Monday, October 25, 2010

If I Be Lifted Up...

I have received many e-mails and some comments that let me know that there are not just a few believers whose spiritual walk is being deepened as they see more clearly how nationalism and patriotism have hindered their spiritual devotion to Jesus Christ. I feel compelled to continue to address that issue and perhaps this little and insignificant blog will impact believers and lengthen the cords and deepen the stakes of their discipleship.

Back in the 18 century it was very difficult for Englishmen to break away and form a new nation, and most difficult was the task to make that nation religiously pluralistic. While it is true that many believers had set sail for America so as to avoid being persecuted when they refused allegiance to the Church of England, it is patently false that those same people created a Christian nation. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were a collaborative endeavor, but at the core were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison. Those men were far from being born again believers, and they crafted a religiously pluralistic nation with language that in many ways seemed spiritually nondescript and innocuous. And in fact that was by design.

America was a safe haven for lifestyles and ideas, and it was a beacon of pluralistic practices. Of course events like the Salem witch trials revealed the difficulty in adhering to the original intent of the founding fathers, but today, in keeping with the constitution, witches are welcomed as legitimate expressions of spirituality. In recent days some professing Christians have adopted some wiccan practices and even held worship gatherings with wiccans as a legitimate part of the service. Very American.

Also at the core of the idea of America was an atmosphere that would lend itself to increased personal wealth. Can you see Jesus leading people to form organizations that would enhance their personal wealth? (And all the prosperity people screamed “Yes!!”) Religious freedom and tolerance were a mainstay in the formation of America, and nowhere do the documents even mention Jesus. And yet we have been taught that this nation was formed as a Christian nation, and blinded by that falsehood the church has lost her way. Many evangelicals view Muslims as the enemy and not a mission field for redemption. And it would be impossible to add up all the time, energy, money, sermons, and overall involvement that evangelicals have lent to the defense of this secular, hedonistic nation. And that is without adding up the lives that have been lost defending a constitutional republic that continues to murder millions of unborn babies, to say nothing of protecting the rights of all sorts of moral and ethical perverts.

Earthly freedoms cut both ways and are not to elicit any allegiance from the followers of Jesus. The church in China, for example, has in many ways preserved her purity because she has not been compromised by the glitter of earthly freedoms or the idolization of the place in which she resides. It is not insignificant to note that America has been the breeding ground for many prolific cults that now extend across the world, and that America has also been the place where many egregious departures from the faith are currently taking place and leading the world to do likewise. And we as believing followers of the Lord Jesus should support and give our allegiance to such a place? No, we should pray for the people here and shine the glorious light of the gospel across this nation.

I was born in 1952, and in my lifetime I have never seen one president who did not believe that all religions lead to God, including professing evangelicals like Clinton and Bush. I hope and pray that many people who surreptitiously read this blog will make it a serious matter of prayer as it pertains to nationalism. And if you begin to awaken to its destructive influences, do not become self righteous and guard against hating this nation. The Lord Jesus calls us to be the arks of redemption to a lost and fallen world. We cannot afford being compromised by nationalism, and we cannot afford any self righteousness. We are tethered to grace and have no righteousness of our own. Without the grace of God we are no better that Hitler.

Come out from among them and be ye separate. What fellowship has light with darkness? But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. There is a freedom that is infinitely greater than any and all earthly freedoms, and that freedom is found in Jesus Christ. Any restrictions that men place on me does not alter that freedom, and only when I hold dear earthly freedoms can my spiritual freedom be compromised. God has placed us here providentially, not to become a part, but to shine the light of His Son through our lips and our lives. For too long we have succumbed to the sirens of nationalism even though our hearts were sincere. But we have believed a lie, and now it is time for a spiritual revival that removes the bushel and not only lets His light shine once again, but lifts that light upon a hill so everyone can see it and be drawn to it.

If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me.

1 comment:

Steve said...

"there are not just a few believers whose spiritual walk is being deepened as they see more clearly how nationalism and patriotism have hindered their spiritual devotion to Jesus Christ. I feel compelled to continue to address that issue..."

Brother: I'd encourage you to indeed continue addressing that issue. The nationalism/patriotism/conservatism "faith" is the gospel's major competitor in our country today: and distressingly widespread IN THE CHURCH. May God use your comments to chip away at this false idol !

In Jesus, Steve