Battlefields and Museums

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The real constitution of every nation is located in the cultural assumptions of the people of that nation, and those cultural assumptions are themselves fixed by the object of their worship. The God (or gods) you worship shape and direct everything. The God you worship may cause you to write certain things down (in your written Constitution), but the only thing that will preserve that Constitution is continued loyalty to the God who inspired it in the first place.

Should the American Founders have included a reference to Jesus Christ in the Constitution? Sure, that would have been great, and I would be the last person to object. But all that would have done is given me another reference that I could use in debates to embarrass the people who specialize in ignoring the plain facts of history. But I already have plenty of those. When the Constitution was adopted, nine of the thirteen colonies had established state churches, all of them Christian. Does anybody care about that? Nope.

Christendom is largely gone, and it has eroded just as much in nations that are still explicitly Christian on paper (like Great Britain) as in nations like ours that are implicitly Christian. Unless you are worshipping the true God, and you are doing so in spirit and in truth, you cannot maintain the truth about anything. Unless you continue to love God, writing everything down in solemn assembly will preserve nothing.

The Constitution is paper, and nothing else. The thing that matters is always the unwritten Constitution, written on human hearts. This is because the human heart always reflects the will of its idol. This is why appeals to the Constitution during the Obama years will be in vain — they will be in vain for the same reason they have been in vain for the last century or so. People always obey their gods, and what they obey reveals the identity of those gods. And they always delight to ignore the words, the heritage, and the legacy of the previous gods.

This is why Christians need to stop waving the paper records that prove the identity of the “previous God.” That doesn’t matter — the central pleasure of the current regime is to ignore the legacy of the previous God. Why do we keep pointing to that evidence? It just cheers them up, being able to ignore it some more.

As Christians, we should know about our Christian heritage. We should thank God for it. But our task over the coming years must be to challenge the current gods in our own voice. God bless Patrick Henry, but he is not here anymore. Our task is not to mildly chide the current gods for not giving enough credit to us about our glory days. Our task is to pray that God would raise up men to challenge today’s dead idols in the name of the living God.

The halls of Christendom have many banners hanging there, commemorating many astonishing victories from centuries past. Not surprisingly, our adversies never want to visit that museum anymore. But we have to stop acting like our job is to get them to visit that museum. Our job is actually to take to the field and win another banner to hang in that museum. But always remember, the central instruments here will be pulpit and table, Word and sacrament.

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