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Daily Archives: 16 Apr 2017
In what should rank as one of the more ironic facts of modern politics, prominent Christian leaders and a record number of self-proclaimed evangelical voters supported for president a man of undisguised cruelty and unmatched narcissism. Indeed, for some evangelicals, those qualities worked in President Trump’s favor. Robert Jeffress, pastor of a megachurch in Dallas, explained that he did not want as president “some meek and mild leader or somebody who’s going to turn the other cheek.” What he wanted, Mr. Jeffress said, was “the meanest, toughest S.O.B. I can find to protect this nation.”
Since humility is so out of fashion as to almost have been forgotten, it’s worth making the case for how to rightly understand it, to articulate why humility is not only an essential Christian virtue but also, as my breakfast companion understood so well, an essential civic one.
Read the entire essay here, and if you ‘self identify’ as an ‘Evangelical’ you may want to reconsider, since in reality many of its leaders are, from a purely practical perspective, a-theists. God doesn’t come into their reckoning. And that is the opposite of theism.
In our day being the Pastor of a mega-church isn’t so much a sign of God’s blessing as it is that said pastor operates in the spirit of Antichrist. Indeed, it is no stretch to suggest that Luther’s excoriation of the Papacy in his day and of his day can also be leveled at the mega-pastors of today. Especially Jeffress.
“I believe the pope is the masked and incarnate devil because he is the Antichrist. As Christ is God incarnate, so the Antichrist is the devil incarnate. The words are really spoken of the pope when it’s said that he’s a mixed god, an earthly god, that is, a god of the earth. Here god is understood as god of this world. Why does he call himself an earthly god, as if the one, almighty God weren’t also on the earth?
“The kingdom of the pope really signifies the terrible wrath of God, namely, the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. Therefore Christ says that he who reads this should mark it well. To be sure, it’s very exasperating that after Christ’s revelation a man should lift himself up above God in the church. If this had happened among the heathen before the revelation of Christ it wouldn’t have been very remarkable. That’s why we have been so diligently warned about this deadly pestilence by Daniel, Christ, Paul, Peter, and others. In spite of this, we Christians were so stupid that we asked for all the pope’s commands.
Substitute ‘Furtick’ or ‘Jeffress’ or ‘Osteen’ or ‘Jakes’ for ‘pope’ and you see the point.
Here’s something for you.
It was a real joy to have Lloyd Pietersen with us recently to present a paper on ‘Does the Matthean Jesus really love his enemies?’ He was participating as part of the Humanities Research Group Seminar Series for the Newman Humanities Research Centre.
(full text of paper available to download below)
Lloyd began by conceding that this was his first time presenting an academic paper on the Synoptics (or Matthew in particular) and that this was very much a work in progress. The focus was Jesus’ instruction in Matt 5:44 to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, from the Sermon on the Mount, and argued that this idea broadly conflicted with the canonical and non-canonical Jewish understanding of ‘enemy hatred’.
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But some believe…
When at Athens Paul began to preach of our Lord Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the dead, they laughed at him first; but, after they thoroughly understood the matter, many of them were converted to the Christian belief, especially one of the highest magistrates called Dionysius and a noble lady, Damaris. And so we also hope that when the subject is heard to the end, all of your reasonable hearts will become favourable. — Huldrych Zwingli
There’s a great little essay here about just those very things.
The time: March 9, 1522, the first Sunday of Lent. The crime scene: a printer’s workshop in Grabengasse, just a stone’s throw from Zurich’s city walls. The first in a series of swissinfo.ch articles marking 500 years of the Reformation is a sizzling thriller.