Idolatry and Religious Conservatives

I did not know or perhaps at a certain age chose not to know that my faith community was seduced by the Southern culture of slavery. By that I mean, they willingly chose to put their culture over God and allow the pulpits of our faith community and teaching to support the institution of slavery.

In these days of unrest and racial strife, I cannot help but look back and see how my whole faith roots were nurtured and blossomed in the toxic soil of slavery. The Bible was used to support the unsupportable, to defend the undefendable, to proclaim with pride what should have been whispered in shame. That is the legacy of my faith family. The Southern Baptist Convention over the last twenty years has made some weak efforts to repent of that ancient sin, but it has not either been enough or has informed leadership today.

The Christian faith is first and foremost about the Kingdom of God. It has always been about the Kingdom of God. From the beginning of God showing Himself and making a covenant with His people He has revealed Himself as Holy and Righteous. It was true for Israel and it is true for the Church. However, in countries like the United States, where freedom allows us to speak freely, worship freely, and participate in government, it is difficult for the Church to remain prophetic and independent listening only to God, obeying only God, and living out the character and fruits of the Spirit of God.

It is too easy to get entangled and become an advocate for what on the surface appears to be a noble thing. So, once again, the evangelical church has been snared by the culture and become a mouthpiece for the blaring racism, hatred, divisiveness of this current president all for considerations related to evangelical causes(more conservative judges, more legislation against abortion, more restrictions on LGBT persons, more visibility of extreme hate groups)

Some weeks ago in my journal entry for the day I mentioned the “despair” and “desperation” that has fueled faith leaders during this time. It is these two elements which drive this race to unholy alliances. Conservative religious leaders are afraid of losing the “blessing of God on America,” because of social sin/sins. However, this despair is focused on the wrong institution. Conservative religious leaders feel like godlessness has crept into the culture while God is more concerned about the godlessness that has crept into the churches who confess the Lordship of Christ. It is that age old issue Jesus spoke about when He(Matthew 7:3) spoke about removing the speck from from the eye of another but ignoring the beam in our own eye. Conservative religious leaders wring their hands about the state of the culture but are without tears for the condition of the Bride of Christ. The desperation then is using the tools of the world to somehow correct the morals of the nation. It has never worked, and will not work now. How many times must we go back and relearn this lesson? There has never been, nor will there ever be a ruler, a nation, a kingdom, a dominion which can legislate morals and character. It is folly to attempt it, and folly upon folly not to have learned this lesson. Law does not touch the heart of a person. It does not convince one of the right way and provide motivation to walk in it. The Conservative religious leaders should know this if they have read Romans at all. The law is powerless to change the hearts of people and turn people into citizens of character and compassion. Still we try, foolishly we try. The end result is always failure.

So one again, the stubborn heart, the frightened heart, the despairing heart, the desperate heart attempts to do what can only be done in crying out to God long enough for God to open the heavens and unleash the Holy Spirit in might and power. In my 70 years of life, I had heard the frustration of many people who were chaffing under some law they thought discriminatory. However, I have yet to hear any person complain when they have been captured by the grace of the Living Christ. It is like that!

Wash your hands, wear you masks for others, mind the gap, and be kind.

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Michael Chancellor

Licensed Professional Counselor since 2002 Former Mental Health Manager for Allan B Polunsky, Maximum Security Prison which housed Texas Death Row, FormerPastor