John wrote in frustration about a reply he received from his pastor in response to his letter about the church’s lack of concern for the ongoing slaughter in Iraq. John sought an answer to two scriptural references and the pastor’s reply was entirely secular. This big church pastor ignored Jesus and the Apostle Paul’s words. Instead, he told John how evil Saddam Hussein was, that Islam must be stopped, and that the State of Israel is an example of why all wars are not evil.
War-favoring, war-excusing, and war-enabling church leaders usually avoid New Testament scripture because there is no justification for killing anyone in it. We are often asked how one can pick a church to attend that is not Judeo-Christian. Christ followers, by our label, generally believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of biblical prophesies, mostly fulfilled in the first century AD, when Jesus came, taught, set up his earthy discipleship, was crucified under the will of the Pharisees, and arose from the dead.
By contrast, Judeo-Christians may believe all or part of what Christ followers believe, but they have an added layer superimposed over the top, like frosting on a cake, that holds to the notion that the physical, political State of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s Old Testament prophesies (in addition to Christ). In order to make room for Israel as sort of an extra deity, most Judeo-Christians accept the explanation that Jesus left unfinished worldly business behind that will require His return to manage an earthly kingdom for 1000 years.
It is not your writer's place to decide if Jesus will return earthly king; there is some Biblical evidence both ways and Jesus did not firmly say no. I would like to think Jesus never left. Unfortunately most pastors, even those in traditional churches, have been influenced by the opulent worldly success of the Judeo-Christian churches. Many cannot identify with a poor and humble Jesus and penniless apostles, and have compromised.
Fred, as I will call the lead pastor, is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, and calls himself a “Christ Follower.” The audience responded positively, Pastor Fred is clearly not promoting more war from the pulpit. So far so good, right out of scripture... the traditional view of Jesus, who could be more traditional than George Frideric Handel? Jesus' kingdom is "not of this earth" as he told Pilate, but is a spiritual one.
Except for this one Judeo-Christian admission Pastor Fred appears to be a traditional Christ follower. What is the damage in believing Jesus will come back to earth for a 1000 year reign of goodness and justice? First Jesus does not say this; it is implied by some aggressive assumptions.
Judeo-Christianity is a great mega-church builder because it relieves us of the burden Christ placed on us of following regardless of the cost of inconvenience. Judeo-Christianity shifts the burden back to God. Judeo-Christians have only to confess that they believe in Judeo-Christianity (not simply Jesus), an apostate concept.
In dealing with pastors and church leaders, it is we, the laymen critics, who must force them to stay scriptural, even when they try to lead us into a secular story. We must not allow them to drag us into secular arguments like those John's pastor raised. Only in this way can we change them, and change our churches, and protect those we love from them.