Biblical Reasons Why We Should
And Practical Suggestions on How We Can
Create Heaven on Earth
America was a great experiment to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Two diverse groups are united in their horror at that claim: Fundamentalists and the ACLU.
This book begins where the Puritans did: with the goal of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
The ACLU wants us all to believe that America's Founding Fathers were all deists or even atheists. This is a lie. Not a single deist or atheist signed the Constitution.
Since the first European settlers came in the late 1500's, America has been characterized by "Liberty Under God." There has always been more liberty here than in any other nation, because this land has more genuinely been "under God" than any other nation. Our blueprint has been The Kingdom of Heaven, and our goal has been to spread the Christian religion and its benefits of liberty and prosperity around the globe. The MAYFLOWER COMPACT contained these words:
"In the name of God, Amen, We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith and the honor of our king and country, a Voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; do by the presents, solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering and preservation and Furtherance of other Ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof do enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most [suitable] and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience."
The original VIRGINIA CHARTER, issued by King James I in 1606, spoke of the same Kingdom purposes:
"To make Habitation . . . and to deduce a colony of sundry of our People into that part of America commonly called Virginia . . . in propagating of Christian religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness . . . [to] bring . . . a settled and quiet Government."
James Madison, "the Father of the Constitution," said in one of his most famous pronouncements, that all legislators should vote against any legislation if
the policy of the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift, ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of (revelation) from coming into the Region of it; and countenances, by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it, with a wall of defence, against the encroachments of error.
Jesus told the parable of one who turned down an invitation to a great supper in the Kingdom of God:
And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
During the Revolutionary War, Henry Laurens was President of the Continental Congress. In a letter of January 31, 1778, he referred to Jesus' parable and spoke of a parallel between America and the Kingdom of Heaven:
O Carolina! O My Country, shame to you!-that in this great, this momentous Cause, so few among your many worthy Sons are found Zealous Advocates- so very few of them will leave their yokes of Oxen, their pleasures, their emoluments & apply their Talents, their whole abilities to the one thing needful. You know I have always run the Line of true Liberty parallel to that of the Kingdom of Heaven. Luke warm half way votaries are as unfit in these times to enjoy that, as such Characters were declared by the mouth of Wisdom to be for entring into this or in other words unfit for the great work of propagating & establishing Christian Religion, called the Kingdom of Heaven- 1770 years ago-both require a readiness to renounce all other attachments. I say-that so many can contentedly & tamely look on, & behold their Country, their posterity exposed to the hazard of Ruin, & almost without an Agent to plead for them is a lamentable reflection.
I disagree with the Founding Fathers on one thing: I personally believe that taking up arms against the government is never justified. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal" (1 Corinthians 10:3-5). If I agreed with America's Founding Fathers I most certainly would have grabbed a musket by now. They rebelled against a generally Christian British government that only tried to take 3-5% of their paychecks. Today's government is overtly anti-Christian and takes nearly ten times more out of our paychecks. But I also believe that if America's Founding Fathers were to see America in 2004 they would all be deeply grieved. They risked "our lives, our fortunes, and our Sacred Honor" to protect "Liberty Under God," and Americans have traded it for Tyranny under Man.
America is no longer dedicated to establishing the Kingdom of Heaven.
For apparently different reasons, Fundamentalists join the ACLU in heaving a sigh of relief at this fact. Both groups oppose efforts to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Fundamentalists (or "Dispensationalists") are "so heavenly-minded they are of no earthly good." They do not want to take the offensive to do battle for the Kingdom. They're waiting for Jesus to return and do all the fighting for them. Jesus and America's Founding Fathers would say such Christians are "unfit for the great work of propagating and establishing the Christian Religion, called the Kingdom of Heaven."
During the 1970's the best-selling non-fiction book of all was Hal Lindsay's Late, Great Planet Earth. Christians were all waiting for the Rapture, because it would soon be 40 years since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Many preachers predicted the Rapture by the end of 1981, and some gave 88 Reasons why it would happen by the end of 1988. Even before 1988 it was clear that Dispensationalism was in Transition. When Ronald Reagan was elected President, it seemed as though conservative Christians had accumulated great power and were in place to help bring in the Kingdom of Heaven. Christians had given up waiting for the Rapture, and exercising dominion over the earth seemed more desirable than waiting around for heaven. Dispensationalist Dave Hunt wrote a popular book asking, Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Used copies are now selling at Amazon.com starting at 88 cents.)
Reagan turned out to be a disappointment to the Religious Right, as all politicians usually are. Though Dave Hunt's neoplatonism -- his longing for heaven and disinterest in the duties of adulthood -- is the target of this book, Hunt raises the very valid point that any attempt to expand the Kingdom of Heaven through the sword of the secular state is doomed to failure. Both the Dispensationalists and the Reconstructionists are now dormant, with the "any moment" sensationalism of Hal Lindsey and the political puffing of the Religious Right both absent from the news.
The Goal of this book is to persuade Christians to propagate the Kingdom of Heaven, and restore "Liberty Under God."
The technical term for a nation that claims to be "under God" is "Theocracy."
America has always been a Theocracy.
All nations are called to establish
the Kingdom of Heaven
in this life, before the Second Coming.
This book is in part a response to Dave Hunt's book, Whatever Happened to Heaven?. In that book he criticizes the "Kingdom Now" movement, including the Christian Reconstructionists and the Coalition on Revival. Such groups believe that Christ established His Kingdom at His First Advent, and our task now is to expand His Kingdom until the Second Coming, which could be thousands of years in the future. Hunt is emphatic: Christians should be focused entirely on being raptured and going to heaven. None of this "bring in the Kingdom" jazz.
Hunt makes one valid observation: throughout history Christians have tried to "bring in the Kingdom" by joining forces with secular empires, using the political strategies of socialism and fascism. But instead of simply sticking with a criticism of socialism, Hunt joins the ACLU and criticizes all efforts to bring economics, law, education and all other human action under the jurisdiction of Biblical Law and the Kingdom of Christ.
The book you are now reading argues that we can and should expand the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and we should do so without employing worldly political techniques, such as the Spanish Inquisition.
Fundamentalist Christians have said that this book claims that there is no heaven, or – even more controversial – that we’re in heaven now.
Atheists (unconcerned about theological quibbling over heaven) have said that the hidden agenda of this book was to "impose a Theocracy on America."
"Denying heaven" and "imposing a theocracy." It’s easy to understand how these different criticisms could arise, but both parties should be assured that they have nothing to worry about -- and everything to worry about.
|For Fundamentalists:||For the ACLU:|
|I’m not saying there is no heaven or that nobody goes to heaven when they die.
There is a heaven, and Jesus is there, on the Throne of David at the right hand of the Father.
As to what happens when we die, I don’t have all the answers. I believe God is holy and just, and I won't go to heaven unless atonement has been made for my sins by the blood of Christ. But God is also merciful beyond my wildest imagination, so whatever happens when I die, it will be amazing. I trust God.
My point is that everything the Bible says about heaven is designed to affect our life here on earth, and "the Kingdom of Heaven" was never intended to be postponed beyond death.
My point is that most Christians are "so heavenly-minded they are of no earthly good." For too many, "heaven" and "the Second Coming" are really just excuses for inaction and irresponsibility. Jesus would find many Christians in America "unfit" for the Kingdom of Heaven.
|I'm against Taliban-style theocracies. details
In fact, I think I'm a better defender of "civil liberties" than the ACLU. The ACLU, a bunch of liberals, believes in big government. Whenever a small government in a small town acknowledges in some public way this nation's duty to worship God, the ACLU wants to give a larger government more power to force the smaller government to remove this endorsement of religion.
The problem is the ACLU's desire for "freedom from religion," not just "freedom of religion." The ACLU wants to escape from God. Not a single one of America's Founding Fathers intended to create a government which would strip God from the Public Square. They all believed that religion was "necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind," and all of them would be accused by the ACLU of trying to "impose a theocracy."
This book contains a series of "spiritual exercises" - a stretching of the mind to build strength. Each exercise also restores balance and proportion. In all the Biblical teaching on "heaven" and "the Kingdom," the emphasis is on earthly duties, not discontent and longing for "the rapture" or the next life.
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