One thing we should all be able to agree on is that not all bad positions or bad teachings are equally bad. There’s a range; a spectrum. Another thing that we should all agree on is that we’re all works in progress and that most (if not all) of us have not only held bad positions on important issues in the past, but we are also almost certainly in error on points of significance at this very moment. That’s just how we roll. That’s why we need and are being provided with ongoing sanctification through perpetual reformation by God’s grace, for His glory, and all to our ultimate benefit (usually in spite of ourselves).
So let’s not get uppity about this stuff as we dive in and get critical, okay?
With that important point in mind, one way of measuring the comparative “badness” of various bad teachings is to compare the impact of the teachings in question. What’s the scale and depth of impact? What are the measurable consequences of embracing a particular bit of bad theology?
Everything matters to King Jesus, so everything should matter to us. Even so, as we go about the business of bringing our lives, families, communities, and nations into order and conformity with Him as we’re commanded to through His Gospel-fueled Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), one basic skill we should cultivate is a sense of spiritual triage. We need to be able to identify situations that require immediate attention due to the urgent, severe, and life- or culture-threatening nature of the problem. We need to be able to distinguish between the relatively minor and the relatively serious.
Disagreements over whether shrimp should be on a menu are one thing. Disagreements over abortion are another. We need to be able to evaluate, categorize, and prioritize these things properly.
One bit of five-alarm, life- and culture-wrecking theology that’s been taking deep root in the U.S.S.A. for a while now (helping to transform us from the U.S.A. in to the United Socialist States of Amerika) is the notion that Romans 13 teaches a default position of obedience to “the government” (meaning the civil government, which is one of several limited spheres of legitimate governmental authority created by God rather than man). While the notion of erring on the side of obedience to legitimate (and therefore legitimately empowered) civil authorities is biblically sound, this in no way obligates (or even allows) for a Christian to obey any official or institution anytime that official or institution commands that we do what God has forbidden or to avoid doing that which God has commanded.
Because Jesus is King. (Please note the political title here. King of kings and Lord of lords are explicitly political expressions.)
He is King right now.
He is King over every dictator, President, mayor, and sheriff.
He is the top of every legitimate authority structure in His creation and He has not authorized anyone in any of His authority structures to do anything in opposition to His Word.
These are the consequences of “all authority on Heaven and earth” having already been given to Him (Matthew 28:18).
There is no legitimate power or authority apart from Him. There is therefore no legitimate decree or command that acts in direct opposition to His Word.
He is the Author, Definer, Owner, and Sustainer of all things in His creation, tangible and intangible, including law, logic, civil government, and the political realm (Colossians 1:16). We did not invent any of these things. He is the point of origin for all of them. They are His. They do not belong to us. They belong to Him and cannot be rightly understood, much less rightly pursued, apart from His Nature as revealed in His Word.
Moreover, He is at this very moment working through His Spirit-filled people to work as His body on His earth in pursuit of His Gospel-fueled Great Commission, a mission that has, not coincidentally, been degraded or dismissed by Amerikanized Christianity even as Amerikan culture has plunged into darkness. The one thing that most Amerikanized evangelicals seem to believe most emphatically about the Great Commission is that it can’t be done.
Which is why it isn’t being pursued in Amerika.
Which is why America has become Amerika.
Where biblical Christianity proclaims Christ as King in practice over every physical realm and every area of life in His creation, Amerikanized counterfeit religions masquerading as Christianity (and the true Christians who have been influenced by their worldview) have done everything that they can to separate the lordship of Christ from physical reality here on planet earth.
Where Pilgrims who came to settle the lands that would become the United States were overwhelmingly inspired by a worldview that understood the Kingdom of God as covering all of God’s creation, most certainly including the physical, the postmodern Amerikanized version of religion that dominates the the “Christian scene” in the U.S.S.A. these days has largely embraced a neo-gnostic, pseudo-platonic approach to reality that has Jesus relegated to lordship over some distant, immaterial “kingdom” safely sequestered and separated from material reality. This view perverts terms like “spiritual” and “spirituality” to the point that the material world is inherently viewed as “unspiritual” and therefore unworthy of serious attention from Christians who should instead focus on immaterial/nonphysical things because those things are “spiritual”.
This obviously leaves massive vacuums in place, which are promptly filled by anti-Christian worldviews and the systems they inspire, like Statism, which has been the dominant worldview (and religion) in Amerika for at least 150 years.
When we look around at the late-stage Romans 1 lunacy coming into full bloom around us here in 2021, and the Psalm 2 judgment that is beginning to pour down on our disintegrating idol (the U.S.S.A.), it’s important that we first recognize how Amerikanized Christianity has contributed to the situation.
Because these are the things that we can impact most directly and change most quickly.
These are the things we can repent of.
If we won’t model a serious approach to biblical reformation, nobody will. So before we point any fingers at “The Democrats” or “The Liberals” or “The Progressives”, “The Marxists”, or anyone comfortable target of opportunity, we should first examine ourselves individually and corporately in order to lead in the way that we need to lead if this culture (or any part of it) is to be saved.
This is why identifying the perversion of Romans 13 as a massive, existentially threatening problem for Christian (or Christian-friendly) culture is such a big deal. If we as Christians don’t clearly understand and consistently proclaim (in word and deed) the present lordship of Christ over every area of life and physical realm in His creation, we cannot do what we have been commanded and equipped to do through the Great Commission, and we have no business expecting anything but additional rot and decline in our culture.
If every self-identified Leftist and Progressive disappeared to leave only Amerikanized Christians who reject Christ as King in practice, the culture would continue its descent into darkness and death.
That’s where this neo-gnostic “spirituality” leads.
Which brings us to Wretched Radio talk show host Todd Friel and his program’s recent promotion of an approach to Romans 13 that can and will only continue to escort Amerika deeper into the hell it is earning through its rejection of Christ as King in political (and all other kinds of) practice. You can listen to one recent relevant installment of the Wretched perspective here. I recommend listening to it all the way through if you get the chance while testing it for coherence and consistency. See if you think that Mr. Friel’s frequent caveats, qualifiers, and such make real sense – the kind of sense that leaves you with a solid, consistently coherent foundation from which to build a vibrant culture around biblically sound family, church, and civil governments right here in God’s physical universe.
The way that Wretched theology routinely conflates “spiritual” with “non-physical” and then goes on from there to attempt to define biblical roles of the church and civil government is maddeningly unbiblical and therefore destructive.
And by destructive, we’re talking about the kind of destructiveness that puts this theological error on the Really Bad side of the aforementioned triage spectrum.
This bad theology, when consistently applied, enables concentration camps. (Whether Wretched realizes it or not.)
This bad theology hands Jews over to Nazis.
This bad theology promotes tyrants and tyranny.
And worst of all, it does these things “in Jesus’ name”.
This satanic physical=bad formula has got to go. It’s got to be confronted and corrected, not out of anger with whose who are no more confused than we have been on numerous occasions in the past, but out of love and fidelity to King Jesus.
He is either Lord over every molecule of His physical creation, or He is not. He has either commanded and equipped His people to secure the love-inspired obedience of every nation on His earth through His Gospel-fueled Great Commission, or He has not.
He is at the top of every legitimate authority structure and we as His people are both commanded and equipped to test all things in accordance with His Word. That includes all claims, orders, or decrees made by those who claim positions of power.
In closing and while were on the subject of legitimate authority here in 2021, it seems particularly necessary to note that not all claims to power or a particular office are legitimate. Remember: A thief residing in a stolen office does not a legitimate authority make. Why do you think there are so few – if any – Amerikanized Christian leaders who are willing to talk about that?
I hope to explain why while tackling this near-universally avoided subject soon in a future post.
In the meantime, remember: Jesus is King, His Kingdom covers all of His creation, and His people have been commanded and equipped to reclaim and restore every bit of it for His crown, by His grace, and for His glory, no matter how much the Amerikanized neo-gnostic religion of the day would have us believe otherwise.
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