Mission America

Christian Commentary on the Culture

Camp Followers Endanger the Church

Jonathan is a self-labeled Christian. He listens to CNN every day and never questions that he’s getting a reliable version of the truth.


What’s wrong with this picture?


Jonathan has a worldview issue but also a “camp” issue.


Which camp are you in? Have you decided?


Right now, the choices seem to be “Trump,” “No-Trump,” “Resist” or “Head in the Sand.” In five years, the names may change, but the characteristics won’t.


It’s beyond the voting booth, which reflects only one dimension of group allegiance. Today, the identities intersect and disguises are everywhere.

It comes down to a question of authority in this “information” age because America is now subject to serious gaps in reliable data.


Every true follower of Christ needs a healthy skepticism of secular news. Without the protection of God-centered doubt, one can easily be duped.


Why? Because we need warnings about actual, not manufactured, threats. Without an understanding of genuine evil and imminent risk, even those inclined to Christian faith may embrace horrific sin and tolerate critical vulnerability.


Because Jonathan has filtered his information sources, he and his family may be in danger when crucial facts are withheld, but he won’t know until it’s too late. And maybe not even then.


Who do you trust? What do you thoughtfully consider, or contemptuously discard?


There is one camp that prevails over every other for authentic Christians-- the one where Jesus Christ is Lord. We understand the trajectory of history, but whether Jesus arrives tomorrow or in five hundred years, we must occupy until He comes. For now, we have witnessing to do, families to raise, occupations to perform, charity to bestow.


So true Christians make camp with those who defer to God’s revealed standards, who are internally governed by the Holy Spirit, hating evil and loving good. Yet plenty of other “authorities” today decry “evil” in their camps. How do their definitions compare to those of Scripture?


Let me describe Jonathan more fully. He’s in his forties and says he’s a follower of Christ, yet thinks homosexual couples are not an offense to God. They are probably born that way—don’t all the “experts” say so?


Abortions may sometimes be necessary, he now concedes. He voted for Hillary in the 2016 election and despises Trump, smirking at his stumbles and dismissing any reports about the Trump administration’s economic, life and liberty accomplishments.


Johnathan has chosen his camp, one where Trump’s flaws are microscopically examined with zero grace by Hollywood, the Democratic Party, Jimmy Kimmel, Salon.com and the Huffington Post-- the authorities that speak “truth” into Jonathan’s life.


It’s a camp exalting a Jesus who is a feminist, a sexual libertine and a socialist. Faith leaders like Franklin Graham are considered fools. Jonathan absorbs rhetoric from Black Lives Matter without questioning the manipulative race- baiting, anti-law-enforcement agenda.


He is now convinced Christians should support open borders, in contrast to the policies of every other sovereign nation. He never hears sermons discussing the example of a wall built around ancient Jerusalem, one whose careful reconstruction is the subject of two Old Testament books (Ezra and Nehemiah).


They rebuilt that wall because, even though peaceful strangers were welcomed, Israel also had known enemies.


It’s called reality, and safety.


Jonathan’s world omits this. He seldom ponders Scripture and

would never exalt God’s Word over pronouncements from his camp.


Jonathan dutifully understands that public schools always need more money, and teachers’ unions are trusted advocates for education. His own son, meanwhile, can barely read in fifth grade. Jonathan doesn’t question why he’s paying for a private tutor.


If it’s part of a report on MSNBC, Jonathan heeds the Southern Poverty Law Center’s identification of “hate groups,” even though well-established Christian groups’ offices are recklessly plotted on the “hate map” published by this unqualified tribunal.


But Jonathan waves away a defense of these brethren because his authorities despise them as “bigoted.” Criticizing homosexuality arises from hate, admitted or not, according to those who form Jonathan’s opinions.


And sexual morality? Leaning on his own understanding and not trusting God, Jonathan discounts the Bible as helpful on this subject.


He politely agrees as a female co-worker—or his wife-- hotly defends the valued work of Planned Parenthood to “protect women’s health.” These clinics kill many thousands of babies, but Jonathan’s mind won’t go there.


Occasionally Jonathan feels a sharp twinge—doubt, maybe? Does his version of truth hang together? Is he being harsh and unjust, even as he defends “social justice”?


But it doesn’t last and he quickly moves on. His camp’s grip is firm and it would be too risky for him to change.


Today’s anti-Christian camps thrive on blacklists, pre-formed opinions, and taboo discussions. They exalt sin and mock virtue. They attack the blessings of America and magnify its flaws.


Yet these camps are curiously populated with many self-declared Christians who rush to become allies and pound their tent pegs in enemy territory, propelled by the age-old weaknesses of pride, greed, prestige, cowardice, comfort and lust.


After all, Jonathan can hardly defy homosexual “rights” when he must maintain his secret porn stash on his smart phone—something even his quasi-feminist wife wouldn’t be cool with.


So goes the smoldering, self-contradictory world of many church-goers like Jonathan, his wife, and their poorly-educated children.


These people dwell in self-assigned slave camps. Sometimes tempted to open their minds, most never do because they feel stuck. Without the Holy Spirit doing a mighty work on these hearts, few will open their eyes to see and ears to hear.


If that happens, praise God for each new creation! If these souls repent, they will be welcomed into the tents of hope and truth where there is no despair but inexplicable peace-- even when surrounded by prison camps.


Camp followers have always been two-bit merchants and prostitutes. Their unfaithfulness today endangers the body of Christ, because we live in perilous times.


How can we extract them from darkness and lead them into light? Let’s pray and forward this article. Maybe some will see themselves and repent.