Who Is Hijacking Whose Christianity?
From Time.com, his article in blockquotes and with my remarks following. It’s amazing how much Scripture can easily be cited to refute the shallow panderings of this ‘pundit’.
My Problem with Christianism
By ANDREW SULLIVAN
Are you a Christian who doesn’t feel represented by the religious right? I know the feeling. When the discourse about faith is dominated by political fundamentalists and social conservatives, many others begin to feel as if their religion has been taken away from them.
The number of Christians misrepresented by the Christian right is many. There are evangelical Protestants who believe strongly that Christianity should not get too close to the corrupting allure of government power.
There are lay Catholics who, while personally devout, are socially liberal on issues like contraception, gay rights, women’s equality and a multi-faith society.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21
If you love me, you will obey what I command. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. – John 14
There are very orthodox believers who nonetheless respect the freedom and conscience of others as part of their core understanding of what being a Christian is. They have no problem living next to an atheist or a gay couple or a single mother or people whose views on the meaning of life are utterly alien to them–and respecting their neighbors’ choices. That doesn’t threaten their faith. Sometimes the contrast helps them understand their own faith better.
And there are those who simply believe that, by definition, God is unknowable to our limited, fallible human minds and souls.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. – 2nd Timothy 3:16
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7
These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. – John 14:24
If God is ultimately unknowable, then how can we be so certain of what God’s real position is on, say, the fate of Terri Schiavo?
“You shall not murder.” – Exodus 20:13
Or the morality of contraception? Or the role of women?
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. – Collosians 3:18
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. – Ephesians 5:25,28
Or the love of a gay couple?
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5 (Jesus says)
‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. – Leviticus 18:22
‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. – Leviticus 20:13
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. – Romans 1:26-27
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – 1st Corinthians 6:9-10
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” …Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. – Genesis 19
Also, faith for many of us is interwoven with doubt, a doubt that can strengthen faith and give it perspective and shadow. That doubt means having great humility in the face of God and an enormous reluctance to impose one’s beliefs, through civil law, on anyone else.
I would say a clear majority of Christians in the U.S. fall into one or many of those camps. Yet the term “people of faith” has been co-opted almost entirely in our discourse by those who see Christianity as compatible with only one political party, the Republicans, and believe that their religious doctrines should determine public policy for everyone.
Apart from the Republicans, what other U.S. political party is even remotely in tune with mainstream Christianity? Just look at what the opposites of the Conservative Republicans stand for:
“Sides are being chosen,” Tom DeLay recently told his supporters, “and the future of man hangs in the balance! The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won, and if we put our trust in Christ, they never will.” So Christ is a conservative Republican?
No, but conservative Republicans are overwhelmingly Christian. Don’t try and subversively rephrase it into a sarcastic straw man.
Rush Limbaugh recently called the Democrats the “party of death” because of many Democrats’ view that some moral decisions, like the choice to have a first-trimester abortion, should be left to the individual, not the cops.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. – Psalm 139:13
This is what the LORD says – he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you – Isaiah 44:2
This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb – Isaiah 44:23
And now the LORD says – he who formed me in the womb to be his servant – Isaiah 49:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart – Jeremiah 1:5
“You shall not murder.” – Exodus 20:13
Ann Coulter, with her usual subtlety, simply calls her political opponents “godless,” the title of her new book. And the largely nonreligious media have taken the bait. The “Christian” vote has become shorthand in journalism for the Republican base.
What to do about it? The worst response, I think, would be to construct something called the religious left. Many of us who are Christians and not supportive of the religious right are not on the left either. In fact, we are opposed to any politicization of the Gospels by any party, Democratic or Republican, by partisan black churches or partisan white ones. “My kingdom is not of this world,” Jesus insisted. What part of that do we not understand?
What part about living like a Christian does this guy not understand?
Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD. – Leviticus 18:5
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16
So let me suggest that we take back the word Christian while giving the religious right a new adjective: Christianist. Christianity, in this view, is simply a faith. Christianism is an ideology, politics, an ism.
The distinction between Christian and Christianist echoes the distinction we make between Muslim and Islamist. Muslims are those who follow Islam. Islamists are those who want to wield Islam as a political force and conflate state and mosque. Not all Islamists are violent. Only a tiny few are terrorists. And I should underline that the term Christianist is in no way designed to label people on the religious right as favoring any violence at all.
I mean merely by the term Christianist the view that religious faith is so important that it must also have a precise political agenda. It is the belief that religion dictates politics and that politics should dictate the laws for everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike.
In that case, we should have new labels like atheicism, liberalicism, and immoralism for those who seek to implement their godless ways in national politics. To them, their own humanist wants and base instincts are the supreme law. Quid pro quo?
That’s what I dissent from, and I dissent from it as a Christian. I dissent from the political pollution of sincere, personal faith. I dissent most strongly from the attempt to argue that one party represents God and that the other doesn’t.
I dissent from having my faith co-opted and wielded by people whose politics I do not share and whose intolerance I abhor. The word Christian belongs to no political party. It’s time the quiet majority of believers took it back.
See that Liberal (Democrat) Opinions pic again. Not all Christians are Republicans, but I suspect few Democrats are serious, born again, Bible-believing, live-for-Christ Christians.
That is why such self-seeking men as Bill Clinton (Democrat former President) and Jimmy Carter (Democrat former President, who laments that Jesus didn’t accept Satan’s temptation) must try and form their own alternative to the Southern Baptist Convention – since no mature Christian would ever fall for their foolish deception.
Therefore in conclusion I, Scott, dare contend that it is liberalism that is attempting to hijack Christianity from its true faithful keepers.
And we already have an existing label for such usurpers that doesn’t need any -isms: hedonists, Christians-in-name-only, cafeteria Christians, Antinomianists, false prophets and false shephers who lead the flock astray.
As the Bible long ago foretold and warned:
- For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. – 2nd Timothy 4:3
- Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. – Matthew 7:15-20
But there were also false prophets
among the people, just as there will be false teachers
among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies
, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority
. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand.
They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight.
They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable;
they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature
, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.” – 2nd Peter 2
For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have
secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality
and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.
Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand
; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals
—these are the very things that destroy them.
These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires;
they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage – Jude 1
So which do you think are more likely to be the false doctrines that are attempting to hijack the true faith – mainstream, conservative, fundamentalist beliefs that follow 2000-year old tradition?
Or 1960’s hippie counterculture fad theology?
Tags: ANDREW SULLIVAN, Christian Democrat, Christian Republican, Democrats are not Christians, false Christian, false prophet, false shepherd, false teacher, liebral Christian, Time.com