Thursday, March 19, 2009

Born Again American or Born Again Christian?

Abraham Lincoln once said, "At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher..." Hebrews 5:12-14 reads, "...though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food....solid food belongs to those who of full of age, that is, those who have by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." If there is any danger among us or springing up from within us it is the lack of spiritual discernment. I have started this blog a number of times tonight. My heart is aching with grief and it has caused me to stumble at getting my thoughts down on paper. If I were actually writing with a pen on paper I would have by now wadded up and thrown into the corner about a half of ream of paper. I am grieved because so many people seem to have reverted back to or are stuck on milk. There is a lack of exercise in this country, particularly in the so called evangelical church. It is difficult to detect the ability in the evangelical world to discern between good and evil. I was emailed one of those all-American, feel-good, warm and fuzzy songs with a political, religious, and commercial message. It is called The Born Again American. The object no doubt is to get the adrenaline flowing in your system, your heart beating faster, and the tears flowing from your eyes. As you hear about the loss of jobs, increasing poverty, and inequities you are suppose to rise up and do something about it. The expectation of course is that you sign their petition and join their cause. Where is discernment in this age? If you listen to this song carefully you will find that "people" are more concerned about having their lives disrupted or not receiving there fair share than they are about the spiritual condition of this country. Patriotism, redistribution of wealth, punishing the "haves" is seemingly now more important than recognition of sin, repentance, and the need to trust in a Sovereign God. The prevailing words in this song are "unfair"; "despair"; the need for "hope for some." Where is the call for repentance, for the admission that we have violated the standards of God? Where is the realization that the message of this song is ego-centric rather than theo-centric? Oh yea, that would take discernment wouldn't it. It just might be that the problem lies in the fact that we really are "born again Americans" and not born again Christians. Yes, we can and should be involved in the political process, yes we can and should hold politicians accountable. The problem lies in the fact that we blurr the gospel, the sovereignty of God, and the real need when we use "Christian" ideals, language, and genre to "right the wrongs" of a society that is not Christian. We certainly blurr the gospel when we partner with those who do not know the gospel and do not obey it. Paul told Timothy to teach believers to pray for those who are in (government) authority. We are to preach the gospel to every creature. We can never legislate righteousness or establish a Christian utopia regardless of how clever our songs of unity and right are. Do you really want to right wrongs? Do you really want equality? Preach the gospel and let the Holy Spirit change the hearts and lives of people. Let's pray, labor, and sing about sin, brokenness, repentance, and a spiritually changed life. Let's pray that a sovereign God gives us discernment and truly causes men and women to be born again. Let's forget about waking Americans up and causing them to become mere patriots which we now sing about as "born again Americans."

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