28 Comments

Michael Horton: The Politics of Enthusiasm


At the White Horse Inn, Michael Horton has written an excellent article

Just as the Iowa straw-poll concluded last Saturday, with Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul taking first and second place, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his candidacy. Happily, the kingdom of Christ is neither threatened nor furthered by the kingdoms of this age. Nevertheless, the way in which not only the media but professing Christians distort Christianity in public should be of serious concern to all Christians—including those who support the political agenda of offending candidates.

…why is it that so many public figures belong to strange churches or identify with extreme movements and leaders?

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28 comments on “Michael Horton: The Politics of Enthusiasm

    • Kelli, i wanted to thank you for the link…that was a very good article! Sorry it took me a few days to get around to reading it… its been a hectic week :-)

  1. Here’s the money quote-
    “Regardless of how one judges the merits of the candidates’ political positions, the close identification of evangelical Christianity with radical enthusiasm (a direct, unmediated, extraordinary work of the Spirit in charismatic individuals) will only become more justifiable in the minds of many of our neighbors. Its politicization will only make it more difficult to have serious conversations with our friends and co-workers not only about the common good of civil society but the gospel”

    Evangelical christianity has sold it’s soul to politics and patriotism but this writer is concerned that his beloved evangelicalism might just be tainted through the politicization of the charismatic/pentecostals? Those crazy charismaniacs are trying to take over the world!!! How wonderful for evangelicalism to have a new frontier to attack pentecostalism as fanatic and extreme.

    All the while, most of evangelicalism wrap themselves in the American flag and some even send their sons (and daughters no less) to far away places to kill and die for their beloved country. Defending against the evil and malevolent enemy du jour that threatens our precious freedom and American way of life. Which btw is degenerating into a moral cesspool. Only religious people could be that blind to not see that patriotism is of the same ilk as dominionism.

    How many “christians” are deceived into participating in a nationalistic policy to affect world influence and control who are at the same time justifiably aghast at the same objectives being presented as christian doctrine and practice. Wake up Christian!! Nationalistic ideals are not christian ideals either. American ideals are not christian ideals. Not when it comes to killing people for our freedom. The church of Jesus Christ is not in the business of killing anyone, for any reason. Period. How hard is it to see that? Where are the preachers denouncing killing in the name of patriotism for any believer? This is not the message of Christ. This is not the way of Christ. This is not the work of Christ. This is not of Christ!!

    The charismatic movement of the 60’s and 70’s primarily came out of the evangelical churches.The charismatic excesses of our day, which are legend, are rooted in the evangelical doctrines of “free grace” and “faith alone”. The simple explanation to these doctrines means that I am not accountable for what I do. I can live any way I want and still get away with it. The evangelical gospel is as sick from head to toe as the dominionist gospel is, though much more prolific and dangerous because of it’s almost universal acceptance as orthodoxy. The dominionist gospel is rooted in the same “false grace” theology which evangelicalism follows in it’s patriotic interests, allowing me to despise discipleship, ignore Christ’s commands and to love and live for this world. Even to the point of destroying men’s lives if necessary. After all, it’s all of grace, don’t you know?

    • “Only religious people could be that blind to not see that patriotism is of the same ilk as dominionism.”

      I think the concern of most of us here is the entanglement between church and state that dominionism represents. The role of the church is to preach the gospel, the role of the state is to maintain order in society. To attempt to join these two in some way inevitably results in a major conflict of interest and is destructive to both church and state.

      Patriotism at is very core is defined as “love of country”. How can one be opposed to that concept? Is our society morally degenerate? Absolutely! In just about every way! But does that mean that we hate our country? Not for me it doesn’t. It certainly means that we pray for our country. And I don’t think that it means that we should hate our flag either or associate all the evil things that some Americans do with our flag just because they use that flag in an abusive and corrupt way. And when it comes to military service, I don’t think we should be judging either those who are conscientious objectors or those who feel called to serve. While I would be the last one to defend everything our country does militarily, I would also assert that you, davo, would not have the freedom to express these thoughts without the protection of that military. And EVERY free country in the whole wide world is dependent to one degree or another on the military power of the US and Western Europe. Of course, the church AS THE CHURCH must NOT get entangled with patriotism. That too can become toxic. The church is called to be focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the church IS called to pray for civil authority and that includes the military.

      “How many “christians” are deceived into participating in a nationalistic policy to affect world influence and control who are at the same time justifiably aghast at the same objectives being presented as christian doctrine and practice. Wake up Christian!! Nationalistic ideals are not christian ideals either. American ideals are not christian ideals. Not when it comes to killing people for our freedom.”

      I think you, yourself, are confusing the role of the church with the role of the government here. We are NOT called AS CHRISTIANS to kill anyone to defend our liberty, BUT we ARE called AS CITIZENS to be LOYAL to those who rule over us. I would quote the scriptures here but I’m sure you know them as well as I do. In God’s economy, governments operate under different rules than individuals. When governments tax, they are not stealing, because God established them to do just that. When governments redistribute wealth, they are not stealing. When governments go to war and people die as a result, they are not murdering, because governments are not held to the same standards as individuals. When governments administer capital punishment they are not murdering. Of course radical conservatives and radical liberals with their unbiblical views of government reject these concepts. But the reality is that government has a unique role in society which includes these not always popular roles.

      “The charismatic excesses of our day, which are legend, are rooted in the evangelical doctrines of “free grace” and “faith alone”. The simple explanation to these doctrines means that I am not accountable for what I do.”

      That is simply not true. “Free grace” and “Faith alone” are quintessential reformational dogmas and NO respectable Lutheran would EVER assert that one is “not accountable” for what they do. You are absolutely correct to suggest that “false grace” otherwise known as “cheap grace” is rampant in the church. But it has been around for quite a while and crosses all denominational lines. Let me tell you that even in the strictest of “holiness” churches “false grace” is rampant and those churches are not famous for “Free grace” or “Faith alone” positions. The same people that hold others to the highest standards make exceptions for themselves regardless of their doctrinal positions on grace itself. Ditto for “Faith Alone” (which, by the way, I don’t subscribe to). There is plenty of “false grace” going on in the Roman Church where wayward priests find easy forgiveness despite a doctrinal position that is far from “faith alone”. The bottom line is that those in the church who are “not accountable” have never genuinely experienced the life changing grace of God because if they had, they would most certainly hold themselves accountable before God. The charismatic excesses of our day are NOT rooted in either “free grace” or “faith alone”, but rather in private interpretation encouraged by “sola scriptura” (scripture alone) and basing doctrine on personal experience and NOT on faith. Immorality in the charismatic groups is no different then the immorality we see everywhere. It is largely a result of an old doctrine of the Roman Church (the calling of God is without repentance) that tolerates immoral behavior from the top down and results in a neglect of church discipline (excommunication, etc).

  2. I’m gonna say it again and then I will leave it. Listen to the instruction for believers in Christ.

    Go, make disciples, teach them to observe everything I have told you.
    He who hears My words and does them is a wise man.
    Whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.
    You are My friends, if you do what I command you.
    If you love Me you will obey Me.
    If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
    If you don’t obey Me, you don’t love Me.
    Why do you call Me Lord, if you don’t do what I say?
    He who is ashamed of Me and My words.
    He who rejects Me and doesn’t receive My sayings.
    My words will judge him in the last day.
    Be doers and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

    There are dozens and dozens more NT scriptures instructing us to obey Jesus Christ and to keep His words. THAT is to be our pursuit, our goal, our ambition, and our passion as christians. To follow Jesus and obey Him. THAT is our biblical mandate, there is no other. Period.

    My favorite scripture:
    “If any man advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing. 1Tim 6:3-4

    Now where is the NT instruction on patriotism and love of country for christians? Where is the NT sanction for war and killing in defense of earthly freedom? Where are we instructed as christians to enter the political fray to preserve our nation and “take back our country”?

    Let me answer… it isn’t there. Anywhere. Search for yourself. This is nothing more than adding to the words of God. We are to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Jesus Christ being such. This is human reasoning usurping the authority of the words of the Son of God.There is no more biblical sanction of political process and patriotic duty for believers than there is for the lunacy of christian world domination. In fact, they are secular cousins. Two peas from the same pod.

    When I became a christian 34+ years ago, I witnessed first hand the rise of the Moral Majority or Christian Right or whatever other name it goes by. What a great idea it seemed to be. But now I must ask, where is the fruit? What is the result? Where is the betterment of our society and advancement of morality and decency in our culture? These were held forth as potential future attainments in that day. Christians were gonna fix everything that was wrong with politics and government. We had arrived to save the day. Has our government been improved or purified? Have morals been improved? As an example, I have lived to see homosexuality, which was at one time considered perverse, rise to the level of acceptance and respectability in our culture. No amount of political activism by the moral crowd has been able to stop it. Carnal weapons will never thwart spiritual assaults, on individuals or nations.

    Most all of us, who have been around for a while, can sense that this nation is slipping away from what we all hoped it would continue to be. Why? With all the christian bluster and technological agenda that is put forth you would think that things would be just fine. Answer. We are doing it wrong!! A return to a radical discipleship of obedience that Jesus taught, where we would become salt and light to a dying world, drawing them to Christ, is the true path. Transformed lives, not political activism is what christianity is about. Do I think it will spare America? NO! Is that the goal? NO! The goal is to build the church. To save a people out from among the nations for His name. A remnant of faithful disciples seeking God’s agenda(the church) through God’s methods(discipleship) is the best hope America has of enduring.

    • “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.”

      Romans 13.2-6 is very clear that government is appointed by God to execute wrath on evil doers and government does that by way of police forces and military forces. Indeed, Christ Himself did NOT rebuke the Roman Centurion, but commended him for his faith. The Centerion in Acts 10 is referred to as a “devout man” who “feared God”. There is absolutely nothing in scripture that indicates that Christians are not to serve their governments in either law enforcement or military careers to further God’s own agenda of maintaining order in society by force of government.

      When one starts to confuse the spiritual life with the civil life things get very confused. For example, in I Corinthians 5.9-13 (below), Paul makes it clear that we are to have a different role in the church from the role we have in the world. In the church we hold people to a higher standard. In the world we understand that the world IS the world. We might work in a market, for example, where liquor and cigarettes are sold, but that does not mean we approve of the use or even sale of such products. Or we might work in a military career. That does not mean we approve of everything that military might do. But, as I Corinthians clearly indicates, in order to remove ourselves from all evil around us, we would have to leave this world, which is a rather impractical solution.

      “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

  3. I watched a documentary recently in reference to the nuclear attack on Japan at the end of WWll. Sometime previous to those events there had been a bombing of the industrial sector of Tokyo which comprised about 1/4 of the city. The US had made a night time attack where they dropped some type of fire bombs that set that part of the city on fire and due to the type of buildings that existed, virtually everything went up in smoke. Estimates were that 100,000 people were killed due to this fire bombing, many of them were innocent women and children.

    The documentary then introduces a man who had been a pilot on one of the fire bombers on that mission to Tokyo. He was retelling the conversation he had with his minister after the mission. He told the preacher,”I don’t know how God could let something like this happen”, “I don’t know how God could let me be a part of something so evil” The preacher said, “Some things are just a mystery that only God knows why”

    This is the kind of nonsense that most of christian ministry has perpetrated to the point that hardly anyone has any conviction for the truth of God’s holy word. It’s an absolute disgrace to the cause of Christ. The scripture says that God hates the hands that shed innocent blood. He hates them! If God hates it I would vehemently discourage anyone who fears God to avoid at all costs, any possibilty, no matter how remote, that they might participate in such evil deeds. Get away from it. It’s not that complicated. You have to choose to believe God over the reasonings and speculations of men. When we cross that one threshold, that God is true and every man a liar, we are on the path to the truth that sets us free.

    There is one basic admonition for every christian in the NT. They are to do good. “Depart from evil, do good, seek peace” “Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good” I can’t find any other directive but for christians to do good. That’s all! We are only to practice good according to the NT, exclusively. It is called the “good fight of faith”. Christians fight with good not evil. Rom 12:21 describes this fight, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” This is the good fight of faith…overcoming evil with good. We believe in the final victory of good over evil and we demonstrate our faith by practicing good in the face of evil, if necessary. Not that hard to grasp.

    Now, is war evil? Or is it good? I have heard sermons in church that say that war is a necessary evil. The explanation is something like this, that war, though it is evil, can bring about a greater good. This is human reasoning, not God’s word. Listen to the Bible

    “And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just. Rom 3:8

    Paul condemns any representation that evil is a means to good. God can bring good out of evil, BUT God does not use evil as a method, ever. He condemns it. Our God is good only, exclusively. As we are instructed to be.

    This scripture should be the goal that every christian should seek to emulate.

    “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
    For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” Acts 20:
    26-27

  4. I thank the Lord for the words of wisdom He has given you, Davo. We who are born of His Spirit are, as Abraham, pilgrims and sojourners passing through this world. Jesus words are so clear in John 18:36, My kingdom is not of this world…. If it were, His servants would fight to give him over to the Jews. We are to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. We are to preach the gospel to those who are asking of the Hope that is in us.
    Nowhere are we told to conquer nations, subdue people or bring judgment on people. We know that “evil will wax worse and worse” until Christ returns. The restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit in believers is holding back the extent of evil that will be unleashed on the earth after the Rapture of the Church, the Bride of Christ. Having those born of His Spirit involved in serving in the military/police forces world-wide is not what keeps or makes peace on earth. There will be no peace until Jesus Christ returns to make a new heaven and a new earth, as this one is fallen and sin-laden, dying and decaying.
    Of course, we are grateful for the governing forces God puts over us in positions of authority, but we use this liberty that God allows to share the gospel of hope. Even Peter said, when told not to preach in Jesus name again, that we have to obey God, not man, Acts 5.

    Our (those born of His Spirit) serving in the military of the United States would/should be as awkward as the same going to Libya to ask to be allowed to serve in their military. Since we would be foreigners there, our goals would be different than what they would expect of us. Since we are strangers there, how could we be loyal to them?

    Those fighting for the moral causes of this world in order to make this world a better place are fighting the wrong battle.
    We are looking for a better place. Our citizenship is in heaven. There doesn’t seem to be many looking for Our Redeemer. Their hope is misplaced. They don’t want to leave here, but would rather make this world a utopian world, which is why they are fighting for this world and it’s causes.
    Satan is the god of this world, which is why he offered Jesus all the kingdoms of this world, if He would but bow down to him. Again, this world is not our home.

    Again, thank you Davo, for your boldness to speak and show us where our true priorities should lie as believers in Our Savior Jesus Christ.

  5. There is an important biblical principle at stake here and that is a matter of whether individual Christians are free to criticize governing authorities whom the Bible itself declares to be the “ministers of God”. David chose not to dare to criticize or strike out against Saul for that very reason. Those who attempt to selectively quote scripture in way as to malign government do so to their own destruction. In I Peter 2.13, Peter states that we are to respect the “king” as “supreme” and “governors” as well. Then we have Paul in Romans addressing the very same issue:

    “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?”

    Thus it is very clear that government and rulers are held to a different standard than individual Christians. God has, in essence, given them carte blanche, a “blank check”, to do as they will, as God leads them, and Christians are called to submit to them EVEN AS UNTO GOD HIMSELF. Those who do not are deemed to be in disobedience to God Himself.

    Strange that those who admonish us to hear the WHOLE counsel of God refuse to hear those passages that speak of government being on a different level than individual Christians and proceed to twist the Word of God such that Biblical exhortations to individual Christians end up being applied to governments and rulers. This is a grand example of private interpretation and is that kind of thing that leads many astray. The choice is yours. The whole counsel of God or selected pieces that speak the message of the interpreter and NOT of God.

  6. Question. How did Horton’s article about his concerns that once again, during this presidential election cycle,

    “….evangelical Christianity will be represented once again by its oddest fringes”

    end up prompting a discussion about war? :-)

    Reading through it once more, it appears his point is by the radical “Politics of Enthusiasm” we see candidates professing Christianity, but presenting nothing more then a caricature of true Christianity, and by doing so the opportunity for the media and/or non-Christians to,

    “distort Christianity…(which) should be of serious concern to all Christians”

    And without a doubt these nuts on parade themselves, appearing before the public day in and day out, do distort Christianity! Not only Christianity but they publicly distort the very character of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Davo, you asked,

    “Now, is war evil? Or is it good?”

    Is this world evil or good? Its sinfully evil brother, and because it will continue that way until Jesus returns, evil men will continue and so will wars.

    Romans 13.2-6 is very clear that government is appointed by God to execute wrath on evil doers and government does that by way of police forces and military forces. Indeed, Christ Himself did NOT rebuke the Roman Centurion, but commended him for his faith. The Centerion in Acts 10 is referred to as a “devout man” who “feared God”.

    George, i’ve always found it interesting that Jesus made no comment as to the man being a Roman soldier, but only marveled at the Centurion’s faith,

    And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

    When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
    And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. Matthew 8

    • PJ, I really think the two issues ARE connected. On the right, we have politicized churches pushing a war agenda, among other things, which is just wrong. BUT … on the left, we have politicized churches pushing an extreme pacifist agenda, which I believe is exactly the position that davo is representing, which I believe to be equally wrong. Frankly, I am VERY turned off by having an American flag in a church sanctuary. I believe that a sanctuary should be just that. A place free of political baggage. On that point I would agree with davo. But then to go on to say things like “All the while, most of evangelicalism wrap themselves in the American flag and some even send their sons (and daughters no less) to far away places to kill and die for their beloved country.” betrays a leftist political agenda that is every bit as dangerous as the rightist one. Make no mistake about it. Dominionism can come from the left as well as from the right and that doesn’t make it anymore compatible with the teaching of scripture. Both approaches use selective interpretation and selective morality to attempt to bully other believers into joining in a political crusade within the church which I completely reject. You have been warning for a long time regarding this right wing conspiracy occurring before our eyes and it just had to happen that someone or multiple someones would attempt to try and hijack the whole thing and pull us all into a mirror image left wing conspiracy. There are indeed brothers and sisters in our churches who send their sons and daughters off to war. We should pray for them and for their safety AND for our country and leaders as scripture admonishes us to do. There are also those brothers and sisters in our midst who hold pacifist convictions and prefer that their children serve in other ways like the peace corps and our prayers and support should be with them as well. We should love our country AND all other countries as well and wish the best for people everywhere and pray that they come to Jesus and NOT try to pursue an angry agenda of politicizing the church.

    • There are indeed brothers and sisters in our churches who send their sons and daughters off to war. We should pray for them and for their safety AND for our country and leaders as scripture admonishes us to do. There are also those brothers and sisters in our midst who hold pacifist convictions and prefer that their children serve in other ways like the peace corps and our prayers and support should be with them as well. We should love our country AND all other countries as well and wish the best for people everywhere and pray that they come to Jesus and NOT try to pursue an angry agenda of politicizing the church.

      Well said George and i agree. :-)

  7. The promotion of patriotism by many evangelical churches and a correlation to the goals of christian dominionism, which some have suggested could even reach the point of violence, got me into a discussion of the error of christianity promoting patriotic duty and the inevitable of participation at some level with war and killing as a result. My contention is that christianity is already distorted by those leaders who claim that they represent the true faith under the nomenclature of “evangelicalism” and that the hypocrisy of endorsing and supporting national patriotism(for lack of a better term) to their congregations has already deceived the hearts of the unsuspecting and bloodied their own hands in the process. Wolves in sheeps clothing is the picture that comes to mind.

    My contention is that “evangelicalism” has lost the fundamental truth that discipleship is the true objective as per the great commission and that faithful obedience to the doctrine and example of Christ would keep us far afield from anything that would lead us into compromising our testimony of representing Jesus Christ as a God of peace. As a christian, how can I stand for peace and war at the same time? It is impossible. Can I kill for the American cause and my feet be shod with the gospel of peace also? Did Jesus mean for His people to make peace at the point of a gun, for the sake of God and country? I am not denying the validity and role of governmental authority in this world, I am questioning the validity of the christian faith in our churches. Governments can make all the war they want, christians are to make peace.

    This isn’t that hard to grasp is it? Who do we follow Christ or men? Are we to walk even as He walked? Is the disciple to become as his Master? Would Jesus Christ kill any other human being for any reason? Would Jesus Christ take up arms in the name of religion or nationality to kill anybody, ever? Please say no!!! Certainly we can see that He rejected the path of nationalism and patriotism and where it inevitably leads. Even though when He lived on earth, Israel was under the boot of Roman tyranny..

    Am I a member of the body of Christ? Do I represent Him? Are the members of His body allowed the privilege of justifying ways that contradict His message. ” I did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” Am I to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove? Am I a sheep sent forth in the midst of wolves? Am I to acknowledge the countless admonitions to peace with all men? Shall the sword separate me from practicing the love of Christ? The scriptural support is seems almost endless. It covers the whole New Testament.

    The gospel that many of us have accepted and followed is a compromised mess. Religious deception is a lot closer to home than most of us would ever like to admit. On the whole, the contradictions are so extreme and the confusion is so great, many simply cannot see anymore “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus Christ”.

  8. George said:
    “There is an important biblical principle at stake here and that is a matter of whether individual Christians are free to criticize governing authorities whom the Bible itself declares to be the “ministers of God”. David chose not to dare to criticize or strike out against Saul for that very reason. Those who attempt to selectively quote scripture in way as to malign government do so to their own destruction.”

    I’m not certain where you are going with this, George? In the previous comments of myself, Kelli and Davo, none of us have stated that we advocate “criticizing” governing authorities.
    None of us is implying “revolt” either. No, in fact, those of us born of His Spirit are “occupying”, using the liberties the Lord has given us, to share the gospel with those asking of the Hope that is in us, in the precious time left to do so, that they may also spend eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ.

    • ntmyhm, im not answering for George but without question a vile-ugly spirit (demonic, in my opinion) has spread like wildfire among a great number of American Christians who now feel it is their “duty” to not just criticize governing authorities but to work toward undermining them. And this goes totally against the teachings of the bible.

      In the previous comments of myself, Kelli and Davo, none of us have stated that we advocate “criticizing” governing authorities.

      Think George may be responding to something he and Davo were discussing…

    • My point is that the Bible states that government is “the minister of God” and that government “does not bear the sword in vain”. That indicates that when government goes out and does violence, it is only fulfilling the purpose of God. Thus to imply that governments commit senseless killing is to contradict scripture. And to imply that those who kill in service to their government which IS the minister of God are guilty of murder is also to contradict scripture. That is where I am going with this. And to accuse government of doing evil IS a criticism: “Now, is war evil? Or is it good? I have heard sermons in church that say that war is a necessary evil. The explanation is something like this, that war, though it is evil, can bring about a greater good. This is human reasoning, not God’s word. Listen to the Bible”. To try deny it is a criticism is totally disingenuous.

      There is absolutely NOTHING wrong in saying “I am not comfortable with being a policeman or a soldier so I will serve my government in a different way”, but to lash out at those whose conscience guides them toward military or law enforcement is arrogant, mean spirited, and divisive AND it is not biblical. I really am VERY in agreement with much of the rest of what davo is asserting here, but to very boldly put down my beloved brothers and sisters whose conscience compels them to military service is over the top.

      I would be just as militant in my response to a red neck Christian who cruelly puts down conscientious objectors, even those who fled to Canada in the Vietnam era. In fact, I have personally written to the selective service in support of a conscientious objector in the past and would do it again without hesitation. What I hate is to see those who claim to be Christians chewing on each other over these things in a holier than thou manner and twisting the scriptures to bolster their positions. I also hate it when those who claim to be Christians attempt to equate biblical morality to their political views and then inject them into their church life. When a church is a place that becomes uncomfortable either for a Christian soldier OR a Christian pacifist, something is terribly wrong and people are putting their politics ahead of unity in the body and the love of Christ. Neither those who serve in the military NOR those who refuse should have to face bullying in the church from those with differing opinions. All that baggage should be left at the door. If we are on a political forum, its fair game, but when we come together as brothers and sisters in Christ its a different story.

  9. Thanks PJ.
    My apologies to George for the misunderstanding of his post.
    And yes PJ, I would agree with you that this is a “demonic” spirit at work within American Christians that is criticizing governing authorities and also working to undermine them. I would add that it probably does not stop with American Christians though. I believe, according to 2Peter 2:1, today’s pulpits have many more false shepherds/teachers behind them than we realize. They (in my opinion) are instigating and propogating this sinful attitude and treatment from their pulpits, gaining followers of themselves, rather than making disciples of Christ, teaching them to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ”. Many of these are sheep without a shepherd, I understand, but also question whether even “many” are His sheep. So many following lies possibly don’t have His Spirit, John 10:27. They are willfully deceived into Dominionism and Kingdom Now Theology, not wanting to leave this world, but instead “take it back” and somehow “make it better”. They are not “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”, Titus 2:13.

    Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. 3:1,2 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

    • I believe, according to 2Peter 2:1, today’s pulpits have many more false shepherds/teachers behind them than we realize. They (in my opinion) are instigating and propogating this sinful attitude and treatment from their pulpits, gaining followers of themselves, rather than making disciples of Christ, teaching them to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ”.

      Amen, i wholeheartedly agree! many of these false shepherds (and teachers) are now and have been for some years, using their pulpits to promote a form of “Christian” nationalism…which is nothing more then idolatry.

      Something to think about: Hitler and the Nazi party also promoted Christian nationalism, as did many Protestant Pastors and Catholic Bishops in Germany,

      Easter Sunday Blessing from Protestant Pastors in Bavaria, April 16, 1933: A state that once again rules in God’s name can count not only on our applause but also on enthusiastic and active cooperation from the church. With joy and thanks we see how this new state rejects blasphemy, attacks immorality, promotes discipline and order with a firm hand, demands awe before God, works to keep marriage sacred and our youth spiritually instructed, brings honor back to fathers of families, ensures that love of people and fatherland is no longer mocked, but burns in a thousand hearts. …We can only plead with our fellow worshipers to do an they can to help these new productive forces in our land reach a complete and unimpeded victory.

      Bishop Rackl of Eichstätt, Sermon, May 26, 1935: Good Catholics have always been good patriots. Surely not good Catholics staged the revolution of 1918, Catholic soldiers indeed have not been deserters, and good Catholics will never be on the side of revolutionaries, no matter how badly things are going.

  10. If we declare war to be “evil”, then what do we do with the Old Testament? God certainly declared that “Thou shalt NOT kill” in the ten commandments. But then God through His prophets repeatedly sent His people to kill in war after war. Do we then accuse God of being evil? Do we accuse those who responded to His command to wipe out all of the indigenous people of what is now Palestine of being murderers? Where does this nonsense stop? If anything is a humanist approach to interpreting scripture, this sort of stuff is. God issued His commandments for people, individuals, NOT higher powers, including Himself OR the governments that He ordains. That IS THE solution to this puzzle, and there is no other way out of it. And all of this is just part of the complex reason why trying to mix church and state, spiritual and political, does not work. And it is the reason why a sentimentalist rationalist approach to theology doesn’t work either. Just because we all detest war and wish it wasn’t so doesn’t make it evil … IF the moral code we are going by is the Bible. War is often God’s way of executing vengeance on sinful humanity. Humanists label people killed in war as being “innocent”, but the Bible plainly declares that none are innocent. All are guilty and in need of a savior. In reality people are only innocent in a relative sense. Thus death is part of our existence in this world and part of the reason why we are looking for a city that is not of this world. It is why we pray that God will deliver us from our simplistic human reasoning and bestow upon us the Wisdom of God. At that point we see wars as simply being part of what God is doing in our world in an effort to bring stiff necked people to Him.

    There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14.12

  11. pjmiller

    Kelli, i wanted to thank you for the link…that was a very good article! Sorry it took me a few days to get around to reading it… its been a hectic week :-)

    Hi PJ
    Yes, it is a very good article and a good website to bookmark.

    This discussion has been very good and appreciate those responding.
    We have been called out and are to be separate from the world and its influences which is anti-christ. That is the testimony to those who are not saved. But God IS enlightening every person being born into the world. But many are opening up churches for politicians to enter in and looking for support to be voted in office. Therefore, the world has entered in the church and we have wolves teaching from the pulpit and those of his disciples following after him. Void of the indwelling of His Spirit in them masquerading as angels of light. What better way for deceivers to come in and deceive sheep. It is not us who build the church but the Lord. The church is singular but we have multitudes of denominations/sects called churches in which the Lord did not
    build.
    As far as wars yes, there will be wars and rumors of wars and nations will rise against nations Mark 13:8 and see the mindset of those who are lifting up their own nations against another.
    Isaiah 40:15-17
    Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, he takes up the isles as a very little thing.
    And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
    All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

    • I actually did bookmark it, :-) you’re right its an excellent source!

      But many are opening up churches for politicians to enter in and looking for support to be voted in office.

      Yes, sadly they are. Many Christians disagree with me but im all-for the separation of Church and State. One has nothing whatsoever to do with the other…

      It wouldn’t bother me one bit if the day comes when Churches and pastors who have (and are) allowing their churches and pulpits to be used to promote political candidates, lost their tax exemption status.

    • “But many are opening up churches for politicians to enter in and looking for support to be voted in office. Therefore, the world has entered in the church and we have wolves teaching from the pulpit and those of his disciples following after him.”

      This USED to be a hallmark of the liberal church which was RIGHTLY criticized by conservative Christians. Whatever the perceived benefits of churches courting politicians, the price is way too high as you eloquently detail. Politicians DON’T appear in churches with the purpose of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come to further their own carnal and earthly agenda. At best, this is a waste of time on the part of the church. At worst, it is a highly corrupting exercise, indeed wolves in the pulpit.

      And now what do we have on every side? Conservative churches courting politicians and touting political agendas. God have mercy! How many times we hear of politicians speaking before conservative Christians and those politicians have terrible moral reputations and no serious credentials to stand behind a pulpit OTHER THAN there conservatively attractive political agenda. And I fear that Mormons behind Christian pulpits is just around the corner the way we are going IF it hasn’t already happened.

      But there is, of course, another problem with this whole church politicization process. The Bible clearly instructs us in Psalm 146.3: ” Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” And in Jeremiah 17.5 “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” Is this not clear enough? And this all points back to Dominionism, the ultimate step toward trusting in man and not in the God of Heaven. And Dominionism is a serious threat from both the right and the left. Right now conservative Christians are tying themselves to libertarians via the Tea Party. Aligning with conservative politicians is bad enough, but libertarians? Are these people willing to throw out everything they hold sacred in order to get control of the government? When will the conservative dominionists join forces with the liberal dominionists in a desperate attempt to get their hands on major league political power? At this point nothing would surprise me. When temporal power becomes more important than spiritual truth, the “church” is, indeed, no longer the church.

  12. pjmiller
    I actually did bookmark it, :-) you’re right its an excellent source!

    But many are opening up churches for politicians to enter in and looking for support to be voted in office.

    Yes, sadly they are. Many Christians disagree with me but im all-for the separation of Church and State. One has nothing whatsoever to do with the other…

    It wouldn’t bother me one bit if the day comes when Churches and pastors who have (and are) allowing their churches and pulpits to be used to promote political candidates, lost their tax exemption status.

    Yes PJ and I as well agree with you, separation of Church and State. The State is of the world.

  13. I believe, according to 2Peter 2:1, today’s pulpits have many more false shepherds/teachers behind them than we realize. They (in my opinion) are instigating and propogating this sinful attitude and treatment from their pulpits, gaining followers of themselves, rather than making disciples of Christ, teaching them to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ”.

    PJ wrote:
    “Amen, i wholeheartedly agree! many of these false shepherds (and teachers) are now and have been for some years, using their pulpits to promote a form of “Christian” nationalism…which is nothing more then idolatry.
    Something to think about: Hitler and the Nazi party also promoted Christian nationalism, as did many Protestant Pastors and Catholic Bishops in Germany,”

    Great example of what happens when the world enters the church (thank you, Kelli). The social gospel of the world appeals to mankind, as we all desire “peace”. This is the “peace” the world offers which is only temporal and not long lasting. This false church is growing by leaps and bounds. Matthew 7:13
    True Peace is only to be found through Jesus Christ and is for all eternity. Ephesians 2:14.
    There is a book by Arno Froese, “How Democracy Will Elect the Antichrist”, I recommend. This defines what is happening as the “church” has gotten involved politically and now many are attempting in the flesh to make this world morally correct.
    PJ, you also mention:
    “It wouldn’t bother me one bit if the day comes when Churches and pastors who have (and are) allowing their churches and pulpits to be used to promote political candidates, lost their tax exemption status.”
    In order to be allowed the “freedom” to gather together to learn and read from the Bible using the guidelines of government, the “church” seems to be willing to dance to their tune. This is certainly not the example of Peter or the other apostles, “we must obey God rather than men…” Acts 5:29.
    These last days, as John shows us, 1John 2:18,19 reveal to us that the divisions we are seeing in the “church” are very important to us born of His Spirit. God is using the divisions to reveal to us who is of the Lord and who is not. We have to remember that there are many “tares” amongst the wheat in the church. Matthew 13:25.

  14. I don’t make as much of dominionism as a threat or a sign as most of you do, though it is. There is so much compromise with sin that is going on in evangelical and charismatic churches today that it’s mind blowing. The battle is on the home front as I see it. I live in Texas, the land of God and guns and good ol’ boys and I am out amongst them from time to time. Only the good ol’ boys really ain’t that good. In fact, sin is a way of life for most, but that doesn’t matter, not to worry, ’cause they’re saved. They are saved in their sin, that is their gospel.

    Grace to them is the permission to live in sin but still be saved. Hey dude, “I’m justified by faith, it’s not of works”, which somehow makes sin acceptable. This is where of the vast, vast majority of American evangelical/pentecostal christianity is today. I have encountered many of this sort. Sin just ain’t what it used to be anymore. It is the elephant in the room and we are not dealing with it very well as far as I can see. The gospel that allows for compromise with sin is no gospel at all as I read my Bible. It is a heresy, the foremost damnable heresy there is and some of the most famous and popular preachers in America preach it with a vengeance as gospel truth. God have mercy on them!

    The gospel is leavened as most of us have had it presented to us. It’s true!You know a tree by it’s fruit and the fruit of the American style, Billy Graham style, evangelical style, TBN style gospel is carnal, worldly, rank with sin. They didn’t teach us we have to live free from sin! Grace has ceased to be the path to freedom, now grace grants us permission to indulge sin, with impunity. The gospel of grace has been perverted, as Jude 4 warns us, into licentiousness(license to sin) and the fruit is that church people continue to live lives corrupted with sin and many will end up in hell because of it, deceived by religion and religious men, promising them freedom while being slaves of corruption.

    A basic understanding of the gospel and it’s claims is what God has lead me to pursue. Do I really know what the gospel is? Here’s a primer.

    The first promise in the NT is when the angel Gabriel tells Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus, He will save His people from their sins” This is the starting point of the gospel, Jesus saves from sin!!! Over and over the NT meme, freedom from sin, freedom from sin, no longer slaves of sin, dead to sin, sin shall not be master over you. When Jesus says, the truth shall make you free- it’s freedom from sin He is talking about. True faith lays hold of the true grace that brings freedom from sin. Pretty basic.

    There is obviously a lot more to this and some of it centers on our understanding of justification which has confused many and needs to be addressed. But if we don’t fix the gospel in regard to what we make of sin, how God sees it and what it can cost us in this life and in eternity, I can hardly see how dominionism or any other error is gonna sink us. We are already sunk.

    Now, as for dominionism and it’s political leanings, I see similarities to the Moral Majority and the political activism emphasis of the late 70’s and what has come out of that movement. Same promises and same hopes, same blather of 30+ years ago. Some of the same people. Going nowhere. I don’t think it will be hard for any serious Bible christian to see that it ain’t happening like they said and that there are serious contradictions to the gospel message. Some won’t listen and that could be their demise but the claims and promises of dominionism, which border on fantasy btw, will not materialize and the goal posts will have to be moved again and again until little if any of the gospel will remain in it. This is the history and future of all these movements associated with christendom. Denominations, revivals, movements, whatever. This is the history and future of Christianity itself really. Someone said everything is going the way of the antichrist spirit and control. I say amen, that is true. Everything. None of the structures and organizations of christianity, even the ones we attend and support, will be able to escape, they will all succumb and become instruments of his hand, not just the ones we can identify more clearly as deceived. In fact, the seeds of deception have already been sown into the whole lump. Corruption is eating away at the whole of christianity. Only the people will escape. who follow Christ and a pure gospel.

    • Very well said, davo…..

      2Timothy 3:12,13 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
      Instead of being transformed into new creatures by Jesus Christ, 2Corinthians 5:17, the majority are transforming themselves into a pseudo likeness of a different Jesus.
      These “thieves and robbers” are attempting to enter the sheepfold by another entrance, leading the sheep astray. We note that if they are truly His sheep, they will only follow the voice of the True Shepherd, Jesus Christ, John 10.

      We should not worry for we know that He is Faithful. He knows those who are His before the foundations of the earth were laid. He has chosen us in Him to be holy and blameless before Him. The flesh does not have the capacity for holiness.
      Ephesians 1:3-14

    • Unfortunately, the South is rife with empty “Christianity”. Its a cultural Christianity wherein symbolism is everything and substance is nowhere to be found. Its a place where a person can despise you and yet present a very charming face since outward appearance is everything to many of these people. They will rail against sin on Sunday morning and practice it under cover throughout the week. It is very sad indeed. There IS a reason that James says: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” It is because faith that does not produce good works is a fake faith which is the result of a fake gospel. Peter says the same thing in a different way: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Note that Peter dispels the concept of “passive faith” with the phrase “if ye DO these things”, and makes it clear that if you don’t, your salvation is NOT secure. It is NOT that works facilitates salvation, but rather that works and a WILLINGNESS to do the right thing CONFIRMS the salvation that faith has already facilitated. There is grave danger in the reformational distaste for such language when it comes to preaching precisely because it gives people the idea that faith is a matter of “simply believing” when the scripture tells us, again in James: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” And AGAIN, James is referring to fake faith, the same faith fake which is rampant in the church today in large part because of a failure of the clergy to warn their parishioners that faith alone is not enough, there must be clear evidence of that faith in the form of a changed life that is not riddled with hidden sin. This is NOT to be a call to “holiness” because there is none holy and none without sin. But rather a clear pronouncement that saved people don’t have an unmistakable pattern of sin and worldliness that contaminates their lives. So davo, I think you are eloquently proclaiming something here that is EXTREMELY important and true beyond question and it is not only happening in Texas or in the South, but all across our country as people have been “graced out” with a false Gospel that has decimated our churches over the past few decades. And to a large degree Dominionism is the fruit of this fake gospel. And in conservative churches, it tends to manifest itself as American nationalism that is marketed with the term “American exceptionalism” and a lot of insincere flag waving and patriotic Rah-Rah. Biblical patriotism is selfless but this stuff is selfish, controlling and completely toxic. And underneath it all is a Dominionist spirit even though those who practice such will deny to the grave. “I’m not a racist, I just don’t like black people”. Thats sort of the way it comes out, with lots of indignation that anyone would dare to suggest that they have some ulterior motive going on.

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