Donald Trump has actually been referred to as the 'President the the split States of America' by Time Magazine. Mine Twitter feed bears witness come this. I have actually seen friends proclaiming Trump as the anti-Christ and others that speak around him in glowing, messianic terms. The people is either in jeopardy or justification in a celebration event – and lots of bible verses have been quoted top top both sides. This social media comments have made me wonder – just how should we read human being events as Christians? What has our scriptures really obtained to say around such points as brand-new presidents?
1. The proof text ping pong
When Osama bin Laden to be shot dead by marine Seal team 6 it to be accompanied by a telling object lesson in the usage of Scripture. My society media feed had actually two equal and also opposite reactions and also both sides used proof messages which to be batted ago and forth choose a ping pong ball.
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One would certainly quote Proverbs 24:17: "Do not gloat once your adversary falls; when they stumble, execute not let your heart rejoice."
Another would certainly quote Proverbs 21:15: "When justice is done, that brings pleasure to the righteous however terror to evildoers."
Or one would quote Ezekiel 18:23: "'Do ns take any kind of pleasure in the fatality of the wicked?' declares the sovereign LORD. 'Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?'"
While an additional would quote Proverbs 11:10: "When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; as soon as the evil perish, there space shouts that joy."
You can see what is continue here. Each side reads the scriptures through their political and moral preferences and finds passages of bible to affirm those preferences. A similar tendency in selecting scriptures passages has actually been happening concerning the arrival of Donald Trump's presidency.
The difficulty is, how deserve to we correctly analyze not only the human being we are living in, but likewise the scriptures that we room using to analyze the world? If we room not mindful our technique to scripture is shaped an ext by our personal politics, the media or the dominance of opinion ~ above our society media feed 보다 what scripture really has to say.
One that the ideal ways we can combat this is to enable people into our resides who are not to adjust in the same means we are and will an obstacle us to see the civilization differently. We will certainly not constantly agree v them and also nor need to we, yet it have the right to be a powerful means to try to hear what scripture really has to say.
But what execute we do once people's usage of Scripture leader to contradictory interpretations of civilization events? ns read freshly of someone who cleared up that as Trump to be going to be the 45th chairman of the unified States, he felt caused read Isaiah 45 which describes King Cyrus that is the Lord's anointed leader. Yet Isaiah 45 likewise includes a dire warning from God, who says the fate of every those who have refused to identify him: "All who have raged against him will concerned him and also be put to shame." among the most effective ways the we have the right to hear scripture relatively is to pay much less attention come our own context and an ext attention to the initial context the the passage. If we force Scripture to answer inquiries it was never ever intended to answer then us will most likely involved the not correct conclusion. As soon as Isaiah was writing down his prophecy he had no idea around Donald Trump, he additionally had no idea that anyone would add chapter or city numbering come his work. So any kind of association in between King Cyrus and also Donald trump card is coincidental at best and also manipulative at worst.
If we are going to take the bible seriously we must take the on its very own terms and not i have loaded bizarre reading strategies on to it.
2. The prophetic voice
I probably have equal number of girlfriend who believe that the gift of a prophetic utterance ended with the apostles and also those who believe it still proceeds today. For those believer who think that God still offers supernatural way to give revelation come Christians, some seem to focus more on an individual information, rather on worldwide events. In the bible itself we watch both in play. For example Paul is warned by the spirit that he is walking to be imprisoned when he gets to Jerusalem (Acts 20) yet we additionally see Daniel being offered insight into the future the the empires that were going to preeminence the civilization (Daniel 2). Personally, though ns do think in God's recurring use of prophecy today, ns am really cautious about how this works.
I have heard too many abusive stories of personal prophecy. "God has actually told me the I will marry you," says the young man. "Well the hasn't told me – so push off" says the empowered and biblically confident young woman. Yet this kind of prophetic misuse takes ar in an international issues too. Sometimes leaders proclaim us God's appointed ruler. Sometimes so-called 'prophets' case inside info on whom to vote for, or what certain sin has caused the latest an international tragedy.
We room told very plainly to stop two extremes as soon as it involves the prophetic word. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 says: "Do no treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; organize on to what is good, reject every kind of evil". Contempt, cynicism and credulity room unhelpful. But deference and also discernment are both same important.
How carry out we practise these 2 things when it concerns prophecies that case that trump is God's favored servant and will do only right in his eyes, or that insurance claim that trumped is the anti-Christ and also must be overturned? One strategy is to allow the fingerprint and an ext straightforward passages to translate the more figurative and also allegorical. We space told in scripture the we must pray for all those in power (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Us are likewise told that every one of us space sinners and also yet leaders room to be liked on the basis of their character. We space told come speak up because that the civil liberties of the marginalised and also the needy.
3. The eschatological cup
Just together some space glass-half-empty people while others room glass-half-full as soon as it comes to life, we discover the same once it pertains to Christian theological frameworks. For some the human being is spiralling downwards in a degenerative descent in the direction of Armageddon: every an international disaster is one more damning piece of proof that the finish of the civilization is being ushered in. Because that others the civilization is on the verge that a an excellent awakening, and so us await the revelation the Christ together king or the next outpouring the the divine Spirit. No of these 2 extremes are helpful, together the holy bible teaches both the there will certainly be dark days ahead and also that the kingdom that God is like a mustard seed the grows and also expands. There will be ups and also downs, challenges and victories, and also so we must be ware of monotone eschatological frameworks that fail to leave room for either breakthrough or breakdown in the progress of the comes kingdom of God. So we have to not allow defeatism or triumphalism to inform our outlook on the world. Just because the leader or party we support gets elected does not average we room one action closer to heaven on earth. Yet neither walk it median that once the leader or the party we assistance gets defeated does it mean the earth is teetering ~ above the leaf of destruction. At some point only God is the source of our hope and assurance for the future, not any type of political or armed forces leader – we must not job our trust or despair into the existing political case we find ourselves in.
4. The allegorical angle
Stephen Hawking's A Brief history of Time used to host the document for the "most bought but least read" publication in history. Similarly, the publication of Revelation might be the "most quoted and also least understood" publication of the Bible. Because of the beautiful and also disturbing word images within it, Revelation offers rich pickings for Christians make the efforts to recognize life in the 21st century. Part will translate a current human being leader as being a disguised anti-Christ while others will view a foreshadowing that Jesus ~ above his white horse. My knowledge of the book of Revelation is the it was never ever intended to be a truth time capsule that was hidden at the ago of the holy bible that would certainly be useless because that 2,000 years because they to be predicting the occasions of the 21st century. The publication of Revelation, choose all scripture, has been "useful because that teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16) ever since God an initial inspired the apostle man to create it. So, that means the imagery had in the is not claimed to use directly and also mysteriously come individual leaders or events. However, the grand themes of Revelation absolutely apply today. Every little thing is walking on in our people – the challenges and crises – are eventually in God's control and one work every knee will bow prior to the Lamb on the Throne.
5. The morality call
After Hurricane Katrina ravaged brand-new Orleans ns heard numerous Christian leaders case that this to be God's judgment on the dark tasks of that region. Or when an earthquake damaged so lot of Haiti, again this was attributed come the referee of God top top a corrupt nation. But when Jesus was asked to analyze some catastrophes that took ar in his day, his answer was very different. A tower had fallen down and also killed 18 human being in Siloam. Approximately the very same time the roman inn Procurator Pontius Pilate killed some worshippers indigenous Galilee together they offered their sacrifices. Some human being had assumed the these victims must have committed some terrible crimes. Jesus rejects this way of reasoning completely:
""Do you think the these Galileans were worse sinners 보다 all the various other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! yet unless you repent, you as well will every perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do friend think they were an ext guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? ns tell you, no! but unless you repent, you also will all perish" (Luke 13 3-5).
This passage from Luke's Gospel cautions us against a simplistic translate of tragedy suspect guilt for those that suffer. Jesus reiterates this lesson once his disciples ask him why someone to be born blind, assuming that was resulted in either by an individual or parental sin. Jesus refuses this interpretation. Similarly in the publication of project – sometimes, unexplainably it is no the wicked that suffer however the righteous. The same logic is present at the crucifixion, wherein Jesus was abused and then killed also though he was absolutely innocent of any type of crime or any type of sin. We should be very slow to judge the enduring of rather or we will discover that we have more in usual with those that mocked Jesus on the cross than the one who passed away for the suffering and also sins the the world. Rather we have to reflect ~ above the sins we know about – those in our own lives.
We have actually explored five different ways the Christians use to translate the world roughly them. Return they might seem great at one level – browsing Scripture, or thinking prophetically or eschatologically –they can have significant flaws.
For my part, I believe God wants us to live faithfully every little thing the scenarios we room in, whichever next of the political dispute we discover ourselves on. Ns don't think that most of the time God offers us a in-depth knowledge that how worldwide events space playing their part in his over-all bespeak of the universe, although i look forward to finding the end the various other side of eternity. Rather we are offered instructions on exactly how to live in every circumstance – namely to live stays of faithful and courageous obedience, being loving and gracious to one another, and in true personal repentance.
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Dr Krish Kandiah is the writer of 'Paradoxology: Why Christianity was never ever meant to it is in simple' i m sorry is published in the US next month by IVP.