Friday, September 01, 2006
Upside down church: the Anti-Christ of today?
The church, over the years, has pushed public schooling, prohibition (alcohol first and now "recreational" drugs) and welfare into government programs. And the resulting misery caused by all the above: schooling turning out factory workers, prohibition resulting in mobster/gang/police/prison empowerment, and welfare resulting in permanent poverty and sense of entitlement (I'd lump Social Security into welfare, along with temporary welfare like money given out to 9/11 and Katrina "victims"). And with the marriage being debated over (gay vs "straight" marriage and what it all means), the government will have more say in how marriage should be.
The trends are clear: what God's people should have handled on their own, they've given up to the government to take over and regulate and pass judgement. Jesus was clear on this:
Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Matthew 5:25.Be it differences in money problem or how one should live (drinking, marriage, financial hardship, raising up children), these problems should have been taken care of under the eldership of a local church. Instead, the church has neutered itself by turning to the State rather than to the men of the church. [The chicken and the egg problem of men leaving the church vs the need to turn to government isn't clear to me.] It doesn't help that the community of men which still exists do not seem to have impressive records.
We not only have the problem of modern church giving up powers but also men staying away from church in droves. It seems to me that the problem is not so much with the Gospel message nor the Bible but the modern church itself. Modern church has become synonymous with an institution rather than the living Body of Christ. The word itself conjures up images [at least for me] of buildings more than a dynamically working group of people.
Rather than the modern church being an alternative reality to the world [a replacement for what the world provides], it has become an handmaiden or "suitable helper" of the world and the government(s). A religious or spiritual part of the world. Or a "sacred" component of the world. A bit player in the bigger scheme of things.
Consider what Jesus said, instead:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10and
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:37Jesus Christ lived a parallel life from the world: He engaged with the people of the world but did not clash with the government [unlike the Zealots] nor submit meekly. As Coughlin points out, when Jesus rose from the dead, He rebelled against the government by breaking the seal and His angels stuck down the soldiers [both were federal, capital offense]. Even before He was crucified, He was defiant to the end: didn't answer most questions, and what He did answer, He explained that He was in real control [like the quote above from John 18].
If the modern church isn't exhibiting the kind of behavior that Christ lived, maybe the church has become the false teacher that Jesus warned about and has become, in fact, the anti-Christ herself, using the name of Christ while being anything but Christ-like? Jesus warned us:
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. Matthew 24:24And if the following is a warning sign:
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Matthew 24:10,11Then maybe the modern church has become the very thing Jesus warned us about, after all....
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