CHAPTER 7

     RELIGIOUS ACTIVISM        

Another characteristic of a religious man is that he feels it necessary when confronted with a difficult situation to DO
something - ANYthing! This is religious activity as opposed to spiritual activity and often takes the form of religious
activism or Christian activism. Religious activism is doing something that is in the opinion of most moral people a
GOOD thing to do. Often, to the natural mind, this activity seems logical and appropriate. There IS a place for doing
good and moral things. There are people who are called by God to enter in to many of these activities. However, it is
important to note that this is not the ESSENTIAL call of the Church of Jesus Christ. Christians are called to preach the
Gospel and change the hearts of men from being hardened against God to being obedient to God. We are called to
make disciples and to teach them to obey all that He has commanded to do!

A good example of aberrant religious activity is I Samuel 13:8-10.

““Now he (Saul) waited seven days according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal;
and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And
he offered the burnt offering. And it came about as soon as he finished offering the burnt offering that behold, Samuel
came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said,
“because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that
the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at
Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.””

In this portion of Scripture we see the perfect example of a spirit of religious activism. Saul, motivated by fear of the
Philistines and fear that the people would leave him, FORCED HIMSELF to do something that, in light of the events,
seemed to be the best thing to do, but was in fact, totally disobedient to God. He was told to wait for Samuel to offer
the sacrifice. But because of his fears, his impatience and his need to see fulfilled immediately the religious act of
offering sacrifices, he disobeyed God. He presumptuously volunteered to act apart from God’s direction. Perhaps he
did it for religious luck much as a boxer will cross himself before each round of a fight. It really does not matter; Saul
did things mainly to please himself or others. He did things in his way and in his time. In Proverbs we are warned to
“lean not unto our own understanding”, but Saul never really understood this principle and God viewed his
volunteerism as flagrant, gross disobedience, for which He punished Saul in the most severe and final manner.

I Samuel 13:13-14 says, ““And Samuel said to Saul, “you have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of
the Lord your God which he commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel
forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and
the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT KEPT WHAT THE LORD
COMMANDED YOU..””

This passage of Scripture is of utmost importance for the people of our generation. Matthew 28:18-20, ““And Jesus
came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and
MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL THE NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE (obey) ALL THAT I COMMANDED YOU; and lo, I am with you always, even to the
end of the age.””

Even as Saul did not keep the commandment of the Lord, so the Saul Church has not kept the commandment of the
Lord. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 tells His Church to MAKE DISCIPLES and to teach them to observe ALL
THAT HE COMMANDS US TO DO! He does not tell the Church to teach men to accept Jesus as their personal
Savior. He says to us that if we want to come after Him we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow
Him. Many Saul Christians would refer to the command that we teach His disciples to obey all that He commands us to
do as legalistic. They would say we are “under grace and not under law.” Some Saul Christians would even suggest
that it is not important to initially come to Jesus as Lord, but merely “accept Him as your Savior”, and if you decide at a
later time, you can recognize Him as Lord. The Scripture; however, says that we are to believe in the LORD Jesus
Christ. Acts 14 makes it clear that all Christians are disciples. It says, “And it was at Antioch that the disciples were first
called Christians.”

When an anointed man or woman of God functions presumptuously in ministry it is disobedience. God has no room for
volunteers in His army who do things in their own time or their own way. In the Saul Church of our generation we see
religious volunteerism running rampant. We have taken upon ourselves duties that God does not call us to perform.
What is worse but also very consistent with a religious works-oriented spirit, is that many of these religious zealots
INSIST that others also do what they are doing. The more people that join with them, the more secure and justified
they feel. Most religious zealots feel very righteous in what they are doing and are critical of those who do not join
them. Many ministers of the Gospel have wrongly taken upon themselves the mantle of political and moral leadership.
Many shepherds in the flock of the Lord have become activists in the political and social arena. They have sensed,
correctly, that terrible wrongs and sins are being committed in our country. They have seen the abortion mills murder
millions of babies in recent years. They have seen Communism spread from Russia to China to Eastern Europe to
Cuba to Africa and to Central and South America. They are aware of the tremendous threat it poses to our own
country and our own moral and spiritual values. They have seen the in-roads that liberal and radical thinking has made
in education, the media, and in our judicial and political systems. Many have watched the Democrat Party become an
anti-Christian political party that has more love for Mao Tze Dung than Jesus Christ. They have seen the terrible influx
of pornography in magazines, movies and television. They have watched appalled as humanism has become the
prevailing religion that rules our courts and our schools. They have watched, with apparent helplessness, the greatest
country in the world, sink morally and spiritually, lower than anyone would have ever imagined. They have observed
Mohammedism and other Eastern Religions fill the spiritual void that we have left both in the United States and all over
the world. They have watched with fear as the Philistine presence of Organized Evil goes deeper and deeper into our
culture.

The Church’s solution has been a Saul solution. Do something! Do Anything! Get involved in the cultural and political
war! To fight abortion - demonstrate! Join forces with anyone else no matter their spiritual condition or viewpoint. True,
the anti-abortion activists do evangelize, but in most cases it is merely an after-thought to religiously validate their
hatred for the murder of unborn babies. Were this not the case, they would not platform men who have no relationship
with Jesus Christ whatsoever. They would not platform women who openly practice idolatry by worshipping Mary.
What they have really done is conveniently (and religiously) fit Jesus Christ into their anti-abortion political activism.
Their spirit is a Zealot spirit and they are so zealous that they have compromised their spiritual values in order to see
the slaughter stopped. II Cor. 6:14 says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have
righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

We have Christian Activists today who truly believe that the answer to the very real threat of Communism taking
control of our nation and the Muslim onslaught is to spend millions of dollars and millions of man-hours in the political
arena for the purpose of getting True Conservatives or even Moderates elected to Congress and the White House.
Some Christians become active in the Republican Party and we are all urged to vote. Strange as it is, we are NOT all
urged to be disciples and obey all His commandments! Christians now are a recognizable, organized political force in
America—the Religious Right. We Christians now have our Steering Committees, our men of political influence, our
candidates, and our own very special brand of political propaganda. Of course, in order to play the political game we
have had to make political compromises and join forces with men who act very contrary to the precepts of Christianity
and sometimes even contrary to the precepts of common decency. Often we are asked to join forces to overhaul the
political and cultural structure of our nation, but we are NOT asked to overhaul the people pleasing Saul Church in
America.

We have rightfully been concerned about pornography but we have wrongfully attempted to solve the problem by
involving ourselves with congressional committees, demonstrations, signing petitions, organiz-ing boycotts, and other
political-religious activities. We have missed the point that Jesus wants to purify the heart from the inside with the
Gospel. The essential job of the Church has never been to effect superficial changes by applying political pressure.
Jesus never let the people make Him the political leader of the Jews. He said it very clearly to Pilot, “My kingdom is
not of this world.” Our kingdom is not of this world. We need to focus on the task and privilege of seeing men and
women born into the kingdom of God and growing by grace in the teaching of the Word, the whole Word and nothing
but the Word. In the kingdom of God, there are the ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
There is no room for political operatives. Please understand, it is not wrong for Christians to be involved in the political
process, but it is wrong for the Church to shift the emphasis from the spiritual to the political.

All of the aforementioned problems indicate quite graphically the terrible plummet of morality and spirituality in America.
We look back to the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, and we see written on many pages of history
the influence of Jesus Christ and His people. We desire so much to gain back for Him what has been lost. We desire
to see the Re-Christianization of our nation. But we haven’t really asked God if this is in His plan. We have missed the
point of Scripture.

The Moral Majority was an alliance of people coming from various backgrounds; particularly from the Judeo-Christian
heritage in America. The group was to be, at least in part, a political power base to affect change with regard to the
influence of Communism and Humanism and to abolish abortion and pornography. The Moral Majority as a titled group
no longer exists, but the moral majority as a mentality does exist. This way of thinking is an affront to the Blood of
Jesus Christ. God has NEVER LOOKED FOR nor DESIRED a merely moral majority. He has ALWAYS sought out a
HOLY REMNANT FOR HIMSELF! Morality is something that can be experienced in a culture without any Christian
influence whatsoever. In heathen Asian cultures there is much more respect for parents and the elderly than there is in
our culture. Thievery and violence when compared to America are much less evident. These cultures are hard
working, diligent, comparatively honest, and by American standards, relatively chaste; but they are not Christians.
Morality can easily be experienced without Jesus Christ. It is essentially a quality that is for the benefit of the people; it
is for man and the society in which he lives, and it is accomplished by man. It is essentially a self-justifying concept
that succeeds with group pressure. Moral people feel good or righteous merely on the basis of their adherence to a
code. Morality is personal, cultural, or religious law. Holiness is something completely different. Holiness is not based
on what you do to satisfy yourself, your culture, your nation or your religion. Holiness can only be experienced and
manifested by people who are born again by the HOLY Spirit of God. Holiness is accomplished by the indwelling
presence of Jesus Christ. Holiness is never meant to satisfy nor please a person, culture, nation or religion. Holiness
is to satisfy God Himself. Holiness then is for God alone, and accomplished by God alone. Morality is BY man and
FOR man; Holiness is BY God and FOR God. The Saul Church wants to change society through legislation and to
create a good moral atmosphere. They don’t understand that they have missed the point. God is creating a Spiritual
kingdom for Himself. The great tragedy of Christian activism is that we have taken away time, thought and energy from
building this Holy Spiritual Kingdom. We are involved in this moral battle because we don’t seem to realize that we
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities in high places. If we are to win the spiritual
battle, it is because we have decided to live and die for the Word of God by the power of His Spirit. England was
changed because the hearts of her people were changed. They had NEW natures that loved holiness and hated sin.
The spirit of love, holiness, forgiveness and conviction of sin swept through England and America in the First Great
Awakening through the preaching, praying and supernatural obedience of George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, the
Wesleys and others.

We cannot Christianize the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Presidency, or the laws and decisions that come from
these powerful institutions. True Christianity is not the imposition of power on ANY body of influence. The Religious
Right, functioning as a political force supposedly ordained by God to fight against the evil of the corrupt majority, is no
more spiritual than the Zealots who fought against the tyranny of Rome. These men would not recognize that their
bondage came from their sin and their misunderstanding of Scripture. They HAD TO DO SOMETHING. They truly felt
that if they took the initiative to fight the Romans that God would join them in their battle and they would win because
God was on their side. They did not understand that the reason they were oppressed was because they, as a nation,
had for years and years selfishly chosen to go their own religious way regardless of what the Lord had commanded
them and ultimately they chose to REJECT their Messiah, Jesus. Their political involvement was not a natural
outgrowth of the culture that had been permeated by an understanding of God’s ways and an anticipation and
reception of Messiah. Their political involvement was an attempt to overthrow the rule of their oppressors. Many
centuries later, we see that the Gospel of Jesus Christ so permeated the American culture that America eventually
became the most powerful national progenitor of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the history of mankind. Even her
political system was permeated by many Christians, and Christians in a naturally supernatural way assumed office
because many of the people in the nation were God fearing Christians. It was accomplished by the pure Gospel of
Jesus Christ changing MANY hearts for God.

When we do our job of making men spiritual, our city or our state or our country will, because the people have new
hearts, also have new values. We will have leavened our nation, state or city with the righteousness of Christ in the
hearts of born again people. Because they are truly born again, they will have a desire to obey God and see His
justice reign in our nation. Then the culture will change radically. The problem with the Christian activist is that he is
more concerned with the manifestation of immorality or morality than he is with the hearts of the men and women in his
culture. The abuses of slavery and slavery itself eventually disappeared in 19th century England because the hearts
of men had been changed by the Gospel call “You must be born again.” The first Great Awakening occurred in the
18th century under the ministry of Whitfield, the Wesleys and others. George Whitfield, however, was NOT against
slavery and never preached against slavery. In America today, we desire to see the fruits of revival without revival
happening in the Church. It is always the Church that becomes strong and then because so many hearts have been
touched and changed, the nation becomes strong. We Christians are the only Spiritual leaven that exists in ANY
nation. If we are trusting in, living and preaching the Word, the whole Word and nothing but the Word, by the power of
Almighty God’s Holy Spirit the nation WILL be leavened for righteousness and good, and many will be birthed into the
kingdom of God. Justice, mercy, love and obedience to God will be reestablished, not by which party is in the White
House but by the fact that God, through Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit, rules in the hearts of many
people and the people will settle for nothing less than honest righteous political parties.

When the true Gospel reigns in the hearts of the people, ANY nation will be strengthen by God. It is no coincidence
that when the nations of Spain, Italy and France rejected Reformation truth in the 16th century, they were weakened
politically, militarily and morally and were soon no longer super powers in the world as they once had been. After
England had been immersed in the Great Awakening of the 18th century, she became the most powerful nation on the
planet in the 19th century. The Church of Jesus Christ in America preached the uncompromising Gospel, from the time
of the Puritans through the time of the holiness preachers in the 19th century. After this great time of the Word and the
Spirit, America reaped the benefits and became the most powerful country in the world in the 20th century. Because
the Church has neglected the true Gospel and made up a message that pleases the carnal hearts of the people, our
country has been weakened tremendously. Eventually, we will lose our leadership in the world and be judged
SEVERELY by God. It will not be enough for us to support moral men for public office. Christians have entered the
political arena and have attempted to legislate morality in a country that has come to hate the morality of the
Scriptures. Religious activism in the current moral, cultural and political arenas will not accomplish the strengthening of
a nation. We must first strengthen the message, the messengers, the people of God and the Church that represent
Jesus Christ in America.

It is not enough to pray for revival! We must first pray that God would cleanse OUR hearts and OUR doctrines from all
the idolatry that we have embraced. We must pray that God will give us, His own people, a spirit of REPENTANCE!
Only then will we see the move of God that we so desperately need in America. The Saul Church in America will
continue to see our nation given over to godless liberals and eventually to godless conservatives because we have
not humbled ourselves, repented of OUR sins and asked God to change His Holy Nation. We Christians ARE His Holy
Nation, NOT America! The people of God, God’s Holy Nation, is the land that needs to be healed because it has a
divided heart.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, A HOLY NATION, a people for God’s own possession…for you once
were not a people but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD…” (I Peter 2:9-10). “If MY PEOPLE which are called by
my name, shall HUMBLE THEMSELVES, and pray, and seek my face, and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS;
then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will HEAL THEIR LAND” (II Chron 7:14 KJV).

The LAND spoken of here is the holy nation of God’s people. It is not the place or country where God’s people happen
to live. This prayer was not meant that when the Jews lived in Babylon they were to pray that the Babylonians would
turn from their wicked ways and repent of their sins. It was the Jewish people that needed to pray, humble themselves,
seek His face and turn away from THEIR wicked ways! Then and only then would God forgive their sin and make
them a strong spiritual people and heal their land/nation!

The Holy Nation of God’s people need to change before the secular nation of America will change! When we change,
then and only then will we leaven the nation with the righteousness of Christ and then and only then will the people of
America have new hearts that are able to obey the call of God and the commands of God. Our prayers must be
directed at changing the people of God, not the godless sinners that have so much influence in the United States.
Religious activists do not recognize that the Church has monumental influence and responsibility regarding the
condition of the country in which it dwells. Religious activists want to change the worldly system without changing the
hearts of its people.

The Evangelicals and the Charismatics, the people who believe that you must be born-again, have failed in their
responsibility. We are quick to rally Christians to vote, either for leaders or for laws. We are slow to gather Christians
to repent of our accommodation to the world, our shallowness and our wholesale editing of the Word of God. We are
slow to repent of our lukewarmness. We have hearts more like Saul than David. Saul was successful for a season but
ultimately all who followed him and supported him were defeated in their final battle against the Philistine gentiles.

The religious right and the Saul Church activists are trying to impose spiritual and moral values on a culture that no
longer is permeated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (such as the United States of America was in the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries); their political involvement has been merely an imposition of religious values on a culture that for
the most part has no heart for Jesus.

There is a way to attack terrible social evils as a Christian. The Salvation Army under General Booth reclaimed many
wasted lives for Jesus Christ. Teen Challenge has been able to free tens of thousands of people from drugs,
alcoholism, sexual perversion, gangs and ghetto poverty. Both have been shining examples of Gospel activism. Each
organization's burden was to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This was their message. This was their method.
They were not political or social activists. They were obedient to the Lord and were not for the most part pushed into a
lot of useless and disobedient religious activity by the very real and pressing needs they observed; and they did not
join with the State and become compromised. As these organizations have lived and burned with the Gospel message,
they have given birth to preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not religious social workers.

The Saul Church desperately desires political influence. The Saul Church desperately desires to rule and reign in the
social, economic, and political sphere. If they were alive during the time of the disciples, they might well have had the
same mentality that the disciples had BEFORE they were filled with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. They would have
asked Jesus, with a certain amount of personal interest, when He was going to establish His Kingdom. They would
have been looking to make Jesus King of the Jews, then Emperor of Rome. John 6:15 says, “Jesus therefore
perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, withdrew again to the
mountain by Himself alone.” And John 18:36 says, ““Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom
were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My
kingdom is not of this world..””

They would have been looking forward to the power that they themselves personally could wield in the Roman Senate
or perhaps even the ecclesiastical realm as leaders of the Sanhedrin. They would have been coveting control over the
courts of Rome so that justice and mercy could prevail and the terrible crimes of infanticide, pornography and idolatry
could be wiped out. But REMEMBER! This was the mentality of God’s people BEFORE they received the out-pouring
of the Holy Spirit. After they were filled with God’s presence and power and baptized in His Holy Spirit, they
understood what Jesus had been saying all along. They understood that HE is the Kingdom of God and that HE
dwells in them. They understood that it does not matter who rules on the outside, it only matters who rules on the
inside. The zealot spirit that so desperately wanted social change and political influence was burned out of their minds
by the Tongues of Fire that rested upon their heads and changed their hearts and filled their beings with a new
revelation of the Kingdom of God. They understood that the Gospel could be preached both in a country that chose to
give them limited freedom or a country that chose to persecute them to the death. They understood the most important
issue was not whether or not babies were allowed to be born, but whether or not people became truly born again. It is
not that their hearts did not go out to the slaughtered children or the people who were bound by lust because of the
impurity of their generation; it is not that their hearts did not go out to the terrible victims of a demonically unjust and
ruthless government, it is just that they understood the real issue that was to dominate their entire attention: loving the
Lord Jesus Christ so much that they were compelled to preach the unadorned Gospel of Jesus Christ and Him
Crucified. They would not be side-tracked into comparatively useless religious activity. We must learn again the
lessons of those who were thus filled with the love of God and had the mind of Christ. They knew that nothing
permanent would be accomplished by imposing their good and holy desires on a recalcitrant majority. If society was
going to change, it was going to be because their hearts were different. If laws were going to correspond to the law of
God, it would be because the law of God was written on the hearts of the people.

EVEN NOW God is clearly revealing to us, in no uncertain terms, that we CANNOT trust in the Democrat or
Republican Party to fix the ills of this country. One party is unabashedly evil and the other is pathetically weak and
afraid of offending both our perceived friends and at times even our enemies. NEITHER will EVER be able to restore
true goodness to our country. That responsibility can only be accomplished by the people of God as they once again
realize that their kingdom is not of this world. They must also know that their fight is against powers and principalities
in high places, and their weapon is the Word of God. Their power to destroy the enemy, whether it is the ACLU or the
demons that back similar anti-Christ organizations, is the power of the Holy Spirit.
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