Elevating the ‘Christian Nation’ Heresy I

Christian Nation Heresy

What Wrong With This Heresy?

It seems not to occur to us that when he refused the Satan’s offer of earthly power and glory, Jesus wasn’t leaving it for us. Rather he showed us that we like him are to shun the Satan’s offer. But we don’t get it.

That, or we refuse to get it. This is because what Satan offered is exactly what many so-called ‘conservative’ Christians want. Translation?

While they don’t admit it, many ‘conservative’ Christians believe Jesus got the Satan’s temptation wrong. They think Jesus ought to have taken the offer. Consequently, they work to gain what Jesus relinquished.

Where relationship to earthly power is concerned, many fundamentalist and broader evangelical ‘Christians’ take up a flag in one hand and a cross in the other, and declare their spiritual solidarity with Lucifer.

Dr. Ray Rooney Jr.

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What an opportunity the political landscape of America has provided for her church.

Friday last, Ray Rooney published a piece for the American Family Association. The title comes in the form of the question, ‘On the Cusp of National Revival?’

When Jesus wrote the church at Philadelphia, he said ‘I have put before you an open door which no one can shut’ [Re 3:8]. In a Biblical theology, ministry is an outgrowth of the work of Jesus. The suggestion that churchly opportunity arises from the shifting political landscape is born of rank unbelief. It also postulates US political culture as the mediator of divine blessing.

Moreover, Mr. Rooney recalls that twice, President Obama was elected. He equates those years with rising debauchery and bestial impulses bent on effecting political tyranny in the land. For his assertions, he offers not the slightest theoretical analysis. Are we to accept this because he says it?

Likewise, the church appeared to have fallen into apostasy during the Obama years. He continues…

‘And the church provided little in the way of hope for change or guidance; she was more interested in being accepted by the puppeteers of culture driven by darkness than transforming the lost through the proclamation of God’s righteousness and the powerful blood of Jesus Christ. ‘

Partisan Gospel

We should have no illusions about Ray Rooney’s partisan gospel. His unstated premise implies a correlation between partisan fortunes and faithful proclamation leading to God’s blessing. That is a lie. It is heresy. It is blasphemy. A partisan gospel is not a universal gospel. And the gospel of Jesus is for all people. This includes so-called ‘liberals.’

Mr. Trump’s election is the switch on which this twisted narrative turns. It now appears that we may stand on the cusp of a national revival. He wants us to know that evangelical leaders made a difference on Nov 8.

What ‘Christian’ Influence!

With many fine exceptions, the reality is that the North American church serves as a conduit connecting political process and the White House with the gutter. Such presidential nominations as we have seen in this election cycle are vomited up when a political order is in terminal decline. Still, this doesn’t prevent Rooney from ‘going evangelical’ and saying:

‘We will always have a welcome and needed contingent of people calling the body of Christ to love, forgive, and accept God’s love.’

This constitutes neither Mr. Rooney nor the American Family Association for which he writes as one of those fine exceptions. The narrative to which he returns about sin and salvation does not mesh with a partisan gospel. But he apparently prefers that we see it otherwise.

God willing, more on this tomorrow.

Christian College and Sanctified Sadism

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Christian College

Summer is ending and fall nears. Teachers assemble and arrange lesson plans and accompanying materials. Students pack their bags and resign to another year at Fundy U. For some, it’s more looking forward to seeing friends again. For others, it is a sentence to an institutional existence, one designed to stunt maturation by removing any basis for responsibility.

Where You’ll Go

Be their destiny Pensacola Christian, West Coast Baptist, Maranatha Baptist University, Snob Clones or some other equally contentious College contender for the faith, these youths can expect that all their decisions will be made for them. Presented as a policy to cultivate maturity, this is in fact a recipe for the opposite.

What You’ll Hear

In mandatory classrooms, chapel homilies and church services, youths will hear, implicitly or explicitly, that America’s wars are holy wars and God requires their support. They will hear that the best calling for women is to marry a good man and serve him well as a faithful wife and mother. They will hear that Christians are under attack on all sides, that science is not to be trusted, and that authority is not to be questioned.

Whether by direct instruction, by practice, or by both, it will be clear that dissent is not tolerated. They will know that they should be the vanguard of the most right-wing, regressive causes in the land. Some will witness young people being recruited for Cesar’s legions. They will receive status and they will be elevated for emulation by all.

What You Won’t Hear

But students will not hear of the intersection of power and corruption. And if that intersection is named at all, it will be in connection with causes the board and administrative arm of such schools deemed to be anti-Christian, un-American, left-wing, radical, and more. They will not hear that corruption and power meet in the law enforcement community.

What You’ll Do

powerBut some will question. Some will read Os Guinness’ quote. Some will land in disciplinary hearings for infractions of rules which are not Biblical, but which reflect someone’s idea of what being Biblical might look like or mean.

Others won’t question; but they will see through the superficial rationales, the pathetic, self-serving explanations, the self-gratifying power-trips of room spies and administration lackeys and the sheer superficiality of practices which pay endless lip-service to grace and faith while inwardly dying for any lack of connection with the Spirit.

What Happens Then

Some will quit on faith. They will go through the motions, say what must be said to remain in the community, and on graduation turn their back not only on all they heard, but on faith itself. Some will go deeper, and will emerge from that process with a faith deeper, wiser and certainly more gracious than the finest faculty professions. Others will walk away but come back many years later, demonstrating that the best efforts of ‘Christian institutions’ to eradicate student faith may come to naught.

Have a good year!

When Equally Valid Narratives Conflict

Conflicting Narratives

Conflicting Narratives

Child Rearing Narratives

Parents who don’t provide rules and guidelines to keep their children under control doom them to a life of lawlessness and sorrow.

Parents who try to control their child with more rules just create a little Pharisee. And little Pharisees eventually become big Pharisees.

Church Fortune Narratives

Conservative fundamentalist churches are growing because God is blessing them for their faithfulness.

Conservative fundamentalist churches are dwindling because they are persecuted for their faithfulness.

Authority Narratives

The Bible is our authority. And we know that the Bible is correct because it comes from God.

God is our authority. And we know that we’ve got God right because it says so in the Bible.

National Narratives

America is a Christian nation that is uniquely blessed and used by God. Our nation is a beacon on a hill!

America is a pagan nation that is rotten to the core. Our IFB churches alone bear witness to the light!

[A]Historical Narratives

1966 — In the last 40 years, liberalism swept the land. Old markers are gone. We are awash with demonic doctrines and pagan lifestyles.

2016 — In the last 40 years, liberalism swept the land. Old markers are gone. We are awash with demonic doctrines and pagan lifestyles.


Is it just me, or does something here not quite right?

A Church of Fundamental Faithlessness

A clear demonstration of the meaning and power of God's kingdom intention.
A clear demonstration of the meaning, power and soteriological intent of the kingdom of God.

If we see Kingdom justice and Gospel righteousness as an ‘either/or,’ we might want to rethink a few things. More easily said than done. Why?

Luke 4x18-19

Whenever justice is mentioned, panic erupts. Accusations of heresy follow. Could the intention be to retain earthly systems of power and authority intact? Recall the uproar caused by Jesus’ birth:

‘When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him’ [Mt 2:3].

What produced Herod’s distress if not his deep reliance ON Caesar’s authority? And Jerusalem’s distress: why did good Jewish believers react the same way to Jesus’ birth unless it was because they as much as Herod were deeply invested in that earthly power system called imperial Rome?

Another GospelPreaching, teaching, reinterpreting the law and the prophets, miracles and healing, exorcisms, raising Lazarus, controversies with temple bosses, lawyers and pharisees — Jesus continually resisted the powers of this age! That was his agenda, which makes it our agenda. We can sympathize with council’s exasperation with Jesus:

“If we let him go on like this, all men will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place [jobs, status] and our nation.” [Jo 11:48].

The kingdom that Jesus embodied evoked a faith incompatible with the powers of this age. That’s the thing. We know where Jesus’ agenda took him; we know where it will take us. An exasperated Thomas put it best:

‘”Let us also go, so that we may die with him”‘ [Jo 11:16]!

And what of us?

Do not we separate kingdom and Gospel in order to avoid confronting the earthly powers of War, Famine, Pestilence and Death in Jesus’ Name? Is that not why no less than Jerusalem, Herod, the council or Thomas, many of us are dismayed by a mere mention of kingdom or justice?

What if Gospel fidelity isn’t at issue at all? What if it is a frantic desire to escape the potentially lethal consequences OF faithfulness to the King?

What if the issue is that our devotion and loyalty to Caesar runs deeper than our commitment to the risen Lord of Creation, Jesus Christ?

What if the interest is to preserve our deep investment in that earthly power system called ‘Capitalism’ or the ‘United States of America?’

What if the issue is that we have confidence in the United States military than in the promises of God to keep and preserve us?

What if it is that the narrative of American Exceptionalism of Manifest Destiny is more compelling for us than Jesus’ death and resurrection?

What if our ‘trust’ is invested in our political system and its functionary head of state, in our national economy, in our military, in our stories of and belief in American greatness? What if these are the idols to which we cling bow down in reverence? What if that is our de facto religion and all that remains of our ‘faith’ are platitudes about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, a gospel offer of forgiveness, and future blessedness?

Such a ‘faith’ incarnates nothing, disturbs nothing, challenges nothing. Since this ‘kingdom’ has no earthly implications [for the present at least], there is no reason it should cause an uproar.

Perhaps Caesar, Herod, the Jerusalem city and council, scribes and pharisees understood better than many fundies and evangelicals the import of Christ’s presence. That may be a good reason to ponder the view of kingdom and of Christian/nation relations in another post.