October 17, 2017

And the Great Danger to the Faith Is…Huh?

By Chaplain Mike

Over at ever-reliable culture-war news source, Christian Post, is a report on Charles Stanley’s “sobering 4th of July message about a dangerous spiritual tide that is engulfing the country.”

According to Pastor Stanley, the tide that is sweeping in is socialism.

“It is a tide that is bringing with it ideas and philosophies, actions and attitudes that will ultimately destroy the way of life that you and I have.”

Preaching in front of a huge American flag draped in the background of the church platform, Stanley said America is “violating God’s laws,” and warned that we are turning away from God and toward socialism, which will have grave spiritual consequences:

“The tide is bringing in a control that will indeed attempt to silence the truth and will attempt to squash the religious devotion and worship of the people of God.”

That tide began creeping in many years ago, he noted, when the government and the courts began banning prayer at schools and removing references to Jesus, God and the Ten Commandments from the public square, Stanley noted.

“It is an attempt to destroy the Christian spirit in America,” he said.

“There is a war going on against Jesus,” he declared. “It’s part of the strategy. The primary reason for this war against Him is He is interfering with the plan to make this a socialist nation. Mark it down. It is the truth.”

You can watch the message online here.The remedy he proposed is that God’s people devote themselves to pray for twenty weeks—140 days—asking God to supernaturally change the direction in which our country is going.

At least he didn’t ask us to join the Tea Party.

I’m sorry, but I have a hard time getting too worked up about this. Socialism? Really? This is the great threat to the Christian faith? Or wait, is it the threat to our “way of life”? To be honest, I have avoided exposure to this way of thinking because it drives me crazy.

But what do you think? Am I missing something?

Or is this just alarmist nonsense?

Comments

  1. Wow… is it O.K. to say that I am grateful to be an American?

    • L., IMHO, it is a profoundly Christ-like thing to do to be thankful for God’s common grace in allowing us to live in such a wonderful, free country. Speaking for myself, I’m sorry if you received another message from this post.

  2. As the daughter of a proud retired Marine and as one who relishes my freedom to worship freely, I find this kind of alarm that I once bought into quite ridiculous now. I’ve always believed that my comforts could be taken away at a moments notice (young friends lost to cancer, friends facing eviction with no place to go, an upper-middle-class friend out of work for 16 months now and unemployment to run out very soon with no leads, reality of a broken world all around me), but I’ve been in pursuit of the American dream and put my faith in stability of this country (oft encouraged in the churches I’ve been raised in) over my pursuit of God anyway. No more. I agree with Damaris above, Rev. Stanley “has misidentified the threat to Christianity.”

    And I am quite sure my father is not reading this, but just in case…I am not a socialist. Just a sinner learning that the real Jesus of the Bible cared more for the poor and hurting than pretty buildings and creature comforts where I’ve made my home. I wonder if I can share my heart with my dad without hurting his feelings.

    • Damaris says:

      I’ve always thought our attitude toward our country ought to be similar to our attitude toward our parents. My parents were not perfect by any means, but they loved me, and they were mine. Other people don’t have to love my parents the way I do. I may allow myself to criticize them, but I would rather other people didn’t. If they had committed a crime, I think I would probably have told them to turn themselves in or that I would if they didn’t. I will always be grateful to them for all they did for me, but if the point came that I had to abandon them in order to follow Jesus, I would.

      n the same way, I love my country and will always be grateful. I don’t expect others to love my country the way I do; in fact I hope they love their own. I won’t turn a blind eye to its faults and crimes, and there may come a point (many points) where I will have to choose Christ over country. It’s a tragedy when that happens, from Antigone on, but Jesus warns us it may happen.

      • Thanks, Damaris. I agree.

        The “old” me (just a few months ago) would have either ignored this truth or tried to justify in my own mind that Jesus was not talking to me when he said radical things like this. I also would have thought that loving the poor was charity without justice. My family live thousands of miles from me and while they’ve walked with me through a time of brokenness (mostly from afar), I haven’t yet told them *all* of the ways Christ is renewing my mind nor that I, too, would abandon them in order to follow Jesus if I had to. I find it odd to share some things through the phone/internet and I also think my super-duper patriotic dad (who is a tender heart and who I know truly loves and adores me) might be saddened. My heart change, the real Jesus in me, is radically changing me so that he might not really know me. When I see dad again, I’ll follow the Spirit’s leading in authentic conversation I pray will be marked with love. I don’t know what I’ll say; I trust the Spirit to lead. Dad will love me still. I’m blessed with a dad like that.

  3. Haven’t we been hearing this same tired refrain for 3 decades now?

    “Big, SCARY Socialism! It’s coming! Really! I know we said this in 1999, but this time we MEAN it!!!”

    It’s gotten old…

    • Only three? My parents were saying it in the 50s.

      They’re still wrong.

      You want to know why socialism is scary? Because it only works when EVERYBODY involved cares about the welfare of EVERYBODY else. Look at monasteries, communes, convents, retirement homes…all can be interpreted as socialist societies. All work very well.

      The general public of our nation, or of any nation, is not that way. Humanity by nature has an attitude of “F— you; got mine!” until we choose to change, and most of us don’t.

      As for the bigger point…

      …everything I’ve said up till now is a political argument, has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ, and it disgusts me that people try to make it a “Christian” concept.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        You want to know why socialism is scary? Because it only works when EVERYBODY involved cares about the welfare of EVERYBODY else. Look at monasteries, communes, convents, retirement homes…all can be interpreted as socialist societies. All work very well.

        The general public of our nation, or of any nation, is not that way. Humanity by nature has an attitude of “F— you; got mine!” until we choose to change, and most of us don’t.

        What usually results is that Socialism becomes a Cosmic-level justification (Divine Right with doublepluswarmfeelies) for the control freaks and bureaucrats administering the system. A Socialist Aristocracy of “Admin” in all but name. They get theirs and the rest of us get F’ed.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        P.S. Real good deal for any Kyle’s Mom or Busybody in a position of power within the system. Not only can they be nosy about everything to do with their Poor Unwashed Inferiors (i.e. you, me,. and anybody without political/bureaucratic clout), they can cop a Moral Superiority Attitude — “It’s All For Your Own Good!”, wagging finger and all.

        Actually, not that much different from a church where nosy Church Ladies are the real power behind the pastor. Just the justification and payoff are Political instead of Spiritual.

  4. Andy Zook says:

    If brother Stanley, by saying, “will … destroy the way of life that you and I have” means the patriotic, arrogant, self-serving, consumerist, wasteful, militaristic, apathetic, individualistic, churchianity american lifestyle; I say bring it on…
    I pray often that God would allow something to upend that status quo that is so deeply ingrained, even amidst claiming Christ followers, including this one…Yes, I’m grateful for His grace in putting me in the richest, easiest place to live on the globe…and no, my flesh does not relish giving it all up, but Jesus and His kingdom (teachings) have opened my eyes and my rich robes feel like stinking rags when I know so many innocents suffer and grovel under my red, white and blue heel…
    How ironic that Stanley says socialism is the main threat while simultaneously, but unwittingly revealing the true threat — the belief that we deserve our pedestal and it’s even a spiritual ‘high place’ towering over civilization… IMO it’s a decades long battering ram of american dream exceptionalism ([our] “way”) that has shaped the church in america into something that almost resembles…an anti-Christ.
    Lord have mercy on us, for we don’t deserve any more american riches and comforts… and I submit and surrender to any “ism” that God allows to come along and destroy it…because I’m convinced He’s not nearly as enamored with it as many of His so called followers are…

  5. I am all about keeping the government out of my churches. I get annoyed with mention of “the power of the state” during marriage ceremonies.

    The flip side of the coin is that I am not worried about the destruction of some alleged Christian nation. The only Christian nation that exists now and has ever existed is the entire body of Christ that transcends and supersedes political boundaries.

    I simply can’t understand anymore why Christians get upset when a secular political body “violates God’s laws” or something similiar.

  6. As a relative newcomer to IM, I have found this article and its responses to be about the most revealing of any I’ve read so far in terms of its political/theological leanings. Maybe it is just because of the nature of this discussion but, those on the LEFT seem to rule the day! I should look back at previous entries to see if there has been any discussion on the current illegal immigration invasion of Arizona — though I think I can guess where that discussion would be going…

    • L., we generally don’t deal with politics around here. And even this post is not so much about politics as it is about the way some people perceive the faith. Note the title again.

      That being said, you may be right. I can’t speak for the political commitments of the commenters.

      • Thanks Mike,
        From what I’ve read, I understand that IM isn’t intended to be a political media. I’ve enjoyed many articles and have been blessed by much of what I’ve read here. I’m just a believer who isn’t ashamed of America — though I am concerned over the direction it seems to be taking. I had enough liberation theology in seminary to last two lifetimes, and I see a lot of that influence in the comments.

        Perhaps the “lone conservative” here, but that’s O.K. with me.
        Lex

        • Lex,
          I know this is a few days late, but I’ve been pondering this issue and discussing it with my sister in law over that time. I’m very strongly conservative, but I take issue with Stanley’s choice of venue for his expression of this opinion. He gave a political speech as a sermon. There is no place in the Bible that says that our nation must be capitalist or a democracy. There are lots of Democrats out there who would argue that there is a larger role for government involvement in our lives but who are also completely sold out for Jesus. Yet, Stanley’s “speech” would seem to rule that out.

          I’m very politically conservative and don’t like where our country is headed with healthcare, etc., but I believe firmly that the evangelical church needs to separate itself from conservative politics. If Stanley had made that speech at a Tea Party or other political event, I would have stood up and cheered. I just don’t think it’s much of a sermon.

          (And, on a side note, it sounds kind of selfish to say that we need to pray to protect “our way of life” as opposed to following the will of God. Maybe that’s splitting hairs, but Jesus calls us to obedience, not to our American way of life.)

          I’m not a frequent IM commenter, but I did want to clarify that there are some of us (and I think probably a fair number) who consider ourselves politically/economically/socially conservative, but disagreed with Dr. Stanley. You’re certainly not alone!

          Blessings,
          Catherine

          • well said Catherine; I was too lazy to write what you wrote, and as someone who is (usually) quite conservative politically, I couldn’t agree with you more. What Jesus has going is HIS Kingdom, which does not fit neatly into any of our political boxes.

            Greg R

  7. Our nation has unalterably agreed through the Declaration of Independence that our individual rights come from God. Socialism says our rights come from the State. Governing socialistically violates our contracted rights to individual liberty–it violates the basic agreements on which our nation was founded. Thus, socialism in the U.S. will always be illegitimate and therefore unchristian–not because socialist governments must always be unchristian everywhere, but because violating agreements is always unchristian.