Thinking on Independence Day

July 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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There are a lot of other countries I could be in, but not one that I would rather be in. I love my country and it grieves me to see the direction we seem to be headed in.

The parallels (coincidence?) between the state and the church are intriguing to say the least. We have the most decadent country in the world where even the poorest have iPhones. The church is no different. We have the hottest sound systems, big projections systems, speakers and stages with lighting and everything a 80’s arena rock band would need. And yet….

There is a severe lack of education in our country. The majority of Americans don’t know the first thing about the history of their country and, sadly, many don’t seem to care. If you’ve seen any of the old “Jaywalking” episodes, this is obvious. Part of this is due to human nature, but a lot of it is just not taught in schools or in families anymore. What history is taught has been rewritten by liberal revisionists who want to removed God, capitalism, and anything else that goes against their socialist agenda from public view.

Again, the church doesn’t seem to be any different. The church is filled with many people who have what amounts to nothing more than a third grade education. They know the story of David and Goliath, they could tell you about Daniel and the lion’s den; but they can’t tell you about justification, propitiation, or explain why the believe what they believe. They can’t recognize false doctrine or aberrant  theology, but since it’s not a big deal, it’s not seen. The church, like the country, is driven more by emotion than truth. It’s all about how someone feels and not what is true.

In our country it’s become all about image. It reminds me of the Sprite bit “Image is Everything”. Everything we have is designer/’name-brand’. It’s all designed to draw attention to us and who we are and what we have. It allows us to build/create an image of us as we want others to see us. We fear anything and everything that will destroy that image because it would prove us to be hypocrites or show that we aren’t everything we’ve built us up to be.

It’s the same in the church. It’s become all about image in many places…We want people to see us the way we want them to and anything else is unacceptable. It’s about designer Christianity. Who you know and what they can do for you is more important than knowing the truth. The size of our church, the number of people in Sunday School, the amount of money brought in (often through less than scriptural means) are all indicators used to determine if a church is growing. These are the goals and hallmarks of many an American church. They are not the goals and hallmarks found in scripture.

I know. I said at the beginning that I love my country, and I do. It’s precisely because I love my country that I write my concern. Our countries history is filled with men and women who feared God. These men and women are what we call patriots and statesmen. They put the country above personal interests. They didn’t see politics as a career but as a privilege. They saw it as an opportunity to serve the country and their fellow Americans. They made laws based on the absolute morals found in Judeo-Christian beliefs. They made an honest effort to do what was right for the country and the system they put in place made sure that it was as fair as possible. And they knew when to step aside and let someone else try their hand at serving.

It is the same for the church. The history of the church is filled with men and women who feared God. They served one another out of respect for God and each other. They didn’t see Christianity as a career but as a faith to be believed and lived out. There are men like the apostles and women like Lydia and Priscilla. There are Timothy, Silvanus, Luke, John Mark, Barnabas, and numerous unnamed servants of God. There are those that gave their lives as martyrs and those who spent their lives in exile because of their faith. Men like Augustine, Chrysostom, Irenaeus, and Polycarp carried on the fatih when they were gone. If we move closer to our own time, there are men like Hus, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Farrell, Knox, Latimer, Ridley, and so many other who thundered the truth of the gospel without fear of men and with concern for the path that so many trod so lightly.

Today is almost over now but there is still time to take a moment to remember that this is more than just a holiday. It’s a day to remember the sacrifices that have been made for our country to have freedoms that no other country has and that numerous people from other countries have given everything to move here to enjoy. It’s a day to remember what our country has been founded on (whether you like it or not). It’s a day to stop and think about what we might do if in the situations they were put in. A day to teach our children the meaning of independence. And a day to recognize that, without a gracious Savior, none of it would be possible. Independence from tyranny is always good, but unless the people fight to gain and keep it, it will soon fade. Independence from sin is more than good, and we have a Savior who has both gained and will keep that independence for us.

Happy Independence Day!

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