Is there a third stronghold we are dealing with in America? In the UK and in Canada as well? A phenomenon we can well call reactionary conservatism?
Discernment from Frank Drake – A few months ago you, Brad, mentioned two major strongholds that are threatening the Church and the advancement of the Gospel in the West, and the USA in particular–radical Islam and liberal progressivism.
I think the Lord has been showing me a third stronghold, which I believe we need to confront along with the other two. Perhaps the best name I can think of for it is reactionary conservatism.
I see its talons in a number of places–the continued re-emergence of racism in the wake of Obama’s reelection; the rise of secessionist sentiment in almost every state and especially in Texas; the vast proliferation of hate groups that espouse and perpetrate violence; the gridlock in Congress; the historically huge and increasing gap between rich and poor; and the massive and unreasonable effort on the part of the NRA and others to allow the most lethal weapons to find a place in every household, to name a few.
Where this stronghold may negatively impact evangelical ministries, in general, and PRMI, in particular, could be traced to the view held by some in this reactionary conservative bloc, though unsupported by solid evidence, that the US economy is in shambles and will soon collapse, and that the best way to preserve one’s future is to get out of the economy as much as possible and as soon as possible, i.e. buy property and send money overseas.
I sense, though without any hard facts to back up this view, that some of the funds which otherwise would be funneled to the ministry of PRMI is not coming to PRMI because of the dominance of this economic fear in certain circles, with the result that normal Christian stewardship practices are not being followed.
Some of this sense I have is based in fact, but the part that has to do with PRMI’s finances is pure speculation on my part. I do believe, though, that this third stronghold is real, dangerous, and contrary to the advance of God’s Kingdom. I’d be interested in your take on this.
Discernment from Brad – Yes, I would appreciate others of you giving discernment about what Frank says.
Here is my response.
• Yes I do believe this is real, dangerous and contrary to the advance of the Kingdom of God.
• It seems to me that we, the Church, find ourselves in a constant balancing act. Either the Church falls into liberalism that ends up denying the biblical foundations of our faith. Or we become so legalistically, emphatically correct in our protection of biblical doctrine that we move to an unhealthy, life quenching conservatism.
• Either extreme suits the Devil just fine. Both work in perfect accord with his purposes to destroy vital, Holy Spirit empowered, biblical Christianity. The stronghold of reactionary conservatism is certainly one reaction against liberal progressivism. It may very well be a movement the Holy Spirit is using to counter the collectivism and authoritarianism that is being expressed wherever liberal progressivism has gained political ascendancy. In many ways this is not a reactionary movement but a resistance movement to growing tyranny of the left.
• I believe that Frank is right in asserting this is a very real danger and a tangible threat to the Church advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we must discern clearly how this is so, that we may pray clearly. I would contend that an ever growing racism, secessionists sentiment, and the irrational building of personal arsenals are all dangers and are in themselves powerful blocks to the Gospel.
• However, I would contend that the deeper threat to the wave of the Holy Spirit that is moving in America and Canada and Britain right now, is that reactionary conservatism may be used by Satan to take Holy Spirit-empowered Christians out of engagement with the fallen culture we are called to transform to the glory of God. For me this movement represents a false spirituality that removes the Christian witness from the market place, the home, culture and the government.
• For instance, I believe that in democratic nations like the UK, Canada and the USA, Christians take seriously our responsibility to vote as an expression of commitment to Jesus Christ as the Lord over our lives and over our culture and nation as well. This is the Reformed vision of the Kingdom of God that included not just John Calvin’s concern for the proclamation of the Word of God in church, but also the sewage system of Geneva and public health issues. How has our adversary used reactionary conservatism to remove Christians as light and salt change agents in the world?
• One example: it was reported in Charisma News that during our last presidential election in the USA, a pastor in Florida had advocated for and obtained the commitment of over a million people to write in the name Jesus Christ as their vote for President of the Unite States. That is a complete abdication of the right to shape the political process and the epitome of reactionary conservatism. Posing as Christian witness, that action withdrew from the political process the major means that we have of shaping reality according to a vision of the Kingdom of God. In Florida, a “swing state,” those million votes may have made a real difference in the outcome of the whole election! But as it was, they went to Jesus, the Lord of all creation, but clearly not a candidate for President.
• What better example of how Satan has used reactionary conservatism to deceive Christians into withdrawing into their own utopian ideal Christian society in which Jesus is President, while making no difference in the real world where we are called to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. What is the practical difference between voting for Jesus Christ in an election where the number of votes received may determine the destiny of a nation and those who move into a survival mentality of utopian detachment from the rest of the world through isolated and well-armed self-sufficiency?
• It is my firm conviction that one of the Devil’s plans is to remove Christians from shaping reality by leading them into what Frank has dubbed reactionary conservatism.
Is this discernment on track?
What is the structure of this demonic stronghold of reactionary conservatism?
How do we pray to overcome this stronghold?
How ought we teach to help free well-meaning Christians from this demonic stronghold?
And on a personal note what may we be dealing with in ourselves that Satan would use to remove us from the hard, sometimes dangerous work of praying “Thy Kingdom Come…”?