Saturday, August 19, 2017

Politicization of Church Will Soon Lead to Its Persecution

In 1972, Yale professor Sydney Ahlstrom published a remarkable book entitled, A Religious History of the American People. I strongly recommend it.
In his book, Syndey points out that, in 1820, a surprising three-fourths of the anti-slavery societies in American were in the South. Before that, Baptist and Methodist missionaries had been busy preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ there. These missionaries uniformly believed that slavery was no witness to Jesus Christ. As a result, white Christians in the South had formed groups (“societies”) to reflect on slavery and discern how to end it.
By the 1850s, the issue of slavery had become politicized. It had fallen under the control of Jupiter, god of politics. Whenever Jupiter gains control of an issue, he always drives people to delirium. In other words, he makes a reasonable discussion of an issue, marked by mutual respect, no longer possible. Instead, his very Unholy Spirit inspires only emotional intensity and stubborn irrationality.
Politicization is always followed by polarization. Once delirium sets in, everything becomes black and white with no shades of gray. Others are either for us or against us. Even strong agreement on all other issues pales into insignificance. When we become delirious, whether as individuals or as groups, we then perceive whoever disagrees with us on the issue at hand as the incarnation of evil.
Let us digress for a moment to recall that the word “Satan” means “accuser” and “the devil” means “divider.” Jesus also called the devil a murderer and the father of all lies (John 8:44-45). We can see, then, that all this politicization and polarization comes straight from Satan to us through the Olympian gods like Jupiter whom we wrongly adore.
Sadly, by the 1850s, politicization and polarization had disfigured debate on slavery beyond recognition. By then, to be anti-slavery meant to be pro-Northern. Anti-slavery societies in the South dried up. Worse, denominations permanently split over the issue. Northern and Southern churches could no longer affirm their unity in Christ.
Once the unity of the Church was lost, the disunity of the nation soon followed. War broke out between Northern and Southern states in 1861. The worst part: Christians on both sides of the issue were certain the Jesus Christ was on their side. Christians and churches on each side prayed to Jesus for victory over the other even as they unwittingly served Mars, god of war, and murdered their brothers and sisters in Christ.
One of the erroneously defining issues of our day is not slavery but sexuality. Jupiter has managed to introduce delirium into the discussion of this issue as well. Reason and respect are again no longer possible. As in the 1800s, even Christians have once again fallen under his spell and splits in churches and denominations have followed.
The scary part? Once Christians and churches believe that Jesus Christ himself is on their side, they come to justify harm being done to Christians and others who disagree with them. That’s right. Once Jupiter persuades some Christians to side with him against others, he happily starts persecuting or warring against those others—with the blessing, once again, of those Christians under his spell.
Recalling this sordid history, let us pray to our good lord and savior. Let us ask him, once again, to speak his words of truth that alone can break the spell the gods have cast over us and our churches. Let us pray that, even at this late hour, he may free us to witness again to the reconciliation that is ours, and everyone’s, already in unity with him.

Copyright © 2017 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.