It has always puzzled me – the fear and vehement disdain with which Liberals/Democrats/the Left have reacted to religious political conservatism. Having paid pretty close attention to politics since the 1980 presidential race, I thought I had a good grasp on the Right vs. Left, the Conservative vs. Liberal, the Republican vs. Democrat stuff. And in reality, I think I do have a good understanding of what those different dots on the line to the left or right of center believe. But this irrational fear, the lashing out, the disdain and in some cases hatred from the Left for the Right . . . I just didn’t get it. Until . . .
Until I became aware of “Christian Reconstructionism”. Until I became aware of “Dominion Theology”. And then there’s “Christian [ultra]Patriarchy”, and the far right “Christian Fundamentalism”. Before you “righties” start tuning me out, check out my Statement of Faith so you know I’m not off the deep end here. And for you “lefties” out there who may have stumbled upon JGIG somehow, don’t bug out quite yet.
Lately I’ve wanted to put everything I see under a microscope. Since I became aware of Christians putting themselves under the Law (Torah observance, Hebrew Roots Movement), more factions, for lack of a better word, have come to my attention that more or less do the same thing, to varying degrees and with different flavors. So out came my spiritual microscope, and I don’t particularly like what I see.
I feel like I’ve lost a degree of my spiritual innocence. You know, the “Jesus Loves Me, This I know” and the simple heart living the simple faith thing under my blog title. To allay any fears of those who know me, I have NOT been shaken from my faith in any way. If anything, I’ve been STRENGTHENED by God’s Grace and His faithful protection of my heart from so many of the things I now see.
I’m one who could have been so easily sucked in by any one of the above “belief systems”, because, well, I like to be right. I like to have everything neatly sewn up, just as many of us do. And the above belief systems seem to have every detail of our messy existence all worked out. Life will be happy and ordered and just so if you follow formula steps A, B, and C. And if you don’t, or worse yet, walk in rebellion, off with your head! You think I’m kidding? Read those links I put in this post. No wonder the Left fears/hates “Right wing” conservatism. Well, those folks scare me a little, too.
Let me get one thing straight right here and now. I do believe that God is the final authority on all matters. I believe that He has a plan for the ages, and that HE’S IN CHARGE, NOT US. God’s instructions to us were to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, not to dominate and rule over all nations.
One of the primary stones in the foundation of Reconstructionism/Dominionism/ultra-Patriarchy is that the Church is to establish God’s kingdom here on earth, preparing the way for the return of Christ. Their view is a post-millennial view (a time I’m pretty sure we haven’t arrived at yet), and in their world, they set up the Kingdom for Jesus to come rule instead of Jesus coming to set it up. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it reads in the New Testament. If anything, there will be a great falling away, increased lawlessness (to coin a favorite term of theirs), a decaying of society, if you will, before Jesus comes back. Jesus is the One who will set it up the way He intends. We are not able to do so nor have we been commanded to do so. Okay, so I’m leaving some timeline stuff out, but here’s the main point: We, as Christians, were told to Love the Lord our God, Love our neighbors as ourselves, and to make disciples of all nations (first by loving them, not by dominating them!). The rest is God’s deal.
Let’s take some things that the Reconstructionist and Dominionist types would have a particular problem with, and by that I mean they would impose a penalty of death, according to “God’s Law”: Fornication, Adultery, Homosexuality, abortion, murder . . . First, how did Jesus deal with the sinner? Pick a sinner, any sinner. I can’t for the life of me think of one time He condemned any sinner to death for their sins. What did He do? He loved them first, showed them His Grace and Mercy, called them to turn away from their sin, and exhorted them to sin no more. He preached (as did the apostles) that those who sinned would not inherit the Kingdom of God . . . but He didn’t squish them like a bug right then and there. And then He DIED for them.
Jesus is God. There is no doubt that He, as He walked the earth, had a MUCH bigger problem with the sin He saw here than we ever could. He also sees the damage and wreckage that occur as a result of sin more than we ever could (and the woundedness that often leads to certain kinds of sin). His first response to sin? Love. Perfect Love. Love that sees us as He intended us to be the first moment He began to knit us together in the womb. Then we have a choice to make: to accept or reject the perfect gift of salvation by Grace, through Faith, in Christ.
I have to ask those in the Reconstructionist/Dominionist/Ultra-Patriarchy/Ultra-Fundamentalist camps, and I’ll admit, not in the most respectful of tones, Who died and made you God?! Not Jesus! He did not die and rise again so that anyone could hold the Law over the heads of mankind. If you hold the Law over anyone’s head, you are putting yourself in the place of God. God’s Law. God’s standard. God’s way to show us that without Grace and Mercy and the Cross of Christ we will always always always fall short. God’s way to show us our desperate need for Him.
What was the title of this post again? Oh yeah, what the Left is afraid of. Well, Lefties, those scary guys mentioned above? It’s okay to be afraid of them. Us run-of-the-mill conservative Christians? We’re not so scary. We may disagree with you about lots of stuff, some of it really important stuff, but we aren’t out for world domination, either. We’re just loving God and loving our neighbor, and telling those who don’t know the Good News about Jesus.