(From Chapter Ten of “The Irresistible Kingdom”.)
The interesting thing about secular history is it constantly repeats itself. Spiritual history is no different. The Christian Religion is following a parallel path to the Jewish Religion and will suffer the same fate. Just like Israel of old, Institutional Christianity has given up its pursuit of the Irresistible Kingdom of God, and forsaken the Heavenly Order of things where Christ is Head; instead, they have set their sights on political power, wealth, and position.
Is today’s system of Churchianity any less narrow-minded, self-righteous, and self-centered than that system of Judaism which rejected Jesus Christ? Are our religious icons, television preachers, and institutional pastors any less blind leaders of the blind? Are Christians today any better able to recognize the true identity of the King and the spiritual nature, character, location, timing, scope, and covenantal basis of His Kingdom than their Jewish counterparts of two thousand years ago? Even with the benefit of hindsight and a complete Scriptural record, the gross spiritual immaturity among professing believers today is appalling.
As a result, most Christians are just as ignorant of the true nature of the Kingdom of God as their Jewish predecessors. “How foolish and blind those Jews were! They crucified their Messiah!” But before we criticize the Jews for their spiritual dullness let us look at ourselves. This spiritual blindness and misapprehension of God’s purpose is not limited to those first century Jews. As the saying goes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So far we Christians have done an excellent job of duplicating and perpetuating the same old Jewish misconceptions, even adding a few interesting twists to further compound the error.
1 – Christian Misconceptions Concerning the SPIRITUAL NATURE of the Kingdom
Whereas the Jews erred in their political perception of the Kingdom, most Christians err in their almost total lack of perception concerning any kind of Kingdom – political or otherwise. It is difficult to know which presents a greater challenge: redirecting an inaccurate impression of the Kingdom, or trying to cast a Kingdom vision where no vision exists. For most Christians today, the Kingdom of God is a vague, mystical non-reality. Heaven is a celestial rest home for dearly departed saints. The Kingdom is mentioned twice in the ceremonial recitation of the Lord’s Prayer but has virtually no impact on the spiritual consciousness of the average church-goer.
The Kingdom of God, for all intents and purposes, has been set aside to make way for the Religion of Christianity. The Church, not the Kingdom, is now the goal. The harlot Church, fancying itself to be the Bride of Christ has made itself the object of affection. The history of the Roman Catholic Church is a disgusting account of people endeavoring (and often succeeding) to become a political force in the earth, killing millions of people for the so-called cause of Christ. But the Roman Catholic Church is an easy, obvious target. The Protestant Church is just as guilty of politicizing the Kingdom of God with an unholy alliance between Church and State � for example, when King James asserted his “divine right of kings” ideology and insisted that he should be the political and the religious head of the Church of England.
Whenever Church and State come together the result is always persecution for anyone accused of “heresy.” Questioning the authority of the Church becomes grounds for legal action and subsequent punishment, imprisonment, or execution. The Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts (1692-93) were conducted by Puritan Christians. Whipped into a frenzied religious hysteria, they arrested and imprisoned more than one hundred fifty people as “witches”, indicted twenty-nine, and hanged nineteen. This is just one example of why religious zealots – no matter what their denominational or theological flavor – should under no circumstances be given political authority. Beware the ones who seek political office with the intention of enforcing their brand of Christianity on the rest of us.
What is the root problem? Failing to recognize the essentially spiritual nature of the Kingdom – bringing it down to earth and politicizing it, trying to create some kind of earthly power and authority in the name of God. It is a favorite tactic of carnal men, and this carnality extends to Christians as much as to Jews….