Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Beware of national idolatry

Although I avoid politics in this blog, sometimes dicipleship does intersect with that sphere. Rex Butts certainly shows that relationship in his essay, "True Freedom vs. the Idolatrous Illusion." The jumping off point for Rex are President Bush's recent comments on U. S. military operations in Iraq. I am neither for nor against those operations (and, despite what you may perceive at first glance, I'm not convinced Rex is, either). I simply don't know what's best in Iraq. But like Rex, I do know it's a very bad thing for Christians to look to government for what only God can give:
I thought as Christians we believe that Jesus is our only security and peace. . . . I thought as Christians we believe that every nation is in decline, even our own, and that the only everlasting nation/kingdom is the Kingdom of God. . . .

This post is not about whether the use and support of warfare and military power by a Christians is ever justified. This post is about the idolatry many Christians who live in the U.S. have bought into. Is our security and peace dependent on a government and its military force?
Yes, to a degree it is. Romans 13 deals with that issue. It's probably no accident that Jesus came to earth and the Good News began its advance during a time when peace in the Mediterranean region was maintained by Roman military force. I give thanks to God that, because of the sword of government, I don't have to carry my own sword on the way to the store or the church house.

But whatever instruments God uses to protect us, true security and peace come only from knowing God. It's all too easy for Christians in the U.S. to be caught up in the idolatry of national might. As I preached in the fall of 2001, if our sense of security depends on winning the "war on terror," then we're looking for security in the wrong place.


Blogger Kim said...

In Canada, and in some provinces in particular, there is a real mentality that government is the only way to get anything done. We have government health care (which isn't all that bad), government car insurance, and government day care programs. We complain a lot about our government's interference, but we allow them a place in our loyalties.

6:24 AM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Vicki said...

And you have spoken well here. This is something that has been brewing in my heart also, that our only true peace and security is the Lord Jesus Christ--not government or anything else. I'm so glad you spoke out on this. You said: "...it's a very bad thing for Christians to look to government for what only God can give."

Amen to that.

10:57 AM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Kim: It sounds like the temptation to idolatry is not limited to the middle portion of North America! Milton

3:19 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the kind words, Vicki (and for the prayers).

3:20 PM, February 07, 2006  

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