Conflict Between The Christian Church And The State
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
I am personally aware of a minister who will not marry a couple if either of them have been divorced. His religious denomination is one of the largest protestant denominations in America.
As a lad, I grew up in a protestant church that required a female member to stand in church and be dressed-down from the pulpit by the minister for her dalliance with other men not her husband. She was publicly stripped of all her offices in that church and told she could remain as a member but would never hold a leadership position in the congregation again. (I was sitting just feet away from the weeping, humiliated, lady as I witnessed the entire event.)
As I recall, the married couple remained married until the husband's death, some years later, and the humiliated wife remained a member of that church, at least, until his demise.
That was in the 1940's. I am still conflicted by it.
I have no doubt the church did the right thing. It was the manner in which they did it that bothered me then, as a child, and today as a man. If it were to happen today there would be a chain of laws suits as far as the eye could see!
As a society, we have managed to tame the church. And , frankly, I'm not so sure that's a good thing.
See, the church USED to set the standards for morality in the US. Now the US Supreme Court and Hollywood set those standards.
The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees religious freedom in the US, right? Sure it does. Uh-huh. Tell that to the government -- especially the Internal Revenue Service.
I can remember when preachers stepped into the pulpit with nothing but a bible tucked under their arms. When asked about their notes or their sermon script, they would reply that they spoke that which the Spirit "laid upon their hearts" to speak. See, they made themselves available as a conduit for the "Holy Spirit" to speak directly to the congregants there gathered. Believe me, there were some powerful sermons delivered back in those days. On occasion, one would affirm, one could smell the stench of sulfur.
But, by and large, those days are gone. So is the church militant.
The Church Militant (Ecclesia Militans), is supposed to be comprised of Christians who struggle against sin, the devil and "..the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).
In the letter by Paul to the Christians at the church in Ephesus, written around 60 AD, Paul was careful to point out that the battle was "against spiritual wickedness in high places." Seems to me Paul could write that same letter to the Christian Church in America today -- and be spot on!
It is my contention that America needs the church militant today.
We hear often of the War on Christianity in America. I submit to you that there is NO WAR ON CHRISTIANITY because -- ONLY ONE SIDE IS FIGHTING!
The church has gotten fat, lazy, and quite comfortable with the government doing the work it was assigned by the Almighty.
The hammer is about to come down on the Christian faith in America.
How long do you suppose it will be before a pastor is dragged into court for preaching that homosexuality is a sin? Not long, I warrant.
At the moment pastors across the land are avoiding any reference to the Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin because they fear for their job -- or even their freedom -- if they do preach that which their faith, their bible and most importantly, their God says is so.
Look at America today. Observe how she has shrunken in on herself. Today she resembles more the evil city depicted in the scriptures in this manner: "And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality." (Revelation 14:8) America has gone from the "shining city on a hill" to a fallen heap of shame.
Look. Many of us have been calling for a movement to take our country back, to restore America, to save our beloved country. WE NEED THE CHURCH TO DO IT. We need the Church Militant to get off its backside and get in the fight, IF we are to have any chance -- at all -- of saving America.
I'm so old that I actually remember when Ezra Taft Benson, served as both the Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight Eisenhower -- AND -- the 13th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Benson once said something that explained why it is so important for America that the church maintain a leadership role in this nation. Benson said: “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ would take the slums out of people, and then they would take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”
I do not agree with some that recognizing the will of the majority regarding gay marriage while also protecting churches, clergy, and the laity from governmental bullying is the proper stance for the church to take today.
While I DO agree that protecting churches, clergy, and the laity from governmental bullying is rightfully a stance the church should take, I do not feel it is right for the church to sell out a tenet of the faith that is well over 2,000 years old existing even BEFORE the birth of the Christian church.
THIS is how the church lost so much of its moral authority. This is how the church handed over it's leadership role to the government -- just in case you were wondering.
In my opinion, the church should be working -- non-stop -- to move legislative protection through the Congress and the 50 state legislatures that would prevent churches ever being forced to provide gay marriages under the cover of equal treatment or anti-discrimination laws.
Whatever happened to freedom of religion? Whatever happened to separation of church and state?
One must understand that there is a double standard in America for the political left. The two issues above, freedom of religion and separation between state and church, are only raised when the leftist agenda is threatened by either or both. Therefore the religious community in America need not expect to be allowed to maintain their stance, you know the one they have had for thousands of years, a tenet of their faith, that homosexuality is a sin, and NOT have the political left -- using the power of the government --come down on them much as a ton of bricks! It WILL happen.
America will soon learn the churches with true devotion for, and to, the scriptures -- the very foundation of the faith they claim -- and those churches which are no more that civic clubs with no interest in furthering the cause of Christ on this earth.
As I look around me, assessing the condition of the church in America today, it has become clear (at least to me) that the church of true believers is fast approaching that remaining "remnant" of believers predicted by the scriptures in the so-called "end-times."
You can see them for yourself. These are the Christians who feel they are called to repentance, obedience, prayer, proclamation, steadfast courage -- and sacrifice. Their voices can be heard in our church pews, in Godly homes, in schools and in the public square. They are found in every denomination and among every community of faith. A fellowship of saints among saints, the grassroots voice of the Remnant is growing louder and stronger as the day approaches. SOURCE: http://voiceoftheremnant.webs.com/
In the months and years ahead, as America continues its downward spiral, that remnant will be the only group standing between the church and those determined to destroy the church. The remainder of the church, sad to say, will not be in the battle.
Yes, the church militant is badly needed today. But, I don't expect much from a clutch of Nervous Nellie's who won't even allow the old hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" to be published in their hymnals.
© J. D. Longstreet
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