Two Peas In a Pod
31 August 2010
The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest For Political Power Is Destroying the Church by Gregory Boyd.
Because I have only been able to share a small portion of this vital book in the past six articles, it is vital that you get yourself a copy as soon as possible, and read the entire book a number of times. Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.com and make your purchase.
If you have not yet read...
Today I want to take what we have been learning in The Myth of a Christian Nation and see how it specifically applies to Your Islamic Future.
After reading the first article in this series — The "Power Over" Kingdom — understanding how that system relies on the power of the sword to subjugate and dominate its subjects, and how it is a demonically inspired and controlled system that has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God, it is quite obvious that Islam is a prime example of the "power over" mindset.
It bears repeating here, as I first explained in Another Gospel, Another God, that it was NOT the Biblical angel Gabriel who appeared to Muhammad in that cave exactly 1,400 years ago this year, bringing the messages of Allah as recorded in the Qur'an, but a demonic impersonator "masquerading as an angel of light" (see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). And the message this demonic being brought was not a message from Yahweh, the God of the Bible, but a false gospel of deception, which has led billions of people astray.
But what most people in the West fail to recognize or acknowledge is that almost exactly 300 years prior to Muhammad's demonic encounters, another man had a demonic encounter that would profoundly change and influence the history of the world up to our present day. The tetrarch Constantine was fighting in a civil war of the Roman Empire. According to contemporary accounts, on the day before a major battle he had a vision of a cross in the sky, with the words "In this sign you will conquer." He also had a dream that night in which he saw the same vision, but this time "Jesus" also appeared, telling him to put the labarum symbol (or Chi-Rho) on the shields of his soldiers. This famous Christian symbol is formed by superimposing the first two letters in the Greek spelling of the word Christ (Messiah). Constantine understood it to be a "heavenly divine symbol denoting Christ".
Although outnumbered two to one, Constantine was victorious in battle the next day, killing and conquering "in the name of Christ". In the following years, Constantine gradually consolidated his military superiority over his rivals in the crumbling Tetrarchy. By 325 Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire, making him the first "Christian" Roman emperor. And the rest, as they say, is history. That day, 28 October 312, was the beginning of the end for the Church of Yeshua.
Thus Satan gained one of his most magnificent victories in the history of mankind. Three hundred years of persecution could not destroy the early Church — in fact, it only served to strengthen the Church and cause it to grow at an astonishing rate. So apparently Satan decided to switch tactics. If being at the receiving end of the sword could not destroy the Church, perhaps being the wielder of the sword could!
And it DID to a large extent destroy the Church of Yeshua the Messiah! Not in a physical sense, but in a spiritual sense. For the past 1,700 years, this man-made, institutionalized, political, blood-thirsty, demonically-inspired, Christianized version of the kingdom of the world has survived by the power of the sword. The external social-political-religious organization called Christianity has endured, but the Spirit of Yeshua as revealed in the New Testament has largely been lost.
It is tragic yet truthful to admit that for the last 1,700 year, the church as a whole has not looked very much like Yeshua at all. But if you look at the history of supposedly "Christian" nations, Christianity has looked A LOT like Islam! In fact, they have looked so demonically similar in comparison to the Kingdom of God that one could easily consider them two peas in the same kingdom-of-the-world pod.
As an indication of just how deceived we are, most Christians in the West still consider Constantine's "conversion" to Christianity to be a great triumph for the Church. And they consider Constantine to be a great man and great Christian. In my own family, the "Christian" homeschooling textbooks that we have been using to teach our kids history have certainly presented such a view. Well, Constantine the Great IS great: great at promoting a tremendous demonic deception, great at sowing seeds of destruction in the Church from which it has yet to recover, great at corrupting Western culture for the last 1,700 years, great at turning Biblical Christianity into a merely Christianized version of the kingdom of the world. Yep ... that's just GREAT!
So, for the last 1,400 years, the demonically-influenced kingdom-of-this-world Christianity has been battling it out with the demonically-influenced kingdom-of-this-world Islam. And the battles are still flaring up all over the world even in our day. The most recent one to erupt in the United States is the battle over the Park51 mosque that Muslims want to build near the World Trade Center "Ground Zero" site in downtown New York City.
In my own personal thoughts and feelings, I totally sympathize with the opponents of this mosque, whose objections are passionately expressed by Pamela Geller on her Atlas Shrugs Web site. Along with the other objectors, I fully believe that the Muslims behind this project do not have good intentions, and that what they are doing is furthering their jihad against the West.
If you have any doubts, take a look at my previous article Why Islam Will Win as well as other past articles on this Web site, such as Infiltration and Islamofascism. I do not believe that they are wanting to build this mosque, as they have stated, in order to "promote inter-community peace, tolerance and understanding locally in New York City, nationally in America, and globally." Rather, I believe, along with many other opponents, that they are wanting to build an Islamic victory monument to celebrate the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Although I totally agree with the objections of those against this mosque, I do not at all agree with their opposition tactics. Their heated rhetoric and street demonstrations are helping feed an atmosphere of fear, anger and animosity. These kingdom-of-the-world attitudes and actions are completely opposite of what Yeshua sanctions in the Kingdom of God. When you see and hear these objectors, do you see and hear Yeshua? I think not.
Let's exercise our imaginations for just a moment. Suppose that Yeshua lived right now in downtown Manhattan, and that this new mosque would be built right in His neighborhood. Now, from what we know of Yeshua's character from the New Testament, do you suppose that He would be picketing and protesting in front of this location? Do you suppose He would be ranting and raving against these Muslims? It's kind of hard to picture, isn't it? Such "power over" attitudes and actions would be totally out of His character.
From what we learned in the second article in this series — The "Power Under" Kingdom — Yeshua would "come under" these Muslims in self-sacrificial, loving service. Couldn't you just see Yeshua, with a neighborly smile, actually WELCOMING these Muslims to His neighborhood, because He loves THEM as people? Wouldn't this scenario be more in line with the Yeshua we read about in the New Testament? Rather than being threatened by them, He would see this as an opportunity to love them and bring the influence of the Kingdom of God into their lives.
For those of us who are followers and disciples of Yeshua, this is the very example we are called to. To quote again what Pastor Boyd wrote:
Jesus defeated the cosmic powers of darkness by living a countercultural life characterized by outrageous love and by laying down His life for His enemies. So too, we contribute to the demise of the "power over" principalities that hold people in bondage when we refrain from judgment of others and rather extend grace to them, when we let go of anger toward others and instead "come under" them in loving service.Indeed, how can you say it any better than that? And this powerful and provocative photo by Michael Belk — called The Second Mile — expresses the same concept, but without words.
If we don't look like Jesus Christ carrying His cross to Golgotha — sacrificing our time, energy, and resources for others — our rightness is merely religious noise.... However right we may be, without love we are simply displaying a religious version of the world, not the Kingdom of God.
Listen! The Muslims are NOT the enemy. In any and every situation, another human being is NEVER the enemy. The Enemy is the enemy — the Devil and his demons. THEY are the ones we are to be fighting against, NOT the Muslims. Each and every Muslim is the beloved of God, and we are supposed to rescue them from the Enemy and restore them to God. THAT is the fight we are in — NOT a fight against Muslims, nor any other human being. We can hate the spirit Enemy, but we are called by God to love all human beings, and in the context of this Web site, Muslims especially — and not to hate any human being, Muslims especially.
This is what it is going to take to see Muslims in any large number come to know Isa (Yeshua, Jesus): us followers of Isa loving the Muslims enough to live in service to them, and loving them enough to bleed and die for them. As long as we show the Muslims our corrupt, perverted "power over" Christianity, they are going to resist Isa with all of their might, as they have for the past 1,400 years.
Our calling is not to defend ourselves from Muslim violence, nor to retaliate with our own violence. When Muslims finally see a large number of Christians, for the first time in history, faithfully living out the "power under" life of Isa before their very eyes, to the point that we look like Isa dying on the execution stake (cross), THEN and ONLY THEN will the eyes of their hearts be open to see Isa for who He really is.
THEN and ONLY THEN will the Muslims, and all the rest of the world, see a real difference between "power over" Islam (and the very similar "power over" Christianity) and "power under" Christianity — a difference that has never been displayed on a large scale in the 1,400 year history of Islam.
The question for us followers of Yeshua is this: do we love Yeshua enough, and do we NOT love OUR lives enough, that we are willing to pick up our execution stake and follow Him, as He commanded (see Luke 9:23-24). Our Islamic future awaits — and the Muslims world is waiting to see what we will do.
Well, that brings this seven-part series reviewing The Myth of a Christian Nation to a close. But you will want to be sure to take a look at tomorrow's article — The New Testament and Violence — which is the final article in a three-part series I had started in May (and might also be considered an "unofficial part eight" of this series). In this new article I quote a further passage from Pastor Boyd's book — which is why I could not write it until I had written the articles about the book.