Dear American Christian, Jesus Christ Is Not Lord Elect

“What is good?–All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad?–All that proceeds from weakness.”

“Here we must beware of superficiality and get to the bottom of the matter, resisting all sentimental weakness: life is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of what is alien and weaker; suppression, hardness, imposition of one’s own forms, incorporation and at least, at its mildest, exploitation…life simply is will to power.”

“He that humbles himself wishes to be exalted.”

“God is dead…And we have killed him.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“If you win, you need not have to explain…If you lose, you should not be there to explain!”

“It is not truth that matters, but victory.”

“By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”

“What luck for rulers that men do not think.”

~ Adolph Hitler

“It will change. We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning. Believe me.”

“My whole life is about winning. I don’t lose often. I almost never lose.”

“The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts.”

~ Donald Trump

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

~ Donald Trump (quoting the Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 3)

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”

~ The Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 4

“Therefore [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

~ The Apostle Paul quoting the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Co. 12)

“Every knee will bow, in heaven on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

~ The Apostle Paul quoting every tongue in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Phil. 2)

“The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

~ Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Dear Mr. Donald J. Trump, please take the Name of Jesus Christ out of your mouth. The Lord of the universe and his Church need no defense from you, from Hillary Clinton, or from any other representative whose election depends on nothing more than empty persuasions toward an agreeable attitude. To suggest that “Christianity” is in need of “protection” is to deny the power by which it subsists. The only kind of power that Christianity needs, indeed the only kind it in fact has, is the power to not need power, because it is the power that need not fear death. It is resurrection power, which comes by way of a cross, which happens not to be the same thing as a sword, either instrumentally or grammatically or rhetorically. There is a stubborn syntax that comes with being crucified that just refuses to allow the meaning of a cross to be smeared into its opposite, even by the most eloquent (or loudest) of wordsmiths. Those who win by the sword, lose by the cross. Or, to put it in more familiar terms, if one’s “whole life is about winning,” he may gain the whole world but will surely lose his whole soul. 

Of course a sword feels much better in the hand than a cross, so we shouldn’t be surprised that the Church has a long history of attempting to reconcile the two in an unholy matrimony. But to reconcile the two is simply to eliminate the One. Constantine, the first “evangelical” emperor, a man with either a sophisticated taste for irony or an ironic distaste for logic, may have imagined a certain compatibility when he sent his soldiers to fight their enemies with the symbol of a cross on their shields and the metal of a sword in their hands. But it was never compatible enough to be convertible. He never thought to convert the sword with the symbol and send his soldiers to take up their cross, to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecuted them. It appears he never thought much about conversion at all, at least not in the wooden sense of the term. 

Nations must indeed protect themselves in order to survive, but the Church of Jesus Christ must not-protect itself in order to survive, lest it survive by becoming other than itself, lest it take up its cross as a shield of self-defense. This is why martyrdom is never a threat to the Church and is indeed the seed of the Church (Tertullian). It is also why the Gospel in its plain form is so offensive. The moment it is domesticated to fit within some larger controlling narrative that enables its devotees to come out on top, it quickly leads either to a world without its King or a king without his Cross, democracy or tyranny, but never to the Gospel. The Gospel is about the risen King of this world who exercised all his power to die for the world in sacrificial love. It thus abides as an invitation not out of the world but precisely to live in this world for the sake of the world as witnesses to the love of its King.

Christians in America need to make a distinction between the two kinds of representation they are engaged in as citizens on earth and citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), and we must be chiefly concerned about the growingly severe problem of misrepresentation. Like everyone else in our Republic, we can vote according to our conscience, or more likely according to someone else’s conscience, or more likely according to some group consciousness that consists of a few common fears and nearsighted hopes; but we must realize that what we are doing is an act of our American citizenship, not our heavenly citizenship (Phil. 3:20). We must realize to call Jesus “lord”–originally a political designation, not a divine name–is to call this world his kingdom and to call ourselves his subjects. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the idea of a kingdom and the idea of democracy are exactly opposite ideas. Representation in the kingdom of God is not the representation of the people through their leader; it is the representation of the King through His people. 

We are ambassadors for Christ, not his council (2 Cor. 5:20).

I have bitten my tongue a lot through this extended campaign season, but this kind of rhetoric amounts to the highest form of treason against the Name of the Living God. Vanity of vanities: Jesus Christ is not lord elect. The Kingdom of God is not the flag of the Church for which it stands, because it is not a republic–of the people, by the people, and for the people. The kingdom of God is a kingdom–of God, by God, and for God–precisely because it is a ‘kingdom’ and it is ‘of God’, for the God who happens to be for us. And “us” includes every conceivable “them” on the other side of every arbitrarily conceived wall, because the Incarnation of Christ means that every line has been crossed in order “break down the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph. 2:14) by establishing a kingdom built on the foundation of a cross, from which the King opens the door first for his enemies: “Father, forgive them…” (Lk. 23:34). Indeed, “while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son” (Rom. 5:10), so that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18-19), which is quite unlike the ministry of defense.

There are times when the we must make a choice between the greater of the goods, and there are times we must make a choice between the lesser of the evils. But there is never a time we must choose between human power and the power of the living God. For the cross-bearing Church of Jesus Christ, those two powers flow in geometrically and diametrically opposite directions. There is a way up and there is a way down, and never the twain shall meet. Those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. 

If as a Christian there is any doubt in your mind whether the gates of hell will prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ–and I mean this with absolute sincerity and say it in reverence and out of love–it would be best for you to walk away from the Church until you see it for what it truly is. For Christ’s sake, whatever you do, please do not try to defend it by seeking power alliances. For if it is not founded upon, sustained by, and advancing through the living God himself, then it is nothing but a farce and Christians are “most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19). The last thing this world needs is fearful “Christians” playing around as though the Living God were not Sovereign, as though he were dead just because we killed him (Acts 3:15), as though fear were not the exact opposite direction of faith. The world will never see Christ in us until we demonstrate the courage to lose, until we exercise the power to stop seeking power, until the cross begins looking more like an open invitation than a decorated shield.

Put down your sword (Mt. 26:25). Take up your cross (Mt. 16:24).

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

~ Matthew 5:10


For more on church and state in relation to marriage, click here.

For more on the description and rationale of the “human-sized” kingdom of God, click here.

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One thought on “Dear American Christian, Jesus Christ Is Not Lord Elect

  1. Pingback: Advent Reflection 20: Headlines | Dim Reflections For Now

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