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SPIRITUAL ACTIVITIES OVER SECULAR?

Written by: Unknown    Posted on: 03/20/2003

Category: Christian Living

Source: CCN

QUESTION #4

              DON'T SPIRITUAL ACTIVITIES TAKE PRIORITY               OVER SECULAR PURSUITS?

We Americans have been taught in the last few generations that there is a separation between the spiritual and secular pursuits of life. In the 1950's religion was defined as a personal thing, the implication being "don't talk about it or try to push it into other 'non-religious areas of life." But the question must be asked: "Are there any non-religious areas of life?"

I was speaking to a large audience of pastors recently concerning the strategic need to rebuild our nation to the glory of God. after my address a pastor from Southern California came up to me and said, "What you are attempting to do is a worthy effort. But, ultimately you know, if God wants to restore our nation, He will do it. All we can do is pray." I paused and asked him if he had any farmers in his church and he said he did. I said, "Why don't we go back to our churches and tell our farmers not to plant their spring crops, but to simply pray and believe; if it is God's will, we will have a great harvest in the fall." The pastor got the point. prayer is important, but if we do not sow our seeds into every area of life, we will have no harvest to reap but the destruction of our liberty and the rise of totalitarianism.

The philosophy mentioned above must be traced back to the Greek philosophers who separated physical life from the aesthetic or spiritual life. The Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas, expounded the view that there was an area of life called "grace" in the realm of natural activities or worldly pursuits. The implications of this philosophy are that God is needed to understand the spiritual but that our human reasons is adequate to direct most human activities. The philosophers of the Enlightenment expanded this concept. Now, in the twentieth century, many believers see no need for the spiritual element whatsoever since they see themselves as evolved animals with no soul or eternal destiny. Many believers, on the other hand, have little use for "earthly affairs" since they view all but "religious" activity as secular.

In recent years there has been a great revival of Biblical Christianity. Some good results from the development have occurred, including an emphasis on the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ but, unfortunately, the negative of this movement has been the classification of certain activities as "spiritual" and others as "secular."

                  PREACHING POLITICS?

A great Colonial pastor was confronted by this same attitude prior to the War of Independence, although in those days it was held by a small minority. When Jonathan Mayhew, a Congregational minister at West Church, Boston, heard of the English Parliaments plan to impose the Episcopal Church on America as its State Church, he was aroused to vigorous opposition. Around him, men's hearts were filled with consternation. Had not their forefathers fled to New England to escape persecution by the State Church which had thrown ministers and laymen alike into foul prisons, there to rot and die? What could they do? Some Colonial ministers preached blind submission to the higher powers, but Mayhew was outraged at such teaching. Feelings in Boston were running high when he mounted his pulpit and preached the sermon that became famous throughout the colonies and was even read with anger in far-off London.

In this sermon, "Concerning Unlimited Submission to the Higher Powers," he attacks such submission head-on. "It is evident that the affairs of civil government may properly fall under a moral and religious consideration....For, although there be a sense, and a very plain and important sense, in which Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, His inspired Apostles have nevertheless, laid down some general principles concerning the office of civil rulers, and the duty of subjects, together with the reason and obligation of that duty. And...it is proper for all who acknowledge the authority of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which they have delivered concerning this matter."

And not only this matter! for when the sermon was published later by popular demand, Mayhew commented in his preface that he hoped few people would think the subject an improper one "under a notion that this is preaching politics instead of Christ...I beg it may be remembered that 'all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.' Why, then, should not those parts of Scripture which relate to civil government be examined and explained from the desk, as well as others?"

Why not, indeed? Why not take the Scriptures and apply them to all areas of our lives? Mayhew's words are an eloquent answer today to the false division that would split our lives unto two mutually exclusive areas: the religious and the secular.



                         NO NEUTRALITY

At last it appears that millions of Americans are remembering the great truths of the Reformation, such as the priesthood of all believers (emphasizing the importance of the individual) and the sovereignty of God over every sphere of life. There is no neutral (or secular) area of life. When we set up an area or institution not acknowledging God's soverignity we become an enemy of God and are in rebellion. The public school system in America is a good example. It is not neutral religiously. It has simply exchanged the Christian religion for that of humanism. It should be noted that in 1961 in the Torasco vs Watkins case, the Supreme Court recognized secular humanism as a religion. In delivering the unanimous opinion, Justice Hugo Black stated: "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others."

                    THE BIBLICAL WORLD-VIEW

The Biblical world-view demands that all human endeavor be a service to God, whether praying or riveting together a plane. Men's vocations, therefore, are holy callings just as are church work or missionary activity. In Genesis, when the descendants of Adam are named, their occupations are also given. (Gen. 4:20-22) When all of life is seen in this context, then important "spiritual" excercises such as prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with fellow believers, take on greater importance in our battle for the whole world, both physical and spiritual. In light of our current crisis, nothing could be more spiritual than saving our children from humanism, our economy from deprivation, and our liberty from extinction.

***** SEE QUESTION 5 *****





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