Monday, April 16, 2012

War - Seducing the Church

War - Seducing the Church

Is it right to murder an abortion doctor because he is murdering the unborn? Another words, is it right to do wrong to prevent another wrong? Most evangelical believers would strongly disagree with murdering abortion doctors to keep them from killing people living in a womb.

But then why do those same people support killing born people to keep them from all sorts of mischief? Why does that same principle not apply to war?

It’s because we’ve been taught that war is acceptable as long as it is declared by a collection of fallen men and women, with a light sprinkling of professing believers. So as long as approximately 635 people say it’s OK to kill people in a war, the church is obligated to acquiesce to their brand of morality? And what about the New Testament Scriptures that tell us to do otherwise?

Well, those must be sifted through the prism of nationalism. In other words, the teachings about loving and doing good to your enemy end where the Constitution begins. The Constitution takes precedence over the Word of God in such cases. What does that say about our faith and the depth of our commitment to the teachings of Jesus? It clearly presents a platform of compromise and dilution when His teachings conflict with the dictates of a secular nation.

But the inconsistency remains. If it is moral and right to kill Afghans because they might kill others who live in houses, then it must be right to kill abortion doctors since they are openly murdering people who live in wombs. To compartmentalize murder and render one as moral and one as immoral is disingenuous and is doctrinally hypocritical. But war seems so acceptable and even competitive. And when America “wins” a war, there is a feeling of accomplishment and superiority.

And those feelings are normal among citizens of any earthly nation. But these are not the feelings that should be exhibited by citizens of a higher kingdom not of this world. If violence in the defense of others is a tenant of God’s kingdom, then murdering an abortion doctor is every bit as moral as murdering any other murderer. If murder is a moral currency, then those who murder womb people for money are prime candidates.

This would all be well and good except for one thing: The teachings of Jesus. When we make the teachings of Jesus conform to culture, societal norms, and accepted behavior among nations, then we make His teachings of none effect. His teachings become pliable principles that are little more than situational ethics. Can you not see what we have done to His life and teachings? When His teachings are in line with the fallen culture concerning issues as important as killing and war, then just what impact do His teachings make? Are they just to do the speed limit or return the extra nickel the grocery clerk accidentally handed you?

One of the most glaring problems is that the church is blind to the distinct line of demarcation between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The way God dealt with mankind in the Old Testament included many instances of violence. Much of what happened is a mystery when compared with the overarching teachings in the New Covenant. But when New Testament believers are running around demanding the Ten Commandments be pasted on public walls, or that tornados are being sent by God to punish sinners, then not only have we blurred the line, we have obliterated it.

It is true God approved acts of violence in the Old Testament, and it is true that future violence is revealed in some of the New Testament prophecies, but between those bookends is an age of unspeakable grace. God allows men like Christopher Hitchens and Hugh Hefner and Joseph Smith to speak blasphemies in this age, but we demand sinners in Pakistan pay the price at the indiscriminate journey of a drone? And when we send stealth bombers to drop incredibly powerful incendiaries in a scattered attempt to kill an enemy who may or may not be there, that is an exhibition of the kingdom of God?

But we don’t stone rebellious children. We don’t kill homosexuals (yet). We don’t murder the firstborn of our enemies. So why do we hold tightly to the concept of war? And conveniently all America’s wars seem to be “just”? It is evident that we do not understand the meaning of the word “just”. And in an amazing revelation of modern evil, we now can watch war while we eat dinner and just before we go to the gym. We are immunized from the loss and despair suffered in the lives of those who are the objects of our technological war machines. Children? Collateral damage. It had to be done.

And go inside a greater level of evil. Thousands of churches bow their heads on Sunday morning during the opening days of a war and literally ask God to help us kill more people than are killed by our enemies. Of course after several years, the passion has subsided and the prayers are much more predicable and benign. If and when Israel bombs Iran the passion will once again rise to the top and believers will applaud that action. And we expect the Iranian mother who lost her baby to embrace the gospel? Yea, right.

You cannot be a practicing American and be a practicing Christian. They are incompatible and completely at odds in every way. Go ahead and cling to your “Judeo-Christian” nonsense. Go ahead and balance the fallen with the sacred. Go ahead and have one foot in each camp. I am an American because my parents told me I was born here (I don’t remember that.) and I was told that everyone who is born here automatically is an American. They can call me whatever they deem appropriate.

However I have no citizenship but the kingdom of God. I have no life but that which is hidden in Christ with God. I have no inheritance but that which is in heaven. And by God’s mercy and grace, my eyes have been opened. I will not raise my hand to another man. If that causes me to lose my own life I pray God’s Spirit will grant me the humility and faith to mirror the martyr Stephen.

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Or the little girl named Blandina.


Andrea said...

Hi Rick,

Thank you for taking the time to tell the truth.

What I find so amazing is, the "institutional church" will accuse their brother and/or sister who is exposing deception, unrighteousness, lies, etc. in the body of Christ as judging; however, the "IC" has no problem pointing its judgmental finger at the government and/or sinners for the things they do knowing full well neither has been redeemed.

They are all for the "government" when it comes to killing "the enemy"; however, they are against the government when it's time to pay their taxes. Such double-mindedness has caused many to be unstable in understanding that God so loved the world that he gave his son to save that which is lost.

Such hypocrites we are when we use labels to divide the body of Christ to be a part of a government system that denies our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many Christians will proudly say, I'm a "conservative Republican" Christian or I'm a "liberal Democratic" Christian or I'm a "moderate Independent" Christian. Or the worst one yet, I'm an "American" Christian. Not realizing that we are simply Christians, period.

So many "IC" Christians want to live according to the law and the Old Testament that they don't want to accept that Jesus reconciled to world to himself through his death, burial, and resurrection. They don't want to believe that we are free from the bondage of the law. Every time you turn around so many Christians are asking for laws to be implemented to satisfy their need for self-righteousness; not realizing that they place themselves under the curse of the law when they try to do for themselves what Christ has already accomplished on the cross.

Whom the Son has made free is FREE INDEED!

kelli said...

Good post and good comment Andrea.

Anonymous said...

Twice, just lately, in conversations with Christians about war the movie "Sergeant York" was brought up in defense of it. I've seen the movie and what a piece of propaganda that was! It seems to have convinced a whole generation that to be a Christian/Soldier is a noble and good thing. After all, York found the answers to his doubts in the Bible itself.

And Andrea, you got it right when you said so many want to live according to the law and the OT. I'm thinking that's where Sergeant York got his "inspiration".

Great post, Rick.

Rick Frueh said...

Many, if not most, of the early believers were pacifists and felt that war was not a path for a disciple. It is incredible how a culture can capture the minds of believers until the church not only cheerleads for the world, but participates in their fallen schemes.

People ask, "But whh would have stopped Hitler?" My answer is that the fallen world would have stopped the other fallen world. But even if the Nazis took over all of Europe and Russia, perhaps the church would have gond underground, been purified, been persecuted, and grew greatly as did the church in China.

How often we limit God and confine Him to our ways and thoughts.