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Why Political Speech Is Inappropriate from the Pulpit!

For years now, I have been criticizing the preaching of politics from the pulpit. Why? What's so wrong with talking about issues and can...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Is God ready to punish the Globalists?

CGI Pastor Bill Watson can't seem to stay away from politics. Like the proverbial moth that is drawn to the flame, Bill can't seem to resist denigrating the left and extolling the virtues of Trump nationalists!

Mr. Watson's latest offering "Is the USA on the Brink?" https://www.cgi.org/new-blog-2/2019/8/13/is-the-usa-on-the-brink is a continuation of the themes he addressed in his MAGA presentation. The program opens with headlines like: "Biden Lays Out His Globalist Vision," "FBI Opens Investigation of Clinton Foundation," and "Leftists Demand: More Gun Control" (Can we discern a pattern or theme here?).

Mr. Watson goes on to state that "we're living in a very interesting world - especially in the area of politics." He talks about the "rancor," "disgust," and "hate" evident in so much of the public discourse about politics these days. According to the pastor, we find ourselves in these distasteful circumstances because there are two ideologies vying for supremacy within the U.S. Government - what he characterizes as a "socialist-globalist group" and a "nationalist group." And Mr. Watson makes it very clear which one of these groups he favors.

The pastor clearly sees the nationalists in the ascendancy. This, according to him, has engendered desperation within the ranks of the socialist-globalists. As proof, he offers the "Green New Deal" of freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He goes on to ridicule her statement that the world as we know it could come to an end in twelve years (which seems mild when one considers the preaching of Armstrongite ministers over the last sixty years).

Mr. Watson clearly doesn't believe that climate change is a real problem. For him, the Green New Deal is a diversionary tactic - meant to divert folks attention away from the real problems at hand. The pastor quotes an article from the conservative Aspen Institute about the cost of the program and concludes that it is not affordable or achievable. Moreover, he presents AOC's Green New Deal as the policy prescription of ALL of the socialist-globalists (all Democrats are NOT on the Ocasio-Cortez bandwagon).

Pastor Watson goes on to share his suspicion that "there's something that these globalists don't want you to know about." He speculates that this might involve further revelations from the Epstein story, or the government's use of tissue from aborted fetuses. In other words, these lefties are busy obscuring the things that everyone should really be focused on (pedophilia, abortion and Clinton's e-mails are more important than global warming).

After quoting from the prophets Jeremiah and Amos, Mr. Watson concludes his message by appealing to the peoples of North America and the British Commowealth to heed their messages for ancient Israel. Mr. Watson says that the way to "Make America Great" is for us to become morally right and good. Unfortunately, Mr. Watson does not seem to appreciate the irony of making such a statement when our nation is currently led by someone who is as morally bankrupt as Donald J. Trump!

Mr. Watson tells us that "there are people that hate this country." For him, these are the socialist-globalist Democrats. Mr. Watson sees these folks as the enemies of Manasseh and the rest of the House of Joseph. For Mr. Watson, Trump is our good King Josiah trying to turn the hearts of the people to their God and stave off destruction. Unfortunately, this is the same old crap that Herbert Armstrong peddled for years and employed in garnering thousands of supporters. Let's hope that Mr. Watson is not as successful as he was in deceiving people!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

CGI Pastor Bill Watson's MAGA

In an Armor of God webcast that sounded more like a campaign advertisement for Donald Trump, Pastor Bill Watson has demonstrated once again that the Church of God International has not retreated from the errors intrinsic to the doctrine of Anglo-Israelism. Those who are familiar with that church’s teachings and political biases will not be surprised that Mr. Watson’s latest offering was titled “Make America Great.”

The program opens with the pastor praising what he characterizes as an unprecedented economic resurgence within the United States under Trump (no mention is made of the fact that the current economic recovery began under the administration of his predecessor). Mr. Watson even references the Trump campaign slogan “Promises made, promises kept” in his remarks! In short, the pastor makes clear his belief that Donald Trump has restored America’s economic and military might.

Mr. Watson then proceeds to decry all of the ways that folks on the left have obstructed Mr. Trump’s efforts. According to him, these folks have never believed in America’s greatness. And, although the pastor admits many of the moral failings that are part of America’s past (genocide, slavery, economic exploitation, violence, etc.), he goes on to point out that the country has amassed great wealth – the likes of which the world has never seen before. Remember, for those who adhere to the doctrine of Anglo-Israelism, this material wealth is the all-important evidence of America’s “true identity.”

About two thirds of the way through the program, Mr. Watson finally turns to Scripture. To his credit, the pastor reads from the second chapter of the book of James to demonstrate that real greatness is not derived from riches but from engaging in moral behavior. Likewise, he references the twelfth chapter of the gospel of Luke to underscore the futility of amassing great wealth while ignoring moral behavior. Pastor Watson, however, appears not to see any irony in making these distinctions about true greatness relative to his preferred president, Donald J. Trump.

During the program, two additional messages by Mr. Watson are offered to the public: “Amos: An Ancient Message for North America” and “Modern Day Parallels of Israel’s Sins.” If the titles are suggestive of their content, it is easy to imagine more of the same.

For those who might be unfamiliar with these topics, the book of Amos opens with this statement: “The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” (Amos 1:1) The prophet then proceeds to make statements about Damascus, Syria, Gaza, Tyre, Edom and Moab before he discusses ancient Judah and Israel. Nevertheless, the title of Mr. Watson’s message would lead us to believe that this message was intended for modern America.

And, although I’m sure that we could all find many parallels between our sinful behaviors and those of Bronze Age Israelites, that does not mean that we are modern day Israelites. If we choose to interpret Biblical events and prophecies through the false lens of Anglo-Israelism, we are certain to arrive at many erroneous conclusions with regard to our understanding of prophecy and how we process our political views.

As I’ve said before, Mr. Watson would do well to reconsider his views with regard to Anglo-Israelism. If he did that, I’m confident that his own perspective, as well as what he preaches to others, would improve. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Speaking the truth to power

Timothy Dalrymple's "On Court Prophets and Wilderness Prophets" over at Christianity Today  is the right message for modern preachers and prophets within the church. In the article, Dalrymple focuses on Nathan's role as a court prophet and John the Baptist's role as a wilderness prophet. The court prophet was close to the center of power, and the wilderness prophet was far removed from it. Nevertheless, as Dalrymple reminds us, both prophets took their Divine appointments seriously and were unafraid to point out sin/moral failure in the king.

He wrote: "As for me, I wonder if we have too many court prophets in an era when wilderness prophets are needed. I also wonder if our court prophets are willing to call out sin when they see it. Whether you view Trump as a David or an Antipas, whether you serve at the court of the resplendent king or stand over against the court from the wilderness, one thing Nathan and John the Baptist held in common was that both were willing to condemn unrighteousness in their rulers—even if it cost them everything."

In this instance, Dalrymple is particulary concerned with Trump's relentless attacks on people of color. As he sees it, the President's remarks present a real problem for Christians. He wrote: "The racial inflection of our political drama adds deeper significance to the moment. White Christians have a long and lamentable history of silence (or worse) when people of color are under attack. On the one hand, I sense today an authentic desire among white Christians to build bridges of relationship and reconciliation with their friends and neighbors of other ethnicities."

He goes on to point out, however, that this desire on the part of white Christians is met with real skepticism among Christians of color. Dalrymple wrote: "On the other hand, I sense a profound frustration among non- white Christian friends that their white brethren keep silent as the president aims ugly and demeaning statements at people of color. These friends don’t like what the silence of the white church is saying, and neither do we."

His conclusion is a clarion call to Caucasian Christians in the United States: "So let us not be silent. We are not captive to political party. We are accountable to a higher authority. We expect better of our leaders, and we stand in the foxholes with our brothers and sisters when they are taking fire. We hope court prophets and wilderness prophets alike, and Christians of all political persuasions, will speak the truth and stand with those who suffer unjustly." And I say, A-men!