Where’s The Fight?

Two little points of interest (to me, anyway 😉 ) before I get started. I am planning to change my blog template. 😯 I mention this for the benefit of long-time readers. I don’t want you to think you’ve inadvertently come to the wrong site when your browser opens to a page with a different look.

Second, I’m trying to get used to the capitalization rule change for titles listed in the Chicago Manual of Style, sixteenth edition. I only glanced at it, but if I understood it right, all words in a title are now capitalized (which is what Word does already). Feels wrong to me, looks wrong, but I’ll get used to it.

Now to the subject at hand. As I see it, false teaching among Christians is on the rise, and at the same time opposition to Christianity is on the rise. Unfortunately, some believers react to these circumstances the same way a person without Christ would react: either by hiding away or by going on the attack (and some manage to do both.)

The interesting thing is, the “attack Christians” don’t seem to have a clear idea who the enemy is, possibly because these brothers and sisters have become enamored with Egypt and don’t really want to leave for the Promised Land. They believe Egypt was once upon a time that idyllic place, and their job is to restore it to its lost glory.

As you may have surmised, I’m specifically talking about Christians who recently responded to a call for renewal of honor by Fox News commentator and Mormon, Glenn Beck. Yes, he was joined by a host of evangelical spokesmen, but apparently he was the catalyst and the leader of the recent rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

I’ve read two articles that take strong positions, quite different from each other, and both make me think we are missing the fight.

On one hand, believers who joined with Glenn Beck in this call for renewal of honor in America are missing the fight because, for all intents and purposes, they want to see America become the land of promise.

Please don’t misunderstand. I believe strongly that a Christian has the responsibility to be a good citizen. Because we live in a democracy in America, regular citizens have more put on our shoulders as far as being informed and making decisions about our elected officials. We should do all we can to choose wisely and well. We should want to see godly leaders in power. We should want our leaders to pass godly laws.

But fighting those of opposing views is not the fight we should be focused on.

On the other hand are the Christians who see a Mormon leading the way, and they fire shots off the bow against that false religion.

Please don’t misunderstand. Mormonism is a false religion—one I plan to talk about more in the next few days.

But fighting Mormonism or Glenn Beck is still not where the fight is.

Ephesians tells us what we need to know:

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
– Eph 6:11-12 (emphasis mine)

Clearly, our struggle is not against liberals, specifically liberal politicians. And it is not against the Mormon Glenn Beck.

Our struggle is against the enemy of our souls, the devil. We’re supposed to wise up and ferret out his schemes. We’re supposed to be on the alert. We’re supposed to stand against him.

So here’s my alert. To the one side, America is not our home, it’s our place of sojourn. We’re passing through. We mustn’t fight so hard for America that we stop fighting against Satan. And a second caution—we need to know what our bedfellows believe.

To the other side, the Glenn Becks who would like to “normalize” Mormonism and get it accepted as part of Christendom are lost sinners, to be loved like any lost sinner, not bashed or mocked or ignored. That they have high moral standards should not fool us into thinking they are saved, but neither should their beliefs cause us to rant against them or treat them with disrespect.

In short, we must not be fooled by Mormonism or about Mormons. Happily, I’ve read a number of blog posts today that seem to understand this. May their tribe increase.

Published in: on September 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm  Comments (18)  
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18 Comments

  1. Just as a point of reference, can you answer me this? (And this is in all seriousness, because I checked out of politics a long time ago.) Um, I know very little about this guy. Honestly, my first impression was that he’s kind of obnoxious. That was long before I discovered he was Mormon, that anyone took him seriously, that Christians were endorsing him (for lack of better term), or that there was a controversy brewing.

    I don’t know much beyond that. And I could be wrong about the obnoxiousness. However, I don’t think Christians should support obnoxious behavior…regardless of where it’s coming from. Thoughts? (And yes, that’s a very simplistic answer. There’s a reason I quit listening to politicians. More than one.)

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  2. I came across the article linked below on another blog. I think the writer makes some good points that aren’t too different to your own.

    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2010/09/blind-to-forest-for-trees-p-eruse.html

    Tim

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  3. Kaci, Glenn Beck can be obnoxious, but there’s nothing about his patriotism that is obnoxious. Unfortunately, he believes in the Mormon faith which is far more obnoxious than his stance on historical facts and his patriotism.

    I suppose semantics enters into this discussion because I think wishy-washy Christians who won’t enter into the political fray and stipulate right from wrong or take positions against clearly bad policies or evil practices occupy the status of obnoxious as well as anybody.

    There’s no doubt our hope is in Him, our enemy the devil and his cohorts seek to devour us with apathy and complacency as much as with obnoxious conduct.

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  4. I know very little about Glenn Beck; I didn’t actually know he was a Mormon. Sometimes it’s almost better not to know things like that, you know? You start casting people as either friends or enemies based on that. I think the only person qualified to draw those lines is God, and anyway, as you said, people are not the enemy. If anything, they’re prisoners of war.

    All words capitalized? I think it’s just a cop-out because people today don’t know what prepositions are. I had to memorize a list of prepositions in 6th grade, so I’ve always known what not to capitalize.

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  5. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!” -Psalm 33:12

    There is nothing wrong with rousing the people of a nation to accept godly values and do away with liberalism. In fact, I believe that our inaction and of the two generations before mine–is a sin. God calls us to proclaim truth. We should proclaim not only the gospel but the rights and wrongs in society.

    This nation was founded on Christian principles (that is evident and known). It was also founded on the belief that, should the government grow corrupt, it is the constitutional obligation of the people to oust said government by revolution if necessary.

    If we live as Christ would have us to live, Boldly proclaiming the gospel and standing up for the right while condemning the wrong, we will rouse a nation to change.

    And we do need deep, genuine change in our corrupt nation. We have too long been silent and the new generation is paying the price.

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  6. God help me if I ever decline to speak out for what I believe in (spiritually, politically, or otherwise) because I’m afraid people will lump me in with Mormons and people of other faiths with whom I have some kind of common ground.

    No, our fight is not with people. That’s my point, too. That’s why we can act civilly and with godliness with people we have something in common with, though we don’t wholly agree (do you know anyone you can wholly agree with on anything?) when in the political arena, in church, at the public school, on a blog, or wherever we as Christians have a voice.

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  7. Thank you for this post. I am concerned about the threat of liberalism, and I try very, very hard not to judge those who are of this view. But in some ways, I see Satan as having a foothold on this way of thinking. Some of what the liberal believes is completely against Christianity. I’ve seen so many liberals bash Christians and call God the “sky fairy” that I cannot help ubt think they are truly lost people who will never open their eyes to the Truth. And maybe this is wrong…but I think Satan has a hand in this. So I do feel as if it is our duty to speak up against it and to differentiate between right and wrong.

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  8. Hey, I’m just going to say that this is a great makeover. Forget the weighty topic of this post 😉

    I think this fits well. Keep up the good work!

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  9. Jason, thank you. I like getting feedback—didn’t know what readers thought of the change.

    Melissa, I agree that it’s hard hearing others bash God and His word. You’re right, they are very lost. But that’s the point. I think it behooves us as believers to do what Christ told us to do—make disciples.

    He never said we should do a nation make-over.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful there are lawyers even now fighting to get the California law defining marriage (passed by the people twice) out of the courts. But something like the Beck rally is doing what?

    If the goal was to stir up voters for November, then it was disingenuous. If it was to invoke God to forgive us our sins, then why was a Mormon leading it? If it was a call to morality by human efforts, then it was a waste of time—asking in futility for the impossible. But that goes back to my earlier posts on original sin, I guess.

    Becky

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  10. KC, I definitely think we should speak up for what we believe. The question isn’t whether others will think we’re like the Mormons. It’s whether we’ll think we’re like the Mormons.

    I think Christians need to be very clear about what those with whom we partner say they believe. Mormons want to fight against same-sex marriage. Good. So do I. But that doesn’t mean I am to confuse their morality to be like-mindedness when it comes to salvation. In fact, we are very far apart.

    It may escape some people’s attention (especially liberals who seem eager to bend over backwards to accommodate Muslims), but Islam also takes a strict stand against homosexuality. In that regard (but not in meting out judgment for it), I am more like a Muslim than I am an amoral religionist.

    I guess my point is, our moral stand must not be confused with our faith.

    Becky

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  11. Scott, I agree with much of what you said. The thing is, the problems are complex if you study why America drifted from God.

    The answer isn’t going to come from restoration rallies, though. The only change that can make a difference is the one that take place in the hearts of men and women. Passing moral laws is a band aide. What needs to happen is genuine revival, where people repent for having spurred God. The closest thing to this was what happened right after 9/11. But it was only skin deep and once the fear fell away and we got back to business as usual, hearts were even harder because they’d faced their need for God and said no.

    The best thing Christians can do for our nation, in my opinion, is to start praying for our neighbors.

    Becky

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  12. Becky,
    Love the new look! Much easier on these old eyes.

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  13. Miss Becky,

    “Now these were the numbers of the divisions that were equipped for war, and came to David at Hebron to turn over the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD…Of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” ~ I Chronicles 12:23, 32.

    Praying for our neighbors and for our nation are all great things (2 Chronicles 7:14) but God never told us not to silent in political matters. Throughout the Old Testament, God was very active in politics, and raised up prophets to speak to the hearts of a nation. Elijah’s active, God-led opposition to the wickedness of Ahab and Ahaziah is just one example (I Kings 16:29-II Kings 1:1-17). Make no mistake–Satan is very active in politics, too, and the forces of Heaven and Hell wage battles over it:

    “Then he said unto me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia….And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.'” ~ Daniel 10:12-13, 20

    If we are fighting the forces of darkness in all tiers of government than we are fighting a front of the Spiritual War.

    The Puritans that settled in New England during the seventeenth century saw no separation between the Christian walk and active government participation, as can be seen in the “Mayflower Compact”:

    “In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620.” (Quoted from http://www.allabouthistory.org/mayflower-compact.htm )

    Other Puritans insisted on staying in England, in order to reform the Church of England where they were at, risking imprisonment. Both sets of Puritans took action, and both hazarded themselves for they tasks Gad had called them to do.

    The Founding Fathers prayed, but they also actively petitioned to the king to address tyranny. Eventually they found the time had come to take more radical action, and action they took, risking their lives and property. Some of the Founders were from false religions–e.g. Deists, Unitarians, and Masons–but others were sincere Christians who obeyed God’s calling. During the American Revolution, the British attacked churches because many ministers supported the Patriot rebellion. Peter Muhlenberg ( http://www.undergodthebook.com/story04.cfm contains “A Time for War” sermon as well as an account of his brother’s experience that is relevant to the discussion here) was a pastor that was active in the Revolution to the point of becoming an officer in the 8th Virginia Regiment.

    During the Nazi regime in Germany, the German Church did little to stop it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German minister, lamented, “We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds…Will our inward power of resistance be strong enough for us to find our way back?” Dietrich took action under a government unlike America in that there was no legal way to oppose the views of the nation’s leaders; he took action against Hitler at the cost of his life. Was Bonhoeffer engaged in spiritual battle? A better question would be, Was Hitler an agent of Satan?

    To return to the Sons of Issachar–they understood the times. They were informed, and they followed God’s lead. David accepted God’s call to become the new king of Israel, a move that was by no means politically correct or restricted to just praying and voting as has been suggested here. David later would fight to reclaim his throne from his own son, Absalom–political action, to be sure.

    God has given us a Republic where we can have a voice. For us to neglect the great tool this freedom gives us to call out the wickedness in this land. As it is, the Church has already been largely silent. That is why we are where we are now. To know better and not to do is a sin (Luke 12:42-48). In all things put God first, but part of following Him is blooming where He has planted us. If God has given us the freedom to stand for truth, then let us do so with all boldness.

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  14. Andy, thanks for your input.

    If you understood me to say that I believe Christians should be silent when it comes to politics, then I may not have been clear. Here’s the key paragraph in this post:

    Please don’t misunderstand. I believe strongly that a Christian has the responsibility to be a good citizen. Because we live in a democracy in America, regular citizens have more put on our shoulders as far as being informed and making decisions about our elected officials. We should do all we can to choose wisely and well. We should want to see godly leaders in power. We should want our leaders to pass godly laws.

    However, I think there’s a difference in speaking out or running for political office because this is what God has called you to, and doing all in our power to turn America into a nation with Christians at the helm and laws designed to enforce Biblical morality.

    That is not the mandate Christ left His followers (create a godly nation). I believe, however, that by following His actual mandate (make disciples) we will have a noticeable impact on our nation for good.

    It’s actually a “two-fer” whereas the approach of those who look for a political solution to a spiritual problem are doomed to disappointment and failure.

    I’m somewhat dismayed how little we Christians believe in the power of prayer. Do we not think that God is capable of intervening in governments today? Is it only kings and not presidents whose hearts He holds in His hands, turning them wherever He wishes?

    I think too many Christians would rather picket than pray. But God says we don’t have because we don’t ask. Maybe we should try asking first—for revival among believers, for the salvation of our neighbors, for the election of godly leaders, for the end to policies that dishonor God’s name and displease Him—including things like divorce and greed and self-righteousness as well as homosexuality and abortion and corruption.

    OK, climbing down from my soapbox. 😉

    Becky

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  15. Becky, I think you answered it perfectly with your last comment. We are to make disciples, not a godly nation. Very well-put and you echo my feelings exactly. If we make disciples, and those disciples make more disciples, that is a far better way to bring about change than to impose Christian law, i.e. a theocracy, which is not what America is about.

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  16. Becky,
    I agree that we must pray for revival and ask God for all things within his will.

    But Scripture says “faith without works is dead.” Are we to stand back and wait for God to work? Or do we see what is right, proclaim it, and act upon it, following God’s Word? Christ took a stand publicly in all things. Think of when he overturned the moneychangers’ tables. Let us follow him in prayer and action.

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  17. Yea, Melissa. You clarified my point beautifully. 😀

    A nation takes on the character of its citizens, so we should be about the business God gave us to do—influencing those in our “Jerusalem” and “Judah” first. When we see more people come to Christ, logically that will have a huge impact on our nation.

    Becky

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  18. Scott, I think prayer is one of the acts of faith that we’re supposed to do—the most powerful, in fact.

    I think our present generation talks too often as if prayer is nothing more than expressing our wishful thinking to God.

    Yes, Jesus turned over the moneychangers’ tables in the temple, but He did not go after civil authorities and try to clean up the corrupt Roman government. He was concerned with correcting those who were turning a spiritual event into greedy profiteering.

    We live in a democracy, so I think our responsibility increases. But I don’t think my duty to my country should outshine my duty to God. I don’t think my duty to my country should turn into the false idea that we can create God’s kingdom in America.

    God has used the US in many ways, and if by His mercy He brings about revival, I will be happy because I pray for just such a thing. I’m not going to work to establish a “Christian nation,” however. As I said in my comment to Melissa, the most effective way of changing our nation governed by the people is to change the people.

    What would happen in the US if every Christian prayed for and sacrificially loved our neighbors? Just that. Might we not see a shift in the way our culture behaves?

    Becky

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