“Jump!” “How high, sir?”

Lusk writes the following:

Once upon a time, the religious consensus of Christendom had provided the culture’s stability and cohesion. One faith, one Lord, one baptism had been the glue that held society together. Now [at the time of the Enlightenment] that older consensus had evaporated.

So the disunity of the church weakened her and left a void that the state quickly filled. The Enlightenment (Locke, Hobbes et. al.) provided the impetus for filling that void. It follows that a big piece of this puzzle of what it looks like for “the church to be the church” and to reassert her primacy (i.e., regain a Constantinian shape to the world), is for the church to be unified. That looks like Sisyphus’ boulder, no?

At the very least we can say that the evangelical church has largely accepted the role assigned to it by the Enlightenment. Modernity (heir to Enlightenment) has said that the church can only talk about religion as a private affair of the individual’s mind and heart. Economics, education, business, government, the arts, foreign policy – these are in the neutral realm of science and fact. What could religion possibly say about these things? The church has accepted a tamed version of the Christian faith that keeps the claims of Christ and the truth of the gospel separated into the compartment of private feelings and personal preferences (“non-communal, non-institutional”).

Somewhere along the way, the Christian faith became a message about how to change your life and how to escape the world instead of being the earth-shaking, revolutionary message about the universal Lordship of the risen and reigning Savior, Jesus Christ.

If the church will be the church, His ministers need to look the rulers of the city of man in the eye and command them to bow to King Jesus.

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4 responses to ““Jump!” “How high, sir?”

  1. OK here’s how it is. I am not stocking up on food and weapons and I am not moving to the wilderness to hide out. Although a home in a country location is pretty tempting.

  2. I have just started reading this article, but Lusk is making me uncomfortable in a good way.

    We often bemoan the ineffectiveness of the Church in powerfully (by ‘powerfully’ I mean with effect) proclaiming the Gospel. I think Lusk hits the nail on the head when he says, In other words, from that point on, the church would no longer set the agenda for the nation. Rather the nation would set the agenda and ask for the church’s rubber stamp.

    We are now in the business of responding to the civitas.

    al sends

  3. Lusk says many good things in this article, as well as many challenging things, that we should take to heart. Understanding the limitations he is laboring under in writing this we can accept the broad brush he paints with. What would be helpful is a more detailed explanation of what he is seeking as a solution. Is he arguing that an established church is good for a nation and the church? What will this unity/catholicity – that he says is so necessary – look like/consist of?

  4. “We are now in the business of responding to the civitas.”

    While that may be true today, one of the thrusts of Lusk’s article with which I heartily agree is that the state of the state is the state of the church. When the church kicked the church out of the church the state followed suit and likewise kicked the church out of the state.

    Now there is no way to know which came first, but I contend that the corruption of the state is a product of the theology of the church. Take for instance the last great religious war that Lusk mentioned, the Civil War. As others have contended it was a war upon the Reformed and the Reformed lost. From that point forward Arminian/Catholic/Unitarian dominance has characterized the U.S. landscape. It fits the american entrepreneurial ethos. Though it may seem too mystical, we in the U.S. are pro-choice. That is not just a political term that signifies one faction in the abortion debate. It is an entire worldview mentallity. Why does abortion exist as the status quo? I say it is because pro-choice is the dominant theology of our churches.

    So, all the discussion will eventuate in what? Many have recognized the necessity of religious ethics superintendency upon society. Which begs the question as to why they have never in all of history worked sustainably. Perhaps they cannot, because religion was never intended by the Lord to do so. The solution then must be only for the church to reform herself. But, our reformation will have either of two effects: Persecutions, or it will provide a balm of healing, though only temporary. Question then is: what is it that we want? Contentment with what the Lord should choose as the outcome? Should we then not seriously consider that “Judgement begins with the household of God,” along with, “What do I have to do with judging those outside?” Yes, for too long we have been at war with the world around us trying to conform them into our image when that was never the intention on the Gospel which is rather to conform those whom he has adopted into the image of his Son. Therefore, I must agree with Lusk that we must cease the politicization of the Gospel and treat the society as our mission field and not our home nor our enemy.

    What it will look like is that we will no be longer friends with the world when our priority becomes the Gospel and not the good life. When we announce that our mission is to convert the people to Christ and not to service the needs of society, they will say that we have abandoned the “love” of God. Instead of St. Francis’ saying, “Do good and if necessary preach the Gospel,” when we prioritize the Gospel and declare that unless the world eat His flesh and drink his blood they shall not share in him, they will turn away and no longer follow. The will plot how they might do away with us because we have abandoned what they so long have viewed the church to be, the teat that they have fattened themselves on. What challenges us is are we ready to be hated? Still, there remains no other way. If the Lord is willing, he will turn away the wrath of the people and bring healing. If not, then, let what is done in any case be to the glory of the Lord.

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