“We are lesser sons, of greater Sires” or, the problem with Evangelicals.
‘Reclaimer’, a member of the forum and MVT alumni, has begun writing a series on historical (Biblical or Reformed) Christianity on the MVT Forum. I include here his first post which became a discussion on the forum.
I think the issues highlighted, in Reclaimer’s post, are the single biggest issue that is preventing conservatives doing anything useful against tyranny. This requires exploration; we must understand how current interpretations of faith are hamstringing us.
- We have people for whom the very idea of any sort of violence is abhorrent, living in a country that fought the revolutionary war, with a Christian tradition of action. This takes no account of ‘just war’, or righteous action against tyranny.
- We have Christians who accept no personal responsibility, placing it all in ‘faith’ and ‘being saved.’ They expect “God” to fix it all for them, with no action taken by them. Is there not a parable of a man on a roof after a hurricane? I see much of ‘Christianity’, by which I mean many churches, as weak sauce, infiltrated by modern ‘liberalism.’
- I expect this same belief, that others will take care of things for you, is behind the Q-psyop. In the same way, they expected the ‘white hats’ to take care of it for them, with no personal involvement, is the same as Christians expecting that faith will save them without works?
- Lack of personal responsibility puts the works in the hands of others.
The post below is designed to be historical analysis of the Christian religion.
“We are lesser sons, of greater Sires” or, the problem with Evangelicals.
“Of the spirited roars of lost warrior’s songs,
Distant echoes are all that remain.”
I make no secret that I am a Christian. Shockingly, that means I run into a lot of other people who also profess to be a Christan. As the world continues to burn, I take comfort in knowing that the end of America, or even the end of this world and my life in it, is not the end of me, and again, I find myself surrounded by people who profess the same thing. The bad thing though, is most of the time they accompany that sentiment by saying something like “I’m so glad God is in control, so I don’t have to care about it.” Every time I hear that, I want to lose my mind, because it reminds me of how far we have fallen. Christians used to be the foremost warriors of the earth, and I am not only referring to the crusades. (Interestingly, when I start to talk about this, both Christians and non-Christians have made comments about how “unlike Christianity” the earlier church seems to be; for instance, many people seem to be under the persuasion that the early church was pacifistic, or non-violent, at least.) One of the saddest things that I have seen regarding current events is how readily many modern Christians seem to be willing to simply “sit back and pray,” doing nothing else about the current dilemma. It is sad because Christians have not always been this way – the “sit back and let God sort it out” mentality is a relatively modern convention. How did we come to this?
I have spent a lot of time tracing the differences between modern and historical Christianity, partially because the progression is darn interesting but also because I would see Christians pick up the torch that we left on the ground, and carry it forward once again. Christianity has a long and proud heritage, one that I would see reclaimed, if possible. One step in that process, perhaps the first step, is for us to remember what we once were. I have talked about this before at MVT, and Max referenced some of what I said last night on another thread, so it seems now is a good time to start a thread (and hopefully a discussion) about this here. Before I do that, a couple points. First, I do not suggest that modern (evangelical) Christianity is evil, only incomplete. As such, please do not take any of these criticisms as “religious” per se – I am not calling anyone’s salvation or relationship with God into question, only showing an inconsistency between what many Christians say they believe and how they act. Many people have been misled into believing faith means inaction, as if God expects them to simply sit back and watch, and my intent is to show that mindset for the deception that it is. Second, later in this post I will elaborate what defines evangelical Christianity compared to its historical form, so if you consider yourself an evangelical, do not write this off yet – you might agree far more than you realize. Lastly, this post is a historical and not biblical analysis – I can do a biblical analysis later, but since many here do not hold scripture authoritative, I will attempt to confine this thread mostly to the historical analysis, and probably do a biblical analysis later.
While people will make the assertion that the early church was pacifistic, such is absolutely not the case. Some of the earliest converts to the church were Roman soldiers, who continued their occupation after their conversion. Although it is true that, in the years following the death of Jesus by Roman crucifixion, many Christians were executed without resistance, this was not a statement about violence as such – to over-simplify it, the early church believed that the only people they could allow to be abused was themselves. Following that line of reasoning, while they would allow themselves to be taken prisoner as an act of service toward God and the people taking them prisoner, they did not avoid action on behalf of others. Within the first two centuries, Christians became known for their fierce dedication to helping others at personal expense, even as they were persecuted by Caesar after Caesar. Their dedication to action on behalf of others was so striking that even several of the pagan Caesars were impressed, not the least of which was Marcus Aurelius who, though he persecuted and butchered Christians in the earlier days of his reign, is said to have relented and extended his protection to them after they saved him and his army. (He never converted, but he did have an engraving of the event carved into the Piazza Collona.)
As the centuries progressed, Christians began to play a more decisive role in international warfare. Following the military expansion of the Islamic horde, it was the Church who was chiefly responsible for driving back the Islamic invasion in the battle of Tours. (the “Battle that saved Western civilization.”) It was later a volunteer army of the Church that drove back the Muslim invasion of Byzantium, during the first Crusade. Afterwards, Christian volunteers formed into military orders, of which the Templars and the Hospitallers (neither of which were crusader forces, for the record) were the most prominent, and who were regarded by their enemies as the finest warriors on the battlefield, a reputation that endured for over two hundred years, and who were responsible for driving the invading Muslim armies out of Europe. Christians continued to be known by their martial prowess for hundreds of years following, and though they did not always win, they never failed to put up a respectable fight.
Christianity’s marital heritage continued well into the settlement of the American colonies. During this time, under the militia system, the churches in the colonies taught that defense of the community was the duty of every man, and in many areas, men were required by law and by doctrine to be trained and armed. “Conscientious objection” was not allowed, as they considered it self-evident that it is the duty of all to be ready to defend the weak. In some areas, notably Puritan New England, law required that all male churchgoers be armed and trained. Again, conscientious objection was not permitted; all men were to be armed and trained, whether they wanted to be or not. This belief and practice is partially why the colonies, comprised primarily by Christians, were able to endure where so many other attempts had failed, and is also partially responsible for the successes in the War for independence; by some accounts, on the day of “the shot heard ‘round the world,” the colonists were able to raise over fifteen thousand militiamen in under twenty-four hours, and that before America even declared her independence. From shortly after the death of Jesus to the War for Independence, Christians could be counted on to be at the front of pretty much any necessary fight.
So what happened?
Prior to about 1700, Christianity held to the doctrine that scripture applied to all of life, with no exceptions. As a result, verses such as “There is a time to kill…a time to hate…a time for war” (Ecclesiastes 3) and “Rescue those being led away to the slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11) were given great weight. “Just War Theory” taught that “If there is such a thing as a just war, there is such a thing as an unjust peace.” The idea that “good” men could willingly sit by, doing nothing during an atrocity, was not just disputed; it was scorned openly. Men were not only allowed, but expected to stand up in times of crises, and men who refused were viewed as not only cowardly, but derelict of duty, and punished for it.
Around 1700, men, including many in the church, became fascinated with the idea of “laws of Nature” by which they believed they could create, if such laws could be discovered, a perfect utopia of society. The fascination of this idea led to the abandonment of “moral authority” in favor of “reason;” after all, to discover these laws, men must be free to go wherever their reason directs, and therefore no man can have moral authority over any other. This movement took off with force and became the dominant philosophy throughout both Europe and the colonies. It became so dominant, in fact, that the churches began to abandon the idea of teaching moral duty and obligation at all, and focus instead on saving souls, letting God worry about the rest. This counter-movement spread through the churches like wildfire, and became known as “the Great Awakening.” Combined with rationalism/the enlightenment, it became the norm to believe that the churches should focus only on evangelism, leaving the larger problems of the world to higher powers, a philosophy which became “evangelical Christianity.” During the early 1800s, the process repeated, and the “second great awakening” left a further divide between “faith” and action. Significantly, the dominant belief combined prior Rationalism with European Romanticism to become “Transcendentalism,” which held that fixing societal problems was the job of an empowered government, and therefore people did their “moral duty” by delegating individual authority to the central power. The result was a war between the North and the South, as well as a final push toward evangelicalism by the church, which is where we find ourselves today.
As a result of this process, the evangelical Christianity now largely holds to the idea that action in the face of evil is God’s job, so people should sit back, pray, and “let go and let God” – a position that would have been scorned by our fathers. Where previously the Church taught that “man should do his best, and the Lord would do what He will,” evangelicalism taught that man need not do anything except what is good for his own life, since “God is in control.” Whereas the church had taught before that man was accountable to God to be upright and noble in all his deeds, the evangelical position taught by implication that, although God liked it when people did good, as long as you were “saved” it did not matter – He would sort out the rest, you could do whatever you needed to do. The evangelical movement has spawned generations of apathetic “Christians” who believe that they can do whatever they want – lie, cheat, and steal, if desired – and it is fine; they are “saved,” and “God is in control,” so who cares?
The problem with evangelical teaching is that it cuts itself off at its feet; either God exists, or He does not. If He does, He has the authority and right to demand action in the face of evil, a doctrine which scripture clearly teaches and to which the Church held for over a thousand years. I will not go into the weeds of all sorts of different verses, but I will point to one significant passage, which is one of the earliest Christian writings:
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?…But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works…for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2, starting in verse 14, written ~AD 46).
People claiming the Christian mantle must make a choice – either scripture is true, or it is not. If they believe it is, and they trust it for comfortable things like their salvation, then they must also accept all the uncomfortable things too, like their duty to defend others whether they want to or not. I agree with evangelicalism on some things – God is in control, He will do what He will, and there is comfort there. Having said that, it does not stop there. God is in control, and He expects people who follow Him to do certain things, not because He needs them to, but because they are good things. It is not faith to wait things out, and it is not the way our fathers have shown.
If God does exist, then we must accept that we will give an account for what we have done, as well as what we have left undone.