08 May 2011

Discerning Discernment Ministries- Part 2

Howse:

The second dangerous national tipping point that is inviting God's wrath is found in the book of Nahum. The prophet Nahum shows up in Nineveh about 150 years after Jonah to tell the nation that God is not going to give them the chance to repent this time but His wrath is going to come upon them. Why? Because in Nahum 1:11 we read that the people had begun to "plot evil against the Lord." Rejecting God is one thing; plotting evil against him is the tipping point for national judgment. In fact in Nahum 3:19 we read, that their national "injury has no healing, your wound is severe." One translation says, "Your wound is incurable."

Proto:

Well if Howse is willing to admit America is the moral and theological equivalent to Nineveh…then I am indeed content.

Howse:

In fact, when God finally chooses to bring His judgment on America, it would be a waste of time to even pray for mercy. No need for a national day of prayer. In Jeremiah 7:16 God Himself declares to Jeremiah not to pray for Judah. "Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or a prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me: for I will not hear you." In Jeremiah 15:1 God tells Jeremiah, "Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people." Then in Ezekiel 14 God says that when a nation sins against God in persistent unfaithfulness He will stretch out His hand against it. In verse 14 God says, "Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves."

Proto:

America ought to repent of the Constantinian National Day of Prayer.

We're not confusing Israel/Covenant Nation Status with America are we? I'm afraid some of this becomes redundant. If the foundational theological assumption is wrong, much of what is being said becomes invalid.

Howse:

On June 1, Obama signed a proclamation that declared June as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Pride Month, 2009." Combine America throwing Israel under the bus and our nation plotting evil against the Lord, and I think we may be at, or near, that tipping point. The next few months will reveal whether this is true or not. But it has become very clear that America is not on the side of God when our nation has murdered nearly 50 million unborn children, states are rushing toward homosexual marriage, God is outlawed in our nation's public schools, the criminalization of Christianity is greatly increasing, only 1% of adults have a Christian worldview and false-teaching and pagan spirituality has become mainstream.

Proto:

You mean like Rome? And yet where in the New Testament does Paul worry about Rome? Where does he worry about the decrees of Caesar? Where does he confuse the Empire with the Church?

Okay, so less that 1% of professing Christians even have a clue as to what a Christian is…no surprise. But why does this bring America under judgment? Again this is all assuming America has some kind of special status that is being damaged. Are Bible Christians worried that Italy is coming under curse? France? Slovakia?

No, because Bible Christians in those lands just live their lives as believers and rightly have no expectation that their nations are anything other than….nations where they live.

Why is it different for American Christians? There's a theological issue at work here.

America might be worthy of Judgment because of homosexuality, but what about our greed and materialism? our wars? the body counts?

Howse:

Abraham Lincoln said, "I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side."

In 2 Corinthians 3:17 the Apostle Paul writes: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom". The question for America is have we rejected the things of the Lord and thus His Divine providence and protection? In other words, is God judging America? I think the answer is yes.

Proto:

Well, Lincoln was just one of many American Presidents who took the Lord's name and vain and twisted Scripture to support his agendas. Visit the Lincoln Memorial/Holy Temple in Washington DC and you can read some of his blasphemous speeches carved in stone. I like many used to find them very moving, but now I read them differently. Quoting Scriptures about Christ and applying them to America is a hallowed but blasphemous tradition in American politics.

I'm sorry but Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 was not talking about civil liberties and political libertarian ideologies. As good as those things are, I am often baffled that Christians confused liberty from the bondage of sin with some kind of political liberty that's equated in the American mind with limited government. Christians in other times and places have believed that a Christian government actually meant heavy state regulation and involvement in society. They were wrong too…in trying to create a Christian State…but they understood something of sin and fallen man…while American concepts of society and government are more in line with a Pelagian view of man. They're premised on the notion that people are naturally good and inclined to neighbourliness.

While we might have some nice neighbourhoods in small town America, the history of American economics, capitalism and labour are anything but kind.

Again...I'm not looking for Utopia. I can take the good with the bad and roll with it...because I don't have a theological stake in the argument. America is just another nation, another empire. They come and they go.

Howse:

Founding Father Dr. Jedidiah Morse wrote:





"Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them."

Engraved on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. are these words of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and our third president:

" God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."

George Washington wrote: "We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself have ordained."

George mason, The father of the Bill of Rights, speaking at the Constitutional Convention declared: "As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities."



Proto:



This is all pure Americanism…a conflation, a synthesis between American ideals and Christianity as taught by the Bible. It's a heresy. Jefferson wasn't a Christian. He didn't worship the Christian God. Only be re-defining what a Christian is and defining it in a cultural construct….White Anglo-Saxon Protestant….can you call him thus.

These statements are not Christian…they are general allusions to a moral order, to natural law….universal laws….that any Deist, Freemason, Mormon, or even Muslim could assent to.

Of course this again all assumes that even if the Founders were trying to create a Christian state (which they weren't) that somehow that was the right thing to do…or even a thing that is possible!

I call it a heresy. I'm not saying Howse is lost. I have no idea, but this is a dangerous error. I used to be a stalwart proponent of it. After my conversion, I kept reading the Scriptures and slowly but surely I realized that not only much of what I had been taught about the Bible was wrong, almost everything I had been taught growing up in a Barry Goldwater flavoured Conservative home was wrong as well. I had to repent.

Howse:



I believe God uses the same template to judge nations and I believe that template can be understood by studying what God said would happen to the nation of Israel if they did not obey God and follow His precepts and principles. I believe God always warns nation's before He judges them and in doing so gives them the chance to repent. However, if the nation does not repent, God's judgment will become more severe. In reading what God said He would do to the nation of Israel if they continue in their rebellion against God as found in Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26, and Isaiah 5, it is in many ways like reading the newspapers here in America.

Proto:

Exactly. Here's the confusion I was talking about. Israel was a picture of the Adams, the First and the Second which Jesus Christ. There is typology at work here. Israel is the land of milk and honey…a reiteration of the Garden as well as a proto-type of Heaven. To apply Deuteronomy or Leviticus to the United States exposes a fundamental error in hermeneutics and terrible misunderstanding of the developmental themes of Scripture and how they are interpreted by the Apostles in the New Testament. It is therefore no wonder that Israel as the New Testament defines it.... as well as the manifestation of the modern Zionist state….are so terribly misunderstood. The New Testament's teaching regarding Israel is missed and the Church is thus stripped of a glorious truth. And a country that is neither holy or good is ascribed a semi-divine status.

Howse:

Deuteronomy 28

For disobeying God, Israel would not be blessed with prosperity and abundance both in regards to their economics as well as in their agriculture.

V. 24 describes drought:


Many states in America are dealing with severe drought.



V. 28 describes confusion of heart:

Americans are spiritually confused and are mixing Christianity with pagan spirituality.



V. 29 the nation shall not prosper in her ways:

Look at the state of America's economy, educational system and legal system.



V. 30 Lose of Homes:

America is experiencing historic home-foreclosures.



V. 38 You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in:

Recently I watched a Fox News Channel reporter standing on the side of a tractor as the farmer tilled his perfect crop of tomatoes back into the grown because it would cost him more to bring the crop to market than what he could sell it for and thus he was saving money to plow the crop under. Watch and see if America's famers experience poor yields or crops being damaged through drought or storms.



V. 43 speaks of an invasion of illegal aliens:

One study reveals that illegal aliens cost Americans $346 billion per year.



Proto:

More of the same I’m afraid.

He'd do much better to turn off FOX news…which is not news at all.

And suddenly…yes, not only Muslims but Mexicans are the source of all our problems. Yes, these are very pressing issues for the Church of Jesus Christ today.

I hope I’m not offending anyone too greatly with the sarcasm. I must confess this starts to push my buttons.

I would argue actually it's people like Howse and the crew at CrossTalk that are far more of a threat to the church than any of the issues he has raised here. Though they see some things, and are helpful on some issues, they are still operating under the same paradigm, building on the same foundation as the bulk of American Evangelicals. They teach Americanism….the American variety of Sacralism.

Americanism + Dispensationalism comes up with some wild hermeneutics...what we're seeing here.

Howse:

Leviticus 26:

V. 16 I will even appoint terror over you:

America continues to live under the threat and fear of terrorism.

V. 19 I will break the pride of your power:

America is no longer a super-power as our military is stretched thin around the world and massive national debt impacts our financial stability and dependability which is causing nations to call for a new reserve currency to replace the American dollar.

V. 20. Speaks of famine:

V. 26 Speaks of famine:

Let us pray this does not happen.



V. 22 Speaks of extreme economic distress:

America is bankrupt. When you combine all our off record debt and unfunded liabilities like Medicare and Social Security we are over 99 trillion dollars in debt. The federal government could tax Americans 100% of their total incomes and not cover 2009 federal deficit.

V. 31 Speaks of invasion by enemies and destruction of their cities:

Intelligence officials and experts admit that terrorist sleeper cells are here in America and they are simply waiting for orders to carry out acts of terrorism upon our cities as did those that carried out the attacks on 9-11, 2001.

Proto:



Leviticus 26 is a great chapter, but I'm quite certain it has nothing to do with the United States. And even his commentary is all seen through a Right-Wing Americanist lens…often oversimplified if not wrong.



To be continued........yes, there's more.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

John
I would more than agree that Howse's endeavours in tying ancient scripture to a modern nation is at best very sloppy. However , I do believe that in much the same way that God deals with individuals in bringing them in to His kingdom, His wrath and judgement will also be against individuals, those who remain reprobate. I tend to think that what Howse has missed here is that judgement begins at the house of God, against those who call themselves believers , but are not.
I really don't know what it is that Howse sees as the kind of judgement that he believes God will mete out on America, but I think spiritualy speaking, I see this judgement in the form of blindness, not being able to see the truth. Are we there yet? , i believe so.
Ray

John A. (Protoprotestant) said...

Great points.

There are many who have pointed out that due to a variety of reasons, American Christianity (which continues to affect many outside the United States) has a perilously weak doctrine of the Church. We're really individualistic and it has squashed our corporate concept of being God's people. The theology of Scripture on this topic has often been ignored.

Or worse....substituted. America itself becomes the corporate concept. They deny this, but watch the pronouns in their writings and on the radio. One moment 'we' is in reference to the Church, and then without missing a beat, 'we' is suddenly about American society. They've conflated the two and thus when they encounter verses that deal with the Church and the need for the Church to repent.....they're suddenly talking politics and Culture War.

This has also led to the nebulous definition of what a Christian is. They often deal in two categories...a Biblical concept of the Born Again and then a loose cultural definition. If you're western, you're Christian.

If that's where we're at nearly 500 years after Luther nailed the theses....then the Reformation was for nothing.

As far as Judgment.....I couldn't agree more. Howse is right (wink)...America is under Judgment. We're permeated with Bibles and religious writings but the blindness is staggering. The American Church seems to be more or less handed over to blindness. You can scarcely find the Word of God taught or preached though it 'seems' to be everywhere.

Are we there yet? I think we've been there for awhile.

Of course with that, with the apostasy, with the growing of the tares as it were....the wheat grows as well. There are some good things happening and as things get worse (not necessarily for America, but for the Church) in some sense it will get better. I believe in the Remnant and things will have to get worse for the Remnant to become more manifest.

We're getting closer that's for sure.

In the end, your main observation I think is critical. Howse and so many others focus on America and consequently seem to miss (in part) what's happening to the Church.