ENEMIES OF JESUS
There are many enemies of the gospel and to the teachings of Jesus. Liberal theologians; modern philosophers; prosperity teaching; television evangelists; the emergent church; and on and on the list goes. But I believe the single most insidious poison within evangelicalism is nationalism. It has become an accepted tenant of the faith and it makes the Word of God of none effect.
It is this man made principle which is shielded from the light of the Holy Spirit and is protected from the clear teachings of Jesus Himself. The tortured logic goes something like this: All the teachings about forgiveness, non-violence, humility, self denial, and being gracious to your enemies are rendered impotent and irrelevant when the interests of a nation are at stake and you happen to have lent your allegiance to that particular nation. The teachings of the New Testament are not applicable when you are defending your earthly citizenship. That is quite astonishing.
Professing believers will fight over this and churches and pastors teach, promote, and practice this kind of compromised Christianity with pride and boldness. And this kind of belief system renders the faith just an appendage to a well rounded American lifestyle. It means that the New Testament is little more than a history book and not only is not at odds with a hedonist culture but is practiced as an American faith. Persecution? For what? The church politically defends traditional marriage and its stand against abortion and these views are Biblically correct. However we can never be persecuted for Jesus’ sake since we like Hansel and Gretel have lost the way back to Him. The birds of nationalism have eaten the ancient landmarks and now we as believers are more American than we are Christian. And we do not even look for the path back. We live in nice harmony with the witch who is systematically starving us spiritually. Today we do not even loom for the way back. We live in harmony with the witch who is systematically starving us spiritually. Jesus is now a onetime get-out-of-hell Savior but He is far from being Lord. And if we do not see and teach Him as Lord, than just who are we teaching?
Of course the obvious question is this: Do the teachings of Jesus transcend anything here on earth? Are His teachings pervasive in any and all circumstances or is there a major caveat? If you believe that your allegiance to a nation changes His teachings then you believe national allegiance supersedes what He taught and lived. And that belief system can never be seen as the faith once delivered to the saints. It is a fraud and a bastard and yet it has an incredible stronghold upon the evangelical church in America. Flags adorn the place of worship and believers place their hands over their hearts in a show of allegiance. Where believers once were arrested for not bowing before a king, today believers bow before a secular and ungodly nation.
But even the smallest inquiry about the spiritual and Scriptural validity of such patriotism is met with fierce resistance. Human logic and human reasoning are foundation to defending such an earthly alliance and allegiance. And also at its core is an embarrassing rewriting of history which would make the brothers’ Grimm blush. This kind of belief is nicely packaged and presented with fanfare and emotion and is espoused by millions of professing believers. Many are well meaning people who have accepted what they are taught and thereby have become anesthetized toward any deep and uncomfortable search for Christ and His truth.
Much of the problem originates from seeing ourselves as earthly citizens rather than heavenly pilgrims. Instead of being carriers of the gospel ark to the whole world while on our way to Christ we have planted our stakes into fallen soil and now enjoy the forbidden fruit rather than the grapes of Eschol.
Lk.6: 46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
If you peruse the teachings of Jesus you will find that they are revolutionary and against even the accepted mores of this present day culture. His teachings are multilayered and the very fine china of human behavior. While this so called “Judeo-Christian” culture has established a few major tenants of morality the teachings of Jesus emasculate that fallen attempt to appear righteous and moral. In fact, the teachings of Jesus filet the heart and lay waste our outward shows of political and national religion which is nothing in God’s eyes.
We are called to obey the teachings of Jesus. It is quite curious that so many loudly proclaim the Law of Moses and its relevance for today while ignoring the life changing words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Just the Sermon on the Mount indicts the evangelical church at large. We have not just put the cart before the horse, we have made our own ox cart and left the horse within the doctrinal stall. But the teachings of Jesus are only burdensome when we embrace the tension between what the culture dictates and what Jesus has said. If we reject outright and wholly the dictates, mores, and morals of this culture then there is no tension. But if we embrace nationalism we embrace a Trojan horse full of compromise, dilution, and outright disobedience to our Master’s words and ways.
Have you ingested what I am saying? What I am suggesting and contending is that what is overwhelmingly taught and practiced in western evangelicalism is not New Testament Christianity and does not follow the teachings of Jesus. Did you get that? Many of us who would agree with that statement were once walking in that deception. We are still not perfect and must pursue Christ with all of our hearts but our eyes have been opened to the diabolical attraction of nationalism. We are all unprofitable servants, however when the Spirit frees us from bandage we must walk toward the light and let the chains fall at our side.
If Jesus is to be Lord of all He cannot have any competitors. None of our allegiance can go anywhere else but to Him. We love our families and we have a God given responsibility toward them but our allegiance is to Christ alone. And if Jesus is Lord than we must know exactly what He taught and seek to allow the Spirit to conform us to those words. All of them and none other.