“Let my people go so they can worship me” (Ex. 4:23).
The Churches in North America are separate entities (denominations) comprising a religious kingdom within a secular Kingdom where they are being held hostage. Their bizarre arrangement with the secular political establishment was their own design. The separation of Church and State was no longer intended to free the individual but independent groups from the clutches of a political religious system that had charge over their destiny. Before Luther, man’s salvation was in the hands of those that defined the rules by which he could be saved. In the colonies that issue was settled. The new threat was an overpowering Anglican faith that sought to dominate the new nation. The reformers had reintroduced the individual’s right to believe; but they too forced their convictions on others and man was again trapped by someone else’s’ dogma. In the old world the State decided what reformer to follow. In the new world, necessity coerced the colonists to accept tolerance. The idea of separating the Churches from the State was the best solution the world had ever had. The Churches became a kingdom within a kingdom and prospered materially. For the next one hundred fifty years, the state had no reason to look for a loophole to step on separation. During this time, the religious individuals and groups kept their differences alive by proselyting among each other and converting the world. As the nation expanded its territory so did the denominations and their missions. What disrupted that harmonious coexistence?
The breaking point in recent times was rape or sin and the answer was abortion or the right to terminate pregnancy. To Bible believing people both were violations of God’s laws. Especially the rapist should have paid for his crime. The highest court in the land granted to women the right to terminate unwanted pregnancies. The medical profession was instructed to comply. The legalization of abortion was an attack on the sanctity of life. It had to deny that life began at conception and that a mother’s life had precedence over her pregnancy. The unborn was henceforth an endangered species. Any woman that enjoyed intimacy had the option to abort pregnancies that could interfere with personal pleasure. It also became a tool for birth control and a lucrative business of profiteering. The Churches opposed the State’s invasion into individual privacy and God’s divine law. This gave the antichristian politician more ammunition to introduce legislation that protects lifestyles not endorsed by Judeo-Christian laws and morals. When the Supreme Court legalized rape by abortion it legalized one sin with another and opened the door to all other irregular and unnatural behaviors like homosexuality, lesbianism and even hate laws to punish those that regard such practices as sin. The State was given the right to remove all religious symbols and writings from public places and confined them to their church buildings. Every Christian group that opposes the promiscuous secular morality is being held hostage and coerced legally to silence.
The deterioration between the Churches and the State is regretful. However, the State too was threatened and did not entirely account for the breakdown. The reformers that had established organized religion were not exactly following Christ’s Great Commission (Mt. 28:19-20). In fact, when the first Christians began to organize in Jerusalem and did not spread out over the city, the country or the world, they were disobeying their founder. Jesus’ mandate was to make disciples and not form organizations or build sanctuaries. They were to enter a home and stay until they had finished their mission or made some disciples and move on. They would not reach all the lost sheep of Israel during their allotted time (Mt. 10:5-23). Within thirty years Israel would cease to exist. Instantly we ask what Jesus meant when he told Peter, “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not stop me” (Mt. 16:18). The first thing Jesus did was address one person Simon Peter. This is consistent with Jesus calling (kaleo) individuals and not groups to follow him. The word church (ekklesia –Greek, qahal Hebrew) is not an organization or a physical structure but a calling out to individuals to gather or assemble for a mission that spread the kingdom of God at hand. The church is related to a kingdom that is not of this world (Jn. 18:36); rather, it is inside a person or in the heart (Lk. 17:21). This is consistent with God being Spirit and able to live in a human heart and not on a mountain or in a temple (Jn 4:21-24), where His Spirit assures the individual’s spirit that he/she is a child of God (Ro. 8:16). It is the individual whom Jesus is drawing (Jn. 6:44) to join his invisible spiritual kingdom where a person can be a light in the world (Mt. 5:14-16). Peter became the first convert with the mission to strengthen the brethren (Lk. 22:31) and was entrusted to treat his fellow disciples as lambs and sheep (Jn. 21: 15-18). The disciples were not to remain infants of the kingdom but agents of forgiveness (Jn. 20:21-23).
The invisible moral kingdom in the past or during the Roman era endorsed seclusion in church buildings, fortresses and monasteries for protection and monastic living. The popes turned Catholicism into a protective wall and the reformers did the same on a smaller scale. Modern churches have also become seclusions and are granting sanctuary to political undesirables. They also have become outreach stations for spreading the Gospel, renewing the members and holding revivals. Seekers after faith and salvation must now go to the places of seclusion where God and Christ are present. It is the exact opposite what Christ had commanded his disciples to do (Lk. 10:20). Seclusion or separation between church and state intensified when secular morality began to creep in and change the life of their members (II Cor. 6:5). With the exception of some isolated groups, Christians cannot be identified from secular behavior. Wearing Christian symbols no longer mean that the wearers lead moral lives. With modernization came a humanistic theology, namely man is who he is and God accepts him for what he is and does. In a sense, man is not responsible for the unnatural yearning for his sinful ways. The proof that such a lifestyle is accepted is God’s free and unconditional gift of grace. Christ died for sinners that cannot help being sinners and not for saints (Ro. 5:8). And as long as the separation enjoyed material prosperity, both church and state tolerated each other. The biggest change came when information technology brought evil and catastrophes into the living room. Man’s views of divine intervention declined and with it the confidence in Western Christianity. Man has to be reminded that the Creator God has entrusted man with the management of the earth (Gen. 1:26) and that man has allowed the destroyer god (Satan) to take charge (Rev. 12:1-17). It is the destroyer that has driven the true church of Christ into a desert where she found some protection. And the only place in the world where Christians are still allowed to exist is Europe and America. Particularly North America is rapidly becoming a spiritual desert and it appeals to a desert people that shall plunder her resources. Secular legalism is holding Christianity hostage. It shall be interesting to see whether Islam can be imprisoned?