“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’” (Exodus 32:1).

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The only theocracy I care to live under is the one Jesus establishes in the age to come, and until that glorious moment, our constitutional republic suits me just fine. I can do without revisiting the religious persecutions of the past; no more Inquisitions, thank you. In fact, I keep saying that the day the church gained political authority was a dark day for the faith. With great power came great responsibility, and with that power also came great temptation. Too often, we were overcome by evil; we failed to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21); we fell short. Therefore, while we await Jesus’ return, I’ll do my part spreading the Good News, and trust God to do his part changing hearts.

William Willimon recognized, “So we’re busy downsizing, becoming culturally relevant, reaching out, drawing in, making disciples, managing the machinery, utilizing biblical principles, celebrating recovery, user-friendly, techno savvy, finding the purposeful life, practicing peace with justice, utilizing spiritual disciplines, growing in self-esteem, reinventing ourselves as effective ecclesiastical entrepreneurs, and, in general, feeling ever so much better about our achievements. Notice anything missing in this pretty picture? Jesus Christ!”

I may not approve; I may confront and even rebuke (it just takes a little yeast… you know), but above all else, I must act in love and grace. Jesus bridged this seemingly paradoxical chasm in how he engaged people; his character is on full display throughout the gospels. Jesus made known what he was for, and what he was against. So why would any of us choose to know only part of our Lord? The answer is quite simple. Like the pantheon of Greco-Roman gods or the golden calf of Exodus, we seek a god crafted in our own image; we prefer an idol created out of collective norms and sensibilities (whatever your ideological or theological bent may be). “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’” (Exodus 32:1). Nothing has changed; “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Over a half-century ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse speculated, in a sermon, what a city, under Satan’s control, would look like: “All the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy and polite pedestrians who always smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. All the children would say “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches…. Well they would be full every Sunday…and Christ would not be preached.”

If you haven’t already done so, please prayerfully read my last post At the Heart of the Matter. In the post, I shared two related visions, which I received two years apart. The visions came with a warning of judgement as well as a sign of hope in God’s mercy and faithfulness. Nothing in any of my visions is new; the Bible is already written, and God has always spoken through, and according to, his Word. I hope someone is listening.

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