Monday, December 08, 2008

American Christians: We've Been Had

There have been many complaints and diatribes about the latest liberal wins, economic woes and cultural chaos. One article at Newsmax had a clever title: We've Been Had.

Some economic conservatives decry political and economic liberalism. Others bemoan the growth of homosexual influence, weak families and the continuing abortions. Which is more important? Who is right? Who is wrong?

They are both wrong.

Both concerns are misguided.
In and of themselves they seem important. Yet what if we gain the whole politico-cultural world and lose our soul?

History bears out this truth. Simply pick up a good history book and read how the ancient church transformed the wicked and pagan Roman Empire from the inside out. Continue to read and learn how the church, now in political and economical power, became progressively weak and ignorant leading to the Middle Ages (dark to be sure, but better than raw paganism).

By the late Middle Ages, rulers were taking kickbacks, unnecessary wars were being fought and economic poverty was real in many ways. But that was not all. Public drunkenness was rising, priestly concubinage was well-known and graft was too common. Sound familiar?

Church leaders (laymen and priest alike) did want reformation, with a small 'r': fix the politics (kickbacks) or fix the culture (families). Professor Chadwick summarized it thusly:

"When churchmen spoke of reformation, they were almost always thinking of administrative, legal, or moral reformation; hardly ever of doctrinal reformation. They did not suppose the Pope's doctrine to be erroneous." (The Reformation, 13)

Well, then, what woke the nominally Christian culture from its sleep?

The Reformation. The Holy Spirit raised up leaders within her midst that attacked doctrinal heresies. Like the prophets of old, Luther, Calvin and others confronted not only the errors in practice but the errors of doctrine. They followed their Lord and Savior who preached to the Church first, calling a spade a spade. Heretical doctrines of the Sadducees (no resurrection) and the Pharisees (legalism) were systematically confronted and eradicated by Christ and then by His disciples.

Upon a moment's reflection, dear reader, you will recall all that heavy doctrine in the Epistles, especially in Paul. Reflection in another direction will show how common-sense this is: correct principles leads to correct actions. Conversely, actions reflect what one believes. Sin warps the direct correlation (even Christians sin!) but the general truth is just the same.

The Newsmax article, Bailout Bunk: We've Been Had, is certainly timely as far as economics goes. But with virtually all Christians in America with a pagan worldview and 57% denying Christ alone for salvation, that article and its title should be rewritten: American Christians: We've Been Had: Doctrine DOES Make a Difference.


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