Marrying Belief and Behavior

I read the Chalcedon Foundation blog once a week or so, or when a friend of mine points me that way, and I usually find something worth reading. My response to Christian Reconstruction is, for lack of a better term, extremely cautious but interested. Frankly, I don’t know enough about it to make any discerning judgment; in fact, I know that I have a caricaturized view based on Gary North’s missteps and the modern cult of Rushdoony.

The blog makes me uneasy at times. While I have sympathy for some of their positions (particularly with regard to education), the delivery is occasionally, well, kooky. So when I started reading a post titled “As We Go Marching”, I felt that familiar queasiness in my gut. Would this be a call for quasi-militant response to the state? Well, yes and no. Here’s what caught my eye.

“What is our solution then [to the US move toward totalitarianism]? Live in bold faith. The State has a different understanding of the nature of the universe than we do. They believe we live in a natural word, controlled by the acts of men. We, on the other hand, understand that every molecule that forms matter is held in place solely by the hand of God and that, if it was His will, everything that exists would simply be no more. I love the histories of Elijah and Elisha because they understood the true nature of God, man, and the universe. Which is that both fire and rain come from heaven and are controlled by God, axe heads float (2 Kings 6:5-7), jars of oil never run dry (2 Kings 4:1-7), the dead are raised back to life (2 Kings 4:18-37), and that a few righteous are more than hosts of the wicked (2 Kings 6:15,16).

It is not God who has ceased working in the world; it is we who have stopped walking in faith.

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Matt. 9:24).”

That is a scathing indictment of . . . me. My response to the world is to have faith, yes, but I put my faith in myself and other human beings more often than I look to our sovereign God. Despite my lip-service to the gospel, my lifestyle demonstrates more “paying my respects” to an absentee God than a life of active and vibrant faith in a transcendent-yet-activist God.

My growing pessimism about Western culture as a whole and American culture in particular is rooted in an implicit faithlessness or hopelessness–in short, my lips say, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:5) but my heart and actions say, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and come to their end without hope” (Job 7:6).

As I try to submit my behavior to belief, I can only echo the post’s writer, and the desperate father he quotes: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

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