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The Episcopal Church (and many other Christian bodies in the West) are mirror images of (and often the most significant cause of) the disintegration taking place almost universally throughout Western civilization.
Western Civilization is Christian civilization. It ended on the European Continent with the French Revolution, and has never recovered. What was supposed to be Western Civ. is fast returning (via secularism) to full-blown paganism. It eroded more slowly in America, but was fatally compromised by the time of our War-between-the-States. Collapse was just a matter of time -- signaled in 1962 when the highest court in our land could publicly dismiss God as sovereign (ban prayer from schools) -- and the Christian community remained silent. The Church MagnImpotent.
The three defining crown jewels of the West, the three contributions to the rest of the world, have been:
(1) the development of scientific method, and
(2) the development of due process in public policy, i.e., in civil and ecclesiastical law. One might also add
(3) freemarket capitalism, which might be considered the expression of the other two in the market place.
All three, properly understood, are based on a very Biblical and Godly separation of powers, giving up of centralized control, and a remarkable trust in the process of free inquiry and free enterprise. None of the three will work, perhaps not even survive, apart from a Biblically moral society. The Church has failed to integrate all three and thus made itself irrelevant to modern culture.
I am concerned here primarily with the first two.
The world (without God) can neither understand freedom nor produce it. It can understand and (try to) produce only license for pleasure-seeking -- which is self-destructive and thus quite different from true freedom. Pleasure-seeking, because it is inherently destructive, eventually produces control, not freedom.
The Kingdom of God (to be clearly distinguished from the visible Church), on the other hand, is based on freedom from top to bottom, both beginning (conversion) and ending (marriage supper of the Lamb) with a free-will covenant between God and His creatures. True freedom is self-perpetuating, not self-destructive.
That freedom is reflected in the development of those three unique aspects of Western Civ. God (not secular utopians) has the most trust in human nature, not because human nature is unfallen, but because He knows how to redeem it back to His original purposes. The world does not. The world cannot set free, it can only control. And that only for a space. The American founding fathers understood that, and, in so many words, said so.
Only a civilization permeated with the Biblical notion of freedom could have produce these three gifts upon which any substantial cultural freedom must be based. Our current culture-war is at bottom between those who understand and pursue that vision of freedom versus those who have no real trust in human nature and therefore must submit it to the control of a centralized bureaucracy -- the ultimate legacy of all God-less civilizations. As an 1850's politician said: We will be ruled by the Bible or by the bayonet. He did not yet know of the soon-to-arrive alternative to the bayonet -- mind-control.
Western Civ., by the grace of God (and not otherwise)
"discovered" the Godly answers to the two most perplexing problems facing
(1) How do we know the truth? and
(2) How do we administer truth and justice in public policy?
The development of scientific method was God's answer to the first question (or a large part of it), and the development of due process in government was His answer (or a large part of it) in the realm of public policy. These are two of the three crown jewels of Western Civ.
The Crown Jewels did not emerge primarily from secular or pagan sources. They emerged from the foundations of a millennium of Biblically soaked western culture. Properly understood (contrary to popular Christian opinion), reason and revelation are not enemies, they are totally wedded as the two edges of the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of Truth. Reason wedded to Revelation is an invincible weapon against falsehood. But the Christian community was sold on the falsehood that reason and revelation are opposed to each other, that "science" has disproven the Biblical worldview. That is arrant nonsense, but most Western Christians (of all people) believe it anyhow, and thus treat science with distrust, if not as an outright enemy.
These Biblical answers to the problems of how to construct a Godly civilization were summed up in Jeffersonian liberalism -- the belief that the path to truth requires an open, honest, candid discussion of the issues, using rules of evidence and engagement which are neutral with respect to the parties in the debate. Precisely what our American Constitution was written to produce for the formation of public policy -- a democratic republic under God.
Modern "liberal democracy" is not a democratic republic under God and is not the product of Western Civ., but the subversion of it. It is essentially secular, and doomed to fall prey either to paganism or Islam. And eventually to a revived Christianity. Of all the major worldviews, secularism appears to promise the most, but is the least stable because the least nourishing to the human spirit.
Western Civ., the true legacy of the Enlightenment, is rooted and founded in the Judeo-Christian worldview -- the only worldview which can sustain a union of law and freedom, or, as we call it, ordered freedom. The law of God is all about the order. License is disordered (or non-ordered) freedom which will, sooner or later, be controlled by the bayonet or by a mind-control education system.
Or, to put it a bit differently, only under the law of God can a non-tyrannical government be sustained. That is because only if the freedom of citizens to go about their legitimate business is guaranteed by God is that freedom "unalienable". Our legitimate business is the pursuit of truth, of righteousness, and of love. Any deviation from that is sin, and in proper cases should be subject to civil or criminal penalties.
If the government (as liberal democracy believes) is the source of our freedom, then government can (and will) take it away (read I Samuel 8). No person has shown how a secular government can avoid the trap of tyranny -- for the simple reason that without God, there is no appeal against the government should the government be oppressive. The government is God -- right back to Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzer, and Caesar.
Our "liberalized" Supreme Court knew that it had to get God out of the picture if it wanted to run America (hence the 1962 decision (Engel vs. Vitale) telling God to stop talking to our children, and they to Him, in government-run schools). Whether that was conscious subversion of our constitution and therefore treasonous violation of their vows, or merely inexcusable ignorance, I do not know. But the effect was to gut our constitution of its foundations in objective morality, i.e., in the law of God, and thus to set us adrift on the chartless seas of moral (and thus legal) subjectivism (or as the secular legal scholars call it, "positivism", law made up as we go by the judges). From which chaos we are saved by ("Ta da!!!") judicial activism. The unchallengeable (and therefore "infallible") judiciary replaces all other sources of religious, moral, and therefore also, legal knowledge.
Without God, there is no moral appeal, either for or against, anything at all because without God there is no morality. There is only persuasion -- which will be by happenstance agreement (good luck), by coercion (hard tyranny), or by mind-control ("soft" tyranny - you are persuaded to vote yourself into tyranny because you have been divested of trust that you can govern your own life rationally). But there is no rational moral debate (the only basis for justice in government), there is only power-struggle. And that means control, not freedom.
The flip side (and driving engine) of all this quest for control is the lust for uninhibited, pleasure-seeking license -- the pansexual and its child, the homosexual, revolutions. That is what the Supreme Court means by our freedom to decide our own meaning of life. We are judged free to seek our own pleasure -- because, without God, that is all there is to seek. There is no real righteousness, no moral relationship, no objective meaning to life, so secularists are compulsively going to defend their alleged "right" to seek pleasure. That is the only meaning left in their Godless cosmos. One can hardly blame them.
And the lust for pleasure is itself driven largely by a desperate need to sugar-coat the pain, emptiness, and loneliness of life in a Godless world. There are no rights at all in a Godless world. But there are plenty of ungovernable and compulsive drives which, with proper PR, can be dressed up to look like rights. Fortunately, we have endless bureaucracies to tell us how to manage these drives, and to feel our pain, or to medicate or euthanize us out of it.
We are in a culture war. But culture war, like military war, is only one facet of the larger and ever ongoing spiritual war. The stakes are everything. The contest is over who is God. Whom do we trust ultimately? and whom do we obey ultimately? In practice, God and civil government are the ultimate choices.
Clarity, as atheist Ayn Rand rightly said, always favors truth. Unclarity always favors falsehood. Satan is not called the father of adultery or homosexuality, but the father of lies. Repentance and living in the light are about clarity. Both reason and revelation are about clarity. Rand missed that part.
However, so-called "conservatives" have conserved very little, studiously avoiding any policy which might have led to cultural, spiritual, intellectual, or moral victory. Thus the fog generated by the dark side has swamped the "traditionalists" and the "conservatives".
So clarity is now being produced by the dark side. The dark side is producing clarity by the simple expedient of doing what they have always said they wanted to do -- live openly, publicly approved pan-sexual/homosexual lives. Evil exposes itself when it gets into power by divesting itself of its disguise. Clarity.
Amidst all this, "conservatives" and "traditionalists" are wringing their hands and mourning the world as it deconstructs before their eyes. That is not a Godly response. The Godly response is repentance for our own cowardice, ignorance, and rebellion, and to seek the face of God for direction, to look for the hand of God at work in this very mess. We must paste on our bathroom mirrors, "God has me right where I need to be to do my growing."
The world is not going to hell in a handbasket, it is being sifted by God. He forces us into making choices which, in effect, become our own judgement on ourselves (see John 3:19). It ain't pleasant, but God is firmly in charge. He is forcing each one of us, likewise, to make decisions about how to react to our current situation. Those going to hell in a handbasket are only those who do not want what God is offering. Are we going to get into the fray, or whine?
We can rejoice that God is allowing the dark side to produce clarity because we Christians (in the West) have been incapable of producing it. We can rejoice because clarity, no matter who produces it, means the end of the dark side. Darkness and clarity are inherently opposed. The devil cannot flourish in the light, not even his own. So Satan's successes are also his own undoing. That is why the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. The clarity produced by openly evil behavior will also raise up its counter-measure, even among those who foolishly thought "they really don't mean to do that... It is not really that bad...." We finally begin to see: Yes, they do, and yes, it is. God is looking for those who will be today's seed for tomorrow's Church.
Evangelism of the world requires Christians proactively producing clarity from our side, and no longer waiting for Satan to produce his kind of clarity. That will happen only as we regain intellectual, moral, and spiritual integrity -- clarity of testimony. Our evangelism of the world means introducing people to the possibility of a real, honest moral relationship with the Creator of all that is, He who is the Light, He who guarantees the substance and meaning of life, the reality of freedom, and all the non-self-destructive joys of life.
It does not get any better than that.
But only if we can stand publicly and say reasonably, with grace and humility, that Jesus is Lord, and live that way. Only if we can produce our own clarity -- give our testimony (wield the Sword of the Spirit) -- and are willing to lay down our lives to do so (Rev. 12:11). The enemy has no possibility of winning against mature, dedicated followers of Jesus.
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