Thursday, June 07, 2012

Until We See, We Will Not See

Until We See, We Will Not See

All war stories are usually only an antiseptic perspective that is captured by history and can be viewed as anything but what it is in reality. War is an incredibly brutal portal into the barbarous nature of a fallen race, regardless of which side seems to have the more “righteous” cause. And the many different ways in which this same fallen race has magnified and glorified the act of war is just another looking glass into the unfathomable depth of that which we call the fallen nature of man. We would consider it most horrific had we not been inoculated through systematic exposure in television, movies, and books, as well as being taught that violence is a primary measuring stick of valor.

This is in addition to violence being antithetical to all that Jesus, the final and complete revelation, lived and taught. It is an astonishing act of deception that violence, even the ultimate practice of violence called war, has been made an acceptable element of the Christian faith. The Trojan Horse called nationalism has dragged war inside the Christian camp and convinced professing believers that all the teachings of Jesus must give way to a more patriotic view of world affairs. It is situational ethics at its ultimate compromise.

But it is true that if you have allegiance to any nation, then war will always be a viable option to preserve, protect, and defend the rights and lifestyle of your national loyalties. But inherent in such a view is a catastrophic compromise that does spiritual violence to the very essence of the faith of Jesus. This is no eschatological disagreement or some minor doctrinal variance. Violence, and especially violence on a sweeping scale, cannot be seen as anything but in opposition to the principles of Christ.

But when we are reared in a society and culture of violence we are ultimately numbed to the utter horror of such things. We are bombarded with all kinds of violent scenes, many of which depict victory through violence for some greater moral cause. And added to that we have listened to many a sermon which openly suggests that God supports certain kinds of violence, especially when it pertains to the cause of earthly freedom. And America happens to be, coincidentally, the earthly champion of such freedom.

But if we take the Word of God as the Word of God, and if we take the New Testament as the applicable revelation to the church, then we must be disingenuous with the Scriptures to embrace war and violence. The writer of Hebrews tells us that God spoke and acted in many different ways in the Old Testament, but that God speaks now and completely through Jesus Christ. In fact, everything that happened in the Old Testament were shadows that pictured the Lord Jesus Himself. “You have heard, but I say,” is more than just an added emphasis. In fact, Jesus Himself is the Word.

Do not ask me to explain all the mysteries contained in the Old Testament. There are many things which seem very curious, especially in light of the teachings of Christ. But this we do know: That Jesus is God in the flesh, and what proceeds from His mouth is absolute truth and must not be compromised by the mixing of either Old Testament scenarios or modern views of nationalism and patriotism.

And it is here the kidnapping began. When Constantine incorporated Christianity into his government and for his own purposes, the trail of tears began. Slowly but surely believers embraced a compromised version of the faith of Jesus even to where they believed God took sides in war and violence and used such carnage to further His own kingdom. And against all that Jesus taught and lived, the organized church lent her garments to earthly governments and earthly allegiances and thereby turned her back upon the Redeemer.

And when such a compromise finds its way into the church, it begins to grow and seep into all areas of the church. No longer does the church see sinners as whited fields ready for the gospel, but we now see them as enemies that we label liberals or atheists or gays or Muslims or many other demeaning monikers. And all that is necessary for believers to descend into carnal self righteousness is to make the souls of men our enemies. And yet our Redeemer dies for those souls we so callously drape with our caustic rhetoric. It is most unseemly and completely outside the Person of Jesus Christ.

And when we see the church spend inordinate amounts of time and money attempting to clean the outside of the cultural cup through ballots and information and political activism, then we can be assured that the church no longer actually believes the gospel outside some distant doctrinal sense. The church has all but forsaken the gospel except a few end of sermon cameos. We no longer believe that the power of the gospel through a broken and praying church can change the world.

Who would ever believed that we could leave Jesus and trust in horses and chariots? Who would have thought that we would agree with the kingdom of darkness that politics could change the culture? Who could ever have imagined that the church would join hands with unbelievers and cultists and even conservative hedonists? But in our own lifetime these things have come to pass.

The organized church has become a whore. She has invited the enemies of God into her very bedchambers and committed spiritual adultery, and she invites God to watch. So called preachers climb on church rooftops so everyone can witness their bed chambers. Could anyone have predicted such a thing? Preachers encourage church members to have sex every day for a month. Why is there no exhortation to pray for two hours every day for a month? The entire spectacle is insane.

And yet from Ravi Zacharias to Rob Bell to John MacArthur to Rick Warren to Joel Osteen to Kenneth Copeland and all the rest, they all are joined in a debilitating form of idolatry. Nationalism. Until we repent and cast out the bondwoman the church will continue to limp along like Tiny Tim and without an authentic demonstration of the power of God’s Spirit. Is not something dramatically wrong? How long will we blame the liberals and the prosperity folks or the emergent movement?

How long will we refuse to gaze into God’s mirror and see what He desires for us?


Anonymous said...

Please don't take my comments as unloving. I agree with you, as most Christians ultimately would; but now that we know the problem, what is the practical solution. How far do we disengage. Almost every aspect of our daily life now involves government or organizations/corporations that are in some way involved with the war machine. While Jesus espoused and embodied peace and forgiveness, he did not dwell on every possible manifestation of his will. Would it be enough to blog the very Words of Jesus? How many would say: "What's the point?" If the Holy Spirit does not bloom the Words of Christ in our hearts and minds, what chance will public contention have. Over the years, I have heard perhaps thousands of great arguments that probably made utmost sense; but have somehow left me now. However, the amazing, wonderful workings of His Holy Spirit sears what He wants us to know into our very beings. Yes, it is tragic that nationalism and patriotism have been venerated so highly within the Church - even to the point of war mongering. But we have seen it before in other forms. "Christians" today see no issue or shame in demanding material excesses from the Holy Christ who died for them, endured the immeasurable wrath of God on their behalf, and offers them ETERNAL life. Hardly anyone thinks to ask what WE can do for HIM. My point is that even with nearly daily exposure to Gods's Word, these attitudes and beliefs persist and flourish. Rather than discourse, there should be prayer, prayer, prayer. There is so much information overload today that I can't fathom how anyone could navigate towards the truth. Thank God the Holy Spirit still works his wonders! The power of our worldly tools is nothing. Yes, we need to disengage; not just from the horrors of the world, but also from worldly solutions to spiritual problems.

Rick, thanks so much for your obedience to Our Lord. Your words have been a real blessing to me and many times kick-started much need study in The Word.


Steve said...

A book I read called "Jesus for President" (on connecting American politics and Christianity) presented an idea I've never forgotten.

The authors noted that most Christians accept the idea of "restorative violence:" that some evils are SO great, they can only be set right by violence.

Like you, I don't feel that I fully understand all of God's ways in commanding the Israelites to war. Until I have more light on those scriptures, I can't regard our faith as "pacifist" (which is probably a human category, anyway).

But clearly the idea of "restorative violence" is fundamentally contrary to the Spirit and mind of Christ.

In Jesus, Steve

Rick Frueh said...

"Rather than discourse, there should be prayer, prayer, prayer."


Anonymous said...

I think there needs to be PREACHING. Not sentimental sugary "sermons" nor feel-good fantasies, but real preaching by men (and women) who have been with the Lord and who count all as nothing for knowing Christ. PREACHING that declares the mind and heart of the Lord through His whole Word. Prophetic preaching (by prophetic, meaning communicating the thoughts of the Lord, iconoclastic, tearing down and plucking up so the good can be built up.) The kind of preaching that will get one hated, rejected, spoken against; but also get many born again, saved, delivered, and into apostolic church life.

Rick, you do this kind of preaching here on this site.