CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Coming Soon to You: The State PC Church

Jun 19, 2009

I have written extensively as of late about how religious freedom in the West is slowly but surely coming under attack. State-sponsored anti-Christian bigotry is on the increase throughout the Western world. Various forces have been warring against the free expression of faith. These include radical minority groups, secularist groups, the forces of political correctness, and meddling governments.

The reasons provided to justify this crackdown on religious freedom and expression often sound good: the need to prevent discrimination, vilification and the like. But the effect of various equal opportunity laws and religious vilification bills is to effectively silence the church.

And it is a lot sneakier way of doing things. If the state announced that all churches would be closed and all Bibles confiscated, there would be – hopefully – a huge public outcry. But these indirect and sneaky methods are really achieving the same thing. Religious freedom is being taken away, and soon the only churches will be those which have the government tick of approval.

This incremental, piece-by-piece approach seems to be working quite well. Most religious folk have no idea that the public expression of their faith is slowly being strangled. They do not seem to know or perhaps care that each day the state is intruding more and more in religious affairs.

The coming state-approved PC church is not just the stuff of conspiracy theorists. This site has documented numerous cases of this very thing. We are well on the way to the sort of brave new world scenarios often depicted in works of fiction and film.

Indeed, it reminds me of a 2002 film I saw recently, Equilibrium. In a futuristic police state, people are banned from all things which might trigger emotional responses: books, music, art. They are even forced to take drugs which suppress emotions. This is done for a very good-sounding reason; to maintain peace and stamp out war.

But of course the price for such coerced peace is too high – the loss of freedoms, and the deadening of humanity. So a group of rebels arise to fight the system. The film is well worth renting and watching.

It seems we may not be so far off today in the West. We live in an age in which the state knows that bread and circuses will do the trick. Keep the masses fed, and keep them entertained and amused. As long as that is done, most people won’t mind the steady erosion of other freedoms and the very things which make us human.

Thus even those who should know better – biblical Christians – are sleeping through this slow and steady rise of state-approved religion. Fortunately I am not alone in these concerns. Chuck Colson in the US is also greatly concerned about these trends. His most recent article also warns about the suppression of religious freedom.

He begins with these words: “In China, Christians have a choice: Join a government-approved church – which is constantly monitored by the authorities – or join an underground church. Thank heavens things like that don’t happen in the West, you may be thinking. Think again. In Britain, the government has begun sticking its nose in church business, telling churches what to do.

“According to the Daily Telegraph, starting next year, the British government is going to begin forcing churches and other religious institutions to hire open, practicing homosexuals. It will happen under the provisions of the so-called Equity Bill, which forbids discrimination against homosexuals or transsexuals. The law would ‘cover almost all church employees,’ according to Deputy Equities Minster Maria Eagle. ‘The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between,’ Eagle said. Church groups, she said, ‘cannot claim that everything they run is outside the scope of anti-discrimination law’.”

I have written up this case as well: billmuehlenberg.com/2009/05/21/is-this-the-end-of-christianity-in-england/

But Colson reminds us just where all this is heading: “What’s next – regulating the content of sermons? I’m not kidding. According to Eagle, ‘Members of faith groups have a role in making the argument in their own communities for greater’ acceptance of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Maybe it would simplify things if the government simply wrote the sermons for the pastors.”

He continues, “The Equity Law could lead to some interesting situations. What happens if a church, under pressure, hires a gay youth minister—and orders him to teach kids about the sinfulness of homosexual behavior? And I can only imagine the reaction of a British mosque when the religion police orders it to hire a lesbian secretary.”

What we have here is a case of governments “beginning to run the churches. And if they succeed, it will be the end of religious freedom in Britain. Legislation like the Equity Law should concern Americans. So-called ‘social reforms’ that begin in Europe soon wash up on our own shores. And then, what will happen to the Church? Will we put our congregations under the authority of Caesar? Or will we resist and, if need be, abandon our elegant buildings and, like our faithful brethren in China, form underground churches?”

Colson concludes, “The Bible teaches that the followers of Christ will be tested. We ought to be in prayer for the church in Great Britain, asking God to guide it as the government bears down. Second, we ought to be preparing for similar laws here. Many churches are already under great pressure by homosexual activists to violate their own teachings under the guise of ‘fairness’ – a much abused word. This, by the way, is not a hysterical rant. The threat is very real. Third, we ought to remind our neighbors that the First Amendment was written not just to protect the government from churches, but more so to protect churches from the government.”

Things in Australia fare no better. We are well down this path of state-approved PC churches. And if this does come to full fruition, in many ways we will only have ourselves to blame. There have been plenty of warnings about all this. The question is, do we take our faith seriously enough to stand up and do something about this. Or will we simply sheeplike take our emotion-blocking drugs as in Equilibrium, and in docile fashion accept what the government tells us to do.

The choice is really up to us.

www.breakpoint.org/listingarticle.asp?ID=11915

[1055 words]

26 Responses to Coming Soon to You: The State PC Church

  • In words drawn from another utopian book “Brave New World”: ‘soma, soma, soma!’.
    John Angelico

  • I earned my Masters in Theology from a mainline seminary and I’ve written extensively about leftist infiltration into our churches. Most of what Colson writes about has already been accomplished in the mainline denominations without the need for new laws – accomplished by political correctness married to that euphemism for Marxist thought – “Social Justice.”
    Barbara Sowell, USA

  • I have been doing a lot of reading and listening lately about earlier Soviet and homosexual movement attempts to inifitrate the Western Christian system. Along with misinformation and shock tactics (demoralisation) one thing they self-consciously grabbed hold of was the redefining of language and through it thought. “Newspeak” as George Orwell called it. As Christians this is but one area that we must be intentional about and not allow the ground to be lost particularly amongst those who profess Christ. We must not call good evil and evil good. What is happening to language now is an outrage.
    Phil Twiss

  • The proponents of ‘social justice’ over the past 40 years are actually at odds with the real social justice that was to be had via social doctrine both before and after Vatican II.

    The ball has been dropped , or is that hijacked?
    Hijacked I’d say.

    The traditional social doctrine of the Church I belong to, the Catholic one, taught, just like Bob Santamaria did, and both Menzies Liberals, the Country Party and also the ALP all agreed on government ownership of utilities like water, electricty, having a Commonwealth Bank in public hands, airports in public hands and not in the hands of merchant banks or fund managers.
    But the Left and Marxoid ‘social justice’ folk do not focus on these basics but rather have an agenda for govt control of everything we believe in (or according to them ‘shouldn’t believe in).

    We need old style Christian social justice that are based on what Santamaria and similar people believe in.
    Michael Webb

  • “Or will we resist and, if need be, abandon our elegant buildings and, like our faithful brethren in China, form underground churches?”

    Bill, I’m not asleep, I can see it coming. I think this would benefit the cause of Jesus Christ. But I don’t go so far as to say I welcome the coming persecution.

    When churchgoers get put under pressure, the unbelievers will drop back and believers will be shown for who they are. Finally the church will act in obedience and forget fancy buildings and huge gatherings and instead focus on witness, discipleship and worship. The more pressure govts put on the real church, the more serious the real church gets.

    I think the question is who is in control and do we really trust Him. Look at what Job went through in that very short period of time. He still trusted the one he knew to be in control even though he did not understand the how and why.
    Max Stam

  • With God’s help; we could have street rallies & march in the streets – with banners – objecting to our freedom of religion being taken away from us. To show the country we will make a stand for our religious beliefs & freedoms. Christians are ‘meek’ ;but not ‘weak’! We can fight against ‘evil’; like in WW1 & WW2: & thanks be to God [of our Lord Jesus Christ] – the ‘good’ side won! Amen!
    Denise Adams

  • Do we deserve what we are getting and going to get? Yes. I was brought up in the church in the UK during the charismatic renewal. It was exciting and motivating. There was an anticipation that God would heal, deliver and set free people supernaturally and what you believed for you got. We practiced the priesthood of all believers, not just a credentialed few.

    My wife sobbed when we came to Australia and experienced the church. It was one big entertainment show meant to give a few people a job and keep the sheep happy. Totally blasphemous. I have never heard a sermon on taking up your cross and following Jesus in all my 28 years here.

    I did a two year study of the New Testament church and made it into a website for all to see. By comparison, the church in Australia does not exist. Oh, we have religious bless me clubs but nothing like the NT version.

    We are in the days of Noah again and God will flood the earth with secular humanism to drown us out. The remnant will be saved and there will be a true church that will be glorious and triumphant. I have a feeling that 80% of the ministers won’t be part of it.

    Roger Marks

  • One of the reasons I continue as Queensland State Officer of FamilyVoice Australia is to equip the Church with the knowledge to do what we should have been doing all the time – letting governments hear the will of God for our nation! We have ridden thus far on the assumption that because we are known as a ‘Christian nation’ our leaders would always legislate that way. Those times are past!

    As Max writes, we don’t welcome persecution, but the true Church will continue. Not only that, but as atheism continues to let people down, their cry for reality will lead people to the living fount of life. Are we ready to minister to these lost ones? Then let us start now! Lord, start with me!

    Geoffrey Bullock

  • Those who support, for whatever reason, legislation defining “rights” seem reluctant to consider how significantly anything ‘defined’ is subsequently & correspondingly limited, even to the point of obliteration or negation.
    Well done, Bill
    Arthur Hartwig

  • Wow! Roger!
    You ought to have been in my church this morning! You would have heard a sermon on the subject you’ve not heard in 28 years!
    Bill, keep up the great work. Praying for you.
    Robert Colman

  • Roger,

    I am disappointed in your assessment. Not because it might be true but because I know it’s not. I am at a loss to know how someone reading such an intelligent blog should make such a silly statement.

    To state the bleeding obvious… you need to get around.

    If you’re so sure you have the right formula, and if you haven’t found it here, what has stopped you starting your own?

    Put up or shut up, I’m thinking.

    Alister Cameron

  • Clearly the following Bible verses fall way outside the states permitted category of temperate expression of religious belief. Proverbs 6:16: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” ….and many hundreds of verses like it.

    The whole palette of emotions – love, hate, anger, peace, fear, joy, desolation – that are displayed in human nature are all necessary for our survival, like the notes on a piano, all are equally essential. For a government to eliminate feelings of antipathy or hatred in order to produce a dehumanised society that runs like a well-oiled – piece of machinery, sounds ominously like the film “Clock work Orange,” where the behaviour of citizens can be controlled by drugs or brain surgery. This is surely pure evolutionary humanism. The state has supremely and arrogantly taken control of our conscience.

    To misquote Anselm “The state is that than which no greater can be conceived“. But referring to Peter Twiss comment regarding the Marxists redefining our language through newspeak, that is precisely what has happened. Our words do not come out a vacuum but make sense only in the culture and world view from which they come. Our words come from a time when we believed that if one thing was true then its opposite was untrue. I think that what will happen is that as Marxism gains in power, words like ‘tolerance‘, ‘diversity’ and ‘equality‘, having been appropriated with eventually be discarded altogether. ‘Diversity,’ a word stolen from classic logic, meaning differences, now means that all ‘truths’ are whatever you wish to make them. There is no longer a true north. All points of the compass are equally true. There is no norm or standard against which to measure anything.

    The LGBTs have used Greek terminology, like ‘homosexual,’ ‘heterosexual’ heterophile, homophile, homophobe and heterophobe as a way of abusing classic logic, so as to destroy antitheses – of difference and complementarity. In the same way, they have commandeered ’heterosexual’ marriage in order to change it and thus to destroy it also. The Greek for ‘husband’ is ‘aner’ and its antithesis, ‘wife,’ is ‘gyne. ’ By making these one and the same, replacing them with the word ’partner,’ the distinct difference between the genders and their the functions or roles are destroyed, but also antithesis itself. Gene Robinson, the homosexual Bishop who became a June Bride last year by marrying his male partner, is the incarnation of Hegelianism.

    Not only does this lead to the obliteration of ‘man and woman‘, ‘husband and wife’ but ‘mother and father’ also. We have cases now of children having four ‘mothers’ and no fathers, or two ‘fathers’ and no mothers, or people totally unrelated to a child being put on its birth certificate. They are quite happy for us to continue to use the old language, the old currency, whilst they themselves destroy it and render it meaningless.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Wow, what I don’t get is how everyone shouts “Seperate church and state, seperate church and state!” during election time (as we had earlier this year in South Africa) when people vote for biblical principles and standards in government but no-one says anything when state involve themselves in church business. Seems like double standards to me?

    Servaas Hofmeyr, South Africa

  • Servaas Hofmeyr, in Britain last year they got rid of the Blasphemy laws. Sir Ian McKellen gave a public reading of James Kirkups poem, ‘The love that dares to speak its name,’ by way of celebrating the event. But as you rightly suggest, we have merely replaced one blasphemy law for another: to say that homosexuality is the royal road to death and eternally so.

    David Skinner, UK

  • I think Roger Marks’ comment is more right than it is wrong. There are some generalisations but it is certainly true to say that entertainment is a big feature in many churches especially the bigger ones.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • The two biggest religions of the world are Christians (2.255 billion Britannica mid-2008) and Muslims (1.434 billion). Will the Eqity Law in UK apply equally to both?
    Peter Rice

  • For quite some time, the tactics used by the enemies of Christianity have become so obvious that even Frederick the sightless one should have seen through them.
    Many politicians should be included in our list of our enemies. These types have next to no talent in running the economy efficiently, but are overloaded with rat cunning, in being able to fool a bit more than half the population in voting for them.
    Once in power, either as a government or a supporter on the sidelines, they offer advice and “solutions” for the community for imaginery problems, dressed up as honourable benefits. However, what they propose has the exact opposite effect. Religious vilification laws is a shining example.
    Helped by the media,either through overt support or the equally evil “silence” they manage to bully much of the community into believing that what they propose is holy writ.
    They use language, which is the opposite to what they mean. They talk about being pro-choice, when in fact they are pro-abortion, with no choice to anyone who comes within cooee of an abortionist. They attempt to make everone feel guilty with their current grand hoax of “Climate Change” nee “Global Warming”, which is a form of undisguised pantheism.
    Where is this talent for evil, which is growing like a cancer in our society, coming from? It’s coming from their rat cunning adviser Satan.
    The possible solution -we have to stand up to politicians who attempt to implement evil and show support for those who support our standards, but first of all, prayer is needed- lots of it.
    Frank Beiiet, Petrie Qld

  • The Mainline Churches tend to be controlled by the ‘Spirit of This Age’; consequently, they are on side with the ‘Politically Correct’. This is not new, e.g., Nazi Germany – see “The Third Reich in Power” by Richard J. Evans, 2005.
    Stan Fishley

  • Robert, I have always held you in high esteem so it does not surpise me you were prepared to tackle the subject. Perhaps you should take the message onto the road around the churches and save them from their “come and be blessed, we will make you happy” syndrome.

    Alister, I am disappointed that you make uninformed remarks without producing any evidence for your accusations. Oh, in case you are wondering, I do forgive you for your crass attack on me.

    For your information I have been around…the world, and my involvement with the church has been with the house church movement, mega churches, small country churches, various denominations and as leader of para church ministries. In addition I have a theological degree and three university degrees. In England, God used me with a handful of others to bring revival to the church we were in, and I was a member of another church that was in revival for 30 years. What else do you want me to do to show that I have been around?

    The only thing that has stopped me starting my own is God’s approval to do so. I have that now so I have made myself available to him to start a new expression of church based on the New Testament. It will be “his” church, not mine and the Holy Spirit will be in charge, not me.

    It could not happen before now because I had to go through a lot of sifting of my motives and to ensure that God is the only one who is going to get the glory and to make sure I was dead in Christ to ensure that I was not offering God my ability but my availability.

    Roger Marks

  • “to start a new expression of church based on the New Testament”

    Roger, is this new church to be Calvinist or Arminian? Baptist or paedobaptist? Independent or Presbyterian? Pre-, post-, or Amillennial? Will it have a pastor, or elders only? Or perhaps a pastor plus deacons? What moral stance will it take on e.g. divorce, pre-marital sex, alcohol consumption, theatre-going, modern Bible versions, and a host of other matters? IOW, many new ventures have claimed to be “the New Testament pattern”, but have usually fallen into one historic groove or another, despite the best of intentions. Everyone and his proverbial dog claim to follow “just the Bible”, even (most especially) the cults, but evaluation of such claims is just a little more difficult.
    After 20 centuries of Christian history, the only honest thing to do is admit that in starting a new church, you openly state that in following Scripture, you also adopt a certain set of historic distinctives, as set out in a doctrinal statement or confession of faith, the function of which is to state how your group understands Scripture, and what they see Scripture as teaching on the above issues, and a host of others.
    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Why is it that at the end of this, brothers and sisters in Christ are attacking and defending against each other? Why is there this under-current of blame circulating through these messages?

    Mark 3:24 ~ If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

    Romans 15:1 ~ We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.

    The true NT church is obedience to Christ. Even between us, God is the final judge at the end.

    Emily Chen

  • Emily,
    I am not attacking my brother Roger. I only ask him to face the fact of 20 centuries of Christian history, and that because of that we do not live in a theological vacuum. If you see an “undercurrent of blame” here, I can only express my bewilderment. No such “blame” is either intended or overtly expressed.
    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Thanks guys

    I do not mind this particular thread continuing as long as it stays polite and respectful. Important issues arise here. It seems three things can be said with a fair amount of certainty:

    One, there are certainly plenty of churches who are letting down the gospel, seemingly more interested in entertainment, celebrity leadership, numbers and being popular than preaching the firm word about discipleship, counting the cost, denying self, and so on.

    Two, there are also plenty of really good pastors and churches out there working their tails off, seeking to faithfully represent Christ aright. Many of them of course never are in the spotlight, do not get much attention, but they are doing great things for the Kingdom.

    Three, God will build his church. The amazing thing is, despite all the shortcomings and screw-ups by us, he is preparing a spotless bride for himself. This is an absolutely incredible concept to think about.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Some good thoughts there Bill.
    Just like to add though that the Spotless Bride is both here already, the Church. Obviously we need to actualise through being aware of Christ’s call and living out what Christ has given to us first as a free gift.

    Firm preaching that’s true however, the other part of worship is the Eucharist: where the focus is on Christ and not on the Minister.
    When church services become noisy and the focus is on the ‘preacher man’ and the homily/sermon is about himself or on topics not related to that day’s Scripture readings, then that is where we get ‘gurus’- and that is how we in the congregation miss out on Christ and why I think people leave for other parishes; or more tragically, if weak in the Faith, leave for good.
    Michael Webb

  • I have spent my Christian life caught in the cross-fire and tensions between Pente’s and Mainlines, between pedo- and “normal” Baptists, between glosso-maniacs and glosso-phobiacs, between Calvinists and Arminians, etc. I have also done my years for formal Bible training and at the end of it all, I can see no other mature and godly posture than humility.

    I hear it echoed in Murray’s reply to Roger but completely absent in both Roger’s comments. What I hear in Roger’s comments is, “I have all the answers.” Further, I heard a distinct voice of accusation towards Australian church leaders that none of them had done good enough.

    To quote: “…by comparison the Australian church does not exist.”

    Well, thank you VERY much, on behalf of all the sincere and hard working church leaders that I know and deeply respect.

    Alister Cameron, Melbourne

  • So much for “separation of Church and State”!!
    Louise Le Mottee

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