What Do We Want? Discipleship! When Do We Want It? Now!

A bit ago, Doug Wilson responded to Russell Moore's Washington Post article pronouncing the death of the Religious Right.

Among the good things he said was this false trichotomy, most annoying to the present writer, who teeters between a-millennial and post-millennial thought:

"We can either abandon culture, accommodate ourselves in some way to culture, or successfully teach our culture what obedience to Jesus looks like. Moore believes in cultural engagement so the first option is out. He is not a theocratic postmillennialist, so the third option is out. That leaves the second option."

Wait, if we don't successfully disciple the nations we are compromising?  What if, in God's sovereignty, He determines only to save some of a certain tribe and nation, instead of seeing it overwhelmingly discipled to Christ?  I assume this has already happened in history.  Attila's Huns or the Ming dynasty and empire, so far as we know, did not convert completely to the God of Israel.  We may be moving in history toward a time when the Chinese and Mongols and all the rest will do so.  I do hold to such a post-millennial hope.

But to claim that if successful discipleship isn't happening now, then the church is compromising, is as dangerous spiritually as the name-it-and-claim-it charismatic view of healing or prayer.  I guess if America doesn't return to Christ, then the church just didn't work hard enough, pray hard enough, embrace the right eschatology, or back the right candidate.  We must have compromised somewhere.

Tell that to Tyndale, burning at the stake saying, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes."  There is a pragmatism lurking here that works against Wilson's purposes.  He wants us to take our Bibles to the political debate, and not just use natural law or common sense.  I agree.  But let's not argue for that by saying we would win if we did so, and we are losing because we aren't.  Sometimes you wind up in prison for the Word of God, too (Rev. 1:9-10).

I don't mind Wilson's call to base our political advocacy firmly on the Bible.  I don't mind an expectation that the nations will eventually flow into Jerusalem to worship the Son.  But let's beware an impatience for that, that is quick to assume compromise when results aren't as immediate as we'd like them to be.

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