Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Theocratic Crack-up?

Russell Cobb over in Slate writes about the appearance of cracks in what is usually seen as a monolithic American Christian Nationalism. In this article he counters the alarm-crying of cultural observers such as Kevin Phillips and Michelle Goldberg.

I have written about my own differences with the National Association of Evangelicals over their stance on Environmental issues.

What astonishes me is that anyone who has 1) any knowledge of church history and 2) access to a newspaper would conclude that Christians--especially American Christians--would be able to form some sort of long-lasting, all-encompassing political coalition.

The branch of the church that seems to have observers such as Michelle Goldberg exercised is the Fundamentalist/Evangelical branch of Protestant Christianity. Let's take a look at this unity:

Christianity hasn't been monolithic since, least seven years after its founding when the Apostle Peter baptized a Roman commander, scandalizing what had been a Jewish church.

In the 11th century the Church split between Rome and Constantinople. In the 16th century we have the Reformation with the Protestant church splitting away from the Roman church--a fragment of a fragment. Then in the 1500s, the non-conformists (Presbyterians, Congregationalists, etc.) broke with the Church of England, becoming a fragments of a fragment of a fragment. Some of these fragments separated themselves from their mother churches by fleeing to the American Colonies.

American Christians have a propensity, nay a delight, in schism. There are a dizzying array of church denominations in the United States. Along with the churches that were transplanted into the colonies, many more have sprung up. Methodists, Anabaptists, Amish, Mennonite, Restorationists, as well as others seen as completely heterodox: Christian Science, Mormons, Jehovah's Witness. A drive through almost any American urban or suburban neighborhood would show a kaleidoscope of denominations.

And this doesn't mention the tensions between American Catholics and Rome.

Politics has been the "art of the compromise." People who are the recipients of Divine Truth cannot compromise that Truth for mere political gain. No compromise--no political gain.

The question has never been, "Will the Christian Right split?" The question has always been, "How and when will the Church set aside earthly power and turn their hearts to God?"

No comments:

Blog List


Blog Archive


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution2.5 License.