Tag Archives: Revelation

Is Bill Gates behind a plot to usher in the new world order of the Antichrist?

In the past week two people recommended to me a video by Pastor J.D. Farag, a self-appointed biblical prophet. In the video he makes the claim that Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci are the “global players” who created the coronavirus pandemic in order to reduce the global population and provide vaccines which simultaneously give people the Mark of the Beast described in the book of Revelation.

While Pastor Farag said some things with which I agree, I believe that his mixture of biblical truth, tenuous speculation, and misrepresentation of facts is a danger to a clear gospel witness.

Farag’s basic argument

The video is split into two sections. In the first 26 minutes Pastor Farag shares his theory for how Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci, and Dr. Deborah Birx fit into biblical prophecies concerning a global government, economy, and religion.

His argument, which focuses on Bill Gates, is based on several important points. First, Bill Gates is a nefarious actor who wants to reduce the global population through abortion and vaccines. Second, he and Dr. Fauci “predicted” that a pandemic would come, which implies that they planned it (a “plandemic”), and are thus behind it. Third, that Bill Gates plans to use this pandemic as a reason to use vaccines to implant miniature microchips into the global population which will be required for people to do business. Fourth, these chips constitute the “mark of the best” described in Revelation.

Checking his claims

My first observation from this video is that many of the points he makes involve a lot of inference and speculation. As I researched his claims, however, I learned that some of his claims are simply false or are gross misrepresentation of the facts.

I will not address every claim, but here are a few examples by way of illustration:

Is there a 666 patent for tracking people using implanted microchips?

Pastor Farag points to the patent W02020060606A1 (notice the 666) as evidence for a global tracking system. He claims (or strongly implies) that it involves implanting a microchip into the skin in the form of a micro-tattoo. The patent number does exist, and it does involve tracking bodily activity and cryptocurrency, but it is about wearable technology (like a smart watch). It makes no mention of a tattoo or implanted microchip (source).

Pastor Farag links this patent to Bill Gates and project called ID2020 to prove his point. Again, he misrepresents the facts. You can read more about it here: source.

Do Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci’s foresight of a pandemic show they planned it?

Pastor Farag also makes a big point about Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates warning of global pandemics or leading efforts to simulate pandemic responses. He muses, “I wonder how they knew?” They knew because we have plenty of historical precedent to know that pandemics of this nature are a danger to humans. It is pure speculation to imply conspiracy when simple wisdom and foresight are a much plausible explanations.

Does Bill Gates want to reduce the world population through vaccines and abortion?

To prove that Bill Gates is nefarious Farag points to a TED talk where Gates said “First, we’ve got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent …”

This is a real quote, and on its surface may appear damning, especially if you believe that (1) reproductive health services equals abortion, (2) vaccines are also intended to reduce the population, and (3) Gates is talking about the population, not the population growth. Farag clearly believes (1) and implies (2) and (3).

Point 1: Abortion is tragic, and Bill Gates probably (I could not verify) imagines this as part of reproductive health. That’s terrible. But, in what I was able to discover, His biggest emphasis is on contraceptives and other forms of family planning. I do not mean to minimize the tragedy of abortion, but it does not appear to be Gates’ emphasis.

Point 2: Gates has the counterintuitive view that in places where there is high infant mortality, women have more babies because they know some of those babies will die. Ironically, then, high infant mortality leads to greater population growth. If infant mortality is decreased, through vaccines, then population growth will decrease. While the effectiveness of this plan is debated, he clearly believes that vaccines will save lives and are not harmful.

Point 3: It is clear from the context of the quote that Gates is talking about reducing population growth, not the overall population. He does believe the world is better served through reduced population growth. I do not share his view, but it is very different from saying that the population should be reduced. (source)

A mixture of biblical exposition and speculation

As Farag transitions from his “prophetic” speculation into more mainstream biblical commentary (again, most of which was very good) he takes up the mantle of Jeremiah. He is Jeremiah, the doom and gloom prophet, who is telling people what they can’t handle. His opponents, then, are those who love their lives too much and therefore reject the truth. In doing this, he sets up anyone who disagrees with his speculation (like me) as a “false teacher” who is saying “peace, peace where there is no peace.” As such, he is dangerously mixing biblical truth with his own personal speculations, and misrepresenting those who disagree with him.

A danger to a clear gospel witness

In the last ten minutes he gives a clear explanation of the gospel. For that, with Paul, I am glad that at least the gospel is going out. But before presenting the gospel he has put up a massive and unnecessary stumbling block. Skeptics will listen to the first 26 minutes, research, and see through much of what he is saying. If they see that the first half of his argument is discredited, what will they think of the second half?

With so much uncertainty about what is going on, and with such a desire to see Jesus return, as he has promised to do, it is not surprising to see theories like this. In fact, the history of the church is filled with such speculations and predictions whenever there is a crisis of any sort. However, I think it is better, instead, to stick with what we know. We do not need a detailed picture of the end to know that it is coming. We can still call people to faith and repentance, without this extra “prophecy.” And, I believe in doing so, we become more faithful witness to Jesus.

Answering objections to the Bible

In the last post I said that for us to be able to know specific things about God He would have had to communicate with us, and the most likely form of that special communication would be through written language, through a book.

Christians believe that God has spoken to us through the Bible. The defense of that belief takes two forms, a positive affirmation of the uniqueness of the Bible, and an answer to objections against it.

In my experience, the conversation usually starts with the objections, so I’ll start there. In my next post I’ll present the positive case for the Bible. Here are six common objections:

Objection 1: The books of the Bible were written long after the original events took place and are therefore historically unreliable.

At this objection’s most extreme level, I have heard people argue that the New Testament was written by Shakespeare! That simply flies in the face of the facts. The truth is that even the liberal biblical scholars, those who don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word, date the majority of the New Testament manuscripts to the lifetimes of the apostles. Even when examined through a critical lens, it can be demonstrated that the New Testament was written very closely to the events that took place.

There are more variations in interpretations when it comes to the dating of the Old Testament books, though archaeological discoveries have tended to confirm earlier dates. For instance, we now have evidence of writings similar to the books of Moses from around the time when he was said to have lived, demonstrating that previous assumptions that those books could not be dated that far back were false. Some Old Testament books (see Daniel) are assumed to have a late date because they contain predictions about the future which did, indeed, occur (thus, they must have actually been written after the events took place). But this is based on the presupposition that predictive prophecy can’t happen. If God is behind the writing of Daniel, though, it certainly could.

Objection 2: Even if the original were God’s Word, the copies we have of them are corrupt and therefore cannot be trusted.

Biblical critics like to point to statistics that say that there are as many as 400,000 textual variants in the New Testament texts, that is, 400,000 differences can be found between the many manuscripts and manuscript fragments we have available. This, they say, proves that the text we have of the New Testament has become corrupt and that we must then be unable to get back to the original manuscripts.

But we need to take a more critical look at this statistic. What do we really know about textual variations and how they relate to whether or not we can faithfully reproduce what the originals actually said? First, they are spread over around 25,000 manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts. Second, they are condensed in just a few areas. Third, the vast majority are so minor (i.e., variations in spelling) as to be completely negligible.

Once you drill down to textual variations of any possible importance you’re left with very few, and those appear as footnotes in your Bible. Open it up and scan through the pages. You’ll see a few footnotes on each page. I just opened mine and turned to a random page and scanned the footnotes. I came across Mark 7:9 which in the NIV reads: “And he continued, ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!’” The footnote in my Bible says, of the word “observe”: “Some manuscripts set up”. What’s the impact if we decide to read Jesus’s words as “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to set up your own traditions!”? Nothing. The sense is the same. This is the case with the vast majority of these textual variants.

Now, there are two New Testament variants that are worthy of further discussion. One is the story of the woman caught in adultery. In this story Jesus says the famous line, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Given the discovery that this passage is not included in the earliest manuscripts, and the observation that it appears in different places in older manuscripts, it is unlikely that this passage is part of the original text of John. We see the same thing with the “long ending” of Mark (Mark 16:9-20).

But do these examples show that we can’t get back to the original text? No. In fact, because of the massive number of manuscripts we have available, scholars can be very confident that we can, indeed, know what the originals said. These two passages are the exceptions that prove the rule, for even in these cases, we have a high degree of certainty about their place in the original text. In the cases where we lack that confidence, the sense of the passages are not seriously changed. Significantly, there are no orthodox Christian doctrines which are called into question because of textual variations.

Objection 3: The selection of books for the canon was a political decision, so we can’t trust that the ‘right’ books were selected.

The process of canonization is a longer conversation than I have time for in this post. For a clear explanation I’ll refer you to chapter 2 of Craig Blomberg’s Can We Still Believe the Bible?.

Briefly I’ll say that this objection comes either from giving too much weight to fictitious accounts of the process (see Dan Brown’s The Davinci Code) and from an assumption that the canonization of the Biblical books happened suddenly and without process at some later church council. In fact, very early writings of the church fathers demonstrate that books were considered Scripture long before councils made it “official”.

Objection 4: Because the books are written by human authors, they must be filled with errors.

I recently read an article that assumed that Christians believed that the Bible was dictated, that the human author was basically nothing more than a pen, controlled without his will. This is not what Christians believe (or, it’s not what they should believe anyway).

God used humans to write the books of the Bible. The personalities and perspectives of those authors come out clearly from the text. Each has a unique style. But that doesn’t guarantee that they erred. Christians don’t believe that the Bible was dictated, but that it was inspired. This doesn’t mean that the authors themselves were infallible, but that God could have made what they wrote while writing Scripture infallible, all while their minds and emotions were fully engaged in the process.

Fallible humans write true things all the time. How much more could such a human write truth if they were also being guided and protected by God? Human authorship doesn’t ensure human error in the text.

Objection 5: There are contradictions in the Bible which means that it cannot be God’s Word.

It’s not hard to find lists of apparent contradictions in the Bible. They key word here is “apparent.” Actual contradictions in the originals would be a problem for the believer in the Bible. The question, then, is whether these apparent contradictions are real contradictions.

These supposed contradictions fall into a few categories, not all represented here. Some come from a misunderstanding of the biblical genre. For instance, I was told there was a contradiction between the phrases “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud” (1 Kings 8:12) and “God lives in unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6:16). But these texts are obviously speaking figuratively and communicate different aspects of truth about His character, not about a literal dwelling.

Some come from theological interpretation. Was Abraham justified by his faith alone (Paul), or was he justified by his works (James)? James himself clarifies this by showing that “faith without works is dead.” We’re justified by a living faith. Or, rather, faith is proved genuine by works.

Many come from different eyewitness accounts found in the gospels. But these aren’t contradictions so much as differences in emphasis, or retelling of a similar but different event. Some of these can be quite difficult to harmonize, but after more than a decade of deep study of Scripture I have yet to find one that is a true contradiction.

Summary: I have learned that the Bible is trustworthy. So, whenever I come across a supposed contradiction, I have confidence that a reasonable answer can be found, and all that awaits its discovery is a little research, usually from a good commentary.

Objection 6: Miracles prove that the Bible is mythical and unreliable.

What about the miracles? Do they show that the Bible is more of a myth than a reliable source of knowledge?

Here it’s important to remember where we started, with the assumption that it is at least possible that God exists. Unless you believe in the impossibility of miracles, then this argument shouldn’t hold much weight. After all, if God really does exist, and if He wants to make Himself known, wouldn’t He perform miracles to show us that there is something “beyond” this world? And isn’t it not only possible, but likely, that these miracles would be recorded in His book? I think so.

“The Bible is weird”

Some people object to the Bible because what they encounter therein is odd and offensive. There are a lot of strange things in the Bible, and many are offensive in our current cultural milieu, but I’m not sure that this is a case against the Bible. Should we really expect a transcultural book – which we should expect a book inspired by God to be – to be a perfect fit with our culture? I don’t think so. The fact that the Bible both affirms and challenges the cultural values and expectations of every culture (including ours) is a point for the Bible, not against it. But I’ll explain that more in my next post.

Book Recommendation: 


Can We Still Believe the Bible?: An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions

Should we all be agnostics?

Let’s say you find the Moral Argument, the Kalam Cosmological Argument, or some other argument for God compelling, does this mean you should be a Christian? Not necessarily. What do these arguments really say?

What can we know from logic and our senses?

First, they show that some Supreme Being exists (for brevity I’ll henceforth refer to this Being as God). It is not irrational to believe in God. In fact, the evidence points strongly in the direction of theistic belief. Second, they say something about God’s nature.

From the cosmological arguments we can see that God must be outside of the universe, He must be timeless, He must be uncaused, He must be a necessary being (from Leibniz). On top of that, he seems to be some sort of Mind or Will which could decide to create one sort of world as opposed to another. We would then describe Him as a Creator. He must be free, for if He were constrained then that higher constraint would be what we mean by God.

From the moral argument we can see that He is the source and foundation of all moral goodness, and from that goodness, issues commands which are to us the foundation for our moral obligations.

We might add to this knowledge evidence from the world we see around us. God has created a world of life, a world with recognizable beauty, and the capacity of His creatures to recognize His existence. Yet we also live in a world of great pain, confusion, and a proliferation of different perspectives on life.

The limitations of our logic and senses

This observational evidence is ambiguous. It requires an interpretation. It tells us something, but we’re not exactly sure what. From our observations and logical capacities, we can confidently say some things about God, but there’s much more we would have to leave unsaid.

Add to that the fact that we are finite and limited creatures seeking to understand an Infinite and Unlimited Being. Given such a vast ontological gap, how could we even begin to say anything intelligible about this Being. I recently read a quote that said: “Show me a worm that can comprehend man and I’ll show you a man that can comprehend God.” This was written by a Christian preacher intended to invoke worship, but in me it was a temptation to despair. The worm is too limited to think or speak intelligibly about man. Are we too limited to know or say anything intelligible about God?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the list of things we can say about God are limited if, that is, our knowledge comes only from our own seeking.

But there’s another way in which we might know God and be able to believe and say more than a limited number of things about Him: He would have to communicate with us.

The nature of revelation

At this point it will be useful to bring in the theological word “revelation”. When applied to God it refers to God showing Himself to humanity. We’ve already seen two ways in which He does this – the physical and moral world. He made a physical and moral world which are accessible through physical and moral senses. However, as we’ve seen, this is insufficient to say a great many other things about God, for that we need a more specific form of revelation, what theologians call “special revelation.”

Here’s where language comes in. Given that we have the capacity for abstract thought through language, that seems like the mostly likely means by which God could give us such a revelation. He could speak to us in a number of ways. He could verbally communicate (a voice from heaven), he could communicate directly to our minds (think an inner, real, but inaudible voice). He could send supernatural messengers. Etc.

Now, this communication, if always private in nature, could create a problem. What would prevent someone from claiming to speak on behalf of God? (Indeed, what does today?) It would make sense, then, for there to be some sort of authoritative source written down which could be referred to again and again to test a supposed “revelation” against.

In this way God could communicate truth about Himself, about us humans, and about our world in a way that is both comprehensible and authoritative. But, the question is, did He in fact do these things and, if He did produce such a book, which one?

And that takes me to the end of this post. Christians, myself included, believe that God has indeed communicated to us in this way, and that this communication is what we find in the Bible. The defense of that argument is the subject of the next post.

Words of Caution regarding John Hagee’s “Four Blood Moons”

Disclaimer: I have not read John Hagee’s book about the blood moons and I have not followed the conversation very closely. However, I think some preliminary words of caution are in order.

Background:

The argument, as near as I can tell, follows a few lines of reasoning. First, the Bible speaks about the moon turning to blood and “signs in the heavens” as events which accompany the End Times. Second, when a lunar eclipse happens the moon takes on a red coloring (hence the name “blood moon”). Third, there will apparently be four blood moons in a row, which fall along the cycle of Jewish Holidays. This is, apparently, a rare event. Fifth, on occasions where this has happened in the past something significant has happened to the state of Israel. The conclusion is that we should take take this most recent event as a sign from God that something (in regards to Israel) is going to happen. That something is probably a big deal and might even be the Second Coming of Christ.

Words of Caution:

First, from my perspective this whole thing is based on eisegesis of the text (reading into the text) and not exegesis (trying to understand the original authorial intent). If you find the discussion of signs and the “moon turning to blood” a convincing argument you should ask yourself this: Did the author of those Scriptures intend for them to be read with a lunar eclipse, or four lunar eclipses in mind? Did they intend for us to interpret that text as a rare cosmological event? Such original authorial intent seems extremely unlikely to me. Imposing that event onto the text seems like a blatant anachronistic reading of the text.

Second, it seems to confuse the various ways in which God speaks. He speaks through creation and history, yes, but this speech is ambiguous and unclear. In other words, we get good data from science and history but we need to interpret it through the lens of Scripture. The “blood moon” issue flips the script. It seems to be interpreting Scripture (“moon turns to blood”) through history and natural revelation.

Third, I get worried any time I hear of a “new” way to read Scripture or a new “code” which unlocks some “hidden” meaning. I went to Amazon and perused the introduction to “Blood Moons: Decoding the Immanent Heavenly Signs” by Mark Blitz, who Hagee also mentions in the introduction to his book and I was worried, though not surprised by what I read. Blitz says that “God chose to hide His messages in the ancient Hebrew alphabet. You will find that the written Hebrew language is like a decoder ring to understanding what God is hiding.” From the context I don’t think he’s talking about the Scriptures but that God has hidden meaning within the actual letters of the Hebrew alphabet. He describes this as a code that unlocks the meaning of Scripture. Once you see the “hidden image” through the Hebrew language, you see Scripture in a whole new light. Once you see Scripture through the lens of the Blood Moons you have unlocked the secret, the code. Perhaps Blitz or Hagee develop their arguments beyond this but at face value this interpretive method is, at best, highly problematic.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but the whole affair feels more like astrology with a veneer of Biblicism. It’s interesting and un-authoritative at best and dangerous – because it teaches people to read natural revelation and Scriptural revelation in the wrong order – at worst.

We shouldn’t overestimate our knowledge of the End Times. No one knows the day or the hour. We watch. We pray. We long for His return. We strive to be ready at all times. We continue to preach the gospel.  All these things are clear because they are clearly revealed in Scripture. Be careful you don’t get caught up in the sensational.

Pacifism through the lens of Romans 12 and 13

A couple of years ago I preached through Romans 12 and 13. This has greatly shaped by view of pacifism. Specifically, it brings into focus three interlocking and essential questions about Christians and the pursuit of non-violence. (1) Should I, as a Christian, pursue non-violence? (2) Is God non-violent? (3) Should I desire my government to be non-violent?

My conclusion (hint: my answers are Yes, No, Maybe) does not answer all of the questions, especially the toughest ones. I hope, instead, that it provides a helpful lens by which to view the question of pacifism and, hopefully, resolve some tensions for those on either side of the question. It’s either a common ground on which both sides could agree or a position that gets me in trouble with everybody. What could go wrong, right?

Should I pursue non-violence?

Romans 12 begins one of Paul’s greatest sermons on Christian living. Therefore (because of God’s grace in granting us salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus) here is how we should live. Our duty begins with offering ourselves fully to God in worship (12:1-2) and concludes with the great Christian ethic of love (12:9-21; 13:8-10), including love for our brothers (12:10) and love for our enemies (12:17-21).

In the question of non-violence, Romans 12:17-21 is instructive. We are to meet persecution with blessing and evil with good. Vengeance is forbidden. We are to aim, as far as we are possible, to live at peace with everyone. In taking a posture of peace we avoid being overcome by evil. Instead, we overcome evil with good.

Paul’s arguments here match those of Jesus on the Mount. Here, Jesus calls us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Again, this is a rejection of vengeance and retribution and a call to non-violence.

The call to Christians in dealing with persecution is always a call to patient endurance. And, we have Jesus as our primary example. He endured the violence of evil men even to death on the cross. Though he could have destroyed his enemies he did not. In all of this he is our prime example of love for our enemies, not just a love for those who physically participated in his crucifixion, but for us who were his enemies in our own sin.

And so, I conclude, from Romans 12, the Sermon on the Mount, and the example of Christ, that I should pursue non-violence. I should love my enemies. I should renounce vengeance. I should aim for peace as far as I am able. I should endure persecution, if I face it, in the same way as Christ.

Is God non-violent?

That is, however, by no means the end of the discussion. God often gets dragged into the question, as well he should. After all, we are called to by holy as he is holy. We are called to be like Christ. Or are we?

It’s not quite that simple.

Notice in Romans 12 why Christians are called to abandon revenge. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ’It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord” (12:19). Christians are instructed to not take revenge precisely because God will avenge. It is his right and, dare I say, obligation, and not ours. How is this possible? How can something be morally right for God and wrong for us? The answer is this: God is the only one in a position to carry out perfect justice. He is our Creator. He knows all. He is entirely fair. We are the creation. Our knowledge is limited. At best our sense of fairness only approximates his.

I believe it is impossible to construe God as a pacifist. The arguments against a pacifist God are many and varied. We see, among other things, God’s dealings in the Old Testament with the nation of Israel. He saved them out of Egypt through plagues. He granted them the Promised Land through war. He sustained their faltering nation through military conquest. When the people sinned, he exiled them from the land by calling out foreign armies.

God’s laws in the Old Testament permitted the capital punishment and established the pattern for proportionate retributive justice.

The prophetic hope, the hope of God coming to reign with justice, is a hope for both salvation and for judgment. God’s salvation of his people sits alongside the judgment of his enemies.

When Jesus came and inaugurated his Kingdom we see a decided shift, but not a reversal. As seen before, the ethics of the Kingdom, outlined in the Sermon on the Mount, demand that followers of Jesus themselves give up the right to enact retributive justice but the concept of retributive justice doesn’t go away, it simply moves to the person of God.

That justice is, in fact, met on the cross. Stunningly, the cross is both the greatest argument violence and also evidence that God himself is not a pacifist. His mercy on us is won through the violent and willing death of Jesus. Truly, this is a profound mystery. On the cross mercy meets judgment and together they bring us all the offer of peace and salvation.

Finally, although I am by no means an authority on Revelation. At a minimum we see the judgment of God, and Christ, on full display. By this point in history justice has failed for the early Christians and they are the recipients of intense persecution. This is a scenario which plays out throughout the world and will only intensify as the end nears. God’s people in the end times do not strike back with violence but they do call out for God’s justice, and that justice means judgment for their oppressors. The songs of praise in Revelation give thanks to God both for his salvation in Christ and for his judgment on the earth (Revelation 11:18, 16:4-7).

Even if you adopt a symbolic view of Revelation (really it’s not a question of symbolic or not, but on what is symbolic) the overall theme of God’s judgment clearly comes through. And, it is difficult to construe God’s judgment in non-violent terms.

And so, I conclude from Romans 12, the cross, the Old Testament, and Revelation that one of the main reasons why I should reject personal vengeance, is because I can trust God who will bring about perfect justice – a justice that includes retributive justice.

Should the government be strictly non-violent?

Romans 12:9-21 and Romans 13:1-7 are closely linked. Paul’s instructions in Romans 13 give Christians yet another reason to avoid vengeance. It also convinced me not to be a strict pacifist.

Christians can “repay evil with good” both because God will ultimately bring about his perfect justice in the end and because he has provided a means, albeit limited and subject to failure, to bring about some semblance of (retributive) justice on earth in the intervening time: the civil government.

According to Romans 13 the governing authorities (by which I take to mean civil authorities, in the case of Paul, the Roman government) are granted authority by God himself (13:1). Therefore, Christians are commanded to submit to that authority (13:2-3, 5). This is an authority established for the purpose of doing good, which includes “bearing the sword” and being “agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (12:4).

No doubt, this presents an ideal picture of the purpose of civil government. Real governments are seriously flawed. This is not doubt true for us – but it was even more true for Paul. At that time the government was complicit in some persecution of Christians, a trend which would only worsen over time (see Revelation). And yet, while Paul presents an ideal, his call is very concrete. Honor your governing authorities, even fallen ones, even ones who themselves might be your enemies.

What is interesting to me, though, is that in the picture of the ideal we see a civil government specifically tasked with bringing about God’s wrath – the exact thing we as believers were told not to do and something that was supposed to be left to God (12:9). I’m aware this position opens me up to the charge of moral relativism. Am I saying that something could be right for one person and wrong for another? Yes, in fact I am, and the reason is one of authority. Those in civil government have been tasked with both the authority and the responsibility to bring about justice. I have not. If I try kill the person who murdered a member of my family, it is vengeance. If the civil government, approximating the justice of God, working through fair means, “bears the sword” and commits him to the death penalty, there’s a chance that proper justice is being served.

I conclude then, from Romans 13, that while it is inappropriate for me to seek violence, it is appropriate for the “governing authorities” to seek justice – which may mean the violent punishment of wrongdoers.

Conclusion

Much more could be said. I have left many questions unanswered. In a subsequent post I would like to address the question of the Kingdom of God and my position on non-violence which I alluded to before. However, the basic framework can be summed up in this way.

I should seek non-violence because God will ultimate bring about perfect justice and he has provided a means for us fallen creatures to experience approximate justice in the meantime, namely, the civil government.

Update: I have another post which answers some questions which Q3 of this post raises. 

God’s Word for Your Church (via Kevin DeYoung)

I subscribe to Kevin DeYoung’s Gospel Coalition blog and I highly recommend it. 

In today’s post, DeYoung asks:

What does Jesus want to say to the church in the West? To the church in North America? To the church in the South, or in New England, or in the Midwest? What does Jesus want to say to your church?

The answer, of course, depends on the strengths and weaknesses of your church. In the post below, DeYoung draws on Jesus’ letters to the churches in Revelation and shares some excellent insight.

Check it out here: A Word for Us All