28 August 2016

Jeroboam's Altar and Christo-Americanism

Like Babylon and Assyria of old, America can indeed be called the 'servant' of God and His Providence. In the New Testament the state is in the same spirit called His 'minister'. The ideas if not the words are the same.

This does not mean America is a covenanted nation. It has no right as it were to establish an altar, to proclaim the oracles of God, to claim covenantal prerogatives or blessings. That said, neither is it specifically subject to covenant curse... in the same way that the Church is.
In the New Testament, 'Christian' refers to those in covenant with God, those adopted by Him... His sons and daughters. It refers to those regenerated, declared righteous, in Union with Christ.
To use this terminology with regard to any nation but Covenant Israel, which in the New Covenant is comprised of all who are united to Christ by faith (Eph 2, Gal 3)... is to propose a new definition of 'Christian'.
What is this but another gospel?  
The fact that this teaching is ancient, its roots set in the 4th century in no way vindicates the theology.
The fact that men (modern Evangelicals, not the American Founders) have claimed this covenant status for their nation-project does not change this. It simply means these men are in sin and have misread and misunderstood some of the major concepts and themes found in Scripture.
There is a Biblical precedent. The modern Evangelical advocates of 'Christian' America have a spiritual ancestor, the Israelite king, Jeroboam I.
Jeroboam's kingship was born of prophetic promise, something more than America, Britain or any other nation might claim.
That said, he was not promised the Divine Presence or to be the bearer of the Holy Seed. The Temple, the throne of God was established in Jerusalem in Rehoboam's kingdom of Judah and it was in the line of David that the Holy Seed was to be found.
Jeroboam couldn't stand the idea that the devotion of his people would be directed elsewhere and that it wouldn't be woven into the fabric of his state vision. Jeroboam was a Sacralist, one who wished to sanctify his kingdom... though he had no claim to do so.  
Jeroboam I decided to build his own altars in Dan and Bethel. Jehovah was worshipped but falsely because these altars declared God's presence and covenant, something God had never made with the Ten separated Tribes of the north. His holy altar was in Jerusalem.
Was it in His plan for them to secede? Clearly, but what Jeroboam did was utterly wrong and the faithful did not worship at the altars of Dan and Bethel. They traveled the extra distance to Jerusalem in order to stay faithful to the covenant.
Jeroboam was guilty of syncretism, taking the quasi-pagan practices of the High Places and mixing that worship with that of the True God. He had no right to make such innovations.
Declaring the Holy Presence he created a hybrid religion, one very similar to Judaism but a counterfeit, a fraud and a manifestation of apostasy.
He created his own priests. He had no right to do so and his priests were not those chosen by God. It's clear the Northern Kingdom had its own prophets, its own oracle. They had broken covenant and turned to another authority.
Yes, his people were circumcised, they were Jews in covenant with God, but his nation Samaria/Israel was not. They were in a strange arrangement, neither wholly divorced from Jehovah's covenant and worship and yet not fully part of it either.
Many years later Elisha expressed this when speaking to Jehoram of Israel in 2 Kings 3.14-15. Jehoram was not a Baal worshipper like his parents but the fact that he worshipped Jehovah at Dan and Bethel was enough for Elisha to hold him in contempt and disregard his kingship, authority and right to hear the Oracle. The Word as it were, was removed from him.
Christo-Americanism has followed this same path.
It has blended pagan customs, traditions, innovations and lies with the true Biblically based worship given by God.
Hymns are sung to the new holy land. Its symbols and banners are placed in the holy assembly. The buildings utilise the sacral architecture of old with their towers and steeples proclaiming the sacral presence on the land.
Like Jeroboam they use old forms and nomenclature but they change the meaning to fit their purposes. They use Scripture but blend it with the socio-political philosophies that birthed America.
The priesthood represented worship, the approach to God. Christo-Americanism has effectively introduced its own priesthood and altar, a parallel structure of 'sacrifices of praise'... on its own terms.
Christo-Americanism like Jeroboam's cult introduces its own oracle and combines it with the true Covenant Word. Jeroboam declares to the people how they ought to worship, what is easy, what is hard, a new ethic and he has prophets to back him up.
Christo-Americanism blends the worship of God found in His Word, with the doctrines and commandments of men. Figures from the American pantheon, presidents, generals, and other men of ideals are treated as equal to Scripture, the founding documents are treated in many cases as inspired canon.
It is a hybrid religion, syncretism, apostasy.
Elisha and the other prophets committed to the True Altar, and the rightful (God ordained) Kingdom rule have no regard for the rulers and prophets of the Jeroboam cult and the Northern Kingdom.
The Northern Prophets proclaim against it and denounce its rites and are hated and persecuted as a result. They live in a remnant community.
This 'disregard' does not find its equivalent in a Christian dismissal and disregard for the state. Not at all. This paradigm is no friend to the false ideology of Libertarianism. The faithful recognize that God ordains the powers that be, Rome, Babylon, Byzantium, American or Britain. We are to obey the laws and pay our taxes.
The disregard and condemnation falls on the false prophets, priests, and altars of the quasi-Biblical cult.
And so we should (yea must) respond to the false prophets of Christo-Americanism, the leaders of Evangelicalism, the 'respected' teachers, 'ministry' leaders and spokesmen for denominations.
In leading God's people astray, these false prophets have forfeited their authority. The authority they claim by appealing to Scripture is reckoned invalid. 
Have they no standing at all? It must be noted they are different than the heathen. We don't merely view them in the same way we view unbelievers. They are Covenant Apostates and are thus in a different category.

Continue reading Part 2