Continuing on from my last post there is more to be said regarding what I there alluded to concerning the notion that Western culture has at its root the illegitimate merging of supposed Christian theology with varying political philosophies. Western culture is, therefore, to the extent to which such a synthesis has shaped and defined it, actually a distortion, indeed, a veritable perversion of the biblical concept of the kingdom of God. It is the result of the unfortunate and misguided attempt to make society and the Church of Jesus Christ culturally synonymous, society at large becoming, as it were, its national and political aspect. In complete contrast, however, is scripture’s teaching that the Christian life is a purely personal and completely exclusive matter between individuals and the Lord, issuing in a changed heart and godly lifestyle. It is a personal relationship with Almighty God, entered into because of repentance from sin and faith in Him. According to the Bible such believers corporately comprise the kingdom of God on earth/the Church of Jesus Christ/the Body of Christ, whichever term one chooses to use, but only such as are repentant, and who actually know the Lord, comprise it. The crucial point is that true godliness is a heart matter, brought about by the Holy Spirit, which can never be imposed from without, whether through political power or the use of force. It is the historical attempt to do this that has left us with the sad legacy of a Western society that now sees Christianity as the primary cause of so much perceived injustice.
This is not to say, of course, that a consideration of Christian principles should not in any way be brought to bear on national government, and it remains the case that the freedoms found in the West, as opposed to the more oppressive regimes historically encountered elsewhere, are the result of this precisely having been done; but it nevertheless remains the case that the completely unbiblical notion that it is in some way the function of the Church of Jesus Christ to ‘christianize’ the world through the use of political means has done damage beyond measure to the cause of Christ. The result is simply this:
The Tragic Legacy of Pseudo-Christian Societies and Culture
The long history of the merging of the supposed Christian Faith with political power, whether that of the Catholic Church, or those churches which resulted from the Reformation and thereafter, is the long history of the misguided mixing of the solidly biblical with the solidly anti-biblical. Hence what we are up against in Western culture today. And of course the problem is that when the Christian Church, be it the genuine thing or a merely a worldly demonic counterfeit, exercises political power and influence, whatever false doctrines and wrong teaching it is embracing at any particular point in history get passed into both law and national life. This results in two evils:
Firstly, various immoral behaviours are made illegal which, although certainly condemned in scripture as being sinful, should never come under the remit of legal ruling by national governmental legal rulings. Biblically speaking, the smaller the State is the better, and it is ironic that twisted so-called ‘christian’ thinking down the years has played such a big part in bringing about such in the West. Examples would include the making illegal of drinking of alcohol and gambling and, going back, for instance, to Calvin’s Geneva, such things as adultery! Such rulings have obviously always also included anything pertaining to a homosexual lifestyle. (Rape is obviously in an entirely different category because it does not involve the consent of both parties. Indeed, it is, by very definition, the violent imposition of something on someone who has precisely not given consent to what is being done to them. Violence, as opposed to legitimate force by way of maintaining the rule of law, is always criminal, but when of a sexual nature against women becomes especially terrible and vile. Though sexual in nature, rape is thus firmly in the category of those practises which should be quite properly ruled on legally by national government and made a punishable crime.)
Secondly, however, laws get passed concerning practises which are deemed to be wrong according to the Christian Church at any given time, but which are actually perfectly legitimate in God’s sight, and not actually sinful at all, the Christian Church of the day being itself completely in the wrong regarding them. And of course the big example of this is the shameful history of the Christian Church regarding its past (utterly spurious) theological justification for the abiding evil of racism and prejudice against non-whites. Indeed, this is one of my main reasons for contending that the backlash against Christianity by modern secular liberalism is, in part, actually deserved. Hence too my contention that Western society’s increasing antipathy towards Christian thinking is, at least partly, God’s ‘built-in judgement’ against the hypocrisy of so many who, whilst claiming to love God, bore (some still do) animosity toward those against whom they were racially prejudiced. The fact that even as recently as the 1960’s mixed race marriages were illegal in certain Western so-called ‘Christian’ nations is all the evidence needed for the argument to be conceded. One could also, of course, cite attitudes of segregation, whether legally enforced or not, that have been prevalent, even in my lifetime, in Great Britain (strangely, as much against the Irish as regarding black and Asian folk) as well as in the US and South Africa.
We therefore have the following scenario: Christianity has, to say the very least, an extremely unfortunate history regarding the propagation and defence of the evils of bigotry and racism. Not, of course, that all Christians were, or are, guilty of such, even when such bigotry was the societal norm. Far from it, in fact! But the history of significant segments of the Christian Church is nonetheless inseparably bound up with the oppression of black, Asian and Oriental people, as a direct result of the completely unbiblical, and utterly sinful, false teaching that white folk are in some way superior in God’s eyes to others, and should therefore rule over them. As an Englishman I am, of course, only too painfully aware of the part this insidious attitude played in the historical spread of British Imperialism, eventually, and inevitably, spreading its infection into the New World also. So where have we come? What, exactly, am I saying?
The completely unbiblical false teaching that the Christian Church should in some way be merged with the state; that is, the notion that the spread of the kingdom of God should include a political dimension, resulted in a Western culture that was a mixture of genuinely biblical principles and ideas with a bigoted attitude towards certain minorities that was all the more insidious in that it was dressed up as being supposedly ‘godly.’ Therefore, when modern secular liberals contend that Christianity is a ‘religion of oppression’, best consigned to the garbage heap of history, they are actually, at least in part, correct. Genuine Christianity; that is, a personal relationship with Jesus leading to a change of heart and life in the individual that results in them loving their neighbour as themselves, has never oppressed anyone: but the distortion of biblical doctrine that inevitably results from the merging of the so-called Christian Church with worldly political power, with all its accompanying errors, prejudices and injustices, will always result in a society which is, as I am contending, a perversion of the very ‘christianity’ that gave it birth. Such a society will inevitably and unhesitatingly oppress anyone it sufficiently disapproves of, and who it fears is a that to its values, whilst actually claiming a (completely warped) supposed biblical justification for so doing.
The Liberal Agenda
We really should take our hats off to the secular liberals, you know! I mean, credit where credit is due! They have done a truly brilliant job of propagating their agenda, albeit it an utterly godless and humanistic one. They obviously, and quite unbeknownst to them, get considerable help from the god of this world; but nevertheless, credit where credit is due! And of course what they have done so well is to exploit these sad elements of our ‘christian’ history in their primary quest of discrediting biblical truth. Having quite rightly fought against racism and prejudice (many Christians stood in that vanguard with them), they then, quite erroneously, conflated issues of sexual orientation and gender identity with it. By endlessly emphasising the way in which sexual minorities had been, historically, as badly treated by elements of the Christian Church as had blacks, which was true, they then started to make the completely spurious case that to even disapprove of certain sexual behaviours, or gender confusion, was the same bigotry as was racial prejudice against people merely because they are, for instance, black. What they basically did was to hi-jack the civil rights movement, cleverly broadening it out in order to confuse the difference between disapproval of what a person does and the bigoted oppression of someone merely because of their ethic origin or colour of their skin. Hence the power of perhaps the greatest of liberal buzz-words: homophobia! (As an aside, this is exactly what happened regarding the genuine concerns of many over certain environmental issues a towards the end of last century. As the Berlin Wall and iron curtain fell a generation of champagne Trotskyites and Marxists realised they had seriously backed the wrong horse, and quickly looked around for another cause on which to exert their anarchic energies and decided their best bet was to hi-jack Greenpeace and the whole environmental movement. Thus was born the phenomenon of the modern eco-warrior and ‘green’ politics, resulting, of course, in the myth of global warming and the emergence of the ‘carbon’ economy!)
To compare the mere moral disapproval of the gay lifestyle to racism is no more legitimate than, for instance, comparing a Muslim’s disapproval of drinking alcohol to Islamic terrorism. A Muslim who disapproves of non-Muslims drinking alcohol may or may not be a murderous terrorist, just as someone who disapproves of the gay or trans-gender lifestyle may or may not be a violent murderer of such; but to say that the one automatically equates to the other is not only nonsensical, it is actually the kind of thinking that leads to bigotry and prejudice in the fist place, and then proceeds to procreate and feed it. The vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving law abiding citizens just as the vast majority of those who disapprove of the gay lifestyle, whether Christian or not, would utterly abhor any idea of anyone in any way oppressing those who embrace it. To be a racist is disapprove of, and to want to oppress someone simply because they are black, or white, or yellow (or whatever), and is an entirely different thing to merely disapproving of what someone does. It is like thinking a person to be in some way undesirable because they have green eyes or ginger hair. Racists, by definition, make no separation between the disapproval of actions and those performing those actions. Indeed, it is the very thing they precisely can’t do. It is the person themselves of whom they disapprove, and not merely how the person in question may or may not behave. Bigotry, therefore, disapproves of someone because of what they intrinsically are, as opposed to moral disapproval which has as its object and concern merely what someone does. Racists disapprove of the person because they are black, or whatever, in just the same way that those who are actually prejudiced against gay people disapprove of them simply because they are gay. The Christian position, however, is one of disapproval of gay sexual acts, just as with sinful heterosexual acts, yet whilst regarding the person so behaving as being a dignified and valuable human being needing forgiveness and salvation as does everybody else.
This, then, is the difference between people who are prejudiced against the gay and trans-gender community, which is indeed sinful bigotry, and those who merely disapprove of their lifestyle. It is not the person who is in view, but merely how they behave! I can disapprove of what I believe to be sinful sexual behaviour, just as I can disapprove of any number of other things – getting drunk, swearing, gambling, voting Democrat (just kidding) – yet whilst treating those who do such things with the same respect, honour and kindness as I would wish for others to afford me. It is therefore no more bigoted for me to disapprove of the gay lifestyle than it is for someone who is gay to disapprove of me because I believe that sex belongs within marriage, and because I define marriage as one man and one woman for life and think anything else to be sinful. I would not dream, in a million years, of doing anything to coerce, hurt, insult, humiliate, damage, or to be in any way unkind, to anyone who embraced the gay or trans-gender lifestyle, any more than I would a heterosexual fornicator or adulterer. I both honour and respect them as human beings made in the image of God, and would do whatever I could to protect their freedom of speech, and even their actions, in such regard. I ask only that they return the favour – which, of course, the vast majority willingly do!
What we are increasingly seeing today though is the attempt by a certain liberal mindset and agenda to actually stifle freedom of expression and action by using a completely incorrect definition of bigotry in order to accomplish their aims. It is ironic that in so doing they are being so completely illiberal, seeking to precisely remove people’s freedom of expression and thought through the pretext of the supposed championing of the freedom of minorities! It is the emergence of what is a rather sinister intellectual and cultural fascism dressed up to look like the cause of emancipation and the human rights of the individual. It is, in effect, the purest intolerance! Imagine, a so-called liberal agenda designed to actually prevent people disagreeing with it! It is actually the very same kind of perversion of a legitimate liberal outlook as was the historical perversion of biblical theology that got us here in the first place. The wheel has turned full circle! The only difference is that it is now the turn of a perverted ‘liberalism’ rather than a perverted ‘christianity.’
Yet even with the above being said, even with the proper understanding of what is really going on, and just how sinister it actually is, I still think it’s important, and a good thing for us Christians to realise that, when it comes to things like racism, or the bad treatment of minority groups in general (such as those who are gay or trans-gender), the record of the visible Christian Church has not been a good one. How sadly it has failed to take on board the implications of the way in which Jesus so readily and deliberately hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors and Samaritans; that is, the rejected and disapproved of minorities of the day, whilst His disciples, just like the Pharisees so severely castigated by Him, looked on in prejudiced horror. Did Jesus approve of prostitution? No, He most certainly did not! Did He make clear to both prostitutes and their ‘clients’ that He utterly disapproved of what they were doing? Yes, mightily! Did He blatantly teach that sex outside of marriage was wrong? Absolutely! But did He also love and honour women who were prostitutes, and reach out to those who abused them availing themselves of their services? Yes, He absolutely did! He made clear to them that what they were doing was sinful, and told them, quite bluntly, that they should go and sin no more. But it nevertheless seems to me to be quite clearly the case that He was often happier amongst ‘those type of people’ than He was amongst the ‘oh-so clean living’ Pharisee-types!
It raises a question doesn’t it? If we’ve never really had ‘those type of people’ amongst our friends and acquaintances, would we be as happy as the Lord Jesus was if He were to suddenly start to bring them into our lives?