Religio

The true sense of the word religion: a plighted faith, a bond which must not be broken. Step back from the centuries-old liberal consensus and stop confining faith to the private sphere. Read Marx’s On the Jewish Question, and it is clear that the modern liberal state cannot coexist on equal terms (and so cannot coexist at all!) with religion – Marx, far from denying this claim by Bruno Bauer, uses the view that spiritual faith is a projection of oeconomic life to argue that only changing the oeconomic structure will abolish what religion really is.

True religion? St James tells us. This is more than just a tame accommodation within the constraints of the status quo of Caesar’s religion (for each system has its own god, and this is indeed why liberal state and the Christian bond do not consistently and peaceably exist, each in its integrity, without the one making war upon the other). No compromise will last: Christ is God, or Caesar is God.

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16 responses to “Religio

  1. Except Christ said, Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. And then St. Paul, Subject yourselves to the governing authorities and work quietly with your hands not prying into another’s business but always being ready to give an answer for that hope that is within us. And St. Peter says submission…

    Marx is rarely the person I deal with from day to day in this present age.

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    • Sure, we’re to submit, because authority is properly from God and cannot be otherwise: this, by God’s sovereignty, has been since the world began. Nevertheless, when these kings of the world become idols, like Herod Agrippa, God will tear them down someday.

      Knowing this, we appreciate the tension between submitting to authority and obeying God rather than men. When Christ said to pay our proper dues to the State in taxes and to the Church in korban, he must have had in mind that both, ultimately, were under him, though the two aren’t united institutionally.

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  2. Yes, but I guess my point is that Caesar and God do coexist. God works through the Caesars of this world as the means of enacting some form of equity, which is the opposite means used in the Church.

    Just because one leader becomes an antichrist by making the proclamation of deity and persecuting the church does not mean the institution is evil per se.

    In the case of equitable government, we are submitting to God when we submit to the ruling authorities.

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    • »Caesar and God do coexist.«

      Certainly, but only one can be God. He who is God in one realm is God of all.

      »In the case of equitable government, we are submitting to God when we submit to the ruling authorities.«

      This is true. At the same time, however, we do seek to make Christ’s reign everywhere visible, even in the civil government before the parousia, without confusing the State with the reign of the King of Kings.

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  3. And how do you propose making Christ’s reign evident everywhere? Serve the Holy Eucharist and offer Blessed Baptism to heads of state?

    No, my point is that Christ’s rule is evident now, and indeed since the beginning of empires and cultus with Cain. It is present already by Providence and the Left Hand Kingdom. We need not redeem something that is not ours to redeem.

    You said, “For each system has its own god, and this is indeed why liberal state and the Christian bond do not consistently and peaceably exist, each in its integrity, without the one making war upon the other.” True, civil religion is a false god, but that does not mean we need to replace it with the God of Christianity in order to have equitable justice and a cultus as God prescribes.

    If you want to see Christ’s kingdom expand and conquer, partake in Holy Communion by your priest/minister and listen to his Absolution.

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    • Hmm, I’m sure God’s reign has indeed been exercised in providence since, well, forever. At the same time, what significance do we give to the earthly reign of the Christ? This seems to be a different kind of rule, though providence has driven toward this point.

      For civil government changing, I’m assuming this happening as the gospel’s preached and changes the hearts of men. The liberal state, though, by nature, if it acts consistently, will demand things that it has no authority to demand. For this reason we do need to be aware.

      But yes, definitely the central locus of all this action in society will be the grace we receive in the liturgy, and as God fulfils the purpose of his Great Commission through us in evangelism and teaching and service, only then will we see things happen.

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      • While I would agree that there are many inadvertent affects of being inwardly renewed Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day, I would say that is not the effect proper of the Gospel, to transform culture or societies. This is not what this present age of pilgrimage is about.

        Surely, there are ill-effects of secularism that will claim god-like authority, but hopefully the liberal/classic art of rhetoric and dialogue will show how the world benefits when we keep any certain religion out of the government concern (in its jurisdiction, ability to censor, etc.).

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  4. By the way, thank you for the dialogue… I was intrigued by these things you were saying.

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  5. »While I would agree that there are many inadvertent affects of being inwardly renewed Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day, I would say that is not the effect proper of the Gospel, to transform culture or societies.«

    I think by inadvertent you mean incidental. But do you believe, though there’s a ‘not-yet’, there’s also an ‘already’ to be seen in the world outside that exceeds ordinary providence?

    Further, do you think the liberal system of non-interference (which really doesn’t measure up to itself, since it claims the authority to judge what ‘neutrality’ is) is the best we should aim for before Christ returns in full glory?

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    • By inadvertent, I mean in inverse relation to the Gospel preached and Sacraments administered.

      Yes, the ‘already’ aspect is seen on the Lord’s Day in the Divine Service.

      No, I do not think the liberal sense of non-interference is best for the individual Christian. When it comes to the church, they are ignorant of such cultural norms and demands of the Creation covenant.

      The individual Christian as a citizen in both kingdoms may and should take up the cause of equity, justice and beauty in the arts and in society, as should all men. The Christian may have a theological basis for doing so that is deliberate, unlike the non-believer, but this does not mean they know how to make a shoe better than a non-believer.

      We should aim at making a good shoe, and selling it at a good price as way of service to our neighbor, working hard to owe no one anything, and supporting the family God has given us. When we have the right vocational doctrines preached after justification sola fide et sola gratia is proclaimed on Sunday, then we have the ability to do such service to God’s glory Monday to Friday. Such things cannot but inadvertently affect a culture that is narcissistic and prone to navel-gazing.

      I believe this is the true doctrine of vocation that was refined in the Reformation and goes hand in hand with a correct preaching of the Gospel.

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      • Hmm, my impression was that hearing the word preached and receiving the sacraments, being themselves subversive to Satan’s domination, would drive the rest rather than the ministry of the Church and the transformation of culture being in real inverse proportion.

        Of course we can’t put the cart before the horse, since the Lord himself has instituted these gifts for us to commune with him before we can take part in the rest of his eschatological mission, the Church being the Body who is both united to him and other from him.

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