“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle”― Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
It would appear to a perceptive observer that Humanism, after a subtle, 100+ year war with Christianity for ascendancy in our country, is winning the battle. With its twin doctrines of evolution and communism/socialism forming two of its legs, Humanism has become the stool upon which America sits today.
We, as the church, once determined what was acceptable behavior in our culture. Civil leaders were forced by public opinion to loosely follow biblical principles. Sexual scandals ruined political careers.
However, that is certainly no longer the case. We have watched passively as the culture has deserted us, ignoring the necessity of Christian involvement in the civil sphere of our society. God’s people have recognized and lamented the decline, but we have offered little resistance, all the while wondering “What can we do?” Humanism is achieving what Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, has called the “greatest victory”—winning without a battle being fought.
Instead, we have focused exclusively on coming to Jesus, getting saved from our sin to get to heaven, being sanctified by working out all our problems here on the earth, and taking as many others with us on this journey to heaven as possible.
Those are all worthy and absolutely necessary tasks, but God never asked us to do them. They are all jobs He has reserved for Himself alone to accomplish as the sovereign, Triune God, and He brooks no competition! He alone drew us to Himself (John 6:44); He alone saved us (Titus 3:5); He alone is sanctifying us (1 Thessalonians 5:23); He alone saved the world at the cross (John 3:17). He does not need or want our assistance to do His work.
However, He did leave us with one specific task—the very reason mankind was created—and that has never changed. To reiterate from the posting for September 9: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them have dominion . . . over all the earth’” (Genesis 1:26).
Shockingly to many Christians today, we and our progeny were made in God’s very image too rule for Him, right now, on the earth as His vice-regents, over the responsibilities He has given us. That rule means waging war with all false religions (i.e., Humanism, Islam, etc.) that challenge Jesus’ right to rule. We go to battle as the King has instructed us: with genuine love in our hearts for our enemies, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and armed with His two-edged sword, the word of God.
The war we are called to fight has a clear objective—to establish God’s rule over all the earth by seating each nation (including the United States), rather than on Humanism’s stool, firmly ensconced on God’s kingdom’s stool. But the church has ignored this clear mandate from Scripture. Instead, we have diligently pursued tasks God has not asked us to do. How has this happened? Why have we surrendered to Humanism in America, as Sun Tzu says, “without a fight?”
The answer to these questions is, at its root, a theological one, as all questions ultimately are: a faulty view of who God is. Two weeks ago my blog posting pointed out that in the mid-nineteenth century, a new twist to an old theology, the imminent (at any time) return of Jesus to the earth, with its prophetic date-setting, began to grow in popularity. Man’s inveterate desire to “be like God,” used so successfully by Satan as he enticed Eve in the Garden of Eden, proved to be extremely useful to him again.
Since the Fall,we have had an insatiable desire to be omniscient like God is, to know the future. Today, complete ministries are built on prophecy conferences, prophecy-based television programs and books, all speculating on the future by reading the “signs of the times,” attracting huge followings. These preachers claim to have discovered Bible passages, when combined with current events, that show us that the return of Christ is near, “even at the very door!”
The result on the church of this new theology, particularly its prophetic component, is predictable. If Jesus is coming back tomorrow, and the church is facing big-time difficulties with evolution and socialism/Marxism because these philosophies are asking questions we can’t readily answer, why fight it? Let’s abandon any attempt to rule for God on the earth, as God decreed in Genesis 1:26 and the Puritans believed. We can retreat behind the stained-glass windows of our church-fortresses, save as many souls as possible for God and wait for Jesus’ return, and leave the world to the devil. Let’s let Jesus fix it when He gets here. “Why shine brass on a sinking ship?” as one prophetic teacher famously said years ago, expressing perfectly and very succinctly this escapist theology.
Can you now see the components of Satan’s counterattack on God’s Reformation renewal? First, the Renaissance muddied our understanding of who God is by a renewal of pagan, Greco-Roman culture and philosophy, but without its violent and sexual excesses. Instead, the Renaissance displayed the best of man’s nature”—beautiful art, music and philosophy—man worshiping himself, a renewal of the ancient religion of Humanism.
Then came evolution and Marxism/socialism in the mid 1800’s, freeing man from having to believe in any god outside himself, even a deistic one, and providing a civil government that would perpetuate and secure by force Humanism’s comeback. Two of the three legs were in place. Everything was in order. All that remained was to eliminate opposition by getting Christians to lay down their arms and surrender, achieving Sun Tzu’s “greatest victory.”
We have seen how Satan accomplished that, a dramatic demonstration of his wiles—using a truncated view of God’s own word! As Martin Luther wrote in his hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, “On earth is not his equal.”
All three legs are now in place. Humanism looks to be firmly in place as America’s stool of choice. All is lost!
“But God . . . !” God is never a front-runner. He specializes in turning death into life, service into leadership, sin into righteousness, and defeat into victory. The answer to our present dilemma is, of course, clear, biblical theology, summarized in three theological legs for God’s kingdom’s stool for America:
1.) What God is like – a sovereign, holy, Father God, who “works all things after the council of His will” (Ephesians 1:11) and whose unconditional love for His children never wavers.
2.) What I am like – a fallen, wicked sinner, whose “heart is (remains) deceitful . . . and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), and “who does not seek after God” but has willfully turned from Him (Romans 3:11, 12).
3.) How God relates to me – totally by grace alone, by accepting and loving me in the very midst of my persistent sin, by always working in my heart to more fully capture it (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
As these three legs of the God’s Kingdom’s stool are being rediscovered by God’s church, we will rule over His earth as He has ordained, for He has promised that “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).