The utility of the spirituality of the church yesterday and today...
(Tim) In a comment under the post, "Two-kingdom's tendentious misuse of the Establishment Clause," Ken Patrick wrote: "Christianity is a threat to the existing political order because it is a call to a new way of living." Here are some thoughts I've had while watching that discussion...
Excellent comments, Ken, although I'd like to tweak your statement slightly: "Christianity is a threat to the existing religious (or cultic) order because it’s a call to turn from the our worship of the cult of the state to worship the One True Living God. Mind you: He has appointed a day when He will judge all men..."
In other words, let's acknowledge not only that the US Constitution does not establish separation of church and state, but also that there's never been a politas in history that's had separation of church and state. And those who reassure themselves they live in such a politas today here in these United States are deluded.
Among a host of things proving their error is the river of Molech’s blood we swim in each day. Millions of slaughtered children—a billion worldwide, now—proving precisely which god our state worships. His name is Molech, and we remain at ease in Wheaton and Escondido and St. Louis and Manhattan.
If Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world, why did the kings of this world relentlessly pursue and finally murder him? Why did the kings of this world relentlessly pursue the Apostles? Why did good Polycarp die?
And in an age and empire so very similar to Rome (see Herbert Workman’s “Persecution in the Early Church”), why are none of us dying?
Well, certainly one of the reasons is that our kingdom is of this world. We’re not at all like our Lord or John the Baptist. And certainly not like the Apostle Paul who preached the Kingdom of God in such a way as to barely escape one city, only to start again in the next. That’s a good outline of the book of Acts, isn’t it?
If there was no separation of church and state in Sodom and Gomorrah, there’s no separation of church and state in these United States, today. Men are free to kill one another in the pursuit of perverse sexual immorality; women are free to slaughter their unborn children by the millions; and the civil authority bears the sword to force the citizens of this nation to support these horrendous crimes.
This is why the promotion of contemporary forms of the historic southern presbyterian doctrine of the spirituality of the church (to which Brother Pierce referred a few comments above) strikes me as a rather straightforward rubric for justifying our cold hearts which are indifferent to justice and mercy and truth. But more, so cold to love.
We need to look at Leviticus 20:1-5 and ask ourselves if we are not simply one more Israelite crying “temple of the Lord, temple of the Lord” while the hillside behind our house is strewn with crying babies doomed to die (Rome)? While our next door neighbor is hacking his Christian brother-in-law to pieces outside our front door with a machete, and in the course of the past three months, 750,000 of our neighbors and friends have been hacked to pieces in the same way—all dying at the hands of murderers spurred on by the civil magistrate (Rwanda)? While right down the street from us, babies—often Covenant children—are sacrificed to our Molechs of self-determination, pride, autonomy, security, and convenience?
We should tremble that God told Moses to say to His Covenant People:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “You shall also say to the sons of Israel: ‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name.
If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death, then I Myself will set My face against that man and against his family, and I will cut off from among their people both him and all those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech’” (Leviticus 20:1-5).
“Disregard” is what we Reformed men do best, but under the rubric of separation of church and state. We hide our knowledge of suffering and our indifference to the cry of the widow and orphan with talk of the spirituality of the church, just as our southern presbyterian forefathers did. Where does Scripture command us not to oppress slaves? Where does Scripture command us to address the civil magistrate about the oppression of the slaves? Where does Scripture command us to bring the year of Jubilee into the New Covenant world? Where does the Confession teach us to try to stop pagans from doing what pagans do—slaughter their babies and their neighbors, and expose their infants?
We have a higher calling that must be protected: temple of the Lord, temple of the Lord, states’ rights, temple of the Lord, spirituality of the church, temple of the Lord, justification by grace alone, separation of church and state, temple of the Lord, temple of the Lord, temple of the Lord.
A Reformed churchman wrote saying he thought I’d judged a certain essay by a certain 2K/R2K man unfairly, so I went back and re-read it. And the thing that struck me with even greater force the second time was the complete lack of awareness in this man that anything done by Reformed believers today seen by Molechites as participation in what they and their R2K friends love to refer to as “the culture wars” is ever motivated by love for our neighbor—for the widow and orphan in their distress.
No. As he saw it, Reformed believers today are involved in what he calls “the culture wars” because we want to protect our rights. We want to make the world better for our children. We’re caught up in a hissy fit over the loss of those halcyon days of Colonial America and we’re not going to take it any more.
In other words, it was his view that the prophetic witness and pursuit of justice and truth by Reformed men is really all about political power. Can you believe it?
But in the final analysis, maybe we should stop to consider the wise rule that it’s the thief that thinks everyone steals.
The Left certainly thinks the witness of Christians is all about political power, and with them it certainly is true that they’re all about political power. So if the R2K men think the witness of godly, pious Christians is all about political power, maybe these R2K proponents are just like their Left compatriots. Maybe both sides only care about political power, and the way the spirituality of the church translates into political power is that the absence of Jesus’ prophetic witness in the public square makes it much easier for Christian intellectuals to hide. Or much easier for them to maintain their truce with the cult of Molech.
There is no separation of church and state. Either believers today will live a godly life in Christ Jesus and be imprisoned and killed for it, or we’ll make our peace with the forces of Hell ruling us and demanding our worship; and One Day soon, find our Lord ashamed of us when we stand before His Throne.
The Pharisees lived and Jesus died. The Scribes lived and the Apostle Paul died.
It’s disgusting I have to say this, but I’m not calling for the taking up of arms. His kingdom is not of this world and it’s by the Word of His power that the Kingdom of God will prevail. But if our separation of church and state, two-kingdom doctrine allows us to escape infamy and pain and persecution and execution, we bear no resemblance to the host of witnesses, some of whom were sawn in two.
This world is not our home. And so, this world hates us. Unless, of course, we have a rubric for justifying our silence.
But if our scholarly reputation among the chattering classes is good, we would do well to remember that no servant is greater than his Master.