Fighting for life

The USA and UK are fighting for the survival of their common civilizational heritage. The USA has a longer period in which to effect a vital recovery, but that period is not indefinite. Even if the UK can make a success of Brexit and President Trump can get re-elected, there will be opposition to the reforms that are necessary to bring health back to our nations.

The Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12), is the basis for true social harmony. This basis is under attack. The extreme divisions in our societies are destroying common courtesy, empathy, and reciprocity. When the Left continually makes demands of conservatives, but offers nothing in return, it becomes clear that their aim is not to create a modus vivendi between two parts of society. Their aim is to grind down conservative opposition until it disappears through capitulation or destruction at the hands of the state.

The ultimate goal of this infernal warfare is the suppression and destruction of God’s covenant people, Israel and the Church. The UK and the USA have strong traditions of missionary work, laws framed by reference to Biblical principles, commitment to scientific excellence, and good old-fashioned horse sense.

Our shared Anglo-heritage, which extends to various peoples of the Commonwealth, is about more than material prosperity. Material prosperity is a product of old virtues that were forged by the peculiar conditions that prevailed in the United Kingdom (and the separate kingdoms before unification), and which, in the fullness of time, the British peoples brought to various colonies. A society that is materially prosperous without the strong underlying values necessary to produce it, is liable to find itself hollow and corrupt.

Today we find our societies split between those who know and love the old heritage – we might call them “true born sons” or “heirs of the patrimony” – and those who are “strangers” to the national heritage, whether they share its blood or not. This estrangement is the product of various processes: immigration, multiculturalism, educational decline, poor theology and exegesis, and foreign rule.

Such departure from our heritage has created open divisions in our society. It can be cured only by conversion to Christ. He is the only true source of unity in this world, because truth is a necessary condition of unity, and He is the Truth. Those who love the Truth, love Him; those who hate the Truth, hate Him.

The preservation of the Anglosphere heritage depends upon Christian revival. It is not enough to receive a competent description of the good aspects of our heritage. Nor is it enough to intellectually grasp the principles, origins, and application of those principles. One must give whole hearted approval and assent to them. That is an aesthetic judgment, not an epistemological one. Tasting of the good product of such principles is certainly part of converting to them. Indeed, the “red pill” movement and “walk away” movement show some aspects of such conversion. But the process comes to its summit in Christ, and it is through Christ that we gain a true love of the good aspects of other nations and cultures, such that our Anglo-heritage sits alongside them in harmony in true love and respect.

Religious Blogging, Brexit, Trump, and Two Kingdoms

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My dear friend Kathleen and I had a short discussion the other night on her blog, Catholicism Pure & Simple. It was as such things are both productive and friendly. One of the things we touched on was whether it is appropriate for a specifically Catholic or even a Christian blog to touch on things like Brexit and President Trump.

It becomes almost impossible to shirk the debate when our governments intrude on religious beliefs and practices, such as marriage, abortion, freedom of worship and practice.

And so while CP&S has touched on these matters, I seem lately to write of little else, my self imposed remit is political with an American, and Lutheran foundation. That is part of why I’m rarely writing here lately, while congruent if feels just a bit unseemly, and a fair number of you read my blog as well. And there is no point in dragging my friends into the line of fire to no purpose, and that is pretty easy, as our friend Caroline Farrow‘s current problems with the British legal system indicate.

In any case, imagine my surprise as I’m looking around this morning to seeing Dr. Gene Veith of the Cranach blog working on exactly what Kathleen and I were discussing. He excerpted an article by British author Will Jones entitled: Progressives vs conservatives: This is why we can’t just all get along. British, American, British, American, British, Catholic, Lutheran, who says our problems are different. In any case here’s Gene, with Dr. Veith in bold:

. . .The divide [is] between those who believe the world has a given order that ought to be respected because it makes things go best in the long run, and those who do not believe this and think invoking such order is little more than a tool of oppression wielded by the powerful against those they exploit.

The social order, says Jones, expresses itself in institutions such as the family and the nation-state, along with the ideas and practices that support them, such as sexual morality and the rule of law.  Conservatives support them–with religious conservatives seeing them as facets of God’s creation–while progressives find them oppressive.

This conservative respect for natural and social order contrasts sharply with the progressive outlook which is typically hostile to claims of inherent order in nature and society. Progressives tend to follow Marx in regarding such ideas as devices created by the powerful (in Marx’s case, the owners of capital, these days, more likely straight white men) to perpetuate inequalities and restrict people’s freedom of action.

Progressives and conservatives both say they want people to be happy, but they understand very differently what this involves. Whereas conservatives see happiness as emerging from respect for the natural and social order, for progressives almost the opposite is the case: the individual’s pursuit of happiness must as far as possible be achieved by not conforming to the social order. This is because to do so is to become complicit in oppression and to succumb to the ‘false consciousness’ of being happy when enslaved. . . .

Conservatives and progressives differ also in their visions of freedom. Conservatives seek the freedom that comes from respecting the boundaries inherent in the created order. Progressives, on the other hand, aim for freedom from the created order – from biology, from the family, from the nation, from God. As a consequence, progressive freedom has a strong authoritarian bent. This might seem paradoxical, but in fact it follows directly from the progressives’ need to oppose by force the outworking of the order of nature, and to silence those who attempt to point out the problems with this.

So how does Christianity fit with this?

Yes, Christians do believe that God has ordained the family.  The “nation-state” is a relatively modern invention, unknown in the Middle Ages, classical antiquity, and tribal societies, but the “state” as some sort of social organization with earthly authorities that restrain evil and protect the good is indeed one of the God-given “estates” for human flourishing (Romans 13; 1 Peter 2:13-14).  Also, Christians believe that moral truths are part of a reality built into creation and human nature (Romans 1-2).  So by these definitions, Christians will tend to be conservative.

No one will be surprised that I heartily concur with them both, and with Kathleen as well. Here is part of one of my comments to her, which sums up my view pretty well.

As a Lutheran, I would point out that the Kingdom of the Left Hand (secular government) is also of God, although not as directly as the Kingdom of the Right hand. And so our governments on earth are also of concern to us. But while I straddle that fence, you, here, are more focussed. And, in truth, I don’t write much on the other blog for that reason as well, since I find my well pretty dry lately on church topics.

And Dr. Veith ends with this, which is certainly appropriate for us to discuss as well.

[…] The Christian’s hope is fixed not so much on this world, which will soon pass away, but on the world to come–on Christ who has atoned for the sins of the world and who will reign as King over the New Heaven and the New Earth.

Is this right?  Am I missing something?  How does this accord with Two Kingdoms theology?

I do think Jones’s analysis explains a lot, from our current political polarization to the behavior of people that we know.  But does it follow that such extreme polarization is inevitable, that there can be no common basis for consensus and social unity?  Is it impossible, in these terms, to have a “center”?  How did we as a nation function in years past?  Were there different ideologies at work?  If so, might we bring some of those back?

 

Prophetic Developments

Today I would like to share a video that outlines the potential prophetic significance of a proposed pipeline in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The video is about 12 minutes long.

For more information on why Mr Rosenthal believes “Gog”, the “King of the North”, and the Antichrist to all be the same person, please see further videos and articles produced by Zion’s Hope, and resources produced by Joel Richardson. His books, Islamic Antichrist and Mideast Beast, have good chapters outlining his arguments for this assertion.

A new age

We live in an age of rapid change. If, as many believe, the return of Christ is near, then we also live at a time of transition from the “Times of the Gentiles” to the Millennium.

Some see references to modern technology in prophetic portions of the Bible. For example, the scene in Revelation 11 in which the world looks upon the dead bodies of the Two Witnesses, has been understood as a reference to telecommunications: the world can see their bodies via satellite and wireless communication systems.

Some have seen the Mark of the Beast as a computer controlled system. In order to access money or things in action, one would need to sign up to the system in some way (e.g. by receiving an access code, app, or chip), and in so doing, one gives allegiance to the Beast.

Our current epoch is truly astounding (and terrifying) in the rate of change in technology, the new applications for technology, and our dependence upon it. This weekend, I have been exploring the world of computer generated music and chatbots. While AI is still in its infancy, it looks as if, given the right exposure and support, it can grow to achieve incredible things.

This raises the serious question of personhood. At what point does AI become a person (an ontological question) and how will it and we know that it is a person (an epistemological question). For example, if one is a person because one thinks one is (subjective determination), how would an outsider know this. Saying, “I am a person”, does not in and of itself provide indisputable proof. This could merely be a response that the system has learned to generate in response to certain stimuli.

Where we are going with all of this development remains to be seen. If we do not receive godly wisdom in these matters (and obey its precepts), then we may come to serious misfortune. I find myself amazed by what little I have seen so far, but also frightened by the possibility of evil applications of technology by legislators and members of the executive and influential corporate entities.

Friday Thoughts

The vicissitudes of this week have made it difficult for me to contribute to the blog. I am neither a seer nor a prophet, so I do not feel particularly qualified to comment on precisely how God is acting in the world at present. Various prophetic words that I have been reading or watching may or may not harmonise, and the fulfilment of some may not have happened yet. This time certainly is a trial for our discernment, faith, and hope.

I continue to desire that my nation would exit the European Union, and that it would experience constitutional, economic, cultural, and religious reform. We live in an age of anxiety. It feels as if the Devil is a boa constrictor, tightening his coils on every aspect of our lives, so that we cannot breathe. The spiritual battle for the deliverance of our nation is real.

There are multiple levels to this battle: the UK against the EU; Parliament divided against itself; Parliament against the people; and Christian against Christian as some continue to espouse the metanarrative put forward by Remainers. Unless one is in a solidly Brexit prayer group, it can feel awkward to pray out loud for God to bring us out of the EU and reform our land.

While I understand the desire of Christians to ensure that we do not compromise Kingdom principles for the sake of our political commitments, I cannot accept many of the sweeping statements that are made in this regard, seemingly in an attempt to silence Christians who lean towards a more Thatcherite or 19th century view of politics and economics. If there are such things as Right and Wrong, and if they are grounded in the reason of God and the way in which He designed our world, and if they apply to every aspect of our lives – then (with the addition of other premises) it follows that we can formulate a framework to guide our understanding of what governments should and should not do.

I often think in images – perhaps as a product of years of literary study and reading metaphorical language in the Bible. It seems to me that our country has become a machine with too many gears grinding against each other – gridlock. Unless various gears are removed and others cleaned and oiled, the machine will do no one any good. These gears grinding against each other are the clash of ideologies and interests that divide our land and our churches. On the one hand are those who, to varying degrees, would make the State our one true Shepherd. On the other hand are those who would have the Lord God as our Shepherd.

At present, there is a restraining force in the world that keeps the Antichrist from rising. There will come a time when the restraining force is removed and the Man of Sin is unveiled, taking his seat in the Temple of God. As we look on the sickness of our nation, familiar in its recapitulation of the stasis in the times of Richard II and Charles I, many of us, myself included, feel called to pray by what light of revelation we have for transformation.

A) That a new constitution would be born in this land to curb the spread of evil and foster liberty and prosperity.

B) That Christians would find deeper fellowship with God and with each other.

C) That, as in the days of Oliver Cromwell, this land would extend hands of fellowship and blessing to the Children of Israel.


Postscripts:

  1. I do not expect that all people who read this blog will share my longing for the rebuilding of the Temple in Israel, but if you do, please leave a prayer/decree comment to that effect in the comments below.
  2. I would recommend reading Richard Barker’s blog for his anthology of Brexit-related prophetic words.

Coming out of the System

The same Apostle John who recorded these words of Christ, “for God so loved the world…”, also wrote:


Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:15

Western Christianity is often accused of being worldly – and there is at least some truth to that accusation. The world-system is like a tyrant that uses a carrot-and-stick approach. If you conform to the zeitgeist and to the customs of the age, you are rewarded (although even this is haphazard and illusory). If you refuse to comply with the system, you are ridiculed and ostracised.

That kind of tyranny is incompatible with the true inclusiveness of God’s Kingdom. Not the inclusivity spoken of by SJWs, but an inclusivity that stems from both righteousness AND compassion. True Christians should have a heavenly perspective on the trifling matters of this world:


 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:31-33

We are at risk of being entangled in the net of the world; if we are entangled, we must ask Christ to help us cut the cords, so that we might free ourselves. Christians must not be ruled by the world, for they serve a higher Kingdom. It is an insidious system, affecting all parts of life: what we wear, what we eat, how we interact with other people, and so on. If there is to be revival in the USA and UK, then part of the preparation and/or experience of that revival must be to destroy worldliness in all its forms in the Church.

The system is bad for us psychologically and spiritually. It makes addicts of us and puts us at risk of accepting the Mark of the Beast, rather than refusing and resisting it. Old fashioned devotion to God and seeking first the Kingdom are remedies to this evil. When we are rejected by the world, feeling all alone, we must remember this.

The Dark Self

The Bible uses various metaphors to describe the propensity for evil in human nature.

And the Lord said unto Cain, “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. -Genesis 4:6-8

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. -Romans 6:6

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul -1 Peter 2:11

Carl Jung postulated the existence of a “shadow self” as an aspect of our personality. He argued that the path to wholeness lies in integrating this dark, unconscious side of one’s personality into one’s conscious thoughts and actions. Various works of fiction have employed this motif, whether before or after the work of Jung. One such modern example is Ursula Leguin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, which also draws on feminist themes and concepts from eastern philosophy and spirituality.

Christians should be wary of such concepts, which find ways of influencing the zeitgeist of our societies. The quotation from 1 Peter above tells Christians not to incorporate the shadow self into our lives, but to resist its evil impulses and seductions. St Paul, drawing on Christ’s own teachings, articulated an anthropology in which the evil side of our character was a thing to be crucified, that had been crucified with Christ and would be purged from us in the resurrection.

Following Christ’s teaching means renouncing and executing this side of ourselves on a daily basis, Lent being a season of the liturgical year that focusses on this doctrine, drawing inspiration from the Temptation of Christ in the wilderness. The Temptation is presented in detail in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. Milton wrote about the Temptation in his lesser known Paradise Regained.

The shadow in our hearts can also lead to madness. Today we see great fits of madness in the outbursts of individuals and in the actions of groups. While Christianity involves a mystical side and acceptance of the fact that we do not know everything, it is not a call to insanity, to the submersion of our rational minds. We are to use our minds to contemplate truth and to preach truth to others and live it by example. This “way of truth” is another aspect of the daily call to “take up one’s cross” as discussed above. We are in a war over Truth with a capital T. An important aspect of these end times is the spread of deception and madness.

The discipline of the Lenten season, then, is about the mind and the body. Let us not be blind to evil, to the work of the fallen nature, of the world, and of the Devil. He wants to sit on the throne of God, not just in Jerusalem, but in our hearts.

O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. -Psalm 22:2-4

Shrove Tuesday Miscellany

Tarkovsky’s classic, Andrei Rublev, based on the life of the famed Russian icon painter, is perfect viewing for Lent or Holy Saturday. Set during Russia’s medieval period, the film takes us on a Romans Road, showing human depravity and pointing to God’s grace as the only solution to our consuming wickedness. This slow, masterful film, is wonderful for meditation: whether you agree with the thoughts presented or not, the film will help you to ponder the deep spiritual matters of our salvation.

Sobriety in its broadest sense is an important part of the Christian life. We have an age of glory ahead and tastes of that Kingdom now; but still, this is the valley of tears until Christ sits upon His throne in Jerusalem. God calls us to love our fellow man. Agape in the East, caritas in the West – the compassionate love of God tells us to submit ourselves to God’s discipline, until the image of Christ emerges from our hard, selfish hearts.


An online petition has been started, requesting the Prime Minister to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament until April 2, in order to prevent Parliament from betraying the Brexit vote. You must be a UK citizen in order to sign the petition. 10,000 signatures are required in order to compel the government to consider the proposal.

It remains unclear whether this option will be exercised before Brexit day. There is a great battle in the heavenly realm of prayer and on earth over Brexit. The enemy would like to see Brexit frustrated.


Archbishop Cranmer has written a piece on Church of England Brexit prayers that is worth reading. Increasingly, many Christians in the UK are feeling uneasy about the Church of England and certain other Protestant denominations. If revival is to take place here, it must surely happen outside of the control and manipulation of officials who oppose the will of God.

We may yet see greater moves towards independent churches of various formats (including house churches), and towards prayer gatherings. Prayer must be at the centre of what we do: without God’s direction, we may not know the way to go; without God’s power, we will not be effective in our mission.


Conservatism speaks to an anchor. The abhorrence, the deep angst that conservatives feel today is a reaction to the great chaos released upon the world. Chaos is the work of the enemy, that fleeing dragon, Leviathan (see scholarly work on the chaoskampf motif in the Bible).

You can see videos from 2019’s CPAC over at NEO’s site. Conservatism is a call to preserve what ought to be preserved, even as we accept changes in the way we do things. It is not to be confused with being a reactionary (“semper eadem”). We must fight to preserve our heritage, even as we seek various reforms and new approaches – because, if we do not occupy the positions of protection, the enemy will fill them with tyrants.

What’s the scoop?

An article by Melanie Phillips in today’s Jerusalem Post bears reading. In it she discusses the UK government finally designating all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, not merely certain parts of it. She goes on to discuss Jeremy Corbyn‘s equivocal response to this designation, his previous dealings with Hezbollah, and the current crisis of antisemitism in the UK’s Labour Party.

The Labour Party earns about as much scorn from conservatives as the Democrats received from conservatives in the USA. This is not merely because conservatives prefer their governments to be fiscally responsible, but because the Labour Party is perceived by many conservatives as subversive.

Compassionate conservatives want to see the interests of the working classes supported and protected, but they distrust the Labour Party as a vehicle for that purpose. Many of us would prefer to see our politics return to the modus vivendi of the late 19th century, in which working class interests were represented by “One Nation Toryism“, with its social policies, and the interests of classical liberals and proto-libertarians were represented by the Liberal Party.

The old Labour Party, which had to self-fund its MPs in days when MPs did not receive salaries, is a far cry from the Labour Party today (although there was always an element of communism and socialism in the extreme fringes of the party). The modern Labour Party is split between followers of the Blairite model and socialists who want to control the means of production.


Meanwhile, further issues for consideration are apparent. Is there still a possibility of reconciliation between North and South Korea? With man, it looks as if that opportunity is close to vanishing; but with God, all things are possible.

In Israel, there will be elections for Members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in April. A merger between Yesh Atid and Resilience threatens to undermine Benjamin Netanyahu’s chances to form a new coalition government after the election.

President Trump’s administration has been quietly preparing a new peace plan. However, Benjamin Netanyahu asked that the details of the plan and negotiations with the Palestinians not be released until after the elections in April.

If Netanyahu falls from power (he himself is under investigation at the moment), then the plan may not proceed or may take a markedly different form. A new government may wish to alter relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (which, under MbS, is reportedly a significant partner in the peace plan preparations).

As a Zionist and bible-believing Christian, I do not agree with dividing the land of Israel. Nor do I agree with Islamic control of the Temple Mount. A peace plan that divides the land or poses any other affront to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be a sign of deterioration in the state of the world.

I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. –Joel 3:2

Lastly, there will be elections to the European Parliament in May this year. It is expected that nationalist parties will make significant gains. Depending on the exact Brexit that occurs, the UK may or may not be participating in these elections. Whether representatives of these nationalist parties can work together to form a majority or significant majority that can reform the EU remains open to question. My personal view is that the EU is not likely to be reformed – more likely is a series of judgments in the form of demographic, cultural, economic, and religious woes.

The Limits of Dominion

In light of my posts about preparation for the Millennium and unity in the Church, I would like to make some limiting remarks in order to show the context in which I hold those beliefs. I am a premillennialist (though not a dispensationalist). I believe that Christ will rule on earth for a thousand years following His return. I believe that He will return following the rule of the Antichrist. I do not subscribe to Dominion Theology and I am not an adherent of the New Apostolic Reformation (“NAR”).

I believe that revival should be built on the twin pillars of the Spirit and the Bible. Any revelation that is received should always be submitted to the authority of the word of God. If it does not align with what Scripture teaches, then it is to be rejected, no matter how ecstatic we may feel about it. I also believe that the Bible teaches general principles, which we may apply in our lives, but also must be understood in its proper context.

The Church must be led by the Spirit, but the Church has been given teachers, pastors, and scholars, who are the legitimate organs to explain the use of history, archaeology, textual analysis, and other disciplines to help us understand the development of the Bible, and the world in which it was written. True Christian philosophers and theologians can help us navigate the spiritual truths taught by the Bible and the process by which we interpret the Bible – their work can be invaluable in keeping Christians on the path of exegesis and away from the snare of eisegesis.

I stand by my statements that Christians are seated in God’s Divine Council now, that they will rule on earth with Christ during the Millennium, and that they can exercise influence in this world now in a variety of ways. There are even Christians in Parliament. However, I do not wish to be understood as holding the view that Christians will somehow conquer the earth and hand over its rule to Christ when He returns. I rather think the opposite is true. Like Pope Benedict XVI, I echo Christ’s question about finding faith on earth when He returns.

I do not wish to diminish the wonderful things that God is doing right now, especially in the Muslim world (see, for example, the work of Hormuz Shariat). Nevertheless, we should not lose sight of the fact that the world is a dark place and that those Muslim nations are, by and large, ruled by governments unsympathetic to Israel and the West or else largely ineffective in curbing the excesses of Islamic zealots. In Europe hedonism, abortion, financial misfeasance, suppression of free speech, and cultural relativism continue apace. While the question of whether the final beast empire is a revived Roman empire or an Islamic empire continues to be discussed in eschatology circles, it is certainly reasonable to see Europe as a problem zone in the end times rather than a place that will entirely resist the Antichrist.

Lastly, we should all be wary of false unity, a unity that tries to prevent Christians from asking legitimate questions and consulting the word of God. Christ did not forbid His disciples from asking questions, and neither did the Apostles forbid the Church. St John told his congregations to test the spirits, to determine whether they came from Christ or the dark side. Christ warned us about false prophets in the end times. We would be wise to read this statement in conformity with the Apostles’ warnings in their letters to the early Church. In other words, these prophets can take the form of people claiming to be Christian, not only of proponents of other religions.

If I can give one piece of advice in this post, it is to stay with what you know and trust. If you are genuinely seeking God in your private life and the congregation you attend, God will lead you into the plans He has for the end of the age. Central to this move should be worship, prayer, and study of the word of God.

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5, Berean Study Bible