Civil Religion vs. the Prophetic Church – The Woeful State of the American Version of Christianity

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In response to the election, I have heard a number of well-meaning progressive Christians speaking out in a conciliatory manner about building bridges and reaching across the lines that divide us. For example, inviting those different than ourselves over for a meal and perhaps a heart-to-heart conversation. This is all well and good. I am all for building bridges (I have a graduate certificate in peacebuilding for Christ’s sake!)

But that’s the crux for me. “For Christ’s sake.” Jesus was not always about building bridges. Nor did He spend much time sitting around a campfire on the shore of the Sea of Galilee singing Kumbaya with the Teachers of the Law.

Jesus minced few words about his opinion of the so-called religious leaders of his day and their negative influence on Judaism (His religion). “Blind guides.” “Vipers.” “Blind fools.” “Hypocrites.” Such monikers leave very little room for interpretation (See the 7 Woes in Matt. 23).

And what about the whole whip and temple thing? Jesus was definitely not a happy camper at seeing His place of worship, His church, turned into a “den of thieves.” So he drove out the money changers from the temple, His house of prayer. I’m pretty sure He wasn’t the most conciliatory person at the time (ie. He had a whip).

In fact, Jesus was still so angry that a few passages later He completely goes off on the religious leaders, not once but SEVEN times, with the Woes I alluded to earlier.

Like the prophets before him, Jesus wasn’t afraid to call things as He saw them. And like so many of the prophets before Him, his willingness to do so got Him killed.

Fortunately for us that wasn’t the end. Yet, if Jesus had not risen, He’d probably be rolling over in His grave at the current state of the American church, a church so wedded to a particular political world view and party that it has completely lost any moral integrity.

So all of this begs the question for me and we, the “little Christs” of today.

That question is;
where is the prophetic church?

Others follow:

Where are the voices calling us to a radical rejection of the religious status quo?

Where are the prophets reminding us that the Kingdom of God is not of this world?

Where are the religious leaders who refuse to hide behind their soft words of restraint and instead call a spade a spade?

Bridge building is a good metaphor, but for these days I offer a different one better suited I think to the type of action we should be engaged in. Especially in light of one candidate’s rhetoric, we need to be about the business of tearing down walls. That involves some serious butt-whuppin, along the lines of a Messiah going nuts with a whip in a temple.

I’ll leave the specifics up to you, but if you are as dismayed as I am at how it seems the sheep have been so taken in yet again, I urge you as a person of faith to act with some creative compassionate barrier breaking.

And I will say this to those others of the faith who have decided to drink from the cup of perdition disguised as new wine,

“You have strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel.”

Get ready for some serious indigestion.


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