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Volume 12, Issue 1: Magistralis

The Hydrogen Kingdom

Nathan Wilson

In an important respect, separating church and the civil order of a culture is like separating man and wife. In our political theory, the attempt which modern America has made to keep these two forever separate is as ludicrous as it is revolutionary. When we claim that religion and politics cannot mix, we are saying that a husband need not have a wife, which is, of course, self-contradictory. But that’s what we do best.

Of course Christians are the only people who really believe such a divorce of God-established structures can work. We are the only ones who think political and cultural activity to be a neutral indoor sport. And it is not until our culture’s vileness touches us directly that we even attempt to protect ourselves. But even after our dander is up, we still assume neutrality, beginning a raging campaign for a moment of silence at the local government school, so that those who so desire can relieve themselves of any prayers.
We are the kid in the neighborhood counting to a thousand under the junipers, and never doubting the sincerity of the other children who so patiently explained to us the new rule that keeps us there.
Why can we not see it? To return to the first illustration, we are the poor wife whose husband has begun staying later and later at the office. He has sat us down and explained that his job is so delicate that he cannot have any distractions. Our place in the bed is filled, but not by us. We are indeed a poor wife, our husband has left us for another woman. But given the fact that we denied there was a marriage in the first place, how can we blame him?
The ideal relationship between church and a society’s public order is not exactly that of man and wife, but it is a useful picture. A man’s wife rules him sexually, requiring faithfulness. It is impossible for a husband to be without a sexual ruler, just as it is impossible for a civil order to be without a religious order. If there is a husband, there cannot be “no wife.” The government cannot rule us without an understanding of justice, and that, among other things, must come from somewhere. It is now coming from his new friend whom we really hope he doesn’t bring to our daughter’s wedding.
But how are we to get our rightful position back? How do we begin to reverse the effects of the affair we slept through? We have a long road ahead, and must start at the beginning if we are to get anywhere. Getting to the beginning will be hard enough in itself. We must begin by locating the problem.
We might think we are well aware of the problem as we watch sodomite parades and high school shootings. But that is too easy; we must locate the problem in ourselves. The root cause of our situation is internal, and we must remedy that before we can begin any culture wars, or rather, before we begin winning the culture war that we are already in.
The root cause of all our woes is the fact that we are a bunch of Hellenists. The kingdom of God is like hydrogen. The church today thinks that the kingdom of God is in some ethereal, tasteless, odorless dimension entirely separate from what goes on here. We look forward to joining the kingdom of God upon our deaths but do not realize that we are in the middle of it now. Obviously we are not yet in a heavenly state, but we are still the bride of Christ, and we still live in His kingdom. And we pray for His kingdom to come, not for us to go.
The church has rejected its earthly role because we think only in terms of our heavenly future. We are gnostics, so overly focused on our soul that our body wastes away in disease. We are an emaciated, sickly church, not because we are oppressed by our enemies or because we stand up for God’s kingdom amidst tribulation, but because we refuse to eat and drink. Anything relating to the material world is beneath us. We are lofty creatures indeed.
Is it any wonder that the civil order pushes the church away from the world, when the church has already ostracized itself from the world? The wife insists that marriage can only be spiritual as an excuse to grow unlovely, unkempt and to refuse the physical love of her husband. Can we be surprised that our husband turns elsewhere? Can we blame the government for not wanting us, when we first rejected it? But when the bride of Christ is lovely, the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:24).
Until we realize that God’s kingdom will be established here, on this mostly blue globe, we will not man the battlements. Until we realize the physicality of our marriage, we will never have a good one. As long as we gaze at the stars and think of that whispy kingdom up there that we belong to, the kingdom here will continue to be in shambles. Christendom has fallen to the heathen because the church itself decided that it didn't have gates, walls, or battlements. How can a castle be defended when only the attackers can see it? It cannot.
We as a church need to realize that heaven and earth cannot be divorced. A body must have a soul, a church must have a building, and a civil order must have a God. The American church has refused to proclaim God to this culture’s government, and so it has found its god elsewhere. It cannot be without a master, whatever we tell ourselves to the contrary. If it cannot be ruled by us, it will rule against us.
Perversion is rampant in our nation and now sanctioned because of our foolish abdication. Our government rebels against the law of God and despises us because we insist that the rule of Christ is only heavenly. It is time that we bathed, for we have been carrying this gnostic smell for several centuries.

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