Contrary to Christmas holiday tradition, Jesus Himself said in Matthew 10:34, “Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” The notion that Jesus came to establish world peace (prior to the Millennial Kingdom) is actually a misrepresentation of the Christmas story as told in Luke. What the Angel of God actually said upon the birth of Jesus was this: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests!” (emphasis mine). The final phrase is a qualifier, like the conditional promise of Romans 8:28 that He will make all things work to the good of those (and only those) who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Only men and women on whom God’s favor rests deserve peace. And until He returns to establish the thousand-year Sabbath “Day” on earth (the Millennial Kingdom) there will and must be conflict between those on whom His favor rests and those who defy Him.
This conflict exists for the benefit of the lost, since the devil wants them to be comfortable, lazy and apathetic in spiritual matters, because they belong to him by right under the curse of Adam and will remain his Hell-bound slaves unless they repent and voluntarily accept the free gift of salvation in Christ per John 3:18 (although my Calvinist friends might have trouble with the word “voluntarily” in that sentence, and my Orthodox Jewish friends might defer to their deadline, which our Christian Bible sets in Romans 11 – the close of the “age of the Gentiles”). It is only when the lost are confronted with the reality that God created humanity for His plan and purpose that it becomes possible for the scales to fall from their eyes, allowing them to see and understand TRUTH.
Only the enlightened can recognize the great cyclical tumult of human history, waxing and waning from season to season and from valley to mountaintop, as one continuous dramatic performance of His Story: a riveting interactive spectacle that commands our attention and forces us to take sides in the ceaseless battle of good and evil; a non-stop 4-D movie in which we all are both audience and actors in the glorious theater of His Creation, which groans in anticipation of the crescendo toward which it builds: the soon return of the Messiah.
We are exhorted to “contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:7) and commanded by Jesus both to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) and to “occupy until I come” (Luke 19:13).
In my theology of “Whole Bible Christianity,” all the teachings and resources of the Old Testament (tempered by the New Testament in matters of church life and personal morality) serve the Cause of Christ today, and impose a duty upon us to be active stewards of ALL spheres of society – including the social, political, commercial and cultural.
To that end I established First Century Bible Church early in 2020 as a non 501(c)(3) fellowship of individuals and affiliated congregations around the world, united on the essentials of the faith, with tolerance in non-essentials. (In short our essentials are the Revised Nicene Creed of 381, plus the behavioral essentials of biblical marriage and sexuality without which our self-perpetuating ethics-based human civilization – founded upon God’s covenant with Abraham – is impossible.)
In November 2020, under the spiritual covering of First Century Bible Church, I created “Swamp Rangers: a citizen network for swamp creature pest control” using a strategic satirical theme as a cover for serious cultural/political engagement I call “campy but cunning constitutionalism.”
To many, this concept of church-originated cultural/political engagement without an overt evangelistic theme and tone is unfathomable. But to such people the rise of a Christian rebellion against tyrannical British occupation, under the self-proclaimed legal authority of a “Declaration of Independence,” would have seemed equally mystifying and “un-Christian” had they lived then. But, thankfully, the founders were Whole Bible Christians, or else this constitutional republic whose Christian works have blessed the world beyond measure (until the Marxist take-over in the 20th century) never would have been formed.
I formed Swamp Rangers as a Christian pastor confident in my authority to fight under the banner of Christ for the preservation of this God-blessed Republic and the (indirectly) Bible-based Constitution on which it stands, through an organization that is not overtly evangelical any more than the Continental Army was. As a modern member of the Black Robed Regiment, I do not hesitate to fight on a secular battlefield for victories in this world that produce major but largely unseen parallel spiritual victories, just as the forming of this nation did.
Importantly, the presence of clergy (the “Black Robes”) in the fight against the British provided succor and encouragement to the believers in the mixed Christian and non-Christian Continental Army, but they also provided a bridge to salvation for the many non-believers who accepted Christ specifically because they came to trust the Black Robes, whom they saw put feet to their faith in a cause they all were willing to die for – rather than just spouting lofty spiritual rhetoric from the safety of church sanctuaries.
I will never give up trying to disciple the weak-of-faith majority in today’s American churches, and to evangelize the deceived-unsaved pew-sitters among them. But having labored in that fruitless field for decades with so little return, and often been scorned by its feckless shepherds, I am elated and energized to have discovered a brand-new mission field in the MAGA Movement: millions of secular but patriotic children and grandchildren of overtly Christian households who themselves might never or rarely been “to church” but who generally respect God and agree that American greatness is somehow associated with her Christian heritage. These, along with the Christian conservatives (the remnant) who make up the other half of the Trump base, will be recruited by Swamp Rangers – and by the lifestyle example of Whole Bible Christians in this network, I expect many will be saved.
Contact me at [email protected] to join. We launch officially on Jan. 1.
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