The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
The Power of James Dobson
The May 4, 1998 issue of U.S. News & World Report featured a cover article titled, "The Power of James Dobson," ,which cites the growing political strength of perhaps the most famous Christian radio host. Because his TV and radio broadcasts reach as many as 28 million people a week, U.S. News describes Dobson as possessing far more influence than either Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson at the height of their popularity (p. 22).
In recent meetings with top republican leaders, Dobson has insisted that they either enact cherished features of the Religious Right agenda, or face his wrath in this year's fall elections. Boasting of his political clout to House Majority Whip Tom Delay, Dobson warned, "I hope you guys don't make me try to prove it, because I will" (P. 29).
Another Republican official complained, "It wouldn't matter how many hoops of fire we jump through, it is never enough for him" (ibid.). U.S. News suggests that Dobson's militant threats "may be signaling a major shift in the attitudes of Christian conservatives toward politics" (p. 20).
During the first week of May, Dobson made his presence in Washington felt through appearances on many of the major TV talk shows, from "Meet the Press" to "Larry King Live."
While Jesus did not come to establish a political kingdom ("My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight," (John 18:36)), nevertheless it is appropriate for Christians in a democratic society to use their right of the ballot for good when it comes to temperance and virtue. Inspiration comments:
"In our favored land, every voter has some voice in determining what laws shall control the nation. Should not that influence and that vote be cast on the side of temperance and virtue? ...
"We may call upon the friends of the temperance cause to rally to the conflict and seek to press back the tide of evil that is demoralizing the world; but of what avail are all our efforts while liquor selling is sustained by law? Must the curse of intemperance forever rest like a blight upon our land? Must it every year sweep like a devouring fire over thousands of happy homes? " (Temperance p. 253).
We share some of the concerns of the Christian right including opposition to abortion, and opposition to special protected status for homosexuals. Nevertheless, we have the warning of the prophet that even in the United States, a bastion of democracy, the process will go awry and be used against God's law and His true people.
Again we recall the modern prophet's warning as to what will happen in America when the church obtains power over the government:
"Let the principle once be established in the United States that the church may employ or control the power of the state, that religious observances may be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, And the triumph of Rome in this country is assured," (The Great Controversy, p. 581).
"The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance" (The Great Controversy, p. 592).
"By false representations and angry appeals they will stir up the passions of the people. Not having a "Thus saith the Scriptures" to bring against the advocates of the Bible Sabbath, they will resort to oppressive enactments to supply the lack. To secure popularity and patronage, legislators will yield to the demand for a Sunday law" (Testimonies vol. 5, pp. 450-451).
The Next Pope
The May 11, 1998 issue of U.S. News & World Report featured a cover article on the papal succession, how John Paul IIwhose ill health has sparked considerable speculationis trying to make sure that whoever succeeds him follows his hard line, conservative agenda.
The article observes: "The ailing Polish pontiff can be more confident than ever that the man who will next ascend to St. Peter's throne will owe him personal allegiance and share his views on key matters of faith and practice" ("The Next Pope," U.S. News, May 11, 1998, p. 53).
The article goes on to say that among the cardinals there is "strong support" for "strengthening the church's efforts under John Paul II to reunite the Christian churches and to improve relations with other religions. ... This suggests that the strongest papal candidate may be one with solid credentials in ecumenical affairs" (P. 56).
One Catholic theologian who asked not to be identified complains that in the past "we have had a galaxy of Catholic thinkers in both the theological and the secular worlds. This pope seems to have replaced them all with himself." He went on to say that John Paul II "gives the impression that he is doing all the thinking for the entire Catholic Church" (p. 57). Anyone who thinks the papacy has fundamentally changed from what it used to be had best ponder the above statement very seriously.
The following inspired statement comes quickly to mind:
"The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. ... Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of tyranny and persecution" (The Great Controversy, p. 564).
Regarding the Catholic interest in ecumenism, inspiration is clear just how one-sided it will be, and how what we see now reflects this prediction.
"This union will not, however, be effected by a change in Catholicism, for Rome never changes. She claims infallibility. It is Protestantism that will change" (Review and Herald, June 1, 1886).
The U.S. News article quoted earlier begins with the recounting of an ordination service in which the pope ordains a cardinal, telling him that the "crimson color" of his robe signifies "that you are ready to act with fortitude, even to the point of spilling your blood" (p, 53).
More School Violence
The recent spree of school murders saw a bloody sequel the night of April 24 at a junior high school dance in Pennsylvania. where a 14-year old shot to death a popular science teacher. According to the April 29 broadcast of the CBS Evening News, this makes for nine school shootings in the past two years, up from only two in the previous three years.
Jesus declared that in the last days, "because iniquity shall increase, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man" (Luke 17:26). Elsewhere the Bible describes how in the days of Noah, "the earth was filled with violence" (Gen. 6:11). Surely we now see these words of Scripture fulfilled!
A New Era for Storms
For the entire first week of May, the CBS Evening News ran a series of special reports in its "Eye on America" segment, dealing with what scientists believe the next twenty years of hurricanes will bring, starting with this year. One climatologist spoke of how we are entering "a new era for storms," that hurricanes of the magnitude of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 will likely occur every three or five years, and possibly more often. These storms, it is estimated, could cost the United States up to 65 billion dollars each!
No matter how often we quote this passage in Trumpet Herald, its relevance to current weather phenomena never ceases to be impressive:
"The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause" (Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 408).