How often have we heard the question echoing from evangelical pulpits, “If you died tonight, where would you wake up?” Signs indicate that the American public has had enough of this god – this Great Gargoyle in the Sky – and is abandoning the Church in droves in a restless and futile search for anything that brings relief for the moment.
Somehow, after 400 years of being highly regarded (or at the very least quietly tolerated) as an important and contributing segment of society, the Confessing Church finds itself sliding downhill. Why, after the warnings of Jesus, this should be a surprise suggests that Bible-touting Christians should get back to the sourcebook that proclaims the sovereignty of God.
Instead, the alternative has been to blame the demise on folks outside the Church and lobby for laws to shame them for their “sinful” ways. Ego and Theology merge to push God to the margins – creating MAGA, a theocracy comfortable to the “non-sinner” in the church pew.
Birth of a mythical Jesus, son of an impotent God:
Righteousness by political leverage, however, appeals to people’s fears rather than to their deepest longings for peace with God and with each other. By abandoning the restorative work of self-sacrifice in favor of popularity, we have presented to the world a mythical Jesus, son of an impotent God.
“Jesus is coming, and boy is He mad!” we told them. That held them for a while until they began to ask, “How does that knowledge affect me?” While the right answer was to live alternatively as though rescued already, we didn’t know how to do that or how to teach that. What we had learned in Sunday School was too abstract to be of much help.
Up Popped the Rapture:
Up popped something called the Rapture, a 19th Century creation promising escape from a destiny of shame, guilt, rampant heart disease, cancer, diabetes, liberal politics, COVID-19, and Armageddon. “We righteous folks will be outa here!” Guess who’s “Left Behind”!
The American Dream of prosperity and success has received the imprimatur of evangelical Christianity as the blessing by God on a faithful people, the bar increasingly being lowered on the word “faithful” to fit our shifting lifestyles and our denominational preferences.
We have, it would appear, successfully re-created God in our own image, an image where love of neighbor submits to Darwinism – survival of the fittest no matter the cost to “other”.