The teasing finally paid off. My pastor, Dr. Jay Cook, has written a new blog post this week about Chuck Colson’s address to the SBC meeting.
Believe it or not, I have a few reactions to Jay’s post/ Colson’s speech.
Here’s the gist of Colson’s speech, in Jay’s post:
“After all a nation’s culture is its religion incarnate. Did you know that 1/3 of American adults consider themselves evangelical Christians? What would happen if 1/3 of Americans took their faith seriously?”
1. )”Christian” doesn’t mean to many people what it does to actual church goers. “Christian” means something like “spiritual, righteous, and nice” to most people. That’s why you have mobs of people calling themselves “Christian” who belong to no organized church, whose beliefs run the gamut.
2.)Admittedly there are many more non-evangelical Christians, but my reaction to 1/3 of the populace being evangelical Christian is that the other 2/3 voting block is going to run the country, and quite rightly, too. We’re a representative democracy, after all.
3.) I think it’s a historical fallacy to consider America a “Christian” nation, because as someone pointed out,
Joh 14:21 NET. The person who has my commandments and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
There are entirely too many “Christians” who do not obey His commandments.
I also think, in this vein, it is a fallacy to call the historical Western Civilization after Constantine “Christian”, for the same reason. I am not an Origenist, I don’t think all will be redeemed. I think theology and history are against it.
“…they are trying to take away the conscience clause (so all doctors must perform abortions if asked to) – groundwork is being laid to make any disagreement (or preaching) against sins (like homosexuality) considered hate crimes – and we could go on and on because our governmental leaders are going on and on.”
This is a failure of democracy, not a failure of Christianity. Christianity has spent most of its days in a world where democracy was all but unknown. Why would we then be surprised if the wheel turns back? Early Christians fought the government and the culture, and it went from sporadic torture and execution to widespread torture and execution before Constantine. Yet Christianity thrived in that situation.
Thus it is historically naive to think, “Government and culture are against Christianity! Whatever will we do?”
For that matter, as I point out during election years in particular, “Jesus is a monarchist”.
There are also these things to remember:
Joh 15:18-24 NET. “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. (19) If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you. (20) Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed my word, they will obey yours too. (21) But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. (22) If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But they no longer have any excuse for their sin. (23) The one who hates me hates my Father too. (24) If I had not performed among them the miraculous deeds that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen the deeds and have hated both me and my Father.
Joh 16:33 NET. I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage — I have conquered the world.”
“(2) Our economy is breaking down. In the past 6 months we have taken our national debt to levels never dreamed (except maybe in nightmares). Billions of dollars are being spent on things that will in NO way help the economy. And it’s only going to get worse.”
I don’t disagree, but that is politics. Baptists believe in separation of church and state, not the least because of Jesus’ words above. When we get so concerned about the world’s issues, we inevitably become too worldly for our own good. I think it hurts the SBC to speak politically as a unit.
“(3) Terrorism is still rising. No matter how sweetly we speak with the radicals, it will NOT help because their desire is not dialogue – their desire is to destroy us.”
No. I think their desire is to make the world into their image of it. They would be happpy if we were dhimmis under a world Islamic government. Their problem is the same as much of the world’s culture: freedom, and free speech, are just not popular except as an idea. As the saying goes, it’s one thing to defend free speech; it’s another to defend the free speech of someone whose ideas utterly repulse you.
“(4) We are losing our national identity. We are forgetting who we are – what we came through – what we stood for…”
As Americans? Yep. As Christians? In many ways, too. And as is historic and theological, Christians aren’t really citizens of any country, or members of any race, except Christianity. Early apologists spoke of Christians as a new, third race, separate from the Greco-Romans and all the barbarians, and thus, not obliged to follow either other race’s culture. That we need to recover.
“Really, our country’s worldview is warped. Rarely do we (yes, even we Christians) look at life through the eyes of faith. Instead, faith is either a part of our lives (instead of the totality of our lives) – or it is considered archaic. And all of our troubles can be seen as a result of immorality – yes all of our troubles! If we thought and acted like we should, we would not be in the mess we are in.”
Again, not in complete disagreement. But I think a great deal of the problem is our natural indifference (We like our lifestyles or we would change them; the problems seem so vast compared to any individual) and the inherent problem of the I vs we. We are individualistic, and we put ourselves ahead of others. Again, as someone has said,
Mat 25:31-46 NET. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. (32) All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (33) He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (34) Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (35) For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, (36) I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ (37) Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? (38) When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? (39) When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ (40) And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’ (41) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! (42) For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. (43) I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ (44) Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ (45) Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ (46) And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”