Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is the fifth post in a series.
- Part 1 explained why I talk about the application of Christian theology to politics.
- Part 2 provided a personal witness, what brought me to Christ Jesus.
- Part 3 explains why some believe might makes right.
- Part 4 considered the lesson of Ecclesiastes. To give might to life — we must love God and be obedient to His will.
In this post we will look at our last line of defense.
The Last Line Of Defense Is Martyrdom
A Pagan Future?
When we consider America, many Christians see a nation drifting towards paganism, and we wonder what is store for the future. What problems will our children and grandchildren face? Will they face any? Even if our society gives up on Christianity, don’t we live in a tolerant society? Won’t those who remain Christians still be allowed to go their own way? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
When people do not worship the One True God, they worship idols, gods of their own creation. Why would we create a god? We each want to think we exist for our own sake, but we look ahead. We see what seems inevitable, and we do not know what to do about it. Without God, our lives are meaningless. Everything sinks into empty oblivion. Thus, we fixate on whatever seems to offer hope or a momentary diversion.
What might give us the power to control our own fate? In pagan societies some leaders will inevitably offer up government — and themselves — as idols. They will suggest that if we all work together we can control our fate. Somehow, if we offer all we have to a great leader (guess who), he can bring us to together in one peaceful and powerful union. Through the GREAT LEADER we can solve the problems of this life.
Idols never work, of course. If we examine His Creation with even just a little curiosity, is it that difficult to see why? What the One True God has made is just too wonderful in its infinite size, minute detail, and startling complexity for any mere man to appreciate, much less understand. Unless we go to our The Creator for our answers, we have no hope of understanding the riddles of life, but we do not want to do that. Pride demands otherwise.
In WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT OUR REPUBLIC IS ABOUT TO FALL? — PART 3, we considered the wisdom of Aristotle. In THE ETHICS OF ARISTOTLE, Aristotle observed that in order to become happy we must become virtuous. Unfortunately, in spite of this profound bit of wisdom, Aristotle was a pagan. So Aristotle, as we might have expected, decided that the people would become virtuous only if their government forced them to become virtuous.
Can you imagine how our government, our politicians, would behave if we gave them the power to force us to become virtuous? Yet isn’t that exactly what we have begun to expect from them? The buzz words are “character education.” We have put our government in charge of our schools, and we actually expect secularized public schools — run by politicians — to educate the character of our children.
Check out the following:
- Character Education Partnership (CEP): This is a nonprofit that promotes character education in the public school system.
- The Josephson Institute sponsors Character Counts. That organization focuses on teaching schools how to teach character and boasts that it is nonpartisan and nonsectarian.
- On ED.gov, “character education” returns a list of topics. Character Education: Our Shared Responsibility is at the top of the list. Here is how the Federal Government defines “character education.”
Character education teaches the habits of thought and deed that help people live and work together as families, friends, neighbors, communities and nations.
Character education is a learning process that enables students and adults in a school community to understand, care about and act on core ethical values such as respect, justice, civic virtue and citizenship, and responsibility for self and others. Upon such core values, we form the attitudes and actions that are the hallmark of safe, healthy and informed communities that serve as the foundation of our society.
That we would allow the Federal Government to promote character education is especially ironic. That’s because Congress has absolutely no constitutional authority to spend money on the public school system. Thus, we have made politicians who have broken their oath of office responsible for instructing the character of our children. But perhaps we need not worry. After all, we now have modern scientific approaches to character education.
So what is the point? When we allow our government to instruct the character of our children, we give politicians the opportunity to turn our children into pagans. We teach our children to believe might makes right.
Living Unaware In An Era Of Christian Martyrdom
It is an old debate now, but because of it, Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Revolution (check out ELUSIVE WISDOM). Here is the Bible passage that started it.
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Instead of looking to idols, Christians believe in salvation by faith in Christ Jesus. When we put our faith in Christ, we are made right with God, and we receive His promise — His might — through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Christians do not believe the works or the might of men makes right. On the contrary, because the works of men are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in God’s eyes, Christians look solely to God for salvation. That belief puts Christians and pagans in direct opposition. Whereas pagans will accept the power of men to rule without restriction, Christians put obedience to God first. Jesus put it this way in a now familiar verse.
21 They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
Thus, whenever government demands unlimited loyalty, the Bible stands in direct opposition. If we allow the creeping secularism of our society to continue unopposed, in order to remain obedient to God, Christians will have to refuse Caesar. Eventually, some will pay with their lives.
Christian persecution is probably already more commonplace than most of us realize. Consider the following:
- Open Doors supports persecuted Christians worldwide. About Christian Persecution describes the scope of problem.
- In his broadcast today (So WHAT?® Radio: 12/1/2013 broadcast => Multiply – Part 6B: The Global Church), Pastor Lon Solomon of McLean Bible Church considered the subject of persecution around the world, including here.
- We Can Make Supporting the Suffering Church a Priority’ — and We Should! (www.huffingtonpost.com) observes a few words from the final Presidential Address to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York: (
Important as the fight for religious freedom is in the US–in the face of the government requiring that employers cover birth control, for example–the Cardinal said, such battles “pale in comparison” to the suffering of Christians in countries such as China, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan and Nigeria. “If our common membership in the mystical body of Christ is to mean anything, then their suffering must be ours as well,” the archbishop said.
If we do not take a determined stand for religious freedom now, our children and grandchildren will in fact share the persecution and suffering of Christians in other parts of the world. That sounds ridiculous? Then consider the irony of this article: Persecuted North Koreans pray for American Christians.
- Aristotle on virtue and happiness (philebersole.wordpress.com)
- God + World ≠ 2 (afkimel.wordpress.com)
- Common Core and the American Republic (theamericanconservative.com)