Saturday, December 30, 2017

A warning against Idolatry--Worship of Hyman Institutions--Repost from October 8, 2000

The following is a web page first posted on October 8, 2001, on Christian-oneness.org, with an "Amplification" posted on the same page on June 30, 2001.  This content was included in a copyright filing stamped "Received" by the Copyright Office on September 10, 2001 (the day before the infamous "9/11").  It has since been withdrawn from the Christian-oneness.org site as not consistent with the current theme of that site.  However, I am re-posting it here because I have not seen anything that has contradicted it in the 16 years since it was first posted:

A Warning Concerning Idolatry

October 8, 2000

God is our provider. He freely gives us all things through his beloved Son, Jesus Christ. In him we live and move and have our being, and we are to depend upon him alone. If we put our trust in anything or anyone else to provide our needs, we put something else in God's place. This is idolatry.
It would be easy enough to recognize our idolatry if we habitually bowed down before a statue of Baal, calling on him to provide for us. Worship of "gods" represented by statues is an ancient practice rejected by modern civilization (even outside the Church) as "primitive," and the Bible clearly denounces it. But we are blind to our own idolatry.

We have not substituted statues for God. We have done something far more deceptive. Our culture has created artificial legal "persons" — corporations, governments and other institutions -- invested them with immortality (just like God), esteemed them as corporately more important than their individual members, employees or subjects, and relied upon them to take care of us. And Christians have joined in this corporate deception, esteeming institutions men have created as more important than their individual members for whom Christ died and trusting in them to provide for us.
However, Congress is no more able to provide our needs than is the statue of Baal. Both are the work of men's hands. The idol of ancient Israel was a sculpture in wood and stone which its worshippers believed to give power to its priests. "Congress" is an abstraction written on paper which in the eyes of the people gives power to its 535 very human members, when a majority of them agree. But as Christians we should realize that it is God who gives authority to the members of Congress, not our abstract Constitution. And it is God who provides for us.

The only corporate institution God has ordained is his Church. This is not a human, denominational organization but the whole body of believers. It truly possesses the immortality, unity and power to provide for its members which our human institutions seek to counterfeit because it is Jesus' body, bound together by his Holy Spirit. As members of his Church, we are members of God himself. None of our human institutions can make a similar claim, and we commit idolatry when we depend upon them for our provision.

God will not long overlook the idolatry of his people in this area. As long as Western governments continued to acknowledge God as their provider, at least formally and publicly, he winked to some degree at his people's idolatrous dependence on corporate institutions. But as our institutions have abandoned even any formal recognition of God, he has at times allowed them to crash. God doesn't need to hurl fire bolts of judgment to spoil the work of our hands. He simply needs to withdraw his support from our institutions and allow them to do the best they can with their own ability to provide. Since our institutions have no such ability in themselves, when God leaves, they crash. This has happened several times in comparatively small, but still devastating, ways over the course of the last century. But the worst is yet to come.

In North America, in particular, unless God's spoiled people there repent of their idolatry, an economic collapse is coming soon. It will destroy the web of economic and governmental institutions upon which the elect have heretofore falsely relied. It will be so complete that even the governments of North America will be unable, through their social programs, to begin to provide for the massive needs that will suddenly present themselves. At that time, the Church must be ready to supply these needs in Jesus' name. This will require supernatural provision on a large scale. The Church will need all of the power of God displayed and all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in full operation. It will become clear to everyone that only God is our provider.

Ian Johnson, 10/8/2000

Amplification, June 30, 2001

The collapse has not yet come, but it is certainly coming, unless the CHURCH repents. The election of a "godly" U.S. President does not fix the problem, because the problem was never political. It was a spiritual problem within the Church, and the Church is going to have to change its way to avoid it. The first tremors of the collapse have already occurred, and the government is learning that its ordinary techniques for propping up a weakened economy simply aren't going to work this time. They can delay real pain for a few months, but not prevent it. Only the Church can fix the problem.
However, there is some good news. When the collapse occurs, it will force Christians to repair some of the major problems of the visible Church. There will be no more playing "church as usual." Desperate people will desperately seek after God. Since most of us will no longer have the means of transportation to reach our denominational churches across town, on the edge of town or in the suburbs, we will be forced to cooperate with Christians in our own neighborhoods and to reach out to, and take some responsibility for, our neighbors. Because of the intense need all around us, the church will become more than a place where we go to sing a few songs, hear a sermon and have some superficial friendships. It will become a place we habitually go to find real friendship, brotherhood and help in our very real distress. It will be our common means of survival, and, because of this, great unity will develop.

We could avert the disaster by repenting and moving in this direction voluntarily. Unfortunately, I do not see this happening. We are still too wed to our church, governmental and business organizations.