Choose Your Hill

The likely duration of the devastation in Honduras is just starting to sink in following our outreach last week. The sense of powerlessness we felt as we passed miles and miles of tarp cities along the way is hard to describe.

1 min video no script just footage.

Meanwhile, Josh fell hard off a ladder and injured his shoulder. His arm is in a sling.  If that weren’t enough our ministry vehicle has big issues and 

We are grounded for a few weeks.

What to do, what to do?…

I know. How about we catch up on the news.

Errant Epistemology

As usual, our world is in turmoil over worldviews and politics.  As always there are many on both sides of the political sewer stream who believe they know the truth. Yet apart from hands on daily experience the only thing any of us really know for sure is the content of what we have been told or shown via some form of media. Like it or not most of what we consume only skews reality.  As a media creator myself I know that some of that skewing is inevitable. Some is by design.

Inevitable causes result from the emphasis being determined by the creator. If you watch one of my videos you inevitably see what impacts me. I want you to see and feel what I see and feel. That’s why I’m creating it. The greater my passion the more my own biases pass through the lens of your perception, world view, and life experience. You then draw your own conclusions and pass them onto others. The process goes on ad Infinitum.

On some level, every media consumer becomes a co-errant creator.

Skewing by design is intentional and may be used to honor or dishonor the subject.

Anyone who has been interviewed by me knows that I cut errors. Any hesitation, confusion, cussing, stuttering, or farting is removed such that even the most awkward and nervous subject looks like a seamless orator. I do this both for the sake of time and honor. The dark side of this is that people can be made to say things they never said.  All it takes is a simple switching of camera angles and adding b-roll to cover spliced clips.  For example, I could ask you what you thought about cockroaches in one question and what you think about puppies in the next then splice the answer to the first question onto the second and walla!  You have been transformed from a clean person into a genocidal puppy killer. 

Yes, it’s really that easy.

Viewing is skewing

The diminishing attention span and patience of viewers as well as the accelerated speed at which people scroll through SM messages requires videos to be shorter and shorter.  Advertisers know they have no more than 5-15 seconds to hook you or you will scroll through their message on your device.  That’s why they allow you the “Skip Ad” option. As a result, billions of people make instant and completely subjective decisions regarding truth and the nature of reality everyday based on media titles and headlines like “Trump Invokes Insurection Act” alone.

You don’t have the wisest serpent in the den to discern where this might lead.

What is True?

Four years ago on New Year’s Eve, we were en-route back to Kauai from Africa where we had attended the Iris Global Harvest School of Missions.

Africa was paradigm-shifting, to say the least.  We saw what it means to really lay it all down for the sake of the gospel.  We learned that while miracles and projects happen and doctrinal differences always arise, mission work a.k.a. Christianity begins and ends with intimacy with God and stopping for the one in front of you

Thankfully it wasn’t until we returned that we heard the myriad controversies regarding Heidi Baker. Like any famous person she is enshrined by some and bedeviled by others. Suffice it to say that anyone who has not personally encountered her on the mission field should stop talking.

The same applies to Christians talking about anyone’s character whom we only know via the media. As it turns out I have been duped too. Allow me to be the first to repent of this.

The entire body of Christ is comprised of fallen, cracked pots.

How easy it is to forget the brokenness that drew us to Christ in the first place.  Still, the body of Christ has had challenges with discerning and holding onto truth from the start. One minute the Corinthians are on fire for the gospel. Then getting rebuked for sexual immorality in next. 1 Cor 5 On a good day we prophecy in part, know in part, and see in a glass darkly. Therefore everything we do must be grounded in a love for one another that we model before others. John 13:35  Otherwise we become loud dystopic clangs in an already dying world. 1 Cor 13:1

There’s a lot of clanging today

I don’t know about you but I can be pretty fiery. It doesn’t take a whole lot of media viewing to stoke my stupidity and expose my deficits in this area.

Part of the problem is that our society has become an ocean of normalized narcissism where personal opinions and significance have become idols and are monetized by Social Media. Yup being angry at someone because they disagree with the ALMIGHTY ME is narcissistic. Calling for revolution or civil war is psychotic. It may be coming soon thanks to the new religion of

Self-aggrandizement and maligning others in the temple of the smartphone.

“The Social Dilemma” is an absolute must for anyone who has ever asked questions like “How could anyone believe the Marxist driven Portland riots were a peaceful protest” or “How could any Christian support a Nazi white supremacist homophobic rapist like Donald Trump?”

The answer is scarier than you might imagine.

About two years ago I wrote Truth or Trump where I discussed what I learned during my old Forex trading days regarding how media manipulates markets and political narratives for profit. I concluded that political rage is destroying the witness of Christians. In the Anatomy of Deception, I covered the economic theory of Reflexivity and what George Soros termed the Fertile Fallacy and the Manipulative Function by which he determines reality. These also drive markets, public opinion, and behavior. That all of the aforementioned entities are working together to reform humanity in the forge of social media is- well… terrifying.

“The Social Dilemma” was a proverbial capstone.

God and Government – Fear Not

While there are all sorts of typological analogies that can be drawn from the Old Testament regarding kings and kingdoms, it is God who establishes both in accordance with His disposition toward nations. Our God-given rights can only be revoked by Him.

His disposition toward Israel in Habakkuk 1 and Jerimiah 19 looks very different from Isaiah 45.

Hence He established both Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus.

Those who assume God didn’t establish Joe Biden and stand ready to redo 1776 should consider the almost prophetic words of John Adams in a letter to the Massachusetts Militia on October 11, 1798.

“We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practicing iniquity and extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and insolence: this Country will be the most miserable habitation in the World. Because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition revenge or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The operative question here is; do the words, “moral and religious people” describe our nation today?

If that gets you thinking then you might be ready to read The Killing of Uncle Sam.  Whatever you might think of Dr. Rodney Howard Brown’s controversial theology, he is writing as a historian. It definitely lends perspective to the words “turn from their wicked ways” in 2 Chron 7:14

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The bibliography alone is worth twice the price of his book. 

Many of problems we face today are largely a result of our nation’s collective obsession with Netflix and sports instead of history, civics, and sound Bible exegesis.  That two generations increasingly view what amounts to neo-Marxism as compassionate Biblically sound doctrine is a reaping of what we have sown.

Today we are in a very precarious position.

Everyone is being gaslit.

Everyone needs to question their epistemology.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s … thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.” – Mark Twain –

Our desire for and self-proclaimed God-ordained entitlement to justice comfort and prosperity is the source of our undoing.  That’s the round about way of saying, “mammon kills!” Those are hard words but Jesus had hard words for those who should have known better. They are preserved for our edification.  He and the apostles preached and modeled a message of total surrender of everything but the gospel.  In the end, none but Judas backed down.  All were beaten and killed for preaching it.

They did so amidst the following political climate and under rulers whom they never once opposed on political grounds.

  • Herod Antipas imprisoned and beheaded John the Baptist in 28AD for criticizing his marriage.
  • In 37AD well known Caligula embarked on a reign of terror which included the execution of James and the imprisonment of Peter from which he miraculously escaped.
  • He was succeeded in 41AD by Claudius, who expelled all the Jews from Rome.
  • 62 AD saw Nero who blamed/set up Christians for the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD.  He is best known for burning Christians as human candles and sending them to their deaths in the amphitheater. Both Paul and Peter were executed by Nero in 66AD.  Nero committed suicide in 68AD and was succeeded by Vespasian, 69AD.
  • Titus destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD. He died in 81AD and was succeeded by his younger brother Domitian.
  • Domitian continued to persecute Christians because they wouldn’t worship the Roman gods or sacrifice to the Emperor.  He exiled the apostle John to the  island of Patmos in 89AD

The Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount define our rights.

Here are some more hard words.

The gospel is not a call to political change, comfort, prosperity or even justice in this life. The Gospel is a call to die.

There is a poignant scene in the passion of the Christ where Mary is seen clutching fists full of the earth as her son is being nailed to the cross.  She rises from her knees in conjunction with the soldiers pulling the cross into its vertical position then opens her fists to release the earth as the cross drops into the supporting hole. No one including the disciples understood what was happening until after the resurrection.  The very act that brought eternal hope to the world emptied all of them of any hope they had in it.

All of us must get to this point.

Cathy and I often wonder how we and others would react to the crucifixion of our King if it happened today.

I suspect many would be calling for revolution and civil war.

Rev 13:10 is clear.

There is a lesson for America there.

As for us our heart and our hill are best described in the words Cathy recently wrote to a friend.

Bringing Hope in a dying world is our heart cry. That Hope on a starving person’s death bed is longer lasting than any hot meal. Of course, a hot meal is good and important too. But knowing that when they leave this world, even if they are all alone, that Jesus’ arms are open and, ready to receive them into eternity with Him is all that will matter then. That said, our prayer request is that this message of Hope will cross the language barriers, that Holy Spirit is active and Jesus is glorified.  That we will continue to hear and be obedient to God’s leading and that

His will be done!”  

Now might be a good time to pause from climbing the summit of success and define the hill upon which you are willing to die.

Maranatha!       

Anatomy of Deception – Binding the Strong Man

How do you determine what is true? How do you discern right from wrong?

How you answer these questions is determined by your world view. There are many. If you are Christian the Word of God should interpret your experience and frame your world view. Deception results when people interpret the Word of God via their experience and allow their experience to frame their world view. The first is objective. The latter is subjective.

Subjectivity is a growing problem in the body of Christ

Many refuse to see it.

In Mark Chapter 3 Jesus appoints the 12 disciples and gives them the power to preach, heal, and cast out demons. When the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees heard this they tried to attack Him.

Jesus was the Truth and they called Him a liar and a devil.

So He used the laws of coherence and correspondence to refute their claims. The laws of coherence and correspondence require that a truth claim makes sense and corresponds to reality within the context in which it is being stated. Violations of these laws are most easily demonstrated by the oxymorons like this famous nursery rhyme that result.

“One bright day in the middle of the night two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords, and shot each other.”

In this case, Jesus simply points out that a house or a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand and asks,

“How can Satan cast out Satan?”

He goes on to say that

 “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.”

While people tend to focus on the unseen supernatural power involved in casting out demons, Jesus began every confrontation with the truth. E.g. Luke 4:1-13, John 8, John 17:17. Objective truth is the most often overlooked supernatural aspect of God.

The strong man is the lie that masquerades as truth.

Of course, the natural man wants to find a natural manifestation of the lie to oppose in the flesh. Social media and our city streets are proof positive of this. Yet we do not war against flesh and blood. While our battle is ultimately metaphysical against rulers and principalities of the air Eph 6:12 the more tangible context is often in the realm of belief and world view. It makes sense given that everyone’s eternal disposition is contingent on these.

That’s probably at least one reason why belief is addressed 148 times in 135 verses in the New Testament alone.

Satan has from the beginning always attacked belief on the grounds of the existence and nature of truth.

Today we are facing an outright assault on truth in the form of a calculated deconstruction of our history, identity, language, education, culture, and most importantly our faith. While people like Paul-Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida often get much of the contemporary credit, deconstruction began with Satan in Genesis 3,

“Did God really say?”

Deconstruction always attacks meaning and is ultimately about power.

Random and crazy as it often appears, deconstruction is neither of these.

On January 10, 1963, Cleon Skousen a former undercover FBI Agent, presented 45 stated American communist party goals to congress. These enumerated deconstructive goals included tearing down statues, defunding the police, and replacing them with mental health professionals who would diagnose anti-communist propensities as mental disorders. It proposed using the UN to achieve a global communist government. Getting people to accept this would be gradual and achieved by first circumventing education and dumbing down the curriculum. This would be further supported through the discrediting of parents and the institution of the family as a whole and finally teaching violent student insurrection as a legitimate method for achieving political goals.

Sound familiar?

Of course, the Christian church and our faith was and is acknowledged as the primary obstacle to achieving all the other goals.

Hence

Communist agenda #27 “Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with social religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a religious crutch.”

This is happening!

In addition to the social and political deconstruction of the American way of life, there is a growing Christian deconstruction movement resulting in people including leaders rejecting Christ. The supporting intellectual framework is often just a cover for sin and or a worldly agenda. The most sophisticated arguments usually revolve around apparent textual inconsistencies in the Bible, as yet unproven historical claims, fake science, and false justice. “How could a loving God…? “If God is real why doesn’t He…? “Where is the proof of….?” They demand proof according to human criteria in apparent ignorance that God is sovereign, His ways are higher than our ways and that faith, not empirical proof is the foundation of lived Christianity. Luke 18:8 In the end Biblical truth is deconstructed according to the standards of man. Like Jesus, in Mark 3 God and His Church are judged as evil.

Of course, nature abhors a vacuum.

Once God is removed from the equation, those programmed by media to embrace an entitled, monetized victim mindset are more than ready to accept the State as the god who provides.

#27 accomplished.

Do not be deceived. The real battle is against God regardless of the social issues in which it manifests.

Today we have growing divisions in the church. There are political divisions, racial divisions, and divisions over gender to name a few. More importantly, there are divisions regarding God’s position on these and other issues. Every conflict is ultimately rooted in Pontious Pilate’s question in John 18:38,

“What is Truth?”

If you are a Christian then Jesus is the Truth. He is also the Word. We learn what is true by studying it. 2 Tim 2:15

We bind the strongman by knowing and proclaiming it. 2 Cor 10:4-5, 2 Tim 2:15, Col 2:8-10

Biblical truth always corresponds with the Word of God and remains coherent within that context or it is not Truth.

Coherent exegesis is always God-centered and objective.

Man centered exegesis is always subjective and results in perverted truth, sin, and divisions.

Not sometimes.

Always!

Hence Jesus ended the discussion with a warning.

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”—because they said,

“He has an unclean spirit.”

In it’s simplest form, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the insistence that the Truth is a lie and a refusal to be corrected.

If we profess to be Christian but lean on our own understanding of God and His will and refuse to be corrected by the Word of God, then we risk being as guilty as the Scribes and Pharisees and subject to the same consequences.

So how do we avoid this?

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Anytime you find yourself passionately arguing for or against a particular world view or moral issue etc. be like the Acts 17:11 Bereans and do so Biblically. That means citing scripture or at least being able to support your position with scripture if and when your position is questioned or opposed. It means demanding the same regarding all truth claims from brothers and sisters whether or not we agree with them.

“Where is that in the Bible?” Should be our default.

Sometimes this requires long-suffering and bearing with one another while Prov 27:17 sparks fly. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is happening today. People are refusing to even discuss let alone debate essential doctrines. In the case of radical subjectivists, either you agree or you get canceled. This rapidly emerging trend looks a lot like a 2 Thes 2:1-3 falling away. So be it. The Bible says that will and must happen.

One thing is certain. Truth isn’t Christian Truth unless it corresponds with scripture and remains coherent within that context.

Any other standard of truth, justice, or righteousness is at best an attempt to cast Satan out with Satan. At worst it is the manifest presence of Satan himself. Many today refuse to hear this. The organization Black Lives Matter is a perfect example. I realize that my saying this will send some people into a rage. Several have already accused me of misrepresenting Jesus. Others have accused me of white supremacy and of representing Satan myself.

I’m ok with that.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!” Mat 10:24-25

Besides, Jesus “didn’t come to bring peace but a sword.” Mat 10:34-39

In any case, BLM supporters should definitely watch this and listen to the words directly from their founders before disagreeing.

The salvation of some could very well be in the balance.

Then explain,

What fellowship does light have with darkness? 2 Cor 6:14

Call it subjectivism, Marxism, witchcraft, progressivism, Critical theory, postmodernism, deconstruction; call it whatever you want. The Strongman is doing home and church invasions.

If we don’t bind him with Truth now, we are going to be bound and plundered later.

Maranatha!