Opinion

Church of England Bishop Blasts Evangelical Christians for their “Uncritical Support” of Trump

Paul Bayes, a senior Church of England Bishop of Liverpool, denounced evangelicals in the United States for supporting Donald Trump and his economic policies as they relate to the poor. Bayes told the Guardian: “Some of the things that have been said by religious leaders seem to collude with a system that marginalises the poor, a system which builds walls instead of bridges, a system which says people on the margins of society should be excluded, a system which says we’re not welcoming people any more into our country.”

Bayes, who has been bishop of Liverpool since 2014, said: “If people want to support rightwing populism anywhere in the world, they are free to do so. The question is, how are they going to relate that to their Christian faith?”

Let’s get something straight. Contrary to Bishop Bayes, Christians do not support all of Pres. Trump’s policies. When it came to voting in November 2016, the choice was easy given the fact that Hillary was the other choice. Almost no one can say that Hillary would have been the better choice except for people like Bishop Bayes who knows almost nothing about economics or much else about the Bible.

“And if what I believe are the clear teachings of the gospel about love for all, the desire for justice and for making sure marginalised and defenceless people are protected, if it looks as though those teachings are being contradicted, then I think there is a need to say so.”

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What does Bishop Bayes offer as a remedy? Not anything that will actually help the poor. Governments can’t and don’t love. The things that will help the poor is to get them to believe and act on that belief that wealth redistribution is not in their best interest and money manipulation is generational theft. The poor need jobs, not government welfare checks and government housing. Government redistribution of other people’s money is neither charity nor morality.

When I was in seminary, there was almost no application of the Bible to issues like economics and politics, so it’s not surprising that someone like Bishop Bayes is ignorant on the subject. My first introduction to the Bible and economics was a message that Dr. Gary North gave in the late 1970s at Reformed Theological Seminary. His message centered around Isaiah 1:

How the faithful city has become a harlot,
She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
Your silver has become dross,
Your drink diluted with water.
Your rulers are rebels
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves a bribe
And chases after rewards.
They do not defend the orphan,
Nor does the widow’s plea come before them (vv. 21-23).

The economic portion of the message was based on “your silver has become dross” and “your drink diluted with water.” Gary North comments:

Isaiah used debased silver and watered-down wine as metaphors of ethical corruption. This does not mean that there was no debased silver or watered-down wine in Israel. On the contrary, their presence was widespread and well known, which is why the accusation would be understood. The people used debased silver in [economic] exchange[s]. They drank watered-down wine. This lent credibility to his accusation of ethical debasement in the city. It was part of his overall assessment of corruption. . . These were literal practices. They were not solely metaphorical.

What were the smelters doing? They were taking a less expensive common molten metal and mixing it into the liquid silver. The increased production of silver-looking bars initially did not look different from previous silver bars. The smelters then spent the silver bars into circulation by purchasing goods and services. They purchased these valuable items at the pre-debasement purchasing power of silver bars. They preyed on the ignorance of non-specialists, who would not recognize the fact that the bars contained a reduced quantity of valuable metal than before. This was theft. The Mosaic law identified this practice as corruption. “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:35–36).

Who does this type of thing today? Governments. It passes off cotton and linen fiber currency (paper money) and thoroughly debased coinage (“sandwich” coins with no gold or silver) as real money. This is called inflation, and only governments can do it legally. Governments now can inflate (increase the money supply) with computer entries. Money can be created out of thin air (fiat money). If you or I tried it, we’d be put in jail for counterfeiting.

The poorest people are affected by inflation more than the middle and upper classes who can generally stay ahead of the increased prices inflation causes.

You will notice that nothing is said by Isaiah about taxing the rich to care for the poor and disenfranchised through government programs. The poorest (orphans and widows) were being adversely affected because people and rulers (“companions of thieves”) were violating God’s law related to just weights and measures.

When people get to keep more of their money, economic expansion takes place. The poor get jobs. Government handouts of other people’s money distort the marketplace. When people get money given to them via government redistribution that is equal to or more than what could be earned with a job, many people decide that it’s not financially viable to work.

On a side note, Bayes is as ignorant about what the Bible says about sex as he is about economics. “Bayes is a big supporter of LGBTI and gender and sexuality issues.” He is living out the sinfulness described in Isaiah 1.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged (Isaiah 1:2–4).

His understanding of sex has become dross, polluting the purity of God’s ordained sexual relationship as outlined in Genesis 1:26-28; 2:21-25) and reconfirmed in the New Testament (Matt. 19:3-6).

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