I love comment sections. I love the timely heartfelt wisdom so skillfully displayed by my fellow man. Here’s a gem I uncovered via a recent New York Times opinion piece…
As a Catholic, I hate to say this, but it’s America’s Protestant heritage which has been the source of its strength. Individualism, pluralism, and autonomy all arose from the Protestant emphasis on the individual’s relationship with God, his right to make his own decisions, to read the scripture and understand it himself. These have never been Catholic teachings. The Pope has made a lot of people feel good, but his top down, collective, authoritarian answers–no matter how sweetly and appealingly he packages them–are basically dogma and that is antithetical to the American tradition.
Christianity helped make America great. Early American culture and tradition was richly shaped on account of our God-fearing moral compass in conjunction with a strong and vibrant Protestant work ethic. But somewhere along the way, we began to lose the true fundamentals and blessings of the faith.
“How great is the common heritage which unites the Roman Catholic Church,with its maintenance of the authority of Holy Scripture and with its acceptance of the great early creeds, to devout Protestants today. We would not indeed obscure the difference which divides us from Rome–But profound as it is, it seems almost trifling compared to the abyss which stands between us and many ministers of our own Church. The Church of Rome may represent a perversion of the Christian religion; but naturalistic liberalism is not Christianity at all.” ― J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
A superficial form of cultural Christianity had swiftly spread that would come to undermine and trivialize the sanctity of the living word. Christianity was never meant to be a key to worldly riches or earthly goods, nor was its witness to merely be superficial.
“In the 1980s, I was largely in favor of the Moral Majority agenda. But I remember hearing Os Guinness warn that conservative, fundamentalist Christians were pursuing a path that would lead to increasing worldliness. I remember hearing Charlie Dennison warn that evangelicals were following the very path that led to Protestant liberalism. At the time, I was incredulous. But now, I fear that both of them were correct.” – Pastor Larry Wilson
How could we ever sacrifice the church for the state? So often, when we mix with worldly powers, that is exactly what we do. We should restore order, but not at the expense of our faith.
Faith and culture are vitally and intrinsically linked. But faith and government is a slippery slope that perpetually threatens to taint the sacred with the carnal. The world is our mission field. The civil magistrate should be contained and reflect the will of the people. But if our influence has been lost, this is not indicative of a lack of political strategy; but rather, it’s reflective of a greater spiritual crisis in which sound doctrine and loving obedience has been sacrificed at the altar of an increasingly powerful and centralized state.
Awakening and revival must develop outside the political sphere, take hold of the culture, and work its way in. Let’s pray that it’s not too late. Regardless, may God’s Will be done.
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