Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Bill Shorten Is Un-Australian


This may seem like a big statement to make. I mean after-all unlike some of our previous Prime Ministers like Tony Abbot and Julia Gillard, Bill Shorten was born and bred in Australia. He has strong roots in the workers union movements, which have a long history in Australian tradition, and he speaks with that nasally Aussie accent that us younger Australians brought up on too much American TV can’t help but notice and sometimes even grate at. So, in many ways Bill Shorten is a product of and representative of Australian people and our history. But the way in which he is un-Australian is so important, because he wants to be the Prime Minister of Australia, the highest representative of our laws and constitution. So how is he un-Australian? Well he has gone against the spirit of our most important historical and legal document: the constitution. First let’s read his comments and then we’ll see how.

Bill says,

"I cannot believe in this election that there is a discussion even under way that gay people will go to hell," Mr Shorten said.

"I cannot believe that the Prime Minister has not immediately said that gay people will not go to hell."

When Mr Shorten was asked if he believed gay people would go to hell, he said: "No, I don't believe gay people, because they're gay, will go to hell. I don't need a law to tell me that. I don't believe it."

The Opposition Leader then criticised Mr Morrison for not being able to give a direct answer to the same question the previous day.

"I think if you want to be prime minister of Australia you are going to be prime minister for all people. And I just don't believe it. The nation's got to stop eating itself in this sort of madness of division and toxicity(The Sydney Morning Herald).

Now if you want to read my discussion of who goes to hell you can read here and here. What the Bible says about this topic is far more that what Bill Shorten has narrowed it down to, but his truly concerning comment is in the last line: "I think if you want to be prime minister of Australia you are going to be prime minister for all people. And I just don't believe it. The nation's got to stop eating itself in this sort of madness of division and toxicity.” Whether intentionally or not Bill Shorten has used the media to create a religious test of office for the Prime Minister.

The Australian constitution clearly says this in article 116:
“The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth” (Government website).

The constitution specifically forbids the Australian government from making any law that requires a religious test for any public office. That means any position in the government or government bureaucracy from working in Australian Federal Police, the Army, all the way on up to the Prime Minister’s office.

Now Mr Shorten has not sought to pass such a law, and if he was to become Prime Minister to pass such a law would require changing the Constitution which is no easy task. But he has used the media during an election campaign to effectively create a religious test for the job of Prime Minister. He has effectively said in his comments that any Christian who holds to a traditional view of Christian morality is not fit to be the leader of this nation. Not only is this ridiculous Australia has had many Christian and non-Christian leaders over its history who have done their jobs well, but it is also thoroughly un-Australian.

Those who know our history well will know that Australia was founded as a British Colony at a time when Britain had learnt many lessons about established religions and living peacefully with Christians and people of different faiths. Those who were building our society did not want a repeat of the clashes between Catholics and Anglicans, nor did they want the persecutions of Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers and others in England coming here, and though Anglicanism was the favoured majority religion in Australia, from our earliest days of European settlement Catholicism was a strong part of Australian identity. Therefore, learning from the mistakes of the old country, our founders here in Australia decided to make this new country a place where people of all religions and none, could be treated equally and live peaceably together, without fear of persecution or exclusion. It was an essential part of the founding ethos of Australia that people’s religious beliefs would not be used against them when they sought to serve their commonwealth in an official capacity.

This philosophy was so important to the founders of Australia that they enshrined this ethos in the constitution making it law and making it a foundational part of Australian identity.  By using the tactic of creating a religious test for the Prime Ministership in the media during an election campaign, Bill Shorten has shown himself to be in total contradiction to our Aussie values and therefore incredibly un-Australian. I don’t think such a man is fit for the highest office of the land, he seems have no respect for the most important founding principles of our nation: a place where we don’t judge people politically by their religion or creed.

This issue is too important for us as a society to overlook. If we want to continue to live in a free society, with strong values of tolerance and respect for all people, we need people in top positions who uphold those values as unassailable parts of our national identity.   

References: 

Sydney Morning Herald https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/govern-for-all-shorten-takes-aim-at-morrison-over-gays-going-to-hell-20190514-p51n3k.html

The Australian Constition Website:
 https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/Constitution.aspx

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Scott Morrison The Compromiser


In one corner we have a man, Israel Folau who is contemplating his future. Because he refused to delete a post on Instagram he has lost his income, his career, his prestige but he has retained his dignity and his backbone. I am not a 100% sure Israel Folau’s Christianity is orthodox, but I am 110% sure he is a man of principle and I will back up a man who sticks to his Christian principles every day of the week.

In another corner we have the ultimate compromise candidate, Scott Morrison. The man the Liberal Party chose instead of the left leaning Turnbull and the right leaning Peter Dutton. But he is not just the compromise choice of the LNP, he seems to want to carry that moniker into his Prime Ministership and into the election campaign. Many Liberal supporters have been waiting to see if Scott would show true conservative or progressive principles, many Christians were hoping this would be the Christian PM to lead the country into a new age of honouring God. But at the end of the day he has shown us he really is the true Compromiser:

“Question: How appropriate was it for Bill Shorten to raise your answer to a question you received about whether gay people go to hell and can you clear up your position on that question?

Scott Morrison: I have already made a statement. It is not my view that’s the case. My faith is about the - God’s love is for everybody.

That is what I have always believed.

I found it very disappointing that without even prompting he sought to try and politicise this. And seek to exploit opportunity for it. I thought that was very disappointing.

I don’t think that should have a place in this election campaign. People’s faith are people’s faith.
I’m not running for Pope, I’m running for Prime Minister.

So, you know, theological questions you can leave at the door.

Question: Do you believe...[gay people go to hell]

Morrison: I just said no, I don’t.

Question: Why didn’t you say that when you were asked yesterday?

Morrison: Yesterday I plead the point these are -- made the point these are religious issues and I don’t want to see those controversial topics being brought into the political debate. I don’t see how that helps anybody” (The Guardian).

In an effort to try and keep his job, gotten through ill-gotten gain, let’s be honest, he has decided to compromise on his faith. He has clearly contradicted several passages of scripture (1 Cor 6, 1 Tim. 1 etc) in an effort to keep at arms length the baying progressive crowds. No he doesn’t believe gay people go to hell, God’s love is for everyone, he says. He is right about the fact that God’s love is for everyone, but he has clearly said something which contradicts the Apostle Paul, who wrote the book on Christian belief, almost literally (he wrote much of the New Testament at least).

It’s really sad that in today's world Christianity has been boiled down to what people think about homosexuality. Because Christianity is about far more than that. Sexual ethics is a key component, but Christianity at its core is about a loving God who gave his life to redeem sinners, which we all are. As Paul said he is the chief among them. I know that I don’t deserve to go to heaven, none of us do. Only by trusting in Jesus can anyone get there. But for whatever reason our culture has backed Christianity into a corner on this issue of homosexuality, and the truth is the Bible does teach practicing homosexuals, along with gossips, slanders, the greedy, hypocrites adulterers and others will go to hell unless they turn from their sin and trust in Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), just as I would be still going to hell if I continued to define myself by my sin, rather than placed my trust in Jesus. It’s a hard teaching for our society to hear today, but in every generation there are aspects of God’s word the culture considers blasphemous and we have to teach it anyway. The good news is God doesn’t want to send anyone to hell and has made a way for people to escape punishment by trusting in his son who died on the cross for our sins.  

But this isn’t good enough for the cultural elites. They still hate this truth, even when presented with nuance, love and care, and honest self-reflection. Indeed Bill Shorten knows this and has done something that is technically unconstitutional: he has used the media to create a religious test of office for the Prime Minister. Of course it’s not an official law, so it is not technically in breach of the Constitution, but it is definitely in breach of the spirit of the Constitution. But then again the Constitution was written for a different people, with different morals, in a very different age, an age when Christendom still was a valid name for the Western world. A time when the Western world was forging ahead with new liberal principles that had been hard fought through civil wars, revolutions, religious tensions and even a couple of religious wars in the preceding several centuries. Classical Liberalism was the new ideal for this new age Christendom was entering into, an age of liberality for people of all ideas and creeds, where all boundaries were being broken down and society was opening up in ways it never had before. It is a beautiful dream that is starting to shatter before our eyes.

You see this whole situation with Morrison and Shorten highlights something problematic for Western civilization. Societies with few to no boundaries will be over come by cultures or societies with strong boundaries. Whatever you can say about the leftist/progressive cultural framework, it has clear boundaries and a clear hierarchy. They claim to be egalitarian, but that is far from true. There is a hierarchy and sexual ethics, and sexual identity are key components to that hierarchy. There are categories for working out how people should be situated in the hierarchy: sexual orientation, race, ideology, etc, etc are relevant. And these are progressively shifting towards more extreme identity groups with more aspects of their identity lining up with the leftist check boxes of oppression. It’s a very clear, systematic and hierarchical way to restructure society, and it is working, we see it working more and more.

This very clear framework will continue to overcome a "classical liberal" framework because there is nothing which defines classical liberalism other than nebulous, difficult to define things like tolerance, equality, etc, etc. Which have all been disconnected from their roots in Christendom and the philosophies of thinkers who forged their ideas in Christian discussion groups, universities, and culture and therefore these values have been made far less secure as guiding principles for our modern society. They are now disconnected from their originating document: the New Testament. These values were hashed out in debates about how to live as differing Christians in a Christian society, they were never designed to be principles for a multi-cultural society, that looked on Christianity with disdain. Just read the writings of men like Locke, and that is pretty clear. We need to completely re-evaluate how we move forward, because the principles of a bygone era are no longer serving the freedoms they were intended to foster, they are now being twisted and corrupted to suit those who wish to use them for their own quest for power in the progressively less-liberal West.  

In this new context Christians will be better off laying their chips on the table and letting what may come, come, it will be painful but its the best path forward. Scott Morrison should just be honest that unrepentant sinners of all types go to hell and take the public shame and criticism that comes with it. We should all be willing to do the same, because at least that way we will keep our principles, and as society begins to shift again we will have a base from which to work from: solid traditional Christian values. By equivocating we just loose respect on all sides and gain zero ground, and prove to many that Christian principles aren't worth holding to (when really they are).

We have seen two very public examples of how to navigate this sexular culture, one is Scott Morrison the compromise candidate who likely will lose his job and his public standing soon, the other is Israel Folau who has lost so much but kept his backbone and inspired millions because of it. I know who I would rather be compared to. I just hope when I am challenged I show the courage to stand firm, I hope all of us who name Jesus Lord will do so.


Thursday, 2 May 2019

The Murderer and The Hero


Last weekend something terrible and something incredible happened. The terrible thing that happened was that a young Reformed, professing Christian man, walked into a Synagogue and opened fire on innocent worshippers as they held a Passover celebration. The young man, John Earnest was a regular attendee of his church and according to those who knew him he was a quiet and good student, and he knew his faith very well. He also happened to be a secret white supremacist who has been harbouring hatred for his fellow man.  

The weapon he took into the Chabad of Poway was an AR-15 rifle. The AR-15 is one of the most popular assault rifle platforms because it is versatile, and effective. It is easy to use and easy to train someone to use effectively, which is why many militaries have been using a version of this rifle for decades. Indeed many mass shootings in recent US history have been carried out with the same rifle, and the death tolls in some of those shootings were incredibly large…but not this time. Why?

Well because of the incredible actions of a Jewish military veteran. The Daily Caller reports:

“The man who fired a semi-automatic weapon inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego on Saturday froze, dropped his gun and sprinted to his car when he saw Oscar Stewart come barrelling toward him, yelling so loud the priest at a neighbouring church could hear” (Stoltzfoos 2019). 

Stewart's first response to seeing this coward of a man enter a place of worship and open fire on innocent people was to shout to his wife and others around him, “Get down.” And then he ran towards the shooter shouting at him as he ran. What happened next to John Earnest has happened to many cowards as they are confronted by real heroes on the battlefield: he freaked out and ran. Only this wasn’t a battlefield, this was a place where everyone should be safe.

Stewart's shouting was so loud “…others who were there later told him it sounded like four or five people were shouting. He thinks maybe an angel was standing behind him and speaking through his voice” (Stoltzfoos 2019).  The shouting did scare the hell out of the violent kid. When the shooter turned to run, that is run away from an unarmed man who had the courage of a true soldier, that courageous soldier immediately set off after him, chasing him to his car and banging on the window, trying to break in to catch the guy who shot several innocent people and could have killed many. As he was doing this an off duty officer came to his aid.

As a combat veteran Oscar Stewart knew the lethal effectiveness of an AR-15 style rifle first hand. And yet he ran straight at it, risking his life to save the lives others. It’s an amazing thing, and I hope this hero is given all the rewards he deserves. He should never have to work another day in life, the least they could do is exempt him from ever paying taxes again. He is a first class hero, he is a first class man, someone every man should want to emulate and every young boy should be raised to want to be like.

What’s fascinating is that the Jewish Apostle John tells us something about both of these men in his little Epistle known today as 1 John. 1 John 3:11-12 tells us this:

“11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.”

To murder someone is to be like Cain and to belong to the evil one, the devil. John Earnest may have known his theology well, he may have known that in the Reformed concept of salvation that God chooses who are his and gives them faith, he may have believed that he was one of those chosen, but he has shown through his actions that he is not of God but is of the evil one.

Now John also tells us this: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). As Jesus said, true love is to lay one’s life down for their loved ones (John 15:13). Oscar Stewart displayed more of the image of God in his actions, than the professing believer John Earnest. He displayed the highest form of love, to be willing to sacrifice one’s life for their family and friends.

I am a Christian, and I believe the only way of salvation is through Jesus Christ, this is a very different concept of salvation to the Orthodox Judaism Oscar Stewart subscribes to. But out of these two men the one who more closely resembles the kind of sacrifice Jesus made for us all on the cross was the Jewish man who was willing to die on behalf of others, if only he could save some. Thankfully Stewart didn’t die, and thankfully his heroic actions saved many lives on that day. He displayed powerfully an aspect of the image of God that Jesus would have every believer display: the willingness to lay down our lives for others. 

Two men stood out in that Synagogue one a murderer, the other the hero. I know who I would rather be like, the one who was willing to lay down his life to save the lives of others. As for the murderer, well like Cain he has declared his allegiance. May God deal with him as God sees fit, and may justice be swift. 

References

Rachel Stoltzfoos, COMBAT VET WHO STOPPED THE SYNAGOGUE SHOOTER: ‘I SCARED THE HELL OUT OF HIM’ https://dailycaller.com/2019/04/28/combat-vet-stopped-san-diego-synagogue-shooter/?fbclid=IwAR3JVEol0s5Ge_-TuJyjfecOKc5RFp69xz-ROsQdUVFACBgK2zje8sTM2WU.

Friday, 12 April 2019

What Does the Bible Say About International Aid?


What does the bible sat about international aid?

This seems like a really simply question to answer. There have been mass movements driven by leaders in churches and Christian Aid organizations across recent years, at least the last decade or more, that have sought to encourage Christians to lobby governments to increase foreign aid. Act justly and love mercy has been the catch cry of these movements, and it is a wonderful slogan, because those principles underpin the Christian ethos. These highly respectable and well-intentioned Christian leaders believe that governments giving foreign aid is a Christian duty, therefore it must be, mustn’t it?

I once advocated for the Micah challenge and other initiatives to encourage government aid myself. I found it something natural to get behind because caring for the poor has always been something I have thought about and practiced as a Christian. But I never did it from the perspective that, ‘Governments must do this to be considered following their Christian duty.’ I did it because it made sense: Christians donating can only go so far, governments have bigger purses and therefore can do a lot more. Indeed, this was what our aid advocacy trainer taught us, it was a numbers game; by challenging governments to increase their aid we can do a lot of good in the world.

This seems like a noble cause, and personally I am not against international aid. I have strong Christian friends and family who are opposed to it, and strong Christian friends and family who are strong advocates for it. I also understand that there are practical reasons for giving aid to international communities, countries and aid organizations that benefit Australians. For example, giving aid to both government, or non-government organizations, working in refugee camps and war torn countries can lower the mass movement of asylum seekers, making borders safer and more easily managed across the world. This is a double benefit, people in those camps who are in need get the help they require, and governments don’t have to spend as much money on border security and other programs, because less people will be seeking to enter countries illegally. So, I am both open to international aid, I recognize how it can change lives overseas for the better, and I recognize the benefits it can bring to the nation giving it. Indeed, I invite advocates of aid organizations into my church to speak, and will continue to do so. We also should note that a lot of international aid is used in such a way as to increase the interests of the giving nations overseas. Once these multi-faceted reasons for aid are understood, I can very easily see why so many people advocate for it.

And that is fine, advocate for international aid. I can find no reason to condemn people for wanting to do this. But then this isn’t the issue, the issue is that there are those who believe foreign aid is a Christian issue who are condemning those who don’t necessarily agree. For example this article (here) on the Eternity states that:

“…With a Christian Prime Minister at the national helm guiding this year’s budget, along with an election just around the corner, many Christians are today wondering whether the Coalition Government has chosen not to represent Christians priorities.”

It’s one thing to want to advocate for foreign aid, but it is another to accuse a government, and a Christian Prime Minister of not wanting “to represent Christian priorities” for cutting aid. To say such a thing one must have good biblical evidence. Indeed to say it is a shameful thing to cut aid, which is also stated in the article, again one must have good biblical reason.

Does God condemn leaders or nations in scripture who fail to send international aid? 

I raised this question and got some interesting responses from Christians leaders and lay people: it’s irrelevant, your perverting scripture Matthew, I don’t see why that is even a credible observation to say the Bible doesn’t condemn leaders on the issue of foreign aid, you’re on dangerous territory, God will oppose those who don’t call their leaders to account on this issue, etc, etc. But that leaves the question: does God condemn leaders in scripture who fail to send international aid?

Well no, he doesn’t. I carried out several different conversations on this issue over several days, and in each of those conversations I asked people to show me clear passages in Scripture where God condemns national leaders for cutting or not offering aid, and none were given that specifically said that.  

The most common passage sited was the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is a famous and wonderful passage about Jesus teaching us to love our neighbours. When Jesus is asked ‘who is our neighbour?’ by a teacher of the law wanting to justify himself, Jesus responds with a wonderful story about a Samaritan who helps a man he found lying on the road when a priest, and Levite both left him lying there. Samaritans were despised in Israel in Jesus’ day. The point of this parable was quite obvious: bigotry is wrong, love your neighbour whoever they happen to be, no matter their nationality.  

It’s a simple, but powerful little story, but it has nothing to do with foreign aid. It neither condemns it or advocates it. It is simply neutral on the topic. The parable of the Good Samaritan says we should be willing to help anybody, but it does not condemn us for not extending aid to everybody, no one, not even governments have the resources to send aid to everybody.

Indeed our government does love their neighbour already. According to the ABC website (here) $180.12 Billion of a $500.87 Billion budget is allocated for social welfare. That is 35.9% of the current federal budget. This is allocated to people no matter their race, no matter their ethnic origin. It is a generous allotment from collected taxes designed to love our neighbour who is struggling. I have heard many people say that this government is not generous and does not care about the poor. However the single largest segment of the budget is allocated specifically for helping the poorer people of this nation. This to me is a government that literally prioritizes the poor. But it seems to many Christians online that none of this really counts, the cut to foreign aid cancels this massive charity out and allows them to say our government is not generous and doesn’t prioritize the poor, or even say they are ashamed of our country. One Christian commentator actually complains that Australian tax payers are being allowed to keep more of their own money (see here), as if the government has a moral duty to confiscate even more wealth and give it away overseas. But is that the responsibility of a nation’s government, to prioritize the poor of other nations?

Not according to Scripture. Here is a good example, Ezekiel 34:1-10:

“34 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; 6 they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.”

This passage makes very clear what God’s intentions are for the leaders he places over a nation: they are to care for the people of that nation, the leaders are the shepherd and the people are the sheep they are to care for. This is their priority, this is their mandate, and this is what he consistently judges them on in scripture. Indeed in Scripture you will find much of the Old Testament, and certain portions of the New Testament are dedicated to this very issue, leaders are judged by how they treat their own people (cf. the books of Kings and most of the books of the prophets) and you will find that when God condemns nations because of their treatment of other nations, it is because they made unjust war on them, or engaged in corrupting trade (for example: Ez. 25-32; Amos Isa. 10-21; Amos 1-2; the Books of Jonah, Obadiah, Nahum, etc) . The Scriptures are not at all silent on the criteria which God judges national leaders on: he judges them on how they honour him in their lives, how they treat their people, and how they engage in war, whether justly or unjustly, and whether they engage in trade justly or unjustly (cf. biblical references above). He does not condemn them in relation to whether or not they take money from their own citizens and gives it to other nations.

The closest passage I could find advocating for foreign aid was in Deuteronomy 23:3-6 –

“3 “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 But the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loved you. 6 You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days forever.  

The Ammonites and Moabites both descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot, and therefore distant relatives of the Israelites, refused them bread or water on their way as they were journeying to the Promise Land, and instead attacked them. This seems to be God judging them for not giving aid in a time of need. But when you read the accounts of these situations in Scripture you see it was more than that. It wasn’t just that they didn’t send aid, it was that they refused them entry to their land, refused them entry and aid on the way through, and instead sought to make war with them. They even went as far as hiring a prophet to curse Israel so as to make the nation vulnerable to attack.

So this was not about aiding those overseas, but about not aiding the foreigner in their midst, which actually coincides with the many passages in Scripture where Israel is commanded to care for the sojourner/foreigner/refugee in their midst. For example, Leviticus 19:10 “And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” And again in Exodus 23:9 “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

There is a consistent pattern in Scripture that nations are given their proper boundaries, and they are to stay in those boundaries and not make unjust war on other nations or interfere in the affairs of other nations in corrupting ways. God even condemns Israel for seeking military aid from Egypt on several occasions (for example Isa. 31). National leaders are to care for their people, and the people in their national borders, and God judges’ leaders on how well they do this. So, unless someone has some clear passages which say otherwise, I cannot find where God condemns nations for not sending aid to foreign nations. 

Then why do so many Christian leaders condemn government leaders who cut aid?

What happens often in church history is someone offers an idea, in line with general scriptural principles, then they take this idea on board and advocate it as a good idea, and then it becomes tradition, and then those who question the tradition, by coming back to what the Bible actually says, get accused of perverting scripture. I think this has undeniably happened with how many church leaders and Christians judge national leaders on the issue of foreign aid.

I don’t think scripture gives us a mandate for condemning leaders on this issue, and as Christians we should always hold back judgement where scripture does not give us a clear mandate. Indeed, even when it does we should hold back because the measure we use will be measured against us.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Christians Will love The Anti-Christ


“I don’t think facts are necessarily true…And I know that I am gerrymandering the definition of truth, but I’m doing that on purpose.”
Jordan Peterson

“Let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”
Jesus Christ of Nazareth

“Truth is that which is, whether we like it or not.”
Anonymous

The current support of Christians for Jordan Peterson has taught me something I kind of already suspected but am now absolutely certain of: many Christians will love the anti-Christ and depending on the political system in play at the time of his coming, they will vote for him in droves. What makes me say this? Well first let’s take a look at the Anti-Christ, then we will take a look at the Christian response to Jordan Peterson, and we’ll see what we can learn from all this.

The Bible tells us some interesting things about the Anti-Christ. He will be a man of lawlessness. What the scriptures mean by a man of lawlessness is one who has no regard or respect for the commands of Christ. He will be a man without proper boundaries, or at least a man who flaunts the boundaries of Jesus. The Anti-Christ is contrasted with the faithful in Thessalonians who are described as those who obey the gospel (2 Thess. 2:3, cf. 1:8, 11). Obeying the gospel is good, rejecting Christ’s commands is bad. He will deceive people with power, false signs and wonders, and very significantly with ‘wicked deception’, those who will be deceived are those who ‘refuse to love the truth’ (2 Thess. 2:9-10). So, he will be crafty, likely reasonably smart, and have some kind of power to do things which impress people, and he will be very, very, good at deception.

The Apostle John tells us that the Anti-Christ is coming, but before he does many lesser Anti-Christs have and will come (1 John 2:18). These are false believers who do not remain in the faith, though they may claim to be in it at one stage, they will move on from it (v. 19). They will be liars, who deny that Jesus is the Christ, that is the actual Messiah of Israel, who suffered, died and rose again. They may even phrase it this way: “it depends what you mean by Christ?” In fact, they will often offer a different definition of Christ than that which Orthodox Christians believe. They will deny the father and son, that is they will deny who they really are and what they really did (vv.22-23). These teachers will try to deceive you because they are people of the lie (v26). The best way to not be fooled by them is to know the truth and know it very well, in other words to be people of the truth. John says abide in what you have been taught, in other words, know the truth so much you live in it and it lives in you (vv. 24-25).  

Jude tells us that these false teachers are like hidden reefs at our love feasts, feasting without fear, shepherds feeding themselves. In other words, they are taking advantage of people to make a profit and look after their own interests, and they are doing it right under everyone’s noses. They are skilled at getting uninformed or unwary Christians to trust them. I love how he describes them as waterless clouds and fruitless trees (vv.12-13). What he is saying here is that they offer teaching but it bears no fruit, is not connected to God’s truth in anyway, and leaves people barren in the true spiritual sense. Peter uses similar harsh language to describe these false teachers, these precursors to the Anti-Christ. He tells us that there will be false teachers amongst us who “secretly bring in destructive heresies”, in other words they are sneaky about it, and they will blaspheme the way of truth (2 Peter 2:1-2). But a key phrase that describes how they work is this: “in their greed they will exploit you with false words” (v.3). Enter here Jordan Peterson.

I understand the attraction of Jordan Peterson, at first I was enamoured with him as well. In a world which increasingly seems to be filled with public figures mocking men, blaming men, particularly white men, for the ills of society, a man who stood up to his university and his government and said: “You can’t compel my speech” seemed like a breath of secular fresh air. Finally, here was a very well-educated and reasonable man whom we could support who was going to speak common sense to the ever-increasing craziness of the Social Justices Warriors. If he had just stuck to his advocacy against crazy extreme left-wing policies then I would really never have had any reason to criticize him. But then Peterson decided he wanted to be a religious guru.

Some people balk at that description of him. They respond: “he’s not trying to be religious guru, he’s just seeking to give us insight into humanity.” But take a step back and ask yourself how else can you really describe someone that seeks to give many hours of lectures on the actual meaning of the scriptures, applies it in spiritual ways, largely through dream and myth interpretation, and then seeks to teach people to apply it to their lives? The only way to describe that person is that he is presenting himself as a religious guru. Jordan Peterson (2019, jordanpeterson.com) himself describes his work in his response to Cambridge: “I don’t think there is another modern religious/psychological phenomenon or happening that is genuinely comparable.” He thinks his ecumenical teaching is the greatest thing on the planet right now religiously/psychologically speaking. Even his book 12 Rules for life is just another way of saying 12 Commandments. Indeed, he is even offering salvation through his teachings:

“Thus, the person who wishes to alleviate suffering—who wishes to rectify the flaws in Being; who wants to bring about the best of all possible futures; who wants to create Heaven on Earth—will make the greatest of sacrifices, of self and child, of everything that is loved, to live a life aimed at the Good. He will forego expediency. He will pursue the path of ultimate meaning. And he will in that manner bring salvation to the ever-desperate world” (Peterson 2018, Rule 7). (Emphasis mine).  

But the best way to tell he is a religious guru is by the responses of his fans. No matter what evidence they are presented with that he is untrustworthy they explain it away. He has them captivated. Point out that he lied about being awake for a month in his discussion with Joe Rogan when the record is around 11 days (Day 2018, Joe Rogan Podcast) they reply he exaggerated. Mention that he walked back that statement in the same conversation to 25 specific days, and they reply, “Come on Matt obviously he was exaggerating. No one would lie like that and think they could get away with.” But Peterson did, and has. When you walk back an exaggeration the walk back is no longer an exaggeration, it is the position you have retired to after walking back from the exaggeration.
  
Mention that Peterson (2018, Rule 8) defines life as suffering as the Buddhists and Gnostics do, and that the Bible specifically rejects this idea, and you get really strange responses from people, that this kind of fits with the Biblical worldview. But it doesn’t. The scriptures teach that suffering is part of life, but so is joy, pleasure, fun and more. To say life is suffering is a bleak and un-Christian way to see life. But for some reason people are determined to make this un-Christian perspective fit with the Christian worldview.

Mention the dream he says he had about his grandmother (Peterson in Day, 2018), and people say, “Come on Matt, everyone has dreams like that.” Leaving aside that no, not everyone does, still most reasonable people that did have such a dream would do us the favour of never mentioning it, yet Peterson writes about such dreams publicly. Mention that the Bible says to be wary of people who claim to be dream interpreters, and they will respond and say: come on Matt, he’s a psychologist that’s part what they do, it’s his profession. So? Dream interpretation has been the favoured past time and profession of many charlatans going back at least as far as Daniel’s day and even Nebuchadnezzar knew that dream interpreters were making up their interpretations out of thin air (Daniel 2:1-12). Shouldn’t we be at least as wise as Nebuchadnezzar, if not more so?

Point out to people that in every specialized field Jordan Peterson wanders into the experts in that field say he does not know what he is talking about (for example: here), and people just respond…well actually again I have heard no good responses to this. Likely this is because this is a serious red flag. This does not mean Peterson has nothing to offer. He does have flashes of good insight. For example, his observation that Genesis shows we live in a post-cataclysmic world is a great observation and brilliant way to phrase the fall. His observation that delayed gratification makes for a healthier life is wise (Peterson 2018, Rule 7). But his ramblings about the meaning of God in his Bible lectures are incoherent nonsense, and show he does not really know what he is talking about.

Note the first time Peterson actually carried out a public discussion with a serious intellectual, Sam Harris, he was made to sound rather foolish and incoherent. In an interview with Joe Rogan he literally blamed his incoherence in that discussion on a cider he had consumed prior to that interview which caused himself to not be able to sleep for a month. Listen to that again slowly: he blamed a month’s worth of lack of sleep and inability to think clearly on one apple cider that would have passed completely through his body in hours.

But worst of all, and the greatest indictment on Christians, is their inability to see through Jordan Peterson and his way of approaching truth:

“I don’t think facts are necessarily true. So I don’t think these scientific facts, even if they’re correct from within the domain that they were generated, I don’t think that that necessarily makes them true. And I know that I am gerrymandering the definition of truth, but I’m doing that on purpose. Your truth is something only you can tell, based as it is on the unique circumstances of your life” (Dr. Jordan Peterson, in Day 2018). (Emphasis mine).

“I don’t think facts are necessarily true”???? Facts are by definition true, and Peterson knows this, that is why he tells you that he is gerrymandering, aka twisting, breaking, contorting, bending to suit his will, the definition of truth. And his purpose? “Your truth is something only you can tell, based as it is on the unique circumstances of your life.” For him truth is subjective, and pliable to the situation. Again Peterson:

“See the truth. Tell the truth. Truth will not come in the guise of opinions shared by others, as the truth is neither a collection of slogans nor an ideology. It will instead be personal. Your truth is something only you can tell, based as it is on the unique circumstances of your life. Apprehend your personal truth. Communicate it carefully, in an articulate manner, to yourself and others.” (Peterson 2018, 12 Rules). (Emphasis mine). 

Peterson presents here a subjective definition of truth, in a chapter about telling the truth, or at least not lying. But truth is not personal. Truth is objective and true whether we like it or not. We can personally know truths, there can be truths that apply to us personally, but these truths are still objective facts whether or not we want them to be. Truth is not personal, truth is that which is whether we like it or not.

How did Jesus define truth? “Let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matt 5:37). Let me ask you this? Is what Jordan Peterson says here in line with what Jesus says about truth, or what the evil one says? I think the answer is obvious.  

I hope by now you can see my issue with Jordan Peterson is not so much with Jordan Peterson himself. There are plenty of secular thinkers out there, many of them famous and influential that I just don’t really care about. My issue is with so many Christians who have been taken in, hoodwinked, and gone utterly gaga over an obvious charlatan who has no regard for the plain teachings of scripture, no regard for actual truth, and is therefore not someone whose teachings should be trusted. I am actually shocked at how so many wonderful Christians have been conned by this guy, and it now gives me an insight in what Jesus said about the elect in the latter days: “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

I had always wondered how this would even be possible, but now I see. Peterson is not THE Anti-Christ, but, especially when it comes to his approach to truth, he is a clear false teacher, and Christians, otherwise reasonable, wise, and godly Christians, have totally fallen for many of his lies.
My issue with Peterson is not the man himself, when he was just another psychologist seeking to stand against anti-free speech laws I was in the guys corner. But when he started to teach untruths about the Bible and Christians started to lap those untruths up, almost uncritically, then I became really concerned, not about Peterson, but about the state of the Church. We are so easily fooled. Peterson is just one example in a long line of past and current false teachers who draw Christians in in their thousands, or even millions. Tele-evangelists, megachurch pastors, itinerant teachers, we Christians often fall for people who have a less than honourable approach to the truth.

In a sense I can understand why so many people react strongly to criticisms of Peterson, because I have been in their shoes. I remember when people criticised Mark Driscoll. I used to think their criticisms were weird. That guy taught me a lot about being a godly man in Christ, he sought to teach the Bible clearly, he was bold, brash yes, but also very honest. Or so I thought. At first I defended him vociferously, but as his wrongdoings became more clear and piled up and up, I had to eventually admit that he wasn’t the leader I thought he was. That wasn’t easy, but it was the truth. So, I can understand why people who have been mesmerized by Peterson, or who have found his teaching helpful in some way, may be incredibly offended and angry when I criticize Peterson. But this guy has tipped his hand in so many ways that he is not an honest actor.  

Peterson (2018, Rule 8) tells us this: “The Word that produces order from Chaos sacrifices everything, even itself, to God. That single sentence, wise beyond comprehension, sums up Christianity.”

Ah what? Does this sound like he understands Christianity to you? For one his own opinion of his own statement is a little bit haughty; wise beyond all comprehension? But tell me is this a better summary of the message of Christianity and the cross: Jesus sacrificed himself for the sins of fallen humanity, to pay the penalty we deserve, paving the way for our salvation for all who believe. Or you could put it this way: Jesus gained victory over sin, death, and the devil on the cross, paving the way for our salvation, for all who believe. Which of these lines is more closely representative of the teaching of Christianity?  

Take this quote from Peterson (2018, Rule 8): “Life is suffering. The Buddha stated that, explicitly. Christians portray the same sentiment imagistically, with the divine crucifix.” However, neither the crucifix, or the cross symbolize that life is suffering. The crucifix symbolizes that Jesus suffered for us on the cross, but every Christian knows this is not the full story, suffering is an unavoidable part of life, but life is not suffering. This same Lord died and rose again to achieve for us eternal salvation. This same Lord who suffered on the cross offers us the abundant life of knowing him, an abundant life filled with joy and struggles, but not just struggles. Again this guys does not understand Christianity, or the Bible.

But even worse he insults Christianity and those who believe it:

“But I was truly plagued with doubt. I had outgrown the shallow Christianity of my youth by the time I could understand the fundamentals of Darwinian theory. After that, I could not distinguish the basic elements of Christian belief from wishful thinking” (Peterson 2018, Rule 7). (Emphasis mine). 

The implication here is strong; if you believe the Bible and its teaching to be true, according to Peterson you are engaging in wishful thinking.

Do you really want to lift this guy up as a brilliant Bible teacher?  

If we fall for so many lesser false teachers, what’s it going to be like when the Anti-Christ actually comes?


List of References:
Peterson, Jordan 2019. Cambridge University Rescinds my Fellowship: https://www.jordanbpeterson.com/blog-posts/cambridge-university-rescinds-my-fellowship/


Day, Vox, 2018, Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity's Greatest Thinker. Castalia House. Kindle Edition.

Peterson, Jordan, 2018, 12 Rules for Life. First published in Canada by Random House Canada. Kindle Edition. 




Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The Elephant in the Room: History Shows Mass Migration Doesn't Work


I have been waiting for other Christian leaders on Facebook and other public platforms to take the bull by the horns and address the elephant in the room. It’s the elephant no one wants to address because it is an elephant that tells us that so much of what we hold dear about western civilisation is a lie. But as these much more experienced and well spoken leaders are refusing to address the elephant, I decided I would have to make my own attempt to not only point out the elephant, but paint it bright pink and make it so unavoidably noticeable that people who refused to address it would themselves look ridiculous. To do this we need to do a little tour through history.

In the mid 1400’s BC something phenomenal happened. A significant portion of a population living in Egypt migrated out of Egypt and made their way to their Promise Land. These people were the Hebrews, and according to the Bible they migrated out of Egypt and took 40 years to travel the wilderness and eventually settle in the Land of Canaan. Now for our purposes here we do not need to discuss why they wandered the wilderness, nor do we need to discuss who told them to leave Egypt, or why they left Egypt. All we need to note is this: what happened when a massive movement of possibly a couple of million people moved into a land already settled by other peoples? War! Clashes of cultures and war. In fact several cities were completely destroyed, other cities were conquered and subjugated, and in other cases Israelites settled next to and among the remaining people of the land of Canaan. What was the result of divergent cultures living in cross proximity because of mass migration? Clashes of cultures and war.

Indeed, for a couple of centuries or more the Israelites experienced a cycle of being subjugated, attacked and then liberated, all this happened on repeat. Divergent cultures living in close proximity did not get along, and though there were periods of peace, there were many more periods of war and cultural clashes. You don’t have to be a believer in God to know this is factually true, because destruction layers in the ruins of Canaanite cities display this pattern of warfare and destruction among warring cultures. Mass migration led to the clash of cultures and to war.

1177 BC: The Year Civilisation Collapsed. This is the title of a brilliant book written by Eric H. Cline. It recounts the fascinating invasion of Egypt by the ‘Sea Peoples’. We don’t know exactly who the sea peoples were. It is believed they were at least partially made up of remnants of Mycenean Greek civilisation, including people from Crete and the civilisation we call Minoan, and perhaps including other people’s as well. After this mass migration Egypt was never the same again, and other cities states fell into ruins. These sea peoples wreaked havoc on the ancient Bronze Age civilisation of the 12th century BC and were at least partially credited with the collapse of this multi-national civilisation that spanned much of the eastern Mediterranean sea. What we know for sure is that wherever these sea peoples found settled lands they clashed with the existing civilizations and war ensued. It’s even possible that some of these sea peoples settled the land of Canaan and founded the Philistine city states. You will not be surprised to find out that these Philistines made war with the Israelites who lived in the land of Canaan. Again, mass migration lead to the clash of cultures and war.

A little bit later in history we see a relatively young Roman Empire expanding across the Mediterranean and up further into Italy and setting its sights in all directions. In the late 2nd century BC a mass movement of Germans invaded Gaul, Italy and Hispania. This migrating mass of Germans clashed with many people’s in these lands, but particularly with the Roman legions. In fact later on Julius Caesar would use such invasions as a partial justification for annexing Gaul. This mass migration of peoples led to a clash of cultures and to war.

Fast forward to the fall of the Roman Empire and what do we find? We find again a mass migration of people. Between the 4th and 6th centuries a terrifying group called the Huns migrated from central Asia into western Europe. These terrifying Huns conquered everyone in their path and terrified the German people’s that were in the way of their migration. Many of the Germans fled from the Huns and were pushed into the borders of the Roman empire. This event is one of the significant moments in the fall of the great Roman empire that had stood for centuries as the dominant power in Europe , North Africa and Asia Minor. The Huns clashed with the Germans, and then forced some of the Germans to seek refuge in Rome, and this mass migration of Germans clashed with the Romans, and this hastened the collapse of a declining empire. Again, the mass migration of peoples led to a clash of cultures and to war.

We could talk about so many other mass migrations. The movements of Scythians, which is likely actually several different, but similar, steppe tribes migrating over different periods of the time. The movements of Medes and Persians into Mesopotamia, the movements of the Aryans into India, the movements of the Parthians into Persia, the migration of Arab armies into Syria, Palestine, Anatolia, Egypt and eventually further up into Spain and other parts of Europe. The movements of the various steppe tribes, the Magyar’s, the Bulgars, the Turks, and eventually the most terrifying steppe tribe of all, the Mongols. We could talk about the mass migration of Zulu African tribes in South Africa, or the mass migration of European settlers into the Americas, and Australia and other parts of the world. All of these mass migrations of people have something in common, and yes you guessed it: the mass migration of peoples led to a clash of cultures and to war. Many, many, many more examples could be given.

Are you noticing a pattern? A very distinct pattern? It appears that throughout history low levels of migration work relatively well. For example, the small amount of Arab traders who lived on the outskirts of the Roman empire actually worked quite well with the peoples of the eastern Roman empire. But a mass migration of Arab armies out of the Arabian peninsula into the Byzantine Roman Empire nearly caused the collapse of the entire empire. When people move to a foreign society in small numbers they tend to integrate to a much higher degree, or at least they tend to function reasonably healthier in that foreign society. But when people move in mass migrations, or continuously increasing migrations, something else happens reliable every time: the clash of cultures and war.

For the last several decades western nations have participated in the mass migration of peoples to their lands. For a while the numbers were quite moderate, but more recently they have been increasing the uptake. Everyone is familiar with the mass immigration of people that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed into her country, and indeed into all of the European Union. But down here is Australia immigration rates have been kept very high for several decades now. Why do they do this? Two main reasons, those of European decent are not having enough children to replace the population (hence why John Howard gave us a baby bonus to encourage more babies), but the reason why our former treasurer and now Prime Minister gives is this: keeping immigration at sustained levels allows us to consistently grow our economy.

In other word’s the primary reason that our leaders are seeking to flood our countries with mass immigration is money. Importing workers means importing tax payers. Importing tax payers means the government can pad its budget and pay for the increasingly large government welfare and government service systems that they promise to increase at every election.

Meanwhile history is looking us in the face telling us what happens every time there is a mass migration of peoples into a settled nation, reliably there is the clash of cultures and war. This is the elephant in the room that most people know intuitively and those of us who know history know it is a consistent trend. But to admit this trend and admit that the beginning rumblings of the clash of cultures we are starting to see is evidence of this trend repeating itself, means that we have to face the biggest lie we tell ourselves about our modern western civilisation: that we are better than those who came before us in history.

It was for this reason that I posted this comment on Facebook:

I've developed a new term: modern supremacist. A modern supremacist is someone who thinks they are better than those who lived before us in history. And they believe we are not prone to the exact same social conditions and pressures as humans of a past era.

It's not a new concept, C.S. Lewis called it chronological snobbery. But I think the term modern supremacist better gets across how foolish and dangerous such thinking is.

A lot of the public response I have seen to the evil terrorist attack in NZ last week can be described as the response of modern supremacists. So many people refuse to learn from human history and the mass movements of people and the social conditions that such mass movements cause.

I for one never want to see something like that happen again. As a historian...well you know the saying, those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. Those who do know it are destined to watch those who do not repeat it.

Currently I see every significant leader on Facebook, in the Church or in politics, avoid discussing this trend, because it makes them uncomfortable. But the elephant is in the room, he is painted pink and is singing loudly and clearly: “Look at me, and learn. Learn from history, or become just another example of a generation of people who thought they were outside of history.”

I never want to see an attack like what happened in New Zealand ever happen again. I never want to see another attack going the other way either. But we need our leaders to look the truth in the face, and realize that we are just as prone to the social pressures of mass migration that every other people group in history were. We need to learn this lesson.  

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Why Conservatism Can’t Save Us


As I sat down to write this blog about why Conservatism can’t save us, as with so many other things in my life, and likely in yours, I got momentarily distracted by Facebook. Now low and behold what was the first post I saw, it was a comment on this exact issue. The comment was posted by a right wing (which by the way is not a dirty phrase like some think it is) commentary and blog site called Caldron Pool, and one part of the post said this: “The problem with secular conservatives and libertarians is that essentially they’re all just relativists like the left.” This is spot on and incredibly important for us to remember. But why is this so significant?

Well let me answer that question with another question: what are secular conservative values? Right about now you may be thinking something like: free markets systems, rule of law, and unless you want to import what the extreme left think are conservative values, you will be running out of things to say. I have called myself a political conservative all my life, and I can’t really say what the conservatives actually stand for, other than reacting to the constant push from progressives. In reality everything I ever see them do is generally just a reaction to what the progressives are doing, or a holding of the pass on one issue or another to try and stop the progressive advance, and quite ineptly.

The progressives push for superannuation, the conservatives oppose it, fail to oppose it, and then incorporate it into their values of the free market (which is crazy because superannuation is literally the government paternalistically confiscating your money, not letting you touch it, and allowing organizations to take a chunk of it out in fees, which you can’t avoid and can at best mitigate). Conservatives say they believe in family, but then allow policies through, or even push them through themselves, which pushes more and more of the families responsibility for provision onto the government, which incentivises more and more people to get divorces, because they can get lots of services and financial help from the government. The progressives push for the redefinition of marriage and conservatives oppose it, fail to oppose it, and then many of them find a way to say they stood for it all along, as a conservative value of freedom and liberty. This is just a few examples of how conservatives cuck out on all their principles. As I’ve heard many people say recently, “Conservatives have failed to conserve anything. They didn’t even conserve the ladies room.”

So if conservativism is useless and reactionary and fails to conserve anything than what should we replace it with? Well, the traditional right.

The modern centre right, and really much of the moderate right, is really just the left, having advanced into the spaces where the right once existed. The overtone window has moved so far to the left that we have strong leftists like Dave Rubin, Sargon of Akkad, and even sometimes people like Joe Rogan, either describing themselves as centre right, or being labelled as such by those who are further to the left. Rubin himself has done a video where he states he did not leave the left, the left move so far to the left, they left him behind. But Rubin’s views on the family, sexuality, drugs, and so many other issues fall far outside of a traditional right leaning perspective. And this is just one example. 

Here in Australia it has long been recognized that we have an extreme left party (The Greens), a far left party (Labor), and a moderately left party (LNP) with a few conservatives thrown into the mix, who spend much of their time trying to appear as moderate as possible. But the so-called conservatives in these parties have been as about as effective as a wet blanket for keeping you warm in the snow. So, what is the traditional right then?

It is the old-fashioned nationalist right. Right about now people freak out because I used those two words together in a positive light (I refer you to my previous post on Nationalism to read why it’s not a scary word here). But the old-fashioned nationalist right is simply a system which has three pillars: God, People or Nation, and Family. This idea can be seen in the American phrase “One nation under God.” Family is implicit in nation, because nation traces back to a Latin word “natio”, which can mean “birth” or “tribe” or “people”, so in other words a nation is made up intrinsically of families. A nation is an extension of the families which are its foundation. Some people phrase it: God, King, and country. But the idea is the same: the traditional right believes we live under the rule of God, and that we should be loyal to that rule, our nations king or government should be in submission to God, and we believe strong families who are taught to honour God make for a strong people.

Notice how straight away this gives us a positive vision for society. It’s not a reactionary posture like conservatism, it’s a vision with which we can evaluate our society and see how close to that vision we stand. At the moment we live in a country that has largely rejected God, that is moving further and further towards abdicating it’s own sovereignty to foreign powers (the UN, Paris Agreement, Trans Pacific Partnership, etc, etc) and even advocating policies which harm its own people, like encouraging high immigration to force wages to stay low. Our nation has so diluted the meaning of family, that it now means anything or really nothing. If we on the right, those who are often called conservatives, want to make a difference we need to stop reacting to the progressive advance and advance against it.

What did progressives do to move society this far? They moved into virtually every institution of society that moves the culture forward. They have advanced through academia, through politics, they virtually have a stranglehold on the media, and they are in the process of completing their advance through the churches. They had their vision, which is a semi-Marxist vision: specifically the restructuring of the family, the denigration of the church, increasing the influence and size of the government, all to move society towards an atheistic, or relativistic, secularism. And their methodology? Identify an oppressed victim class, and identify with and advocate for that victim class, and when there are no victim classes left redefine what a victim is and identify with that newly created victim class and continue to carry forward accordingly, until you have brought every institution to heel.

They have been so successful in their advance that they have even caused much of the church, who should be the greatest opponents to the destruction of things like family, to tow the line and advocate on their behalf. The social gospel’s popularity in the modern evangelical church is a sign of vast capitulation by the church to the Marxist vision for society. If you don’t believe me read the Communist Manifesto and compare the goals outlined in it, with the things achieved and advocated by the modern progressives, or advocates of what is called "liberation theology".

If we want to push back against this effectively we need to stop identifying ourselves with the defeatist posture of just seeking to conserve what we can, we need to take a long-term view of society and begin to advocate for and advance towards the right things. Old fashioned right wing nationalism is really just lifting up God, being loyal to and working for the best for your people, your country, and recognizing that the family is the number one institution in society that gives it it’s strength. So this gives us our vision. What is our methodology?

Well it starts at home: men get a wife and have a family. Raise your kids to believe in God and honour him and take them to a church where you can all be discipled in God’s ways. For those of us who already have families we need to do likewise. The most important thing anyone can do to improve this world is to have a strong family where you build strong Christian values into your children. Right back in Genesis 1 and 2 we were given this mandate. Too many Christians live their lives for themselves today, or for their careers, and put family on the back burner. But focusing on career instead of family goes completely against God’s vision for how we should live. It’s one thing to need to work and have a good job, it’s another thing completely to say, “I don’t want kids because I want to focus on my life goals at this stage.” By living this way Christians have bought into the self-glorifying message of this world, not the self-denying message of the scriptures. In other words structure your life in a way which best achieves this goal of a strong Christian family, rather than trying to fit your family around your life.  

Extend this structure into everything you do: advocate for government policies which strengthen families, rather than weakening them. Go into a career which allows you to provide and build your family up, rather than just achieve your personal career goals. Never give your vote to a politician who has policies which go against strengthening the family. Be open about your vision with society. Progressives have done this for decades. Many have found these progressives insufferable, but over time they have gained many adherents, and achieved their goals, because they believed in something and stuck with it. Do the same. Don’t be apologetic about believing this country should be a country under God, dedicated to protecting its people first and foremost, and based on strong families. Stop hiding your biblical ideas on how society should function, and encourage every Christian, nominal Christian, and Christian influenced westerner, to do the same.

There is much more which could be said, but at the end of the day we need to move away from the reactionary self-description of conservative and move towards a positive self-descriptor which actually tells people what we stand for: God, nation and family, the old fashioned right, before those words became dirty words. Let me just address one more thing before I close.

I hear many Christians thinking: Matt this is not our home. Why would we focus so much energy seeking to influence this world in this way, when our true home is in heaven? Well because Jesus told us to: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me. God therefore and make disciples of all NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). To often we view this as just being about individual evangelism, but Jesus wants us to teach NATIONS that all authority is in him. He’s given us a command, he has his vision for us to achieve, let’s stop playing Aussie goal keeper against Brazilian striker, let’s move forward with a positive goal of what we want this country to be, and work towards it.