Category Archives: Opinions

Weaponizing for War

On the day that I finally decided to put the following words into an article, I was informed that three more Christian families in my area here in South Africa had their homes invaded by the Covid-19 virus. I already knew of five other Christian families that had experienced the same attack. By the time of writing, two fathers of these families had died of Covid, with other family members in hospitals on oxygen struggling for their lives. This is the Covid War, something that has never been experienced in the history of mankind.

The Black Death of the fourteenth century sent millions on to eternity, some estimating that as many as one hundred million died in that pandemic. In 1917/18, the influenza flu pandemic likewise took millions worldwide from life as it ravaged in selected regions of the world. But the Covid pandemic is different. It is a worldwide attack against humanity as a whole. Because the population of the world has become so mobile in the last century, the Covid virus has boarded every means of travel to every nation of the world. The Covid virus has immigrated to six of the seven continents of the world. Only Antarctica has been spared … so far.

The reason for the spread of the virus worldwide can be attributed to several favorable factors that have expedited its attack: (1) Some, particularly in the West, seem to believe that their freedoms are being endangered by government Covid restrictions. They thus refuse to make needed lifesaving behavioral changes in order to guard themselves against the virus. There has been so much fake news propagated through the news media that people have simply rebelled against all precautions in reference to the virus. They carry on with their normal lives regardless of the Covid attack.

(2) And then there are some who seem to be aloof to the Covid War itself, refusing to weaponize themselves against the virus by being vaccinated. This is a particular problem in villages throughout the world who have little or no knowledge that the world is in a pandemic war. And then there are those in the West who pose a unique social phenomenon in reference to vaccination. One of the surprising behavioral characteristics in reference to the vaccination program in the West is that many have participated in the first vaccination, but have not showed up for the second. So much has been propagated about the “safety” of the vaccines. As a result, many have simply decided to stay away from vaccination centers. (Because the third wave of the pandemic is now reaching into the Western Cape province of South Africa, the government has, at the date of this writing, set up almost 200 vaccination centers. They plan to vaccinate several thousand people a week if people will just show up at one of the centers.)

(3) In most of the world, the virus is finding its way into societies through ignorance. Much of the Western world has been very educated concerning the nature of the Covid-19 virus, and its mutant variations. However, millions throughout the developing world are ignorant of both the virus and the precautions that must be made in order to guard oneself against infection. These individuals simply carry on in life as if there were no pandemic.

(4) Another problem is the progressively infectious nature of the variants of the original Covid-19. The highly infectious nature of the Covid variants has caught many people off guard. After the first wave of the virus passed through in 2020, people became somewhat complacent in reference to protecting themselves. To a great extent, what caused the second wave is that people, through their nonchalant attitudes, became impervious to the virus. In order to save livelihoods, almost everyone went back to “normal.” But then came the Delta variant, which is more infectious. And now out of Peru has come the Lambda variant that is now into more than thirty countries of the world, including Europe. (At the time of writing, it had not yet reached the continent of Africa.) Some virologist believe that this variant may be more infectious than the Delta variant. We will only know this when the statistics start to come in during the end of this third wave.

What the Covid War has revealed is the character of many people around the world. It has revealed that some cultures of people simply ignore the virus as it makes its way through a society. This attitude is prevalent in cultures that have a deep seated fatalistic world view.

The vaccinations against the virus have revealed that some people are somewhat selfish in that they think only of themselves. Through social media, they have heard so many fake news stories about the vaccinations that they have convinced themselves that the vaccines that are now being administered throughout the world are dangerous. In reference to the vaccinations, some people have simply become quite hypocritical in this matter. For example, there are those mothers who march their children off to the doctor to be vaccinated against measles, smallpox, polio, etc., and yet, the same mothers will not vaccinate themselves against Covid-19.

And then their are those church leaders who seem to be more concerned about reaping a contribution from an assembly of people, than limiting assemblies to a few in order to protect the people. When the South African health department limited most public assemblies to fifty people, banned after-funeral meetings, political meetings, and asked churches to follow suit, a delegation of South African religious leaders went to the government in order to protest the banning of their large assemblies. For them, if there were only small assemblies, then there would be a drastic cut in pay checks.

Of course the religious leaders pled with the government saying that the people needed their spiritual care during these trying times. But such was only a ploy because the religious leaders seemed to be more concerned about their Sunday morning pay checks and less concerned for the safety of the people in their small unventilated church buildings.

But as the police did in shutting down one religious assembly during the 2020 lockdown, so recently they walked into a shopping mall in a Covid hot spot in Cape Town. They temporarily shut down the mall, and ushered all the people outside into the parking lot. They then allowed to return inside only 250 people at a time of those who were wearing masks. Only 250 shoppers enjoyed the rest of their shopping, while the others had to wait their turn to enter the center. The maskless and shopping mob had violated a Presidential mandate, and thus, they revealed their arrogance, or rebellion, by not following the advice of the national health department.

In reference to vaccinations, we do understand that there is no vaccination that does not have side effects. Also, no vaccine is one hundred percent affective. However, the anti-vaccinators need to remember that vaccination is for a purpose that is far beyond the individual. The Delta variant is so infectious that it attacks families through individual members of the families. As stated before, I know of several Christian families in our area wherein many members of the family were infected initially by one family member. Some members of these families have died, and others will die before humanity wins this war, or our Lord says, “Enough is enough,” and then comes to destroy this infected and imperfect world wherein we have been cursed to dwell.

As Christians, it is our purpose to be the “salt of the earth.” I wonder if we could take this thought beyond spiritual matters. I personally seek to protect myself through vaccination, wearing of a mask in public, and social distancing in order to protect my wife. If one’s apprehensions about being vaccinated is simply personal, then that person is simply selfish. The Delta variant is so infectious that if one family member is infected, it is most likely that the entire family will likewise become infected.

Most of the population of the world does not live in mansions as the West. A normal house in the rest of the world can be the size of a master bedroom in a Western house. In this “master bedroom house,” there can be living five or more people. Try social distancing in such an environment. For this reason, the Covid War is ravaging through congested cities around the world. In Africa about sixty percent of the people live in congested cities. You can only imagine what is happening on this continent, and is yet to come in the future in reference to the Covid War. This war is far from over.

In every way of life, Christians are to allow God to use them to heal society, both spiritually and physically. We seem to do well with the spiritual part through the teaching of the gospel. However, in my experience, there are many Christians that I know who are failing in reference to being vaccinated in order to protect their own families, and society in general. By refusing to be vaccinated, they are not only endangering themselves, but their entire families. They are allowing themselves to be the vehicle through which the Covid virus can make its way into whole families, and society in general. Those religious leaders who do not follow the advice of their health departments, are aiding and abetting the enemy.

Vaccinations have been with us for over a century. They will continue to protect us into the future against the Covid attack. God’s laws for cleanliness for Israel were not just good advice for Israel. The reason for sanitizing themselves had deeper purposes than the ceremonial socializing of the Israelites. Wearing a mask in public places, though the commonly used surgical mask is not one hundred percent effective, will also probably be a new normal for the future in public places. Social distancing, as unnatural as it may be, will also be with us in our social contact with one another and assemblies. But for this time in the heat of the battle, humanity will greatly be protected against the Covid virus and its variants through vaccinations and the recovery of Covid infected individuals who are somewhat immune to the virus. However, virologists say that the Covid virus is here for the long run. The Covid War will not end soon.


Thank You!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP
I wanted to send out a note of “thank you” to everyone who has worked with me throughout the years in advertising the blogs. The blogs are now read by faithful Bible students in about 100 countries of the world. This would not have been possible if it were not for those of you who have told your friends about the blogs. Therefore, I want to thank each of you for continuing with me as I publish the initial writings of what eventually comes out as a book.

Most of my readers are in Europe and America. The reason for this is that most of the rest of the world does not have the privilege of being online all the time. Most of those in the developing world are limited in their online time, either at home, or at a computer cafe. Therefore, those who are in this situation, but read the blogs, need to have a special thanks for their loyalty.

I am presently working on three books. The first is at the proofreaders and will be published shortly. The other two will start appearing in segments in the next week or so. I do not apologize for the in-depth nature of what I write. In the theological world today – and I do not exaggerate – most of the religious books that are published are somewhat shallow in reference to exegetical studies in the text of the Bible. Therefore, I promise you that to the best of my studious ability, I will not seek to be shallow. That is not my purpose as a Bible student. I want to venture into God’s word to the extent that He inspired His word to be written.

I always remember a letter that I once received from one of my students over twenty years ago. I had written an editorial in a paper that we published for the International Bible Institute when it was active. In the editorial I quoted a couple students who said that the courses were very difficult. After the paper was sent out, another student wrote back and said, “What is all this complaining I hear about the courses being difficult? I READ THE TEXTBOOK TWELVE TIMES, and then I start studying through the Study Manual.”

My understanding of why the Holy Spirit took over 1,500 years to “write” the Bible was to make me feel good about studying every detail of what He had written. It is my goal to also take you there. The more we understand His word of inspiration, the better we feel.

Defending A Divergent

There are few things more difficult to accomplish in the realm of religious discussions than to defend Christianity with someone who has defined Christianity as something that would be viewed through the Crusades, or some divergent cult. This is particularly true in reference to the non-Christian world that has a concept of Christianity that is so different from what we read in our New Testaments.

Nevertheless, this is the challenge every true Christian has in a world of the international news media whose definition of Christianity is often based on the behavior of the “Christian” religious establishment of our times. There is Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and then they just throw in “Christianity.” The news media knows no difference. One religion is just as good as another. The international news media is as blind as the world of non-Christian religions in their view of true Christianity. And sadly, many of those who would “classify” themselves as “Christian,” are just as guilty in their dysfunctional understanding of true Christianity because of their lack of knowledge of what should define their faith (See Rm 10:17).

But this challenge also faced the early Christians. The government figure, Felix, considered the Christians of his day to simply be a “sect” of Nazarenes who were divergent from mainline Judaism (At 24:5). When the apostle Paul finally extracted himself from the religious establishment of the Jews, he looked back and called the religious canonization of rules and traditions in which he once lived to be the “Jews’ religion,” or “Judaism” (Gl 1:13).

The international news media today has a difficult time in understanding true Christianity.   When divergent becomes the norm by which the “Christian” religious establishment is defined, then simple Christians are thrown into a difficult predicament. In their efforts to explain themselves, they are more often talking past those to whom they would explain themselves.

I have always wanted to write a letter to the government of China. That I will eventually do, for one of the difficult philosophical predicaments that “divergent Christianity” has produced in this world is a twisted understanding of Christianity. What has been presented to the world of politics, unfortunately, is simply not who Christians are. Subsequently, the government policies of some nations of the world are often antagonistic against a “divergent Christianity” that finds no definition in the Bible. I would defend before such governments that the establishment of “divergent Christianity” in the West does not explain who true Christians are.

Here’s a suggestion for every Christian: What we should do, as those who are seeking to emulate in our lives the true faith that we discover in the word of God, is preach and live the person of Jesus Christ.   In the presence of those who are a part of “divergent Christianity,” we will defend Jesus, and live according to His gospel.

To most people of the world, “Christianity” is simply viewed as just another religion among the assortment of choices the religious world offers. But such cannot be said of Jesus Christ the Son of God. If we focus on Jesus, and not “Christianity,” then the world must deal with the origin of our faith. Instead of being antagonists against an established religion, they would have to deal with Jesus Christ. If we could somewhat rephrase a statement of a particular religion, we would make some changes by saying, “There is one God, and Jesus is not only His prophet, but also the only begotten Son of God.” This belief is the beginning of the separation of true Christianity from the beliefs of all other faiths of the world.

Russia

If I were a Russian today, I would have somewhat about which to boast. I know this is difficult for the Western liberal to understand. Being overwhelmed with all the bad things that Russia seemingly has done, or does, we must not forget that there is nothing that Russia has done on the international scene today that has not been done by Western countries throughout their history, including interference in the leadership of other nations. (We have not forgotten the meddling the West played in Latin American countries during the 1960s and 1970s.) We seem to forget that spies and covert operations and all the rest of the 007 influences is a part of what world countries do among themselves.   Therefore, no one has a right to judge another in these areas.

Unfortunately for Russia, their meanderings here and there have come at a time in history when the West is becoming increasingly liberal, both in culture and faith.   Combine this liberal philosophy of morals with the demise of religiosity in the West, and we have the perfect storm for a confrontation between the liberal/nonreligious West to be in conflict with an increasing growth in religiosity and conservatism of Russia.

Every nation would be envious of Putin as a leader. He is conservative. He is direct. He is subtle. He is religious. He is a no-nonsense leader who presently has a phenomenal approval rating of the people. Tell me of another president who has as high an approval rating as Putin who has been president of a country as long as he has? Nevertheless, as a leader of a Russian people who are becoming more conservative and religious, Putin becomes the ideal scapegoat for the Western liberal, both in morals and religion.

Since social and religious liberals of the West did not recently get their way in their movement of the Western nation of America to the far right, they have concluded that here must be some demon who was the vermin that stopped them from their efforts of the moral degradation of Western civilization. But we are not deceived. This is not a political matter of international election meddling.   It was and is a confrontation between a Russia that is becoming increasing conservative and religious, and a Western culture of people who are becoming increasingly liberal and nonreligious. I will have to side with the Russians on this one.