Quill and writing

The Contemporary Church is H – Hopeless (i.e. Pessimistic)

Of all these indictments, this one is the most obvious.  Any familiarity with the Scriptures ought to convince a fair-minded reader that God is sovereign in His creation and will not suffer the outcome of history to be marked by defeat.  The entire redemptive narrative is charged with an optimistic anticipation of Christ’s victory in time (i.e. in history).  In Genesis 3:15, God declares, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”  Accordingly, one has summarised the overall story: ‘slay the dragon; rescue/marry the woman!’ 

Alas, hordes of evangelicals, being ignorant of Scripture and of history, do not embrace this paradigm.  Instead, their leaders invent two fictions: (i) that theology must be undertaken in the light of contemporary newspaper headlines and (ii) that God’s kingdom is ethereal – it exists in some unearthly parallel dimension which they deem ‘spiritual’.  This latter folly provides them all the justification they need to embrace the cultural irrelevancy that Churchianity has capitulated to.  But it was not always so!  Even in New Testament times, the reality of apostolic Christianity was decried because “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too and are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus” (Acts 17:6,7). 

Today, sermon after sermon preached from the pulpits of our land rehearse Jesus’ words, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (Jn 18:36) by which they intimate that spiritually minded Christians ought not to get themselves entangled in the fleeting business of politics or any project whose goal targets cultural improvement.  Cultural redemption is deemed heresy; in its place the focus is decidedly simplified and reduced – we must get folks to make a personal commitment to Christ and join our Church.  After all, the planet is destined to melt with fire (2Pet 3:12&13) to make way for ‘new heavens and a new earth’.  Rushdoony put his finger on the problem noticing that modern evangelicalism – even three decades ago – had reduced the Gospel to a ‘fire and life insurance policy’ supplying its recipients with reassurance that their souls at last would enter heaven.  ‘Don’t polish brass on a sinking ship’ has been the rallying cry ever since! 

There are various reasons for such cultural retreatism. What is important to note is its prevalence among Church attendees.  Why have they settled for such hopelessness?  Why have they limited the scope of Christ’s victory to the rescuing of a few souls here and there?

The explanation involves the sinister influence (i) of ‘Pessimillennialism’ (both its pre-mil & a-mil variants) (ii) two kingdoms theology (2KT) and (iii) ignorance of Scripture/history.  For almost two centuries dispensational teaching has plagued the western Churches teaching us that this current ‘Church-age’ is parenthetical to God’s primary ambition to exalt the nation of Israel – once the remnant Church has been ‘raptured’ out of the way!  Accordingly, we must await the rise of antichrist (Putin/Trump, etc?), the darkening days of Great Tribulation and, most sinister of all, the imminent delivery of a knock-out blow issued by a returning Jesus from the clouds with legions of helicopters to sky-lift the faithful hangers-on to heaven.  Such a paradigm positively revels in the augmentation of evil in society.  Why?  It signals the end of our misery and despair!

The Remedy

Authentic Christianity is much different!  Ps 110, the most cited psalm in the NT is typical of many similar passages where God’s promise of victory is spelled out.  The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!” St Paul expounds these verses in 1Cor 15: “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death…” (1Cor 15:25-26)

This postmillennial optimism – that Christ will win the nations, that His government will gradually subdue the world, that His kingship (Rev 1:5) will be recognised by every tribe and tongue, that glorious righteousness shall cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea BEFORE HE RETURNS (Num 14:21, Hab 2:14, Is 11:9) – is ubiquitous in Scripture.  It is expressly taught by Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s first vision (Dan 2:31-43) in which we may confidently assert that God would establish four successive kingdoms (Babylonian à Medo-Persian à Greek/Alexandrian à Roman) which would thereafter be slowly supplanted by God’s own kingdom (Dan 2:44,45). 

Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection were the inauguration of God’s kingdom (see Matt 3;2; 4:17, 12:28 etc) and His ascension back to the Father represented the fulfilment of Psalms 2 and 110.  Isaiah 65 unquestionably intimates the future recovery of longevity as Eden’s curse is progressively pushed back by Christ’s victory in history. There we read, “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed…. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox… They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.

Therefore, as Jesus taught (see parables of mustard seed & leaven – [Matt 13:31-33]) God’s kingdom would gradually grow (see Is 9:6,7) from its humble beginning (a few fishermen, shepherds and foreign Magi) until it’s government is universally recognised (see Psalms 72, 87, 110 & Is 42).  Hence, we should not now be troubled by the Earth’s travail.  This present season represents an epoch of (i) judgement upon His faithless Bride (Heb 12:25-29) and a rebellious creation AND (ii) the awakening of His true Church with the establishment of worldwide Christian dominion (see Rom 8:18-25; Rev 11:15).

Familiarity with 2000 years of Church history likewise confirms that notwithstanding many great trials and seasons of difficulty, the light of Christ has burned ever brighter down through the centuries.  It took, for example, over a thousand years for a full English Bible to become available by the hand of John Wycliffe.  Throughout much of that time, a corrupt form of Christianity prevailed in which ignorance and superstition spread by Papal emissaries kept our forebears in a religious ‘Dark Age’.  But God’s Truth cannot be chained (2Tim 2:9) and that light which first illuminated Jerusalem would spread from Judea first to Samaria then to the uttermost parts of the Earth according to God’s providential superintendence (see Prov 4:18 & Jn 1:5 & Matt 28:18-20). 

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. …The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this (Is 9:7).