Tuesday, February 07, 2012

An Unholy Alliance
I have promised to continue to confront the errors of compromise that seem much more pronounced during an election year. I must humbly admit to being an enthusiastic participant in former years, and I did not leave my nationalistic and moral crusade on the basis of any intellectual prowess (God forbid!) or because of my exhaustive study on the matter. I give all the glory to the grace of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in an often stubborn vessel.
The United States government has decreed that religious institutions and charities must provide free birth control products including “day after” pills which are a form of abortion. That has started a firestorm, especially among Roman Catholics whose church policy is against all unnatural birth control products. It will become a huge political issue and the squawking has already begun.
The Biblical way is not to murmur and complain. You have only one choice if something like that goes against Biblical teachings: Obey the Lord and disobey the government and if necessary go to jail while singing praises to Jesus.
Or we can do what the world does: Complain and protest and fight fire with fire and in general look to politics to solve your grievances. Has it ever occurred to anyone that sometimes God wants to use persecution to bring out the best in His people so as to lift up the name of Jesus? But no wants to receive any persecution and professing believers will complain loudly rather than suffer for His name’s sake and allow the Spirit to use for good what was meant for bad.
When we have received wrong information concerning who we are it affects every one of our thought patterns. For instance, for those of us who were born in America, we have been told we were born here since we surely cannot remember the event and where it took place. We rely on information that has been given to us. And when we believe that report we consciously and subconsciously began to think like an American. We believe what we have been told and therefore our thought patterns tend to be swayed in that direction.
I did not become a born again believer until I was 22 years old. But I have known literally thousands of people who were born into a Christian home and they were raised in the faith. And almost without exception they were raised to believe that America was founded as a Christian nation, and that God Himself created America in a way that can only be deemed as special. Generally these are saved people who genuinely desire to serve God and do the right thing as well as believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
But since they believe in America through a warped sense of divine favor, the entire practice of their faith has been compromised. Even though I was not brought up in a Christian household, after I became a believer I discovered that the one common thread that ran through almost all Christian denominations regardless of their theology was the spirit of patriotism. And for two decades I embraced that philosophy.
But when we embrace a patriotic spirit and when we consciously and unconsciously look at things through that prism, it significantly alters our view of Scripture and the gospel itself. Our statements of faith remain intact but our practice of that statement of faith is observably mutated. We have taken the faith called Christianity and modified it to fit into a nationalistic mold which in effect changes its very nature in many ways.
It is time the church allows the Spirit to purify her and bring forth a fresh vision of who Jesus has called us to be. Regardless of how moral or how prosperous any nation claims to be, that nation is not the church and is utterly fallen. But the devil is well equipped to appear as an angel of light and to entice believers into worshiping idols. It would be well for us to realize that good intentions do not guarantee Biblical results. It has to be obvious that something must change and that with the darkness so deep and pervasive the church of Jesus Christ seems to exhibit precious little light.
II Chron.26:16-20 - But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.
17 And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:
18 And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.
19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.
20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.
ing Uzziah goes into the Temple and desires to light some incense in honor of Jehovah. And the Scriptures say that generally Uzziah did that which was right in God’s sight. But when he goes into the Temple, even though his intentions may have been pure, God smites him with leprosy. And the priests gather to remove him from that holy place. And yet today preachers by the thousands invite politicians to come and offer a word in the very place where God is supposed to be worshiped?
I do not claim that withdrawing your allegiance from any nation or government, to say nothing of a political party, is the end all to spiritual revival. In many ways it is just the beginning of a personal winnowing process in which the Spirit reveals more and more chaff that has been allowed to gather in our lives. But nationalism continues to be more than just a hindrance in the church; it is killing our spiritual power. Let me illustrate something.
The Chinese people pay income taxes as well as some corporate taxes. Now we all know that the Chinese people have no representation in their government. So in essence they could rightly claim that they have “taxation without representation”. If we embrace America as the model, we could encourage the Chinese people, including believers, to take up arms and violently overthrow their government like the founding fathers did. And to put the icing on the cake, we could openly suggest that God would be in favor of it. This is of course in direct violation to everything the New Testament teaches.
Do you see how absurd that would be? But a lie, if it is taught over the span of many generations, becomes the truth. And this lie that God orchestrated the Revolutionary War and that America started as a Christian nation is not some innocuous assertion. It has led to much self righteousness, a carnal competitive spirit, moral hubris, and unholy alliance with Christ and a fallen culture. And after decades of such teaching much of the western church has become identified with western culture and practice with a light sprinkling of religion.
This philosophy has had many unbiblical effects. Many believers enthusiastically support “just wars” which usually means if it is the best interest of America. Even indiscriminate violence like bombings and drone hits are considered necessary collateral damage, even when innocent women and children meet a violent death. Another effect is that westerners, including believers, view American lives as more precious than any others. It is the nature of the beast called nationalism.
Another pronounced effect is what nationalism and patriotism has done to the gospel, both in definition and practice. Moralism is now widely accepted and believers by the millions spend all kinds of energy attempting to change their culture through political leverage and the power of organized voting blocks without the gospel. And in metaphorical terms the camel’s nose is not only sticking under the ecclesiastical tent, but the camel is now seated inside the tent.
I hope and pray that many thousands of believers will first be spiritually disturbed by what they are witnessing this election year. And then I pray they will allow the Holy Spirit to lead them into a fresh journey of freedom without the bondage of earthly allegiances. May God receive all the glory for all of it!


Richard Ludwigson Jr said...

Rick, I really appreciate your insights and am thankful for finding your blog. I do not remember exactly how that happened but I am certain that God planned it. I also think that it would be helpful for more people/christians to have access to your writing. Have you considered setting up links to other sites such as facebook and twitter so that we your readers could link to your writing on those other sites and share your message with our friends in that way. I really hope that you will consider this. In Christ, Richard Ludwigson Jr

Rick Frueh said...

Thank you for your kindness, Richard. I am very illiterate when it comes to such things. But if you will e-mail me with directions as how to provide the facebook link I will do it.

My phone does not even text much less twitter!

Diane said...

Based on previous writing you've done regarding how ministers should respond if ordered to commit some act which violates their conscience,I was just telling my niece that the Catholic church should refuse to implement this plan, and wait to see what comes. Fighting would make for some fireworks, but simple resistance is the better way here, imho.

Rick Frueh said...

Yes, that would be preferable to complaining and political activism. But that is not the Roman Catholic way, or even the evangelical way as well.

Richard Ludwigson Jr said...

Rick, I apologize for not checking back yesterday, but I am happy to see that you were able to add the linkage. I will be using the links to share the message that God is using you to share with the world. I have only been reading for the last month or so but am being blessed every day. God is great and he is in control.