God and Country
God has taught me a great many things during the course of my life. One of the “biggies” is the lesson I learned on idolatry — specifically my own idolatry. I once was a worshiper of the United States of America and grew up with every intention of “serving my country” in the U.S. Navy. In effect, I was willing to sacrifice my very life for this thing I loved in a way only God deserves to be loved — and, through Scripture, much prayer, and a remarkable series of circumstances, God taught me it was idolatry.
The reason I regard this lesson as one of my “biggies” is because the way I view all earthly kingdoms (including my own) and a Christian’s relationship to them has been changed completely. I’ve learned to distinguish between patriotism and nationalism, I’ve learned the difference between the kingdom and empires and I’ve learned the seriousness of pledging one’s allegiance to something. All of which made me ask the question of myself and my Christian brethren: What are we doing?
I am encouraged to see that I am not the only one with whom God has been dealing on this topic. Recently I discovered that…
I don’t necessarily agree with all of their conclusions, but it is good to see other believers sharing my struggle with these matters. I pray God continues to instruct all of us.
Church membership vs. Authentic Christianity
In the last 6 months I’ve been considering the issue of unregenerate church membership. You know, when churches are populated with people who claim to be Christians but have never actually been converted. The Bible characterizes the situation as goats among the sheep or tares among the wheat. They live like the world and deceive themselves into thinking they are saved because they “prayed a prayer,” or “walked an aisle,” or “attend church regularly,” or whatever. It’s especially prevalent in the American South — the Bible Belt — where church is a big part of the culture.
Well, Katy Brown visits this topic on her blog. She freely admits that she is stepping on toes (including her own). But the best line in her whole post is this…
“There once was a friend of mine who moved here to the ‘Bible belt’ of the South. He once asked soon after moving here, ‘There are a lot of members of churches around here, but I have a question… where are all the Christians?'”