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Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel Hardcover – August 1, 2015
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On the other hand, there is a reason why this particular kind of idolatry is so widespread in our country. For all of its faults, the colonial churches were zealous for the Kingdom and sought to build all its houses—personal, family, church, and state—on the Rock. 150 years later, the pursuit of that root bore fruit: a constitutional federal republic (with limited powers) created to secure individual God-given rights. Not perfectly applied but noble in its ideals and aspirations. In other words, America became an inspiration thanks in large part to the Church. Millions have since come to our shores if not to enjoy the root they certainly have come to partake of the fruit.
And therein lies the failure of any reactionary movement intended to “restore Judeo-Christian values” or to “put God back in government”. Such efforts are akin to patching a leaky roof on a house with a cracked foundation. They are human schemes relying on agitation and on acquiring legal and political power to preserve fruit when it is the root that is rotted. Stated another way, these schemes attack the symptoms not the disease. Christian life and liberty is an inside out, bottom up proposition.
So, ironically, the best way to “save America”—assuming it can be saved at all—is to seek first the Kingdom. That said, I do not believe we can compartmentalize that effort as easily as Moore implies. Christians should fight for the right to life, liberty, and property even while being willing to lay down life, liberty, and property for the sake of the Kingdom. That sounds contradictory so allow me to explain. Vertically, before God, we have no rights. Horizontally, before men, we do. While God may require me to give up life, liberty, and property for the sake of the Kingdom, no man has the authority to demand those things of me, to violate what God has given. They are una-lien-able. As a Christian we are by nature pro-life because Christ came to give life and life abundantly. We are pro-liberty because it was for freedom that Christ set us free; however, we are not to use that liberty as a cloak for lasciviousness. We are pro-property because “thou shall not steal”—the one who stole should no longer steal but instead work....but for what reason? So that he has something to share with those in need. So as Christians we should not only protect our rights but be godly stewards of them, too. That is what being salt and light is all about.
I say these things because Moore does not and thereby implies that there is no connection or makes a contradictory application. For example, Moore discusses the debate he had with his employer, a US congressman, over mandated family medical leave and foreign aid. Moore was for both but the congressman was opposed. By being for family medical leave, Moore was for using legal force to make a business owner pay for a consequence that he/she had no authority over, that he/she had no jurisdiction over. In my estimation Christians should respect the Constitution—respect the law—and respect God-given rights. Laws like family medical leave and foreign aid take from A to give to B. This is not charity but the unlawful use of law. True charity requires that we dig into our own pockets and voluntarily give of our own property.
I leave my biggest criticism for last. As stated, I applaud Moore’s Kingdom orientation but then have to wonder how he can be so ambivalent about education. Once upon a time the Church and parents assumed the privilege and responsibility of educating its own children. This makes sense since education is supposed to lead us out of darkness and into the light. We the Church have Christ the Light of the world. We have been translated out of darkness and into his marvelous light. We house the Holy Spirit who has come to lead us into all truth. God is using the Church to display his manifold wisdom to rulers. That the Church ever gave education to the State, ever rendered its children unto Caesar, is a tragedy of epic proportions. In so doing the Church embraced socialism and statism as a matter of principle. Christ said thy Word is truth. Paul said without faith it is impossible to please God. Yet the Church sends its children to schools where there is no faith and no word and where false and ungodly assumptions govern the methods and the curriculum. Should the Israelites have been surprised if after sending their children to Canaanite schools 35 hours per week, 180 days per year, for 13 plus years they acted like Canaanites? When it comes to education, the Church sold its birthright for a mess of pottage. It is merely reaping what it has sown.
It is for these reasons that I have to deduct two stars.