Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Enemy Within

The Truth is rarely palatable.

Over the past few decades evangelical churches in America have been systematically infiltrated by people peddling a right-wing political agenda that is utterly anti-Christian. The vast swathe of teaching both by Jesus and the Old Testament prophets on social justice has been concealed and its outworking derided as “communist”; despicable and utterly unbiblical teachings such as the “prosperity gospel” with its false identification of material wealth with God’s blessing, and the ridiculous idea that taxation is theft (directly contrary to Matthew 22:15-22), have been introduced in their place. The churches’ voice on “moral issues” has been narrowed to a select handful of areas which have no personal impact on the wealthy individuals driving the right-wing agenda and about which Jesus had nothing or next to nothing to say, while the vast majority of His teaching on the matters that are closest to God’s heart have been swept under the carpet. It is just as Jesus said: “You blind guides, you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:24)

Clearly this is a bad thing because it has led to Godly people being duped into supporting bad politics. But it is far worse because it has led to compassionate people outside the church being fed a false (and utterly unattractive) view of God. It’s hard to find anything that is more despicable and more condemned in scripture than driving people away from God by painting such an utterly false picture of Him.

This has become all the more apparent in the recent presidential election in America. During the campaign respected Christian speakers keen to endorse the Republican Mitt Romney were even willing to sideline the divinity of Christ (having previously been utterly outspoken against the Mormon faith). In its aftermath the Evangelical Christian commentator and worship leader Vicky Beeching was vilified for daring to say that she was pleased that Obama won.

Well no more. As with the “confessing churches” during 1930s and 1940s Germany, those of us who truly follow Christ must not allow ourselves to remain a silent minority. It must now be a priority for all Christians to expose these evil teachings and preach against them.

But we should not be preaching against individuals. People are never the enemy, only the battleground. We should be preaching the words and deeds of Jesus, allowing his light to illuminate the darkness that has engulfed so many churches.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19). That is the message Jesus proclaimed at the start of his ministry, and that is what America needs to hear from Him now.


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