What If Your God Still Judges Nations?


We love ‘what if’ questions.

So, as we continued to explore the major dramatic question, it seemed reasonable to ask this question:


Does your God still judge nations?


It’s a controversial question, as you’ll see. People who share your belief differ greatly on this question.

And as we went forward on this crazy assignment, we had our own controversy within our team to deal with. The villain in my story, Shih Tzu, continued to harass me. But here is a note he sent which eventually opened our eyes to something…



Memo to Chow Non Phat

Comrade Chow,


You are such a desperate, pathetic figure!

And you are a traitor. Because I get to see what you are doing. I saw the note you sent to your Uncle where you quoted that Joseph Nye guy…


But we need a new narrative if we’re to understand power in the 21st century. It’s not just prevailing at war, though war still persists. It’s not whose army wins; it’s also whose story wins. And we have to think much more in terms of narratives and whose narrative is going to be effective.

Joseph Nye, Global power shifts, TED Talk Transcript, October 2010

You loser!

You are only tuning into TED because you are rejecting Chairman Mao, the Great Helmsman who will lead us to victory from beyond the grave…


The enemy will not perish of himself. Neither will the Chinese reactionaries nor the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism in China step down from the stage of history of their own accord.

Mao Tse Tung, “Carry the Revolution Through to the End” December 30, 1948


… and instead, you are embracing Abraham Lincoln …


All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln, The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

But you also play another game. You speculate that, if Christianity is the story we are in, then God the Great Storyteller may be bringing the story of America to its end.

You idiot. The Party does not believe Christianity is the story we are in. But even if it is, you won’t believe what I found. There is a famous Trumpster Christian in America who doesn’t believe that God is judging America.

His name is Ralph Drollinger. And he is the guy who leads the Trump Cabinet Bible Study:


A spiritual awakening is underway at the White House.

Some of the most powerful people in America have been gathering weekly to learn more about God’s Word, and this Trump Cabinet Bible study is making history.

They’ve been called the most evangelical Cabinet in history – men and women who don’t mince words when it comes to where they stand on God and the Bible.

Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries told CBN News, “These are godly individuals that God has risen to a position of prominence in our culture.”

They’re all handpicked by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Bible Studies at the White House: Who’s Inside This Spiritual Awakening?, By Jennifer Wishon, CBN News, July 31, 2017

Drollinger lives in California, and flies into Washington for his classes, which usually take place from Monday to Wednesday. Capitol Ministries is a non-profit organisation, funded by donations. He and Danielle are paid salaries, but say they do not take the full amount.

So how does it feel, on a Wednesday morning, to teach the Bible to some of the world’s most-powerful people?

“One of the emotions is, who am I to be here?” he says. “You know, kind of like Moses. ‘Lord, I can’t even speak…’

“I’m just a jock with some bad knees, and here I am. Only you [God] could have done this – why me? So that goes through my mind a lot, and I think that’s healthy.

“But then there’s the other standpoint – where I sense that I’ve got 21 years of expositing the word of God, specifically to apply to the life of a public servant.

“So in that sense, I feel like I’m the most qualified guy in the world.”

Inside the White House Bible Study group, By Owen Amos, BBC News, Washington DC, 8 April 2018

See that, Chow? He’s not a nobody. And he embraced Trump before the Christians were faced with the binary choice of Trump vs. Hillary. It looks like he is all in for him:


Drollinger describes himself as “Republican, conservative – I don’t think there’s any mystery about that”.

He rails against “environmentalist wackos” (but wants good stewardship of the environment), thinks the welfare state begins with the family, followed by the church (though doesn’t rule out state intervention), and has supported Donald Trump since he was a long-shot in the primaries.

“Of all the Bible studies I’ve written on policy, Trump’s enacting everything I’ve written.”

Drollinger doesn’t necessarily think Trump is “working off of my blueprint”.

“But he’s coming from the same place I am, in terms of Biblical understating of the issues.”

Inside the White House Bible Study group, By Owen Amos, BBC News, Washington DC, 8 April 2018

And look what he wrote about that judgment question:


There are no passages stating that nations are being judged by God during the period of time in which we live. God has judged nations in the past (the Old Covenant) and will do so again in the future (during the future Tribulation Period spoken of in the book of Revelation).

….

Again, God judged nations under the Old Covenant and will do so again at His Second Coming, but there is no NT indication that He judges nations presently during the Church Age.

Is God Judging America Today?, BY RALPH DROLLINGER, Capitol Ministries, FEBRUARY 27, 2018

So, we can relax, Chow. Their God has never judged the Party! Or Chairman Mao! And he didn’t play a role in bringing the Soviet Union to its end. Not at all.

And since Drollinger says God isn’t going to judge America – therefore we must be the ones who take America off the stage! We must act!

But you are so weak — so low energy.

It’s such a sad case you are making. Your chances of persuading the Central Military Commission are zero. Zero, you idiot.

It’s time for us to make our move. It’s time to get in the Satellite Groove…


A war in space would have staggering implications. If conflict were to erupt, say, over China’s territorial claims to the South China Sea or Russia’s aggression in Eastern Europe, America’s military satellites wouldn’t be the only space assets at risk. Fighting would also likely cripple the civilian satellites that control so much of modern life, from cellphone networks to ATMs and personal GPS units. And although such a conflict might start in space, experts say it could easily turn into full-scale war on Earth. “If war does extend into space someday—and I hope it never does—the first response is not going to be in space,” warns General John Hyten, head of the U.S. Air Force Space Command.

….

Today, Beijing and Moscow can no longer be ignored. With their ability to deny, disrupt and degrade America’s hard-to-defend satellites, warns Lieutenant General David Buck, commander of the 14th Air Force, “there isn’t a single aspect of our space architecture that isn’t at risk.”

WHY THE NEXT PEARL HARBOR COULD HAPPEN IN SPACE, BY JONATHAN BRODER, Newsweek, May 4, 2016

As China draws ever closer to launching into space a prototype laser intended to destroy enemy satellites, defense planners in the United States are worried. They do not have, and are not planning to build, a weapon that would give them parity. Nor could the US defend itself against such a space-based laser weapon.

Once upon a time, it was America’s choice to simply assert its domination of space; the choice today is whether or not to contest China’s impending seizure of it.

….

If America’s network of satellites was crippled, the US military would be put out of business.

While the military know their satellites are vulnerable, few realize just how fragile they are – particularly those in geostationary orbit that typically feature antennas made of gossamer-thin wires. Even a trivial amount of energy would put them out of action.

Mothballed Star Wars laser could test China space supremacy, By Angelo Codevilla, Asia Times, April 11, 2017

Those satellites are America’s undefended space.

Literally, you dummy.

So the time to act has come.

And because you refuse to see it, you – and your worthless team — will be cratered, Chowster.

  • Shih Tzu, Chairman Mao’s Most Loyal Disciple



That threat was shocking for our team members. I could sense that some of them began to wonder about saying goodbye.

But we couldn’t give up. Too much is at stake.

Yet, Shih Tzu is right about the satellites. Are you aware of what we are doing?


Just a few weeks ago, on Pearl Harbor Day, China launched its Long March 3B rocket carrying a Chang’e-4 mission to Pink Floyd’s favorite destination — the dark side of the moon. That is a big deal. China’s universal ambition as a rising power is not just to expand its power on Earth, but to also extend its dominance above the highest ground, over the horizon and far into space.

China has successfully developed and tested anti-satellite missiles, knocking out one of its own weather satellites and creating a trail of space debris dangerous to other orbiting vessels. There was great international outcry, but the Chinese’s message was clear — that the PRC maintains the technical prowess, materiel capacity and the national will to take down satellites and systems on which the globalized economy depends.

Space has long been militarized with surveillance, communications and navigational satellites orbiting the earth, but concerns that the orbital sanctuary will be weaponized have resurfaced with China’s recent activities.

The West has long militarized space. China plans to weaponize it. Not good. BY MARKOS KOUNALAKIS, The Miami Herald, DECEMBER 27, 2018

You do underestimate us.

But, that note did rattle my team. And Paula said something which caught my attention…

“What if Shih Tzu has moved our remaining team members to their all is lost moment?”

But I didn’t want to think about that possibility. Instead, I went into my office and laid on the couch and took a nap. Something I have to do all the time, to deal with my insomnia.

I slept and slept for almost three hours. And then Paula woke me with a knock on the door.

“I looked into Drollinger,” she said. “Even though Drollinger says he doesn’t believe God still judges nations, let me show you something he wrote.”

And Paula showed us that Drollinger actually does believe that your God still judges nations…


IN LIGHT OF THESE AMERICAN PARALLELS, TO THINK THAT GOD WILL NOT JUDGE AMERICA IS TO BE IGNORANT OF THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS, OR ELSE BELIEVE THAT IT IS A TOTAL FABRICATION

The Book of Lamentations must inform your thinking as a political leader who names the name of Christ! For the aforementioned four reasons the Book of Lamentations applies to America and should be understood as a huge warning, motivation and catalyst for those who are His chosen in our nation.

The Book of Lamentations As It Applies to America, BY RALPH DROLLINGER, Capitol Ministries, MAY 1, 2014

Beware! It follows that if God is not afraid to judge His own people in the Old Testament, that He is not afraid of judging His people in the New Testament – and the nation(s) wherein they reside. Deuteronomy 32:21-22 states regarding God’s sinning saints….

They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol….

The Book of Lamentations As It Applies to America, BY RALPH DROLLINGER, Capitol Ministries, MAY 1, 2014

And then Paula showed us this, from your Constable guy…


God still rules over all nations, not just His chosen people. He still opposes nations that violate human rights, and He will judge them. The old order may pass away with the turning of the pages of the calendar, but the divine order does not change. God remains the same. God’s methods change, His requirements for His people change, His dispensations (household rules) change, but His underlying attitudes toward people do not change. Cruelty is as hateful to God today as it ever has been.

Notes on Amos, By Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Sonic Light

“We need to send him a thank you note,” said Paula.

But, we are also grateful to your Ralph Drollinger guy. He helped open our eyes to something which helped us to see that Shih Tzu was wrong. We do not have to make such a risky move against America. We can continue to win without fighting against you.

You see, when you look through the lens of story, it helps you to see that your God does judge nations.

And that is disturbing for us. But first, let’s explain how we came to see it.

As you’ll see, McKee’s description of the reasonable sovereignty of the core character fits so well with our personal stories…


Before a story begins, its physical setting, social setting, core value, and core character rest in a state of balance. The protagonist has her daily ups and downs. Who doesn’t? Nonetheless, she holds reasonable sovereignty over her existence. Until something happens.

Storynomics, By Robert McKee and Tom Gerace

But in the story in your Bible, your God is very unique. Look how the story begins with an introduction to the sovereignty of the protagonist …


In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1


And…


Since God made everything out of nothing, it all belongs to him. He has proper authority to rule over all because none of it would exist without him. That includes you and me, by the way. We don’t own ourselves – God does. Let that sink in too. When we claim absolute ownership over anything without the understanding that God holds the ultimate title, it’s very much like stealing. 

Greg Koukl, The Story of Reality

[M]odern atheistic theories of the origin of the universe certainly are not compatible with the statement in Genesis 1:1. The central point of Genesis 1:1 is that God created all things. In fact, the biblical creation account can be viewed as a sort of early polemic against atheism. Genesis 1:1 makes it clear that the world is not eternal; the universe did not create itself. The world had a beginning and it had a Creator.

John Sailhamer, Genesis Unbound

And consider how the following passages express the protagonist’s “reasonable sovereignty” …


The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

Psalm 24:1-2


The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.

Psalm 89:11


Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.

Deuteronomy 10:14


Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

1 Chronicles 29:10-12


“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.

Jeremiah 51:15


Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

Psalm 82:8


He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.

Job 12:23


Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth! He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet. He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. “Selah” God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.

Psalm 47:1-9


This means that, if Christianity is the story we are in, your God is the ruler over all nations – even China!


And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.”

2 Chronicles 20:5-6


For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

Psalm 22:28


And you can see why this passage made our team nervous…


Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;

Daniel 2:20-21 


And like Constable says, the status of your God has not changed…


God still rules over all nations, not just His chosen people. He still opposes nations that violate human rights, and He will judge them. The old order may pass away with the turning of the pages of the calendar, but the divine order does not change. God remains the same. God’s methods change, His requirements for His people change, His dispensations (household rules) change, but His underlying attitudes toward people do not change. Cruelty is as hateful to God today as it ever has been.

Notes on Amos, By Dr. Thomas L. Constable

And here is more Paula showed us…


Remarkably God is guiding history, now as then, although we are largely unaware of it – often even doubt it. There are many erroneous views on these matters: God only works when I am attentive; the distant God set the universe going and then went away to play golf. Or worse, that history is only about me – politicians and other public officials, for example, who take office to add to their CV and not for the good of the country.

For millennia, God has been leading the whole of history generally, and the history of the People of God specifically, to a conclusion that he has designed from the beginning: namely union with Him. The contrary, incorrect, and impersonal view of history is that history is just random occurrences that lead to our current situation.

Divine Providence Still Guides Us, By Bevil Bramwell, The Catholic Thing, March 11, 2018

Every believer can take comfort in the fact that, while sometimes it seems that God does not interfere in human affairs, the world is never out of his control. His sovereignty extends to every aspect of human experience.

Thomas Edward McComiskey, “Amos.”

[A]lthough God is a God of peace, he is also one who “will neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4). He is the God who is continually working (John 5:17). And even though heaven is a place of peace, it is a place also of continual praise to God and service for him.

Thus, God’s peace can be defined as follows: God’s peace means that in God’s being and in his actions he is separate from all confusion and disorder, yet he is continually active in innumerable well-ordered, fully controlled, simultaneous actions.

This definition indicates that God’s peace does not have to do with inactivity, but with ordered and controlled activity. To engage in infinite activity of this sort, of course, requires God’s infinite wisdom, knowledge, and power.

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

Paula Wong came across a series of passages which make clear that one aspect of God being sovereign over all nations… is that he judges the nations.

Here are just a few of those passages…


The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

1 Samuel 2:10


Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.

1 Chronicles 16:33


God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.

Psalm 7:11


Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you!

Psalm 9:19


Draw near, O nations, to hear,
and give attention, O peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
the world, and all that comes from it.
For the Lord is enraged against all the nations,
and furious against all their host;
he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
Their slain shall be cast out,
and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
the mountains shall flow with their blood.
All the host of heaven shall rot away,
and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall fall,
as leaves fall from the vine,
like leaves falling from the fig tree.

Isaiah 34:1-4


Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.

Psalm 67:4


The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!

Psalm 50:6


This is all crazy stuff, isn’t it?

It is.

But, when we began to look at how the Society/Political Genre fits with the unfolding drama in America, we saw this…


Absolute sovereignty demands perfect wisdom and limitless power. We can see God’s perfect wisdom in His insight into the course of history and in His ability to impart that wisdom (insight) to His prophet. We can see God’s limitless power in His setting up and taking down Gentile kingdoms, and in His delegating great worldly power to His prophet. In contrast, national sovereigns (presidents, kings, etc.) have neither perfect wisdom nor limitless power.

Notes on Daniel, By Dr. Thomas L. Constable

So, if Christianity is the story we are in, since your God has “limitless power in His setting up and taking down Gentile kingdoms”, we began to consider the possibility you are in far greater danger than you realize… 


When our great nation was founded during the period from 1775 to 1787, the following statement by Benjamin Franklin was still widely accepted: ‘The longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of the truth that God governs in the affairs of men.’ Unless a marked change takes place in the United States of America, it’s doomed just as sure as was ancient Babylon.

Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee

And there are others who believe your God judges nations. Check out this lineup…


There are many ways that God may seize the attention of a people. He may send prophets, plagues, or perils that cannot be ignored. He may send storms or disasters that force men and women to open their eyes. He may send revival, or he may send judgment and some terrible type of destruction.

Jim Nelson Black, When Nations Die

WHEREAS, Some journalists report that many Americans are willing to excuse or overlook immoral or illegal conduct by unrepentant public officials so long as economic prosperity prevails; and

WHEREAS, Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment (1 Kings 16:30Isaiah 5:18-25);

Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials, Southern Baptist Convention, Salt Lake City, Utah – 1998

Seen from Berlin, the news from Charlottesville is alarming. Seen as a Christian, the images are heartbreaking. The ideology of racial superiority is an evil anti-gospel that leads to eternal death.

The lessons of history are warning enough. The lessons of heresy are even more pressing. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we dare not miss the lessons of history and heresy. God will judge us. This we know.

Letter from Berlin: The Lessons of History and the Heresy of Racial Superiority, By Albert Mohler, August 13, 2017

Old Testament prophets would agree: God is an active judge who put nineteenth-century democratic, liberal nationalism through its paces to find out what it was made of, morally. When it displayed the sins of greed, envy, pride and hatred-thus leading to imperialism, a global contest for markets, an arms race and rival alliances-it was judged in the cataclysm of World War I. This mishpat, the sifting out of the long nineteenth century, was God’s active work, just as in Old Testament times.

Steven J. Keillor, God’s Judgments

IF You READ this book with the sole intention of finding more grist for your political convictions, then you have missed my heart. Yes, I am deeply distressed over the direction our nation is taking, but I am even more concerned about how the church – the people of God—will react to what is taking place. To become angry, vindictive, and filled with self-pity is hardly what God expects of us. We must respond on many different levels, but surely one of the most important is that we as individuals and the church at large must bear a credible witness to the saving grace of God in Christ. God is humbling us. The political solutions that we thought would rescue our nation from its moral and spiritual free fall have had scant effect. We are learning that the problem is deeper than we thought, thus the solution itself must be deeper also. In sum, we must realize that only God can save us from those trends that have already evoked His judgment.

Erwin Lutzer, When a Nation Forgets God

It’s so strange to us that your presidents all speak of God. But, it’s not just “God bless America”…check out Lyndon Johnson boldly speaking of God’s judgement in his inaugural address…


If we fail now, we shall have forgotten in abundance what we learned in hardship: that democracy rests on faith, that freedom asks more than it gives, and that the judgment of God is harshest on those who are most favored.

Inaugural Address of Lyndon Baines Johnson, January 20, 1965

So maybe you’ll want to pay attention to these biblical scholars…  


God’s purpose will be accomplished in spite of the arrogance and defiance of man’s own purposes. He brings down the proud, but exalts the faithful.

The significance of this little story is great. It explains to God’s people how the nations were scattered abroad. Yet the import goes much deeper. The fact that it was Babylon, the beginning of kingdoms under Nimrod from Cush, adds a rather ominous warning: Great nations cannot defy God and long survive.

Allen P. Ross, The Dispersion of the Nations in Genesis 11:1-9

There are from time to time peoples and kingdoms which merit divine judgment. These Yahweh threatens to uproot, to break down, and to destroy.

J.A. Thompson, The Book of Jeremiah

And Paula then showed us these observations from your famous evangelist Billy Graham and his children…


From the beginning of the Bible to the end, God warns that any nation that departs from Him is going to suffer judgment. America has been given more spiritual and moral light than any nation in the history of the world. We have millions of Bibles at our disposal; there are hundreds of thousands of churches. Yet in spite of all this, we continue to be the most crime-ridden, the most divorce-prone, and the most immoral nation on earth. Pornography fills our newsstands, and we spew this filth all over the world.

How long will God withhold His hand of judgment? I tell you it will not be long. Unless we as a nation repent and turn to God, we are going to suffer a judgment such as no nation has ever endured. The Prophet Ezekiel said: “Every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming and shall be brought to pass,’ says the Lord God” (21:7).

This day God is speaking to our nation in a thousand ways urging us to repent of our sins and to turn to Him before it is too late. But as the Prophet Jeremiah said, “They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return.” (Jeremiah 5:3). So there is nothing left but judgment.

America Under Judgment? By Billy Graham, Decision Magazine, November 11, 2012

America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah ever were, and as deserving of the judgment of God

Turning the Tide of History, by Rev. Billy Graham, Decision Magazine, September 30, 2014 

I wonder if the handwriting is now on the wall for America. Has God decided that our idolatry, immorality and godlessness has become such a stench in His nostrils that we as a people will experience a harsh form of divine judgment? Have our iniquities grown so foul and vast that we will reap the bitter harvest of our wickedness and rebellion against Almighty God?

….

We are a people and nation in imminent danger. We mock God, ridicule His Word and His ways, and flaunt gross immorality.

From Franklin Graham: Is the Handwriting on the Wall for America? By Franklin Graham, BillyGraham.org, May 1, 2016

If God would judge His own beloved nation of Judah, why would we think America could escape?

It’s Time To Get Serious, by Anne Graham Lotz, AnneGrahamLotz.com, April 13, 2016

And look at this passage Paula Wong found in the book of Jeremiah…


This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

Jeremiah 18:1-10


Wow.

If Christianity is the story we are in, your God is in the business of both building up and planting nations and tearing them down…


He makes nations great, and he destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and leads them away.
He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a trackless waste.
They grope in the dark without light,
and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.

Job 12:23-25


There are from time to time peoples and kingdoms which merit divine judgment. These Yahweh threatens to uproot, to break down, and to destroy.

J.A. Thompson, The Book of Jeremiah


And the same thing goes for the leaders of nations…


Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings;

Daniel 2:20-21


And do you take these passages seriously?


Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.

Psalm 115:3


Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

Psalm 135:6


So, in light of those passages, look at this …


Robert McKee: The term “ground rules” is inappropriate when talking about any aspect of writing, Inciting Incident included. As I’ve said many times: Art forms have no rules; all art is guided by principles. Rules are rigid. They say, “You must do it this way!” Principles are flexible. They say, “This form underlies the nature of the art and is conventional in practice. However, it may be bent, broken, hidden or turned upside down to serve unconventional uses that may enhance the telling.” Rules are objective applications that require no feeling for the story’s characters or events; their use is justified by their traditional function and their comfortable familiarity to the audience/readers. Principles require a deeply subjective understanding of a technique’s effect forward and backward along the timeline of a story’s events. A principle guides the writer’s use of his materials – motivations, characterizations, coincidences, settings, flash-backs/flash-forwards, set-ups/pay-offs and the like – in terms of their effect on both characters and audience/readers. A rule is microscopic; a principle is macroscopic.

An Interview with Robert McKee, by Debra Eckerling, StoryLink, August 18, 2009

So, if Christianity is the story we are in, and your God is the Great Storyteller, we recognize that he is not bound by “ground rules.”

We need to think macroscopically about the story of America. Your God may be up to something we don’t fully understand.

And what also caught our attention was a form of your God’s judgment, which this Ralph Drollinger guy believes is in play right now…


Consequential wrath is best under-stood through the parallel idea we commonly refer to as sowing and reaping. Galatians 6:7 states, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. To illustrate in one of many ways: If a person or a nation sows debt, it will reap in due time the results of financial crisis. Whenever an individual or corporate group of individuals violate the inviolate precepts of God’s Word, he, she, they or the institution will suffer the respective consequences. Most assuredly America is facing this form of God’s judgment.

Is God Judging America Today?, BY RALPH DROLLINGER, Capitol Ministries, FEBRUARY 27, 2018

So, Paula began to connect dots for us, in order to see the consequences which may be in play for you. First, she noted this…


God has never been more cast out from the Western mind than he is today.

Charles J. Chaput, Strangers in a Strange Land

The Americans really are trying to push God out of the picture. But if Christianity is true, the lesson of Babel should give them pause. As they push God away, not only will they forget who they are at a foundational level, but their ability to unite as a society will become increasingly difficult.

George Weigel, The Cube and the Cathedral

Without God, no basis exists for morality, meaning, the dignity of human beings, knowledge, or truth. Humans cannot reject God and pretend as if everything remains the same without him. In Wojtyla’s words, “[t]he tragedy of atheistic humanism … is that it strips man of his transcendental character, destroying his ultimate significance as a person.” Similarly, Wojtyla adds, citing the Second Vatican Council, “when God is forgotten the creature itself is unintelligible.” Schaeffer agrees, stating “[m]an, made in the image of God, has a purpose—to be in relationship to the God who is there .… Man forgets his purpose, and thus he forgets who he is and what life means.” Without God, therefore, humans self-destruct in nihilism.

Living Truth for a Post-Christian World: The Message of Francis Schaeffer and Karol Wojtyla, by Eduardo J. Echevarria, Acton Institute

And then she began to show us these insights about ‘forgetting God’ and the consequences which come from it…


More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

Since then I have spent well nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” …. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: “Men have forgotten God.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Templeton Address, 1983

The Great Books of the Western World, published in the 1950s, gave the longest space to the theme of “God,” addressed by the most notable Western thinkers of the day. When Mortimer Adler, the editor, was asked why that theme occupied such length when many other notable themes were given less space, he answered without hesitation, “Because more consequences for life and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God than from any other basic question.” 

Ravia Zacharias, Jesus Among Secular Gods

What has happened to America is that we have forgotten God. When faith no longer informs our actions and gives direction to the hopes and dreams of the nation, things fall apart. This is the lesson we must learn. This is also the principal crisis that we must remedy. 

Jim Nelson Black, When Nations Die

Here again, your most famous of presidents weighs in…


By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day Washington, D.C., March 30, 1863

Yet another president weighs in…


Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at a Dallas Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, Dallas, Texas, August 23, 1984

Paula even found this from your very first president…


I am sure there never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.

George Washington to John Armstrong, March 11, 1792

And look at these…


Without God, no basis exists for morality, meaning, the dignity of human beings, knowledge, or truth. Humans cannot reject God and pretend as if everything remains the same without him. In Wojtyla’s words, “[t]he tragedy of atheistic humanism … is that it strips man of his transcendental character, destroying his ultimate significance as a person.” Similarly, Wojtyla adds, citing the Second Vatican Council, “when God is forgotten the creature itself is unintelligible.” Schaeffer agrees, stating “[m]an, made in the image of God, has a purpose—to be in relationship to the God who is there .… Man forgets his purpose, and thus he forgets who he is and what life means.” Without God, therefore, humans self-destruct in nihilism.

Living Truth for a Post-Christian World: The Message of Francis Schaeffer and Karol Wojtyla, by Eduardo J. Echevarria, Acton Institute

We need voices and lives like Jeremiah’s today, calling people to recognize the fact that all ruin and loss and national decay are due to forgetting God, who lifts up or breaks down according to how we relate to Him. Though Jeremiah lived some 2,600 years ago, his voice continues to challenge us today. Christians appear to be ministering in a context very similar to Jeremiah’s.

Notes on Jeremiah, By Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Sonic Light

All are to take note that God’s kindness and severity are not arbitrary or based on some principle hidden from our view; nor indeed are they irrevocable. This warning needs to be heeded. Israel and Judah lost their way by compromising with the idolatries and immoral practices of their age, with their leaders and teachers often caught up in the apostasy. The people lost their confidence in the authority of the word of God and were lulled into a false sense of security. They refused to listen to the prophets that God had sent to warn them of the consequences of their behaviour. The exile was the result, and the temple at the heart of their testimony was destroyed. 

Sadly, it is all too easy to find parallels within the professing Gentile Christian church. Prominent church leaders deny the fundamentals of the gospel -particularly anything supernatural, like the incarnation and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. An air of unreality has led droves of people to vote with their feet and abandon places of worship for the shopping mall and the sports field. Slowly but surely God has been squeezed out of the public square. 

John Lennox, Determined to Believe?

One of the lessons of history is that immorality is not the cause of national decline but a symptom of lost faith. When people lose faith in themselves, their country, and their God, they slide naturally into the bad habits that bring on corruption and decline. Loss of their love for God leads to loss of self-respect, and from there it is only a short step to loss of respect for human life and all the types of degradation and abuse we have witnessed in recent years.

Jim Nelson Black, When Nations Die

Nietzsche has his own famous term to describe the same effect: the death of God. He was not the first to use the term. Hegel among others had used the term seventy-five years before him, but Nietzsche was the most radical in pressing home the consequences in every areaThe death of God was far more than a crisis for theology and theologians. It was an all-encompassing catastrophe that touched the whole of culture and all the values and disciplines that had depended on God-including such important things as truth, reason, knowledge, morality, right, wrong, good, evil, art, philosophy and the humanities. Every one of them must change and be drastically revalued. God was dead, the sun had been destroyed, the cosmic order had been unhinged, the center had collapsed, and everything that had once depended on them was now hollowed out, empty, vacuous and sheer vanity. Nothing would ever be the same again. In losing God the Western world had lost its soul and its center. It had become “weightless” -groundless, centerless, meaningless, insignificant and immaterial, with an “unbearable lightness of being.”

Os Guinness, Impossible People

There it is. It looks like, if Christianity is the story we are in, that pushing your God away puts in play consequences which you may want to pay attention to as your drama in America continues to unfold…


The book of Jeremiah and the book of Lamentations show how God looks at a culture which knew Him and deliberately turned away.

Francis A. Schaeffer, Death in the City

And that’s the same noted Christian who wrote this…


There is only one perspective we can have of the post-Christian world of our generation: an understanding that our culture and our country deserves to be under the wrath of God. It will not do to say the United States is God’s country in some special way. It will not do to cover up the difference between the consensus today and the Christian consensus that prevailed sixty years ago.

Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster

And you may want to consider this warning, from decades ago…


Although there is a strong current of evangelical Christianity in America, as a nation it looks as if America has forgotten God. There never has been a country in all history which has lasted long or prospered greatly after definitely turning against God. God has even caused their downfall by more ungodly nations. This will happen to America. It is not true that it can’t happen to America. It will happen if she keeps going in the same direction as now. May God keep us on our knees in behalf of our blessed country…. America is enjoying the best standard of living of any country in the world, but if she keeps up the pace of ungodliness that is so evident today she will fall.

Letter dated April 24, 1946, by Irvin E. Grubbs, BSac 103:411 (Jul 46)


The Challenge to the Sovereignty of the Chinese Communist Party

We hope you’ll be able to understand why all this disturbs us — in multiple ways.

And one of those has to do with our sovereignty. The sovereignty of the Chinese Communist Party.

You see, we haven’t even been able to land a person on the moon yet, but if Christianity is the story we are in, the Active Protagonist in the story isn’t just the King of the world.

He rules over the entire universe.

But that means America too.

And since your country is pushing your God away, well, maybe you better think about it too.

So… let me take a quick rest stop here to connect some of the dots swirling around in my head concerning your King.

For some reason, all this got me to thinking about a wonderful saying from Confucius…


There cannot be two suns in the sky, nor two emperors on the earth.

Confucius

I love it. It so captures our China Dream!

But, unfortunately, that observation got me to thinking about something interesting in the brilliant Three Warfares report prepared by the now famous Professor Stefan Halper for the US Secretary of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment.

It has to do with our view of sovereignty…


China’s Unique View of Sovereignty

China’s concept of sovereignty is carefully considered in separate contexts because it lies at the root of Chinese nationalism, and, indeed, informs much of the tension on China’s periphery. China’s notion of sovereignty arises from the political ethic of “monism” advanced by the Confucians and Legalists 475-221 BC, which denies that legitimate international order can rest on co-equal sovereigns. China conceives of sovereignty as indivisible: ‘if one had an equal, one was not sovereign’.

Three Warfares

And look at this…


In that past, there were no fixed national boundaries. There was even no concept of “China.” There was, as Yi-Zheng Lian wrote in the New York Times, “a sovereignty system with the emperor’s compound in the middle.” Around that were concentric rings. “The further from the center, the less the center’s control and one’s obligations to it,” Lian noted. The Chinese, in fact, were perhaps the first to develop the idea of a borderless world.

In short, Chinese emperors claimed they had the Mandate of Heaven over tianxia, or “All Under Heaven,” as they believed they were, in the words of Fei-Ling Wang of Georgia Tech, “predestined and compelled to order and rule the entire world that is known and reachable, in reality or in pretension.” As acclaimed journalist Howard French writes in Everything Under the Heavens, “One can argue that there has never been a more universal conception of rule.”

Unfortunately, the current Chinese leader harbors ambitions of imposing the tianxia model on others. As Charles Horner of the Hudson Institute told me, “The Communist Party of China remains committed to ordering the People’s Republic of China as a one-party dictatorship, and that is perforce its starting point for thinking about ordering the world.” In other words, a dictatorial state naturally thinks about the world in dictatorial terms. Tianxia is by its nature a top-down, dictatorial system.

Xi Jinping Thinks China Is World’s Only Sovereign State, by Gordon G. Chang, Gatestone Institute, January 4, 2019

Some theoreticians in Beijing even argue the modern idea of the sovereign nation state is an illegitimate western invention that contradicts the traditional Chinese notion of “all under heaven”, with the Chinese emperor at the centre and power radiating out from the Forbidden City to every corner of the earth.

Race-based ideas of national rejuvenation and manifest destiny have deep and uncomfortable echoes in 20th-century history and earlier European colonial expansion. That is why Communist party translators have opted for the misleading official translation of “nation” rather than “race”.

The dark side of China’s national renewal, By Jamil Anderlini, Financial Times, June 21, 2017

And we are on a quest to conquer…


A Chinese space rover explored the lunar terrain on Friday in the world’s first mission on the surface of the far side of the moon.

Jade Rabbit 2 drove off a ramp the previous night and onto the soft, snow-like surface after a Chinese spacecraft made the first-ever soft landing on the moon’s far side. A photo posted online by China’s space agency showed tracks left by the rover as it headed away from the spacecraft.

“It’s a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation,” Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Lunar Exploration Project, told state broadcaster CCTV, in a twist of U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous comment when he became the first human to walk on the moon in 1969. “This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe.”

China begins first surface exploration of moon’s far side, By KEN MORITSUGU, AP News, January 4, 2019

So, which version of the story we are in does our view of sovereignty ultimately fit best with?

Strange question, I know.

But when you step back from it, you’ll see it doesn’t fit best with our boring nonplot version of the story we are in.

You see, if our story begins and ends in nothingness, then why is it that here in the story we treat the concept of sovereignty with such meaning and significance?

If we all come from nothingness and our story ends there too, we are all equal — all equally meaningless!

So, sovereignty is just a passing fad with no ultimate meaning.

Just like we are… in each of our own personal stories!

It’s shocking, I know, but our view of sovereignty fits best with the Christian version of the story.

Unfortunately, in the Christian version of the story we are in, God is the Active Protagonist, not us.

And what’s worse, the Active Protagonist is a Sovereign King.

And what’s more, the Active Protagonist in the Bible makes some serious claims to sovereignty — claims which fit with our view!

For instance, look at this one…


Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.

….

All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

….

Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

Isaiah 40:15, 17, 21-24


And here is another one which has our attention…


“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.  I have revealed and saved and proclaimed – I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God.  Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”

Isaiah 43:10-13


It sounds a lot like our version of sovereignty — indivisible, with the East and South China Seas only for us.

And you can see from the last sentence in the passage from Isaiah – “When I act, who can reverse it?” — why Shih Tzu is so anxious about the possibility Christianity is true.

He wants to be the star actor in the unfolding drama, and your God could be a force of antagonism to him.

Look again at what this passage says about your God …


He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.

Job 12:23


Our team better be careful then, because if there is any sense among our bosses that we are taking the Christian version of the story seriously enough to consider believing it, well, you can imagine where things could end up for us if someone like Shih Tzu blows a whistle!

I see dead people.

And maybe you will too, because look at the next ‘what if’ question we are wondering about…



The Strange Letter From Nebuchadnezzar

When we were exploring all this, we discovered a strange letter in the book of the prophet Daniel, which was written by Nebuchadnezzar, the famous Babylonian emperor.

And in the letter he tells a bizarre tale in which he is actually changed by your God into an animal-like being – the very kind of being the Party and our story allies in America believe we ultimately are.

The transformation appears to have come as a form of corrective punishment for both his pride and… the resulting failure to acknowledge that God “is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

He is then later freed from that prison by your God.

And at the very end of the letter, look what the most powerful human ruler on the planet wrote …


At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Daniel 4:34-37


If Christianity is the story we are in, this is very disturbing for our team.

It means the Party and President Xi Jinping do not have the control they believe they do…


If there’s one message that is emphasized in the Book of Daniel it’s that ‘the Most High rules in the kingdom of men’ (Dan. 4:32, NKJV).

Warren W. Wiersbe, “Daniel.” The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament: The Prophets

But maybe you should think of this too. It is entirely possible the United States may not survive…


“Perhaps the greatest evidence of Yahweh’s lordship in Daniel’s own experience lay . . . in his unswerving conviction that his God was the one who appointed and deposed the monarchs of human kingdoms. Because these kings and their subjects thought they were called to their office and given its privileges and responsibilities by their own gods, Daniel’s assertion that the God of Israel was in fact the originator and grantor of human authority was a tacit denial of any perceived role for the gods of the nations.”

Eugene H. Merrill, “Daniel as a Contribution to Kingdom Theology.” In Essays in Honor of J. Dwight Pentecost. Edited by Stanley D. Toussaint and Charles H. Dyer.