Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy

If , as Christians, we have the unique and only divine inspiration – if we truly are those who know the truth and that truth is that God is love, there is forgiveness of sins, and we are to love one another as ourselves, then why is there so darn much Christian hypocrisy… even sometimes seeming to be worse than what the world outside of the Church is like…?

Why I’m Not Voting

In next week’s election, I do not plan on voting for any federal or New York State officials, obviously including President of the United States of America. I have been asked by a friend to explain my choice. To my best understanding, the reason he is asking me to explain is because traditionally we conservative evangelical types see voting as a civic duty. We have learned from when we were wee lads and lasses that voting in democratic elections is a near-sacred duty, wrapped in all the somberness and ritual of a religious sacrament.

And therein is my first issue with voting for federal and state office holders. As a Christian, my primary citizenship is in heaven, where Christ is. He is preparing the New Jerusalem—the eternal city of God—and He will bring that consummate kingdom upon His appearance and judgment of the living and the dead. You’ll notice I said “primary” citizenship, and that’s because of course we are also citizens of the nations on earth as we live here. In simple terms, Christians are dual citizens, and we have duties in each realm. And what is our most important duty in the civil realm of this age? It is to be salt and light—to stand out. We are to be a different, holy people, and we are to be the fragrance of Christ everywhere we go, and in all we do.

What am I getting at? Only that in all areas of our lives, we are to show our pagan and post-Christian neighbors that we have a better hope, a higher kingdom, and accordingly, a fearless posture toward the evil in this world. Now of course none of us does any of this perfectly, which is why we keep returning to the church gathering each week where we hear of our sin, the forgiveness we have received, and the promises of the age to come. We are often fearful, though our Lord commands “fear not.” We are often mired in the same idols as the Gentiles, though our Lord commands “come out from them and touch not the unclean thing.” I think many wonderful Christian people in America have succumbed to the fear of man, namely, the liberal and Progressive man, and are placing their hope in democratic elections as a temporal salvation. In a narrow sense it is true that good civil policy saves us from lawless men, so I understand the need for the State in our present world; however, I think the manner in which our politics have become all encompassing and overwhelming shows the idolatrous fear and rage intrinsic to this present system.

Today we can and should repent, re-form the line if you will, and face the world as a fearless, holy people.

And I believe abstaining from the vote is one of the more powerful means to do so right now. nopeAsk yourself what drives 90+% of the voting in federal and state elections today. You know what it is: fear. And not only fear, but jealousy, rage, insecurity, and tribalism/racialism (in all directions). Why are Christians blending in with this portrait of ungodliness? I’ll tell you what I think—I believe we’re in a rut of tradition that we can’t see from above. We think voting always helps secure liberty and justice for all.

We think it’s our sacred duty to cast our ballot because men shed their blood to give us this right. We think we owe it to the brave guys who charged the machine gun nests on Normandy’s beach, we think the 58,000+ who never returned from Vietnam cry out “go! Go to the voting booth and vote! We died in a jungle ditch so you could do so!”

We think we must make our voices heard.

And on that last point, I fully agree. We must make our Christian, fearless, faithful voices heard to those in power, and I propose our message be something like this:

We are not your slaves, and we are not afraid of you. Do what you will to us, but we will serve the Lord Jesus Christ, promote His kingdom, and speak out against your ungodly policies. We will no longer be complicit in propping up this sham democracy.

This nation is captured by an oligarchy of lifetime politicians, corporate pirates, and usurious thieves on Wall Street, and voting has only distracted us from your injustices, as if we ever had a chance in a rigged game. We are tired of having our income stolen to propagate antichrist doctrines in the schools, violence in the womb, violence throughout the world in conflicts that are unjust and unnecessary, and general economic discord domestically.

We protest the system of credit and debt that is forced upon us, we protest the postmodern worldview of our leaders, and we refuse to participate in a system that fingers the wind in making law. Our vote will not save the United States of America, only mass waves of confession and repentance in the churches will begin to turn the tide of evil in this land.

We now turn to our families and to our churches to each show the way of confession and repentance, and to take responsibility for all the injustices that we have allowed in our name, and worse, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that to any longer participate in this democracy is to betray our profession of faith in the One who is able to protect, provide for, and to keep His people while in the valley of the shadow of death during this evil age. We will submit to the authorities as He has commanded, but we will no longer sign our names to the vile means and aims at work in the places of power.

Justifying this View

First, the old Christian republic has long since passed away, and the Enlightenment constitutional republic that replaced it is also long dead. We have been living in a straight-out democracy for a long time; we are at the mercy of the majority of voters, and the rule of law is a mere phrase in the imaginations of optimistic, flag-waving patriots. Ever since Lincoln denied the South the right to secede, we’ve all been living in a post-constitutional democracy, now fatally compounded by 1,001 unjust decisions by the Supreme Court and Congress.

Second, what is left of law and order in this society is rapidly being folded into the tyranny of a man-centered foundation for law and justice. From the time merchants began arriving on the heels of the first Puritan pilgrims, the law of man (unjust and ghastly in any society) has been warring with the law of God for the central place in American law. We have always been a flawed, inconsistent nation whose lust for happiness has led to countless crimes against God and man (think chattel slavery); yet there has also been a remnant of the Christian instinct to hold our society to the standards and mores of the Scriptures. Now in 2016, this instinct has been suppressed and defaced to the point of utter mockery—we have pretty much fully embraced a culture of corruption, radical subjectivism, and self-serving. Sure, there’s a remnant of Christian and civil people who wish no harm to their neighbor, but we’re outnumbered, and we have almost zero representation in the halls of power.

Even where decent men and women inhabit an office or two somewhere in Washington DC, the system as a whole is oriented toward injustice at every level. There is no saving it. There is no political solution left in these United States. Let’s read that again. There is no political solution left in this nation, or in our individual states. We have been given over to the full measure of our wishes, to have the riches and blessings of freedom and liberty become the slaves of our lusts and evil desires. The only outcome possible for such a people is total slavery and war.

And so let’s talk about what it means for a Christian to vote in 2016. When we vote for federal and state officials, we are explicitly stating with that vote:

–          I believe that participation in this democracy will somehow promote justice and equity under law.

–          I believe that choosing new individuals to occupy these specific federal/state offices will create better representation for me, my family, and my clan of people.

–          I believe that by my vote I am securing my right to redress of grievances, representation in legislation, and financial entitlements.

–          I believe that without my vote I am somehow made responsible for the injustices of the tyrannous majority.

–          I believe that voting pleases my Lord.

And I do not agree with any of these points. I hesitate to attempt to fully bind other Christians’ consciences with this same conviction, so I will simply state how I see things, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you as He does in me.

We are Samson with his eyes scooped out, pushing the Philistine grinding wheel. We have been with the Philistine prostitutes, and our Christian souls have clung to them under the sheets of comfort, entertainment, career, prestige, cultural acceptance, and academic clout. We have been fooled—we have been fools. In this last hour of the American experiment in democracy, I would wish for us to press the pillars of the Philistine temple, to bring down the weight of this corrupt nation upon its head… but unlike with Samson, I am not wishing for the death of our enemies, but only for the end of their sin against our holy God. The only way this world will see its sin is for the church to be the church, and that will require a great cost be paid by us, as it was by Samson in his last act.

If all true Christians in America quit voting, within a short while we would be standing in the place of greatest influence of all people, even while the roof of prosperity and comfort was falling on our own heads. The voting booth is a substitute for Christian courage in this day of moral anarchy.

If I am wrong in my framing of the issue, you are welcome to bring a loving rebuke in the comment section.

In Christian charity,

Adam

 

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Satan and His Boys of Light

Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness

2 Cor. 11:14-15 (NKJV)

Christian, think.

Did you really expect Satan-an angel in the presence of God from long before you or I existed, full of knowledge and cunning-to send his prophets and pastors with bloody fangs?

Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley

Look at that smile. Look at the pedigree.

 

 

 

 

 

Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen

Look at these shiny white teeth.

 

Look at the charm.

The attractiveness.

The success.

The wealth.

The influence.

TD Jakes

TD Jakes

The power in the voice.

The intelligence.

The political clout.

The persuasiveness.

The glory of it all.


And you thought Satan was a foolish little horror-fiction writer, conjuring up pastors you would be afraid of? You thought Satan would be so stupid… that he would try to get you hooked on crack or something? You thought Satan only appears like this, right? crackhead

But no, Satan’s game is not crack and prostitution. He doesn’t mind those things. He “digs” it when a human turns into living trash… but his -game- and his master stroke is the well-dressed, articulate, lovely, edgy, successful “men of God” who do one. little. thing.

(Get your eyes slightly off of Jesus and His certain Word of law and gospel in redemptive history).

Where are your eyes?

Thanks for reading,

Adam

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Living in a (Western) Corpse

Although Theonomists are generally derided for their minority viewpoint on biblical law, their cultural analysis often provides clarity where other Protestants tend to live in murky gray areas.

fire

In his 1991 critique of the faculty of Westminster Seminary, Gary North gave a scathing rebuke of the Enlightenment.

In his view, everything blessed and glorious about the Calvinistic Reformation was forfeited by the 17th-18th centuries:

From 1660 to 1789, the humanists took the fundamental doctrines of Calvinism and secularized them. They stripped
these ideas of all biblical theological content and produced a
new man-centered worldview, which became dominant in the
West.

First, they took the doctrine of the sovereignty of God
and made it the sovereignty of nature and nature’s finest product,
autonomous man. The twin idols of nature and history
again became the idols of man, as they have been throughout
pagan history.

Second, the Calvinist doctrine of the priesthood
of all believers became the foundation of modern democratic
theory, beginning with the Levellers in the Cromwell period.
Calvinism’s concept of the right of the laity to vote in church
elections became the model for politics.

Third, the Calvinist view of God’s law and man’s God-given ability to recognize it and apply it to this world became the foundation of modern
science and technology.

Fourth, Calvinism’s doctrine of God’s sanctions in history – blessings and cursings – became, in the writings of the anti-Calvinist Scottish common sense rationalists, the concept of the impersonal market forces of supply
and demand.

Fifth, Puritanism’s unique concept of the triumph of the kingdom of God in history became the foundation of the Enlightenment idea of mankind’s inevitable progress. [1]

Rotten Fruit

Although I am not a scholar of the Enlightenment, I know enough of what came about throughout that period to know how we got to where we are today. Man is always attempting to set himself above the throne of God. The present visible breakdown of Western civilization is the inevitable result of our tower-building autonomy; our idolatry of technology over humanity, our idolatry of progress over preservation, our idolatry of markets over justice. We are reaping what was sown centuries ago, decades ago, and yesterday.

Humanity may not replace the law of God with itself without deadly consequences – and yet the only institution equipped to deal with brazen idolatry is the Church of Jesus Christ.

Ed Young Jr

And what is she now experiencing in the West? The rotten fruits of compromise with the world. In the hour of clear need for an unequivocal call to repentance and grace in Jesus Christ, the churches are busy preaching about… well, themselves.

Perhaps Calvin’s Christendom was also a misapplication of (Old Testament) biblical law, but could we have ended up much worse off going down that road? Yes, modern life has its amenities and perks, but even those things are the product of the Christian worldview in motion – the Christian worldview presupposed by every single scientist, doctor, and engineer who puts pen to paper in search of a better world.

But the Church sinks deeper and deeper into irrelevance as the professionals attempt to construct terribly relevant sermons, and the culture turns toward us with sharper teeth and bloodier claws, sickened by pastel church clothes barely covering up our shameful bigotries and hypocrisies.

They are going to subdue the Christian remnant in the West, if it’s the last thing they do. Our only strength is the gospel truth of Jesus Christ the King – and as we capitulate our precious treasure to the politically correct censors of godless media, we are left with impotent, pagan mouthpieces to speak for us (hello Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter).

As Dr. R. Scott Clark put it:

We may well be coming back to a time like that [with persecutions against the church]. The Enlightenment was not so much really an Enlightenment as it was a repudiation of Christian theism and an elevation of rebellion against God. It took time for the effect of that rebellion to sink it and work out its principle but it has happened. We’re there. We don’t live in Israel. We live in Babylon.

And Babylon was a time for God to cleanse the ranks of His people from idolatry.

Are you trusting more in your money and status than in the Lord of glory? I know I struggle with that – and may God have mercy as the pagan culture overthrows the last remnants of the Protestant heritage in the West, completing the revolution of the counterfeit Enlightenment.

Must it be inevitable?

Thanks for reading,

-Adam

[1] Gary North, Westminster’s Confession: The Abandonment of Van Til’s Legacy (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), x-xi.

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Early Christians were Pro-Life too

Christians are marked by their respect for the dignity of every human life. Any time in history when Christians have acted differently, they have not acted as Christians.

The faith of Jesus Christ is a life-giving faith, and so those with faith in Jesus are protectors of life. Every child has a God-given right to life, from the moment of conception onward.Little Baby

This is why Christians should never use the birth-control pill, as it it possible that it causes the tiny baby to be washed out of her mother’s body in a chemical abortion.

This is why Christians cannot vote for politicians who support abortion in any form.

This is why Christians should go to every reasonable extent to speak up for the rights of the unborn, including stopping doing business with companies who support Planned Parenthood, AKA the Minority Population Reduction Centers of AmeriKa.

And this is what Christians have believed for our nearly 2,000 year history. See a section of a letter from Mathetes to Diognetus, circa A.D. 150 as he describes the distinctive lives of Christians:

 Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.

They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. (Literally, Christians “do not cast away fetuses”).

They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh.

Christians ought to have a completely different mindset than those around us. We do not destroy our unborn children! Yet in America, land of the selfish, thousands of abortions each year are committed by those who self-identify as Christians, Evangelical and otherwise. They are Christian like I am giraffe.

A few other early Christian citations (including one non-Christian Jew), against infanticide-abortion, from http://www.abortionfacts.com/literature/the-christian-view-of-abortion :

“Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born” (Letter of Barnabas 19 from 74 AD).

“…And these were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion” (The Apocalypse of Peter 25, 137 AD).

“You shall not procure abortion, nor destroy a newborn child” (Didache 2:1 from 150 AD).

“There are some women among you who by drinking special potions extinguish the life of the future human in their very bowels, thus committing murder before they even give birth.” (Mark Felix, Christian Lawyer, Octavius chap. 30 from 170 AD).

“The law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties the man who shall cause abortion (see Ex. 21:22) Tertullian, 210 AD.

“Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does” (Tertullian, Apology 27 from 210 AD).

“Women also who administer drugs to cause abortion, as well as those who take poisons to destroy unborn children, are murderesses.” (First Canonical Letter from 374 AD).

“The law, moreover enjoins us to bring up all our offspring, and forbids women to cause abortion of what is begotten, or to destroy it afterward; and if any woman appears to have so done, she will be a murderer of her child, by destroying a living creature, and diminishing humankind.” (The Works of Josephus, Flavius Josephus Against Apion, Book II, 25).

“Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when, as often happens, they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder” (Jerome, Letters 22:13 from 396 AD).

Let us stand with the ancient Christian witness, and with the Word of God: “You shall not murder.”

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Dead Guys, Humankind in Distress, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, The Message of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church

I was one of these kids, and my siblings as well. I personally wish nothing but extinction upon the “cool, relevant” American entertainment church.

Marc5Solas

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 9.03.31 AM

We all know them, the kids who were raised in church. They were stars of the youth group. They maybe even sang in the praise band or led worship. And then… they graduate from High School and they leave church. What happened?

It seems to happen so often that I wanted to do some digging; To talk to these kids and get some honest answers. I work in a major college town with a large number of 20-somethings. Nearly all of them were raised in very typical evangelical churches. Nearly all of them have left the church with no intention of returning. I spend a lot of time with them and it takes very little to get them to vent, and I’m happy to listen. So, after lots of hours spent in coffee shops and after buying a few lunches, here are the most common thoughts taken from dozens of…

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World-Shaking Evils and the Entertainment-Driven Church

Some ugly facts, some pointing of fingers, some suggested solutions:

As an example of why American Christians probably ought to sober up and look outside ourselves (brace yourself)… perhaps second only to child exploitation in horrific, ugly, beyond-words evil, the mass rape of women is often used as a means of demoralizing the enemy in modern war. See here for an example from the Bosnian-Serbian conflict in the 1990’s where of an estimated 35,000 rapes, only 40 have been prosecuted in a court of law. There is no way around this most dark of human tendencies: war makes way for men to carry out the evil fantasies of their inner-teenager.

What do we do with this reality? You and I cannot physically relocate to central Europe or Congo to protect the women and children. We don’t have the power to lock up and/or execute the millions of potential rapists in war-heavy lands.

Yet there are a few things we can all do to expose this wicked darkness, and I think my own points here will be slightly different than your average social-justice suggestions.

  • Christian churches need to repent of easy-believism, entertainment driven Sunday morning shows, and anything unbiblical and man-centered in doctrine.

That’s right. All of the problems in the world, including the very worst of them, stem from Christian people neglecting the world-saving truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It should look like this:

1) the Church stays on task, meaning we are going into all the nations preaching the gospel, baptizing people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things that Jesus commanded.

2) the culture of every nation is transformed by the pervasive work of the Holy Spirit in saving many people for the glory of Christ, transforming many people in all different stations in life.

3) the attitudes and desires of the nations change according to the desire to be like Christ – to love God first and to love your neighbor as yourself.

4) wars are no longer necessary, and rape becomes a shameful memory. Women and children are treasured, protected, and loved with the love of Christ through His Church.

Surface-level Christianity leaves billions of people without hope, while we decide how big of an entertainment screen to install in our suburban spaceship… I mean, “church.”

EHWC

Come fly away to Six Flags over Jesus-land!

The distraction of the Christian people in the world is the greatest enemy of women and children. While our mega-celebrity pastors are busy entertaining rich American people on their way to hell, poor, defenselessness women and children around the world are being raped and killed by Christ-less men. We here in American, rich churches have the information and resources to evangelize the world… but are much more comfortable playing with ourselves. Oh sure, there are the token missions trips we take, but most of that is laden with false, man-centered theology anyways. They are ultimately useless without the centrality of the liberating gospel of the forgiveness of sins by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus alone.

  • For those who are Christian, take the words of Jesus literally, and seriously.

He is the light of the world. We are not. Preach Him. He is the world-changer, not us!

He is the Good Shepherd. Bring people to Him – not ourselves.

He is the way, the truth, and the life: make people disciples of Him. These believers should be passionate about making Him known, and by nature of our regeneration, speaking up in the public square for justice and peace among all people.

Through faith in Jesus, know that your life is His, and that when you die, you will be raised again on the last day, unto eternal life with Him. Knowing and believing this fuels the self-sacrificing life of the Christian.

  • Read the stories of the martyrs. Be inspired to, if necessary, die while spreading the true gospel.
  • Be free of the love of this world system. Our banner is not first of all the U.S. Constitution, or capitalism, or military might. It is meekness, care for the poor, and surrounding all of it, the preaching of Christ and Him crucified.
  • Stop supporting the pornography industry. 

I am a hypocrite, for I am an AT&T customer, and they are one of the world’s largest suppliers of pornography (I need to change this). This means that AT&T is one of the world’s largest enablers of exploitation of the weak and defenseless. The porn industry feeds on broken people, and it feeds the fires of lust – the very fires which flame out in rape and torture of the world’s impoverished women. Before you click on porn, make sure you are consciously willing to enable rape and torture through financially feeding the monstrous darkness of men’s hearts.

On the flip-side, the porn addict needs more gospel, not behavior modification. Jesus died to save pornographers and their customers.

Disconnect the demand for porn, and you disconnect the greatest tool of the demonic power of sexual violence in the world.

  • I note Exodus Cry as one of the most hopeful looking anti-sex-slavery organizations. Check them out!
  • Pray for the return of Christ.

There is one event which promises the end of earthly human misery: the Day of our Lord… when He returns He will judge the living and the dead, and put an end to injustices everywhere.

  • Be willing to go to the worst places on earth to bring the light of the gospel. Rapists in the armies of the world need Christ, and will never stop raping until His power and forgiveness reaches them.
  • Raise awareness in Congress, and in your social media interactions. Speak up to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. Whether or not we can see the effects of our efforts, we must make noise against war and rape as a tool of war.

Our intelligence agencies feed weapons to many war zones, while doing little to nothing to protect innocent life in the path of the many evil men we are arming. In all of our wealth, we have the power to do good, and have chosen to instead have more and more war in every corner of the earth. Why do Republicans insist on $700 billion+ Pentagon budgets?

While our American military has done good things, and is necessary; in general today we are feeding the furnace of world violence, and need to reign in our use of force. At the least, Christians should withdraw our political support of war candidates, and influence our representatives to scale down our war machine.

There is only one hope, one cure for a world in darkness: Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. All the earth needs to hear His gospel. Without Him, without the preaching of Him and baptizing in His name, violence can only grow and darken throughout the world.

Come alive to your Lord, dear Christian, and let us make Him known in all the earth. When you see horrific things happening, respond with gospel preaching and the support of missionaries – and respond by meeting material needs. Don’t think the government will do your giving for you, let alone the true compassion that has to be behind charity.

Let us repent of our own sinful selfishness, and confess our sins to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s be serious minded Christians – it’s a serious world.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

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Interpreting the Cosmos Turns 1

It has been a thrill to begin blogging, and to see thousands of people from almost 80 different countries visit here over my first year. I know I am nowhere near a “big” voice on these here interwebs, but as I write, I pray that I am reaching someone, or someones who desperately need to tune into a passionate Christian voice. God has blessed this endeavor, and I hope you have experienced that with me in some way. Thanks to my subscribers and loyal readers for joining with me in this project. Please come back often to share your thoughts with me, and may God richly bless you in 2013.

Here are my 10 personal favorite posts from 2012 (hard to pick!). Please read them and share with someone who may be benefited by my writings. Grace to y’all!

-Justin

10. Darwin with Cataracts

9. The Bible is the Best Telescope

8. Cozying up to Goliath: Evangelicals and the Military

7. Why Not World Peace?

6. Poem: A Glance at Man

5. The True Meaning of Hanukkah

4. Government in the Image of the People

3. Do Roman Catholics Have the Gospel of Christ?

2. To Crush the Head of Cynicism: Christmas

1. God Wants You Really Filthy Rich!

Categories: Artistic Creations, Comparative Religions, Foundations of ItC blog, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Jesus the Pinnacle of History, Meaning Woven into Nature, The Message of the Bible, The Nature of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Cozying up to Goliath: Evangelicals & the Military

Evangelicals in America, according to my own personal observations, have a mighty, powerful love of the United States military. I have been in any number of churches from a few different denominations and have seen multiple times worship services become mingled with homage to the military. This disturbs me. What is the military? It is the physical force of the government manifested in the earth. What is military propaganda doing in a church service?

As I used to say as a toddler: “I don’t sure, Mom.”

In the case of this country, the military has served to protect our freedoms and way of life, has in many places freed people from oppression, and in others kept horrific despots from taking power. I would not denigrate the service of our soldiers who have fought and died for us; for me to be able to sit here and write this blog post. I have dear friends who are active duty or retired, and my own dad is a Vietnam veteran. Thank you, Dad.

Here’s the rub: the military is a morally neutral force. It is pure power without brains or heart. The moral quality of it is determined by the commanders who utilize it in action, and in America the will of the people which should in theory be the will of the commanders. We could review various wars the U.S. military has conducted and judge the good or evil means and ends of each, but I ask a different question: why are Evangelicals so deeply loyal to the military? Is it as an institution beyond criticism per Romans 13? (Obey the government and submit to the authorities, Paul teaches us). I believe there is something more behind this than just biblical loyalty and submission to authority.

My thoughts are complex, but to boil it down, I am afraid we, as theologically conservative Christians are wedded to the military in such a way that we readily excuse anything done in the name of the United States of America by the military, especially when there is a Republican in the White House. I fear we have been mute in the face of atrocity and injustice perpetrated by the Pentagon. I fear we can justify any bullet, any bomb as being “a fight for our freedoms.”

If you are a Christian, have you stopped to ask questions about our national use of force in the world? Would you be willing to speak against injustices committed in your name, as so many in the world think of us as a “Christian nation?” Where are the lines drawn between moral and immoral use of force? Are unmanned drone attacks warranted simply because there are terrorists out there? What about when we consistently take the lives of civilians inside of countries which we have never declared war against? What if Yemen launched an unmanned drone attack on someone in Nebraska and killed 15 school children? What would be our response?

What happened in your heart and mind when our government announced it would help out Al-Qaeda in Libya to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi? Things getting blurry yet? Why is it that our nation spent $768,000,000,000 on the military last year, almost $600,000,000,000 more than the next country on the list?

I believe this is one place where American Christians are far off of the message of Jesus, whose focus was not a kingdom of this world, but rather the restoration and redemption of people and cosmos – healing the broken and preaching the gospel. What is our focus, my fellow American Christians?

One more question: when the modern, secular, godless State of Israel lobs missiles into Palestinian areas which are upwards of 8% Christian, do you mourn for the deaths of your Christian brothers, sisters, and their children who have died by explosions your tax dollars paid for? We must stop to weigh the nuances of our national actions, and decry those that are unnecessary or unjust.

It grieves me to think of any use of deadly force. It grieves me when some Evangelicals seem to laud the military without even a hint of agony for what it truly is: a necessary but terrible part of life in our fallen world.

This world was made for us to cultivate, beautify, and steward. The Church is meant to help restore those things to humanity, to shed light on Christ’s redemption of the cosmos – and in reality the military breaks, destroys, and pollutes the earth. Totally different missions, hm?

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mormonism No Longer a Cult, When They’re the Republican Nominee: Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn.

If only Joseph Smith could see this from behind the curling flames of Hades: America’s most iconic evangelical Billy Graham has met with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and shortly thereafter the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed Mormonism from its list of cults, according to CNN’s Belief Blog. In my own search of the BGEA website just now, it seems they may have removed the specific names of all cults from that article, perhaps in an attempt to neutralize criticism of the picking out of Mormonism from the article previously.

So there we have the state of mainstream evangelicalism in 2012 America: cowering in fear of another 4 years of Barack Obama in the White House, we will sanitize and regularize the Mormonism of the Republican nominee. In other words, we’re willing to sell out Jesus and His gospel for just about any price.

Now, I am not opposed to the prayers Rev. Graham offered for the family of Mitt Romney – I would hope many Christians are praying for Governor Romney and his family… and President Obama and his family (think the book of Daniel for how we are to treat pagan rulers). The problem, rather, is that most of the American people already think of Christianity as a peripheral, private expression of spirituality no different than a good session with a Ouija board or sincere Buddhism. As our representatives sell-out Jesus and His gospel, promote every form of spiritual mixture, and openly value political gain as more precious than the advance of Christ’s Kingdom… well, we continue our slide into irrelevance.

If we have the truth of God and His cosmos, what are we afraid of, brothers?

Please do take a glance at the above link and think for yourself about what is said within the article. Is the explanation given by the BGEA sincere, legitimate, or honest? I don’t buy it for a second. The actual definition of the word “cult” is famously slippery, and I have heard decent argumentation against calling Mormonism a cult. They are basically a normal religion at this point, albeit the most polytheistic religion in the world, but it is a regular religion: get saved by your own efforts. Nothing new there.

In any case, the sad decline of American evangelicalism into a trembling, sniveling, political prostitute is only a part of the clear departure of the glory from this nation. God is not a Republican, to put it bluntly, and Billy Graham is no more an authority on the removal of Mormonism from cult-status than a middle-school science teacher is on the planetary status of Pluto.

Sad times!

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Enough on Christian Hypocrisy

For three months I’ve blogged about Christian hypocrisy, with so much more that could be said. I had only planned on writing on this for about a month, but the lazy, long summer has had me blogging only intermittently. Some of the topics, like the one on the Prosperity Heresy, gained a good number of readers and traffic, while certain other posts got almost no traffic, leaving me thinking I might as well have written about the amazing process of screen door manufacturing.

But for now I’m going to move on from this topic. I can summarize most or all of these posts by a single thesis statement: Christian hypocrisy is present in our world for the most part because most people called Christians have never been born again; yet because of the private, personal nature of regeneration and the difficulty in discerning such from the outside, their actions unfortunately still reflect on Christ and His Church. (I’ll take a quick break while you read that over).

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

When the gospel is changed or lost Christianity is perverted into a false religion, no better than Buddhism, Oprahism, or Islam. While still retaining the appearance and credibility of the truth, false Christianities do more damage to the honor and glory of Christ Jesus than almost anything else.

Almost, I say, because as much as I hate to admit it, the truly born-again, Spirit-filled believers in this world are also a part of the stumbling block of Christian hypocrisy – if not the worst. Yet when we mess up and play the hypocrite, we have a golden opportunity to make much of Christ crucified for our sin, buried, and risen on the third day for our justification. Who can bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies!

We cannot stop the false Christians in our world from defaming Christ with their actions and words, but for us who are truly His, we can use our own hypocrisy as opportunity to lift Him up high as the bearer of our shame, the friend of sinners, the forgiver of imbecilic rebels like us. Let’s not lose an opportunity to make much of Jesus Christ, cosmic King. With much more to say, I rest…

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

 

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