Manipulating the church for the glory of the state

Political leaders are masters of manipulation. Most of them will say anything to sway public opinion and garner support for their agendas — and groups that wield considerable influence are targeted first. Christians are not exempt from this. In fact, the church in Germany represents one of the best examples in recent history of a large group that allowed themselves to be manipulated by a shrewd politician. Chuck Baldwin summarizes the instance in his article, “We desperately need the Confessing Church.”

soldier.jpgWhile I’m not suggesting that the United States is as far gone as Nazi Germany, I am suggesting that many of the attitudes and trends that were present in Germany’s churches, which allowed Hitler to come to power, are disturbingly present in many of our churches in America. The short film “Gott Mit Uns,” produced by For One Films, takes a look at some of these similarities. We frequently come together as the body of Christ and swear our allegiance to the state in services dedicated to the worship of God alone. We have confused patriotism with nationalism. And we have taken God’s Word out of context to lend credibility to state causes (as evidenced in the poster at right).

This poster implies that the soldier kneeling in prayer has the power of God to back him up — and even quotes a portion of Ephesians to strengthen the point. In a very subtle sense this poster equates God’s will with the will of the state. But here is the rub, the poster leaves out the context. The book of Ephesians is a letter from the apostle Paul to the believers at the church in Ephesus as evidenced by it’s opening lines, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:” His message is not for the soldiers of anyone’s earthly army it is for the believers in Christ Jesus.

God’s power is not a commodity available to world leaders and politicians for the accomplishment of their schemes. God’s power is available to HIS children and HIS church for the accomplishment of HIS will for HIS glory. As Christians in America we need to be aware that we will be targeted for manipulation by politicians seeking our support. We also need to be more discerning than our German brethren of a generation ago. We need to remember that we exist to bring glory and honor to our heavenly Father alone — and then act accordingly.

About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

11 Responses to Manipulating the church for the glory of the state

  1. love1wins says:

    Good thoughts on a timely subject. There is definitely a difference between praying for the safety of troops who are are overseas because they were ordered to be there, and praying that America will be successful in all of plans. Even as a individual, I must remind myself that God is not primarily concerned with making me great, successful or popular. It may happen, but if it does, it will be because it will bring him glory. As a country, America has forgotten this principle.

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