America today is witnessing a horde of invaders crossing our southern border. There is no doubt that among the reasons so many want to come to America is the promise of the blessings afforded her citizens. These blessings attract those whose lives are burdened with oppression, poverty and hopelessness. For over two hundred years, people around the globe have sought to avail themselves legally of these blessings of liberty. The problem with the present invasion is that it is unlawful and tears at the very fabric of American life and culture. It is ironic that there is a parallel between what is happening in America right now and what has been happening to the Lord’s church.
To become a legal citizen of the United States, you have to pass a simple test, speak and write basic English, not have a criminal record, etc. In short, you must meet certain requirements, follow certain basic laws. The same is true of becoming a legal citizen of the Kingdom of God, the church. To become a citizen of the kingdom of God, one must hear the word (Rom. 10:17), believe (Acts 8:37), repent (Luke 13:3,5), confess (Rom. 10:9,10), and be baptized (Acts 2:38). When one does these things, he is added by the Lord to His church, the kingdom (Acts 2:41,47; Matt. 16:16-19).
However, just as there are those who are allowing–and even inviting–illegals to come into this country, there are those who want to allow–and even invite–those who have not obeyed the law of the Lord regarding spiritual citizenship to come into the church. Many believe that those in the denominations, for instance, who have never followed God’s law are fellow-citizens of the kingdom of God. They fellowship them as if there was no difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. By recognizing those in the denominational world as Christians, they advocate a form of spiritual amnesty without obedience to law.
Unfortunately, those who want the blessings this country offers without following it’s laws are bringing about the demise of the very institutions which made this country great. Likewise, those who advocate fellowshipping those in the denominations are disregarding the very things which make the Lord’s church distinctive and thereby destroy it’s power to save the lost. The church exists because it is made up of individuals who have been separated by God from the world (II Cor. 6:14-18; Acts 2:47). But when that line of demarcation between the world and the church is erased, then there remains no difference between them and the church is just as lost as the world.
When members of the Lord’s church adopt the innovations and terminology which characterizes the denominational world, they become the denominational world. We want all men to be saved, just as we wish all nations were blessed as America is blessed. But if America is destroyed through invasion and destruction of its western culture, then it can no longer be the unique and exceptional blessing to the world it once was (and hopefully is still). Likewise, if the Lord’s church disregards the will of God and assimilates an unscriptural, spiritually foreign culture, it can no longer offer a refuge from the burden of sin and spiritual poverty under which this present world labors. When individual Christians and congregations adopt the practices of the denominations, when they adopt their terminology, when they substitute the commission of Jesus with a worldly, social agenda, then they, too, cease to be the unique and exceptional blessing God created them to be as the church and become just one more lost denomination.
America may or may not survive this current onslaught against it. There are many in high places who are working feverishly hard to fundamentally transform America. Whether or not it survives this present crises will depend on whether or not America keeps the Lord as its God (Psalm 33:12; 127:1-5). But the truth regarding the Kingdom of Christ is, no matter what men may do to the Lord’s church, no matter how much they disregard the Lord’s will, the church will survive. It is not dependent upon the grace of man for it’s existence, but the will of God. The gates of Hell, Jesus said, will not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18,19)! You can’t cross heaven’s borders by breaking its laws.
Eric L. Padgett