Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is your ideology ruining your theology?

The second scariest thing happening in the world today is the overabundance of politics practiced as religion.

The scariest thing is that those doing this kind of practice rarely realize (or care to stop) the foul mix they've created.

And that leaves the world in a world of hurt.

One of the easiest mistakes human beings can make is to recreate God in our own image.

To believe we are elevating God when, in fact, we are elevating ourselves in God's Name.
  • To re-create the Gospel and God Himself according to what makes most sense to us.
  • To take God on our own terms, and not His.
Bad enough when we do that within our own spiritual lives – then we only endanger ourselves. But so much worse when we spray this kind of idolatrous anti-Christian thinking and behavior over the world around us.

Today in the United States we see, for example, so-called "conservatives" claiming to be completely "Bible-based" while reinventing the Good News of Jesus Christ to include:
  • "loving" hatred,
  • justified self-righteousness,
  • iinsertion of human hierarchy between God and those who belong to God, 
  • glorification of murder and thievery,
  • the blunting of God's message with pagan and secular philosophies, 
  • and more.
Yet God's Message to the world, expressed in the Bible as God gave it to us in its original languages and cultures, clearly is against all of these things. God is not a "conservative."

But we also see so-called "liberals" claiming to be completely "Jesus-based" while reinventing the Good News of Jesus Christ to include the removal of "troubling" issues like:
  • Jesus' resurrection,
  • God's ability to act in miraculous ways within His own creation,
  • God's promise to return in righteous wrath in the end to punish those (both outside and inside "the church") who've continued to choose and nurture evil in their hearts no matter what,
  • and so on.
Yet God's Message to the world, expressed in the Bible as God gave it to us in its original languages and cultures, clearly is against all of these things, too. God is not a "liberal."

In fact, God and the Gospel message are so different – and so much higher and better – than any and all human political and other philosophies that they can't even be considered in the same category. And that's been true for all of human history – including in regards to the "conservative" Pharisees and the "liberal" Sadducees and the "secular" Herodians of 2,000 years ago.

Yet that's what's missed by those who confuse their politics with their faith.
It's just a very tiny, tiny step between "my politics" and "God's politics expressed through me".

See, once anyone believes that they and God are on the same page, it's nothing to start forcing one's own sinful human nature onto others in God's Name.
  • That's how people who already hate Gay people, for example, come to "know" that "Scripture" says God hates Gay people – and then come to feel justified going into the political process to persecute Gays in God's Name.
  • It's how people who already enjoy living within various levels of human domination of other human beings come to "know" that the "Bible" says Jesus wants that for us in His church and world, too – and then come to feel justified in the murder, theft, and rape of political war, and the oppression of the poor, and the false division between "clergy" and "laity."
  • It's how people who already believe there is no supernatural come to "know" that "Scripture" doesn't really mean that Jesus was more than another (possibly great) human being – and then come to feel justified using state systems to persecute and block those who hold to the deity of Jesus Christ in their hearts and lives.
There is just no human political thought or process that can ever not cause at least as much damage as it repairs. And that's where our humility – our understanding of the difference between ourselves and God – is supposed to kick in.

Corrie ten Boom understood this. A death-camp survivor who lost almost her entire family to the Nazi holocaust, she'd spent the rest of her life spreading the Gospel and telling people about our need to forgive our enemies.

Corrie told the story once about having been with a conference group and recounting her own difficulties in forgiving the Nazis and Nazi-collaborators who tortured and killed even her elderly father and sick sister. She said she'd talked about how she found it impossible to forgive these people under her own power and nature, and that it was only by Jesus that she was able to do it and keep doing it.

She said that after her talk the conference leader had gotten up and told the assembled crowd how wonderful Corrie ten Boom was and that "the world would be a safer place if we would all be like Corrie ten Boom." Corrie said, "I was furious!" at this conference leader.


Because she had expressed God's truth: that she continued to be a sinful human being, unable to do any good of her own power, and that it was only through her humble submission to the power of the real Jesus Christ, and doing (ALL of) what He tells us to do, that she was able to accomplish the things of God.

But the conference leader had re-created God's truth in the same way that Official Christianity has during the last 2,000 years: imagining that human-power can accomplish God-results, if only we'll do it in the ways our very limited human hearts and minds have decided are "God's ways".

Confronted by Corrie ten Boom's righteous rebuke, the conference leader repented of his attempt to make an idol of Corrie ten Boom. He came to understand what Corrie understood:

That our actions in the world are measured success only to the degree that we humbly remember the difference between:
  • who we are, and who God is, and
  • what we can hope to accomplish, and what God can't be stopped from accomplishing.
So what does that mean to us, when we see so much wrong in the world? Does that mean we're just supposed to do nothing and wait for God to clean up the mess later? Absolutely not!

Instead, it means that we are to take the example of Jesus and the church He founded (as detailed in the Bible as God gave it to us), and mold ourselves to that and only that.

Nowhere in the Bible, for example, do we see the real church shoving themselves and their values through the political process. And when Jesus and Paul, for example, were pushed into the political process of the day, they didn't break out weapons to fight against it. They didn't try to infiltrate and take it over to make it look like themselves. They didn't lobby the Senate to pass laws for or against things. Instead, they simply spoke God's truth to it, realizing that the political process of the world belong to Satan and his followers (see Luke 4:5-6 for example) until Jesus comes again to clean house.

Many will respond that such a thing wouldn't work in today's world – that things are worse or more complex or more harrowing today. And to that I say – bunkum!

There was hunger and hurt 2,000 years ago – and Jesus' real church fed and cared for the hungry and hurt, even when it cost them all their possessions or landed them in jails or caused them to catch plague diseases.

There was oppression and persecution of Christians and many others 2,000 years ago – and Jesus' real church assisted the oppressed, and even went all the way to their own tortured deaths, completely nonviolently, proclaiming Jesus' power and love both through what they said and through what they did.

There was gross political evil in the world 2,000 years ago – and Jesus' real church remained apart from it, not soiling Jesus' real message of love and salvation with compromise with other human philosophies that encourage and please human arrogance and love of show.

Those who truly wish to follow Jesus – and not simply the human-created version of Jesus put out by Organized Religion – will do things Jesus' way.

  • Even when it doesn't seem to work (because they understand they aren't God and can't see the whole result of something). 
  • Even when it seems weak (because they understand anything they can do is weak, compared to the awesome power of God). 
  • Even when it doesn't please their own or someone else's sinful human nature (because only God's nature can save them).
If we truly wish to follow Jesus, we will act in this world – just as Corrie ten Boom and millions of others throughout the last thousands of years have acted in this world, doing things God's way.

We will learn to not waste our time and energy on human endeavors that will create as many problems as they solve.

We will learn not to be fooled into believing that any human way of understanding or being can ever compare to God's way.

We will strive to be more and more like Jesus, as He's expressed and described Himself in the real Bible.

And the rest we will humbly, lovingly leave to God.

In His love,


1 comment:

  1. Amen, Sister Lynne!

    I know this is something that I continue to struggle with in my own walk with Jesus, and I believe it's one of the reasons I get so easily sidetracked sometimes. Too often I look at the state of the world and those "good Christians" in power shouting about raising the victory of the cross over all those "heathen sinners," and yet all too often it seems that they don't even believe His cross will bring victory at all. Why else would they be ignoring His commands as though He didn't mean what He said?