We regularly awaken to the news of another mass shooting in the USA. Several people have recently been shot for simply arriving at the wrong house. They were mistaken or lost and killed or seriously injured. Add to that the mass shootings in schools, churches, and shopping malls, and it appears that America is highly unsafe.

My main concern in this blog is the people who follow Jesus, claim the Christian faith, are staunch defenders of gun ownership and the Second Amendment, and use the Bible to endorse their point of view. How does this align with the teachings of Jesus?


I want to be transparent about my emotions on this topic because I feel very passionately about it. It is also a cause of enormous frustration to me as the US appears unable or unwilling to act on this significant problem. While I am not anti-firearms per se, they should be strongly regulated. I acknowledge some people love hunting, but I’m not one of them. I struggle with the concept of killing animals and calling it a sport. I understand that sometimes culling is necessary, but there’s a big difference between culling and killing for fun.

I greatly appreciate our government’s decisive action to reduce the number of illegal firearms in Australia. After the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, our new Prime Minister, John Howard, introduced a gun amnesty in which 600,000 firearms were handed in. Gun deaths by homicide and suicide plummeted, and Australia has not seen the likes of Port Arthur since. The same cannot be said for the US.

Back in the USA

There were 647 mass shootings in the US last year. A mass shooting is where four or more people are shot or killed, not including the attacker. With this definition, shootings of under four people are not included.

In 2022, there were only 97 days when a mass shooting was not recorded. So far, in 2023, there have been 185 mass shootings. Last weekend saw eleven mass shootings, but we only heard about the worst one. There are so many that it’s not worth reporting on the smaller ones.

Why’s it Getting Worse?

The trend has risen sharply in recent years. In 2022, there were 44,290 gun-related deaths, a 31% increase on 2019. Nine of the ten deadliest mass shootings in the US occurred after 2007. There are several reasons for this:

Gun ownership is on the rise. And no wonder, there is so little regulation that even a 13-year-old can legally buy a gun. If you don’t believe me, watch this short clip from Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports. US gun laws are lax, irregular, and ineffective. For example, US Federal law does not require that background checks be made on private sales of guns, including at gun shows or online. Regulations on the safe storage of firearms are also lax in some states.

A fractured society. America was already politically divided well before Covid-19. The Pandemic only made things worse.

Rampant Conspiracies. I know this firsthand as I’ve watched some dear friends descend the rabbit hole of ridiculous plots. They believe in a Deep State Cabal that controls the government. They love Trump because this Cabal does not govern him, so they want him back in power. They believe the Port Arthur massacre was a false flag operation, an excuse for the government to strip Australians of firearms so the government can control the masses. Senator Pauline Hansen peddled this rubbish just a few years ago. Many Americans (including Christians) buy into this and fear it is happening in the US.

Toxic masculinity. 98% of shooters are men.

Financial or personal hardship. Undoubtedly, the gap between the haves and have-nots is getting wider. And this resentment can fuel frustration and anger that can lead to violence. But people face these things in Australia and other countries without resorting to shooting others.

The Second Amendment

Christian Nationalism, a perversion of the Bible and the gospel, is sadly rising in the USA. I know several conservative American Christians who love their God and their guns. They view the US Constitution as sacred and defend their beliefs from Scripture.

The Second Amendment states, A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The militia refers to the American people.

The Second Amendment needs to be amended. It was first enacted on 15 December 1791, long before semi-automatic weapons. Muskets were the order of the day. Muskets were inaccurate, had a 30-second reloading time, and couldn’t shoot as far as 100 metres.

Misquoting Scripture

Christian gun activists quote Luke 22:36 & 38 to defend their beliefs. Jesus told his disciples, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied. There you go. Jesus told his followers to buy weapons to defend themselves, so we should own guns. But is that what Jesus is teaching here?

Jesus is speaking to Peter and John just before his arrest. When Judas betrayed Jesus, his followers saw what would happen and said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus said, No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (Luke 22:49-51).

Why did Jesus tell Peter and John to ensure they had weapons if they weren’t supposed to use them? Because those arresting Jesus came fully armed with swords and clubs (Luke 22:52-53), but Jesus didn’t want his disciples to behave that way. Impetuous Peter misses the moment and the message and gets it wrong again.

Jesus wanted to show that they weren’t leading an armed rebellion, so Luke 22:36 is not teaching American Christians that they should own guns. Jesus teaches the opposite by telling Peter, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” That could be a prophetic word for the United States, a nation living by and dying by the gun.

I invite you to pray for the US and the American church. I wonder what will need to happen before the nation and some sections of the church come to their senses and act in unity to stem the shedding of innocent blood. How many more people will need to die before a change is made?

I’m stating up front that I believe in the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet. These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, and they are active and necessary in the church today. Christie, my wife, flows in this gift and has trained many people at Bayside Church to do the same.

I am concerned however, with the misuse and abuse of the prophetic gift. I’ve seen a great deal online this year with prophets declaring the COVID19 pandemic will end quickly and Donald Trump will win a second term as America’s president.

I’m Sorry, I got it Wrong!

I have enormous respect for Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church, who was quick to apologise on Facebook on Sunday. Kris had prophesied a second term for Donald Trump. When Joe Biden was declared to have won the election, Kris apologised. I respect his honesty and humility and posted a comment on his Facebook page saying so. Sadly, it appears Kris got a lot of flak from people for “apologising too soon” and has since deleted his apology. He has said he will reinstate the apology video “when the [vote] count is official.”

Will the other prophets who got it wrong apologise too? Maybe they will, but what we see already is the same old blustering we’ve become accustomed to when a modern-day “prophet” misses the mark (see article).  The execuses include “I was right about Donald Trump, but …

  • it’s not over yet. He will still become president.” As Kat Kerr said, “The rocks are about to move, and Trump will be President no matter what you hear.” We’ll see. And if that’s the case, I’ll apologise!
  • Christians didn’t pray enough for the election.” (Yep, it’s your fault)
  • we are witnessing a diabolical and evil plan unfold to steal the election.” You mean it’s that pesky devil that stopped God getting his way? The one Jesus disarmed on the cross?
  • God has thrown this election into the courts so that corruption will be exposed.”
  • you must understand … China, Big Tech including Fox News, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are all in on this demonic agenda to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump.”

You’ll find a lot of so-called prophets leaving enough wriggle room in their “prophecies,” so they weren’t really wrong after all. And we see so many Christians gullibly go along with it instead of holding the prophets to account.

2020 Prophetic Outlook

On January 4 this year, the annual Prophetic Outlook was Streamed live on Syd Roth’s television show, It’s Supernatural. This year, Syd featured three American prophets, Hank Kunneman, Tracy Cooke and Jeremiah Johnson.

I watched the entire broadcast and found it fascinating that not one of these men foretold anything about the ONE thing that would define 2020 – a global pandemic. All of them gave some rather vague predictions. But, when asked who would win the 2020 election, they all declared Donald Trump would win a second term.

False Prophecies

Not only did these men fail to predict the pandemic, but they also got some other things dead wrong. For example, in February this year at The Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha, Nebraska, Hank Kunneman declared that people would be quarantined from the virus by God’s mercy. God will “give life to this nation and I give mercy. Do not fear this virus says the Spirit of God.” (See Twitter).

Tracey Cooke, along with several other prophets, predicted that COVID19 would be over by Passover (April 8-16, 2020), “the blood of Jesus” would cause the “plague to pass over.” They were all wrong!

On March 16 this year, Jeremiah Johnson said he received a prophetic dream about President Donald Trump and the coronavirus, “I believe around the time of Passover, we’re going to see [the virus] really slow down.” Wrong again!

Here we are nine months later, and it’s obvious all these so-called “prophecies” are inaccurate. The USA has had over 240,000 COVID19 related deaths. At the time of writing, America is recording over 120,000 new cases each day. The third wave of COVID19 isn’t expected to peak in the US until January. We need to hold these prophets to account.

Measure Prophets by Scripture

So, how do these prophets measure up to Scripture? Take a look at Deuteronomy 18:20-22 to find out: “How may we know the word that the Lord has NOT spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does NOT come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has NOT spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). The Hebrew scriptures pronounce the death penalty for false prophets. While the present-day church doesn’t condone stoning, we should certainly call to account prophets whose prophecies turn out to be wrong. But better still, the prophets should come clean quickly, and apologise. Probably the most accurate words spoken in the 2020 Prophetic Outlook were by Hank Kunneman, “Be careful who you believe and what you believe.”

The New Testament Gift of Prophecy

In Acts 11:28, a prophet “named Agabus stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius).” As a result of this prophetic word, “The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul” (v29-30). In other words, the prophetic word put the church on the front foot of gathering aid for believers who would be affected by this crisis. This kind of warning was utterly absent from the 2020 Prophetic Outlook.

Agabus (Acts 11; Cf. Acts 21:9-11) appears to be a rarity in the New Testament. Apart from the general references to prophets and teachers in the church (Acts 13:1; 15:32; Eph. 4:11), little is said in the New Testament about a prophet who foretells the future.

For the most part, the New Testament gift of prophecy is about imparting spiritual gifts and encouraging God’s people. Consider 1 Tim 1:18, “Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them, you may fight the good fight.” Timothy was a pastor leading the church at Ephesus at this time and he needed some encouragement.

Those with the gift of prophecy are to work with the other five-fold ministries in the church (apostle, evangelist, pastor and teacher) to help the church grow in maturity and stability. Paul says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).

Judging Prophecies

New Testament prophecy is different from that in Old Testament times. Old Testament prophets were the mouthpiece of God to the nation of Israel. They would prophesy by the Law of the Lord and would foretell divine judgment in cases of disobedience. This type of prophetic ministry is foreign to the New Testament!

New Testament prophecy produces strength, encouragement, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3):

  • Strength = spiritual advancement (edification)
  • Encouragement = to motivate and inspire
  • Comfort = to calm and console

Christians must test prophecies, and the above verse is a good benchmark. Does this word strengthen, encourage, or comfort the hearers?

Those who possess the gift of prophecy should evaluate what is said by others who exercise this gift (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 John 4:1). And so, a prophecy must be considered (judged, discerned) to determine if it is correct or not. Paul also gives sound advice about prophetic words, “Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test [examine, scrutinise, analyse] them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil” (1 Thess. 5:20-22).

A Safe Process

Jesus warned his followers that many false prophets will arise and lead many astray” (Matthew 24:11). Because of this, Christians must behave in a responsible, safe and mature manner.

If you hear or receive a prophetic word, humbly submit it to those who watch out for your souls (Hebrews 13:17). God has placed you in a local church for many reasons. One reason is to be protected by godly, discerning leadership. My purpose in writing this blog is for God’s people’s spiritual welfare and to call the prophets to account. Let’s hope some others will humbly apologise for getting it wrong.

I want to make it clear that this blog is not a judgment on America. We have plenty of race-related challenges in Australia, so I’m not about to point the finger at another country.

But right now, the world is watching on in horror at the events in the United States. The brutal murder of George Floyd is just the latest in a string of black people killed by police.

Many of them were going about their daily lives (sleeping, driving, walking, at home) while others had a mental health episode and desperately needed professional help.

Many of them became hashtags that were quickly forgotten by society. So, it’s easy to understand the boiling anger of people who feel unsafe.

The Latest Victim

George Floyd had a criminal past. He’d spent time in jail for a 2007 assault and robbery and convicted of charges ranging from theft of a firearm to drugs.

Several years ago, George Floyd moved to Minneapolis for job placement and a Christian discipleship program. He became a committed Christian and wanted to turn his life around.

Then came the fateful day when George Floyd was accused of handing over a fake $20 bill to buy some cigarettes. It’s unlikely that Floyd knew the bill was fake. The store owner said they would no longer call the cops in similar situations: “Police are supposed to protect and serve their communities; instead, what we’ve seen over and over again is the police abusing their power and violating the people’s trust. We realize now that escalating situations to the police almost always does more harm than good, even for something as harmless as a fake bill.”

The video of Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd is horrendous. People standing around are begging Chauvin to get off his neck. Neither Chauvin nor the other officers do anything, and Floyd falls unconscious.

Chauvin’s wife has filed for divorce; and riots and looting grip America. No doubt there is opportunism going on, but this should not blind us to the deep anger and frustration of many Americans, not just African Americans.

Enter the US President

In the midst of this, the US President had a photo opportunity with a Bible in front of St John’s Church; a little like Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned.

Protesters had been cleared from the area using force minutes beforehand.

The cynic in me thinks this was a political ploy to shore up the Evangelical vote that brought him to power four years ago. With a looming election and dismal polling, he needs to do all he can.

The vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with their president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the riots.

Racial Resentment

According to Ryan Burge (Eastern Illinois University), white evangelical Christians have the highest racial resentment score in the US.

How bizarre that followers of Jesus (and readers of the Bible) should be totally out of whack with his teachings.

But this research sheds some light on why the deep racial divisions thrive even in a profoundly religious country.

One hundred and fifty five years have passed since the 13th Amendment ended slavery, but white superiority and its corresponding prejudice and brutality are alive and well.

The Curse of Ham

Justification for slavery was based on a flawed doctrine called “The Curse of Ham” (Genesis chapter 9).

The story occurs in the context of Noah’s drunkenness and a shameful act perpetrated by Noah’s son Ham, who “saw the nakedness of his father.”

A myth was proclaimed by certain preachers that Ham’s punishment was for his skin to be turned black: “Cursed be Canaan [Ham’s son]. The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers” (Genesis 9:25). This erroneous teaching has justified enslaving black races for hundreds of years; they’re inferior, they’re cursed, and the Bible is clear!

In the 1800’s, George Fitzhugh, an American lawyer and social theorist, argued that African slavery was “expressly and continually justified by Holy Writ [and] natural, normal, and necessary.”

Bishop Stephen Elliott of Georgia, suggested that slavery was beneficial for Africans: “For nearly a hundred years the English and American Churches have been striving to civilize and Christianize Western Africa, and with what result? Around Sierra Leone, and in the neighbourhood of Cape Palmas, a few natives have been made Christians, and some nations have been partially civilized; but what a small number in comparison with the thousands, nay, I may say millions, who have learned the way to Heaven and who have been made to know their Saviour through the means of African slavery! At this very moment there are from three to four millions of Africans, educating for earth and for Heaven in the so vilified Southern States…These considerations satisfy me with their condition, and assure me that it is the best relation they can, for the present, be made to occupy.”

Real Christianity

Contrast this with Frederick Douglass, the American social reformer, abolitionist, and Christian. About American Christianity in the 1800s he wrote: “Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity…”

How profound! I wonder if Frederick Douglass were alive today would he say the same about some sectors of Christianity in America? “I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity…”

A Christian that espouses violence against enemy, clears a crowd with tear gas to hold up a Bible, and is more likely than any other group in society to be resentful of non-white races, is far from the faith taught and modelled by Jesus.

There is no doubt that America has a massive problem on its hands.

What is needed is compassionate leadership, a de-politicised Christianity, and all people seeing all people as equal.

God created everyone in his image (James 3:9-10; Acts 17:28), and everyone has the same remote ancestry. That means every human being is our brother or sister with an equal right to worth, dignity, respect, and justice.

Last week, on the morning of the US Elections, I put the following status on my Facebook page: “Well, after almost two years of Primaries and the race for the White House, Election Day has finally arrived for the US. There’s a part of me that would like to see what would happen if Trump got in. Maybe he is the bulldozer America needs right now to get the country back on track. Or maybe he’d be a total disaster that would see a decrease in the scary extreme right wing groups (with all their conspiracy theories) in the US. If he doesn’t get in, these groups will increase and the next candidate could make Donald Trump look like Prince Charming.”

As we know, Donald Trump is now President Elect and will be sworn into office as President of the United States at midday on Friday January 20, 2017. So the “part of me that would like to see what would happen if Trump got in” won’t have to wait long to find out. In the meantime there are protests (and some riots) happening in the US by people who don’t want to find out. I don’t doubt that Trump supporters would be protesting (rioting) if Hillary Clinton won. After all, the polls were rigged and Trump was possibly going to challenge the result if he lost.

There is no doubt that the USA has major problems. The country is in massive debt and it’s the divided, not the united, States when it comes to race – reaping what it’s sown from years of African slavery and oppression. Trump made some pretty concerning statements in the lead up to the election, but it is possible that he was just playing a part in order to gain votes. Even in the last week he seems to have toned down some of his threats. He’ll need to continue along this line to bring his policies more in line with the GOP and to get his policies through Congress.

According to the American Action Forum, if Trump fully enforced current immigration law, as he has suggested, it would cost the federal government from $400 billion to $600 billion, shrink the labour force by 11 million workers, reduce the real GDP by $1.6 trillion and take 20 years to complete (Trump has said he could do it in 18 months). It will ultimately harm the US economy, and of course, the economies of many other countries as well.

His talk on trade, health care, defense and taxation will also need to be carefully examined as to their ultimate effect on the nation and the world.

But maybe he is the right man for the job at this time. He’s promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington of the politicians and lobbyists who he railed against throughout the race. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway said, “The gravy train is about to have its wheels blown off and its engine completely ripped from its bearings because there is just no reason to keep this consultant-lobbyist axis at such a level where people feel like their interests are not being served … Part of the rigged, corrupt system that he was giving voice to so often was the one we heard from voters.” Only time will tell if Trump actually does what he’s promised to do to “Make America Great Again” or maybe he’ll be a total disaster (ref: Conway Trump Swamp).

Of course making America great means different things to different people – and it should certainly mean something different to Christian people. Jesus defined greatness as serving others rather than reflecting the world’s self-interest and ladder climbing (Matthew 20:20-28). One of the saddest things I’ve observed during this election campaign is so much of the US Evangelical & Pentecostal church publicly taking sides with Donald Trump. Three things need to be clarified here:

Firstly, the church must be neutral when it comes to political parties. The church must not align itself with a particular party because the church’s FIRST priority is being obedient to Jesus’ LAST words (Matthew 28:18-20). For pastors to align their churches with one party over another means that the effectiveness of that pastor and church will be decreased in reaching people of other political persuasions. Read the book Unchristian by David Kinnaman for some excellent research on why and how politically aligned churches hinder the Gospel.

Secondly, the church must be consistent. For example, it’s one thing to talk about the President of the United States as God’s appointment because “there is no authority except that which God has established.” But why then did so many US church leaders endorse the war against Iraq? If “there is no authority except that which God has established” did that not include Saddam Hussein? What of the resulting mess from the unilateral offensive against Iraq? Why is there such hypocrisy in the US intervening in some situations and yet not in others (Rwanda, Bosnia, Ukraine and Sudan for example). Where is the church’s outcry against this hypocrisy and lack of justice?

Thirdly, the church must be involved in, and speak out about, issues of ethics and justice – the most important one being the relief of poverty (see Galatians 2:9-10). The church must shine it’s light bright so that people “may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Instead America sees the church in bed with the GOP and Donald Trump and simply can’t reconcile the Christian faith with the racism, misogyny, torture, violence, insults, hypocrisy and lewdness they hear from him.

This is where the contradictions come in. There are some church leaders in the US who have suggested that Donald Trump is like the Persian King Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-4). God anointed a pagan king to encourage the Jewish people to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple, also helping to finance the venture. But God did not call King Cyrus to rule over Israel, which is what these church leaders are “prophesying” about Donald Trump. And in any case, these same leaders also say that Trump is now a born again Christian (so is he a pagan king like Cyrus or a believer in Jesus?). I am not judging Donald Trump or his faith but you can’t have it both ways.

There has been so much Scripture twisting by church leaders who distort the Word of God for their own political agenda (2 Cor. 4:2). Consider the several self-styled “prophets” who suggested that, because it’s the 70th Year of Jubilee (which it isn’t) – the year the “trump” will sound and the year Donald Trump turns 70 – that it stands to reason that Trump is God’s choice to lead America. Others have suggested that Trump is God’s choice because he will hold back the Antichrist and the New World Order. This sort of doctrine, espoused by many in the evangelical and Pentecostal church world, is based on a relatively new understanding of end time events that was made popular by John Nelson Darby, founder of the Exclusive Brethren Cult. The fact is the Antichrist came and went in the first century AD and right now we’re not waiting for the devil’s kingdom – or the great tribulation – we’re waiting for the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ.

I hope and pray that Donald Trump does a good job for the next four or eight years as President of the United States. Whether you like him or not, we all have a God-given duty to pray for him and “all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:2; Romans 13:1-7). I also pray that my colleagues in the American church get a revelation of their priority of leading their churches to reach out with good works and good news to a world that God loves and for whom Jesus died, in order to build a kingdom that is not of this world!

I must confess that I find the American political system somewhat confusing and I often wonder at the Australian media’s preoccupation with it. Maybe it’s just entertainment value especially with some of the outrageous statements made by larger-than-life characters such as Donald Trump (a hybrid of Clive Palmer, Pauline Hanson and Jackie Lambie all held together with a hair piece).

But just last week in the midst of all the pizzazz and passion, promises and pontificating of the Presidential Primaries, came a breath of fresh air when Hillary Clinton talked about her Christian faith on the campaign trail.

According to the New York Times, Mrs. Clinton was speaking at a town-hall-style event in a school gymnasium, where she opened up for questions. Jessica Manning, a high school guidance counselor from Pella, Iowa, told Mrs. Clinton that as a Catholic and a Democrat, she felt conflicted: “I would say I am a Democrat because of my Christian values, but many of my friends would say they are Republicans because of their Christian values. So in these next few months as I am supporting you and defending you to my Republican friends, I am just curious, how you would say your beliefs align with the Ten Commandments and is that something that’s important to you?”

The question gave Mrs. Clinton a rare opportunity to speak at length about her views on Christianity and the Bible. Here is part of her response that I found incredibly inspiring:

“Thank you for asking that. I am a person of faith. I am a Christian. My study of the Bible, my many conversations with people of faith, has led me to believe the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do, and there is so much more in the Bible about taking care of the poor, visiting the prisoners, taking in the stranger, creating opportunities for others to be lifted up, to find faith themselves that I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith. But I do believe that in many areas judgment should be left to God, that being more open, tolerant and respectful is part of what makes me humble about my faith, and I am in awe of people who truly turn the other cheek all the time, who can go that extra mile that we are called to go, who keep finding ways to forgive and move on. Those are really hard things for human beings to do, and there is a lot, certainly in the New Testament, that calls us to do that.

The famous discussion on the Sermon on the Mount should be something that you really pay attention to. What does the Sermon on the Mount really mean? What is it calling us to do and to understand? Because it sure does seem to favour the poor and the merciful and those who in worldly terms don’t have a lot but who have the spirit that God recognises as being at the core of love and salvation.

So there is much to be learned and I have been very disappointed and sorry that Christianity, which has such great love at its core, is sometimes used to condemn so quickly and judge so harshly. When I think part of the message that I certainly have tried to understand and live with is to look at yourself first, to make sure you are being the kind of person you should be in how you are treating others, and I am by no means a perfect person, I will certainly confess that to one and all, but I feel the continuing urge to try to do better, to try to be kinder, to try to be more loving, even with people who are quite harsh.

So, I think you have to keep asking yourself, if you are a person of faith, what is expected of me and am I actually acting the way that I should? And that starts in small ways and goes out in very large ones, but it’s something that I take very seriously. So thank you for asking.”

What an honest and stirring response from Hillary Clinton. The answer was obviously not prepared beforehand and so it seems she spoke from her heart and, as Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

As I write this blog on Wednesday 31st October 2012, Hurricane Sandy (dubbed “Frankenstorm”) has smashed into the American northeast, leaving 16 dead, millions without power and parts of Manhattan underwater.  Conditions remain dangerous as this one-of-a-kind storm moves inland bringing blizzard conditions and massive amounts of snow.

While Sandy is still blowing cold air, predictably we have a “Christian” preacher blowing hot.  Author and chaplain John McTernan has said God’s judgment of gays caused the hurricane.  On this website http://defendproclaimthefaith.org the preacher says the storm must be God’s judgment on gays, and punishing the president Barack Obama for coming out in support of marriage equality.  He also believes “America has been under God’s judgment ever since George Bush Senior signed the Madrid Peace Process to divide the land of Israel in 1991.”  McTernan said: “Obama is 100% behind the Muslim Brotherhood that has vowed to destroy Israel and take Jerusalem.  ‘Both candidates (Obama & Romney) are pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda.’”

His reasoning for this is that it has been 21 years since the “perfect storm” of October 1991.  He says, “21 years breaks down to 7 x 3, which is a significant number with God. Three is perfection as the Godhead is three in one while seven is perfection.”  The online preacher also blamed Hurricane Isaac on homosexuals.  He said gay festival Southern Decadence was to blame, as God was “putting an end to this city and its wickedness.”

It saddens me greatly that every time there is a natural disaster somewhere in the world there’s always at least one self-proclaimed Christian minister who will get up (after the event) and pinpoint the reason for it – and it’s always God’s judgment and it’s usually because of gay people.

I disagree with these judgment preachers for three main reasons:

Firstly, New Testament prophecy isn’t about proclaiming the reason for a disaster after the fact.  In Acts 11:27-30 a prophet by the name of Agabus “predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius).”  Armed with this knowledge the Christians gave financial gifts in order to help those who were affected by this famine.  Please note that there is no inference in this prophecy that this event was God’s judgment on anyone.  In His love, God gave a warning so that His people could be ready to help NOT judge.

Secondly, the Bible teaches that God always removes His people BEFORE He judges the ungodly.  Lot and his family were taken out of Sodom before the judgment fell, Noah and his family was safely in the ark before the flood.  Abraham got it right when he said to God, “Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike.  Far be it from you!  Will not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).  I know many Christians who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.  It is not the judgment of God.

Thirdly, right now is the time of God’s favor not vengeance or judgment (see Luke 4:19; Isaiah 61:2).  There will be a time of judgment in the future, but right now is the time of grace and a message of good news of Salvation to EVERYONE.   People like John McTernan seem to miss this truth, and their unbiblical proclamations end up turning people away from God rather than to Him.  That saddens me greatly.  How about you?