These afterthoughts from the last article highlights the position of every Christian, but it is especially significant and important for the novice Christian because for him there is no marked separation from the world as there is for the professional Christian, the clergy. For the common Christian, there is no illusion on this subject because he is involved closely with the world through work and other interest. For the layman to imagine being separated from the world is not possible. In today’s work and social climate to be totally absorbed means being drained of vital bodily forces, and this is common. With no time for reflection, how is he to function or to live as a Christian?
Seeing that the Christian is compelled to follow a path as decreed by society he is conditioned to submit to a mechanical or false kind of unity of purpose and sympathies which stifle any real attempt to act out Biblical faith. He is part of the mass being moved along by the tides of time and chance, even against his wishes. Thus, the Christian’s sense of purity is flawed and spoiled by unconsciously acknowledging a reference point in the world. Television, radio, telephone, and Internet make isolation impossible. These technologies have corralled Christians into commonness with the world and our sins have become the collective sins of the herd and they feel pressured to participate. Corporate sins of a group or nation have the imagined results of sharing the guilt and easing the consequences. This solidarity with the mass of mankind has now made the words of the prophet ring in our ears with perfect clarity, “There is none righteous no not one,”[i] and this is because all are “shut up under sin.”[ii]
Even though, the Christian conscience finds the situation disagreeable. The professional Christian will be affected less so, but the layman cannot escape it although he will try through common rituals. This he will do in two ways. He may try to dissociate the spiritual from the material situation. He will deny that the material has any real meaning to him since he is born again and that it has no eternal value or consequences, and is neutral at best. Having separated out the material they can now turn their attention to spiritual problems. The spiritual and the material have been compartmentalized in his mind and actions. These people will argue that the interior life is really all that matters and that being the salt and the light is just a matter of positive affirmation. Isn’t this what Jesus called hypocrisy; giving up the attempt to live out one’s religion in the presence of the world? Is it really possible to divide our lives into spiritual and material, one perfect and the other material and unimportant, where we can behave as other people? Do you think this may be one reason why the Church has so little influence in the world today?
Secondly, which is the most common way of escape, is to moralize or Christianize the world’s institutions. “How wonderful it would be if the institutions were all Christian then they would be dependable,” they say. Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin all thought that this was the answer and even though they failed to produce the desired results, that thinking still persists to this day. These people have this mindset that everything can be Christianized then those things will become good. This world belongs to Satan, you can dress him in white and he is still the Devil. It is this effort that Christian patriots, social justice advocates, Christian psychologists, and others try to do and refuse to look at the results, nothing but failure after failure. Applying Christian remedies and virtues, putting a Christian spin or justification on the world only leaves you with hypocrisy and failure. What is really taking place is that Christians are trying to make the world tolerable to live in, as if it is their home. Just like they try to present Soldiers and criminal lawyers as Christian so also social disorders are supposedly held in check by the application of the label “good works.” The condition of the world is just too shocking to the Christian conscience so they feel the need to do something to change it. In reality, men are trying to build a bridge between heaven and earth, between the kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of this world and now the Christian is always on this bridge of good ethics, good works, and a good conscience. “All for one and one for all” is disgraceful gossip trying to bridge two kingdoms.
By the application of the love word, in all of its varied forms, when confronted with the profound problems of the world the Christian is implicated in a conspiracy to try and appease and satisfy God without involving the cross. The strategies of modern Christianity to forgo the cross and the death it symbolizes, death to the world and death to self, is primarily the end-time product and fruit of fourth-century Constantinian and Catholic, and sixteenth-century Protestant theology to take the reins of the Church away from the Holy Spirit and place them in the hands of mere men.
More thoughts to follow; how did this happen?
[i] Roman 3:10-12
[ii] Galatians 3:22