15 June 2010

#4 Sacralism

Time does not permit me to write a scholarly work on these topics and I realized long ago no one would be willing to publish such a book. I have other projects and my goal is not getting another book published which no one will read. The hope I cherish is that people will stumble onto this site, read and ponder these issues. This won't be a website for the lazy…I'm not going to do the homework for you. I'm not going to footnote and reference everything. I want issues exposed and discussed. My role for now, I hope and pray is that of a catalyst.
Verduin in "The Reformers and Their Stepchildren" repeatedly uses the term Sacralism. I had grasped this concept long before I read him so that when I encountered his work it was akin to a thunderclap. Sacralism is basically making something holy. Obviously there is a Biblical Sacralism, when God commands something to be Holy to serve His purposes in Redemptive History or typology. Think of the Sabbath, or the Temple. These things aren't Holy in and of themselves, intrinsically woven into the fabric of the created universe, moral reflections of God's character. These things are Holy or were Holy because God commanded them to be so. Thus, they can also at a later time be taken out of Holy Status and made common. The Seventh Day is no longer Holy. Reformed Sabbatarians who try to argue the Decalogue is the eternal law of God also show inconsistency by switching the day, showing it wasn't intrinsic, it was a sacralized day. I would argue the New Testament teaches it was fulfilled in Christ, but if they want to argue its abiding validity they have a Redemptive Historical problem. That's another issue. I merely wanted to make a point. The Temple was Holy. Today we understand the Temple of Solomon or the 2nd/Herodian Temple were Holy, but with the advent of the New Covenant and the end of the old order in the year 70…the temple were it still to exist would no longer be, and rebuilt (as some dream) would certainly not be! Hence when people refer to the Holy Land, they do err. That land ceased to be Holy two thousand years ago, it also being a picture of Christ. All these promises were affirmed and confirmed in Him as per 2 Corinthians 1.
Sacralism in the sense Verduin uses it and in the context of the Constantinian discussion is referring to culture and civilization. God is in covenant with His people. They are in covenant with Him alone. We are the Holy Nation. We are His kingdom of priests and no other nation can claim that. The diatheke/covenant was given by God, a covenant of grace to which we can contribute nothing. Even when men swear the oath adding an element of conditionality it is still established and defined by God. No nation whether it be Edom, Egypt, Byzantium, Austria, Britain or America has the right to 'enter in' as a nation to the Holy Status. Israel was Holy, a theocracy in the true sense… not the way we use it today meaning a clergy run state. No, it was an actual theocracy, its charter from heaven, its battles Holy, its kings chosen, it indictments brought by Divine agents, viz. the prophets, thus ideological ruled by God through his agents.
The Holy Roman Empire, Britannia, nor America can ever 'claim' this status. What about the common Theonomic argument that the Mosaic Law was for the nations? How so? When the nations are indicted whether it be in Isaiah, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets…what's the charge? Sin to be sure, but under what category? Natural Law. That's all they had. They were not holy nations so they are not accountable for Sabbath-breaking or taking the Lord's name in vain. They are judged for idolatry, the chief and greatest of sins, and for things like injustice, murder, theft, and so forth. They had no part in the Law of God. They could convert, but that would mean ceasing to be an Edomite or whatever. It meant becoming a Jew. Today it means becoming a Christian. To call a nation Christian is theologically erroneous. Sometimes it is meant in the sense that the bulk of the population is Christian, but that still doesn't allow for its government and status to be reckoned Holy. More often than not it means more than that, tending toward a Holy/exclusive status.
Next to heretical Christologies, Sacralism is the greatest heresy in the church. More to come….

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Great point about Sabbatarian inconsistancy. Highly relevant post in general.