite the fact that the Church was by no means as effective then as it was 300 years earlier, its resistance did have an impact. Analysis by Helen Fein has revealed that

Church resistance was the most important single factor in blocking official State collaboration with Nazi Holocaust policies…the majority of Jews evaded deportation in every State occupied by or allied with Germany in which the head of the dominant church spoke out publicly against deportation before or as soon as it began.[2]

Today, there will have to be a new beginning in the West: Christians going back to the Bible, and considering all that we think, say and do, in the light of scripture, and speaking about it. That will have massive ramifications for us as individuals, families and members of the community, and for the nations. It will mean that “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” are doing their job.

The first step?

Reviving the notion of individual liberty and responsibility to God.  We cannot leave it all to the government any more. We must take positive, vigorous steps ourselves in obedience to the gospel. When Zaccheus the tax-collector was converted, he understood there had to be changes: “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much” (Luke 19:8).

In 1961, Rousas Rushdoony wrote in “Intellectual Schizophrenia,”

The end of an age is always a time of turmoil, war, economic catastrophe, cynicism, lawlessness, and distress. But it is also an era of heightened challenge and creativity, of issues, and their world-wide scope, never has an era faced a more demanding and exciting crisis. This then above all else is the great and glorious era to live in, a time of opportunity, one requiring fresh and vigorous thinking, indeed a glorious time to be alive.[3]

God has much for us to accomplish, and He requires that we be more than just conservatives. Is that what you want, too?

 

 

[1] Herbert Schlossberg, “Idols for Destruction: Christian Faith and its Confrontation with American Culture,” 1983, p.325.

[2] William Pfaff, “When Civil Society joins the Casualty List,” ‘The Australian Financial Review,’ 19/10/2001, p.12.

[3]Quoted in Rousas Rushdoony, “The Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.xi.

Does John MacArthur Make His Case on the Olivet Discourse?

 

In his book The Second Coming: Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, John MacArthur seems to go out of his way to avoid having to deal with the inherent problems of his prophetic system. Here’s just one example:

[N]otice Christ’s only explicit remarks about the destruction of the temple are those recorded in verse 2 [of Matthew 24], as Jesus and the disciples were departing from the temple (v. 1). In the Olivet Discourse itself He makes no clear reference to the events of A.D. 70. His entire reply is an extended answer to the more important question about the signs of His coming and the end of the age. Virtually ignoring their initial question, He said nothing whatsoever about when the destruction of Jerusalem would occur. That is because those events were not really germane to the end of the end of the age. They were merely a foretaste of the greater judgment that would accompany His return, previews of what is to come ultimately. [1]

This is a remarkable statement given that there is nothing in the context of the Olivet Discourse that indicates that Jesus is “ignoring their initial question.” How does MacArthur know this? He doesn’t. This is not exegesis. He is reading his dispensational system into the text. He scrupulously avoids the heart of the debate over the time texts, especially regarding “this generation” (24:34).

“Virtually ignoring their initial question, He said nothing whatsoever about when the destruction of Jerusalem would occur.” Nothing whatsoever? He has to say this because to admit that Jesus was describing what was going to happen to the temple that was standing there – “not one stone here shall be left upon another” (24:3) – would mean Jesus had a great deal to say “about when the destruction of Jerusalem would occur.” It would occur before that existing generation passed away (24:34).

There’s a lot I could say about MacArthur’s comments on Matthew 24, but I’ve said them repeatedly elsewhere. I found this comment surprising:

Notice, moreover, that the great tribulation Christ described involves cataclysm and suffering on a global cosmic scale (vv. 29-30)—not a local holocaust in Jerusalem only. [2]

If Jesus isn’t describing “a local holocaust in Jerusalem only,” then how is it that it can be avoided by escaping to the mountains outside of Judea (24:16-20)?

The cosmic language of 24:29-30 is typical of cosmic language being used to describe a judgment on Babylon (Isa. 13:1-11) and “Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Zeph. 1:1-4).

The Second Coming: Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age reads as if it was written in a hurry. For example, in one place MacArthur writes that preterists “ultimately depart from and nullify the strict literal sense of Matthew 24:34,” while on the previous page he chides preterists for insisting that Matthew 24:34 should be interpreted with “wooden literalness.” [3] MacArthur should have studied how “this generation” is used elsewhere in the New Testament. “This generation” always refers — without exception — to the generation to whom Jesus is speaking. [4] Since the meaning of “this generation” is crucial for establishing the proper time setting for the Olivet Discourse, MacArthur should have spent considerable time justifying his interpretation.

He calls the preterist interpretation of “this generation” a “misunderstanding” [5] without ever dealing with the extensive arguments preterists use to defend their position. Preterists are not the only ones who have this “misunderstanding.” Here are three examples from commentators who would not describe themselves as preterists:

  • [T]he obvious meaning of the words “this generation” is the people contemporary with Jesus. Nothing can be gained by trying to take the word in any sense other than its normal one: in Mark (elsewhere in 8:12, 9:19) the word always has this meaning. [6]
  • [This generation] can only with the greatest difficulty be made to mean anything other than the generation living when Jesus spoke. [7]
  • The significance of the temporal reference has been debated, but in Mark “this generation” clearly designates the contemporaries of Jesus (see on Chs. 8:12, 38; 9:19) and there is no consideration from the context which lends support to any other proposal. Jesus solemnly affirms that the generation contemporary with his disciples will witness the fulfillment of his prophetic word, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dismantling of the Temple. [8]

Why doesn’t MacArthur attempt to refute these non-preterist scholars? Do they misunderstand the clear teaching of Scripture?

In addition to an incomplete study of how “this generation” is used in the gospels, MacArthur morphs “near” and “shortly” into “imminent” without ever making a case for how this can be done exegetically. If the Holy Spirit wanted to convey that Jesus could return at “any moment” over a period of nearly 2000 years (so far), He would have directed the biblical writers to choose Greek words that mean “any moment” instead of “near” and “shortly.” He didn’t.

Consider James 5:8–9, a passage that MacArthur uses to support his contention that Jesus could come “at any moment” but near to those who first received and read his letter. [9] “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (5:8). “At hand,” or “near,” cannot be made to mean “any moment.” “At hand” is defined for us by the Bible in the next verse: “Behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (5:9). “At hand” = “right at the door.” How far from the door is Jesus in Revelation 3:20? Being “right at the door” means being close enough to knock.

MacArthur is either oblivious to the debate surrounding this issue or he tactically decided to steer his readers around the topic so as not to raise a very big red flag.

Will the Real Literalist Please Stand Up?

MacArthur states that interpreting “this generation” in a “wooden literalness” fashion would mean that “the rest of the Olivet Discourse must be spiritualized or otherwise interpreted figuratively in order to explain how Christ’s prophecies could all have been fulfilled by A.D. 70 without His returning bodily to earth.” [10] Do preterists spiritualize (a word not often defined) the events described by Jesus in Matthew 24? Not at all! They compare Scripture with Scripture. We let the Bible interpret the Bible. There were literal earthquakes (Matt. 27:5428:2Acts 16:26) and literal famines (Acts 11:28; cf. Rom. 8:35), just as Jesus predicted (Matt. 24:7). Paul tells us that the “gospel” literally had been preached “throughout the world [kosmos]” (Rom. 1:8), “to all the nations” (Rom. 16:25-261 Tim. 3:16), “in all creation under heaven” (Col. 1:23; also 1:6), just as Jesus predicted (Matt. 24:14). Then there are Jesus specific words that the literal temple that the disciples asked about would be destroyed before the last apostle died (Matt. 16:27-28) and that first-century generation passed away (24:34).

Last Days Madness and Wars and Rumors of Wars answer every argument raised by MacArthur, arguments which he studiously avoids addressing in this poorly conceived book. Some might claim that MacArthur is unaware of the work done in this area. This debate has been around for centuries. Anyone writing on this topic should be aware of the current literature. He knows what’s going on. He quotes from an internet article by me and references other preterist sources. MacArthur, who was good friends with R. C. Sproul who wrote The Last Days According to Jesus (1998), was aware of Sproul’s preterist position.

  1. John MacArthur, The Second Coming: Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1999), 80.[]
  2. MacArthur, The Second Coming, 78.[]
  3. MacArthur, The Second Coming, 81, 80.[]
  4. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, 4th ed. (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1999), 55-60, 183-188.[]
  5. MacArthur, The Second Coming, 219.[]
  6. Robert G. Bratcher and Eugene A. Nida, A Translator’s Handbook of the Gospel of Mark (New York: United Bible Societies, 1961), 419.[]
  7. D.A. Carson, “Matthew” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1985), 8:507.[]
  8. William L. Lane, Commentary on the Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 480.[]
  9. MacArthur, The Second Coming, 51.[]
  10. MacArthur, The Second Coming, 80.[]