In the United States, the last Trump sounds

OBADIAH SLOPE  

Saturday 7 May 2016

We think this was a joke: (Facebook job ad) “We’re looking at hiring a Women’s Ministry Director at City on a Hill: Melbourne. Tony Abbott has applied, but we’re convinced this would be better filled by a woman.”

Trumpet: The question of what US Christians should do now that that the Trump has sounded has caused a flurry of suggestions. On Fox News, Southern (that means conservative) Baptist academic Bruce Ashford suggested it frees evangelicals to criticise both parties “we need to maintain our witness,” he says.

Seeing Trump, as a reason to be free to criticise a Republican candidate of course means Ashford assumed that evangelical Christians are automatic Republican voters, usually.

On the right hand side of the radio dial, Christian talkback prophets such as Erick Erickson are urging people not to vote Trump. Another insight came on Australia’s ABC where Sarah Posner, a leading writer on religion and politics for Rolling Stone told Andrew West that Trump’s father Fred was a fan of Norman Vincent Peale, an early televangelist whose message was the “power of positive thinking”.

This accords with the idea that the slice of Christians supporting Donald Trump up till now have been those favouring the idea of a prosperity gospel.

Sin is a crime: Eternity carried a report of provocative comments by Phillip Jensen, who has just finished a stint as Dean (senior minister) at St Andrews’ Cathedral (big rain shelter) in Sydney. When Australians hear “repentance” they think it means “feeling sorry” and when they hear “sin” they hear “a religion that is against sex”.

Obadiah thinks Jensen is on to something. And many Christian ministers “get” what he is saying. Obadiah remembers hearing Rod Plummer who leads the Lifehouse church in Tokyo (a Hillsong network church) explain that he was working on a new translation and that he was going to use the word “machigaeru” – which means, to make a mistake – rather than a traditional translation which means “crime”. That is because some readers were only thinking that serious crime was a sin.

Speaking clearly about God and his demands on us is a big project for us wherever we are.

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