For the past few weeks, I have discussed the threats we live under as a result of liberal/progressive/communist attacks on the founding principles of this nation. Our Founding Fathers fully understood these threats and knew it would take an educated citizenry to withstand them. We have discussed what parents, teachers, students, businessmen, legislators, and the press can do to thwart these attacks. This week we will get down to the ‘heart’ of the needed defense…the hearts of the citizens themselves. The ‘enemy’ knows that this is where the battle is to be won. There is no really obvious battleground. The attacks are all around us. The next target Satan has picked out is the exact target many would not even consider…the Church.
The battle the church is equipped to fight is the ‘battle of the heart’. Lose that battle and the war will be lost…that’s just how important that it is. This puts a huge responsibility on ministers and church leadership. The rewards are many…so are the punishments for failure. So, what can the church do to win this battle. As in all cases, the offense starts with prayer. Ask God for guidance, fortitude, and the power and direction to withstand the on-sought. Then get off of our knees and stand to fight. How does this fight look? Here are some of the elements:
> The churches became a major target for Communist-Socialist infiltration many years ago. These people were successful in capturing many key positions in a number of important religious organizations. (Don’t think the offense will be strictly one-way.) Some religious leaders openly advocate and defend anti-Christian principles. They are apologist for Russia and its Soviet influence and even advocate capitulation under the threat of atomic war.
> Study Judaism, Christianity, and Communism to a point where you can quickly detect the fallacies which some persons in high places disseminate from their pulpits.
> Develop a Bible-reading congregation.
> Encourage religion to become a practical, dynamic force in the lives of people.
> Resist the erosion of the Modernists who seek to discredit the Bible and to define God as an imaginary non-reality. Many of those who started out a century ago to attack the Bible and to destroy our religious culture, were close associates of Karl Marx.
> Be alert to detect those who use ‘Social Christianity’ to cover up the fact that they are not Christian at all.
> Watch for those who would use the principles of peace, brotherhood, tolerance, and Christian charity to obscure the conspiratorial aspects of Communist ‘peace’. Remind professional pacifists who have accepted the paralyzing peace propaganda of the Communists that the same Jesus who taught ‘love thy enemy’ never advocated surrendering to him. The same Jesus who said, ‘Turn the other cheek’ to avoid quarreling and bickering in the ordinary course of life, also said to take a sword to preserve life. (Luke 22:36). The Jesus of Nazareth who cleansed the temple was demonstrating that Right deserves to be defended.
> If you come across those who labor under the misconception that Communism and Christianity have a common denominator, ask them to show where the early Christians practiced Communism.
> Because of the counseling which ministers do, there are strenuous efforts to make inroads into the ministry. Be alert to the drive by certain analytical psychiatrists to have ministers accept their amoral philosophy. They opine those feelings guilt and a sense of right and wrong cause mental illnesses. It is of course, a discredited concept. There is far more mental health in the Judaic-Christian concept of resisting temptation and overcoming mistakes than ever emanated from the Freudian couch.
> Be prepared to counsel students who are having difficulty reconciling the many conflicting views which they hear in school; views that conflict both their moral and intellectual integrity.
> Be careful to read books before they are recommended. Reports have been made recently that some church groups have been induced to recommend books which turned out to be filled with obscenity. This is an important part of the Socialist-Communist campaign to discredit religious culture. What better way could serve their purpose than to have churches themselves sponsor degenerate literature!
> Set up study groups on both youth and adult levels to study Communism. Have qualified and well-informed persons serve as discussion leaders.
With every citizen watching for an opportunity to strike a blow for freedom, the force of Communism can be halted, smothered, and then eliminated. Without our tolerance and help, the Communist empire would never have become the second strongest power on earth. Unfortunately, peace loving people are easily led to believe the best in everyone and every effort, but we must remember the threat of Manuilsky…a professor at the Lenin School of Moscow in March of 1930. He said,” We shall begin by launching the most spectacular peace movement on record… The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be friends. As soon as their guard is down, we shall smash them with our clinched fist!” (Quoted by Joseph Z. Kornfeder, who was a student at the school.) Today, Communism is advancing on all fronts. If our society is not made aware of this effort, it may be just a few more years before it is too late. Where is the church in this scenario?
The church has been entrusted with providing law and order for society. The mission is to influence society rather than control it. This mission makes it impossible to avoid politics. We are not called to make the law of God the law of the land by forging moral voting blocs or political coalitions. Rather, we are to influence politics and our society by our radical love, authentic example, and advocacy for those who need help. The spirituality that Christ calls us to cannot be compelled at the point of a sword or by the weight of combined votes. The social morality of Christ can only grow voluntarily one heart at a time. This is best accomplished as we demonstrate the characteristics of salt and light in our day-to-day behavior. If readers are like me, they need to be reminded of this quite often.
Here are a few examples of Christ’s leadership that had an impact without trying to force a change in religious influence…nonetheless, influence was exerted:
> Joseph rose to a position of great power in Egypt without changing the religious policy or idolatry of the land. God used him to save many lives during a severe famine. Think that the people of Egypt didn’t see something different in Joseph?
> Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, exiles from Judea, rose to prominence in the Babylonian empire. Yet they refused to bow to and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. Think that the people of Babylon didn’t see something different in these men?
> Daniel, an exiled Jew, gained respect as a wise administrator and a man of unshakable character during the reigns of several kings. He was not afraid to speak out on God’s behalf. Think that these kings didn’t see something different about Daniel?
> Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia, gained the king’s help to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Think that the king didn’t see something different about Nehemiah?
> The apostle Paul appealed to Roman law for protection when he was unjustly whipped and imprisoned without a trial, though he was a Roman citizen. Even Paul knew when to invoke man’s law.
In each of these examples, we see people who were clearly involved with their earthly governments, but yet in each case their earthy allegiances were secondary to their heavenly allegiance. They understood the proper mix of God and politics. They knew that no earthly government is perfect. Christians dishonor the mandates of our Lord when we want to accept only the perks of citizenship without embracing the responsibilities that citizenship…politics…carries with it. Citizenship in a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles carries with it ominous responsibilities. It might not hurt for our church leadership to remind us of those responsibilities ever so often.
Next week we will start to look at the goals of Communism. You can be assured that the destruction of Christianity and the church are in the mix. We need to be able to recognize when these goals are being pursued and be ready to take a stand. At this point, I would look more at the church for leadership in the fight than I would look at the mix of politics we have leading our nation.
– Bob Munsey
“When we forsake the living God, it doesn’t take long for deterioration and degeneracy to set in.” (A Nation in Crisis by Ray C. Stedman)