I’ve never actually seen a moth burn up as a result of being drawn into a flame. But I’ve seen them buzzing around my back porch light enough to get the idea. It is a great illustration for how we are often drawn into the very things that will ultimately destroy us. That has been the experience of the church in America. We fight to obtain the very things that will ultimately weaken us and make us wholly ineffective.
I believe that the spread of Christianity in the early church was attributable primarily to two God-ordained circumstances: (1) persecution from outside the church, and (2) conflict from within, due to the differences among them. Take away the oppression of the Roman government and Christianity does not have a reason to spread beyond Jerusalem except by mere happenstance. Take away the vast cultural differences within the early church, and Christian doctrine never really gets tested and grown and purified, it never develops any of the Spiritual “immunities” to false teaching which it currently enjoys.
It is always funny to me, then, when we in the church spend so much time and energy trying to rid the world of both of these catalysts. The church in America is actually fighting for two things that will kill us: (1) political favor from the outside and (2) homogeneous culture on the inside. I spoke to the second item in my recent post here. I will only summarize that post by saying that, contrary to what many of us seem to believe in the church, diversity is actually our friend, i.e., our strength…not our enemy. But what about the first catalyst? What about persecution from outside the church? History tells the story best.
Historically, Christianity has always grown stronger in the …
Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.
As a practicing attorney and a practicing church mediator, I have an interest in issues pertaining to religious liberties. In fact, it just may be that there is a series of posts coming in the future on this topic. But with the old debates in California over Proposition 8 and with the “experiment” by some conservative churches involved in political campaigning in the most recent presidential election, I noticed some pretty loose interpretations of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. So, I thought I would chime in.
First, let me just say that, as a Christian lawyer (no, that is not an oxymoron) “the church” and “the state” are both good friends of mine. I love them both and am loyal to them both. So, I get a little miffed when either of them is misrepresented by “voices” in our culture who, frankly, haven’t studied either of them enough to be speaking on them in public forums. Even with 26 years of law practice and 30 years of Bible teaching under my belt, I don’t consider myself an expert on these issues. But I think I can at least dialogue about them intelligently. I cannot say the same for many of the voices I have seen and heard recently. For the sake of the kingdom and the testimony of Christians everywhere, please do your homework before you sound off on issues of church and state.
Second, let me say that these issues involving church and state are dynamic issues, constantly morphing and shifting (even in the Supreme Court’s opinions over the last few decades) and are “blurry” to say the least. So whenever you see or hear someone talking about …