Thursday, May 21, 2020

"The Christian's Responsibility in a Pagan Society"

“A politicized faith not only blurs our priorities, but weakens our loyalties. Our primary citizenship is not on earth but in heaven. …Though few evangelicals would deny this truth in theory, the language of our spiritual citizenship frequently gets wrapped in the red, white, and blue. Rather than acting as resident aliens of a heavenly kingdom, too often we sound [and act] like resident apologists for a Christian America…Unless we reject the false reliance on the illusion of Christian America, evangelicalism will continue to distort the gospel and thwart a genuine biblical identity…American evangelicalism is now covered by layers and layers of historically shaped attitudes that obscure our original biblical core.” John Seel

“After being blessed with some 150 years of strong Christian, biblical influence, our country has been rapidly declining…Millions of Americans still attend church regularly, and many more consider themselves to be Christians. According to polls, most Americans claim to believe in God. But practical atheism and moral relativism have dominated our society for many decades. For the most part, the few vestiges of Christianity still reflected in our culture are weak and compromising. A growing number of those vestiges have become apostate and cultic.

“Many observers have referred to this period in the United States, and in Western society in general, as post-Christian. By any measure, it is certainly sub-Christian. Although many parts of our culture still wear some sort of religious mask, in reality it is largely pagan. Through its leaders, its legislative bodies, and its courts it has adopted not simply a non-Christian but a distinctively anti-Christian stance and agenda. Anything and everything that is explicitly Christian and biblical has been swept away under such guises as separation of church and state, equal rights, and religious and moral tolerance.

“The many biblical tenets and standards that once were part of the fabric of our country, and that provided the undeniable cultural benefits of morality, are now gone. Whatever its form or practical benefits may have been, cultural Christianity is dead. Self-expression, moral freedom, materialism, and hedonism are the prevailing gods. Those gods, as clearly pagan as any in the ancient Greek and Roman pantheons, have inevitably spawned the epidemic breakdown of families, illegitimate births, sexual evils of every sort, unequaled growth of drug addition and crime, and the wanton destruction of unborn babies. In the name of intellectual and scientific progress, godless philosophies have long dominated secular as well as much private education.

“In reaction to the rapid and pervasive escalation of immorality and ungodliness, believers have become both saddened and angered. Hostility among some of them has been intensified still further when they learn that their taxes are being used to fund ideas and practices that only a few generations ago were condemned even by most secularists. They fear for their children and even more for their grandchildren because of the kind of world into which they will be born, educated, and have to live.

“Many well-meaning Christian leaders have founded organizations to counteract anti-Christian influences and assaults. Attempting to fight fire with fire, as it were, Christians organizations, publishers, and broadcasters have sought to counter anti-Christian ideas and programs by using non-Christian tactics. They have decided it is time to stand up for their ‘rights’ and have declared war on the prevailing non-Christian culture, especially the liberal national media. They have become hostile to unbelievers, the very ones God has called them to love and reach with the gospel.

“But neither the New Testament nor the example of the early church justifies such mentality. The cause of Christ cannot be protected or expanded by social intimidation any more than by government decree or military conquest. Ours is a spiritual warfare against human ideologies and beliefs that are set up against God and that can only be successfully conquered with the weapon of the Word.”

John MacAthur


  1. I agree with both the Seel quote and the following MacArthur commentary. As you know, I have been somewhat appalled by the reaction of some of the brethren we know in common who are seemingly more interested in war with culture/government than with evangelism and a passionate, unflustered, genuine Christ-likeness. The Lord alone knows, but my best guess is that those who are ever flummoxed over the "culture wars" and whose passions and energies are spent engaging those government and kindred concerns - may find little left over for the genuine cultivation of the fruit of the spirit, and the need to evangelize and for being a blessing to our fellow congregants, and society at large. We are to witness of Christ to society - not war with it. Paul did not, nor did the other apostles wage campaigns against Roman, Greek and other governments. They did not picket, boycott and waste countless hours bemoaning that the secular and godless world is what it is - secular and godless. They went about preaching the gospel. Establishing churches. They were not preaching the "gospel" of Americanism, nor were they establishing "faith-based" organizations to confront government/societal powers. Somehow, what to me seems most biblical in terms of conduct and intent is now waved off with the demeaning use of the word "pietism." That's rubbish. As Christians, we are to model our behavior on the precepts and examples from the Word of God. We ought be, to the best of our abilities, the best citizens of our country...and not numbered among those fomenting obstinance, if not outright rebellion against our God-given government. Particularly NOT over this virus issue. The "good news" is not about Christianizing the nations - it is about God's calling and saving His people in Christ.

    1. You couldn't be any more right!! As we have discussed previously, this idea that so many Christians have that they have to "demand their rights" is ludicrous on its face. I have said before that Paul made use of his citizenship only when it was convenient to the spread of the gospel, not so people would defer to him and give him his "space." But all this today is a product of the society that we have been raised in. The demand for our rights is the way of the world and, as with so many other things, that mentality has also infected the church. As to whether those folks are cultivating the fruit of the Spirit, I leave that to the Lord who alone knows the heart. But their actions do not speak well for them. Thanks!