Happy Thursday! ?

I was anticipating much discussion on my economics post… it’s gotten fewer page views than my “Social Networking” page!!! Oh well, not everyone is into macroeconomics, I guess. Are all of you thriving in this economy so it just doesn’t matter to you? Am I the only one who’s broke and battered and bruised?

I have a good friend who’s about as staunch a Republican as you can be without actually boning Rush Limbaugh. I asked her if she had picked a candidate yet and she responded that she really liked Mitt Romney. This morning, I got another email from her saying this:

OH NO!!! I just found out Mitt Romney is a Mormon. I am officially without a candidate. 😦 Is that horrible of me? Mormons are okay people but when it comes to holding up the beliefs of our country I think the President has to be Christian don’t you? Or am I way off base?

This caused me to reflect on a book I’m reading and as I wrote her back, I realized… Hey! This might make an interesting blog post… so, here is the text of my message back to her:

Truthfully… I think you’re way off base. The fact is, Mormons share most, if not all, social values with the rest of protestant-ism. Stances on gay marriage, abortion, sex-ed, evolution and things like that tend to line up… so from that standpoint, I believe Romney is a better choice than say McCain or Gulianni… I like Mike Huckabee… but I don’t think he’s “polished” enough to be a world leader… he’s a little to “down home”…

I’m reading a great book right now that I think you should read (although, it might be difficult for you, politically)… it’s called “The Myth of a Christian Nation” by Greg Boyd and he talks about how we, as Christians, need to stop equating the kingdom of GOD with kingdom’s on earth… he points out that, as it says in Luke 4:5-7, all the authority on earth over all the nations of the world belongs to Satan… GOD handed over all governments and all leadership of the world to Satan (for a time, until the return of CHRIST, of course)… this means that earthly government is inherently NOT OF GOD… Jesus lived during very politically turbulent times… The Jews were under great stress and persecution by the Romans and many people thought that the Messiah was coming as a warlord to free the Jewish people… Jesus never made any political statements and never concerned HIMSELF with politics… HE knew that the kingdom of GOD was about personal relationships, not government

NOW… before you get too upset 🙂 I am not suggesting that Christians should not be involved in politics, I’m just suggesting that we shouldn’t expect to make our earthly government be “God’s Government”… see what I mean?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this!!!

SDG,
Matty

ps – enjoy this picture from Christmas Eve

Christmas In Redding

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9 Responses

  1. Um, am I missing something? Where in scripture does God say he’s handing over authority of all nations to satan? I looked up the Luke reference and that’s where satan is tempting Jesus. Satan is saying he was given authority but last I checked he’s the father of lies…

    Semi-related… in an earlier post you mentioned that you don’t believe every Bible story actually happened. I believe you used Noah as an example (sorry I’m too lazy to go look up the post). I’m wondering how you decide which stories actually happened and which ones are just examples?? The story in Luke for example… did satan really tempt Jesus or was that just a story to show us that we can stand up to temptations?

  2. andi –

    thanks for the challenging and thought-provoking comment!

    Let me answer your first question by addressing your “semi-related” issue…

    In understanding scripture, I defer to people with much more learning and understanding than myself. Many scholars (I will look up some names/sites and post them here as I have time) that I studied in college pointed out that, based on things like writing style and the traditions of story telling amongst ancient nomadic peoples (the ancient Hebrews among them), most of the stories in the early parts of Genesis and other places in the OT need to be understood as mythology. These myths, similar to the ancient Greek, Roman and Norse myths, are stories told to illustrate Truth. It is in this same way that JESUS uses parables in HIS ministry. Ancient peoples, particularly nomadic peoples, taught their children orally, around the proverbial campfire. Kids would ask questions like, “Daddy, why are their rainbows?” or “Mommy, how did people get here?”. Each culture had it’s own stories about natural phenomenons and about the origins of life. These stories were handed down for generations before the advent or adoption of written language.

    By contrast, the writings included in the New Testament (and many included in the OT, too! -mm) are first-hand accounts or letters, or are based on first-hand accounts. I believe that the details of Jesus’ adult ministry are accurate and can be confirmed by outside sources. I believe that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, not only because of the story’s inclusion in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, but also because it is re-affirmed in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.”

    So, that being the case, let’s look at the passage from Luke 4 again. Satan claims dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth saying, “for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.” This is reinforced by Paul in 2 Cor 4:4 where he writes about Satan as the “god of this age”. Because of this, two things jump out. First, Jesus doesn’t respond by saying, “They’re not yours to give.” HE responds by quoting Deut 6, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only'”. He doesn’t dispute Satan’s claim on the kingdoms of the world. The second thing that jumps out is this, if Satan were lying, CHRIST would have known, and it wouldn’t have been much of a temptation at that point.

    I hope this addresses your questions, Andi my friend! All of the cites I’ve used here I found on biblegateway.com.

    I look forward to your response!

    SDG,
    Matty

  3. hmmm – but wasn’t the story of the flood also re-affirmed in Hebrews 11:6?

  4. Nicole –

    The author of Hebrews, in chapter 11, is using famous stories of the faith to revitalize the Hebrew people. Noah was a mythical figure which all Jews would know, as were Cain, Able, Enoch etc. This is a common literary device and everyone would have understood that. This would be akin to a Greek writer inspiring the crowds with a story of Zeus and Apollo. And by all accounts, it worked. The author of Hebrews, it seems, got his or her point across.

    SDG,
    Matt

  5. Hi,

    Going back to Luke 4 & 2 Cor. 4 … I still don’t see this as proof that God handed over authority to satan. God has ultimate authority over heaven and earth. I believe that He allows satan to roam freely. Satan is the “god of this age” because those who follow him have in effect made him their god (note: little “g” god) in the same way that people make money or alcohol or gambling their gods. Those things have authority in their lives because they’ve submitted to them – it doesn’t take away any authority from God and it doesn’t mean He gave authority to those things.

    Back to Noah. In your comment to Nicole you called Noah a mythical figure… but why then is he listed in the “family tree”? (so and so begat so and so etc…) A lot of the OT was oral tradition so is it all one nice big fable?

    I guess I default on the fact that I believe the Bible to be authored by God and as such that the Bible is Truth. When Jesus told parables you knew it was a story to illustrate a truth (even if it confused His disciples 😉 But you knew it was a story. Same with the OT – it’s presented as Truth, not fiction.

    Don’t even get me started on the physical evidence of a flood… or the lack of evidence on macro evolution…

    BTW – I love these conversations with you. It gives me a glimpse into your mind and it makes me think about what I believe and why. Thanks friend!

    ~Andi

  6. “authored by God and as such that the Bible is Truth” Cannot God still inspire story to convey his truth? Where in scripture does it say thet 100% of the Bible is 100% factual?

    I feel, like the flood, that some stories can be loosely-based on an event but then expanded to convey a Truth. Story is a VERY powerful medium to inspire and convey truth, and even story could be God-inspired. To me, the focus is less about is this 100% true or not (how do we REALLY know) and more, “What was God trying to convey through this story?” For more how I feel about this, go to: http://mendingshift.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/the-bible-fiction/

  7. Absolutely God can inspire a story to convey his truth – and He did so. But it was always clear that it was a story.

    I think I’m hung up on this because if you start to question the things the Bible presents as truth… where do you stop? Maybe the story of Christ dying on the cross was just a story… because we had to have the shedding of blood to cover our sins so let’s loosely base a story on Jesus but instead of him just dying – let’s put him on a cross. ???

  8. Andi –

    I am so glad you get joy out of my ramblings. I, too, enjoy these discussions as they allow me to flesh out my belief structure as well. I again would ask you, when Satan claims dominion over the nations… if it were not true, it wouldn’t have constituted much of a temptation. If someone says to you (I’m just picking something random, not suggesting this is your particular temptation), “Hey, Andi. Let’s go smoke some weed, ” but you know they don’t have any, they have never had any and they have never smoked, that isn’t much of a temptation. In the same way, Satan offering Jesus something he didn’t possess wouldn’t have been much of a temptation, either. And I believe Jesus was tempted… I believe that Satan was offering Christ a way to heal the hurt of every land and every generation, and that would have been VERY tempting. But Jesus knew HE could never worship Satan, so HE resisted the temptation.

    I believe the Bible was authored by people who were inspired by God. I believe that the message of the Bible is that we are fallen, sinful people who are separated from our GOD who loves us and who has provided a way for us to be returned to HIMSELF through the saving work of HIS son JESUS CHRIST. I believe that the Bible conveys this message perfectly.

    Jeromy –

    Welcome to the discussion, brother! I agree with you that it is less important whether the accounts are 100% true and more important that we get what GOD is trying to teach us through it.

  9. Matthew,

    I have to take Andi’s position—”I believe that He allows satan to roam freely. Satan is the “god of this age” because those who follow him have in effect made him their god…” When Jesus was tempted it was about Satan trying to get Jesus to hand over His trust and His attitude.

    I agree that the world is Satan’s relm, but this has more to do with his ability to infiltrate the minds and hearts of those unwilling to submit to God’s authority than his control over events. God created everything and owns everything, but this does not mean that His creations are going to follow or even love Him.

    This ties into my post “God Chooses The President” that you disagree on. God establishes all authorities, even if Satan controls the minds of such authorities.

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