Idolatry of the state: the thunderheads gather...

(Tim, w/thanks to David L.) On the occasion of another thematic Bible, this one titled The American Patriot's Bible...

Recently, I've been explaining to younger believers that we must beware the idolatry of the state--particularly now when so many are crying out for Washington D.C. to heal them. We're well on our way to granting the civil magistrate unlimited authority and the consequences for followers of Jesus Christ will be catastrophic.

Thunderheads are gathering on the horizon and those who don't see them must not want to.

Here's a sampling of current cases where religious liberty is under attack. And note, these stories are all from this past week. 

First, the Roman Catholic church is threatening to pull out of diaconal work in the District of Columbia rather than submit to the District of Columbia requiring them...

to hire and provide marriage benefits for sodomites. Second, Bert Chapman, a Library Science professor at Purdue University, has many calling for him to be fired after he wrote an online piece laying out the economic case against homosexuality. And third, last week nationalized health care passed the House vote, causing the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, to gush:

For generations, the American people have called for affordable, quality healthcare for their families. Today, the call will be answered.

Inevitably, this will lead to the civil magistrate taking over medical decisions of life and death from physicians and family members. So, from birth to grave... Or rather, from conception (abortion) to brain cessation (organ harvesting), we will belong, not to ourselves, but to Caesar.

In other words, this is not a good time to be linking God and America. Persecution is coming and the order of the day for the People of God is preparation for the Washington shock and awe about to hit us.

You say you're a postmillenialist and you think nothing of the sort's going to happen?

Well, I may be a postmillenialist too, for all you know, and I'm telling you...

May I recommend two works I consider indispensable for those who want to consider the believer's proper relationship to the state? First, my friend Herb Schlossberg's Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture; and second, Jacque Ellul's False Presence of the Kingdom. Readers will find both books are excellent.

Comments

I just picked up "Idols for Destruction" today!

Along with 9 other books including Weaver's, "Ideas have Consequences" and Macheb's, "Christianity and Liberalism".

Cool day!

Kamilla

Even those of us who are not postmillenialists cringe at the idea of Christians practicing State worship. Wait until the State tells Christian pastors what they can and cannot preach; it's coming, and I suspect, a lot sooner than we think.

There are few books that I've read that I can say have actually altered the way I looked at things. I read Schlossberg's book when it came out in '83 and it did just that. Equally good--perhaps better, with a slightly different emphasis is Rushdoony's "Christianity and the State." Both men were visionaries, and what they warned against two and a half decades ago is coming to full fruition right before our eyes. Both men are/were postmillennialists (Rushdoony is gone now) and I know of no intelligent postmillennialists who believe that these things can't/won't happen. They ARE happening.

It is the fault of the church. Covenantally ignorant, steeped in pietism, antinomianism, and eschatological pessimism it long ago abandoned its cultural responsibilities to the secularists. The light is under the bushel and the salt has lost its savor. There is no guiding illumination, there is no preservative. When Christians withdraw from any area it creates a vacuum and the universe abhors a vacuum. Another god will fill that vacuum and it is invariably autonomous man in the form of the state. We are getting exactly what we deserve.

Make no mistake, the church will one day open its eyes to its responsibility to conquer every area of this world for Christ. How many times it has to be brought to its knees in repentance for its failure to do that is what remains to be seen. I know of no examples of a society given over to the worship of Molech, (child sacrifice in the form of abortion) and sodomy that recovered. We fear that God will judge this country for those things when those things ARE God's judgment.

I need to get off the soapbox. Dear God be merciful, open the eyes of your people and grant us repentance.

Dear Mark,

That was positively pastoral, dear brother. Thank you.

Love,

> So, from birth to grave... Or rather, from conception (abortion) to brain cessation (organ harvesting), we will belong, not to ourselves, but to Caesar.

The gladiatorial line "Hail, Caesar! We who are about to die salute you" may also become appropriate in this context.

Tim Bayly: "Recently, I've been explaining to younger believers that we must beware the idolatry of the state--particularly now when so many are crying out for Washington D.C. to heal them."

I wasn't aware that younger believers were/are crying out for statism. Are you sure? Maybe a few.

Mark Chambers: "Make no mistake, the church will one day open its eyes to its responsibility to conquer every area of this world for Christ."

I've just started reading some material about 1K vs. 2K theology. A hot debate topic. Both have strengths, both have weaknesses.

Some things where the church too often compromises with Caesar--and yes, the young are taking part.

1. By flying a flag higher than the cross.

2. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance at AWANA events--or any church event. (sorry, it's neither Constitutional nor Biblical)

3. Fourth of July musicales.

Some would even add 501C3 registration and such.

>Both have strengths, both have weaknesses.

Heh. I don't think so.

> Saying the Pledge of Allegiance at AWANA events--or any church event.

Should individual Christians even participate in saying it at non-church events?

Is the pledge being said about something that is even accurate [a "republic" / "one nation under God"] or desirable ["indivisible"]? Will there really be "liberty and justice" for Christians who refuse to bow to the State-imposed religion?

By mouthing this, are we not pretending something is true that isn't? Isn't it participating in a form of brainwashing, helping us to believe a lie?

My personal inclination is to pray for *divisibility* so that a nation under God might perhaps be possible once more. Blindly pledging indivisibility is no virtue in the current situation.

The entire Emergent movement's promotion of Barack Obama is integrally bound up with stateism, and that movement is huge among young evangelicals. They find Rob Bell and Brian McLaren answer the questions of their hearts, as one Columbia International University graduate put it to me.

Love,

Tim Bayly: "The entire Emergent movement's promotion of Barack Obama is integrally bound up with stateism, and that movement is huge among young evangelicals."

Oh.

It's funny/odd/weird/ironic. The younger evangelicals or Emergers do the very thing they criticize then. For they criticize "The Religious Right" for being too intertwined with political conservativism, specifically the Republican Party.

And then they go and do the same, but opposite thing by aligning with the political left's agenda.

FWIW, I'm a Bible-believing Christian *first*. I only vote GOP the vast majority of the time because they're the only ones who have a viable chance of stopping the liberal-leftist agenda/platform (which include both abortion and gay marriage). It's not so much pro-GOP (or politics) that drives me, it's more about stopping the destructive socio-political-cultural-family agenda/platform of the liberal-left.

Dear TUAD,

I agree with every last word you just wrote.

Love,

>It's not so much pro-GOP (or politics) that drives me, it's more about stopping the destructive socio-political-cultural-family agenda/platform of the liberal-left.

Dear TUAD,

Hemlock is not nearly as fast as cyanide, but it is every bit as deadly. Statism is anti Christ whatever the flavor or speed at which is marches. The only cure for government debauchery is the conversion of the people who then recognize the responsibility of the state, as well as the church and family, to rule by and in submission to God's Word and Law.

Peace

C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters ring in mind in this case. The devil always seeks to make us a patriot or a radical but ultimately the goal is to blind us from Christ. This "twenty-something" is thankful for the wisdom here.

I am postmillenial and for all I know the United States may be destined for the dustbin of history. While I personally believe that repentance and restoration are still in our future it cannot be denied that these are Ichabod times.

I must question though, as to the degree of persecution that sixty million Evangelicals with resort to arms may be reasonably expected to submit.

You know Don we really need to get together.

Personally I am not sure that most Evangelicals pose any fundamental threat at all to statists.

Mark,

I would like that very much. I'll have Jeanne call Melanie. I hope you like venison.

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