Are Christians Destroying the Kingdom?

This is a partial repost from the article, “Are Christians Destroying the Kingdom?” by Martin G. Selbrede. That post is taken from a paper publication, “the May 2019 edition of Arise & Build, Chalcedon’s bi-monthly magazine.”

[…] Scripture gives us important insights into diligence:

The hand of the diligent shall bear rule … (Prov. 12:24a)

You see a man diligent in his labors? He shall stand before kings … (Prov. 22:29a)

By contrast, Proverbs 18:9 teaches that the slothful man is a brother to the destroyer: such a one is, in effect, no different than a destroyer.

Here is the million-dollar question then: what do we do with Christians who incite their fellow Christians to set aside diligence entirely? What breed of Christians will we get when we no longer aspire to the blessings laid out above for those who are diligent? Who will bear rule if Christians aren’t diligent in their labors? Who will stand before kings if Christians decide to retreat instead of advance in each field and discipline?

Are Christians Destroying the Kingdom? by Martin G. Selbrede

The one who will stand before kings will be the one who works diligently.

If Christians will not work, then others – like, for example, Secularists, Atheists, and Marxists – will do the work.

And gain serious authority over the piously lazy cross-waving escapists and slackers.

I had first encountered the following quotation in the early 1980s and used it in some presentations concerning the debilitating effects of retreatist theologies. It resonated with me because I later came to know a noted mathematician who had fallen under its spell (as well as the false doctrine of neutrality):

For instance, if a youth had a natural aptitude for mathematics, and he asked, ought he to give himself to the study, in hope that he might diffuse a serviceable knowledge of it, or possibly even enlarge the boundaries of the science—my friend [John Nelson Darby] would have replied, that such a purpose was very proper, if entertained by a worldly man. Let the dead bury their dead; and let the world study the things of the world … But such studies cannot be eagerly followed by the Christian, except when he yields to unbelief.1

With counsel like this (from the founder of dispensationalism promoting the imminent return of Christ), how many Christian mathematicians are we likely to spawn among faithful men? How many have we turned away to other pursuits?

Are Christians Destroying the Kingdom? by Martin G. Selbrede

Ah yes, dispensationalism.

Teaching the imminent return of Christ — “Any day now! Any Day Now! HOW DARE YOU CHALLENGE ME, UNBELIEVER!” — and so, naturally, the futility of doing anything on earth that isn’t tied to immediate soul-winning.

No deepening the Kingdom. No Upholding the Law-Word of God. No expanding righteousness, sanctification, dominion over nature.

No victory of good over evil, in time and on earth.

Just tossing a bunch of seeds, that make no root, and cannot fight and break apart the rocks, or tolerate the hot sun.

“God will take us away from work, from sacrifice, from reality!”

“No cross for us, no toil!”

“We will all be raptured! We will never face death!”

Deeply delusional. More than a little rebellious.

And a profound desire to build up the number of worthless servants.

Turning men from worthy servants, to worthless servants. Useless in expanding the Kingdom of God, certain to never apply their talents to bring the world to the yoke of Christ.

“But see! I got a talent, and I gave that same talent back to God! I didn’t give anything to Satan! Aren’t I a good man?”

Actually, it’s worse than that.

Re-encountering this quote years later in Ovid Need’s book, Death of the Church Victorious, I came to learn that more than mathematics had been targeted by Darby for Christian retreat. One footnote in Need’s book has Darby saying, “I am anxious about a rumour I heard of your becoming a doctor …”2 So be sure to scratch doctors off the list of vocations where Christian diligence should be applied. No Christians will possibly stand before kings or bear rule given such marching orders.

The Worst Was Yet to Come

Deeper in that same footnote in Need’s important book, the other shoe drops: “Though Darby held it sin to learn a trade, he allowed one to continue a trade if the person already had it before ‘conversion’ to his opinions … From Barbados, Darby rejoiced that many people came to understand that serving Christ and learning ‘a profession or trade,’ did not mix.”3

No trades or professions, no sciences, no medicine … this is as scorched as earth can get. This inverts Kuyper’s famous dictum about how much territory Christ claims as “Mine!”

When people point out the cultural impotence of today’s church, they’re merely observing what was put into motion by theological design many decades earlier: we’re reaping what we’ve sown, and we’ve sown nothing except some magic beans promoted via clever fables that we bought into. We then expected our Master to be happy if He gave us ten talents and we returned one.

Why did men leave the church soon after such dispensational thinking entered the picture?

Maybe the better question is, what men would consider staying in a church that preached a kingdom the size of a flea circus?

Are Christians Destroying the Kingdom? by Martin G. Selbrede

It’s hard to get a more purified version of vile treason. Despite of what good Darby did —
“anyone can preach!” “Calvinism for the win!” — his profound weakening of the growth of the Kingdom of God, coupled with his Rapture escapism, make him far more of a curse than a blessing for the Church, and the world in general.

I can already see the Secularist (and Marxist and Perverts) happily watching from the sidelines, cheering him on.

“Never fear! You will certainly get a rich reward for your hard work in poisoning and perverting the growth of the Kingdom, to restricting the rule of Christ to the temple precincts!”

“Complete freedom from obedience to the Law, from expanding the Kingdom from the here and now, from the labour of turning a godless culture into a godly one.”

“Behold! The reward you always wanted!

Just look around you, for details, on the rich reward the dispensationalism have earned.

God is careful to properly reward His enemies, just as He is careful to properly reward his friends.

American local church life is highly limited and centered around the activities of attendance of a Sunday gathering where one can sing in worship, receive communion and be “washed” with the water of the word in a sermon. Much like the temple mindset, it is about going to an event, partaking in ceremony (meaningful as it may be) and then reconnecting into the rest of life. Yes you have some attendance at prayer groups and the like but relationships in the church don’t revolve around shared activity in Christian businesses, schools, media, medicine, nutrition, loans, welfare programs and the like. Not enough to create an actual rival social order and Christian civilization.

Churches: We Are Not Mini-Temples by Jordan Wilson

Jesus Christ is King over All.

Right Now.

And we are to expand His Kingdom.

Right Now.

We are NOT to expect “our Master to be happy if He gave us ten talents and we returned one.”

That’s demonic.

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