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Whether you’re soaked in the dye of the Left or the Right; politically branded and proud to wear it, or disinclined to bow before either.

No one is outside the sharp insight found within these words:

‘’…He told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt.’’ (Lk.18:9)

Prior to this Jesus had just finished speaking of a widow, who persistently came before a judge, pleading her case.

The judge is described as one ‘who neither feared God nor respected man.’ (Lk.18:2). We know little of the widow’s situation other than that, given her persistence, it must have been desperate.  As the parable goes, the judge, more out of irritation than compassion, grants the widow justice.

Jesus doesn’t finish there. Luke records that what followed was an imperative “…hear what the unrighteous judge says.” (Lk.18:6)

Jesus then makes it clear that God “will give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night … He will give justice to them speedily.” (Lk.18:7-8)

In a seemingly unrelated conclusion, Jesus poses a question about the future. Leaning on the distinction between the widow’s relentless faith despite her suffering, and what could be described as the judge’s militant atheism, Jesus asks: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

It’s from here that Luke cements one of the most significant parables taught by Jesus: the Pharisee and the Tax collector.

We’re told that.

‘’two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.”

The Pharisee prays,

“God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; and give tithes of all that I get.” (Lk.18:11-12)

We’re to understand that the Pharisee considers himself more righteous than the tax collector. He is ‘asserting his own righteousness’[i]

To see the relevance of this, we need to go back to Jesus’ question about the future at the end of the last parable:

“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

It’s a question that begs another: Do we have more faith in ourselves, than we do in God?

In 21st century terms, the Pharisee would be living out of an attitude that leads to a prayer like this:

“God, I thank you that I am not like that racist, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic, or intolerant person over there; I’m socially “responsible” and unlike all those haters, and “deplorables.”

There is a keenness to point out what others are, readiness to shift the focus of sin, a readiness to parade a fashionable, Machiavellian, public display of righteousness.

There is no recognition or confession of the fact that ‘’all have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God’’ (Rom.3:23). The sinner is whoever and whatever the 21st Century Pharisee claims not to be. You are whatever they say you are. You will do, speak and think what they tell you to or else.

Accordingly, the righteous are those who adhere to the human rules and guidelines set by the modern Pharisee. In modern society this is imposed by the predominantly political and academic elite.

On the surface the 21st century Pharisee gives lip service to God, but underneath has become as God.

As identified by John Machen, in his 1923 book ‘Christianity Vs. Liberalism’, the majority of the Left, similar to that of the far-right, follow a faux religion. It’s a revisionism that fits the Bible and Christianity into a political box. The extremes of modern liberalism are upheld by tea-straining theology through the lens of social justice; of feel-good activism and ideologically mandated politics, which is quick to damn anyone they’ve collectively deemed as having fallen short of the faux word of god.

These are built on the imperatives of the progressive, “social Gospel”, that has slowly replaced Jesus Christ as the Gospel, with loyalty to a political ideology, a faux Christ, faux gospel and therefore a faux god.

Evidence for this can be found in the uncontrolled emotional outbursts and reactions to the recent election in the United States.

The Right (extremes excluded), through its own issues with pride and fear, is dragged into this downgrade of the Gospel, (and along with it the downgrade of democracy.) Reacting against the temerity of modern liberalism, the Right builds its own ideological fortifications. Justified by the faux gospel taught by liberalism, the Right stands in a state of constant battle, brought about by constant bombardment from the Left.

In its final form, though, this monster, this faux god, emerges, having control over both spheres. Still distinct in identity, both Left and Right worship, and conduct themselves under one faux religion. The difference is that one side, through compromise, jettisoned God, for the power it thought it would gain for having done so; whereas the other side, provoked into pushing back, finds itself slowly becoming that which it once fought against.

‘The warfare of the world has entered even into the house of God, and sad indeed is the heart of the man who has come seeking peace.’ (Machen, 1923*)

In contrast to the Pharisee, we’re confronted by the awkward timidity of the tax collector. He stands far off. He doesn’t even raise his eyes to heaven (Lk.18:13). He knows the job he has to do each day and wears the cost of it. His job isn’t easy and it’s not going to get easy anytime soon.

His only hope is in God. It isn’t in what he does, his nation gives or what others say he is.

Instead of seeking to out-do the Pharisee in self-praise, the tax collector “beats his chest [a sign of humility & shame][ii], saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Jesus finishes the parable, saying,

“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.”

The bible tells us that ‘none is righteous and the fool jettisons God.’ (Rom.3:10/Psalm 14/Psalm 53)

We are encouraged to be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing, of false teachers; masked “believers”.

We’re warned that at the coming of the Son of Man, sheep will be separated from goats (Matthew 25). That the political games of deny, evade and blame that give power, will no longer serve to do so.

Both sheep and goats are strong metaphors. For justifiable reasons, whether right or left, liberal or conservative, Christians are summoned to trust and follow the Good Shepherd, not bleat expletives, or eat everything that comes our way.

As for the elect, mentioned in the first parable, we can say that they are, the broken and contrite. They are ‘those who call upon the name of the LORD…’(Rom.10:13 et.al)[iii]  They are, in the words of Karl Barth,

‘Jesus Christ and those He represents’ (CD. 2/2).

In closing, Jesus speaks:

 ‘For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’ (Lk.18:14)

Whether police officer, anarchist rioter, tax collector, Pharisee, liberal, or conservative, no one lives outside the parameters of these words.[iv]

The praise of God outdoes and outlasts the praise of self. May we follow the heartfelt and humble zeal of the tax collector, over-against, the self-righteous fanaticism[v] of the Pharisee.


Notes:

[i] Green, J.B. 1997 NICNT: Luke Wm.B Eerdmans Publishing, [Green also notes, ‘Luke’s purpose is not to condemn a particular group but to warn against a particular way of comporting oneself in light of the present and impending reign of God.’ (NICNT: Luke, p.646)]

[ii]  (Green, p.649)

[iii]  Romans 10:13, ‘For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ See also: Joel 2:32/Acts 2:21/Psalm 145:18 & my personal favourite Psalm 51:17.

[iv] As Green writes: ‘disciples always are in danger of Pharisaic behaviour’ (NICNT: Luke p.646)

[v] Keenness to issue blame, and bestow on themselves credit.

*Machen, J.G. 1923 Christianity & Liberalism: closing remarks

Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

Bolstered by the apparent reluctance of the Morrison federal government to answer growing concerns over the Victorian government’s secretive ‘belt and road’ deal with the Chinese Communist Party, China’s Communist propaganda machine went full Hanoi Hannah, in an attempt to stir up fear of a potential American withdrawal from its long standing partnership with Australia.

In response to what America thought about the deal, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, a frequent whipping boy of China’s Global Times, told Sky News that he didn’t know the ‘nature of the projects’, but asserted that the United States will do everything it can to protect its communications infrastructure, including ‘simply disconnecting’ if trust in this area was broken.

Pompeo, who is pro-Australia, mentioned that America aims to ‘preserve trust in networks for important information’, and said he hopes that their ‘five eyes (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, U.S.) intelligence partners would do the same.’ He added that the U.S. had absolute confidence in the Australian government’s ability to protect the security of its telecommunications networks and those of its Five Eyes partners.’

The Global Times and some within the Australian MSM took ‘simply disconnect’ and ran with it. The Guardian wrote a melodramatic hit piece, accusing Pompeo of causing ‘damage’, shooting off a brief, pompous rant about Rupert Murdoch, and Sky News’ program, ‘Outsiders’ along with it. The Guardian noted that Pompeo’s comments caused a major stir, while simultaneously downplayed the reach and impact of the Sky News program as a minor player. The ABC ran with the sound bite, but steered clear of the biased analysis vomited by The Guardian.

The equally biased, Australian hating, anti-American Global Times said,

‘Be well prepared to be abandoned at any time. Obviously, what is on the mind of Pompeo and his likes is only US self-interests, and Washington is not going to foot the bill for the lost Australian jobs, Australia is already in a passive position in the face of wavering US policy. Canberra is forced to pick a side between Beijing and the Washington even when it is loath to jeopardise its relationship with China.’

The statement from China’s state owned media further reveals the arrogance which underpins the Chinese Communist Party’s view of themselves and their trade partners. It’s also apparent that Chinese Communist officials either don’t understand, or underestimate Australia’s relationship with the United States. I suspect the former.

Chinese communist chest beating has progressed beyond verbal intimidation tactics. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, China’s first strike against Australia is an attempt to trigger a tariff war. By targeting the Australian economy, the CCP believe that they will bring the Australian people into submission. The CCP believe they have power over Australia, and their smug presumption is encouraged further by the Victorian Labor Party’s deal with the oppressive totalitarian regime.

Regardless of comments from the Victorian Premier saying “he doesn’t agree with the Chinese Communist Party on everything”, don’t miss the blatant contradiction. Daniel Andrews, an avid social justice warrior, who ‘believes all victims’, and marches for the concerns of the oppressed, signed a deal with an oppressive regime.

As noted by outspoken Hong Kong business man, Lai Chee-Ying (Jimmy Lai) on Twitter:

China’s intimidation tactics and its tariff war should have been enough for Daniel Andrews to rip up the ‘belt and road’ initiative deal. It wasn’t. In declining to defend Australia’s national interest, against an oppressor, Daniel Andrews proved that his deal was not about people or jobs. It was about profit; power and political capital for the Victorian Australian Labor Party.

Australia is at the crossroads. Scott Morrison needs to act on Daniel Andrews’ pro-CCP deal. Andrews dodging critical questions about his smug government’s relationship with China is a red flag. As one Twitter user said, in refuting a broad attack on Rupert Murdoch, the LNP and Newscorp, for criticism of the secretive Andrews/CCP deal:

As much as the leftist mainstream media here in Australia, and their inadvertent support for Chinese propagandists, may twist it, Pompeo isn’t the one threatening Australians.

Unlike the Chinese Communist Party, the United States isn’t holding us to ransom when they don’t get what they want, or somebody says something they don’t like.

Victoria’s alignment with China, via Labor’s Daniel Andrews, isn’t just unAustralian, it’s anti-Australian. His state government’s deal with the devil for political and financial gain just made getting Australia out of its contract with Chinese Communist totalitarian oppressors, a hell of a lot harder.

Appeasement of the Chinese Communist party is treason.


First published on Caldron Pool, 27th May 2020.

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

Those who helped stir up fear by recklessly labelling Trump and all Trump voters as Nazis or white supremacists [et.al], aligned themselves, through the decision to do so, with those who are hell-bent on their destruction.

Decisions like this aid in the downgrade of all that is best about the West.

As most of you know I’ve been calling this out since I made my thoughts on this public in August 10, 2016. I’ve had to leave forums because of that and I’ve been unfriended, blocked and ridiculed for challenging the wave of dissonance and hypocrisy, in the hate Trump/ love trumps hate movement:

Why Trump is Not Hitler & Why Evangelical Americans Are Not German Christian Movement

Why Social Justice Warriors Are The Brethren of Iscariot, Not Christ

In an article published on January 1st of this year, called ‘About That Trump Autocracy‘,  the WSJ calls us to not forget the serious lessons of 2017:

‘Democratic institutional norms are worth defending, which is why we called out the Obama IRS for bias against the tea party. We’ll do the same if Mr. Trump exceeds his constitutional power. But the lesson of the past year is that progressives should have more faith in the American system—whether they’re in power or not. Losing an election isn’t the same as losing a democracy.’

I agree with this. We need to celebrate our healthy traditions, not walk blindly with mobs that seek to undermine or destroy them. All the evidence needed to show how different Conservatives, allies to Conservatives and Leftist modern liberals react to losing an election can be seen in the Republican candidate Roy Moore’s recent loss in Alabama.

There were no riots. No over-the-top claims and subsequently expensive investigations into fears of foreign interference.  Conservatives did not organise nationwide marches, fly Antifascist-fascist flags and shout out an insanely ignorant praise of Communism, as part of their protest against losing the election or against [mostly] phantom Nazis. What we did see is a lot of introspection, regrouping and the need to present better candidates in the future.

Losing an election is not the same as losing a democracy. Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for stepping up and saying so. Conservatives and those allied to the current concerns of Conservatives know this because they understand Classical Liberalism. They also see how dangerous the Leftist cult of modern liberalism is to truth, society and healthy tradition.

The lessons of late 2016 right throughout 2017 should not be ignored.  If we are to ask ourselves, would Jesus approve of Trump as President? We must also ask, would the same Jesus approve of the spite and venom, thrown Trump’s way?

The most important lessons of the Trump era may very well come from the decisions and reactions of those who hate Trump. Those who fund, and celebrate, the spite and venom, all while carrying sharpie coloured posters, that preach love trumps hate.

Charles Spurgeon:

‘…some two faced men are hypocrites by nature; slippery as eels, and piebald like Squire Smoothey’s mate. Like a drunken man, they could not walk straight if they were to try…They are born of the breed of Judas. The double shuffle is their favourite game, and honesty their greatest hatred. Honey is on their tongues, but gall in their hearts.’ (The Complete John Ploughman, p.115)


References:

The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal, 2018 About That Trump Autocracy sourced 3rd January 2018, from www.wsj.com

Israelis Know…

September 20, 2017 — Leave a comment
‘The Israelis and the West are mortally threatened by the same enemies. [The difference between the two is that] Israelis know it. We don’t.’
(Colin Welch, cited by O’Sullivan, 2006) [i]

 

 


References:

[i] O’Sullivan, J. 2006. The President, The Pope & The Prime Minister: Three Who Changed The World Regnery Publishing

Full text of Trump’s speech can be found here (as a side note, the word “great” is only used 15 times): politico.com