THE NECESSITY OF CHRISTIAN IMPERIALISM
I am using a very unpopular, dated, and disturbing word to describe why Christians and Christianity need to think of taking over the world. Let me hasten to say I am not using it in the poltical/military sense. I am not speaking of Papal armies or of explorers come with guns and priests. I am not speaking of cultural deracination from Western missionaries. I am not speaking of colonization but I am very much speaking in terms of Christianization, and by that I mean the evangelzing of the world and the discipleship of nations under the Word of God.
I have no doubt the cultural anthropological purists will still hate the idea, there will be those who compare this idea to “jihad” and radical Islam. If someone hasn’t figured out the difference of a competition for hearts and minds versus that from the forced changing of one’s faith from the threat of the sword they haven’t been paying attention. Biblical Christianity is not conversion at the point of the gun. Yes, we admit there has been history of horrific manipulaton of Christianity so as to coerce and dominate others from nuns to boarding school teachers, from “statesmen” to slave owners. Nevertheless, Biblical Christianity is not a religion of rules, nor meanness, nor guilt, nor the despising of one’s ethnic and cultural roots or gender.
Biblical Christianity is a religion of faith, of a willing change of heart, of love, of an obedience and joyful following of the Son of God. It is best when it is most like Jesus, and it is not Christianity at all if He isn’t in it. So how can an imperial Christianity be a good thing? Because anything this good has to take over, and the world remains a poor and hard place as long as Jesus is not in control of our hearts, our minds, our culture, and our behavior. “This good,” you say, yes I maintain that Biblcial Christianity is the best thing for the world, for everybody, and the world will suffer until it acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord in all things.
I also submit this is not arrogance, nor is it unkind, nor is it intolerant. If it had anything to do with force than it would be intolerable, and not of Christ. It has nothing to do with a sense of superiority over others, simply because Biblical Christiainity is a teaching of a complete equality of people in their sinfulness, the mercy and grace of a loving God for all nations, and a humble bowing of the knee not to a religion of men but that revealed by the only true God. Of course, if He is not the only true God people can do whatever they want, but if there is one holy and living God then the only thing that makes sense, and the only thing that is safe, is for the world that He created to obey Him.
My concern here is not to give an apologetic for Biblical Christianity but rather an exhortation to Christians. The idea of evangelism, or missions, or spreading the faith, or of discipling the nations is not a new idea and certainly not original with me. It is the idea of God, and the call of Christ, and the duty of the saints. My call is not for Christians to seek to do this by mere material means, though we do it of course in human material. We seek to do this by spiritual means as through the work of the Holy Spirit, as He works through the Bible He has written in the hearts of men and women, boys and girls. My call is that we need to spread the Gospel, and we need to teach those who come to faith all that which Christ has commanded, and we do that in churches we plant and build and through the doing of that we create cultural institutions which help to disciple our nation.
Cultural Christianity has struggled for centuries in figuring out how to combine government, culture, and religion. Some have created “Holy, Roman, Empires,” which I learned in school was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Some have attempted Ceasaro-Papism, or a state church. We suggest none of those things, but we do stress the urgency and necessity of infiltrating the world with Truth, goodness, love, mercy, and justice.
I am not suggesting more marketplace manipulaton of folks to get them to agree to a short creedal statement, I am not suggesting “decisional regeneration,” though I believe we need to call people to decision. I am suggesting that the Church of Jesus Christ, the true Church, needs to get mobilized against a wave of darkness that seeks to overwhelm everything in its path. Our churches, our institutions, our families, and our people need to realize we have spiritual weapons and it is time to use them. These are powerful to pull down every fortified postion of the enemy, and here I speak of spiritual enemies and not certain individuals, institutions, or nations. Though each of these may be dominated by spiritual darkness, and each may actively attempt to discredit or attack our Lord and His Word, we seek to overthrow ways of thinking and living that are anti-God and destructive to people. Our weapons are love and truth; manfested in showing compassion and in Godly thinking.
I call on churches and Christian institutions to stop thinking their organizational mission is actually missional. If you simply maintain what you have, seek to insure its programs and property, and don’t realize a sense of dramatic urgency to our present cultural crisis then you will be swallowed up. We must march, we must preach, we must go, we must persuade, we must confront because anything else is going to end in great loss. Of course I know God will win, how lazy and disobedient to hide behind our hope. Search the Scriptures and see if God ever allows his ultimate victory to be an excuse not to disciple the nations. We must not simply add to our selves, but multiply.
How wicked and simply stupid it is to think we can protect our family, our congregation, our educational institutions and raise our Christian children to be elite and superior and not think the world and worldliness will not have the power to reach them. Our mission is not protection but advancement. If you have something worth having then give it away, to the masses of people who don’t yet know Christ, but whose dangerous development of false religions, philosophy, and culture will not hesitate to infect our own hearts and minds. We are in a spiritual war and only the imperial rule of Christ will suffice to end it.