Kingdom or Christendom?

By the term ‘Christendom’ men invoke God to validate national institutions and pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ

The mixing of church and State leads to the association and even identification of Christianity with specific nations, cultures, and political ideologies. When church leaders employ terms like ‘Christendom’ to distinguish one country from another, they replace the biblical faith with a false and often antichrist religion.

North America Globe - Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash
[Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash]

According to common usage, ‘Christendom’ refers to “that part of the world in which Christianity prevails,” either because large numbers of a nation’s citizens claim to be Christian, or because a specific church is recognized by the government as the national religion. Thus, that country becomes identified as “Christian.”

In contemporary political usage, ‘Christendom’ is virtually synonymous with “Western European civilization.” Consequently, Christianity is identified with specific nations, political ideologies, economic theories, and cultural values.

This practice has prevailed since the merger of Church and State under the Roman Empire. The English term is a combination of “Christian” (or “Christianity”) and “kingdom,” but the word occurs nowhere in the Hebrew or Greek Bible.

KINGDOM OF GOD


In contrast to ‘Christendom,’ the New Testament proclaims the “kingdom of God,” the realm inaugurated by Jesus in which all the old social, national, and ethnic barriers have no place.

And in the gospel accounts, “kingdom of God” is the term found most often on the lips of Jesus for describing his message and mission. He first appeared in “Galilee of the nations” proclaiming the “kingdom.”

The concept of ‘Christendom’ is a roadblock to the proclamation of his gospel since it associates the biblical message with specific nations and cultures. All too easily, its use as a synonym for Christianity hardens hearts to the genuine gospel, hearts not necessarily well-disposed to the country that claims to represent and even defend the faith.

And ‘Christendom’ is a pale imitation of the “kingdom” proclaimed by Jesus and his apostles, IF NOT ITS SATANIC COUNTERFEIT.

In this fallen age, political operatives both within and outside the church use the concept to advance their political agendas, implying to the gullible and uninformed that God backs their programs.

In contrast, Jesus calls all men to repent and submit to God’s sovereignty. His kingdom is a political reality that transcends all national, ethnic, economic, and cultural boundaries.

REBUILDING BARRIERS?


By his death, he redeems men and women from every nation, tribe, tongue, and people, making them into one new “kingdom of priests.” And “in him,” divisions based on national identity, economic status, and the like, are disallowed - THEY ARE CONTRARY TO THE CROSS OF CHRIST - (Galatians 3:28, Revelation 5:5-12).

In Jesus,” God has dissolved the “middle wall of partition” between the circumcised and the uncircumcised, the Jew and the Gentile. No one is advantaged or disadvantaged before Him based on gender, race, or nationality.

Any attempt to identify or limit Christianity to specific nations, societies, or “civilizations” CONTRADICTS SCRIPTURAL TEACHING AND CONSTITUTES IDOLATRY. If anything, it is produced by the “spirit of Antichrist” that the Apostle John warns is working already in the world, and the work of the “mystery of lawlessness” that is preparing the way for the unveiling of the “Lawless One.”

In the book of Revelation, both the “Beast from the sea” and the “False Prophet” mimic the “Lamb” so they may deceive men into giving allegiance to the “Beast,” and ultimately, to the “Dragon” - (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10, 1 John 2:18-22).

Jesus is not Egyptian, Russian, or American. God is one, and He created and rules over the entire planet. His salvation is offered freely to all men and women. Christ certainly was Jewish while on the earth, but now he is the Lord who reigns over all the nations.

What counts is not national identity but whether a man or woman is “in Christ,” a disciple and faithful member of his covenant community. All those who belong to him are children of the same Father.

The methods Jesus bequeathed to his people to establish his kingdom differ enormously from those of the political institutions of this fallen age. His disciples engage men by gospel proclamation and self-sacrificial service to others, not through political might, domination, or collective violence.

HIS WAY


The “weapons” that Jesus gives are contemptible in the eyes of the world, yet they are the very ones by which he is redeeming humanity. His approach is epitomized by his submission to trial and execution at the hands of the World Empire, in his day, Rome. And that competing realm has continued to exist to this day in one form or another.

Cross on hill - Photo by Nicolas Peyrol on Unsplash
[Photo by Nicolas Peyrol on Unsplash]


The more politicized his disciples become, the more they tend to identify Christianity with their nation, culture, or chosen political ideology. Thus, they embrace the insidious lie called ‘Christendom.’ “God is on our side and against theirs!!

In the end, the disciple who immerses himself in the political systems of this age will not reform them. Instead, they will corrupt him and further pervert the gospel. One cannot play with fire and not get burned.

Moreover, the same Jesus who suffered an unjust death on behalf of even the “enemies of God,” is not the exclusive property of any nation, society, culture, or political ideology.

If anything, his crucifixion stands in opposition to the political agendas and cultural values of this age, and he summons his disciples to love their enemies and show them mercy, ideas none of the kingdoms and governments of this age endorse or practice.

The deception of ‘Christendom’ is the attempt to domesticate Jesus to validate the programs, values, and ideologies of this world, ideas that are more antichrist than Christian. When the church becomes a tool for advancing the agendas of this fallen age, believers must make a choice - Christ or Christendom.



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