Over the past 15 years or so, I believe the Lord has made me aware of three serious areas of deception affecting the church. They are not the ONLY examples, but they are the beliefs and attitudes that I’ve personally experienced or observed close-up.
- The extremes of Charismania and its associated beliefs and practices.
- The misguided understanding of God and the gospel promoted through Calvinism.
- Christian devotion to patriotism/nationalism
The first two have been the subject of many of my posts in the past, and I’ve also addressed the third to various degrees on a few occasions. At the moment I see that third has become the most pressing problem – embracing adherents from across the Christian spectrum. And that third example is no less vociferously defended by its adherents than those who hold to the other two.
I’ve seen and heard many professing believers express pride in their nations and their citizenship, and I’ve heard them justifying that pride and their right to have that pride. But if you are one of those proud citizens, have you REALLY taken the time to examine what you are taking pride in? Have you looked at the history and the foundations of your nation?
And I mean the REAL history, and not some mythical version of it.
Have you looked into its wars, its invasions, its mistreatment and abuses, its murders. Have you looked into the things your nation values? Have you looked into its origins and how it built up its “prosperity” and how you came to share in that prosperity (as small as that share may be).
Have you looked at how your nation has treated the least of its citizens – or those it excludes from citizenship?
Can you REALLY be proud of your association with ALL of those things? Do you think those things would be approved by Jesus?
One justification I’ve heard for a person’s patriotism is that their nation has done more to spread the gospel than any other. But even if we take that gospel-preaching claim at face value – was it REALLY your secular nation at work and therefore deserving credit and your “pride”? Or was the gospel being spread by CHRISTIANS who happen to live in your nation. Spread by citizens of the Kingdom of God, sojourners, strangers, people not belonging to this world and its Kingdoms. Ambassadors of Christ, representing Him in foreign territory.
To whom or what do you give your allegiance, your devotion, your service?
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve