No More Compromises

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of compromises. The kingdom of God is not advanced through compromising with the children of Satan. We’re here to conquer, not make peace.

I am not interested in seeing stickers in science books explaining that evolution is just a theory. The real debate ought to be between ID and Creationism.

I am not interested in restricting profanity and other filth to only late night TV. We ought to censor it.

I am not interested in the display of the 10 Commandments as part of a historic display. I want a state that openly acknowledges the God of the Bible as our sovereign and the source of all law and morality.

I am not interested in references to a vague “God” in an idolatrous pledge of allegiance to a nation and flag. My allegiance is to Jesus Christ, and I owe honor and obedience to the state because He said so.

I am not interested in any religious service that refers to the God of Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammed. I cannot consider a man a solid Christian if he does not know the differences between Jehovah and Allah or that there is indeed a difference.

I am not interested in “civil unions” for sodomites, just so long as they don’t call it “marriage”. Even the New Testament says sodomites deserve death. At least we could keep a law on the books about it.

And I am no longer interested in voting for Republicans. We’re voting to win, right? Can someone tell me what we’ve won?

Peggy Noonan puts it well:

The Republican Party controls the Senate, the House and the White House. The Republicans are in charge. They have the power. If they can’t save this woman’s [Terri Shiavo's] life, they will face a reckoning from a sizable portion of their own base. And they will of course deserve it.

The idea is that half a loaf is better than no loaf at all, especially if you can keep working to get that other half. I’m starting to suspect that we aren’t getting any of the loaf either way. I’d rather go hungry and maintain my dignity by sticking to my principles.

What are we afraid of? Didn’t Jesus tell us the gates of Hell would not prevail against (i.e., withstand) us? Why aren’t we charging?

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry. That’s our king. He doesn’t say pretty please.

I understand that we can’t win everything immediately. I know that the road to eliminating abortion is long and rocky, and that eliminating partial birth abortion is a step. But I’m really starting to wonder if the companions we’ve chosen are interested in walking the same road we are, and indeed if all of us are interested in walking down that road.

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21 Responses to No More Compromises

  1. MegLogan says:

    I struggle with this very same thing. But I dont know what I can do about it. Seems like something is cooking in God’s recipe though, cuz lots more people feel this way than even five years ago. But like I said… what can we do!! I feel powerless, though I know that Jesus who is within me is greater than he who is in the world. and that we shoudl go forth dispelling darkness and standing up for what is right, but in my daily life… I compromise! And in the big scale of things… How can I not? we have the freedom given by God and confirmed wihtin our own constitution, yet… still the country is floundering… I can only think that the End of the World may be approaching… there is certainly a growing division in the church, and a unity at the same time. People are realizing that we can no longer be united with people who are not truly Christian, and also that there are many issues about being a Christian that fall under Romans 14 (about letting the weaker ones eat only vegetables and not judging them just because we are able to eat all things…)

    I for one am going to be on the stand strong side. I am striving everyday to make less and less conpromises, and to be willing more and more to speak the Truth, and not back down or bend or give or conceed. But this way is often lonely… so often we are odd man out!

    THanks for preaching it like it is!
    Amen
    Meg

  2. Chris P. says:

    Robert,
    You nailed it. When Bush was re-elected, there was a general feeling in the evangelical churches that our man won, so back to whatever we were doing. Politics by nature is a business of compromise,i.e. pimping and whoring.
    God help us, as we were not doing much. The Church as a whole has abandoned the ministry of intercession as well as the Isaiah 58 call. Thanks for posting this. Meg thanks for your commentas on my blog. Stay strong in the faith.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So you don’t think that there might be any disadvantages to a theocratic state?

  4. Robert says:

    It depends on what you mean by a theocratic state. I do not think the church should rule the state, or vice-versa. But for that matter, the church does not rule my home. (I am speaking in generalities, of course). Each institution must maintain sovereignty within its sphere.

    What I _do_ want is for each institution to acknowledge the lordship of Christ and operate within its sphere accordingly.

    For instance, the state does not have the responsibility or authority to declare heresy. That’s the church’s job. Historically, the state has had the authority to convene church councils for these purposes, but has no control over the actual decisions of these councils. The church does not have the authority to tell the state what sort of taxes to collect, or what the punishment for burglary should be.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So you think the church and state should each have a sort of “territory” in our lives, and within their territory, they should be authoritative.

    But where do you think we should draw the line between the state and the church? What criteria should we use to determine whether an issue is a “church” issue or a “state” issue?

  6. Robert says:

    We’ve traditionally made a distinction among three “spheres of sovereignty” in the world – family, church, and state. There _is_ overlap among these, but they are pretty much sovereign.

    God gives three types of authority, one to each institution. The family gets the rod – you spank unruly children. The church gets the keys – the power to discipline members, up to the point of expulsion. The state gets the sword – the power to punish and execute criminals.

    Like I say, there is some overlap. If I mistreat my wife, she has an appeal to the church to intervene. If I am physically abusive, she has an appeal to the state. So sometimes the lines are a bit fuzzy, but the centers are fairly clear.

    Another example: there was a case many years ago where a church near me was literally “beating the devil out” of people. Someone died. The state rightly intervened.

    The question of where you draw the line between church and state rapidly gets into lots of political theories. I would say that the state is responsible for protecting us from one another, as well as upholding public morality – certain types of sins that are made public. Public profanity would fall into that category, for instance. The church has to deal with a larger set of sins, such as dealing with cruel (but not physically abusive) husbands. The church also has to look after doctrinal matters. And, the church and the state deal with sins differently. The church is limited to censure and expulsion. The state is limited to things like fines, imprisonment, and execution.

  7. MegLogan says:

    wow that was well thought out and interesting. I have never thought of it that specifically before! thanks

  8. Anonymous says:

    You mention the church “beating the devil out of people”.

    Does the state’s responsibility to “protect us from one another” include a responsibility to protect us from those who would force their religion on us? For example, if you were living in a predominantly Muslim nation, would the state have a responsibility to protect you from extremists who wanted to kill you, or force you to convert, or participate in daily prayers?

  9. Robert says:

    I mentioned _one_ church “beating the devil out of people”. Most Protestant churches would consider this particular church’s theology (which includes modalism) to be heresy. This is a very atypical church.

    I am not advocating a theocracy. I believe in freedom of religion and the liberty of the conscience. I want the state to acknowledge Christ as Lord. I see no contradictions here.

    The state should acknowledge Christ as Lord _as it carries out its responsibilities_. It does not get new responsibilities (e.g., compelling religious observances) or lose old responsibilities (e.g., protecting people from harm). The state should make and enforce laws – within the areas it rightly governs – in accordance with the laws of Christ. Just like, as a father and husband, I rule _that area_ according to the laws of God. But I do not try to rule other areas. If I intrude on the state’s sphere, I am a vigilante. If the state intrudes on my sphere, or on the church’s, it is a tyranny.

    It is God’s law that determines what responsibility the state has to protect us. Compulsion in religion makes no theological sense, and the New Testament contains no indication that such compulsion would be appropriate. Similarly, the Bible does not indicate that something like putting “under God” on our currency is some type of harmful infringement that non-Christians should be protected from.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You say that you want citizens to have freedom of religion, but you also say that you want the state to acknowledge Christ as Lord. Most people seem to find these two things incompatible.

    The First Amendment specifically prohibits a state religion, which would be established by kind of declaration that you’re describing. And the point of the First Amendment was probably not just to keep the state from stamping itself “Jewish” or “Christian”. It was to preserve the freedom of people to practice whatever religion they chose: a freedom that would be endangered once the government aligned itself with a single religion.

    So – do you want freedom of religion, or do you want our government to declare itself Christian? Or do you have another plan for keeping the Christian government from restricting the freedom of religion?

  11. Robert says:

    Religious liberty isn’t really the point of my post. I’m not overly excited about protecting the rights of pagans to publicly worship their devils.

    There are many nations which have, or used to have, state churches. See the list at http://www.answers.com/topic/state-religion. Establishing a state religion would mean, at a minimum, giving it financial support or forbidding people from practicing other religions (or punishing them somehow for it, like with a special tax). You can look at the list I linked to and see that many (probably almost all) nations where the established religion is a Christian denomination, also have religious freedom. Even some Islamic states, like Iraq and Egypt, have religious liberty.

    The state can acknowlege Christ as Lord without establishing a state church. And the state could even establish a state church without any serious infringement of the freedom of religion. Take a look at the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for more information.

    Honestly, though, I could go for reconstructionism. I’m not really against that.

  12. myles says:

    wow. legislating Christianity in a land of multiple faiths…good luck with that. so much for not looking to the state to save us.

  13. Robert says:

    Myles, I am not looking to the state to save us. I want the state to acknowledge Christ as King and rule its sphere accordingly.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Um, it looks like the international freedom report supports my assertion, not yours.

    Take Egypt, for example: the US report says that although “freedom of belief” is protected by the Egyptian constitution, there are continued restrictions of the freedom of religion. Only members of “recognized” religions may practice their religion, and crimes against non-muslims (such as the 21 Christians murdered in 2000) tend to be overlooked.

    Freedom House (http://www.freedomhouse.org) and Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org) provide similar assesments.

    As for Iraq – I’m not sure what religious freedom you’re talking about there. During Saddam Hussein’s rule, the government routinely persecuted members of competing Muslim sects, not to mention members of other religions. I suspect that after a few years, the US would be in similar shape if some Christian denomination – say, the Southern Baptists – took over the government.

    And with regard to reconstructionism: I think you’re only interested in this approach to the constitution because your religion is currently in the majority and holding some political power. If wiccans or atheists were in the majority, you would probably be more interested in a strict reading of the constitution.

    Based on all the examples we have, the only way to guarantee freedom of relgion is to have a secular state.

  15. Robert says:

    Um, no, it doesn’t. My assertion was “many (probably almost all) nations where the established religion is a Christian denomination, also have religious freedom”.

    My further point was that _even in Islamic nations_, there is a fair amount of religious liberty. To quote the IFR

    the [Egyptian] Government does not consider the practice of Christianity or Judaism to conflict with Shari’a, for the most part members of the non-Muslim minority worship without harassment and may maintain links with coreligionists in other countries

    There are some abuses. But overall, not too bad.

    Iraq was bad because of the Sunni – Shiite conflict. But that seems mostly political rather than religious, IMHO. The 2001 IFR report on Iraq states that Iraq’s government “exploit[s] religious differences for political purposes”. Remember that Saddam was pretty secular leader.

    I wouldn’t count the Shiite-Sunni conflict because they are both Muslim “denominations” so to speak, and Islam is the official religion of Iraq.

    Aside from the Sunni – Shiite conflict, even Iraq doesn’t seem to have been too bad. The report states that the government “has sought to undermine the identity of minority Christian (Assyrian and Chaldean) and Yazidi groups”. It later states “Christians in the country report being victimized by intra-Kurdish fighting.”

    It’s not _good_ by any stretch of the imagination, but it is not the totalitarianism you pretend it is. Not even for Muslims, reading the Koran that tells them to wipe out the infidels.

    Also note that secularism does not always equal religious harmony. See also France, with those aggressive headscarf wearing little Muslim girls.

    Anyway, let’s turn to the _Christian_ nations, which was my point. How is England doing? Scotland? Finland? Iceland? Greece?

    These nations, to some extent or another, formally endorse Christianity or a particular church. And there is no significant religious persecution in any of them. I think the IFR said some Greeks complain because people look at them funny if they are not Orthodox.

    The difference is, Mohammed said to kill the infidels. Jesus said to love your neighbor and treat others as you want them to treat you. Why is it when I say I want the state to bow to Christ, you don’t associate that with “love your neighbor as yourself”? Instead you “suspect” that those nasty old Southern Baptists would light up the crosses and start the public lynchings again.

    And with regard to reconstructionism

    Regarding reconstructionism, I mean Christian Reconstructionism.

    Based on all the examples we have, the only way to guarantee freedom of relgion is to have a secular state.

    You are wrong.

    But let’s pretend you are right, which you aren’t. Freedom of religion is not inviolable. It is not inherently good. If I had to sacrifice freedom of religion – whatever definition you are using for that – to have the state bow to the King of Kings, then _so be it_.

    I am not interested in freedom of religion if it means that we _must_ be secular.

    I am not interested in freedom of speech if it means that we _must_ protect pornography.

    I am not interested in capitalism if it means we _must_ oppress the poor.

    I am not interested in the right to privacy if it means we _must_ legalize abortion.

    I am not interested in a strong justice system if it means we _must_ trap certain demographic groups in a deadly cycle of violence, crime, and broken families.

    I want the kingdoms of this world to become realized as kingdoms of Christ. I want Him to actually exert all authority in Heaven and on Earth that has been given to Him. I want Him to reign with a rod of iron. I want all institutions to obey Christ.

    I do not care about the US Constitution, political principles, and legal rights per se, but only insofar as they promote true righteousness. They are tools; our goal should be to glorify God.

  16. ilona says:

    “if I had to”, but you don’t. God does not give you the choice to institute Christianity by force. Not benign force or any other kind. And that is really the frustration for lots of Christians who hold these views, isn’t it?

    I think you are mixing up your frustrations with the idea of glorifying God. We glorify God only when we do things His way. We, -not making everyone else. I am not usually on this side of the argument…because personally I think we are way down the line in oppressing and suppressing Christianity…But dead man, you need to die to some of these ideas, because they are Ishmael. And I believe you know what I am talking about when I say that.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Regarding nations with state religions: England, Finland and other nations may have state religions, but they also protect abortion rights and free expression, including pornography. As far as I can tell, you have still given no examples of a nation like the one you envision: where a state religion directly and substantially affects public policy, and the freedom of religion is well-protected.

    But the comments at the end of your post make this argument moot, anyway. Because you say that, really, you don’t see much inherent value in the freedom of religion. Or more broadly, you think that the basic freedoms provided by the Bill of Rights are nice, but not when they get in the way of legislating some particular aspect of your morality. While I disagree with this position, it is at least consistent with your original post, which calls for “no more compromises”.

    In contrast, I think compromise is valuable. When you have a disagreement with another person, no matter whether it is about abortion rights or about who cleans the bathroom, you can deal with it in three ways: convince, compromise or coerce. If you and your wife disagree about whose turn it is to clean the bathroom, you can try to convince her by presenting compelling arguments and facts – for example, reminding her that you did it last week. If convincing doesn’t work – if she thinks that *she* cleaned the bathroom last week, and you did it week before last, you may have to compromise. Maybe you will both clean different parts of the bathroom.

    Most of us only use these two options. But there is a third way: coercion. If you choose – and I’m *not* saying that you would – you may attempt to coerce your wife using emotional abuse, physical force, even pulling rank by reminding her that you have a penis and therefore God put you in charge.

    These methods also apply in the larger political sphere. And if we structure our republic well, the whole point of the federal government is coercion. The federal government gets a monopoly on violent coercion so that it can protect its citizens from those who do not respond to argument or who refuse to compromise. So if we have to inject our religion into our government in so that we can pass laws against pornography and abortion, what we’re really saying is, “we’ve failed at evangelism, and at convincing these people that our way is best, so we’re going to have to give the church the power to use force.”

    While it’s nice to say coerced religion makes no sense, it seems coerced religion is exactly what you want. Otherwise, I see no need to convince the state to say “Jesus is Lord”.

  18. Robert says:

    I _am_ feeling quite frustrated right now, but it’s mostly with these types of comments.

    I do not want to “impose” Christianity by force of any kind. I do not want taxes going to support churches. I do not want other denominations or religions outlawed. I do not want any religious organization to have any official influence over governmental affairs, or vice versa. I do not want any special treatment, good or bad, accorded to anyone due to his religious convictions.

    Here’s what I _do_ believe in:

    * I believe that the state should publicly, formally, officially acknowledge that it governs as the servant of Christ, because it does. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry.
    * I believe that the state should take a long, hard look at the Bible to determine what areas it is _supposed_ to govern and what its function is. The Constitution lines up remarkably well with the Bible in my opinion! It is not the government’s job to make people believe a certain thing or go to church, let alone a specific church.
    * When the state is governing the parts of life that it is Constitutionally and Biblically _supposed_ to govern, it should govern according to the law of God. Just like a boss should manage his company in a godly way and a man should govern his famiy in a godly way.

    I do not want the state to overstep its bounds. Nor should the family or the church overstep its bounds. I do not want to “impose” or “force” Christianity on anyone.

    I agree with Kuyper that there is not a square inch of the universe that Christ does not look at and say “This is Mine!” And that extends to Washington DC. I believe He is the King of the universe, and that all powers and principalities will bow before Him, including the government. I want to see His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I do not think these are ideas I need to die to.

    I believe the State should acknowledge that it rules as a servant of Christ. What source of its power do _you_ think the state should assert?

    I believe the State should kiss the Son lest He be angry. What stance do _you_ think the State should take towards Christ?

    I believe the State should respect the law of God to limit the areas of life it rules. What measure do _you_ believe the State should use to determine the limits of its rule?

    I believe the State should make laws and judgments openly based on the law of God. What basis do _you_ believe the State should use?

  19. ilona says:

    The difficulty that I see is that when you say “state”, you say that as if it were a personal entity. The state is made of individual persons- persons who, to recognize the Lordship of Christ must do it volitionally.

    Our real problem with compromise is not state oriented. Our real problem is that we don’t live the life, including the prayer life, to the degree that we see the large conversions of people that the gospel produces. We need to change individually and we need a move from God. Saying that the state must kiss the Son- that is an endtime statement. Indeed every knee will bow and every tongue will proclaim that Christ is Lord.

    But God is not going to work by the state- not for morality in the society or salvation in the person. We are the state…. and it takes us producing a change in our society by winning souls. It is that easy and that hard.

    In the meantime, yes, we should impact our society with our votes and with our voice. But let’s not view that as sufficient as an end goal. It is the adjunct of the other.

    We have the measure we need in place for the United States, but we have lost ground. Why is that? I submit that it is due to relinquishing the true goals of our faith and becoming ineffective as Christians in our daily social conversation. Let’s work on that- demanding power structure is not going to accomplish it.

  20. Robert says:

    The state _is_ an entity, just like the church or any other institution. It has God-given authority and responsibility that we do not individually have.

    I agree that we effect “a change in our society by winning souls”. But that does not eliminate our duty to govern according to the law of God. They are all part of our mission of bringing the world under the lordship of Christ. I want individuals, families, businesses, clubs, entertainment, blogs, books, newspapers, schools, _churches_, and governments all brought under the lordship of Christ in their particular area. A Christian businessman has a duty to run his business as a Christian. Why wouldn’t a Christian voter and a Christian political leader have a similar duty?

    To be real clear – I do not want to legislate Christianity or change laws in order to force people to be good. I am not seeking to use a political agenda as a tool. The political agenda _is_ the goal – to bring the state under the lordship of Christ. Not as a tool of coercion or enforcing morality, but simply for its own sake.

    If I owned a business, I might have some godless employees. My business could still openly acknowledge God and be run according to my best understanding of God’s law. For instance, I should charge and pay fair prices, be honest, treat my workers well, honor the Sabbath, etc. I wouldn’t do those things for any reason other than that they are good things to do. It wouldn’t matter if my godless employees were improved or even converted; running a godly business is still the duty of a godly man.

    We should have godly laws and government. What is the alternative? _Ungodliness._

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