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What Has Happened to Christianity in the Age of Trump? Part 1

After observing some recent tweets by both President Trump and evangelicals, I felt a strong pull to address what has changed with Christianity in this age of Trump. It is beyond me how some Christians blindly follow this man. It is also very scary as some of the things we are witnessing today are eerily similar to what happened in World War II. I recently read a book called “The Choice” which was written by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. Oprah recently interviewed Dr. Eger on her show, “Super Soul Sunday”. She is strongly opposed to what is happening at our southern border as she knows what it is like to be treated in that manner. In her book, she explained how she was sent to Auschwitz and forced to go on the death march. She was found barely alive on a top of dead bodies when the Americans came and saved her. She has vowed to fight against the issues at our southern border as much as she can even though she is 92 years old.

What really propelled me into writing this series of blogs was an article that I read on Facebook. A Jewish woman has proposed that a “Book of Trump” be added to the Bible. I just about fell out of my chair when I read this! That has to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard…and in my opinion, it is sacrilege to even suggest something like that.

What I have decided to do is to compare actual tweets made by President Trump to actual quotes from Jesus that are in the Bible. I hope that by doing this, the reader can see the extremely clear differences in what Trump has said and what Jesus told us to do. Please know that this is just the icing on the cake when it comes to Trump. As you will see, for many of the questions, I quote things that Trump has said on Twitter over the past month ONLY. If I quote every lie or name that he has called someone, I would literally have a book. This blog just gives a very few examples of how Trump’s words and actions do NOT follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

 

Name-calling

What Trump has said on Twitter since July 1, 2019 (actual quotes):

  • “Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party. Weak, ineffective and stupid are not exactly the qualities that the Republicans…were looking for.”
  • “Andy McCabe is a major sleazebag.”
  • “Could you imagine having Sleepy Joe Biden, or Alfred E. Newman, or a very nervous and skinny version of Pocahontas as your President…”
  • “I don’t know the Ambassador, but I have been told he is a pompous fool.”
  • “Watching Fox News weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams…and the crew of degenerate Comcast (NBC/MSNBC) Trump haters, who do whatever Brian and Steve tell them to do.”
  • “Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest and most disloyal men in Congress is quitting the party…A total loser!” (He is talking about Justin Amash)
  • “We all know that Alexandria Ocaso-Cortez and this crowd are a bunch of communists…”
  • “I told Theresa May how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way…”
  • “The ‘Squad’ is a very racist group  of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart.”

What Jesus said:

  • “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
  • “And if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council.; and if you say,’You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:22
  • “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12
  • “I tell you, on the day of judgment, you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37

 

Ego/Narcissism:

What Trump has said since July 1, 2019 (actual quotes, and yes, he does refer to himself in the third person): 

  • “Our country is the envy of the world. Thank you, Mr. President!”
  • “Tell him the USA now has the best economy and military anywhere in the world by far, and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger…thank you, Mr. President!”
  • “They don’t want people to shop at those great stores because he contributed to your favorite President, me!”
  • “…rather than what you have now, so great looking and smart, a true stable genius.”

What Jesus said:

  • “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
  • “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4
  • “The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12
  • “So I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14-15

 

Love of money: 

**Note: The point here is not to say that we shouldn’t be happy that the economy is doing well. The point is that Trump’s focus is on money, and he’s not ever happy that he has enough. He always wants more, and this is a problem.

What Trump has said on Twitter since July 1, 2019:

  • “In the meantime, we are receiving billions of dollars in tariffs from China…”
  • “We are doing great economically as a country, number one…”
  • “When you are the big piggy bank that other countries have been ripping off for years…”
  • “Dow just hit 27,000 for the first time ever!”
  • “Ask the Times what they paid for the Boston Globe and what they sold it for (lost 1.5 billion dollars).”
  • “Strong jobs report, low inflation, and other countries around the world doing anything possible to take advantage of the United States.”
  • “It could have been even better – massive additional wealth would have been created…”
  • “Today’s stock market is the highest in the history of our great country!”
  • “We have the greatest economy anywhere in the world.”
  • “The economy is the BEST IT HAS EVER BEEN!”

What Jesus said:

  • “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24
  • “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

 

Lying:

**Note: It is common knowledge that Trump has lied over 10,000 times since he took office. Several media outlets are currently tracking and documenting all of his lies.

What Trump has tweeted since July 1, 2019:

  • “I don’t make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President!”

Truth: There are many ways Trump has made money while he has been President. Here is one example: According to estimates by Dan Alexander and Matt Drange of Forbes, Trump pulls in AT LEAST 175 million annually from commercial tenants in his buildings.

  • “So interesting to see Progressive Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe…”

Truth: Trump was talking about the 4 Congresswomen who have recently been in the news. Trump’s comments were viewed as racist, and the House passed a resolution saying that his remarks were racist. Three out of the four women were not born in other countries. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx in New York. Ilhan Oman is a refugee from Somalia and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. Rashida Tlaib was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Ayanna Pressley was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • “[Joe Biden] added more debt than all other Presidents combined.”

Truth: According to Forbes, “Trump’s deficits as a percentage of GDP will exceed any other President’s during a time of economic expansion. Under Trump, debt has risen to a record $22 trillion.”

  • “Democrats want open borders….”

Truth: At no time has a Democrat ever said that they want open borders. Democrats have said that they want sensible immigration reform. Since Democrats’ idea of immigration reform does not match Trump’s version, Trump immediately jumps to the conclusion that Democrats want open borders. This is false.

  • “No collusion. No obstruction.”

Truth: Here is the quote from Mueller’s report which clearly states that Mueller did not make a decision on either collusion or obstruction: “Charging the president with a crime was an option we could not consider. If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

  • “As most people are aware, according to the polls, I won every debate…”

Truth: The following data is an average of five polls that were taken during the Clinton/Trump debates. The five polls came from ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal:

Debate #1 – Clinton 43%/Trump 40.4%;

Debate #2 – Clinton 44.8%/Trump 40.8%;

Debate #3 – Clinton 45.8%/Trump 40.4%.

Now, I know that some Trump supporters will call this “fake news”, so I decided to include the numbers from Fox News ONLY:

Debate #1 – Clinton 41%/Trump 40%;

Debate #2 – Clinton 43%/Trump – 40%;

Debate #3 – Clinton 45%/Trump 38%.

So even the Fox News poll proves that Trump lied about this in his tweet!

  • “We are building the wall now…”

Truth: As per multiple news sources (including Fox News and other right wing news sources) on July 21, 2019, Trump has not installed a single mile of new wall at the border. As per Fox News, “The Trump administration has not installed a single mile of new wall in a previously fenceless part of the U.S. – Mexico border in the 30 months since President Trump assumed office, despite his campaign promise…” According to Customs and Border Protection, all completed fencing was to replace existing fences in need of repair.

  • “The Trump Foundation gave away 100% plus, with zero rent or expenses charged, and has been sued by Cuomo and New York State…”

Truth: The Trump Foundation has been shut down. They found that Trump and his children benefited personally and politically from it. Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump can never operate a New York charity again because of the corrupt activity that was found.

What Jesus said:

  • “‘If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness…'” Matthew 19:18-19
  • “You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because  there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

 

Infidelity:

What Trump has said:

  • “I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f*** her. She was married.” (He was talking about his failed attempt to seduce Nancy O’Dell)
  • “I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her…I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the p****. You can do anything.” (He was talking about Arianna Zucker)
  • During an interview in 2005 with Howard Stern, Trump said, “I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed…You know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore, I’m inspecting it…is everyone OK? You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
  • At a 1992 party with Jeffrey Epstein, Trump grabbed a women by the waist, pulled her to him, and patted her on the butt. During that same party, he kissed Faith Daniels even though Daniels was married. He described the kiss as “so open and nice”. Recently a video has surfaced that shows this behavior, and NBC has shared it.

What Jesus said:

  • “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

Note: I know some Trump supporters will point out that this verse comes from the Old Testament, and some will claim “it doesn’t apply because all that changed when Jesus came.” But let me point out these verses from Jesus: 

  • “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
  • “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” John 5:46-47

 

Immigration/Helping others who are less fortunate/Lack of compassion:

What Trump has tweeted since July 1, 2019:

  • “Failing New York Times is writing phony and exaggerated accounts of the border detention centers…”
  • “If illegal immigrants are unhappy with the conditions…just tell them not to come.”
  • “Sorry, can’t let them into our country.”
  • “Many of these illegal aliens are living far better now than where they came from.”
  • “Tell migrants not to come into our country…”
  • “Detention facilities are not concentration camps!”
  • “If you are not happy here, you can leave.”

What Jesus said:

  • “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”…” Matthew 22:37-40
  • “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…Truly I telll you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:34-40
  • “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Luke 3:11
  • “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless…” Matthew 9:36
  • “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.” Matthew 20:34
  • “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” Matthew 15:32
  • “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.'” Luke 7:13

 

Hypocrisy:

What Trump has said since July 1, 2019:

  • “The Democratic Congresswomen have been spewing some of the most file, hateful, and disgusting things ever said…”

Truth: Trump says hateful and disgusting things almost every day (see examples above).

  • “If Democrats want to unite around the foul language and racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular and unrepresentative Congresswomen…”

Truth: Trump has made many racist statements such as: 

    1. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came…”
    2. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here? We should have more people from places like Norway.”
    3. “These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country…”
    4. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides…” (speaking about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville where Heather Heyer was killed.
  • “When will the radical left Congresswomen apologize to our country…”

Truth: Trump attacks people constantly and never apologizes for anything.

  • “Horrible anti-Israel, anti-USA, pro-terrorist and public shouting of the F… word…” (He was talking about the 4 Congresswomen)

Truth: The following are just a few examples of actual quotes where Trump has used the F word in public:

    1. “Listen, you motherf*****s, we’re gonna tax you 25 percent.”
    2. “We build a school, we build a road…in the meantime, we can’t get a f***ing school in Brooklyn.”
    3. “We have nobody in Washington that sits back and said, ‘You’re not going to raise that f***ing price.”

What Jesus said:

  • “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith….you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24
  • “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25-26
  • “So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:28

Lawlessness:

What Trump and his administration has done:

Ignored subpoenas

Repeatedly lied.

Refused to testify in front of Congress.

KellyAnne Conway has violated the Hatch Act multiple times.

Appears that Trump did obstruct justice regarding the Russia investigation.

What Jesus said:

“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:11-12

 

So if Trump’s behavior does not fall in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, why do some evangelicals think he is doing God’s work? The following are just three examples of how evangelicals push this narrative, but there are many more:

  • “Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation…” Brad Pascale, Trump campaign manager
  • “I think that [God] wanted Donald Trump to become President.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  • “Furthermore, when you consider everything that President Trump has done for people of faith since taking office, it’s easy to see why so many of them agree with Sanders that Donald Trump is doing God’s work.” Paula White, evangelical leader and adviser to Trump.

Jesus told us how we could distinguish between true Christians and those who just say they are Christian but really aren’t:

  • “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-16

We know that God does not listen to sinners (remember that Trump has openly admitted that he doesn’t repent; therefore he is an unrepentant sinner):

  • “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will.” John 9:31

And we know that the light cannot mix with the darkness:

  • “And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”  John 3:19-21

We also know that someone like Trump who is the antithesis of Christianity cannot do the will of God. Jesus explained this in Matthew 12:25:

  • “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” Matthew 12:25-26

In conclusion, I believe that it is safe to say that Donald Trump is NOT doing God’s work. His words and behavior are the exact opposite of how Jesus taught us to act. I believe far-right Christians and some evangelicals believe Trump is “doing God’s work” based purely on the fact that he says he is pro-life (he used to be pro-choice) and that he has assigned conservative judges to the Supreme Court. However, it is extremely important to realize that abortion is not the only issue. In fact, I believe Jesus warned us that hyper-focus on one issue, such as abortion, could lead us down the wrong path. Let’s revisit Matthew 23:23-24. Think about far-right Christians and their hyper-focus on abortion. Then think about all the anti-Christian things Trump has done as evidenced in this blog. Ready? Now read what Jesus said:

  • “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith….you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24

The point here is that Christianity involves EVERYTHING that Jesus taught. It is not just about abortion. Yes, the abortion issue is important, but if we focus just on that one thing while ignoring justice and mercy and faith, we are hypocrites and are not doing the will of God.

More to come soon…

 

Should We Blindly Follow Government Authority? Trump, the Evangelicals, and the Immigration Problem

During the past week or so, I have been in long and very interesting discussions with followers of Franklin Graham on Twitter. As these discussions continued I realized several things:

  1. I was dumbfounded by their lack of knowledge of scripture.
  2. I realized that they blindly follow Trump even when proof of his lies are presented to them.
  3. I realized that in order to push their narrative, they quote only one or two scripture passages and take them out of context.
  4. I felt like I was talking to modern-day Pharisees.

I will address each of the above in more detail.

  1. Lack of knowledge of scripture – Over and over again, they insisted that Jesus never broke the law. When I told them this wasn’t true, they asked for scripture references. Now, if these people really followed Jesus and spent time reading the Bible, they would know that Jesus broke the law…many times. Again, I was dumbfounded. First of all, why do they think Jesus was crucified? I reminded them that Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman and that he healed on the Sabbath. I reminded them that Jesus defended his disciples when they plucked grain on the Sabbath. An additional time was when he overturned the tables in the temple. All of these actions were illegal.
  2. Many of Graham’s followers insisted that most of the people crossing at the border were criminals that had kidnapped children and/or who were involved in drug cartels. They used this as justification for child separations at the border. I know where they are getting this false info – it comes directly from Trump as he has stated many times that those crossing the border are all “bad people”. I checked the facts. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection website reports the following numbers: From October, 2017 to June, 2018, there were 286,290 unaccompanied minors and family units apprehended at the border (37,450 unaccompanied minors and 68,290 family units for a total of 286,290). During that same time period, 4,886 of those were criminal aliens. This means that 1.8 percent of people crossing at the southern border were actually “bad people” as Trump calls them. When I posted these stats on Franklin Graham’s site, I was insulted so much by one woman that I ended up having to block her. She clearly didn’t like to be proven wrong.
  3. The scripture passage that some of Graham’s followers use over and over again to justify their support of Trump’s zero tolerance policy is Romans 13:1-7. I would like to spend a little more time on this one. This verse tells us that we should obey our leaders and government. That part is true. However, should we blindly follow government and follow all rules without question? Here’s a better question – are we expected to blindly follow dictators like Hitler and Stalin? The answer is no. Here are some facts:
  • The word “governing” in this passage was translated from the Greek word “hupercho” which  means “morally excellent.” This word does not refer to a person who is corrupt or who is morally lacking.
  • Hitler used Romans 13 to force church compliance during World War II.
  • We have to remember that Jesus broke unjust man-made laws, and so did Peter and Paul.
  • There are many times in the Bible where civil disobedience was honored by God. Examples can be found in Exodus 1 (midwives not following the command of the King of Egypt, and God rewarded them), Daniel (he did not follow the rule to not pray, yet God saved him from the den of lions), Acts 4-5 (Peter and John arrested by the Sadducees for preaching about Jesus, but they were released because they were performing many miracles), and most terrifying, Revelation 13:13 (the dragon gives all AUTHORITY to the beast, and everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life will follow it).
  • The bottom line: We are to obey JUST laws and follow MORALLY EXCELLENT LEADERS. We must take Romans 13 in context with the rest of the scripture. There are many cases of civil disobedience in both the Old and New Testament. The disciples were imprisoned for civil disobedience. How can we tell when it is OK to rise up and resist against authority? The answer to that is easy…when man-made law is in conflict with God’s law. Some of those on Franklin Graham’s page insist that we must obey all laws, and they use this as a justification for separating families. When I told them that God calls us to be compassionate and that He also calls us to treat the foreigner as a native of our land, they insist that we must follow the law. I think you get the point by now. We must follow man-made law if and only if it agrees with God’s law. If it conflicts with God’s law, it is OK to resist authority.

4. During these conversations on Franklin Graham’s Twitter feed, it became apparent to me that these people appear to be modern-day Pharisees. No matter how many times I tried to explain everything that I have written in this blog, they kept going back to “we must follow the laws all the time no matter what.” This is exactly what the Pharisees did in the gospels. It’s as if they are deaf. Then I realized that Jesus told us that there will be those who won’t listen…those who will not hear because they are not of God. I, of course, accept this teaching, but it does make me sad. I really wish people would at least try to understand scripture. I keep posting on his site because you just never know what kind of impact it may have….some who remain quiet may be taking this all in and may be listening closely. I sure hope so!

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend, everyone!

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 6

I learned something after writing Part 5 of this Bible study.

I learned that the book of James is not accepted by all mainstream religions.

Why? Because James doesn’t talk as much about faith as in other books of the Bible. His focus is more on works. Remember that James said “faith without works is dead.”

Some people don’t like this. Some believe that faith alone will get us into heaven…that what we do here on earth doesn’t matter. I even read that some religious groups don’t accept the words of James because they contradict what Paul said in his letters.

But do they?

Since Christians in general accept the words of Paul, I decided to move to Romans in Part 6 of this Bible study. I wanted to see if Paul’s words contradict what James said. Let’s take a look.

“They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die – yet they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.” Romans 1:29-32

Let’s apply those verses to Trump and evangelical leaders today.

Trump is guilty of covetousness. One perfect example are his multiple affairs. Especially compelling today is the Stormy Daniels story.

Trump is full of deceit. He lies on average of 5 times per day. A recent example of his deceit are the lies he told to Justin Trudeau about the “trade deficit” with Canada. He even ADMITTED his deceit, and even laughed about it.

Trump is a slanderer. He calls people names on almost a daily basis. Just take a look at his Twitter feed.

Trump is haughty and boastful. How many times have you heard him brag about how he is the best President ever, that he has the largest crowds ever, and that we should feel lucky that he decided to run for President?

Now, let’s read Romans 1:32 again: “They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die – yet they not only do them, but EVEN APPLAUD OTHERS WHO PRACTICE THEM.”

Who applauds Trump even though he practices these sinful behaviors? That’s right – some evangelicals and even the preachers. Tony Perkins gave Trump a “mulligan” over the Stormy Daniels affair. Franklin Graham, even when confronted with all of Trump’s sinful behavior, says that Trump is “a good person.”

Moving on…

“For [God] will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil.” Romans 2:6-9

It is very clear from those verses that Paul is saying that actions DO matter. This is in agreement with what is written in the book of James.

Now let me stop here and make it very clear that faith is extremely important. Belief in Jesus is very important. Our sins will be forgiven if we turn from sin and repent. His death on the cross will cover those sins. But some evangelicals want to believe that faith is the ONLY thing that matters, and it doesn’t matter what we do here on earth. Both James and Paul have said that by doing evil, we are sinning and we will be held accountable if we don’t turn from that sinful life – we have to leave it behind, pick up the cross and follow Jesus. That means turning away from sin. That doesn’t mean that we will be perfect – no one is. But we can’t do just anything willy nilly and not even try. That’s not going to work either.

Paul clarifies this even further:

“For it is NOT the HEARERS of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the DOERS of the law who will be justified.” Romans 2:13

Again, Paul drives home the point that the ones who will be justified will be those who ACT.

The last thing I would like to address today is the specific action of accepting Jesus as our Savior. Clearly this is very important as the Bible teaches us. But sometimes, I hear far-right evangelicals go as far as to say that those who have never heard about Jesus and who were never given an opportunity to accept Him will not go to heaven. I have always had a problem with this. God is love. Why then would God punish someone who was never told about Jesus? That just never seemed right to me.

Well, I found a passage in the gospel that refutes this thinking and I will share that at a later date. But today, I found yet another passage in Paul that refutes this idea.

A long time ago, my mom asked a priest about the fate of someone’s soul if they were never baptized. That priest told her not to worry – that there is something called the “baptism of desire”. He explained that if the person had a good heart and acted in a Christlike manner here on earth, God will take that into account, and just because he/she wasn’t baptized does not necessarily mean that they are not going to heaven. Well, when I read the following verse, it sounded like the “baptism of desire” that the priest explained to my mom all those years ago.

“When Gentiles who do not possess the law, do INSTINCTIVELY what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is WRITTEN ON THEIR HEARTS, to which their own conscience also bears witness.” Romans 2:14-15

Paul goes on to make it even clearer:

“Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law.” Romans 2:27

Think about that for a moment, and then apply it to today. Paul is saying that those who have the Bible, know what it says, and goes to church but break the law will be condemned by those in who the law is “written on their hearts” but may not be able to go through all the rituals that people think need to be done in order to be fully Christian. Paul solidifies his point in Romans 2:29:

“Rather, a person is a Jew who is one INWARDLY, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart – it is spiritual and not literal.”

So what does this all mean? Well, it means first that we need to trust Jesus as our Savior. But it also means that when we accept Jesus, there will be an inward, spiritual transformation that will cause us to turn from our sinful ways. Our actions will change as a result. We will no longer go out and sin freely and then just ask for forgiveness that night. That is not the change that God wants or expects from us. He wants a spiritual transformation….one in which we turn from sin and try to live as Christ taught us to live according to the commandments.

Also, if people are not told about Jesus, that does not necessarily mean that they are doomed to hell. The law can be “written on the heart” even without the knowledge of Jesus. By saying that a person is going to hell just because they have never heard of Jesus is one of the reasons Jesus told us not to judge. We have to remember that we do not know what is in a person’s heart. The only one who has that information is God; therefore He is the ONLY ONE who can say whether or not someone is going to hell.

Have a great Saturday! God bless!

 

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 5

Today, I am going to take a little break from Matthew and jump to the book of James. It is only a few pages long but it is full of direction on how we must be “doers” and not just “hearers”. I think we need to take a good hard look at this little section of the Bible today.

Again, I hear many evangelicals say that actions don’t matter – all that matters is grace, and that if we confess “Jesus is our Savior” with our mouths, that is enough to get into heaven. Now let me make this very clear – we DO need to accept Jesus as our Savior. We DO need grace to get into heaven. By all means! But the point I am trying to make is that actions are also important, and that the teaching that we are to get into heaven by grace alone….without any work on our part….is incorrect.

In my search for answers, I found James to be quite enlightening. Many people focus on the gospels which are so important, but if you go further into the New Testament- into the letters of Paul, John, James, etc., it really clarifies things. This is where it clarified for me that actions do in fact matter.

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. But let’s keep going:

“But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who ACT – they will be blessed in their doing.” James 1:25

These passages clearly refute the beliefs of some evangelicals who say that our works on this earth don’t matter, and all that matters is grace. These passages also directly apply to those evangelical preachers who turn a blind eye to Trump’s immoral behavior. They are not “doing”…they are not standing up and saying that Trump’s behavior is unacceptable.

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” James 2:10-11

Let’s think about that for a moment. Some of the evangelicals and even other Christians constantly speak out against abortion. But these same people are quiet about Trump. Some even give Trump a “mulligan” for his adulterous affair with Stormy Daniels. Now, read the above passage again. Clearly James is telling us that this kind of behavior is wrong. We have to call out ALL sin, not just the sin that “fits” into our little box. You can’t pick and choose.

Going on, James clearly states that faith without works is dead:

“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” James 2:17

Then James makes a statement that should make everyone think long and hard. He states that even the demons believe that God is real….and they shudder:

“Even the demons believe – and shudder.” James 2:20

Then he goes on to reiterate that works are a part of accepting Jesus fully:

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone…For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” James 2:24-26

Now, as we read the next verse, let’s think about the evangelical preachers who are giving Trump a “mulligan” and who teach that we don’t have to act or to follow the Ten Commandments:

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1

Kind of scary, huh?

Now think about the obvious hypocrisy that we are witnessing in some evangelicals today. Remember, they jumped all over Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, but now these same evangelicals are mysteriously quiet about Trump. Also, a recent poll showed that during the Clinton administration, the percentage of evangelicals that said that moral behavior of a President wasn’t important was in the 20s. Today, under Trump, that number is in the 70s. What happened? Is it hypocrisy, or do the rules change depending on whether you are a Republican or Democrat?

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of PARTIALITY or HYPOCRISY.” James 3:17

James is very clear. These teachings and behaviors of evangelicals who still support Trump are not in line with true Christianity. My hope is that they will read this, pray about it, and return to the only path that leads us to Jesus.

I implore preachers like Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Andrew Wommack and others to rethink what they are teaching and to call out Trump on his immoral behavior.

I will close with this:

“Anyone then who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin.” James 4:17

Have a wonderful weekend! God bless!

 

 

 

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 4

This weekend, I have been talking with some people on Franklin Graham’s Twitter feed. Graham’s support of Trump has been a big part of the discussion. So today, I want to once again look at Trump’s behavior and policies in relation to what Jesus tells us in the gospel of Matthew.

I will start with Matthew 15:

…”Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” Matthew 15:11

Think about Trump’s Twitter feed. In a previous blog, I listed some of the names that he has called people – Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Liddle Bob Corker, Crooked Hillary. Someone on Graham’s Twitter feed says he just “tells it like it is”. Calling people names is “telling it like it is”? Jesus never said it was OK to call people names.

The New York Times published a comprehensive list of all the insults that Trump has lodged at people in the past year. It is pages long. In addition, it is known that Trump lies an average of five times per day. The New York Times also has a comprehensive list of all the lies Trump has told since taking office – over 2,000 proven untruths. Let’s also remember that Jesus tells us that Satan is the “father of lies.”

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.” Matthew 15:18-20

Let’s remember what Trump said about women on that bus. Let’s also recall the multiple affairs that he had while he was married.  Jesus has made it very clear what defiles a man, and Trump’s behavior falls into that category.

Now let’s remember that Trump admitted that he does not ask for forgiveness. This means he has not repented. You can’t be forgiven if you don’t repent. Therefore, Trump is not in good standing with God. He will never be in good standing with God until he repents.

Let’s look at Matthew 18:4:

“Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Is Trump humble? Absolutely not. He is the opposite of humility. How many times have we seen Trump boast himself up as “the greatest President ever” or “how lucky are you that I ran for the Presidency?” or “We had the largest crowd ever”, etc. This is truly the least humble man that I have seen/heard in my 52 years on this earth.

Next, let’s look at Matthew 19:21-26:

“If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me.”

Instead of Trump giving up his possessions (billions), he gives a tax break to the upper 1% of the country. The middle class will eventually pay for this. He travels almost every weekend to Mar-a-Lago to play golf and spends millions on the tax-payers’ backs. He wants to throw poor people out of the country, he failed to help the poor people of Puerto Rico after the hurricane, and now they are looking at cutting Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Those on these federal programs are generally those with the least money, and this administration is looking to make it even harder for them. In addition, we see some in his administration that are using tax-payer money for extravagant flights and vacations. This behavior is the exact opposite of what Jesus calls us to do in the above passage.

Matthew 13:22 says it nicely: “As for what was sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of WEALTH choke the word, and it yields nothing.”

Jesus tells us in the gospels that a person cannot serve both God and money. He goes further in the above passage saying that a person may hear the Word, but the Word is choked out of him because of the lure of wealth. Trump falls into this category. We see him pray in public, but the lure of his wealth causes him to ignore what Jesus says. Remember also the passage that I talked about in a previous blog – some who say “Lord, Lord” will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, this goes back to ACTION. We must ACT on God’s Word, not just say the words. Just because Trump prays in public does not mean he is a true Christian.

The final passage I would like to discuss is Matthew 12:25. This weekend, some evangelicals said to me (and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this) that God uses imperfect people to do His will, and they give the example of King David. Yes, that is true. None of us are perfect. However, there is a difference, and that difference is repentance. King David repented. St. Paul repented. We KNOW that Trump has NOT repented because he said so. These evangelicals don’t seem to comprehend the difference. Keep this in mind as you read the following verse:

“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” Matthew 12:25-26

Jesus is basically saying here that He cannot use evil to advance the kingdom of God, and Satan cannot use a good person to promote evil. A kingdom divided against itself will fall. So, the idea that God will use Trump, a non-repentant, sinful man to do His will is nonsense. God only uses those who truly repent of their sins, accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and lives according to His Word by following the commandments and all that is taught in the Bible.

Hope everyone has a great week! God bless!

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 2

Well, today I was going to continue to examine evangelical beliefs and how they compare to the teachings of Jesus. But something happened. I heard Trump speak at CPAC, and one statement that he made stood out. I want to start with this since a majority of evangelicals support Trump.

The statement that he made goes against what Jesus taught us in the gospels. He said that if other nations are nice to us, we will be nice to them. If other nations are mean to us, we will return the favor. This is basically saying, “an eye for an eye”. Let’s remember that Jesus taught us otherwise:

“You have heard that is was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.” Matthew 5:38-41

So, basically, even though Trump wants to APPEAR as a good Christian, his own words don’t align with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

On that topic, I saw Mike Pence at the Olympics. I saw how he didn’t acknowledge the North Koreans. Yes, this regime has done some awful things. However, if you look at the above verse (Matthew 5:38-41), did Pence do the right thing according to the Bible? Not necessarily. Let me share this passage (spoken by Jesus), and think about how Pence ignored the North Koreans:

“And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:47

That’s not an easy one to follow, but Jesus did say it. This is what He taught. I have also heard some evangelicals and even other Christians in other religions say that they want a “purer” church…one in which members are only people who believe exactly as they do. This thought process also goes against biblical teaching as evidenced in the above passage (Matthew 5:47).

Let’s look at how some of the evangelicals pray around Trump. Have you seen the pictures of the evangelicals as they lay their hands on Trump as they pray? Have you heard evangelicals say that this man is a wonderful Christian because he prays like this? Let’s look at what Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew:

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them, for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Jesus is teaching us here that just because someone tries to APPEAR good and righteous doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good and righteous. Beware of appearances.

Next, let’s take a look at the tweets that Trump puts out on a daily basis. How many times have you seen Trump call people names? Let’s look at some specific examples:

  1. “Cryin Chuck Schumer”
  2. “Lyin Ted Cruz”
  3. “Crooked Hillary”
  4. “Little Rocket Man”
  5. “Crazy Bernie Sanders”
  6. “Dicky Durbin”
  7. “Liddle Bob Corker”
  8. “Psycho Joe” (Scarborough)
  9. “Sneaky Diane Feinstein”
  10. “Jeff Flake(y)”
  11. “Dumbest man on television” (Don Lemon)
  12. “Pocahontas” (Elizabeth Warren)
  13. “Sleepy Eyes” (Chuck Todd)
  14. “Mentally deranged author” (Michael Wolff)

Then there are the constant insults that he uses over and over again on many different issues: “fake news”, “obstructionists”, “incompetent”, “clueless”, “dummy”, “false”, “phony”, “horrible”, “disaster”, etc.

Many people who support Trump, including some evangelicals, say that they like this because Trump is just “telling it like it is.” But is this the right thing to do according to the Bible? Let’s take a look:

“…for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37

“…every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:17

I think it is very clear in these verses that Trump’s insults and “telling it like it is” is not the right thing to do.

Let me finish today by sharing the following passage. Again, this emphasizes the need to ACT in our attempt to become more Christ-like…not just say the words:

“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50

Have a great day and God bless!

 

 

 

 

 

Trump, Evangelicals and Ezekiel 22

A few days ago, just by chance, I came across this passage in Ezekiel 22. It terrified me! Although God was talking about another time, this message from God can easily be applied today.  I broke this chapter down piece by piece and analyzed it below. The actual passages are in italics while my comments are not. I feel it is imperative for all of us to read this passage in Ezekiel and think long and hard about what is going on today in the Trump administration. The verse that stood out to me the most is “They do not distinguish between the holy and common, they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and clean.” Evangelical leaders have been on the news this week trying to, as Don Lemon puts it, “twist themselves into pretzels trying to justify Trump’s behavior.” I believe  they are teaching people to see “no difference between the unclean and clean.”

The following is Ezekiel 22:23-31.

23 Again the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.’ 25 There is a conspiracy of her princes[a] within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. 

Think about the tax reform bill. The rich will continue to get benefits, but the middle class and poor will eventually have their taxes increased to pay for the cost of this bill. The young, the poor and the middle class are going to eventually suffer from this bill. So in essence, the rich are going to “take treasure and precious things”. Also know that Paul Ryan wants to cut Medicare and Social Security. Now re-read the passage above. See it?

26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; 

Some evangelicals, including the leaders, say that we cannot judge Trump because “we don’t know his heart”. However, I can assure you that if Obama did half of what Trump has done, those same evangelicals would be pointing their fingers and jumping all over Obama. Now, by making excuses for Trump and basically justifying his immoral behavior while jumping all over others who call Trump out, they are “not distinguishing between the holy and common. They are teaching that “there is no difference between the unclean and clean.”

and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.27

Trump does not go to church and he does not ask for forgiveness. His behavior is the opposite of what Jesus taught us.

Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.

Think of Steve Bannon (white supremacist), Stephen Miller (white supremacist), Paul Manafort (con man out to make quick money), Sarah Sanders (caught in multiple lies over the past year, makes continuous excuses for Trump’s behavior). George Papadopolous and Mike Flynn (both pled guilty and working with Mueller). There are your crooked officials.

 28 Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken.29

Some evangelicals claim that God put Trump into office. I have even seen those that say that “God anointed him”. Some believe that Trump is some kind of prophet because he is moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Franklin Graham, Jerry Fallwell Jr., Tony Perkins and Robert Jeffress are just four of the evangelical leaders that push this teaching. But on the other hand, Trump attacks people on Twitter constantly, degrades women, insults other countries, has extramarital affairs, etc. Trump’s behavior is actually the antithesis of true Christianity. We have to remember that people thought David Koresh and Jim Jones were prophets, and look how that turned out. There are false prophets out there, and we must be able to discern between who is good and who is false. The only way to do that is to read the Bible and listen to God himself. These leaders are not God, and many are false prophets.

The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

Trump failed to properly help out the poor in Puerto Rico. He called poor countries “shithole countries”. He is causing the DACA recipients a lot of distress, and his immigration policies will hurt millions.

30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. 31

I am sure God sees that there are some of us who see through this Trump nonsense.

 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

This should scare everyone. By failing to call out Trump for his immoral behavior, we are setting ourselves up to face God’s wrath. By listening to false prophets, we are setting ourselves up to face God’s wrath. Please, please, I am begging you, please wake up! Consequences are sure to come our way if this Trump nonsense doesn’t stop. Listen to what God tells us in Ezekiel 22: 23-31!

A Letter to Christians Who Support Trump: Why?

To Christians Who Support Donald Trump:

Why?

Why do you support this man?

Do you not realize that by supporting him and not calling him out on his bad behavior hurts Christianity?

People who are watching, including children, are witnessing hypocrisy. Is this really what you want to teach your children? Do you not realize that others are leaving the church because of the hypocrisy?

I don’t understand. Being a Christian myself, I am befuddled as how to someone who is a true Christian can support this man. A lot of people are confused. Please explain it to us.

Explain how you can look past the remarks that were made on the bus when Trump said that he “grabs them by the p****. Jesus tells us to follow the commandments. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is one of them. Trump was a married man. He even said he “tried to **** her”, referring to Nancy O’Dell who was also married. This behavior is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught us.

Explain how you seem to be able to look past all the lies Trump has told since he has been in office. He has lied over 1000 times since he took office, starting with the size of the crowds at the inauguration. Here are some other Trump statements that have been proven false:

Trump: “And I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.”

Truth: Nixon beat him by a wide margin. Trump was on the cover 11 times, and Nixon was on it 55 times.

Trump: “So, look, when President Obama was there [Chicago] two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.”

Truth: On the day that Obama made this speech, there were no gun homicide victims in Chicago.

Trump: “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.”

Truth: 746 people were detained. The Delta outage occurred two days later.

Trump: “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!”

Truth: The New York Times never apologized.

Trump: “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.”

Truth: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush won by bigger margins in the Electoral College.

Trump: “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”

Truth: There was no terror attack in Sweden that night. The next day, confusion set in as no one knew what Trump was talking about.

Trump: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

Truth: There was no evidence that Trump Tower was ever wiretapped.

Trump: “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.”

Truth: The cost cuts were already planned before Trump ever became President.

Trump: “I like Steve [Bannon], but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.”

Truth: Trump knew Steve Bannon since 2011.

Trump: “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”

Truth: The FBI was investigating Russian interference into the election before Trump ever took office (before Clinton’s loss).

Trump: On June 27, 2017, Trump, referring to CNN, said,“Ratings way down!”

Truth: At the time, CNN’s ratings were at a five-year high.

Trump: On July 17, 2017, Trump said, “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever.”

Truth: Clinton, Carter, Truman and FDR had all signed more bills than Trump at the same point.

Trump: “It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem”

Truth: The NFL never made this demand.

These are just a few of over 1000 lies that Trump has told. Jesus told us that Satan is the father of lies:

“You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” John 8:44

So how do you justify Trump’s lies?

How about his lack of concern for others who are different? What about the botched immigration mess that occurred not long after he took office? All those poor people in distress because they couldn’t get back in the country? What about all the people in Puerto Rico who suffered without the basic necessities of life, having to wait a full week before Trump took any action to help them?

Let’s think about this. In the Bible, it says:

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:34

 “Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.'” Acts 10:34

How do you justify the hate that Trump spreads? What about the horrible comments that he made after the Charolottesville attacks? What about all the name-calling on his Twitter feed? Here are just a few examples:

“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”

“With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have “tanked,” in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”

“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now?”

“…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

There are so many more including the constant attacks on the media and on anyone who disagrees with him.

Where in the Bible does it say that it’s OK to call people names? Where does it say that it’s OK to verbally attack anyone that disagrees or has a different opinion or view? Can’t find it? That’s because it isn’t in the Bible. Jesus said:

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

How do you justify all this behavior? Why would you say that Trump is a true Christian and that his behavior is OK with God? How can you say that? Have you read the Bible?

Please explain it to us.

I recently saw a post by Franklin Graham that said he was thankful that Trump was in office because he tells the truth. Truth?? Franklin Graham, hate to tell you this, but Trump has nothing to do with the truth. The fact is that Trump is the antithesis of Christianity. As Jesus told us, “Satan is the father of lies”. Trump has lied more than 1000 times since taking office.

That’s the truth.

 

 

 

 

What is True Christianity?

It’s funny how God gets His message across to those who believe in Him.

Yesterday, I wrote a long blog on a subject that has really been bothering me, but I didn’t publish it. It was way too long, and I went off on tangents, so the whole thing was messy. I decided to think about the subject a little bit more. I decided to write a week’s worth of short blogs.

The subject has to do with Christianity. You see, over the course of my life, I have run into so many people who focus mostly on John 3:16. They believe that all they have to do is to say “Jesus is My Savior” and they are guaranteed entrance into heaven. These people believe that it doesn’t matter what they do or how they act – they can sin all they want to, but it doesn’t matter. They say the words, “Jesus is My Savior” and they believe that is all that needs to be done.

I’ve thought for a long time how people like this came to believe this way. I thought that maybe the idea that they don’t have to follow the Ten Commandments was appealing because it means it would be easier to get into heaven. Well, yeah, if you can still get to heaven even if you continue to live in sin, wouldn’t you want to believe that – I mean that makes things a lot easier doesn’t it? Sad thing is, it just plain isn’t true, and Jesus himself said so. I will explain this in greater detail below.

Another concern that crossed my mind – are these people just listening to their preacher every Sunday? Do they ever just open up the Bible and read it themselves? Hmmm…well, that is a possibility.

Yesterday, part of what I wrote had to do with the suggestion for everyone to open up their Bible and read it. Especially read the entire New Testament. It puts John 3:16 into context.

Interestingly, my mom told me this morning that today (August 28) is the feast day of St. Augustine. This saint was born in 354 AD and had a rather wild childhood, and he even left Christianity for a while. One day, as he wept under a fig tree, he prayed and asked God for help. Suddenly, St. Augustine heard a child’s voice say “Tolle Lege” over and over again. “Tolle Lege” translated means “take up and read”. He picked up a scroll and read Romans 13:13-14 which changed his soul, and he was converted. In St. Augustine’s own words:

“By a light, as it were, of security infused into my heart – all the gloom of doubt vanished away.”

Interesting that today is St. Augustine’s feast day – the same day that I have written this blog about reading the Bible! God works in mysterious ways.

I am concerned about today’s Christianity. I believe a section of it has taken a wrong turn. I have heard preachers, some very well-known, that make statements that I know are not biblically based. So, I am going to write short blogs over the course of a week and address some of these statements and ideas made not only by evangelical preachers but also their followers.

Several months ago, someone who I knew said to me, “I guess you think you know more than Franklin Graham?” She was upset because I had challenged her on some of her beliefs. My answer to her was “yes”. Why? Because I listen to God, not man, and I told her this. About a year ago, after hearing some of these disturbing remarks by the religious right, I decided to sit down and read the New Testament from beginning to end. Although John 3:16 is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, it must be taken in context with what is said in the rest of the New Testament.

The truth is this: No one is automatically guaranteed access into heaven. I know that is probably going to shock a lot of people, but just stay with me for a minute and meditate on this verse actually stated by Jesus himself in the gospel of Matthew:  “NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, LORD, LORD, WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” Matthew 7:21. It doesn’t get clearer than that! But He goes on, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me you evildoers.‘”Matthew 7:22-23.  Go back and read those verses again….and again.  This puts John 3:16 into perspective, doesn’t it? Yes, we can say that we believe in Jesus, but in the end, Jesus is the judge, not us. If we know for sure who is going to heaven as some evangelicals would have you believe, there would be no need for God. ONLY GOD knows what is in the hearts of men. Human beings CANNOT say whether someone is going to heaven or hell, and that includes preachers. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, and I think he made it very clear in these verses that you can’t fool Him. He knows our heart. Franklin Graham, Jerry Fallwell, Andrew Wommack, and others DON’T know what is truly in our hearts and therefore cannot judge. No human being can judge another. Remember, Jesus also said, “Do not judge, lest ye be judged”.

This drives home the point that by focusing on just one or two verses in the Bible, you can easily be misled. My advice to everyone is “Tolle Lege” (Take Up and Read). Don’t rely only on your preacher during Sunday service to teach you about God. Pick up your Bible and read it. It is the only way to true peace and to the absolute Truth.

 

Christian Extremism

The idea for this blog came last weekend after I read an article that was shared on Facebook. I was disturbed by what I read, but I wanted to confirm the information first, so in the last few days, I have been researching. Then yesterday, the horrible shooting of Republicans in Virginia occurred. As I watched the events play out on television, my heart hurt. What in the world has happened to this country?

Personally, I strongly condemn what this guy did yesterday. Violence should never be condoned in any circumstance no matter how much you disagree with another individual or group. My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of this horrendous attack on innocent civilians.

There is so much hate right now in the United States. In my lifetime, I have never seen so much hate, and it saddens me greatly.  For me, I have seen the hate from both sides – Democrats and Republicans. We are ALL guilty of it.

This morning, I was extremely disturbed to see that some of the far-right were quick to point out all of the anti-Trump rhetoric as the cause of this guy actions. I had posted a funny meme about Trump on my page about a week ago (and BTW, it did not promote violence of any kind), and last night, I received some harsh words about it by a far-right individual. She blamed this shooting on anti-Trump rhetoric from the left. I reminded her of the time Trump encouraged his followers to beat up people at one of his rallies in my attempt to show her that hate is coming from both sides.

I am glad that I delayed writing this blog because this will show that hate is prevalent on both sides, not just one. Both the far-right and the far-left concern me greatly. One example of the far-left crossing the line is the Kathy Griffin incident. I was completely disgusted by what she did and do not condone it in any way. I state this fact so that readers will understand that I am against all forms of extremism. Since Trump took office, I realized that I am definitely a moderate, and I really feel like the majority of Americans fall into this group. But today, I want to specifically address the issues with the far-right.

The article that I referred to above referenced some quotes by Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell and Dave Daubenmire. I have to admit that I had never heard of Dave Daubenmire, so I looked him up and found his website. A former coach turned pastor, he is the founder of Pass the Salt Ministries. I decided to look through his blogs and videos and was dumbfounded by what I read. Below I give actual quotes from him followed by my responses:

“The virus known as multiculturalism is eating away in an attempt to exterminate the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon protestants).”

Here, it appears as if Mr. Daubenmire is promoting division, racism and hate. Clearly he doesn’t want different cultures to intermingle. Jesus does not teach us to do this. In fact, Jesus himself said: “Go therefore and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19

“We may pick apart Trump, but look at who hates him still. The left, Democrats, satanists.”

Again, he is promoting hate against a particular group of people. He cannot speak for the entire group. He is judging a large group of people based on the actions of a few. Jesus said: “Do not judge lest ye be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” Matthew 7:1-2

“As Christian men, we are called to take the Kingdom of God by force…so when we just sit back and pray, without action, what good is it?”

There are a couple of problems here. First, I know of nowhere in the Bible where it says that we, as Christians, need to take the Kingdom of God by force. In fact, by saying this, he is coming dangerously close to radical Christian extremism. The far right opposes radical Islamic extremism because suicide bombers will kill anyone who is not Muslim. But here, Daubenmire is promoting violence in order to convert people to Christianity. This is a dangerous line to cross and is not in line with what is in the Bible. Jesus said: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31 Note that he didn’t say to “love your Christian neighbor” or “love your Republican neighbor”. He said to love your neighbor. This means everyone…ALL people. The second problem is that he basically said that prayer doesn’t work! “…if we just sit back and pray, without action, what good is it?” He clearly doesn’t believe in the power of prayer. As it is written in the book of James: “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

“The only thing that is going to save Western civilization is a more aggressive Christianity.”

Again, Daubenmire is suggesting forceful conversion. This again is coming dangerously close to the line of Christian extremism.

“Trump has dealt a huge blow to the religion of environmentalism…He is taking care of American taxpayers, not environmental globalists. Not the religion of nature. He is taking care of people because PEOPLE are God’s greatest creation, not “Mother Earth”.

One verse in Revelation clearly discounts Daubenmire’s statement here: “The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:18  Everything here on earth is God’s creation. It all belongs to God and we have absolutely no right to destroy it.

“Those who care the most are harsh…when you love someone, you do the hard thing for them. That means telling them the truth, so they can correct their ways.”

If you read this statement alone, it doesn’t seem too bad. But taken in context with Daubenmire’s extreme views, it becomes problematic. When I read this, it immediately reminded me of an eerily similar statement that someone in the church of Scientology said to a member on Leah Remini’s show, Scientology and the Aftermath. I just recently told someone that the thinking of some of the people on the far-right seems almost cult-like. Then I read above statement which, sadly, solidified my concerns. Another example of a cult-like statement by Daubenmire is below:

“Wake up, get your kids out of public schools, and realize this battle is between God and Satan…”

One of the ways cults operate is through isolation. It is really important to remember this and be able to identify it when confronted with this kind of rhetoric.

“The tolerant crowd believes you should tolerate all beliefs, except if it’s a belief they don’t agree with. They only want tolerated what they believe.”

Um, yeah. All you have to do is go back and re-read all of Daubenmire’s statements above. Hypocrisy? Yes!

“Jesus is the least tolerant person to have ever lived.”

Nonsense. Let’s not forget about the woman who was about to be stoned for committing adultery: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7  Remember, Jesus interacted with the sinners. As he said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32 I would say that is pretty tolerant.

Now I am probably going to really step on some toes as I am going to address some of Franklin Graham’s comments.

Graham said that there’s “no question” God is supporting Trump.

Listen…God doesn’t support sin. Jesus never said it was OK to insult people on a daily basis by calling them names. Jesus never said that it was OK for Trump to lie. Jesus never said it was OK for Trump to say all those vulgar things about women. Jesus doesn’t condone sin! I’ve heard the argument that King David, although he sinned, was a “man after God’s own heart”. Yes, that is true, but some on the far-right seem to forget that David REPENTED. The concept of repentance is missing. God even used Paul for good after all the bad things that he did…but again, he REPENTED. Donald Trump continues to lie. He continues to call people names. Remember what Jesus said: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:19-20

“No president in my lifetime…can I remember…speaking about God as Donald Trump does.”

First, the only time I have ever heard Trump talk about God is when he is at some kind of Christian event. Second, speaking about God means nothing. Again, “you will know them by their fruits”. Also Jesus said the following: “So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:28

“I want the school boards of America in the hands of evangelical Christians within the next 4-6 years…And it can happen and that will have a huge impact because so many school districts are now controlled by wicked, evil people, and the gays and lesbians, and I keep bringing their name up, but they are at the forefront of this attack against Christianity in America.”

First of all, this kind of statement promotes hate. Some people will read this and think it is OK to go out and hurt gays and lesbians, just like what we saw in Orlando. That is NEVER OK, just like what happened yesterday in Virginia is NEVER OK. Second, when I read this statement by Franklin Graham, I thought about Ellen Degeneres. I watch her show because I find her incredibly funny. I thought about the tremendous amount of good that she does on her show. She gives people who are struggling so much help and makes them smile…each and every day. I do not understand how the far-right thinks that someone like this is evil. I don’t believe it is that simple. It’s not black and white. Remember, Jesus said: “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Jesus called us to love one another. We are not the judge. No one knows who is doomed to hell, not even Franklin Graham. He is just a man…he is not God. Neither is Dave Daubenmire. Jesus said that the two most important commandments are to love God with all your heart and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself…not just Christians, but everyone…even the sinners. It is not up for us to judge. Our understanding is limited…we do not see things as God sees them.

I hope that this blog will demonstrate that some on the far-right are spewing hate and are just as guilty as those on the far-left. This idea that the shooting was entirely based on anti-Trump rhetoric is simply not true. We have to remember that this guy does not represent all Democrats, and just as much hate is coming from the far-right Christians that are spreading “facts” about Christianity that are not biblically based and which borders on Christian extremism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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