Saturday, August 07, 2010

Orthodox Idolatry

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator...
Secular freedom is nothing more than idolatry. Fallen man seeks to rule himself by means of numbers and political leverage. Freedom outside of Christ is benign and related to all other concepts and non-human creations. It can be used for good and evil as well; many times simultaneously. And why do men desire freedom and not persecution? It is because we are selfish and desire to attribute to God that which benefits us most. Hence, many Christians believe that secular freedom is God’s will for everyone and they seek to protect their own freedom through any means necessary, including violence. But it all is a misguided mirage. Case in point:
A young boy named Chaim Witz, who was born in Haifa, Israel, came to America with his Jewish mother. She had lived under Nazi occupation in Hungary and they both were excited at the opportunity to come to the land of the free. When asked to raise her right hand to pledge allegiance to America at the immigration office, she made the Nazi salute. The immigration officer informed her that she would no longer have to make that salute again.
The young boy loved America and grew to be an industrious young man. He prospered through the freedom provided by America and he became a United States citizen. He supported the policies of President George Bush and is an outspoken patriot who unabashedly professes his love for America and her freedom. He supports Israel as well.
You may know his stage name as Gene Simmons, the demon faced bass player for the band called “KISS”. The freedom in America provided a forum for spreading debauchery. You see, secular freedom is neither good nor evil, but it is fallen. Take, for instance, a tree. One man cuts one down and builds a home for unwed mothers in which the gospel can be shared. Another man cuts one down and builds an Islamic mosque where people worship Allah. Another man cuts one down and builds a house in which he can lure and molest little children. You see, the tree is neither good nor evil, and can be used for either. But that tree is fallen, and when we worship freedom we are every bit an idolater as those who worship nature. They worship a tree, others worship a concept. Both are idolatry.
Secular freedom has become an idol even among believers. They say it is God’s will and yet God doesn’t seem to provide secular freedom for His Chinese followers. And why do American believers desire to protect their freedom? If it was so the gospel can be spread without persecution then those believers would witness much more then they do. At the core of this fascination with freedom is selfishness. And playing a large part in this selfishness is the comfort of a western lifestyle. And democracy, man’s invention to govern himself, has crept into the church. Watch and listen as those who preach submission to authority castigate any president who they deem undesirable and a threat to their freedom, to say nothing of their wealth. And all while still disingenuously teaching the sovereignty of God and our contentment with His workings.
Preachers will teach their congregations the glories of letting adversity shape our lives into the image of Jesus Christ. They will exhort believers to submit to hateful employers and they will even teach wives to pray for and be humble before their unsaved husbands. But when it comes to politics and secular freedom they will openly veer away from their own teachings and their listeners will not even recognize the paradox. Men love freedom more than they love God’s Word. And they will take Peter’s exhortation about being happy when we are persecuted, and Jesus’ teaching about rejoicing in persecution, and constrict them to some personal interactions, but not when it comes to freedom, so called.
The Revolutionary War was at its core a rejection of authority and a response to taxes. But is that what believers find in the New Testament? Where are the songs and hymns sung with joy in the midst of a dark and perverse culture? Why does the church recoil at anything that disrupts their lifestyle or goes against the moral comfort they purport to embrace? Secular freedom is fallen and can be used by God and used by the Devil as well. It is not to be desired or rejected, but like everything it must be looked upon as part of a tapestry of God’s providence and sovereignty, but surely not something which we fight to keep as if it was God’s will for everyone.
Freedom outside of Christ is often a dangerous thing, and not just as a forum for sin, but also as a spiritual lullaby that puts the church to sleep. National freedom has become a narcotic to the church, and combined with an unholy embrace of the evil nation in which we live, the church is lukewarm at best. When we champion secular and national freedom, we have lost our freedom in Christ which is the only true freedom. We cannot serve two masters and love them both. And all our protestations about Christ being first fall on deaf ears when we compromise our allegiance by lending our “love” to all sorts of religious and secular causes. The western followers of Jesus have created a cleaver way to circumvent God’s Word and incorporate fallen issues into their spiritual portfolio, and even suggesting the Father’s approval. And being blind they profess to see.
Secular and national freedom is a mirage and a counterfeit. It can be used of the evil one when believers transition from viewing it has a gospel tool to embracing it as an idol. And let us be perfectly honest, much of the “love” given to earthly freedom has to do with the comfort and prosperity it affords us, and the feeling of political power as well. If a believer actually fully viewed this earthly freedom as a conduit for the spreading of the gospel, then why would he save up money to spend upon himself? And what, pray tell, cross do we bear when we live in and defend a cultural ambiance designed for our own comfort and well being? And while believers all over the world live in oppression and poverty, we western believers revel in our freedom and use stories of present day martyrs to excite and entertain our hearts while we fare sumptuously.

Many Jews that were carried off to Babylon eventually embraced the gods of Babylon. Some meshed Jewish traditions with Babylonian idols. And so it is today as believers have embraced the gods of democracy and freedom and brought that strange fire into their lives and the gatherings. Until we throw off that yoke we will remain a very small irritant in this hedonistic culture but void of any authentic spiritual power. Our existence has become an acceptable and unremarkable element in a dark and fallen culture, and yet our Sunday gatherings are designed to make us feel good about ourselves and our God and to tout this present Babylon as the “greatest nation on earth”.

And God remains silent as we speak falsely for Him.
But at least we are free…or are we.

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