Recycled post

December 7, 2005 § 12 Comments

So, that last meme had me going over my older posts, and this is literally one of the first posts I made. I thought I would re-post it, since I didn’t know most of you at that time.

In this country (the US) especially, the “Religious Right” spins it’s wheels trying to push thru legislation to keep this country “Christian.” I hate to burst anyone’s bubble but this country is NOT Christian. NO world government can make that claim. The fact is, according to Scripture, there is only one Christian nation, and that is God’s Kingdom, made up of His people, the Church. We have been called out of this world– this world which is in darkness, and does not know the light “…men have loved the darkness…”

The wisdom of men is foolishness to God and vice-versa. What makes us so arrogant as to believe that we can foist righteousness on those who do not see it, accept it, or even WANT it? It is for God to call, and men to respond to that call, either to accept or reject. It is God who opens hearts or hardens them– not us. Our job is simply to be here to present Christ. To be salt and light. To live as examples of God’s love and mercy. To be ministers of reconciliation. If we are loving our neighbors as we love ourselves– giving them the same care and attention that we automatically give to our own needs– feeding them when they are hungry, clothing them when they are naked, sheltering them when they are cold; if we are loving our enemies and praying for them; if we walk in righteousness and humility; if we are a light in the darkness that cannot be denied, THEN shall we see change. Then our faith will be undeniable, and people will respond– either with open hearts, or closed fists.

Despite the Religious Right’s best efforts, we Christians in America do not experience true persecution. Apart from gathering a few flames on message boards here and there, it is a long time since we have been burned at the stake. Other countries (especially in the Middle East and Asia) still experience this. What is so different between us and them? I think this country, with it’s freedoms and wealth, has numbed us, and dumbed us down. The Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of this country are viewed not as a threat, but as a joke. As long as hypocrisy is the most blatant stereotype attributed to the Church, we can pose no threat to society. It is God’s devastating love and mercy, and Who Christ is, that turns the world upside down– not prayer in schools.

If we who are called by His Name will stubbornly and quietly DO what He says– instead of sticking our nose in the wrong business, and stirring a pot that does not belong to us, then God within us will ignite a flame that cannot be put out. People will wonder where our joy comes from, how we do the things we do, and Who is this Christ that we cannot hide, for His Spirit walks beside us, and prompts us from within.

Telling homosexuals they are wrong to be gay (or anyone in whom we find sin) won’t do it. Loving them with Christ’s love, and letting Jesus work on their hearts will.

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§ 12 Responses to Recycled post

  • May I link to this, in light of my most recent diatribe?

  • DT says:

    Oh absolutely! I would be honored!

  • “NO world government can make that claim.”
    I suppose it depends on how you define the term, but I would argue that England can. The Episcopal/Anglican church is the official “Church of England”, with the religious head being recognized as the reigning monarch (currently Elizabeth II). Anglicanism is definitely a Christian religion, and it is state-sponsored, so it would count to me as being a Christian nation.
    The same argument can be used of Vatican City, where the Pope is the political leader of the city as well as the religious one.

  • DT says:

    Sorry, you are right.
    Correction: No world government can legitimately make that claim. šŸ˜‰

  • judetherat says:

    What’s the purpose of the government?
    The government exists to punish wrongdoers and the celebrate those that follow God’s way. We see that clearly in Romans 13.3-4.
    To say that Christians need to stay out of politics completely is irresponsible and spiritually immature. If God made you to be a Christian statesperson, or a Christian politician, you should not run away from your calling as such. Perhaps if more Christians in gov’t honestly lived out their faith through the duties and policies of their offices, then the “Christian Right” lobbyists wouldn’t have anything to do.
    Read the Old Testament, God was always calling prophets and seers to proclaim the truth to the kings and the ones in power. God’s always calling out the dishonest judges in the Old Testament, telling them to get right with Him and then letting it reflect in their courts.
    I will say that many issues have become more political than they need to be, but that doesn’t negate the inherent truth that people without Jesus, in general, equate “Right and Wrong” with “Legal and Illegal.”
    So tell me, if the gov’t isn’t supposed to impose any sort of moral code on its people (even if we do ignore the fact that Romans 13 clearly says it that’s what it is supposed to do), then why do we have laws against murder or theft? How about laws regarding the freedom for us to worship or for us to freely believe what we want to believe, even believing what’s wrong? Those come from some moral code… but if that code isn’t the absolute, objective truths found when one knows God, then who’s to say they couldn’t just change tomorrow?
    And please, don’t bring up the whole “we’ve not experienced persecution therefore our faith is soft” angle. It’s old, tiresome and just plain false. I’d LOVE to go through physical torture if it would mean that someone would come to Jesus. But I won’t second guess God. He put me here, at this time, in this country because He knew that more people would come to understand the saving power of Christ if I didn’t undergo persecution. And one can definitely argue that the emotional stress and psychological pains and reputational deaths that occur because I openly profess Christ in the midst of a hostile invare just as intense as someone in China hiding away from the gov’t officials who want our faith to die.

  • DT says:

    Re: What’s the purpose of the government?
    The government exists to punish wrongdoers and the celebrate those that follow God’s way. We see that clearly in Romans 13.3-4.
    I do not disagree with that. That’s exactly what it says, about why governments exist, and I fully agree.
    We are called to obey the laws of our government. In fact, to go above an beyond, because we are obeying God’s word, which is greater than man’s law, and we are to be able to stand blameless before men.
    To say that Christians need to stay out of politics completely is irresponsible and spiritually immature.
    Jude, that is an unfair, and untrue statement. I suggest you please re-think such attitudes, since there have been many great men of faith who have believed this way, taught this way, and believe that this is what Jesus and His apostles taught. In fact, this was the policy of the Christian church up until the time of Constantine.
    I have read the Old Testament. But I have also read the New, in which we are called to be separate from this world. The New Testament also tells us that we are no longer under the OT Law, and that God is doing a new thing in today’s age. (Hebrews 7:18-22; Hebrews 8:8-13; Gal 3:23-26; Galatians 5:18 among others…)
    If God made you to be a Christian statesperson, or a Christian politician, you should not run away from your calling as such.
    No one is ever “born a statesperson” any mor etahn anyone is born a Christian. You choose whether or not you are going to follow God’s call on your life. And if the job you choose conflicts with God’s law, God has not appointed you to that position (as a Christian.) You have chosen it.
    Tertuillian, who lived in the second century after Christ had this to say:

    very recently, there arose a dispute over whether a servant of God should take upon himself the administration of any dignity or power– if he can keep himself (through adroitness or some special grace) from every type of idolatry…Let us suppose it is possible for anyone to succeed in operating under the mere name of the office, in whatever office. Let us also suppose the following:…He does not even take oaths. Furthermore, he does not sit in judgement on anyone’s life or character (for you might allow his judging about money.) He neither condemns, nor indicts. He chains no one. He neither imprisons, nor tortures anyone. Now, is it believable that this is all possible?

    The Romans tried to encourage Christians to join the government.

    Celsus [a pagan] also urges us to “take office in the government of the country, if that is necessary for laws and the support of religion.” However, we recognize in each state the existence of another national organization that was founded by the Word of God. And we exhort those who are mighty in the word and of blameless life to rule over churches… It is not for the purpose of escaping public duties that Christians decline public office. Rather, it is so they may reserve themselves for a more divine and necessary service in the church of God– for the salvation of men. Origen c.248

  • Well, depends on your POV. You say that, but I’m sure that devout Catholics would say you’re wrong. šŸ˜‰ After all, to a truly devout Catholic, any other denomination of Christianity is an heretical sect which has deviated from the True Faith. And you’d have a very very difficult time convincing them otherwise, despite all your readings and Biblical quotes.

  • Anonymous says:

    POV doesn’t matter in the face of truth. Someone has to be wrong, whether it is me or them.
    So my original statement still stands.

  • But what evidence (that they will accept) do you have that you have the truth and they don’t? And why do you not accept their claim that they have the truth and you don’t?

  • DT says:

    But what evidence (that they will accept) do you have that you have the truth and they don’t?
    Evidence they will accept? Ask me to tell you “something you will believe.” All I can do is present what we all have– the same scriptures and history. If I wanted to give “evidence” as to why I believe the way I do, I would cite scripture. I can talk about how Jesus told His followers to be separate from the world. I can talk about how His apostles taught them to be separate from the world. I can ref. how Peter called them strangers in a strange land and mere sojourners. I can cite the scriptures that call the church a Holy Nation, and the expression of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
    I can also give all the commentary of those overseers and disciples of the apostles in the first and second century that said that this is what Jesus and His apostles meant. Those who actually declined positions in government, and then gave their scriptural basis for making that decision.
    Does that mean they were right? No. But they sure seemed to interperet scripture literally, and they were, after all, the ones to whom those letters were written. Being the addressees, and speaking Greek and all. That and being able to ask the apostles themselves “what did you mean by that?” In the cultural vacuum we experience today– being so far removed in culture and language from the original writings– they make for a great reference point.
    And why do you not accept their claim that they have the truth and you don’t?
    I can actually look at where their idea of the truth originated. To whom it dates back. How it developed. And I can compare it to the fulness of what is actually written in scripture (and when talking scripture, I suppose it is important to specify that the New Testament– the Gospels, and the Epistles– are the authority I am using. Why? It is the description of Christ, and His new Covenant in His own Blood. Because that’s what the Apostles wrote down, and the Church closed as the full revelation. If one is going to go back to the “pre-apostate” church, one must look at how they viewed Scripture, and what they considered Scripture. Basically, what they stuck to for nearly 300 years is what is written down between Matthew and Revelation– no more and no less.)
    God has revealed His truth through His Son– to ALL, not me. And everything His Son did and spoke and that has been recorded, and everything His apostles continued to teach and was preserved for the building up of His Body, is contained in the New Testament.
    When folks view the truth through their own filter (flesh, belief systems, addendums,) they miss out on (or directly pervert, if not cut out) great chunks of the Truth. But that doesn’t change the Truth one iota. Believing something to be true does not make it true. Wanting something to be true does not make it true. Special knowledge does not make something true.
    I am not going to sit here and argue “I am right, and they are wrong.” I will say, “God is right. Where are we [those who are attempting to follow Him] wrong? And what does He say we must do to be right?” Because all the denominations cannot be right. All of the scholars who have studied and come to differing conclusions cannot be right.
    But God is right. 100% of the time. What does His Word say about Himself and the Truth? Well, overwhelmingly, if you take His word at face value, it seems to be saying whatever is most literal and obvious. And invariably, if you want to check up on whether you are reading it right, you will find that those who immediately received the teachings of Christ and His apostles understood them in the most literal, child-like, simple understanding.
    For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.” Romans 3:3-4

  • Sorry to harp on this, but I’m trying to clear up a (mis?)perception I have of your approach:
    I am not going to sit here and argue “I am right, and they are wrong.” I will say, “God is right. Where are we [those who are attempting to follow Him] wrong? And what does He say we must do to be right?”
    The thing is, if you look at your posts generally, your approach to the 2nd comes off as the first. By saying “Here’s what the scripture says (with the implication “as I see it”, since different denominations have different interpretations, as you point out, and many scholarly texts can be found with alternate views) and anyone who believes differently is in error”, you come across as saying “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
    This is part of why so many Christians have a bad rep to non-Christians. The approach they take comes off to the recipient as “I’m right, you’re wrong, and you’ll burn in hell unless you convert.” It’s very off-putting.
    You may feel you’re not saying that, but even though I realize that is not your intention, it does appear that way from where I sit, and even though I generally have no problem with the content of the message, that implication of “I’m right and you’re wrong” is somewhat souring.
    “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21

  • DT says:

    if you look at your posts generally, your approach to the 2nd comes off as the first.
    Well, I definitely do not want a “tone”– perceived or otherwise– to color what I am trying to communicate. This is something that I have long tried to keep under reign. Especially since i was a nasty know-it-all brat when I was a kid. šŸ˜› That is something I want to look out for, and I appreciate the feedback! šŸ™‚
    That being said, as a follower of Christ I am under an edict to present His truth– in love, of course– but it must be presented. Unfortunately, what commonly happens is that people who disagree (or who are, essentially, truly being called “wrong”) don’t like that, and will say that the one bringing the news is being contentious.
    It is not my wish to be contentious. But the fact is that there are an awful lot of people out there who *are* wrong. Most of them, in fact.
    They are not wrong because I say so, or because I think they are wrong. They are wrong because God says they are wrong. He expects them to be wrong. It’s one of those nasty side effects of being fallen.
    That is why He sent His Word to us. That is why God humbled Himself into the form of a man to live among us, and become that perfect sacrifice.
    People will reject that. And they will ignore His word, twist His teaching, make up their own, or be misled by another.
    This is called “being wrong.” It is also why we have so many denominations, and psuedo-Christian religions. This is what the Apostles warned against, and taught the church to be vigilant about. But that vigilance broke down.
    He still wants His truth to be proclaimed. And it is there to be learned. It is important for folks to realize that we cannot apply our own ideologies to God’s message. This is what I have been trying to avoid, and why I don’t say “I am right, and you are wrong.” My own ideology, and the teachings and traditions of men that had been piled on and added to Christ’s message for over 1500 years had for a very long time shaped my beliefs about Who Christ is and what He expects. But in actually looking at what His word says, and what those who received it practiced, I have found that I was woefully wrong. So, now I have a responsibility to point out where things have broken down, and what Scripture says it means to be a follower of Christ.
    Not scripture “as I see it,” but Scripture “as it was written, and even practiced.” I try hard not to say “this is what scripture means” but rather, “this is what scripture says.” The implication is in the words of scripture itself.

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