Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Of Biblical proportions: America is under a strong delusion (ADDENDUM)

For those who can't fathom Providential influence over all things great and small, who want to sterilize their worldly lives from their Faith, this piece might be too discomforting or cerebral for you; however, if you profess to Believe, this perspective/warning might provide some reason to the extraordinary delusion we find our culture and its people mired in, looking beyond what we've already dragged ourselves through so far this century, but what's to come with more foolish choices...
TheWordOnPolitics: The truth of the matter is that America is finally under the judgment of God. Our nation has been given over to what it wants. America is under a deluding influence. Such a deleterious condition cannot be remedied with better and more aggressive public policy arguments. The Scripture teaches that people can go so far in their sin that God finally removes His hand of restraint upon them and finally gives them over to what they want to do. This is the very thing that happened to Pharaoh in the Old Testament. After hardening his own heart several times against God (Exod. 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7), God finally hardened Pharaoh’s heart and gave Pharaoh over to what he wanted to do (Exod. 4:21; 9:12). This removal of divine restraint as a sign of judgment upon a culture is also the key theme of Romans 1:18–32. In this troubling section of the Bible, after people no longer see fit to retain the knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18-23), God is said to repeatedly give them over (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28) to the sins that they are so eager to commit. The prophet Jeremiah anticipated that same type of turning over by God in his own day when he recorded the following chilling words from the Lord, “As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you” (Jer. 7:16). We see the same type of judgment predicted for the end times as people will be given over to a spirit of delusion that will cause them to embrace the antichrist. Second Thessalonians 2:11–12 says, “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”

Why do I believe that America is now at this delicate tipping point? Largely, it is because of the meteoric rise of a person like Donald Trump in American politics. The man is a moral and verbal sewer. He has no political resume. Rather, his campaign has been buoyed by empty promises devoid of any real substance or meaningful content. He merely repeats mantras that the voters want to hear similar to the types of statements that Barack Obama gave us back in 2008. You know the rhetoric: “I’m going to build a wall around America and make Mexico pay for it.” “We are going to make this country great again.” “Believe me, Americans are going to win again.” “We are actually going to win so many times we are going to get tired of winning.” “Trust me, it is going to be great.” This type of rhetoric seems more akin to that of a used car salesman rather than that of a serious presidential contender. These sentiments are nothing more than empty slogans since they never reveal exactly how Trump plans to accomplish these great exploits. These are the sorts of trite statements that third world dictators endlessly propagate upon their beleaguered people. In fact, according to Imelda Marcos, the public expression “we are going to make this nation great again” is the very slogan that Ferdinand Marcos articulated just prior to coming to power in the 1950s in the Philippines and prior to Marcos’ imposition of martial law.

The fact that all the evidence indicates that Trump throughout the course of his entire life really never believed all of the conservative positions that he now supposedly holds is really of no consequence to people. When anybody dares to shed light on Trump’s longtime liberal worldview by pointing out that “the king is naked,” they are simply shouted down as a “liar” or victimized by various other ad hominem attacks. Such was the sum and substance of last Saturday’s Republican Primary debate in South Carolina. The masses really are not interested in information related to Trump’s liberal worldview since they have already made a decision to blindly follow Trump on the basis that he tells them what they want to hear. In fact, the bigger a fool Trump makes of himself on the national stage, the larger his poll numbers seem to climb. This, in and of itself, is perhaps the greatest evidence of the deluding influence that is now descending upon America. Ask yourself a simple question. How is it possible for Trump to repeat the Michael Moore and Code Pink left wing lunacy that former President George Bush intentionally misled the American people about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in a recent Republican primary debate and in a conservative state like South Carolina, and have his poll numbers rise and not fall as a result? Such public folly would have been sufficient to derail any Presidential aspirations in prior generations. The only explanation is that the voters are no longer being driven by their mental and rational faculties. Rather, they are being primarily fueled by irrational emotion due to a deluding influence.

I realize that a recent poll showed Cruz leading his primary challengers nationally. However, this poll is an aberration with the majority of them showing Trump clobbering his opponents in upcoming primaries. What Republican primary voters are apparently on the precipice of doing, if the present poll numbers are an accurate indication, is to reject a Senator Ted Cruz Presidential nomination in exchange for that of a show man and a game show host. Think about how monumental this is. Ted Cruz is an articulate conservative who has a track record of opposing progressivism not only within the Democratic Party but also in his own Republican party. Cruz has had a stellar legal career successfully arguing numerous cases favoring conservatism before the United States Supreme Court. Even the ultra-liberal Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz reluctantly conceded that Ted Cruz was one of the most brilliant law students ever under his tutelage. Cruz is also a man not only of deep Christian conviction but also, as demonstrated by his actions, someone who is committed to the principles of limited government set forth by America’s founders. There is nobody as qualified to replace potentially four Supreme Court vacancies that the next President will likely have the opportunity to fill, than Ted Cruz. Yet, this kind of man with this kind of record is no longer attractive to the majority of Americans voters. They would much rather embrace the progenitor of a reality TV show. What further evidence do we need to confidently say that America is now under a deluding influence given by God himself as a judgment upon this nation?
Now, this is not an all-hope-is-lost scenario, yet. Rather, let this provide a wake-up call to ALL while there's still time, praying on our knees, face to the floor, that God Almighty has not removed His Holy Hand of restraint upon this nation...
Like the Ninevites of old, the current generation of Americans apparently are no longer capable of discerning their right hand from their left (Jonah 4:11). Of course, in my heart of hearts, I want to be wrong about all of this. I want to believe that there is still hope for this once great nation. I want to once again trust the good sense of the American electorate. However, as explained above, I have my doubts. If Trump overwhelmingly wins the Republican primaries in South Carolina on Saturday and then on Super Tuesday on March 1st, then these unfortunate suspicions will be confirmed.
Related link: The Call to Discernment: Seeing Through Bible Spouting Politicians

ADDENDUM: Yesterday, Steve Deace wrote a worthwhile piece concerning South Carolina's political message that voters sent to Team Cruz, 'to get back on message, and to get back to being the alpha male leader conservatives fell in love with in Iowa.' Today, Deace wrote Part 2 of this piece in which he turns attention towards the spiritual message, addressing a message of tough love through the troubling numbers and wrongheadedness of the very evangelical voters that conservatism is counting on...
For months now I’ve had countless liberal media members incredulously asking me why Trump is doing well with evangelicals. Though many of these people are unbelievers, their question reveals some level of reverence for the faith nonetheless.

Because what they’re essentially saying – especially after Trump won evangelicals in South Carolina of all places – is this: “I thought you Christians stood for something better than this.”

It’s not just Trump’s adulteries and divorces. I wasn’t a virgin on my wedding night, and I’ve previously shared that I was fully engrossed in the porn culture like many men of my generation. Nor is it the many lies Trump has told on the campaign trail. I’ve told lies before, too. Neither is it Trump’s vulgar language. I lose control of my tongue at times as well. And it’s not even his liberal positions on practically everything Christians supposedly hold dear, though this seems to be what baffles liberal media the most. These are all mere symptoms of the real problem.

See, the reason Trump should be soundly rejected by evangelicals is that he openly flaunts his rebellion against God without shame. By claiming he’s never asked God for forgiveness because he doesn’t think he needs it, and calling self-esteem heretic Norman Vincent Peale his Svengali, Trump concedes he isn’t even a seeker. He’s crafted his own pagan religion that suits his own desires and that makes him no different than the moral relativists on the Left we allegedly oppose.

Trump essentially looks at the bloodied, bruised, and broken Christ on the Cross and responds: “What kind of loser doesn’t come down from there if he has all that power?” He fails to see the point of what’s happening here: Christ has laid down his power in order to give power to Trump, and all of us, to believe and be saved.

“But Steve,” some of you will respond, “are you claiming Trump is not a Christian?”

No, Trump is claiming that.

The first step toward becoming a Christian is to seek forgiveness, which Trump admits he has not. And he doesn’t just admit sheepishly, but proudly.

Liberty in our constitutional republic is predicated on the notion that our rights come from God and not government. But how can someone be trusted to protect our God-given rights if they don’t really believe in God? People who don’t believe they require God’s forgiveness believe only in themselves. They are, functionally, atheists. Different religions sincerely disagree on doctrine, but they all sincerely believe forgiveness is required—whether that forgiveness is found on Easter or Yom Kippur.

For the evangelical, it’s not that he never sins. It’s that he knows Christ atones for his sins so he can be forgiven of them. For the evangelical, it’s not that he won’t ever sin again. It’s that he’s been given the grace to humbly seek forgiveness when he does, and has a willingness to be held accountable for his actions as well as make restitution if necessary. This contrite spirit is found nowhere in Trump.

That’s not to say someone has to be an evangelical to be an effective politician, but it does mean that evangelicals should not allow their political desires/fears to redefine what it means to be an evangelical. By supporting Trump and demanding no humility or integrity from him at all, evangelicals are defining down what their faith means to a watching world—and it’s not a good look.

We are telling the world that we really have no standard other than ‘Merica. That mammon is Lord and not Christ, and that when push comes to shove we really can’t be counted on in times of tumult to be a port in a cultural storm. We are telling them that our house is built on the same sand as theirs.

Trump has made no move to curry favor with us or what we believe. He’s shaken his fist at God by rejecting His greatest gift, His forgiveness. Not coincidentally, Trump has also rejected nearly every reason we risk creating enmity with a culture through partisan political activism in the first place.

He’s Planned Parenthood’s “favorite Republican.” He refuses to make protecting religious liberty a priority. He told Kim Davis to violate her faith. Trump has promised the Rainbow Jihad “forward motion” on their agenda. In short, this is a very bad return on investment for evangelicals.

Unless your faith is nothing more than waving the flag. In that case, congratulations—you’re in a cult.

The evangelical belongs to the worldwide body of Christ, not a cult of personality or a homeland. Patriotism, or love of country because it stands for something righteous, is a good and noble thing. But nationalism on the right is simply the alter-ego of socialism on the left. Both are byproducts of statism which demand we set aside our cherished principles in order to serve the group-think. Like when we see Trump supporters say, “It’s time to set conservativism or Christianity aside and do what’s best for America.”

Silly me, I thought we were trying to conserve the foundations which are what’s best for America. And that must include the Judeo-Christian heritage from whence our virtue and ethics came. How are we going to make America great again by rejecting that which made it great in the first place?

Sadly, though, the American church is quite sick. Replete with prosperity pimps, shallow teaching, and gutless preachers. If you want to really be depressed, Google “George Barna” and go read all of his research. Our sickness has produced an era of evangelicals who think “make America great again” is in the Bible right next to where it says “the Lord helps those who help themselves.”

If you look at book, movie, and music sales it’s never been more profitable to be an evangelical, except there’s very little cultural transformation to coincide with the record revenue. What good does it profit a man to gain the whole world, only to lose his eternal soul in the process?

Evangelicals should be asking discerning questions like: “If Trump’s perspective is so myopic as to not consider his own eternal fate, why should I trust him to prudently consider my fate from the vantage point of the most powerful office in the world for the next four years?”

But that would require us to seek after the real Messiah and not a cheap, secular imitation. Besides, zealots are all the rage these days. We seem to relate to them better than a cause that calls us to be better than we are.

The inconvenient truth is that more and more evangelicals believe God exists primarily to serve their worldly needs – happiness, contentment, comfort, etc. – and understand little of His mission to heal our spiritual brokenness. I mean, who wants that poor, tortured Jew bleeding out on a tree. He’s low energy and we need a winner.

So the mob will just scream “Give us Barabbas” instead.
Related link: ARE WE CHOOSING BARABBAS?

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