“christian” holy wars and the social gospel

Interesting. I’m reading this book called ‘Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,’ and Mr. Foxe just informed me of the medieval inquisition which included the Papal Inquisitions.

As you can probably guess, the book is about Christian persecutions as they’ve happened throughout history, starting with the early church, much like dc Talk’s ‘Jesus Freaks’ that was published some years ago.

I can’t tell you how interesting and inspiring this book is.  These witnesses bring a whole new meaning to Colossians 1:24. Not recanting their faith even to the point of excruciating pain. Incredible and invigorating. Not only is it inspiring, but the facts are very intriguing as well.  Take the movie ‘Gladiator’ for instance.  The philosopher and Emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (A.D. 162-180) was known as the last of ‘Five Good Emperors‘ of Rome.  You might remember him in the movie as the murdered father. He was responsible for the fourth general persecution against the Christians. Weird, right? He ordered and allowed (despite what wikipedia might tell you) countless horrible and unthinkable tortures.  Dang. He seemed like such a nice guy in the movie.

Now what I’ve just been reading is about the papal persecutions.  The history teachers leave out detailed information about these. ‘Christians’ were the villains; however, Christians were also the direct victims of these persecutions. Wait, what??

So before this era of Papal-ity (1208 A.D.), most of the persecutions against the believing church came from the pagan world. The church in Rome began to set aside scriptural doctrines such as holiness, piety, humility, charity, and compassion, and instead took up the sword along with pagan superstitions and practices. All of this in order to benefit the clergy of the Roman church.  ANY who disagreed with this doctrine (true Christians being the “any”) were labeled as heretics to the faith, and if refusing to recant “heresy,” were executed.

So now the world tells us that Christians were going around slaughtering heretics. False. Heretics were going around slaughtering Christians labeled as heretics. After all, 2 Timothy says, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  Now we get into persecution and suffering.

Oh the agendas of the social gospel.  To be quite honest, Azusa Pacific University upsets me when it comes to this issue.  This idea of “preach the gospel always, and when necessary, use words.”

WHAT?! NO!

And unfortunately, I hear too much of this at Azusa. God is behind it, maybe. I’m sure it pleases our Savior that the needy are being cared for; however, I’m convinced he’s more concerned about their eternal futures. I feel like many students at Azusa (or the mainstream students anyways) are taking the easy road, copping out and buying shoes for kids, rescuing little children from enslavement, sending monetary savings to feed some others. THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL! Let me quote a friend of mine:

What is happening today in our Christian culture is the thought that the application of the gospel is to simply come to the monetary assistance of those in need.  This is an aspect, but it is not even the central aspect, but a corollary of the gospel.  I fear that there is a growing belief that the preaching of the gospel to those who are sufferers of social injustice is secondary to the remedying of these people’s situation.  Or, to look at it another way, that the remedying of social injustice is the preaching of the gospel to those who are its sufferers.

Oh friends!  Do not be deceived! Let us not usher in temporal comfort but everlasting. Or at least couple social justice with Christ’s message of redemption.  One without the other is meaningless. More so social justice without the gospel (not all third-world countries are needy fyi). And do not be deceived into the thinking that “loving” can indefinitely take the place of “witnessing.” If you are afraid to share the gospel because it will offend… that’s the whole point. The truth is offensive. It’s edgy, difficult to cope with. God’s gospel was seen as heretical. Christ was seen as a blasphemer. “PREACH THE WORD!” (2 Timothy 4:2). It’s a command straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ who died for everone’s sins and beat the heck out of death.

And in terms of staying safe and protected from disease and sickness and third-world maladies:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall TRIBULATION, or DISTRESS, or PERSECUTION, or FAMINE, or NAKEDNESS, or DANGER, or SWORD? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death NOR life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:35-39

Have I made my point clear? If you disagree or anything, I’d be happy to politely discuss it with you anytime. I have skype (milesgrimes), twitter (milesvincent), and aim (mgrimes08@mac.com), and my email is mgrimes08@apu.edu.

Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes.

The world can do almost anything as well as or better than the church. You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.
-Gordon Macdonald

EDIT (6/13/09): In regards to the last statement/quote: The world can offer the avenue to grace. The means by which the grace is offered. Grace, the seed planted by the church waiting to be broken and made fruitful by the Holy Spirit.  The church: the workers who must usher in the harvest. Thank you Mr. Mark Montgomery =]

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  1. Nice thoughts, Miles. I dig the blog.

    I don’t think you meant it to come off this way, but you need to be careful on that last quote. True, the world cannot offer grace. But neither can the church. Only Jesus. The church is simply a celebration of that grace.

    But I love the passion! And I agree that APU does sound awfully left-wing sometimes (that is social gospel without the gospel).

    Keep it up!

    • hey, thanks for pointing that out. i made an edit in my post. dude, you can reply to comments on wordpress. it’s legit.

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