David Cameron has suggested Britain needs to return to its Christian foundations. What do we do with a statement like this? I know most Christians will applaud it. Certainly Britain is in a state of moral degradation and collapse, but is a return to a Constantinian society the answer?
Romans 8.5-8 says:
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
The Bible is explicit...In John 3 we read, one must be Born Again to see the Kingdom of God. I feel like I have to keep saying this over and over again. It's so basic but it seems virtually no one in modern Christian circles has grasped this.
One must be a Christian to walk with God, to understand His commands, to grasp the distinctive revelation-based moral imperatives given to us. Pagans and their nations whether they call them Christian or no, cannot please God.
Apart from Scripture, fallen man at best has Natural Law. This will vary from culture to culture and society to society. There are many historical and sociological factors which play into this. Hardship leads to frugality and often the conservatism that goes with it. Plenty leads to wantonness, gluttony and waste. Leisure leads to a more developed civilization but can also lead to free-thinking and challenges to the moral status quo. Every society goes through these cycles. Religion also plays a factor, and Christianity is not exempt. It can shape and be shaped, especially if it loses its distinctive identity, its antithesis.
But all societies tend toward consolidating power and this always leads to a reaction. Hegel wasn't some kind of genius in recognizing this historical phenomenon. Though I wouldn't universally employ his model, this pendulum swinging and constant movement of social forces is as old as history itself.
Since Christianity is by nature different than the host of man-made religions...its placement in the position of establishment affects it differently than any other system. To think otherwise (as many Dominionists continue to argue) is to fail to appreciate its uniqueness.
All societies are Sacral they argue, why would we seek to build a culture that's different? This is a failure to grasp the Spiritual Nature of the Kingdom of God and rather than elevating it by acquiring worldly power...instead their goals and agenda would REDUCE the Kingdom of God to being no different than any other Sacralist, cultural, political entity. The Church's fortunes as it were, are tied to territory and earthly powers, rather than to the Risen King with whom the Church shares a spiritual union.
Other religions are built on man-made systems and thus fluid. Christianity is not meant to be so. It rests on a static, finished and sure Word of revelation.
The reality that Christianity (historically speaking) has changed is not development as the average secular historian would note...but degradation and corruption.
The Church can grow in terms of doctrinal knowledge. The church of the 2nd century was wrestling with many issues for the first time. Today we have twenty centuries to look back and reflect on.
But that does not mean the Church was supposed to structurally change from its New Testament model. The Church wasn't supposed to develop into a Tradition-based, Episcopal Magisterium...nor do we have any indication it was supposed to conquer the Roman world and establish a new imperial civilization. These are not mere developments...these are deviations.
The Kingdom of God lives in and among the kingdoms of the world. It's a Holy Nation of exiles, pilgrims and martyrs who 'win' through suffering and persevering, believing when the world seeks to entice them away from the true faith, or crush them when they don't heed the call. Dominionists, especially Theonomic Postmillennialists, mock this explanation because they've misunderstood some of the most basic and fundamental concepts found in the Gospel as Fully Revealed in the New Testament. But it's also present in the Old, clearly enough that Christ could call down curses on the Pharisees and rebuke them for missing it.
All societies pretty much grasp the obvious rights and wrongs of murder, theft, lying, and respect for authority. As societies degrade and collapse, they lose even this. I would point to modern America as an example. The Christian sector observably and statistically is no different than the those who don't profess Christ. The antithesis the Church is supposed maintain has been lost. Generations of Sacralism have acculturated the Church to American culture, making them more or less indistinguishable. The Sacralist laments this and points to (liberal i.e. anti-establishment) surreptitious conspiracies, heresy and other factors. While the reasons for societal degradation are indeed complicated...the main culprit within the Church is the very doctrine they would promote as the cure.
Many cultures, under various Sacral structures have created stable and orderly societies. The ancient Persians, the Romans, various Chinese dynasties...I could go on ad infinitum. Are any of them perfect? Of course not. Utopia is a pipe dream, a fool's errand, yea even a sinful aspiration. Many Christians who ought to know better have chased after that idol as well. Only in the True Israel, Christ Himself will righteous peace be found...in Him we taste it, but we also know this world (as we presently know it)...will never know Righteous Peace and the Unity such a situation fosters. It must go through the fires of Judgment and be made anew.
Did Christ come to renew? Of course. But first he came to suffer and we the Church are to follow that path to victory where through the wisdom of God the weak overcome the strong, by dying...behold we live. Christ will renew, that's our hope. In Him we're already in that renewed world and we can show it to others, but to think that we the Church will undo the curse is not seeking to glorify our Lord Christ...but instead...seeking to supplant him. That's what Antichrist is, a usurpation, a counterfeit, sitting in the Temple of God proclaiming to possess Divine Authority. The most poignant historical example is the Papacy. The political and ecclesiastical structure proposed by Protestant Dominionism is slightly different, but the overall goals are virtually identical, the erection of a Pseudo-Zion ruled over by a Pseudo-Christ of their own imagination.