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The Church Militant
vs. a Renegade Government

F. Earle Fox
St Luke's REC, Santa Ana, CA
Sermons -- Audio Version  
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Trinity IX - 08/01/10
Ez. 14:1-11;    Psalm 115;    1 Cor. 10:1-13;    Lk. 15:11-32

The last two of the hymns which we will be singing might be considered "militant", and, in our time of trying to be "nice" to everyone, considered by some not any longer appropriate. The notion of spiritual warfare is not much discussed among Christians, and so we do not have much sense of taking the offensive in such a war. The idea of a "Church Militant" is not in good standing today.

 Napoleon is not someone I quote much. He was a mass murderer, a power-hungry despot -- right in the tradition of the secular, Godless worldview emerging out of the French revolution -- which was fed and nurtured by the so-called "Enlightenment".  The secular Enlightenment-inspired world has, by its very nature, in the space of about two centuries, caused more havoc, more brutality, more killing and carnage, than perhaps all the rest of world history. Napoleon was an appropriate beginner of its military history.

That brutality of secular modernism has been well documented by R. J. Rummel at his website: www.hawaii.edu/powerkills .

The secular Enlightenment became the intellectual justification for chasing God and believers from the public arena.  A worldview dedicated to materialism triumphed over the Biblical world dedicated to a sacramental world which united the spiritual with the temporal and physical.  And we were ignorant and cowardly enough, and disobedient to God enough, to fall for it.

But, Napoleon said one thing concerning the nature of military warfare which is true also of spiritual warfare. He said: "The logical end of defensive warfare is surrender."

If you are always on the defensive, and the other side has just a moderately good offense, then you will end up, in effect, surrendering your position.  You will lose by default.  You will be outsmarted, encircled, and find yourself neutralized, with no choice but to give in.  The other side, in its aggressiveness, will find ways to lock you out of the available resources, and slowly strangle your capacity to fight back.  You will be checkmated -- because your strategy of defense will lead to incrementally accommodating yourself to the newly imposed ways.

In spiritual warfare, you must go after the enemy, or it will succeed in going after you. 

That is what has happened to the Episcopal Church, and is happening all around us to formerly orthodox denominations which now think that being "nice" (in skeptical quotes) is more important than proclaiming the truth of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  The pseudo-conservative leadership would not firmly confront the pseudo-liberal homosexualists with fact and logic.  

It has been happening to the whole of Western culture.  Our so-called "enlightenment" has brought us a return to the darkness of materialism, now descending into a neo-paganism. 

Churches have been infiltrated by persons who were planning to undermine the spiritual integrity of the Church.  And, nearly the whole of the American public has been seriously affected by the mind-control processes being used routinely by our government-run schools.  We have been taught that there is no real truth, that persons who think that they know the truth are dogmatic and totalitarian -- especially those who think that they know the difference between right and wrong.  They are called "rigid", "black & white" thinkers who do not see the shades of gray or the "wonderful diversity" of truth.

So, it has not been just a stupid strategy (defense but no offense), we have quite literally had our minds tampered with -- by persons who are experts in psychological warfare.  These psychological warfare experts are not on the defensive, they are firmly on the offensive against we, the people, to help their totalitarian employers take control of the minds, hearts, and beliefs of the population.  And they know that a healthy Judeo-Christian community is their worst enemy.

All warfare is a subset of the continuing spiritual war which will continue until the return of King Jesus.  But, in the meantime, we soldiers of Christ are to be on the front lines defending and attacking, going after the jugular vein of the secular/pagan worldview and value system, voting into government offices faithful Christians who will stand their moral and spiritual ground in public, who will witness for King Jesus, that Jesus, not Caesar, is Lord.


But sadly, the Church in the West, except in small pockets, has no heart or mind for the conflict.  No fire in the belly. We are a very unmilitant Church.  No offense.  That must change.  Soldiers of Christ arise! and put your armor on! ----  Stand up! Stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross!  Life high His royal banner....


The disaster of the West is upon us for precisely the same reasons that it happened to the Hebrews, over and over.  The Hebrew national disaster was seen by the prophets as the natural consequence of their own betrayal of loyalty to God by the individuals, by the king, by the high priest, by the Levites, by the common people.

That same explanation was given for the Communist disaster in Russia and for the decline of the West -- over and over by Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."  That is why it happened to the Hebrews and to the Russians, and that is why it is happening to us in America.  We have forgotten God.  We have had a vapid pretense at worshipping God, but the effects of that worship rarely got outside the church doors.  And, I think, God was, and is, disgusted with our behavior.


I said last week that only a saved people can restore Godliness to a nation.  Only a saved people can hold civil government on a Constitutional tether.  Why is that so?  Is there really such a connection between our personal faith and the public arena?  This connection is central to understanding the spiritual war and the Church Militant.

Two Supreme Court decisions illustrate my point.

In 1962, the Court gave us the Engel vs. Vitale decision, stating that prayer in government run schools was illegal because unconstitutional, that it violated the "wall between Church and State".  That decision was the first in Supreme Court history made with no precedent given, because there was no precedent to give.  The Court had never in all its history given anything like such a decision.  In fact all of the Court decisions related to the matter said or implied exactly the opposite, that America was founded on Biblical principles and that America is essentially a religious and a Christian nation.

So the Court made it up whole cloth to support their positivist view of law, that God was irrelevant, giving them, the Court, the role of God to make decisions for we, the people, whether or not we agreed.  The Court, not God, would decide the meaning of right and wrong. Right and wrong was whatever they said.  And they, not God, would decide who was and was not a person worthy of protection. 

You cannot really dismiss God, of course, He is still sovereign over all nations and all governments, King of kings and Lord of lords.  But the Court was able to convince large numbers of Americans that it had the right to make such a proclamation.  It could rewrite the Constitution as it chose.  That was tantamount to an act of treason.  But Christians believed that the Court had the authority to so declare!

The effect of that was to remove from American government all legitimacy, because all political legitimacy is based on a prior moral legitimacy.  The authority to command other human beings, by the government or anyone else, comes only by the command of God.  There is no other source for political authority.  That was a principle understood and hardly debated at the time of America's founding, both in America and in Britain.

The second case was "Casey", concerning abortion in the early 1990's -- in which the court declared that each person had a right to define their own meaning for life, that we as individuals can define our own meaning for right and wrong.

That, of course, is contradictory to the government itself defining such matters, and allows for any of us to ignore the commands of government upon us.  But they did not seem to notice that.

In both cases, the Court subverted, or tried to subvert, the moral order, taking it away from God and depositing it either in the Court itself, or in individuals, to do whatever was right in their own eyes.


If God does not exist, then there is no moral order at all, and there is nothing that government can do to create one, and there is nothing any individual can do to create one.  Apart from the law of God, there is nothing government can do to create an obligation for me or you to obey it.  It can only coerce obedience, but that is not moral obligation.

The legitimate and Godly role of government is spelled out in our Declaration of Independence, "...that to secure these rights (i.e., those already given by God), Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."  In other words, the legitimate role of civil government, at any level, is to administer those laws of God which are already given, as understood by we, the people. Government has no legitimate role in contradiction to that. 


But once the government has, by hook or by crook, successfully asserted the right to make laws without God, how then can we the people get our ability back to put the government under our authority, which is under the authority of God?

Actually, it is quite simple.

The dismissal of God from authority over government does nothing at all to get rid of God.  And we, the people, still have the capacity to submit ourselves to God, to understand ourselves to be guided and sustained by God.  We also have the Holy Spirit, giving us the power to be ourselves, to give testimony in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and to the ends of the world, all the way to California.

Jesus told some of His enemies, "You know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God."  That is, you know neither the Word of God (His law), nor the power of God to support His people.  They did not know that only from God comes those two primal stabilities -- ontological, personal stability, and moral stability.  There is nothing that civil government can do to take those away from us.  Nothing at all, unless we compromise our own relation to God.  Then we come under the control of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  The Fall, all over again.

Now suppose that a significant percentage of the people believed that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.  They would have a moral consensus, they would agree about the meaning of right and wrong, regardless of what a renegade government thought of the matter.  They would not back down, and they would campaign and vote according to their Godly consciences -- at any cost to themselves.

Furthermore, if they were prevented from having an honest vote, they would take steps to correct that.  They would stand their moral and spiritual ground, just as did the early Christians.  The ability of a renegade government to divide and conquer the population would be lost, and it would be only a matter of time before the moral and then the political tides would again swing back toward the kind of Constitutional government with which we were blessed at our founding.  That is happening as we worship here at St. Luke's in the Peoples' Republic of China (of all places!), and in other places around the globe.  We have a renegade government, and it is up to us Christians and Jews to turn that around.

The only possible way to unite a people is through spiritual, and thus a moral, unity.  Only as children of God can a people prevent themselves from becoming children of Government Nanny.  Only as children of God can we be adults in the world, capable of keeping control of our own civil government.  Only God can supply that personal stability and moral compass.  No one else can do that.


The Church Militant will preach the lordship of Jesus over all facets of creation, and over all facets of society.  Under God, the Church is  the worship leader and the moral teacher for society (carried out in a freemarket of ideas, as created by God Himself).  Those are both functions which enable a sane society to function at all.  Worship and morality are not just someone's private opinions.  They are the foundations for any stable society with a free people.  The government is supposed to be the referee for society, just like in a sporting event, enforcing the rules of the game as interpreted by we, the people -- rules which we receive from God.

But without the law and the grace of God, we have no capacity as the People of the Land to keep government under our authority.  We will be divided and conquered -- just as we have been for over a century.  The moral authority of God is the only way we can sustain our unity so as to hold civil government, with all its coercive force, accountable.

The Godly reason for civil government is precisely to bring the use of coercive force under the law and grace of God, and to remove it from tyrants and government centralizers, to put government into the hands of those who do indeed worship and follow the King of kings and Lord of lords.  God gives us governments to tame and direct the use of coercive force. 


God tells Ezekiel in our lesson -- to picture the punishment coming upon them, to lie down on the ground in a public place, to fast and pray.  In another place God says that He Himself will deal with those who put idols into their hearts and yet ask for an audience with God. "I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people, Israel."  How dare they mock God to His face?  How dare they treat God as one of the pagan gods, going from one god to the next?

And, what are we going to do about that?

The highest court in our land has declared itself to be God, the decider of right and wrong.  And the other two branches of government have meekly followed suit, rather than standing against the renegade Court.  It is up to we, the people, to act, to take down this rebel government, which has exalted itself not only against the people but against God Himself.

People who call themselves Christians are today behaving like the Corinthians, and like the rebellious Hebrews, lusting after evil things, idolaters, committing sexual evils, and calling evil good and good evil.  Where is the faithful remnant?

To the degree that we ourselves have, as perhaps once secular or pagan persons, or perhaps lazy or misguided Christians, participated in the degradation of America or of the Church itself, by commission or by omission, we must repent.  God will clean up, heal, and restore His Church, His Bride, before He returns.  And surely, when we hear the call that the Bride Groom is coming, we in the West, we here at St. Luke's, will want to be a part of that event, and we will want to have oil in our lamps to light the way to the Wedding Feast.

Dear friends in Christ, it will be our wedding feast also, we, the Church will be the Bride.  Lord, get us to the Church on time....

The Church Militant is made up of Christians who are mature in their personal faith, who are faithful participants in the Body of Christ, and who have a testimony for both personal and public occasions.  The 2-edged Sword-of-the-Spirit is our offensive weapon.  We must wield that Sword, speaking the truth in love, and put on all the armor of God, both defensive and offensive.

As we prayed in the collect for the 9th Sunday after Trinity:

Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot, without thee, do any thing that is good, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Audio Version

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Date Posted - 08/01/2010   -   Date Last Edited - 07/07/2012