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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Two problems with the American Church

1. Political Involvement-Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did not become corporeal in 1776 and create the United States government. The U.S. government is a man-made system. So why do Christians keep using the term "Take Back the Government"? Newsflash: The government was never ours. It was made by man. You are not going to "take it" or transform it into the Kingdom of God because it is a flawed system created by man.
Unfortunately, much of the American Church has placed a high emphasis on politics in the last ten years (and obviously at times before that, as well). A large portion of the church put their hope in the administration of George W. Bush.
No matter who had run for president, or what party, the over-involvement and hope the Christian church put into this administration was wrong. "We're going to take back government!" the church exclaimed. I'm assuming they meant from President Clinton, who many Christians viewed as Satan. Unfortunately, many Christians didn't take a step back to think about all this.
Some of Jesus' disciples, as well as many people of the time, thought the Messiah was going to be a physical king. They thought he was going to make Israel an independent and feared power again. As history shows, this was not the case. Jesus came and died so that he could live in the human heart. This is still the case today.
Thus, when President Bush the II began having trouble and his administration began to go through scandal after scandal (war scandals, big-business scandals, Katrina problems, etc.), some people lost faith. Not just faith in the President's administration, but faith in God, because his hand-picked "chosen" man had failed them. If I remember correctly, we learn in the Old Testament that God did not want a human king for Israel, but after they wouldn't shutup about it, he finally relented. We then see that all but a small handful of these kings end up being huge spiritual disasters. If the Israelites had kept their faith in God instead of man, they would have been best off. Likewise, the American Church needs to take its faith from America, and plug it back into God. This doesn't mean to disobey the law or become anarchists. Jesus tells us to "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's" (Matthew 22:21 NIV). This also may not mean that Christian's cannot be active in politics. The danger is the faith aspect.
This political system is just going to fail us spiritually again and again, so why do we look to them for sustenance? The sustenance we need only comes from Christ, not George W. Bush or John Kerry.
2. Abundance Theology: God wants us all to be rich!!!
Or does he? I'm not sure where this line started, but I am quite sure it has been around for a while. Apparently, God wants Christians to all have a billion dollars, and seven Mercedes Benz. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, this is not true. Many churches are preaching today that God's one and only desire for you is that you accumulate huge sums of wealth. This idea is very seductive and very dangerous. It is also extremely selfish and unbiblical.
Rich young ruler, anyone? When this guy with everything comes up to Jesus, tells Jesus he follows all the commandments, and asks Jesus what else he can do, Jesus tells him to sell everything. The man then walks away sadly. Jesus then says it is "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24 NIV) Does "not entering the kingdom of God" sound like something we want? Then why do we all want to be rich? Why do we sit enthralled by preachers who promise us immense and unimaginable earthly riches?
And to the selfish part. Instead of caring for others, we spend all our time caring for ourselves. Sometimes we have the idea that someday we will have so much, we can give to others as much as we want. Well, if God wants that to happen to us, then it will happen. He certainly does not want that to become our lives' focus. Need I quote our Holy Book again?
"For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (Timothy 6:10 NIV)
I think this scripture describes a portion of the American Church right now, attempting to live an American dream that is not God's will.

Anyway, I felt like it had been a while since I have posted something of substance.
And with that complaint said, there are times I am immensely proud of the Church as well, and here is a current reason: Evangelicals Urge Action on Global Warming
Still can't figure out if I'm an Evangelical or not, but either way, pretty cool.


Leslie said...

Thank you for your well-wishing. I ate some oreos - feel the same.

I'm looking forward to reading this post as the heading is something that interests me very much. Alas, I have to get back to "sick girl day" with samantha. We're about to watch Elizabethtown, which I haven't seen.

Jordan said...

Good points Nic. You Shed some light here. Why you keep shedding everywhere? Pick up after yourself! For Real!

(but yeah, definitely two points about the American church which I hadn't thought about in that way with those scriptures in context with many unsaid churches in mind. Good job :) thanks for the enlightenment.)

Jon said...

Oh Nic, you are quite the awesomeite. Tomorrow, we will cure all the world's problems and bring light to the dark places of the earth, causing the sun of hope to shine of the oppressed peoples of world. The air will tingle with excitment as we trek uncharted territories and grill mass quantities of charred mammal flesh.