"Controlling the Borders"
No, I have not become political and socialistic in my primary concerns as a preacher/elder. However, I have, as many, been following the border issue. I am residing in one of the states, Colorado, that is being tremendously impacted by the relaxation of the borders, particularly between the U.S. and Mexico.
What are the consequences of the border issues, you may ask. The implications are many. The complexion of the climate where I have lived the past twenty years has seriously and, I am afraid, irreversibly changed. Signs that used to just be in English are now appearing in both English and Spanish. More and more job requirements stress by-lingual ability, both English and Spanish, even low end paying jobs, I am told. Our health care industry in Colorado is being negatively affected as more people who are not citizens of the U.S. apply and receive "free" medical attention. I say "free" because it is not free. Many of us self-employed citizens are now paying premiums of a thousand dollars and over each month to help subsidize the growing influx of poor aliens. Certain crime rates are increasing with a direct tie to the element of illegal aliens being discussed, while many of the state politicians look the other way. While these people are desired by big industry as a means to cheap labor, down the road there are serious and abiding results to the middle class of this country, as they are suddenly without work and benefits. A high percentage of these illegals are not only initially violating and flaunting U. S. laws relative to immigration, but they continue to live as they desire without concern to the requirements of U. S. citizenship. "We are standing aside to allow these people entrance into America and sanction status because of the coming New World Government," some politicians are honestly explaining. The goal is to do away with the borders for Mexico and Canada; thus, creating one new government and country consisting of what was America, Mexico, and Canada. As these diverse cultures mix, America and the values that have heretofore made her great will cease. All that multiplied thousands have fought for both politically and militarily to keep America free and distinct will have been in vain and forfeited for the New World Order. The present progression in this new government has not happened over night and has not been clandestine. Several decades ago, we began to hear of this goal and we have seen incremental progress. President George W. Bush is the first president to openly stand aside for the new wave of change, only ostensibly opposing illegal immigration when sufficiently pressured. Do I misrepresent and exaggerate? Before you label me as being a racist and alarmist, look at the facts.
A number of social scientists are not only watching the movement to remove the borders, but also the trend toward the establishment of an empire. Some say that the empire condition is necessary in the New World Order. In an empire, all the incoming cultures and ideologies are allowed and encouraged to maintain their endemic differences, their languages, cultures, values, traditions, and even laws.
The greater concern to me is the doing away with the spiritual borders and allowing, even promoting the merger of many diverse spiritual cultures; thus, seriously changing the complexion of the Lord's church. The Ecumenical Movement has long sought to merge religions and produce an amalgamated version of "Christianity." In order to accomplish this goal, ecumenical proponents have attempted to play down doctrine and redefine biblical love, fellowship, and protocol. In many sectors, they have succeeded. Progressive liberal "churches of Christ" have followed suit with their own version of ecumenicalism. First, advocating confluence with the "Christian Church" and then increasing the loop to include other religions such as Baptists, etc. Men such as Max Lucado have been influential and leaders in this movement, changing even more the very nature and fiber of liberal Churches of Christ. We are also observing the empire impetus among these churches. Each merging group is allowed to keep their own doctrines and beliefs in the exercise of unity in diversity.
So called conservative churches of Christ, non-institutional in practice, have also experienced their variety of the ecumenical experience. Again, there was first the requisite change in the meaning of biblical love, fellowship, and scriptural protocol. Religious magazines have been introduced to promote the cause of ecumenicalism, some more overtly than others.
It has become more rare and unusual to find a local church that practices biblical fellowship by maintaining their borders, so to speak. I knew of one highly respected local church that had practiced open borders and had a collection of Christian Church and Baptist people, all unconditionally accepted into the local fellowship. After the borders had been opened, the elders asked me to come in and teach on various subjects such as the role of women, mechanical instruments in worship, baptism, and the government of the local church. Some received the teaching, others rebelled, and the remainder called for "peace" (political compromise) and tolerance, even the "elders." One pertinent passage regarding the border issue is the following:
"26: And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27: But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28: And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem" (Acts 9).
Fear of Saul was not simply the reason for the initial lack of his acceptance into the fellowship of the Jerusalem church. They, "...believed not that he was a disciple." Paul wrote:
"...for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6.)
In order for there to be true fellowship, there must be sameness and commonality. In the scriptural climate, this commonality consists of belief and practice of the truth. John thus worded the matter:
"3: That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4: And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1).
Hence, spiritual borders are made up of truth and conformity to that revealed truth, the doctrine of Christ. As a result, those who do not bring the "doctrine of Christ" are not to be fellowshipped, either through approval or participation (2 John 9-11). Consider Johnís teaching:
"9: Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10: If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John).
Not only is spiritual acceptance and endorsement forbidden when doctrinal uniformity and practice is absent, but exposure and reproof are required (Eph. 5: 10, 11).
Just as we hear name calling regarding the governmental enforcement of our U. S. borders and all who favor such; so it is regarding the spiritual enforcement of the borders of truth and righteousness. We become unloving, sectarian, and legalists. We "seal to destruction and prevent the salvation" of those to whom we refuse unconditional acceptance, it is said.
Hear me carefully: I am all for immigrants legally coming into America and being subject to U. S. citizenship. After a corresponding fashion, I am most desirous of seeing people cross the border of sin, biblical demarcation, and accept spiritual citizenship (cp. Phili. 3: 20).
"20: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ"(Phili. 3, see addendum).
The U. S. has in place a certain protocol in order to become a U. S. citizen. God's word also teaches that those who have not "...obeyed that form of doctrine" are aliens and not to be viewed and treated as fellow citizens of God's Kingdom (Rom. 6, Eph. 2: 12). In a civil sense, such a confluence of cultures and retention of native law concepts will not work. Regarding the spiritual realm, there is no provision for the brand of unity in diversity that is prevailing in many churches of Christ today (cp. Eph. 4: 4, 5). America is forfeiting her identity and the Lord's church is becoming just another denomination. Whether we are speaking of the civil or spiritual, borders must be maintained in order to preserve the precious values, beliefs, and to provide the desired milieu. (Related reading would be, "The New World Order")
Addendum: The word "conversation" in the King James is rendered from the Greek politeuma. Involved in politeuma or citizenship (see the American Standard Translation) is the essential idea that the Christian looks to heaven as his country and subscribes to heavenly Kingdom laws. To advocate unity in diversity in the spiritual realm is tantamount to the civil empire doctrine. An empire will not work, as history shows and the empire concept relative to the Lordís church is total chaos and nonsense.