Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism, from C. S. Lewis’s Christian Reflections

The undermining of the old orthodoxy has been mainly the work of divines engaged in New Testament criticism. The authority of experts in that discipline is the authority in deference to whom we are asked to give up a huge mass of beliefs shared in common by the early Church, the Fathers, the Middle Ages, the Reformers, and even the nineteenth century. I want to explain what it is that makes me skeptical about this authority. Ignorantly skeptical, as you will all too easily see. But the skepticism is the father of the ignorance. It is hard to persevere in a close study when you can work up no prima facie confidence in your teachers.

First then, whatever these men may be as Biblical critics, I distrust them as critics. They seem to me to lack literary judgment, to be imperceptive about the very quality of the texts they are reading. It sounds a strange charge to bring against men who have been steeped in those books all their lives. But that might be just the trouble. A man who has spent his youth and manhood in the minute study of New Testament texts and of other people’s studies of them, whose literary experiences of those texts lacks any standard of comparison such as can only grow from a wide and deep and genial experience of literature in general, is, I should think, very likely to miss the obvious things about them. If he tells me that something in a Gospel is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the flavour; not how many years he has spent on that Gospel. But I had better turn to examples.

In what is already a very old commentary I read that the Fourth Gospel is regarded by one school as a ‘spiritual romance’, ‘a poem not a history’, to be judged by the same canons as Nathan’s parable, the Book of Jonah, Paradise Lost ‘or, more exactly, Pilgrim’s Progress’. After a man has said that, why need one attend to anything else he says about any book in the world? Note that he regards Pilgrim’s Progress, a story which professes to be a dream and flaunts its allegorical nature by every single proper name it uses, as the closest parallel. Note that the whole epic panoply of Milton goes for nothing. But even if we leave out the grosser absurdities and keep to Jonah, the insensitiveness is crass–Jonah, a tale with as few even pretended historical attachments as Job, grotesque in incident and surely not without a distinct, though of course edifying, vein of typically Jewish humour. Then turn to John. Read the dialogues: that with the Samaritan woman at the well, or that which follows the healing of the man born blind. Look at its pictures: Jesus (if I may use the word) doodling with his finger in the dust; the unforgettable en de nux (xiii, 30) [1]. I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage–though it may no doubt contain errors–pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn’t see this has simply not learned to read.

Here, from Bultmann’s Theology of the New Testament (p. 30) is another: ‘Observe in what unassimilated fashion the prediction of the parousia [2] (Mk. viii, 38) follows upon the prediction of the passion (viii, 31).’ What can he mean? Unassimilated? Bultmann therefore wants to believe–and no doubt does believe–that when they occur in the same passage some discrepancy or ‘unassimilation’ must be perceptible between them. But surely he foists this on the text with shocking lack of perception. Peter has confessed Jesus to be the Anointed One. That flash of glory is hardly over before the dark prophecy begins–that the Son of Man must suffer and die. Then this contrast is repeated. Peter, raised for a moment by his confession, makes his false step; the crushing rebuff ‘Get thee behind me’ follows. Then, across that momentary ruin which Peter (as so often) becomes, the voice of the Master, turning to the crowd, generalizes the moral. All His followers must take up the cross. This avoidance of suffering, this self-martyrdom. You must stand to your tackling. If you disown Christ here and now, He will disown you later. Logically, emotionally, imaginatively, the sequence is perfect. Only a Bultmann could think otherwise.

Finally, from the same Bultmann: ‘The personality of Jesus has no importance for the kerygma [3] either of Paul or of John … Indeed the tradition of the earliest Church did not even unconsciously preserve a picture of his personality. Every attempt to reconstruct one remains a play of subjective imagination.’

So there is no personality of Our Lord presented in the New Testament. Through what strange process has this learned German gone in order to make himself blind to what all men except him see? What evidence have we that he would recognize a personality if it were there? For it is Bultmann contra mundum [4]. If anything whatever is common to all believers, and even to many unbelievers, it is the sense that in the Gospels they have met a personality. There are characters whom we know to be historical but of whom we do not feel that we have any personal knowledge—knowledge by acquaintance; such are Alexander, Attila, or William of Orange. There are others who make no claim to historical reality but whom, none the less, we know as we know real people: Falstaff, Uncle Toby, Mr. Pickwick. But there are only three characters who, claiming the first sort of reality, also actually have the second. And surely everyone knows who they are: Plato’s Socrates, the Jesus of the Gospel, and Boswell’s Johnson. Our acquaintance with them shows itself in a dozen ways. When we look into the Apocryphal gospels, we find ourselves constantly saying of this or that logion [5], ‘No. It’s a fine saying, but not His. That wasn’t how He talked.’—just as we do with all pseudo-Johnsoniana.

So strong is the flavour of the personality that, even while He says things which, on any other assumption than that of Divine Incarnation in the fullest sense, would be appallingly arrogant, yet we–and many unbelievers too–accept Him at His own valuation when He says ‘I am meek and lowly of heart.’ Even those passages in the New Testament which superficially, and in intention, are most concerned with the Divine, and least with the Human Nature, bring us face to face with the personality. I am not sure that they don’t do this more than any others. ‘We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of graciousness and reality … which we have looked upon and our hands have handled.’ What is gained by trying to evade or dissipate this shattering immediacy of personal contact by talk about ‘that significance which the early church found that it was impelled to attribute to the Master’? This hits us in the face. Not what they were impelled to do but what impelled them. I begin to fear that by personality Dr. Bultmann means what I should call impersonality: what you’d get in a D.N.B. [6] article or an obituary or a Victorian Life and Letters of Yeshua Bar-Yosef [7] in three volumes with photographs.

That then is my first bleat. These men ask me to believe they can read between the lines of the old texts; the evidence is their obvious inability to read (in any sense worth discussing) the lines themselves. They claim to see fern-seed and can’t see an elephant ten yards away in broad daylight.

Now for my second bleat. All theology of the liberal type involves at some point—and often involves throughout—the claim that the real behaviour and purpose and teaching of Christ came very rapidly to be misunderstood and misrepresented by His followers, and has been recovered or exhumed only by modern scholars. Now long before I became interested in theology I had met this kind of theory elsewhere. The tradition of Jowett still dominated the study of ancient philosophy when I was reading Greats. One was brought up to believe that the real meaning of Plato had been misunderstood by Aristotle and wildly travestied by the neo-Platonists, only to be recovered by the moderns. When recovered, it turned out (most fortunately) that Plato had really all along been an English Hegelian, rather like T.H. Green. I have met it a third time in my own professional studies; every week a clever undergraduate, every quarter a dull American don, discovers for the first time what some Shakespearian play really meant. But in this third instance I am a privileged person. The revolution in thought and sentiment which has occurred in my own lifetime is so great that I belong, mentally, to Shakespeare’s world far more than to that of these recent interpreters. I see—I feel it in my bones—I know beyond argument—that most of their interpretations are merely impossible; they involve a way of looking at things which was not known in 1914, much less in the Jacobean period. This daily confirms my suspicion of the same approach to Plato or the New Testament. The idea that any man or writer should be opaque to those who lived in the same culture, spoke the same language, shared the same habitual imagery and unconscious assumptions, and yet be transparent to those who have none of these advantages, is in my opinion preposterous. There is an a priori improbability in it which almost no argument and no evidence could counterbalance.

Thirdly, I find in these theologians a constant use of the principle that the miraculous does not occur. Thus any statement put into Our Lord’s mouth by the old texts, which, if He had really made it, would constitute a prediction of the future, is taken to have been put in after the occurrence which it seemed to predict. This is very sensible if we start by knowing that inspired prediction can never occur. Similarly in general, the rejection as unhistorical of all passages which narrate miracles is sensible if we start by knowing that the miraculous in general never occurs. Now I do not here want to discuss whether the miraculous is possible. I only want to point out that this is a purely philosophical question. Scholars, as scholars, speak on it with no more authority than anyone else. The canon ‘If miraculous, unhistorical’ is one they bring to their study of the texts, not one they have learned from it. If one is speaking of authority, the united authority of all the Biblical critics in the world counts here for nothing. On this they speak simply as men; men obviously influenced by, and perhaps insufficiently critical of, the spirit of the age they grew up in.

But my fourth bleat–which is also my loudest and longest—is still to come.

All this sort of criticism attempts to reconstruct the genesis of the texts it studies; what vanished documents each author used, when and where he wrote, with what purposes, under what influences—the whole Sitz im Leben [8] of the text. This is done with immense erudition and great ingenuity. And at first sight it is very convincing. I think I should be convinced by it myself, but that I carry about with me a charm—the herb moly [9]—against it. You must excuse me if I now speak for a while of myself. The value of what I say depends on its being first-hand evidence.

What forearms me against all these reconstructions is the fact that I have seen it all from the other end of the stick. I have watched reviewers reconstructing the genesis of my own books in just this way.

Until you come to be reviewed yourself you would never believe how little of an ordinary review is taken up by criticism in the strict sense: by evaluation, praise, or censure, of the book actually written. Most of it is taken up with imaginary histories of the process by which you wrote it. The very terms which the reviewers use in praising or dispraising often imply such a history. They praise a passage as ‘spontaneous’ and censure another as ‘laboured’; that is, they think they know that you wrote the one currente calamo [10] and the other invita Minerva [11].

What the value of such reconstructions is I learned very early in my career. I had published a book of essays; and the one into which I had put most of my heart, the one I really cared about and in which I discharged a keen enthusiasm, was on William Morris. And in almost the first review I was told that this was obviously the only one in the book in which I had felt no interest. Now don’t mistake. The critic was, I now believe, quite right in thinking it the worst essay in the book; at least everyone agreed with him. Where he was totally wrong was in his imaginary history of the causes which produced its dullness.

Well, this made me prick up my ears. Since then I have watched with some care similar imaginary histories both of my own books and of books by friends whose real history I knew. Reviewers, both friendly and hostile, will dash you off such histories with great confidence; will tell you what public events had directed the author’s mind to this or that, what other authors had influenced him, what his over-all intention was, what sort of audience he principally addressed, why—and when—he did everything.

Now I must first record my impression; then distinct from it, what I can say with certainty. My impression is that in the whole of my experience not one of these guesses has on any one point been right; that the method shows a record of 100 per cent failure. You would expect that by mere chance they would hit as often as they miss. But it is my impression that they do no such thing. I can’t remember a single hit. But as I have not kept a careful record my mere impression may be mistaken. What I think I can say with certainty is that they are usually wrong.

And yet they would often sound—if you didn’t know the truth—extremely convincing. Many reviewers said that the Ring in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was suggested by the atom bomb. What could be more plausible? Here is a book published when everyone was preoccupied by that sinister invention; here in the centre of the book is a weapon which it seems madness to throw away yet fatal to use. Yet in fact, the chronology of the book’s composition makes the theory impossible. Only the other week a reviewer said that a fairy tale by my friend roger Lancelyn Green was influenced by fairy tales of mine. Nothing could be more probable. I have an imaginary country with a beneficent lion in it: Green, one with a beneficent tiger. Green and I can be proved to read one another’s works; to be indeed in various ways closely associated. The case for an affiliation is far stronger than many which we accept as conclusive when dead authors are concerned. But it’s all untrue nevertheless. I know the genesis of that Tiger and that Lion and they are quite independent.[12]

Now this surely ought to give us pause. The reconstruction of the history of a text, when the text is ancient, sounds very convincing. But one is after all sailing by dead reckoning; the results cannot be checked by fact. In order to decide how reliable the method is, what more could you ask than to be shown an instance where the same method is at work and we have the facts to check it by? Well, that is what I have done. And we find, that when this check is available, the results are either always, or else nearly always, wrong. The ‘assured results of modern scholarship’, as to the way in which an old book was written, are ‘assured’, we may conclude, only because the men who knew the facts are dead and can’t blow the gaff. The huge essays in my own field which reconstruct the history of Piers Plowman or The Faerie Queene are most unlikely to be anything but sheer illusions.

Am I then venturing to compare every whipster who writes a review in a modern weekly with these great scholars who have devoted their whole lives to the detailed study of the New Testament? If the former are always wrong, does it follow that the latter must fare no better?

There are two answers to this. First, while I respect the learning of the great Biblical critics, I am not yet persuaded that their judgment is equally to be respected. But, secondly, consider with what overwhelming advantages the mere reviewers start. They reconstruct the history of a book written by someone whose mother-tongue is the same as theirs; a contemporary, educated like themselves, living in something like the same mental and spiritual climate. They have everything to help them. The superiority in judgment and diligence which you are going to attribute to the Biblical critics will have to be almost superhuman if it is to offset the fact that they are everywhere faced with customs, language, race-characteristics, a religious background, habits of composition, and basic assumptions, which no scholarship will ever enable any man now alive to know as surely and intimately and instinctively as the reviewer can know mine. And for the very same reason, remember, the Biblical critics, whatever reconstructions they devise, can never be crudely proved wrong. St. Mark is dead. When they meet St. Peter there will be more pressing matters to discuss.

You may say, of course, that such reviewers are foolish in so far as they guess how a sort of book they never wrote themselves was written by another. They assume that you wrote a story as they would try to write a story; the fact that they would so try, explains why they have not produced any stories. But are the Biblical critics in this way much better off? Dr. Bultmann never wrote a gospel. Has the experience of his learned, specialized, and no doubt meritorious, life really given him any power of seeing into the minds of those long dead men who were caught up into what, on any view, must be regarded a the central religious experience of the whole human race? It is no incivility to say—he himself would admit—that he must in every way be divided from the evangelists by far more formidable barriers—spiritual as well as intellectual–than any that could exist between my reviewers and me.


  1. 1. En de nux: Gr., “and it was night” (John 13:30).
    2. Parousia: Gr., “arrival,” meaning the Second Advent of Christ.
    3. Kerygma: Gr., “proclamation,” meaning the proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ.
    4. Contra mundum: Lat., “against the world.”
    5. Logion: Gr., “saying.”
    6. D.N.B.: Dictionary of National Biography.
    7. Yeshua Bar-Yosef: Heb., “Jesus son of Joseph.”
    8. Sitz-im-Leben: Ger., “situation in life.”
    9. Moly: herb Odysseus received from Hermes to protect him from the enchantments of the sorceress, Circe.
    10. Currente calamo: Lat., “with a running pen,” “fluently,” or “offhandedly.”
    11. Invita Minerva: Lat., “Minerva being unwilling,” “artistic or literary inspiration being lacking.”
    12. Walter Hooper observes: “Lewis corrected this error in the following letter, ‘Books for Children’, in The Times Literary Supplement (28 November 1958), p. 689: ‘Sir,–A review of Mr. R.L. Green’s Land of the Lord High Tiger in your issue of 21 November spoke of myself (in passing) with so much kindness that I am reluctant to cavil at anything it contained: but in justice to Mr. Green I must. The critic suggested that Mr. Green’s Tiger owed something to my fairy-tales. In reality this is not so and is chronologically impossible. The Tiger was an old inhabitant, and his land a familiar haunt, of Mr. Green’s imagination long before I began writing. There is a moral here for all of us as critics. I wonder how much Quellenforschung in our studies of older literature seems solid only because those who knew the facts are dead and cannot contradict it?’” (editor’s note, C.S. Lewis, Christian Reflections, p. 169).


A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New

By G. K. Beale

© Very Rev. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Beale_NewTestament BiblicalTheologyShall I say once again that Beale and I were students together at Dallas Theological Seminary, in the same class, 1972-76? There is one great difference: He has gone on to become a super-scholar, while I pastored churches for 36 years and have a much smaller niche in academia. I use his books in my studies, and he probably does not recall me. In each case, we are to be found faithful to the Lord. We both have worked our way out of dispensationalism decades ago. I suspect he is amil while I’m postmill; he can’t be right about everything!

I’ve always found Beale’s works to be top scholarship, conservative, but also with devotion to Christ. One without the other is not much use. I’m gradually collecting all his writings. Published in 2011.

If you want a work that sees the Old Testament as the bud and the New Testament as the blossomed flower—not replacement theology but fulfillment theology–this is it. Part 7 in particular appeals to me: “The Story of the Church as End-Time Israel in the Inaugurated New Creation.” Quite a mouthful, but given Beale’s and my dispensational background, a very necessary section. I commend this volume to the world.

G. K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation, 1999 (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

Beale_BookRevelationAnother Beale tome. The man does not sleep; he must be like Mr. Spock who only slept once a month for 24 hours. Good grief and praise the Lord for such a productive servant.

Beale leaves no stone unturned in his research for this 1,200 page tome. My only complaint is that he “only” averages about five footnotes per page!

It seems to me that he leaves no problem unanswered, no text not exegeted, and brings to bear every scholar who has ever commented on it, both ancient and modern. Moreover, he is exceptional in connecting with the Old Testament. This is truly a remarkable conservative work. His remarkable interpretation of Rev. 19 and 20 is worth the price of this moderately expensive work. No serious library should be without it, whether formal library, scholar’s personal library, or pastor. It appears from a quick survey that Beale is amil.

He has indexes of modern authors and of scripture. He has no quotes from Lewis Sperry Chafer (found of our Dallas Theological Seminary), from C. I. Scofield, Charles Ryrie, but many quotes from John Walvoord, the late president of DTS who wrote a commentary on Revelation.

Highly recommended.

There is one caveat: it is a very technical work, not for those who have limited training in Greek. AMEN.

Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation, Allen P. Ross, Th.D., Ph. D.

© Very Rev. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Ross_RecallingHopeGloryIn our narcissistic age, it is almost impossible to find anyone interested in the Triune God; most want to know about themselves, how to manipulate God to give them what they want. But this is not that kind of book (thank the Lord), but is centered on Him, on worship from Genesis one to the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation. I’ve had the privilege to know Allen as he has stayed in my home when we invited him to teach some courses at Cranmer Theological House, and he is a man of great faith as well as scholarship. He had just begun his teaching career when I was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Though Ross is one of my favorite super-scholars, he has the deserved reputation for making the complex to be simple. Most technical comments are relegated to the footnotes, and the Hebrew and Greek are transliterated, letter for letter. One can see not only how worship develops but also how it stays the same in core essence from Genesis through the prophets and concluding with worship in the New Covenant, in the early church, and into eternity. One of best works I’ve read on any topic but especially on worship. AMEN. Ὡ

Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry, Hans Boersma

© Very Rev. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Boersma_HeavenlyParticipationHans Boersma holds the J. I. Packer Chair in Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, B. C. Every once in a while I come across a book that challenges me in ways I never thought of. For me, this book is something of a paradigm changer, not quite as much as Philip Lee’s Against the Protestant Gnostics, but in that vain. He associates the Incarnation with creation and the sacraments in ways that seem obvious but are challenging.

He discusses early fathers, medieval fathers, protestant reformers and their views of the Incarnation. Moreover, he analyzes modern writers, how the Son of God, adding to Himself creation, makes the created sacraments real. In my Christology course, I’ve been making connections with the Person of Christ in Colossian 1 with the sacraments, where He is the creator of all that is, and thus is “firstborn” over all creation, but also a few verses later “firstborn” over the Church. He is the one by nature and the other by Incarnation. Thus our participation with God is real, not just external, or nominal. Here are several good quotes:

Thus, people experience participation in heavenly realities—in the eternal Son of God Himself—nowhere as gloriously as in the Eucharist itself. Heaven and earth, nature and the supernatural come together in the real presence of Christ on the altar. In a very important sense, the general sacramental ontology—the participation of natural, created existence in the Christological anchor—provides the basis for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (p. 57).

Yes, creation truly participates in its eternal Christological anchor; but this participation is strictly a gift of grace and in no way erases the Creator-creature distinction (p. 71).

If there is no sacramental participation of creation in God’s being, created objects have no inherent relationship to each other or to God (p. 83).

Boersma says that from the twelfth century to the Reformation we have a “shift from theological method from a sacramental entry into the mysteries of God to a syllogistic mastering of rational truths” (p. 159). It seems to me that both are needed, but there is danger in thinking that if we just show up for Mass, we have God; or if we master doctrine in the frontal lobe, we have God. (Rome would be the first view and Gordon Clark or Dutch Reformed the latter.)

This work is only about 200 pages, and has deep thoughts throughout, especially on Plato and Aristotle. Highly recommended but not for those who don’t like to think. AMEN. Ὡ

The Gift

(© Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

There was a mother who prayed often for a son, but she had never had children. Once she was with her husband at the annual meeting of all the people of God, and when she prayed with her mouth but not with words, the local minister thought she was drunk. But she told him that she was praying for a son, and that if the Lord gave her one, she would give him back to God to be in His service forever. The minister told her she would have one. She dreamed of a beautiful boy, and the Lord God gave her one. (click here)

From a small boy he was reared to honor God, and his mother taught him the Holy Scriptures. She said to him what the Lord had revealed to her about the covenant LORD, “Those who honor Me I will honor” (1 Samuel 2:30). She taught him about the glory of God in creation, how awesome He is to have created such beauty, reflecting His own glory, and so vast. (click here)

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;

and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1).

She also taught him about His glory and grace revealed in the Bible, how the God of creation loved mankind when he fell into sin, and this creator God was also the redeemer God:

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul

The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:7-10)

This mother from long ago gave her son back to the Lord when he was a small boy, and “he ministered before the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:18), “And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men” (1 Samuel 2:26). Centuries later there was another Mother who had a Son in a miraculous way, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

This redeemer God revealed His ultimate gift, a baby boy, His own Son:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us,

in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

This Son was predestined to die for our sins (click here) and to be raised bodily from the dead so that we might have His resurrection life. (click here)

In my Christology course, I’ve been making connections with the Person of Christ in Colossians 1:15ff  with the sacraments, where He is the creator of all that is, and thus is “firstborn” over all creation, but also a few verses later He is “firstborn” over the Church. He is the firstborn over creation by nature and the firstborn over His Church by Incarnation. Thus our participation with God is real, not just external, or nominal.  We participate with the One Christ not only through His humanity but also through His divinity where Christ is the “location” for the union of creator and creation, which in turn leads to His “real” presence in the Holy Communion. (Whatever “real” means.) As one man has well stated: “If there is no sacramental participation of creation in God’s being, created objects have no inherent relationship to each other or to God.” But we are “in Christ,” as Paul loves to say, and that means we are also one in His Church.

Let us give thank to the Father for giving us His Son, and to the Son for coming in love, and for the Holy Spirit who applies the merits of Christ. AMEN. Ω

Donald Trump?

20 Dec 2015

© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Many conservatives, including me, think Trump is a joke. How can one lead the presidential race when his policies are all generic nothingness based on apoplexy? It is more a commentary on the USA voter’s ignorance and commitment to narcissism than to any good solution to our problems. If Trump wins, he will be basically the same as Obama, only the other side of the coin. He is so thin skinned and arrogant that if some do not give him what he wants as President, he’ll use his pen and phone for executive orders, like you know who has done.

Moreover, a man who claims that the Bible is his favorite book, but he cannot give you his favorite verse–and won’t even discuss it–is a liar. The one who refuses to confess Jesus publicly will not be confessed by Jesus to His Father (Matt. 10:33). If he does not become the candidate, he will consign the Republican Party to the trash heap by running independently, which will give the election to the Triune God-haters again. (But then most of the GOP are the same.) We deserve it, but I’m asking the Lord for mercy, not justice. Yet we have some very fine Christian candidates in the GOP for the high office, but Trump is not one of them. He is not to be trusted, but will ALWAYS put his interest above everything else.

Have you seen Trump interviewed? I’ve seen Bill O’Reilly interview many people, and he is very tough on them, often raising his voice and “body-slamming” them with his queries. Indeed, often the spin starts with him, his views, and his leading questions to get his interviewees to agree with him. Not so with Trump. O’Reilly uses careful language, does not raise his voice, coddling him that he is a great candidate with great ideas. But when O’Reilly does push him, and Trump arches his back and hisses like a cat, then O’Reilly eases up and Trump calms down. Point: Trump can be controlled. Point: Trump does not know himself. Point: If he becomes Mr. President, his enemies will know how to control him—stroke his ego.

While Obama will pout, not confront the media, and will use his checkbook and phone to get what he wants, Trump will scream back, confront the media, and will use his checkbook and phone to get what he wants. Neither Obama nor Trump will listen to anyone but themselves. He claims to be a great negotiator, but he cannot even give and take with those who oppose him. His “solution” is to talk over others, increase decibel levels, not answer the question but go on tangents (most candidates are equally adept at that!), and generally shoot from the hip then defend himself later.

Yes, the American voter is angry, but anger does not solve problems; it only allows a pacifier to enter the Oval Office, a pacifier with no plan (sound familiar?), only one who cries loudly and kicks and screams until someone soothes him.

I’m a preacher, and these days if a preacher blasts all the evils in society, many in the pews will say that he tells it like it is. But if the preacher never offers solutions or few anyway, he is just a blowhard, full of hot nothingness. People will line up to follow him only to realize that he is going nowhere.

Consider three umpires calling balls and strikes at home plate. The ump calls a strike, and someone in the crowd yells at the ump: “You’re blind as a bat and twice as ugly.” The ump yells in return: “I call them as they are.” At least this umpire believes in truth outside himself. Some in the race are doing just that, but not Trump.

Again we have the same scenario when the ump yells “strike,” and a fan bellows, “It’s against the law to make prank calls.” The ump says emphatically, “I call them as I see them.” In other words, there are only points of view.

On a third day with yet another ump, he calls “S T R I K E!” against little Johnny. The father yells, “Hey ump, Did your glass eye fog up? Do you know the difference between a ball and a strike? A strike goes over the plate, not over his head.” The ump in disgust yells back: “They aren’t balls or strikes until I call them. It does not matter what anyone else says.” There is no truth until someone in authority makes a proclamation. This is where we are today, and this is what Trump will give us, which is the same as we’ve had for seven years.

About the only conviction anyone has these days is themselves. Trump will give us more of that. AMEN.