Franklin Graham: Trump’s “Kill Them All” Speech Was One of the Best Ever

Franklin Graham: Trump’s “Kill Them All” Speech Was One of the Best Ever September 22, 2017


Just the other day, the unthinkable happened: The President of the United States stood in front of the United Nations and threatened to kill 25 million people.

It was shocking beyond words.

In reference to the growing escalation with North Korea, the President said:

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

No matter how accustomed one may be to some of the outlandish things Donald Trump says, this one cannot be shrugged off for those of us who claim to follow Jesus– or for anyone who is a decent human being, for that matter.

In fact, for those of us who are Christians, Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea should be held as the most obscene, offensive, and anti-Christ thing he has ever said. The total destruction of a nation? The death of 25 million people– most of whom are totally innocent?

This mere suggestion of this is morally disgusting beyond words– no matter what “kind” of Christian one is, and irregardless of which theological belief one holds about war. This should outrage every Christian from the most straight-faced-conservative, to the most flaming liberal. In fact, I would argue that one would have to completely and totally depart from the Christian religion in order to praise or even passively support such a suggestion.

There’s simply no room in the Christian tradition for killing 25 million people. There never has been.

Let me briefly explain:

There have generally been two different views when it comes to war. The first Christians, and the entire early church, were steadfastly and absolutely against all war and violence. They opposed war, capital punishment, killing in self defense, and any other act of deadly violence one can imagine. The original Christian view was that followers of Jesus must never condone or participate in the taking of human life– this is the theological position I personally maintain.

However, after the era of Constantine and the ultimate fall of Rome in AD 410, the Christian religion was altered to make room for the support of war and violence– but even those alterations to Christianity (called “Just War Theory”) were not absolute. The establishment of Just War Theory, as much as I disagree with it, at least had some severe restrictions placed upon Christian justification or support for warfare. While I find the position theologically wrong, one can at least appreciate the fact that the alternative Christian position had some safeguards built into it.

Essentially, this alternative “Christian” belief argued that war is horrible and must always be avoided. However, if war ever became unavoidable, Christians could support it if certain conditions were met. Traditionally there are 7 conditions– I won’t outline all of them here, but the last two conditions are critical: (a) the violence used must be proportional (a nation must use the minimum amount of violence needed), and (b) civilians must never be intentionally or deliberately killed.

The position of Christian nonviolence, and the position of Just War Theory, have been the only two positions that have been considered Christian. There has never been room for a “Christian” position that justified the indiscriminate killing of human beings– and there certainly has never been room for the suggestion that somehow the death of 25 million people could ever be remotely justified.

Any Christian who has ever read the New Testament, or any human being with a single ounce of value for human life– regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum– ought to find themselves appalled that a world leader would even *think* something like this, let alone actually threaten to do it.

And this, of course, leads me to What Franklin Graham is Wrong About Today.

Instead of expressing even the slightest hint of moral reservation about wiping out an entire nation of people, Franklin Graham doubled down and praised Trump’s “kill them all” speech as being one of the best speeches ever given to the UN. Here’s what he said on Facebook:

“Thank God we have a president who stands for truth and is not afraid to speak truth to the whole world. President Donald J. Trump’s address today to the United Nations General Assembly may have been one of the best speeches ever given to that body. It made you proud to be an American. I hope you will join me in praying for this man, that God will guide and direct him. He reminded the world, “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.”

Listen– I understand that Christians disagree on political issues. I get that we have different theological beliefs on the issue of war and violence.

But for one of the most prominent Christians in our nation to reference a speech that threatened to kill 25 million people as one of the “best speeches ever”? And more than that, to publicly thank God that we have a leader who would threaten to do it?

It’s beyond rational explanation.

This isn’t Christianity. This isn’t a Christian position. There isn’t a Christian on the planet who could praise a speech that included the threat to kill millions of innocent people, without ceasing to be a Christian in the process.

Instead, praising such a suggestion is as evil and wicked as anything I could imagine.

And to thank God for it? Well, that’s outright blasphemy.

Not only is this What Franklin Graham is Wrong About Today, but this one places Franklin Graham so far outside of every version of historic Christianity that to even use the word “Christian” to describe such a person, is truly profane.


unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. 

Be sure to check out his new blog, right here, and follow on Facebook:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • CroneEver

    Amen. Our political (and, sadly, religious) culture dehumanizes everyone, both in our country and especially outside. And it calls us all to worship power, no matter how nakedly self-serving, no matter how violent, profane, or obscene. God is not to be worshiped because He is powerful (although He certainly is), but because He is Love, He is Wisdom, He is Truth, and He is Good. Otherwise, there is no point.

    I hope – I truly hope and pray that someday Franklin Graham and all those who have replaced the worship of Jesus with the worship of power will recognize what they have done and change.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    The average American who claims to be a Christian probably believes our intentionally targeting German and Japanese civilians during WW2 was the right thing to do. The average American Christian probably supports our having targeted innocent North Koreans during the Korean war, too. Sad but true.

  • Having been raised Fundamentalist, I find Graham’s remarks to be unsurprising and expected, especially since Fundamentalists have been saying things like this *for years*. The thing that surprises me is that it’s taken as long as it has for everyone else to call it out.

    The late pastor of my old church repeatedly said that the President needs to be tougher and threaten to nuke other countries, and that he would if he were President. He asked us, “Wouldn’t it be great if the apostles and prophets ran things?” (He considered an apostle/prophet like those that existed in the New Testament, and going against him was supposedly going against God.) The worship leader thought Palestinians should be exterminated.

    The pastor justified his views because there are verses in the Bible that talk about killing men, women, and children. He also seemed somewhat sympathetic of anti-Palestinian genocide because he saw a video of Palestinian kids spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric, and thus he concluded they will therefore always hate Jews unless Jesus*.

    It was difficult, since I had been exposed to international law, knew he was calling for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and knew about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So, there was a lot of cognitive dissonance, and I wanted to leave then. (I was hoping to get released to go to another country, and drop the hateful rhetoric like an old coat.)

    *The view that person X believes Y; therefore their kid also believes Y never made sense to me. It makes about as much sense as saying “I am not the king of England; therefore, the sky is blue”.

  • rika888

    and don’t forget Viet Nam…I’ve been watching the new Ken Burns documentary..Heartbreaking. I think rev. Graham has taken the wrong path. God is Love.

  • Paul Schlitz Jr.

    I wish we could get a divorce from these sort of people like Graham. Something separation more substantial than the east west orthodox/Catholic split.

  • ashpenaz

    If a police sketch artist or profiler drew a picture of the god Franklin Graham worships, it would resemble Thor, not Jesus. Thor is the benevolent, white protector, generous to his friends and wrathful to his foes. I don’t care what Graham believes, but I don’t see why he needs to attribute his ideas about God to Jesus. I think the evangelical church would be more honest and happier if they all became Odinists. They wouldn’t have to deal with all the cognitive dissonance which comes from trying to paste the face of Jesus over their statues of the Nordic gods.

    Also, isn’t it a mortal sin to kill the unborn for any reason? Didn’t Graham demonize Hillary because of her position on abortion? How can Graham support the killing of millions of unborn children with a bomb?

  • jjuulie

    Abortion of American Christian babies is the ultimate sin. Killing unborn babies in heathen communist countries doesn’t count. Unless those abortions are forced by the government. That’s evil. Although the mother may have wanted that abortion which would be bad, because women shouldn’t have any choice, unless they want the baby, then their choice should not be taken away. See? It’s really quite a good example of the kind of law that is clear and obvious, if you just think about it.

  • deannawoods

    I remember reading years ago that Billy Graham learned the hard way that involving himself in politics was a poor way to share God’s Word. So Graham changed his practice from taking positions on political issues to focusing on what Jesus teaches us and how to apply those teachings to daily living. Franklin appears to have gotten himself into politics in a way similar to the early days of his father, but he seems to have even less understanding or knowledge of the political scene, of those who are involved, than his father. Franklin Graham’s lack of knowledge is hurting the Christian message. I read recently that Trump has associated himself with several ministers who apparently have taken Christ out of Christianity: ‘In an interview with The New York Times, evangelical author Timothy Keller said Jesus’ teachings are “not the main point” of Christianity. When evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress was asked whether the country’s leader should live by Jesus’ values expressed in the beatitudes, he said, “absolutely not”’ (Sojourners, These ministers are undoubtedly sharing this view with their congregations and readers. And it may explain, so very sadly, the political decisions and positions held by many who claim to be Christians today.

  • …several ministers who apparently have taken Christ out of Christianity…evangelical author Timothy Keller said Jesus’ teachings are “not the main point” of Christianity.

    Did Tim Keller take Christ out of Christianity? Fact Check: False.

    Your implication is completely out of context and dishonest. Jesus’ teachings are not the main point of Christianity, resurrection is. This isn’t (or shouldn’t be) even controversial. That isn’t to say that the teachings are unimportant. The teachings are what point a person towards the primary point: resurrection. Rather than misrepresent what Tim Keller actually said, go to the source:

  • Well now the rubber meets the road. One Christian preacher supports stopping a communist dictator who threatens using a nuclear device against the world and another Christian supports letting the communist dictator use it because it is not Christian to threaten to kill people.

    When you say, “Any Christian who has ever read the New Testament, or any human being with a single ounce of value for human life– regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum– ought to find themselves appalled that a world leader would even *think* something like this, let alone actually threaten to do it, which world leader are you referring to?

  • Which million children are you referring to: the children of South Korea, Japan, Guam or the children of North Korea? A decision to allow one communist country to kill millions of people with radiation by not acting is a decision nonetheless.

  • kzarley

    Have you ever heard, “The fear of the LORD (YHWH) is the beginning of wisdom.”

  • Hold on to your horses there, cowpunch, for you’re oh so going doen the wrong dusty trail…

    Christos is Greek koine, it is the term that was tagged onto followers of Christ and his teachings…namely…Christian. Now, I’ll pull your plug in paraphrasing,”That isn’t to say that the resurrection is unimportant,” but as a Christian you are to be as Christlike as ya can be, if not…you’re demeaning him and his teachings, for without the teachings, no one would have even known Christ today, or at best, just an afterthought.

    So Derek ol’ boy…Deanna hit that nail square on the head and as for you, well ya missed the whole nail…

  • Bones

    Actually one Christian preacher supports a nuclear holocaust, the other one doesn’t.

    And because of Trump’s speech. Kim Ul Dickhead has threatened to drop a H Bomb in the Pacific.

  • Bones

    You live in a fantasy world.

    China won’t let North Korea be nuked for a start. Then you have the pesky problem that North Korea has nukes.

  • American Christianity is Trumpism. Trumpism is American Christianity.

    An embodiment of fear, white supremacy, loathing of the Other, desire for power to impose its will upon everyone, selfishness, garishness, and hostility to everyone who dares offend or refuses to obey them.

    In another 50 years, I’d be surprised if half of America is still Christian because of this.

  • Bones

    The only people who enjoyed this speech were lovers of war. But I suppose it won’t worry them. They get to sit in their office and count their money.

    Any destruction of North Korea will result in a catastrophe unlike any seen and that includes South Korea, Japan and China..

  • Steve Bailey

    It’s hard to believe that the son of Billy Graham should be so fecklessly stupid when it comes to pronouncements about Scripture and Christian faith. He’s a disgrace to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Bones

    Lol…Is that you, Adolf?

  • kaydenpat

    Franklin is morally bankrupt. The fact that he is so enamored of Trump says it all. I wonder what he’ll be saying when the Mueller investigation completely eviscerates Trump’s administration.

    So I guess Franklin would be perfectly okay if the US engaged in military action which wiped out millions of North Koreans who are the victims of a cruel dictatorship. Good to know. So Christ-like.

  • Vance Morgan

    Wow. It really is as simple (and sick) as you say. Thanks.

  • Vance Morgan

    Yes I have heard that on a few hundred occasions. Your point?

  • Herm

    Do you know where your cross is???

  • IconoclastTwo

    “I hope – I truly hope and pray that someday Franklin Graham and all those who have replaced the worship of Jesus with the worship of power will recognize what they have done and change.”

    Don’t even bother. They’ll never get better. The best thing that everyone who is sane can do is whatever it takes to protect ourselves from them, make sure they lose power, and never get it back again.

  • Herm

    LORD, LORD, so many are invited, yet so few are chosen.

    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    Luke 14:25-27 (NIV2011)

    If resurrection is the “main point” why does Christ insist that we each carry our own cross to follow Him as His student (disciple)?

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    John 14:15-21 (NIV2011)

    You make it clear that you see, and accept, Tim Keller’s message while both of you are totally blind to the “main point”; following with and in Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, with and in the Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit). You and Tim Keller aren’t left orphaned for you have never picked up your respective crosses to be born, with and in the Spirit, little children of God. You both remain in the spirit of father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sister—yes, even your own lives.

  • Herm

    … in everything do first to others, not your own, before others do to you and yours????

    For disciples of Christ it is not the one mounting people on crosses who wins in the end. It is those following Christ, having been mounted on each their own cross, who win with no end.

  • Herm

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    1 John 4:18 (NIV2011)

    Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

    Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV2011)

    Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Matthew 5:48 (NIV2011)

    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    Matthew 7:12 (NIV2011)

  • Robert K Wright

    Yes, because a religion named after the guy is really all about something else. Now I understand how the Church has become so irrelevant in modern times. They seem to have forgotten who and what their beliefs were centered on. Saying Christianity isn’t about Christs teachings, and then saying it’s all about resurrection. Crickey. Christianity is about Salvation, first and foremost.

  • deannawoods was bearing false witness against a brother, perhaps unintentionally. The solution to this is not to hunker down and defend this and pile on more false witness (as you seem to be doing), but to admit the mistake and move on.

    Without the resurrection of Christ and the promise of a future resurrection for believers, there is no Christianity. If the tomb wasn’t empty, then your belief is completely in vain. It is the main point, the crux, the focal point, of Christianity.

  • Nobody said it was “all” about the resurrection, only that is the main point of Christianity, not that it is the only relevant part of Christianity. You can’t have a main point if there is only one point.

    Christianity is about Salvation, first and for most.

    That’s what resurrection is.

  • Herm

    Without seeing and accepting to be fully immersed with and in the Spirit of truth I would not know God the Father and God the Son of Man personally. What do you believe the possibility of you being resurrected for an eternity means if not relationship with and in God today?

    deannawoods is, by all standards set in the Gospels, not a sibling of Tim Keller but, by the spirit she displays, she easily could be a sister of the Messiah. All student followers, born of the Spirit, are brothers, sisters and mother of Jesus the Christ. Christis the main point, the crux, the focal point, of Christianity“.

    Derek, you and Tim Keller don’t know what you do. You do not see Jesus. You do not see the Spirit of truth. You are invited to live but by your love of the traditional teaching, of your tribe of birth, you are blinded to the one Teacher, the one Instructor and the one Father of God, so you cannot be chosen. You worship by only carnal standards, driven by fear of certain death. Children of God worship only in the Spirit driven by love from our Father and Brother.

    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    John 4:23-24 (NIV2011)

  • Robert K Wright

    Yeah, you need to buy a dictionary, or better yet, learn to use google. Resurrection is coming back to life after having died. It is a literal term. Salvation is being saved from something, i.e. Consequences of sin. I wish you folks knew your own religion a bit better. You might not be driving people away from God if you actually preached and practiced Christ like Christianity. Because what you seem to be promoting is the furthest thing from Christ like behavior I’ve ever seen.

  • Salvation *is* being saved from something: death. Death is the consequence of sin. Resurrection is the mechanism by which salvation is enacted. So salvation (from the punishment of sin, that is, death) and resurrection are one in the same.

  • Robert K Wright

    Keep spinning

  • Derek are you aware that Tim Keller claims that God has predestined some humans to do evil?:-( Go to his website and listen to his audio presentation. Read about his views of Calvinism, that only some humans are saved by God, that no one has a choice, etc.

    Also, I’ve read Keller’s book.

    Really bad news.

  • kzarley

    CroneEver said “our culture … calls us all to worship power.” Yes, and we should reject that. And we should worship God because he is Love and all that CroneEver says there. But God is also wrath, and he has the power to execute it. I would say God is predominantly love. When God passed before Moses he said, “”The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in streadfast love and faithfulness,… forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34.6-7). But he added, “yet by no means clearing the guilty” etc. The Bible calls him “Almighty” (Heb. Shahhay 48x OT; Gr. pantokrator 10x NT). That is why it says, “The fear of the LORD (Heb. YHWH) is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 110.10; Proverbs 9.10), and “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1.7). On occasion, “The LORD is a warrior” (Exodus 15.3), and “The LORD goes forth like a soldier, like a warrior he stirs up his fury” (Isaiah 42.13). God created humans and established commandments for them to observe. Those who oppose God continually by denying his existence and/or rejecting his love will experience his wrath because he is the powerful Almighty God.

  • kzarley

    All good scripture quotes. Yet Christians should have a reconciling view of 1 Jn 4.18 with what I quoted. I think of it this was: “The fear of God is THE BEGINNING of wisdom.” “Love has been perfected” (1 Jn 4.17), so that there is no fear of punishment from God, when we have matured in Christ to the point of being “perfect” as Jesus says. However, I don’t think he means there a perfect sanctification in which we do not ever sin, which he himself did achieve.

  • otrotierra

    The millionaire Franklin Graham and his White Evangelical followers are helpful in that they show us what the worship of death looks like.

    Elsewhere on this comment thread, ashpenaz suggests Graham simply follows Thor instead of Jesus. Considering the words and actions of other White Evangelical millionaire celebrities such as Mike Huckabee and Pat Robertson, it becomes clear: U.S. White Evangelicals have more in common with ancient GrecoRoman pagan gods than with Jesus, the dark-skinned Middle Eastern border-crossing refugee with no English, no Christianity, no birth certificate, and no frothing lust for more war.

  • Vance Morgan

    I worship the God of the New Testament.

  • Linnea912

    Interesting observation re: the pagan gods. I think you’re on to something…

  • Linnea912

    Oh, Franklin Graham has pretty much hijacked his father’s message. I didn’t care for all of Billy’s theology, either, but at least the old guy advocated a God of love and forgiveness.

  • CroneEver

    So do I.

  • IconoclastTwo

    At this rate I’d be surprised if half of America is left existing.

  • Matthew

    His apologetic work is good. Have you read “The Reason for God”?

  • Vance Morgan

    CroneEver–I’m sure you do. My comment was in response to Kzarley’s comments just above mine, comments which quote nothing but texts from the Jewish Scriptures.

  • Herm

    kzarley, if you mean fear as when first seeing the overwhelming grandeur of the Grand Canyon from the edge is fear in awe, then fear of a God, with no beginning and no end, is the beginning of wisdom. There is no other species of animal on this earth but mankind who shows a fear of the eternal spirit beyond the temporal carnal. There is no other species of life on this planet but mankind so clearly graced the image of God, which is spirit. When introduced to the potentiality of God, a divine all encompassing awareness and influence in and with all beyond what we are capable of conceiving, then our most humbling awareness of mankind’s impotence of influence to the guarantee of their survival is truly fearsome.

    That fear is what Jesus saved us from on the cross. It is the perfect love of God that inspires us, as children of God born of the Spirit, to completely abandon that fear to now boldly to pick up our cross, in the example of our Brother Jesus, immersed in surety of our Father’s love for those who would crucify us in the name of their ultimate fear; their complete impotence to master life for themselves and those they are responsible to.

    Sin, judged wholly under the authority of Christ, is the transgression of divine law. The sum of the law is in everything do to others as we would have others do to us. The commands that the entire law hangs on is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, with all our mind (our collective spirit as one entity in God’s image) and like that, love our good neighbor as our self. All children of God, with and in the Spirit of truth today, are set apart from carnal law and are expected not to choose, ever, to transgress divine law in Jesus’ example. Children of God have an eternity to learn how to not err out of ignorance. It is the will of our Father, and our Brother Jesus, that is perfect not all of God’s choices, for all of God has an eternity of sharing and learning from, with and in one another before all is known perfectly. Being born again, immersed in the Spirit, today, is not the end of learning but is the beginning of learning without end. Eternal life can only be heavenly because intimidation, manipulation, and subjugation is not allowed in the kingdom served by God, while, all empathy, compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness for all, by all, is the law of the land.

    The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

    Matthew 23:11-12 (NIV2011)

    … nothing is more humbling on earth than to realize how little we know to protect and provide for ourselves, and our own. That’s the wisdom, usually born at first out of fear, which is necessary to give up those overwhelming responsibilities (placed on us by our tribe of birth) to They who do know our needs to live, which then completely dispels all our fears, because we are immersed, as little humble children, in Their abiding love which we can wholly trust to serve us well beyond certain carnal death.

    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

    Proverbs 9:10-12 (NIV2011)

    With and in the Spirit of truth we are never, ever, alone to suffer. Jesus knew that for sure, as the perfect first begotten Son of Man, when the one appearing as a dove remained with and in Him. So it is true for all Jesus’ sisters and brothers, on earth and in heaven today, when whelmed fully by the Holy Spirit there is no room for fear, only the bond of all love.

  • Al Cruise

    The only country to kill thousands of children with nuclear weapons was Christian USA. The children lived in a country that did not have nuclear weapons.

  • I did. Notice my statement, “I’ve read Keller’s book.

    Keller’s concept of God is horrific:-(.

  • kzarley

    So do I. But almost all Christians have believed, as I do, that the God of the New Testament is also the God of the Old Testament. God doesn’t change in his moral attributes. If it appears that he has changed in the past, as reflected in the Bible, I believe it is only that he responds to different situations differently, not that he himself has changed.

  • The use of nuclear weapons in Japan to end the war saved another 50 million people from dying. Christian USA did nothing of the sort; the American government made that decision.

  • Matthew

    Thanks. I wasn’t certain which Keller book you were referring to. We can certainly discuss Keller’s concept of God, but I’m focusing more on the arguments Keller makes for the Christian worldview and the existence of God. These I find to be compelling despite his calvinist theology.

  • Al Cruise

    Christian USA did nothing of the sort. Does that mean Christian USA disapproves of the action?

  • Vance Morgan

    I’ve observed various attempts to insist that God doesn’t change. That hypothesis is belied by simply reading the texts. You have to twist them a great deal to fit them into various interpretive straitjackets.

  • I would not know. But I am sure there would be Christians on both sides of that debate.

  • BUT the God he believes in is nothing like the God my family and our Baptist church believed in when I was growing up.

    Nor did three of our Baptist ministers in Nebraska, then California ever think Keller’s God existed.

    Later, I became a Baptist minister for a while at university, like my dad before me. And later was a Bible teacher, missions worker, etc.
    BUT I thought God was totally opposite, totally contrary to the God of Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Keller, and so forth.

    Tragically, in fact, after 55 years of countering Christian leaders like Keller, I finally came to the conclusion that Christianity can’t be true. Otherwise why are leaders such as Keller, Matt Chandler, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, etc. claiming that God plans ALL evil and foreordained only a limited number of humans to become good, and all of the billions of the rest of us were born without hope, etc.?

    A much better philosopher/theologian to read is retired professor Keith Ward of Oxford. Check out about 15 of his books.:-)

  • Karen Spratt

    Billy Graham his crusade in South Korea is probably the most passionate well articulated.It’s on Ytube .Franklin Graham is so far off the grid it’s so disheartning.Billy Graham is not well enough to give him a come to Jesus talk. BILLY GRAHAM IS THE ONLY EVANGELIST I LISTEN TO. I LISTEN TO HIS CRUSADES UNTIL HE WAS NO LONGER ABLE .FOR ME I READ MY A BIBLE PRAY AN I DO NOT GO TO CHURCH .IT’S ALWAYS SO CONFLICTUAL

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much.

  • kzarley

    I think it all depends the situation. God is not capricious; he is stable, sound of judgment.

  • Bones

    Wow, God is viewed as a soldier by a warlike people.

    Who’d a thought it.

    Your Jesus is like this

  • Bones

    So does God still think menstruating women are unclean?

  • Bones

    That is incredibly debatable.

    In fact even most Jews dismiss the warlike god of the Old Testament as a reflection of the ancient culture.

  • Bob Machinski

    This is why most evangelical missionaries are white; they want everyone to worship Nordic god on a stick.

  • Nick

    What you are arguing for is Just War theory and not total destruction of a nation.

  • Nick

    “The use of nuclear weapons in Japan to end the war saved another 50 million people from dying” is most likely untrue. Japan was already on its knees. The US agree to roughly the same terms of surrender from Japan after the bombs that were proposed before the bomb.

  • ashpenaz

    That’s why the white nationalists who were carrying Nordic gods on sticks in Charlottesville don’t get the same treatment. Would Franklin Graham say a speech stating that the KKK and neo-Nazis must be “totally destroyed” is the greatest speech ever, even though white supremacists have killed more Americans than North Korea ever has? And that’s why Trump condemns football players and others who take the knee rather than worship the flag of the Nordic god which oppresses them.

  • Chari McCauley

    Some of those resurrected will die a second death, are they saved?

  • Chinnappah Thiruvarudchelvan

    Christianity itself should be considered irrelevant, now that so called Christians have turned it into a mere money making enterprise. Originally Christianity was never intended it to be that!

  • gimpi1

    You can.

    Many groups loudly disavow Mr. Graham and the things he says. Any group can. Mr. Graham appears to have sold out for political power and influence. He did this during the last administration, capitalizing on the borderline racist views of some conservative Christians, he made opposition to Mr. Obama his cornerstone. He took Mr. Obama to task for, well, mostly nothing. Things like wearing a tan suit, ordering a burger with spicy mustard and not wearing a flag pin. Now, I understand he has genuine differences with the Democratic party and progressives in general, but his actions went well beyond normal “loyal opposition” into “stupid, blind, hateful opposition of everything.” It was both fascinating and sad. It was also hard not to see it as possibly bigoted.

    With the change of administration, he’s gone over totally, endorsing enthusiastically a man who cheated on at least two of his three wives, divorced twice, cheated businesses contractors and employees by – among other techniques – using bankruptcy laws, lies casually and has bragged about his dishonesty, was unabashedly greedy, enthusiastically uses divisive tactics to work up crowds – apparently only because he enjoys being cheered, has given tacit endorsement to white supremacist and conspiracy-promulgating groups, gloried in the use of racist and bigoted rhetoric and may have conspired with a hostile foreign power to manipulate an American election. There’s no way to see this as remotely reasonable. Again, its hard not to see it as bigoted.

    Mr Graham has lost his way. He may have lost his mind. You can split from any group he endorses, and you can tell them why.

  • gimpi1

    Well, there’s no reason to think North Korea would be so stupid as to use weapons of mass destruction unless Kim becomes convinced that the U.S. is coming for him. He’s not floridly insane or delusional. He’s just totally selfish, paranoid and sociopathic. He sees how dictators felled by the U.S. and other nations have made out, and he’d likely rather destroy his whole country (and as many others as possible) rather than wind up on some gallows South Korea. However, if he doesn’t see his personal safety as on the line, he’ll most likely behave.

    You don’t deal with that sort of mental condition by threatening the person. Ratcheting up their fear, making them angry, making them feel disrespected, all that leads to acting out. Now, he has such a stranglehold on North Korea, we can’t actually end that. Really, the best way to have influence over him is by both isolating him to some degree, then using forms of positive reinforcement when he doesn’t act up. Threats, bullying, and insults just ramp him up. They may make some segment of the U.S. population feel “strong,” but they’re a disaster, diplomatically and from a psychological standpoint.

    However, I’m pretty sure all Mr. Trump cares about is that “make some segment (his base) of the U.S. population feel strong” bit. He’s a salesman. He knows how to work a room, set a hook, and reel the client in. Frankly, that’s all I see. And, honestly, I don’t care for it. I’ve never liked sales-hustles.

  • gimpi1

    Ohh, creepy good point, Ashpenaz. I hadn’t thought of that.

  • gimpi1

    I didn’t care for it, frankly. He seemed to be dealing in both circular reasoning and excluded-middle fallacy. I had it recommended to me by several people, and was, well, not impressed. Can you tell me what you liked? Perhaps I missed something…

  • gimpi1

    That’s not what is going at all. The debate is over which way is best for containing said dictator; name-calling, threats and bluster or quiet pressure and isolation followed by engagement when/if things improve.

    You don’t make anyone safer by mindlessly threatening a selfish, paranoid meglomaniac.

  • Everything you said may be true up to a point.
    You might notice that China has for the first time has actually committed to banking sanctions.
    That is quite a sales effort on the President’s part.

  • First, that’s not the debate in the blog.
    Second, aren’t you glad you don’t have to deal with North Korea.

  • gimpi1

    Actually, that’s not correct. China has been on-board with some banking sanctions before… the problem is that any North Korean company or industry sanctioned simply changes its name and charter – a bank becoming an investment company, for example – and they’re off to the races again. Finding a way to make any sanctions stick when companies can dissolve and reform in the blink of an eye is always a problem. North Korea has carefully written its incorporation laws to make this scam possible. What’s new is there is going to be at least an attempt to track these “appearing and vanishing” companies and their charters and continue sanctions. We’ll see. It may be like trying to keep internet porn away from teenagers – they may be too fast for us.

    I would say that broad, geographic-based sanctions might be the way to go, but we tried that, and the Kim family let their people starve. The only thing the entire family seems to care about is themselves – their ‘honor,’ their security, their wealth. I think finding a way to use that is really our best bet. However, that may involve a lot more carrot and less stick, and the U.S. population won’t like that. Frankly, that’s one reason diplomacy is best practiced out of sight. It’s every bit as ugly as much of politics – and every bit as necessary.

    I think it’s the advancing technology rather than anything Mr. Trump has said that has China more worried than anything else. They’re (and we’re) right to worry. Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a childish, spoiled, self-centered brat are frightening. I don’t know the best way to handle this, but I feel sure that name-calling and threats will only make the situation more precarious.

  • gimpi1

    Sorry, I thought it was – at least that one of the topics on this thread. Did i miss something?

    And, yes, I am. That sort of diplomacy gives new life to the expression, “above my pay-grade.”

    Though, I baby-sat a lot of bratty, selfish toddlers in my time… at least they had no weapons of mass destruction, unless Pampers count?

  • kzarley

    Jesus taught his disciples, “if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;… Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5.39, 44). Yet Isaiah 63 applies to Messiah Jesus at his second coming, in which he says, “I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples no one was with me” (Isaiah 63.3). It’s because the Antichrist will have killed most of God’s people and many others. Then he says, “I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their juice [blood] spattered on my garments and stained all my robes. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year for my redeeming work had come. I looked, but there was no helper; I stared, but there was no one to sustain; so my own arm brought me victory. I trampled down peoples in my anger, I crushed them in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth” (vv. 3-6). This text inspired The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

    Bones, you show a picture of Einstein. He was a Jew who escaped Germany before Hitler could wipe him out with the 6 million Jews he killed. Do you not believe in vengeance exercised against Hitler and those wicked Nazis? It is called righteous anger. That’s what Jesus will have at the end of the age. He prophesied in his Olivet Discourse that Jews will suffer at the end of age more than they did in WWII. That is, when the Antichrist sets up an idol of himself on the altar of the rebuilt temple at Jerusalem, which Daniel and Jesus call “the abomination of desolation” (Matt. 24.15), then Jesus says, “For at that time there will great tribulation such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (v. 21). Of that time we read of Jesus, “Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war…. And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen white and pure, were following him on white horses” (Revelation 19.11-14). They will come to earth and destroy the Antichrist and all his hostile forces. This will be the fulfillment of Isaiah 63.

    Wise King Solomon said, being inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven;…a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3.1-2, 8). When Jesus returns at the end of the age, it will be a time for war. After that, he will establish his worldwide kingdom of peace that will last forever. Bones, do you believe the Bible? This is what it says.

  • kzarley

    This subject requires a nuance of words. As I said, I don’t think God changes regarding his moral attributes. He is the same forever about that. However, he changes his mind about certain situations, such as Genesis 6.6; 1 Samuel 15.11, 35). He also might change his tactics by being convinced to do so by someone else (e.g., Exodus 32.10-14). But that doesn’t mean God himself changes in his moral character, such as whether or not he continued with Israel or made a new nation out of Moses. I don’t think I’m doing any twisting of this subject or scripture here.

  • Bones

    Isaiah 63 has nothing whatsoever about any future event and is the typical dishonest taking verses out of context.

    Isaiah 64 gives the context of the verse.

    Your holy cities have become a wilderness,
    Zion has become a wilderness,
    Jerusalem a desolation.
    11 Our holy and beautiful house,
    Where our fathers praised You,
    Has been burned by fire;
    And all our precious things have become a ruin.
    12 Will You restrain Yourself at these things, O Lord?
    Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?

    This was after the destruction of the FIRST TEMPLE by the Babylonians. (Which btw was never rebuilt)

    You have no idea what prophecy was about. The prophets saw Assyria as the great Avenger exercising God’s wrath against the prophets enemies and then the Persian King Cyrus the Great was welcomed as a messiah in Isaiah 45 for defeating Babylon and ending the Exile.

    The prophets were not fortune tellers.

    The simple fact is that in ancient times everything was attributed to gods – earthquakes, droughts, volcanoes, floods, wars, sickness. And the Hebrews were no exception. And if you don’t make the gods happy look out – hence you get the reasoning that Israel was occupied by five standing armies spanning hundreds and hundreds of years because Israel was unfaithful or something. Like it must be our fault that bad things happen to us. (This included individuals that sickness and suffering occurred because of sin, a teaching Jesus himself countered with ‘Who sinned that this man was born blind?’ Bad things must have happened for a reason, right? Wrong!)

    The Olivet discourse in Mark 13 is not a future prophecy but a rendering of a past event namely the destruction of Jerusalem which ‘this generation’ had witnessed. The ‘Abomination of Desolation’ was the Roman Legions setting fire to the Temple which killed around two million people and where the Romans crucified 500 people a day. So yeah, get the f*** out of there and head to the hills.

    And Revelation saw Jesus as a vengeful being who would destroy the Roman occupiers….The same ones who destroyed the Temple. The author was most likely an Ebionite who hated Pau’s version of Christianity. But Jesus didn’t destroy the Romans. Any decent study of Revelation will show it is entirely based in the first century and a polemic against Imperial Rome- (Mystery Babylon) (And who throws the False Prophet ie Paul, and people like yourself into the Lake of Fire). There will be no future bloodshed against unbelievers by a Jesus who is the opposite of that presented in the gospels. These are the thoughts and wishes of a person who has seen enormous destruction of his homeland and longs for vengeance.

    The Nazis weren’t punished by God for their holocaust against the Jews (which seemed to be part of your god’s plan). And even the Nazis saw themselves as ministers of divine justice against Jews and atheists. They were defeated largely by Communist forces and airborne destruction in the West which then plunged most of Eastern Europe under Soviet control.

    Where’s the justice of this god of yours for the genocides committed against indigenous peoples on the Earth? Like the Native americans, the Latin American peoples, the Africans subjected to brutal western colonialism and the destruction of the Australian Aborigines.

    Nowhere. Nothing. Zilch.

    In fact you thrive based on their destruction.

    It’s interesting how this god only seems interested in one small group of people. Jews and yourself.

    And everyone thinks God is going to avenge them. That’s why Osama Bin Laden drove planes into the Twin Towers. That’s what Muslims are saying after their families have been killed by US drones.

    You believe in a God of bloodshed and war….the same idol as those worshipped by the Greeks as the god Mars and the Muslims and all ancient idolators.

    You have created god in your own image….which is ironic given that you point the fingers at others. And you are dangerous as this type of thinking is what sets maniacs like Trump on courses for war.

    Ffs if you’re going to read the Bible and think it’s important at least read it properly.

    As you have shown. Rambo Jesus is your god….

    There will be no return of Jesus (who reigns with an iron rod -remember). Nor will there be a New Jerusalem (that’s John’s wishful thinking after the slaughter and destruction in 70CE).

    Why does your god hate humanity? That’s actually a projection of your own ideology.

  • Vance Morgan

    Thanks for your reply. I think allowing that the OT God changes his mind and changes his tactics makes it difficult to maintain that God does not change more substantially. But your interpretation is certainly supportable–if you are convinced beforehand that God does not change, then the relevant texts can be read to support that. I’m not as inclined as you are to make that beginning assumption.

    But my primary point is not about the OT/Jewish Scriptures God. It is about the difference between that God and the one of the NT. One of the many profound reasons for the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection is that God’s response to humanity becomes one of love rather than of judgment. That’s a major transition, and that’s why I find it interesting (to say the least) that many evangelical Christians tend to go to the OT for their “proof texting” from the Bible–as if Jesus never came.

  • Herm

    Daniel, the following is true then, today and forever:

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

    Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

    “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.

    John 14:15-31 (NIV2011)

    This was not taught in my esteemed seminary.

    The spirit, only an image of God, of the Pharisees and teachers of the law survives but only until carnal awareness and influence has past. The one Teacher, the one Instructor, the one Father lives today; before the beginning and after the end, without pause. I can only testify THAT this is so, for I do know Him, as He lives with me and in me. I am an ignorant little child who knows eternal protection, providing, nurture, companionship and teaching bound in love infinitely greater than I know how to love, yet.

    You are loved.

    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    John 4:23-24 (NIV2011)

    Any study of God (theology/philosophy), from a physical earth bound perspective, is incapable of expressing no beginning and no end. How much could you express as an infant child of Man to define your parents, your siblings, and your species beyond sharing love? What more do you have to share with God in spirit?

    There is so much more I want to share with you but I am no more than an infant child of God, born of the Spirit. I can only point to Them to teach you exactly as you can bear, today, tomorrow and forever. God serves us, as Their children, expecting no more of us to serve Them than did our parents of Man when we were infants.

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

    John 16:12-15 (NIV2011)

    He came when the curtain was torn, top to bottom, to guide us, who humbly seek only the truth, and remained as He did when He appeared as a dove with and in Jesus, the only begotten Son of Man, the Christ. We can and must bear more today than 1,987 years ago.

  • Alan Christensen

    I doubt that Franklin is even familiar with the Just War tradition, let alone Christian pacifism.

  • Matthew

    What do you think of C.S. Lewis gimpi1?

  • Tim

    The trap any Calvinist eventually falls into. Keller says some really wise things, and some really stupid things. A very mixed bag. I find myself disagreeing with him a lot.

  • Tim

    I tend to think of it more along the lines of, same God, very different perspective on what that entails. There’s a lot going on in the Jewish scriptures that requires heavy duty interpretation based on a variety of factors (Pete Enns and other OT scholars have some good insights on this), but I’d say generally that the OT version of God from the perspective of those inspired to write about their experiences of God are what accounts for the majority of any difference that we see in God’s character between testaments.

    In other words, what I think we are seeing between old and new testaments is a shift in perception of who God is more so than an actual change in who God is.

  • Vance Morgan

    You’re right, of course–if we are honest, we have to say that what we believe about God is a reflection of our own changing perceptions rather than an insight into what God actually is. Scripture is best understood as a record of what various people and groups of people have thought and believed concerning what is greater than us over time.

  • Nimblewill

    I agree with everything you say here, but you have to believe that the North Korean regime must be destroyed? Don’t you?

  • Yes, humans are always a “very mixed bag.” Reminds me of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famous statement, “…the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”

    The trouble with deterministic Christianity is that its horrific god is completely evil essentially and ultimately from the beginning.

    It baffles me why billions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus support such various forms of terrible fatalism.

    A number of thinkers have posited that the appeal of determinism is security. If one can convince oneself that one is one of the elect, then it gives one tremendous courage and confidence and certainty. Prime examples of that are Stonewall Jackson, John Calvin, Martin Luther, etc.

  • gimpi1

    I prefer his stuff. I find his philosophical stance more consistent, and he falls into fewer logical fallacies. His fiction is good, too. In fact, writing fiction may have helped him learn how to structure an internally consistent argument. However, he makes some pretty big logical leaps, and, in the end, he makes what I regard as the same basic mistake: He pretty much insists his views are the only reasonable ones with no factual basis.

    Now, I get that this is a matter of faith, and that facts may simply not be available. That’s frankly why I’m still more of seeker. I have a great deal of difficulty with leaps of faith in all my life. True example; it took me almost 20 years to decide to marry a man that I knew I loved. (I’m so lucky that he’s patient.) Perhaps I’m looking for something that simply doesn’t exist; a loving, totally consistent belief system that isn’t contradicted by any factual evidence and that can adapt and embrace new knowledge. Rainbow unicorns, right?

  • Herm, Thanks for sharing your heart.

  • Matthew

    Not necessarily gimpi1. I think when Christianity is more rightly understood it is very loving and very consistent as well as very adaptable. As I have been exiting Christian fundamentalism and entering more progressive ways of thinking and feeling, I´ve come to discover this more and more.

    Additionally, as I´ve come to know you more and more over the years via this forum, I know you value facts and consistency. I hope as you continue to seek you will continue to find these attributes in Christianity. I also hope you will consider the theme of faith more deeply as time moves on.

    Journey on …..

  • Herm

    If North Korea “must be destroyed” is not God capable of doing what must be done, infinitely better than Their children?

    Carnal, all physical, will cease but spirit is without end, aware and and influential, or not.

  • Nimblewill

    I agree and that was the point I was trying to make. Vengeance is mine………………….! ALL powers and principalities must come down.
    I don’t bow down to nuthin’ or nobody! Unless you’re a King who gave His life for me.

  • gimpi1

    The thing is, every adaption just leads to a schism, not understanding. Women as equal partners, not “weaker vessels?” Schism. Gay people as simply people, not guilty fo some horrific sin just by wanting companionship and happiness? Schism. Segregation not condoned by God? Schism. Slavery not condoned by God? Schism. Life evolved from common ancestors? Schism. Great Flood a myth? Schism. Earth’s and the Universe’s age much older than Scripture seems to indicate? Well, you get the point. I’ll stop hammering it.

    You talk about Christianity being more rightly understood. I get that. I also know that many Christians have a very different understanding than yours or Dr. Corey’s, and they’re just as sure they’re right.

    Right now, with far too many Christians backing a vulgar, violent, cheating, lying, bullying and racist man simply because they hope to get more power through the Supreme Court and Congress, I admit my attempts at faith have taken a hit. I know they’re not all (or even most) Christians, but they’re loud and they lay ink. It’s darn hard to remember the rest of you are out there. Thanking you, Dr. Corey and others for reminding me.

    The journey continues. I am looking forward to Dr. Corey’s new book, Unafraid. That’s part of the attraction to the progressive side of faith, for me. The conservative side seems so fearful – fearful of change, of “others,” of, well, sometimes reality. I also do appreciate their adaptability, their generally greater willingness to embrace scientific reality and their devotion to justice. Those are big draws. Maybe no unicorns, but rainbows? I can see the rainbows.

  • Matthew

    Christianity as a religion aside, what do you think when you read about Jesus in the New Testament?

  • Obscurely

    Dr. Ben … as a progressive pastor I consider Trump morally unfit for office, but I’m afraid you may have ‘jumped the shark’ here? I know you’re pretty down on Franklin Graham (on a too regular basis here in my opinion), but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t endorsing slaughtering 25 million people — Trump was obviously referring to destroying North Korea’s regime, not it’s people. I think it’s important for our credibility as progressives to be extremely cautious in making unwarranted inferences in our critiques of conversative Christians (and even the execrable Trump).

  • As to which megomaniac’s side he is on, Franklin has made that abundantly clear. The rhetoric has definitely ramped up. President Kim Jong-Un has now stated that the Donald’s latest brash claims are a declaration of war. So, Little Rocket Man and Tiny Hands just may bring us all into another world war. Of course that would fit Franklin’s end time scenario nicely.

  • Obscurely

    You are preaching to the choir, brother! — Trump is manifestly unfit for office, and is using it to divide the nation to serve his own ego. But I still think we have to take care not to stoop to his level …

  • gimpi1

    That’s a hard question.

    From a philosophical stance, I greatly admire Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most beautiful, simple and meaningful things ever written. To express those thoughts in an ancient world that was so full of oppression and cruelty is – well, profound. You might say divine. I admire most of the parables that are attributed to Jesus, and I think almost everyone could benefit from studying the four Gospels to better understand those message.

    Now, a couple of caveats: Firstly, while the philosophy is beautiful, it’s not unique. The Golden Rule, treating “the least among us” as good as the most powerful, striving for kindness, peace and generosity shows up in several faiths. Also, there’s no way to reconcile the Golden Rule with an apparent acceptance of slavery. I understand how endemic slavery was in the ancient world – still, as moral questions go, it’s a slam-dunk. You would think someone who could see through the power-structure and false worship of wealth so clearly could see that owing other human beings (and I count forced marriage in that) was a no-no. That’s a hard one for me.

    From the supernatural angle, I’ll be honest. that’s another hard-sell. You see, my own father literally came back from the dead. He was in a horrific industrial accident before he even met my mother. A drill-bit broke on the production floor of a factory and performed what has been described as accidental brain-surgery. He was DOA. He was actually toe-tagged and in the morgue when an attendant noticed him twitching. He was rushed up to surgery, and survived. He made a profound – though not complete – recovery. It was in his rehabilitation training that he met my mother, who was also getting assistance. She was a polio-survivor. The point of this is that people can and do survive profound damage. It’s random, we call it a miracle, but it does happen, and my sister and I are living proof. So, when it comes to the Resurrection, I’m, well, skeptical. I feel someone could have survived a brutal attempted execution and gone on to live for quite a while, no supernatural elements are truly required. And, should this have happened, people would regard it as supernatural. It’s natural, faced with something we don’t understand. People thought lightening, earthquakes and volcanoes were supernatural, too. However, I accept that this is just hypothesis, not proof. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    As to the “Son of God” and divine atonement elements, again, again, I’m a bit of a hard-sell. If there is a divinity, then I would hope that all sapient life would be regarded as the children of that divinity, which I guess would make us kin:-). The idea of a specific avatar being incarnated for ritual sacrifice to offer atonement for humanity’s disobedience – no, that doesn’t make much sense to me. Especially for something as petty as the “disobedience” described in Genesis. All humanity deserves to suffer forever because someone in the distant past wanted to know more? How does that make sense. However, I’m willing to admit that reality doesn’t have to make sense – Quantum Mechanics come to mind here.

    Then there’s the pretty much undeniable fact that the incidents in Genesis never happened – at least not as described. Life evolved from a common ancestor – human life included. The earth is billions of years old, not a few thousand. There was no Garden of Eden or Great Flood. So, if there’s no “original sin” how does the whole thing work? I know that’s why some people cling so strongly to Genesis, but I don’t know how people who can deal with the reality that biology, geology, astronomy and physics have shown us make the idea of Divine Atonement work. Any insights or suggestions here would be appreciated.

    That was kind of a long winge, and I apologize, but I wanted to try to answer your question. Thanks for asking.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much for the comprehensive response gimpi1.

    I think I can only shortly address three of the concerns you have.

    First, regarding the resurrection, I believe that the eyewitness testimony which is reported in the New Testament helps us to better understand whether or not the resurrection actually happened. I of course am aware, though, that if someone questions the reliability of the Gospels then they probably also question the eyewitness accounts therein.

    Second, I can understand your concerns about atonement (particularly how many conservative Christians typically understand it), but as you already most likely know Dr. Corey has written a lot about this topic and offers other atonement explanations as well. Progressive Christians have really helped me understand more fully what atonement truly is. For the longest time I thought penal substitutionary atonement was the only atonement theory that the Bible taught. If you are not familiar with his articles on atonement, I would recommend searching the BLC archives if you haven´t already.

    Finally, about original sin, Adam, Eve, the garden, evolution, etc., I would highly recommend spending some time here:

    Have a great rest of the week gimpi1.

    P.S. “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God” — Brian Zahnd is also an excellent book written from a progressive perspective that address the question of God´s wrath, atonement, and other interesting theological topics.

  • gimpi1

    OK, firstly, Matthew, thanks for the link to Biologos. I just cruised the site, and it looks really interesting. That’s just what I was looking for. I’m not a scientist myself, but I married one (a geologist) and I simply know a bit much about the earth’s age, the fossil record and such to be comfortable with what some Christian groups insist on. I’m really glad to see a site like this, that explains how faith can deal with and adapt to evidence. Home run here!

    Secondly, I think you didn’t get my issue with the Resurrection. I’m not claiming that it didn’t happen – necessarily. I’m saying that my father’s story proves it could have happened, and have a totally natural explanation. If you had seen my father struck in the head by the broken drill-bit, seen the ambulance crew pronounce him dead, seen him bagged and taken away in the ambulance, seen him tagged in the hospital morgue, then seen him up and around several weeks later, well, you would have seen a person who you knew was dead up and talking. Again, what happened to my dad was rare and it doesn’t match the Resurrection descriptions exactly. (Of course, they don’t match each other – as eyewitness accounts often don’t – but that’s another issue.) You see where I’m going with this. It actually could have happened, and have no supernatural elements at all. It’s not likely, but my sister and I are living proof it’s possible.

    I have looked at Dr. Corey’s archives, and, I said, I’ve found them interesting. I’ve found Corey very helpful. He’s actually taken the time to answer some pretty personal questions of mine, such as how a believer goes about praying. Frankly, I had no idea what prayer even was – people raised in non-religious households may not. The whole “talking to God” meme doesn’t make sense if you have no concept of God going, and whining for Divine assistance or groveling for forgiveness has little appeal to me. It really helped to understand the whole concept of prayer to have someone explain what they mean by the word, how it works in their life, and how they, personally, go about it. Since then, I’ve had a couple of friends of different faiths answer that question, and I really feel I’m closing on how people relate to this process. That’s one of the reasons I find Ben;so helpful on this journey of mine.

    I;ll follow up on the tip on the Zahnd book and put it on my Kindle wish-list.

    Thanks again.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much gimpi1.

    It´s good that you clarified what you meant re: resurrection. I did indeed misunderstand your point. Thanks.

    I haven´t had much time to really dig into BioLogos, but what I have read I do find really helpful.

    Finally, I do hope you get a copy of Brian´s book. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  • Lilacgypsy

    My father Did have to deal directly with North Korea in 1950… and here we are still dealing with them

  • Lilacgypsy

    What about Korean War ?

  • Lilacgypsy

    Dont think trumphe’s sales efforts brought that about …im sure China sees trumphe as not any less insane as the North Korean leader. China is much closer than we are to N.K. Everyone is starting to realize that Kim now has the ability to blast China, Japan, Guam, SouthKorea and United States and is crazy enougb to do it!

  • Lilacgypsy

    i actually have to agree with you… I doubt 50 million but the population of Japan could have been pretty much decimated after the Two
    Atomic bombs dropped…
    if Japan had not surrendered . And today Japan is not allowed by us to have
    nukes… Korea Kim
    knows it and we are thereby obligated to protect Japan. IMO

  • gimpi1

    Oh, I will get it. Time and money are always shorter than I would like, so it may take a few months, but I will get it. You’ve peaked my interest, and BioLogos is a decent site. I’ve mostly looked at the stuff related to geology, since that’s what I’m the most familiar with, and it’s good. I’m favorably impressed.

  • Bones

    What about the USA’s involvement in Latin AMerica and the Middle East propping up evil dictators? Not to mention committing genocide against the Native Americans.

    God’s a bit slow about that one.

    Seems you only want vengeance against people you don’t like.

  • Bones

    Dur WW2 Japan isn’t North Korea……

    Also if the US didn’t bomb Japan, Hokkaido would have been Soviet. The Soviets were already island hopping their way to the North Island which was more or less undefended and they would have invaded well before any US invasion force was massed.

  • Foreign Policy is obviously not your strong suite; debate even less so. Your education level is exposed by your teenage taunt. Save your bluster and direct it to your Senator.

  • Capitulation leads to death only later not sooner. You have a limited vocabulary as well!

  • Now you are engaging in revisionist propaganda. Try actually reading history before you make uneducated comments about what president’s knew.

  • Well, we have a different perspective here. Some of–much of–religious literature is “horrific,” but some of it is the basis of the beginning of ethical concern and human reflection, too.

    I’m speaking from the point of view of a retired literature teacher. In ancient literature, and more recent, whether the Iliad, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist scripture, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Quran, etc.
    there is a library–or more negatively, a mish-mash of both good and bad and ugly.

    Human literature reflects human good and human evil, etc.

    I think that psychologist and atheist Valerie Tarico’s blog post represents, probably, the best attitude and outlook toward religious literature. See

  • And that comment makes you feel better? That is childish rhetoric. You are better than that.

  • Nimblewill

    You misunderstand me. Judgment starts at the house of God. Someone said that if God doesn’t judge the US then He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. I agree.

  • True.

  • You don’t belong to the human race rather the mutant race.

  • 30! But going on 13….

  • Bones

    Well I don’t see any post from you saying the US should be destroyed.

    And to be quite frank that’s the talk of extremists

    Kim Il moron is seeking nukes because he knows what happened to saddam hussein and Gaddafi. He sees your country as a direct threat to his.

    Now if there was a way of taking him out which didn’t involve a catatrophic war for all involved let’s hear it….just bear in mind Kim IL Dickhed has chemical and biological weapons as well and will use it.

    I don’t want to see the US destroyed.

  • Nimblewill

    Neither do I, but if there are powers and principalities in the US they will and need to take a back seat to the Kingdom of God. As a Christian I no longer feel obligated to those powers and principalities. Which ever form they may take.I do believe that we are the world’s best hope for peace. I still pray God bless the USA.

  • Bones

    The kingdom of God is not about destroying nations.

    You can bet the north Koreans are over there telling everyone the Christians want to kill them.

    Like you advocated.

    It all becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • Nimblewill

    The gospel is there is a New King. His kingdom when entered destroys the earthly one’s. Not the people. I love North Koreans.

  • Bones

    Nations are made of people…..

    If Jesus didn’t destroy the Roman Empire, I don’t think he’ll be destroying any nations soon.

    The kingdom of God subverts the kingdoms of this world.

    It doesn’t destroy them.

    Much like education and secularism created the societies we live in which aren’t based on repressive religious dogma.

    In fact, those who talk of destroying other nations usually create their own enemy of the kingdom of God.

  • Nimblewill

    Lincoln said the best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend. It’s semantics. I’m wondering at this point if you, like me, just enjoy a good argument. Someone else said that we know we have created God in our own image when He starts hating the same people we do. Did you read my last comment?

    undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution).
    “an attempt to subvert democratic government”
    synonyms: destabilize, unsettle, overthrow, overturn;

    Yeah this is what I meant by destroy! Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down!

  • Bones

    Yes I read your last comment and it makes no sense in the context of wanting the North Korean regime destroyed.

    And subverting a government isn’t destroying it anymore than MLK destroyed the US.

  • Nimblewill

    Ok. Do you believe that human rights is an issue in North Korea? I believe a regime can be destroyed without the first person being killed.

  • Bones

    There’s plenty of human rights violations around the world – especially among US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    We’ve already seen regime change with saddam and gaddafi and what’s happening in Syria.

  • Nimblewill

    Read this today! I agree!

    So I’m writing my postcards from Babylon calling on Christians tangled up in red, white, and blue to renounce the idolatry of American civil religion. America is not an object of reverence — it’s just the latest in a long line of here-today, gone-tomorrow empires. I can love America like I love hamburgers and rock ‘n’ roll, but I can’t love America like I love Jesus. America as my residence within this world is fine, but America as the savior of the world is heresy. The gospel of the American dream is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are antithetical to one another. It’s either the story of Jesus that gives meaning to life or the story of America that gives meaning to life, but it’s not both. Lincoln, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and all the rest can claim America is the “last best hope of earth,” but it’s not true. That’s just the sort of thing that empires say; but it’s also the sort of thing Christians must never say.

  • disqus_nElmsuKl8H

    North Korea is right. Amerika has attacked both Libya and Iraq after they gave up their nuclear programs. They will not make same mistake . Only fool here is thump, cause he will sacrifice South Korea to prove he’s tough guy . Kim playing thrump for idiot he is .

  • TS (unami)

    That’s the really scary thing about American Fundamentalists — they *want* the world to burn.