Your definitions seem quite clear in light of the current political dilemma of the Christian community. Particularly, the Christian conservative movement seems to undermine the Biblical message of Christ’s Lordship by denying the authoritative Word to determine how we are to operate as Christians. In your opinion, what have been some practical failures of our modern church and the conservative movement in the last 20 years?
Pastor Paul Michael Raymond:
The way I see it Uri is that the Modern and Postmodern church of our day have a number of distinct problems.
Firstly, they have failed to understand what Christianity is, and to what vocation they are called to. Christianity is not “adding” Christ to secularism nor is it simply adding Him to an individual’s personal self fulfilling agenda. Christianity is an abandonment of self for the express purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. As Dr. greg Bahnsen rightly stated, “Christianity is not Christ against culture or is it the Christ of Culture, but rather Christ above Culture.” In other words, Biblical Christianity seeks to Transform Culture by the Preaching of the Gospel, the education of the people and the implementation of Biblical Law, Principles and Public policy. Too many professing Christians believe in a dualism Christianity where they refuse to engage the world since it is so evil. This elitist view is typical of Phariseeism and has no place in the realm of True Regeneration. To be sure Christianity is not to be OF the world. Nevertheless, the Christians ought to be doing battle IN the world and not retreating out of the world. Christ has made that abundantly clear. in John 17. To retreat from the battle the saints face daily in the world is to fall snare to a Manicheanism dualistic heresy.
The vocation of every regenerate is to do the will of Him who sent him in the realm of society. Not just on an individual plane but on a social plane as well, which includes politics, economics, science, philosophy, ecology, law, education et al. He is to take dominion authority by engaging and overcoming the secularism through Biblical arguments casting down every lofty argument and secular philosophy that exalts itself against the knowledge of Biblical Truth. Thus, we are to take every thought captive to the Word of God obeying His precepts and going out into the world declaring the Sovereign Universal Authority of Christ in every realm.
It cannot be stressed enough that Christianity is not a “monastic” individualized religion, compartmentalized into the realm of the individual, family and church. It is rather a comprehensive call to take Righteous dominion over every area and discipline of life. It is a call to all saints to take possession of the earth for the righteous reign of Christ. To deny that call is to posture oneself as a covenant breaker and not a covenant keeper. See Psalm 78. Modern Christians have failed to understand that Christianity is about re-structuring the entire social structure so as to bring it into conformity to God’s societal pattern. For the most part today’s self centered myopic Christians aren’t at all concerned about Biblical social theory since their view of Victory is truncated.
That leads me to the next problem. Today’s Christianity holds to a defeatist Religion. Eschatologically they believe that the Christians loose in time and on earth. Antichrist becomes the victory until Christ once again is forced to intervene by His coming a second time. This presupposes that the church fails and the gates of hell prevail against her, at least in real time. Dispensational defeatists, daring to call themselves Soldiers of Christ have already propped up the white flag of surrender because they think the Bible teachers Christian defeat. They are now waiting for another supernatural intervention by Christ to save them in the end since, as they see it, (and wrongly I may say) the Incarnation and victory at the cross wasn’t good enough. Please listen to my series on The Critical Importance of Biblical Eschatology on Sermon Audio. What is ironic and theologically schizophrenic about these ideas is that these defeatists, who see a total defeat just before the coming of Christ, are still trying to change the world. Why bother? Why not just let it go down in a “crash and burn” scenario so as to hasten the coming of the Messiah and the Millennial age? It is obvious from their perverse approach to Hermeneutics that they have lost sight of the Apostles description of the time just before the end in 1 Corinthians 15. This is because they begin with faulty presuppositions and then try to prove their error and heresy by isolating, misinterpreting and misrepresenting Scripture.
Another distinct problem is that today’s Church is historically ignorant, suffering from gross historical amnesia.
Much of the heresy being proclaimed as Christian orthodoxy today has already been debunked by the historic councils of the church throughout the New Testament age. The problem is that today’s modern church refuses to study the Reformation and Puritan fathers, reject all Faithful Creeds and instead of holding to Sola Scriptura, they hold to Solo Scirptura; the “Me and My Bible Theory”. Today’s modern Christian thinks that he must start all over again in understanding the Word of God and thus ultimately falls into the same snares as many who came before him throughout the New Testament centuries. Yet, God has providentially given us our faithful fathers and brethren of history to boost us forward as we stand upon their theological shoulders advancing the kingdom. Christianity cannot begin over and over every time a new generation arrives. Then must history be cyclical as the pagans believe and not progressive and the Scriptures declare. Christians must build upon the faith of the faithful as it harmonizes with the word of God. This is why faithful creeds and confessions are so important to mission. Creeds like the Westminster Confession, the Canons of Dort, the Counsels of Orange, the Belgic Confession, the Nicean Creed and the Athanasian Creed are critical in our comprehensive understanding of Christianity and ought to be used as a tool for societal transformation along with, but never above, the infallible Bible.
Simply put, the majority of Christendom adheres to another Gospel with another Christ as head of the church. Without a return to Biblical and Historic Christianity we are in for a long hard road ahead.
Apologus: I would like to to thank Pastor Raymond for his insightful responses.