A recurring theme of the articles which I have posted on AmericasRight over the past year, starting with “Obama is Not the Problem”, is that the cause of the obvious rush towards leftist policies by the Obama administration and the disintegration of a moral climate based on traditional Judeo/Christian principles does not represent the ascendancy of some new evil force but rather is the logical consequence of the failure of the self-professed “Christian” majority to live up to what they say they believe. In other words, through a process of willful accommodation with the secular world and a departure from fundamental Scriptural principles, the national spiritual conscience as collectively understood and embraced by the Founders has been allowed to devolve into its natural state of darkness, full of frightening possibilities never before contemplated by most Americans. This oft-stated perspective on my part recently elicited the following commentary from one of AR’s frequent and respected visitors:
“Good point (Randy) and one I agree with you on, spirituality is lacking in in America, a country where 80% claim to be Christian. At some point, perhaps we need to have a debate on whether the various churches in this country have lost their way, and more importantly, why. Now that conversation would be interesting.” (sic)
I would like to respond to that challenge (something about “where angels fear to tread” comes to mind) because I think that it is imperative that we understand how we got where we are. If we don’t, all of our efforts to restore America to the path it was placed on by the Founders will be for naught. But first let me explain why I think that this discussion belongs on AmreicasRight.
From a purely political perspective, if the stated “80% majority” were to actually put into practice the teachings to which they ostensibly ascribed upon “being baptized into Jesus Christ” (I believe that most would agree that that is what defines a “Christian”), there would be no opportunity – or need, for that matter – for an ever-expanding and oppressive government, led by a president described by Dorothy Rabinowitz as “single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a reformed America SAVED FROM DARKNESS by his arrival” (emphasis mine). His administration with its bevy of unofficial czars is working clearly and feverishly to create a “just and democratic society” based on Marxist/Socialist philosophy. But what need would there be for “redistributive” policies if 80% of the truly rich eschewed conspicuous consumption and gave of their excess to the needy, the “orphans and widows” of their own free will? And what would be the impetus for workers to form corrosive unions locked in adversarial relationships with management if 80% of both employers and employees followed the Golden Rule? I could go on and on about the causes of our present-day national crisis; racism, pornography, sexual promiscuity/ perversion, family breakdown, abortion, immigration, and even a foreign policy that leaves Israel in danger of annihilation, but the root cause is always the same. Spiritual darkness – the natural state of human nature absent the presence of the Divine Spirit – rises to fill the void created by the apathy, acquiescence, and accommodation, of professing believers.
As the Scripture says in Matt. 5:13-14, “You (i.e. His followers) are the salt (i.e. “preservative”) of the earth” and “the light of the world”. You may note that we describe conditions as the absence of something, not the presence of its opposite. As examples, when we measure temperature, we are measuring the absence of heat, not the presence of cold, and the same is true of light; it is not the presence of darkness that we measure, because complete darkness is the natural state of the universe, including human nature, but rather we measure the presence of light.
Just as the natural state of the physical world absent the effects of the sun is an unimaginably cold, lifeless, darkness, the natural state of humanity absent the effects of the “Light of the World” is spiritual darkness. With this darkness comes undeniable fear as the machinations of the world carry us towards an uncertain future. However, as long as the earth maintains its precise relationship to the sun, as decreed at the Creation of the universe, light and life abound on earth. And so it is with spiritual life and light in the relationship between God and mankind.
When the imperative nature of this spiritual relationship–decreed at creation and personified by Jesus Christ–is altered to suit the impulses of human nature, life and light cease to exist. Then darkness and all that flourishes in darkness reign. It follows, therefore, that the problem we face is not the encroachment of darkness in our present world, for this is simply the natural state of a Godless environment, but rather the failure of professing believers to provide light and life by taking upon themselves the nature of Jesus Christ. This too requires maintaining the precise relationship with the God of Creation prescribed by the Scripture, regardless of how restrictive that responsibility may be perceived to be as viewed from within the “enlightened” context of our present, darkness-loving, self-centered, culture.
This brings us to the commenter’s question of whether “the various churches have lost their way” in this prevailing darkness. If by “churches” we mean the organized, hierarchical, man-ordained, religious institutions, the answer is an unequivocal “no”. They didn’t lose their way in the darkness; they created the darkness by their departure from the simple truth that salvation lies within the relationship between the individual and God; nothing more and nothing less. That has been true since Constantine decreed that Christianity would be the state church of the Roman Empire in 380 AD and continues to this day. The “Why?”, however, is much more difficult to respond to because, in so doing, I will inevitably offend many, if not most, professing 21st century “Christians”. In their attempt to increase their numbers and maintain “brand” loyalty, various sects, denominations, and pseudo-Christian entities, have invented and invoked “distinctives”, or requirements for salvation, which are in direct contradiction of the simple words of Jesus and His apostles who are the writers of the New Testament and the only legitimate source of Christian doctrine. In all-too-many organized religious institutions, the congregants are viewed and treated as “force multipliers” to facilitate the accrual of material wealth and worldly power unto themselves. In other cases they have religiously avoided strict adherence to the simple gospel of Jesus Christ in order to make their brand of faith more attractive to those who would like to believe that they are “Christians” rather than take the Word at face value. As a result, the term “Christian” has lost its meaning and, by and large, the mission of the visible church to provide reflected light by living out the nature of Jesus Christ has itself become the cause darkness.
My contention, therefore, is that if you could poll the “80% majority” referred to above, using Galatians 2:20 (“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.” NASB) as both the minimum and maximum defining criteria for declaring oneself to be a Christian, the number would likely decrease rapidly and might well be closer to 8% than 80%. C. K. Chesterton, the British writer/philosopher, put it another way when he said;
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” (“What’s Wrong With The World”, 1910)
To reiterate, it is my firm belief that the descending darkness is not some new, evil, attack on our way of life, but rather the logical and predictable result of the failure of professing Christians to fulfill their intended role in America and wherever they may be found. This has inevitably and predictably led to the fear-filled environment in which an all-sufficient government has become an attractive alternative to individual freedom and responsibility to a large segment of America. It is for this reason that I continue to believe that any change in administrations will be a short-lived reprieve from the decline of freedom in America. The real antidote to our problems – political as well as social – lies within an authentic and sustained spiritual awakening, the result of which will produce sufficient numbers of individuals who yield to the “mind of Christ” in ALL areas of their lives “as the reasonable spiritual service of worship”, as the Apostle Paul writes in Rom. 12:1-2 (NASB).
With that, you can now pick up your rocks and start throwing. I’ll take it like a man, my only defense being that we all get to choose what we will believe, but we don’t get to choose what defines a “Christian”. That is solely within the purview of the One for whom the term was created. If you can’t accept that, then please, call yourself whatever it is you are, but don’t call yourself a “Christian”. It only confuses people and gives Christianity a bad name.