God can turn up in unexpected places:
With everyone thinking and talking about COVID-19, and with most of my recent articles being on that issue, it might be time for a brief diversion. And this is a bit of a good news story, at least from my perspective, and it might be an encouragement to some of you as well.
It has to do with the fact that you never know who God might use, or how he might use him – or her. If we stay faithful to God, he may well surprise us with how we can have an influence and make a difference. So let me give you a recent example of this.
Two thoughts: God must still be on the throne. And he must have a sense of humour as well. As soon as I penned those words, a Scripture passage suddenly sprang into my mind, tying both those sentences together. In Psalm 2 we get both of these ideas expressed quite clearly. The first four verses say this:
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
God reigns, and he laughs at the pagans. Both of these notions became clear to me when I was alerted to a new article someone had written. Let me provide some background to this. Because I have so many critics and enemies, and because so many want to misrepresent and distort what I have to say, I try to keep an eye on what they are saying or writing.
There are internet programs you can make use of that will alert you to whatever you want: simply type in a key word or phrase – even your name if you like – and you will be sent alerts. So I make use of this to keep an eye on what both friend and foe are saying about me. When I got an alert informing me that the Guardian newspaper had just mentioned me, I thought, ‘Uh oh, here we go again.’
The Guardian is of course an English newspaper and a very hardcore secular left paper at that. And it has versions in other countries. Over the years it has routinely attacked conservative Christians, and has attacked me as well, so I expected this to be more of the same. Imagine my surprise then as I learned that it was an opinion piece quoting me in a favourable light!
Hmm, it is not every day that the Guardian does something like that! Moreover, it was a piece actually talking about Easter and the resurrection. Wow. However, I eventually noticed that this was one of their editions from another country – Nigeria to be precise.
And the writer of the piece is an editor of the paper, as well as a Christian. The English, Australian and other Western Guardian folks might be having hysterics that this guy is one of their editors and is writing pieces like this. Worse yet, that he actually gives me a good run. For what it is worth, this is the part of the article that mentioned me:
I now understand from Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary that deception is actually one of the most powerful – albeit negative – forces in the universe.
According to the public commentator on CultureWatch, it is risky to discount the enormous power of deception. All forms of deception can be immensely powerful and controlling, and self-deception is certainly one of the most worrisome among them. The ability of people to deceive themselves, or be deceived, seems almost limitless. And I think that is where we have been since 1966 when the ‘militicians’ struck and toppled democracy and federalism.
And once someone is in the throes of deception, it can be very hard indeed to break people out of that. It is like some great force has taken over and they become almost unreachable. It is as if they are now under the control of someone else. And they are.
Research has shown that there are different types of deception. Mass deception is another sort that is frightening to behold. The power that demagogues and charismatic leaders can have over the masses is all too familiar. Whether it be a Hitler, or a Jim Jones, or some other cult leader or political personality, masses can be easily led – and deceived – by these leaders.
Even those who claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ can have their heads and hearts turn to mush as they hold some men of God and leaders up to be some messiah figure. They are quite happy to jettison core biblical values such as humility, righteousness, godliness, integrity, honesty and decency as they shill for their man of God as if he were God of man.
According to Bill, that is mass deception of a high order, and it is one of the most shocking things we have had to deal with in recent times in this new world. But individuals can and do become deceived quite easily as well. guardian.ng/opinion/behold-truth-in-a-grave/
All very interesting. I know nothing of the author, but one article says this about him: “Award-winning journalist, top administrator and former Editor of The Guardian (Daily) newspaper, Mr. Martins Oloja, has been appointed the new Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of The Guardian Newspapers Limited.” thecrestng.com/2020/03/22/22151/
Of course most African nations are far more religious than Western countries, which are largely secular. The population of Nigeria for example is around half Christian and half Muslim, so it would not be very surprising to find much more openness to faith matters, even in a Guardian newspaper.
So how did I end up being quoted here? Good question, with two main possibilities. One, recall that just five months ago I was in Africa. I had spoken at some pro-family conferences in Ghana. Who knows, this fellow may well have been in attendance, heard me speak, and looked up my website, and ended up quoting me for his Guardian opinion article. If so, isn’t it neat how God works?
Even if not, you still have this second possible scenario: some American, living in Australia, writing articles for a website, gets read by some Christian in Nigeria, and it ends up being quoted in an opinion piece in the Guardian newspaper of all places. How good is that? God is able to do all sorts of interesting and unexpected stuff.
So there you have it: a major international newspaper mainly known for attacking Christianity and conservatives actually featuring a piece discussing Easter and even quoting someone like me. God does have a sense of humour and he is able to get truth out in all sorts of ways. That should be an encouragement to us all.