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Spiritual Fire Houses

02 Mar

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by Gary DeMar
02/19/08

Many Christian organizations and churches exist exclusively as spiritual fire houses. When they see a fire, they send a fire engine to douse it. They then return to the fire house to polish the fire engine awaiting another call. There is certainly a need for fire engines and fire houses. But there is no real community if there are only fire houses. For the most part, a fire house is inactive. Most of a fireman’s time is spent waiting for a fire alarm to be pulled. In many municipalities, the firemen are volunteers. They leave their homes and places of business only when there is a fire.

Christians must get into the building business without neglecting the construction of a few well-placed fire houses along the way. Life is more than waiting for fires to happen. In order to build a Christian society, planners must acquire the skills to design and build what can be conceived. Unfortunately, most Christians are ill-equipped to do the necessary planning and building. We are woefully ignorant of how the system” works, and if a collapse ever comes, Christians won’t be the first called on to rebuild. Most probably they will be put in charge of the soup lines. Few Christians have the necessary experience to fight Leviathan and Behemoth. Even fewer have the theology.

The best legal technicians are those who deal with law and the courts on a daily basis. For them, law is their salvation rather than a necessary tool. This is not an area where Christians have excelled, although this is beginning to change with organizations like the Alliance Defense Fund and Liberty Counsel. We’ve gone about our business while an entire legal subculture with its own language and community of associates has grown up around us until we have become the new subculture. Our lives are regulated by lawyers and an entrenched, nearly autonomous, bureaucracy made up of lawyers. The church of Jesus Christ is woefully ill-equipped to cope with the system. If we’re going to survive and thrive, we better learn how the system works and then make it work for us in a way that the rest of the world is blessed by our actions. We need to Katrina-ize all of life. Christians did a marvelous job in helping the victims of Katrina. Now they need to do the same for every area of life.

Abortion is ingrained in our society because the tenets that spawned abortion are ingrained. Nearly every vehicle of expression in our society fosters the lie that abortion is a “right” granted by the Constitution, in fact, an “inalienable right” fund in the “penumbra” of the Constitution. The average American citizen is bombarded on a daily basis by films from Hollywood presenting abortion as a modern freedom, “sensitive” television specials portraying the “compassion” of abortion, and a daily inundation of media-biased reporting on the topic. Of course, we must not forget how the courts have consistently upheld the Roe v. Wade creed. Friends, this scenario did not drop out of the sky. There are people behind these views, and these people learned the system and used it to advance their worldview. There are some bright spots. It seems that 2007 was the year of the pro-life movie.

The acceptance of abortion is the manifestation of a greater problem: The American people, a great many of whom are professing Christians, live in terms of what they know. What they know comes from what they’re taught and the sources of information they choose to inform themselves. They’re taught that absolutes do not exist, convenience is preferred over responsibility, the individual has worth because he or she has rights, rights are defined as an individual expression of choice, and the State is designed to protect those rights no matter what the cost. In fact, the State is the grantor of those rights, because the State is so revered that people act as if it’s god. To use Hegel’s phrase, “The State is as God walking on Earth.” Why shouldn’t it be? Every time a problem arises, we turn to the State for salvation.

Learning the system means recapturing the system. This will take time. It’s not enough to gear up every four years to elect a “Christian” president. Christians must make a concerted effort to replace the humanists at all levels of society with competent Christians who understand the Bible and how it works in the world. In addition, we need to know how the world works.

For the most part, Christians have been fighting a defensive war. The humanists act, and Christians react, and not very well or only for a short period of time. Certainly it’s important to have a good defense, but there must be an offensive agenda to counter the effects of secularism once they leave behind a burned-over district of poverty, envy, depravation, and moral degradation. In a defensive-only game, the opposition only has to score one point to win.

Fire houses are only valuable when there is a community to save from the flames. As secularism pulls the reins of control ever tighter, there won’t be much to salvage or worth sending out a fire truck to douse.


Gary DeMar is the President of American Vision.

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