Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Structured Loyalty

Douglas Wilson has some good thoughts on the loyalties of American Christians. He writes, "The accomplishments of Americans, which are many and great, are just mounds of rubbish when considered apart from Christ. But when laid at the feet of Christ, the garbage turns to gold."

He goes on to say:

We are to have structured loyalties, not one uniform loyalty. "One loyalty" is the mark of one kind of idolater, the ideaologue, the unitarian. And inverted loyalties indicate a different kind of idolater. It is this second kind of idolatry that is rampant among American Christians today. We do not structure our loyalties biblically, and this is something we have to learn how to do.

Consider the following two quotations: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is non other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). This is an echo of something that Rome claimed for Caesar Augustus, and for the Christians to make the counter-claim was high defiance.

And consider this, taken from President Bush’s second inaugural address. "There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom . . ." This is a messianic claim, and it is a false messiah. In this view, does the revelation of God in Christ have a role to play—of course, but it is necessarily a subordinate role, alongside all the other privatized religions in the pantheon of the empire. "That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people." Little problem. One of the truths of Sinai is "thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3).

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