What should Christians make of Donald Trump’s impeachment?
- Is Christianity Today right to condemn him as unfit for office, that he “should be removed … not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments”?
- Is Franklin Graham right to keep supporting him, claiming “No President has done more for the Evangelical community”?
Do Christians have a moral responsibility to stand up for righteousness? Or should Christians stay out of politics? What’s our role?
Continue reading “Should Christians support or oppose Trump’s impeachment?”
To whom did God reveal his multifaceted wisdom, according to Ephesians 3:10?
a) to rulers and authorities, both of whom exist in the heavenlies, OR
b) to rulers (kings/governors on earth), and to authorities in the heavenlies?
Either interpretation is possible, but there are grammatical and contextual reasons to consider the second option. Continue reading “Who are the rulers of Ephesians 3:10?”
Bill Shorten proposed some significant changes, but Aussie voters didn’t buy it:
- They didn’t want change, if change involved a cost (“grandiose policies”).
- They didn’t want to lose on investments (franking credits, negative gearing).
- They didn’t want the environment prioritized over jobs (Adani).
The biggest loser was Tony Abbott, and Christians must consider why. Four years ago, he was Prime Minister. Now he’s knocked out, with a massive 19% swing — greater than in any other seat, and when the national swing was towards his party. Why? Continue reading “What kind of society do Aussies want?”
What makes The Avengers so popular? We love stories of superhuman figures defeating oppressors and restoring justice to the earth.
Stories of mythology have always fascinated us. In Germanic mythology, Thor was the storm god, and thunder was the sound of Thor’s hammer. He was worshipped each week: Thursday is Thor’s Day.
In our movies, Thor is not a god but a superhuman figure. We’ve turned away from gods; we prefer humans with superpowers to save us.
Continue reading “Don’t expect our politicians to be gods”
Aussies have a rebellious streak. We couldn’t list the names of our Prime Ministers, but we remember Ned Kelly. We love Waltzing Matilda, the ballad of a sheep rustler who drowns rather than surrender to the authorities.
So, do we have a bad attitude to government? Are we meant to respect our government, treating it as God’s servant to maintain order in our society? Or are we right to be suspicious?
Are governments servants of God, or substitutes for God? Continue reading “How should we treat the rulers of this world?”
What kind of activism are we called to? Confronting the powers of evil, or being the community of a different king?
Christian activists have usually raised a voice for peaceful protest. Fifty years after Martin Luther King called for nonviolent resistance against systemic injustice, we still hear his voice.
Walter Wink called Christians to expose the evil that is endemic in the power systems of this world. He called us to name evil for what it is, to unmask its insidious nature, to engage it through non-violent confrontation. Even in the titles of his books, you can hear him calling the church to stand against corruption: Naming the Powers (1984), Unmasking the Powers (1986), Engaging the Powers (1992), When the Powers Fall (1998), The Powers that Be (1999). A choir of other of voices also call us to non-violent resistance: John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, Shane Claiborne, Jarrod McKenna, and so on.
Are they right? Is power the problem we must address? Is that our task, to stand against the injustice that’s systemic in the way the world is run? To those questions, I want to answer Yes and No. Their diagnosis of the problem is spot on, but their response doesn’t resolve the problem.
Continue reading “Activism: confronting the powers”
We can’t talk about the kingdom of God without considering how the power of the church relates to the power of the state.
Open Romans 13:1-7.
Does Romans 13 decree the divine right of kings? It has been used that way for centuries. Even today, the royal coat of arms of the UK rests on such a claim: Dieu et mon droit, literally God and my right!
Does Romans 13 authorize war? Many interpreters have claimed that it does, so we’ll address this question in our next post.
Good exegesis starts with Paul’s context, not ours. The power claims in Romans 13 do not originate with Paul. He knew that Roman emperors laid claim to divine right to rule. This tradition dates way back to previous pagan empires, and is found all over the world.
But Paul was a Jew, writing from a Hebrew worldview. In that framework, Paul’s words in Romans 13 are not strange at all. In Romans 9:17, he quotes the Hebrew claim that God raised up even the Pharaoh of the exodus for his purposes.
In fact, a case can be made that Romans is a new Exodus story — a story of God liberating the earth from its oppressive rulers: Continue reading “Does God authorize governments? (Romans 13:1-7)”