Lately, between the transgender bathroom flare up and Donald Trump, many Christians have given up on America and have officially concluded that we have lost.
I have seen several times in recent weeks, Christians pontificating that we are now living “in captivity.” The bad guys have won, we’ve lost our country. So what do we do now that we are official losers? How should we live in this captivity to the godless liberal evil around us?
I know, I know! Let’s ask Jeremiah! Jeremiah lived in captivity and gave instructions about how to live in captivity. Let’s do what he says.
Dutifully, our Christian leaders copy this tremendous insight, and now everyone and their mother is telling us to apply Jeremiah 29:7 to our American Christian lives.
“And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.“
Oh, how wonderful! One guy said “seeking the peace” meant keeping yourself comfortable and praying for America. Another guy said “seeking peace” meant running for office and joining the school board.
I, with many other Christians, sit back and question the inability of people to interpret Scripture anymore. Let’s examine Jeremiah 29 a bit, shall we.
Jeremiah 29:4-7–Jerusalem is being surrounded by the Babylonians. In order to survive, Jeremiah tells people to give up and move to Babylon. While there, build houses, have kids, and seek the peace of the city. The city is Babylon. They moved. Is Jeremiah telling us to move to another country? If we are to stay here, how do we apply this? Do we move into our houses further? The equivalent for America would perhaps be moving to Iran or North Korea. Move into Iran, build a house and help Iran prosper. It’s not seeking the peace of your own city, but the city of your mortal foreign enemy. But applications I have seen emphasize staying in America and living peaceably in our houses, which is what we’ve already been doing. There is no actual equivalent to the situation in America here.
Jeremiah 29:8-9–The real issue is whether the Jews would listen to God’s prophet or listen to the false prophets. Jeremiah, speaking for God, says to move; the false prophets say to stay. So am I to stay in America or leave it? How do I know which side God is on? This is especially difficult since God has not said anything about America.
Jeremiah 29:10-14–the Babylonian captivity would last 70 years, then God will regather Jews to Israel. Will the American captivity last 70 years? Has God made a promise about the destiny of America? We like verse 12–God thinks of a peaceful end for for them–but where is this ever stated in relationship to America?
Jeremiah 29:16-19–God promises to send destruction by way of famine and pestilence to all Jews who stay behind and don’t move to Babylon. Are those telling me to join the school board suggesting that God will kill all those who don’t? Again, what is the equivalent to America?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Jeremiah 29 has absolutely nothing to do with the current situation in America.
If you want to know how to live in a foreign, hostile land, you don’t have to borrow Jeremiah’s context! The entire New Testament is written to strangers and pilgrims. It amazes me that people think that NOW we are losing in America! Last month we were OK, but now! Now we are in captivity!
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have been removed from the kingdom of darkness and am now in the Kingdom of His Dear Son. I am a stranger and a pilgrim. I am a citizen of heaven. This world is not my home. We live for a better country.
Luke 9:57-62 says that following Christ means being detached from the things of this world, maybe even your family.
1 Peter 2:11-25 says that following Christ will mean all manner of bad things may happen to us, but we take the punches patiently and follow Christ, who patiently took the punches for us.
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 tells us to come out from among them and be separate. We are not told to move in with them! Jeremiah 29 was an anomaly. The entire history of Israel was a story in being separate. Moses’ Law created separation between Israel and Gentiles. That’s why Jews were so infuriated with Jeremiah and his message of going to Babylon! It went against everything God had ever said to them. That’s why it was so offensive!
Pretty much every page of your New Testament will include something about not getting entangled with this world, being separate, setting affections on things above, looking at what is not seen as it is eternal, putting your treasure in heaven, mortify your members on the earth, deny self and take up the cross, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke out growth, etc.
America is not your country.
If they want America, they can have it. I have a better country that no one can take from me. If they want my stuff, they can have it. If they want my coat, I give them my shirt too. The heathen fight over this world and its stuff. Believers belong to a new country and have better aspirations and eternal possessions. Fear not what man can do to the body.
I fear for Christians who take the very plain and oft-repeated message of Scripture and turn it into patriotic saber-rattling. We are selling our birthright for a bowl of pottage.
Persecution is to be expected. We are not of this world, therefore the world will hate you. If you follow Christ, you will be hated by the world. So, we don’t follow Christ because it’s too hard. Instead we join the world in fighting to obtain the world. This is a losing proposition.
Persecution has a way of weeding out pretenders and shoring up sound doctrine. Without being flippant and understanding the seriousness of the sentiment, American Christians need persecution. We have lost our way. Nothing will make us run to the shepherd and bishop of our souls than being surrounded by wolves.