istock_2880338large_governmentWith every passing election season, the American church reveals just how set its mind is on the things of this world. It is discouraging to watch; for we have been called to a greater mission than making America great again.

We have been called to hasten the day of the Lord’s return.

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Hebrews 13:12-14

Every moment and every bit of energy invested in this world is wasted to the kingdom of God. Jesus came to establish an order of an entirely different kind. It appears that we have lost sight of the difference.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are to be “in the world, but not of this world” (John 17:14-19). There is no fine line in this. Those who want to be friends with the world are at enmity with God.

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Even the desire to be a friend with the world makes us an enemy of God. It is time for us in the church to beg God to search their hearts and minds. Who will lead us?

The problem with deception is its nature: Those who are being deceived do not know that they are deceived. Deception is such a danger, that the whole armor of God is needed to protect us from it.

 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11

This deception is the primary weapon of our enemy, Satan – particularly at the end of the age.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2Thessalonians 2:9-10

Our salvation from the great deceptions of our day comes to us as we receive the love of the truth that God is offering. This includes the truth about the worldly things we have come to love.

We must receive God’s truth about America.

Powers and Principalities

The Christian community must always be asking which of the powers and principalities of this world are now most aggressively seeking to bring human life under their control. The American fusion of economic, political and educational principalities, into the central state, is especially significant.

For the sake of Jesus Christ and His gospel, consider the following questions under the Holy Spirit’s encouragement and guidance. Allow Him to search your heart regarding its desires for the world.

  1. Are economic systems that enable the rich to become richer while the poor continue to die in their poverty, of this world or God? Can capitalism be an instrument of God, when the leading capitalists are famous and followed for their ability to build bigger barns (Luke 12:16-21)?
  2. Are the political systems that give power to one demographic over another, of this world or God? Can a follower of Jesus celebrate a democratic republic that is “of the people, by the people and for the people” – particularly when a smaller and smaller portion of the people have a real say in this country’s politics?
  3. Is an educational system that has fundamentally rejected God, His friend or His enemy?

It is time for the church in America to face the obvious: The principalities and powers of this country – government, industry, education, etc. – are under the power of the Evil One.

Those leading the charge to convert these powers to Christ are misguided. They are confronting them as if our fallen nature can be transformed symptomatically, rather than at the source.

For a world under the power of Satan, this is to be expected. Those without eyes to see the things of God, only see the symptoms; and addressing the symptoms brings relief, and gratification. It is natural for them to go there.

But why have so many church leaders fallen into this trap? Have we, ourselves, become blind and deaf to the deceptions of the enemies?

The primary problem here is the assumption that people – and systems – are best changed from the outside in. This approach leaves the heart untouched; and ready to pursue its own agenda, once the fuss has died down.

God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, instituted an altogether new order. His government is unlike any of this world. There can be only one king; and that king has much to say about the application of power and authority. Those with the most are required to lift up and serve the less fortunate.

Does that describe American politics? Will it ever? Even at its greatest moment, was this ever a reality in America? Before you answer, remember that good intentions are not the same as intentionality.

Many have deceived themselves into believing that our King, Jesus Christ, is “of the people, by the people and for the people”. The very nature of this is at absolute odds with the truth. Such a Jesus is an idol created in our own image.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16

The entire creation is to be “by Him, through Him, and for Him”. We should allow the contrast and conflict of this perspective to expose and transform our mindsets. Where do our allegiances truly lie? Don’t be deceived; receive the love of the truth!!

The economy of God is also quite the opposite of our much heralded capitalism. Though it may have once been philanthropic (and I am not so sure of that), it now looks nothing like “love your neighbor as yourself”, or “if you see your brother in need…”. Our economy is built on our greed for the American Dream.

The rejection of God by our education system is well chronicled, so I will not spend time on it here. The health of a tree is evidenced by its fruit. Public education in America has long been an instrument of Satan.

So, what’s the point of all this?

First, I believe the Lord would have us realize that we (the church) have become the slaves of an idol – a group of principalities and powers that are at enmity with our God. We have become sub-culture; captive to a patriotic dream that has turned into a nightmare. It is time we woke up and started shaking others from their stupor.

Second, it is high time we recognized that attempting to use the methods of worldly systems to change those systems is lunacy. Years of failure have proven that this approach only constrains the gospel and life of Jesus Christ. The church in America has become increasingly trapped in the camp called America.

We need a spiritual revolution!!

Will the church that has become so united to the purposes of the state be free to live in tension and provide a clear vision of the kingdom? Or will its witness continue to be compromised and its proclamation fall on deaf ears?

The church in America has reached a crossroads. While it seems to make sense that righteous change is best accomplished from the inside the principalities and powers, we are currently powerless to do so – simply because we have lost our allegiance to the only One that can affect such a change.

The church must reestablish its uncompromised allegiance to our King. There are very few among us who are strong enough in the Lord to repent and believe anew, while invested in the morass that our economic, political and educational systems have become.

The call to counterculturalism is a challenge to many things we hold dear. Like all revolutions, it will require perseverance and sacrifice. There will be martyrs.

Only God knows if, and how, such a spiritual revolution may be possible for the church in America. Our first steps must include receiving a love of the truth, repenting in that truth, and believing God for the grace to turn our world upside down.

We must then take action, in that belief, for God’s glory and kingdom. This is our reasonable service – the unconditional and sacrificial love of our King.

If God has stirred a desire in your heart for a different kind of revolution, please let me know. I believe God will give us clear instructions – where two or three are gathered in His name.

Humbly yours and forever His,