As religious liberty erodes in the United States, we will find ourselves increasingly at odds with an overweening state. There is a great conflict descending on Christians, and Doug Wilson says that pastors have a responsibility to prepare their congregations accordingly. If you think this concern is just alarmism, then you aren’t paying attention, and you may be part of the problem.. Wilson writes:
Our nation is a nation just like all the others, and we can spiral into spiritual apostasy just like all the others. We are now more than halfway down the line of statues in the royal hall of Charn, where the look of our earlier nobility has vanished and we are just three elections away from the coldest forms of despair…
This is why pastors have a particular and pressing duty here. If this despotic modern state is the idol of our age — and it is — then pastors have a pressing duty to prepare their parishioners to resist it. We have a duty to prepare our people to refuse to bow down when they hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer (Dan. 3:5). Those instruments seem odd to us today, and so does Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, but you may depend upon it — at the time, bowing down to that statue to that music at that time was about as mainstream as you could possibly get, and the only people left standing were the extremists and weirdos.
John warns Christians as little children, telling them to keep themselves from idols (1 John 5:21). This will be a pressing danger when the idolatry is mainstream, when paying your mortgage depends on conforming, when all the networks are asking what the big deal is, when we can’t buy or sell without offering that pinch of incense to the emperor, and the music has been playing for a good minute and a half now. People are starting to look. You see an official in the back writing down your name.
It is quite true that idolatry can exist as a matter of heart motive. Paul does says that greed is idolatry, for example (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). But the idolatrous state doesn’t care if you are an idolater in your heart only — they will at some point insist that you register. We sometimes have a rarefied view of idolatry, thinking that such a sin could only be determined when we appear before God at the great judgment seat. We will appear there in order to answer His series of trick questions, and when He asks us which is more important, being American or Christian, we need to say, “Christian! Of course!”
But the trick questions aren’t there — they are all here. Pastors don’t need to be preparing men to not deny Christ before the Father. They need to teach them how to not deny Him before men (Matt. 10:33).
Read the rest here.
Five Iron Frenzy’s ‘Anthem’
I think the enemy (situation) referenced was created by those that fought tooth and nail to coerce others to live by a single religious expression. Since you’ve fought for complete control, it’s only natural that the opposition is going to try to limit that control and influence. You do say you will use those in a heartbeat whenever you get the chance, right?
Absolutely. What’s really being discussed is coming to terms with losing political power and influence. What’s the point of power if you can’t leverage it to engineer society to reflect your values?
Christ and the USA have never been on the same plane. I’m glad the veil is being lifted. We’ll be better off for it.
“despotic modern state”?
Like when the state said blacks were slaves & whites–even in free states–who rescued slaves could be jailed? Or back when Native Americans were killed for their land? Or when tens of thousands of Japanese were interned on concentration camps? Or maybe back when many states forcibly sterilized the poor, minority, and mentally challenged?
There’s nothing modern abt the despotism of the state. And this country is less “despotic” than its ever been. We have a president in office who MLK could scarcely have imagined just a short 50yrs ago. We have multiple women on the Supreme Court. We’ve pulled out of Iraq. Stop and frisk has been ruled unconstitutional. Even the indigent are getting health care thanks to Obamacare. People who previously went without food are now getting it thanks to broadened access to food stamps. Access to college has been broadened through increased Pell Grants & lower cost student loans. So I’d say we’ve made a lot of progress in recent years in reducing despotism and, God bless us, we’ll continue to make much more.
David J. Faulkner
How does increased taxation to pay for all of these services fit into the framework of “Love your neighbor as yourself?” It appears that our government believes that it must hold a gun to our heads in order to fund charity. If this is true, we are failing to live up to the golden rule. I firmly believe that the federal government has no role in providing education, medical care, food, welfare, or social security. However, I also firmly believe that it is the Church’s responsibility to take care of these charitable undertakings within society. You see, government fails to hold anyone responsible for their actions which are driven by their moral center. Charity from the hands of Christians is given under a moral lesson which will not only provide for the person’s earthly needs, but also their spiritual needs. Government cannot do this. Additionally, where is God’s blessing to the giver, if it is the government that has taken from the giver and given to the receiver. Government is a cold, cruel instrument of power that has no Love, but Christian giving has God and His Commandments as the central focus and thus the blessing of God for the giver and the receiver.
I pray that you will seek God and understand the difference.
The word “progress” is ambiguous. Progress by a secular worldview definition? Sure, you can claim progress. Helping out your fellow man, etc. And yet, you have incidences such as Sandy Hook, the Aurora theater, Oklahoma just last week, etc. Do you put that under the umbrella as progress?
Pulling out of Iraq was progress? How many innocent Iraqi lives (not Biblical sense) were killed? How many American servicepeople were killed/permanantly injured? How can you claim progress for leaving a country were so many were murdered? Every life lost in that conflict is a potential life lost for Christ.
And healthcare? Don’t get me started. I’ve hijacked Denny’s thread enough today.