Doctrine of Israel

What do you believe about Israel? Given current world events I believe this is a very relevant point of theology. Yes, world events and theology should and do affect one another. In fact, they must interact in order for theology to be either true or relevant.

So here goes.

I believe God chose a man named Abraham to begin His kingdom restoration work on earth. I don’t say it was the start of His kingdom building, since God always had one intent and therefore it started with Adam. However at the time in history when Abraham was alive, the world needed a restoration work, we had fallen so far away from the God that created us, that we needed a God who would reach out to us.

He chose Abraham to start this work and several promises were made to Abraham which are still important today.

He promised Abraham to make a nation out of his descendants. This is the Jewish people. Many of the promises made to Abraham were to include the nation descended from him. It is true Abraham fathered another nation through Ishmael, and that specific promises were given to this son, but those promises were given separately and Ishmael did not inherit the promises passed down to the Hebrews.

One of the promises is that God would bless the entire world through the Jews. I believe this promise was fulfilled by the coming of Jesus Christ. In God’s plan the kingdom restoring work suddenly expanded beyond the Jews and a few converts to be available to all the earth.

I do not believe that Christianity on earth constitutes a new Israel. We have been grafted into the Israel that existed, and have not replaced it. Nor do I believe that every Jewish person is saved automatically. They must find their salvation, just as we do, in Jesus Christ.

Another promises is God would bless those that bless Israel and curse those who treat Israel with contempt. I believe this promise is still in effect and applies to the modern nation of Israel.

This is why I believe the topic is currently relevant. The United States has been backing away from every action which God previously blessed us for taking. We no longer honor Him, we are quickly losing our missionary power, we are no longer standing against tyranny, and now as a final straw we are no longer supporting Israel.

You can expect God to bring about some changes as a result.


Legalizing Drugs

America is in love with its highs. I thought of this while seeing a commercial for the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. He was one of several, who made their living as comedians by making us laugh at the lovable drunk.

But drunk is not really that lovable and neither is high. However it appears we have moved from laughing at the lovable drunk to laughing at the lovable pothead. Some people would like to go further and legalize all form of drugs.

At what point do we begin to admit our love affair with being high is self-destructive.

Once upon a time in America we had enough people who saw alcohol as a danger to society that we made it illegal. I assume the decision was like deciding it was more important to avoid the destruction of those who would become alcoholics than it was for individuals with control to have their casual drinks. During the days of prohibition, illegal alcohol changed the face of crime. The criminal aspect of it became so strong that it didn’t take long to decide to legalize it in order to cut down on the crimes surrounding it.

Please notice, prohibition was not overturned for the sake of the drunk, it was despite the drunk. Illegal drinking became trendy. This made illegal booze very profitable and the black market became dangerous. Making alcohol legal again was essentially a measure to take the power and money away from the gangs.

In essence reversing prohibition allowed an attitude toward alcohol which is now expanding to other intoxicants. Namely that allowing a certain number of people to lose their lives to the substance is preferable to withholding the high from the public or fighting the crime of those who will get their high even if illegally.

If this is the decision society ultimately makes, the number of people losing their lives to substances will increase. Some substances are massively more addictive than alcohol. Are we sure, the cost will be worth avoiding the fight?

Dividing America

It has become a common thought. Nothing can get done in America because the country is so divided politically. President Obama has pointed to the Tea Party and said their lack of compromise is the reason. He has often implied the Tea Party is holding the rest of the Republican Party hostage.

This idea might not be original to Obama though. Books have been written on the subject such as Our Divided Political Heart. And commentators have also elaborated on our political division today being unique such as Michael Barone.

Obama references this as the reason he must go around congress instead of allowing them to do their job normally. The implication is because of the presence of a few extremists he is forced to go to extreme measures to get anything done.

In other words, anyone who does not agree with his actions must be an extremist. But he presents himself as not an extremist, but as a man forced to go to extremes in order to enact sane policies.

The problem with this is there are millions of Americans, including me, who do not agree the policies of the president are sane, obvious or appropriate for this country. The majority of us are are not members of the tea party, even if our political leanings would be closer to them than to the president.

The rhetoric about a divided America, from the press and from the president, has been an excuse for holding an uncompromising position. It has been utilized to marginalize opponents. It has been the justification for doing an end run around the normal checks and balances of the United States Constitution.

To hear all this noise you would almost think political division in this country is a new development. It isn’t.  The two party system has been around a long time.

Why don’t we remember that past administrations had to deal with opposition rather than demonizing it? Many reasons, but a major one is we no longer have a neutral press which holds both sides accountable.