Special book review: Jesus Wars by John Philip Jenkins
Reading Jesus Wars is like going back to school. The rough digestion of each and every page is confirming everything I knew and feared about the history of the church, yet revealing more about the depths to which the late classical and early medieval Christian monolith sank as the patriarchs threw their arms in deadly embrace around despotic politics. It is tedious reading, not because of the language, but because the author repeatedly details the stories of who did what to whom ad nauseam, all for the same reason: the preservation of political power. The list of evidence for his position is overwhelming; I certainly better understand why those in academia have a tendency to dismiss the claims of Christianity when looking at it from a surface perspective. The world of state-owned Christianity is completely alien to Christ's admonition to His disciples: "by this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” --John 13:35
I would not recommend this book to anyone who is not absolutely solid in their devotion to Christ; it is my personal friendship with our God that keeps me from rejecting the whole kit and caboodle. I know Whom I have believed, and He is not the god of Constantine! While it is excruciating to peel back the flesh of this issue to remove the tumors of idolatry, compromise, and a whole host of other methods of self-worship, the action is paramount if any real healing is to occur. The demons of our past must be encountered and exposed; we must relate them to our current environment and be willing to neutralize their presence wherever they make their mark. If we refuse, the cancer will spread to other systems and become uncontrollable, resulting in great loss for the kingdom of God; while we know our LORD's triumph is inevitable, a blight makes for a far less successful harvest. This is the enemy's goal, and why he continues to make war even though he is aware he eventually lose.
A hope that I maintain is that God is always doing something new; somewhere, whether we are in its midst or not, rays of sunlight are making their way to the earth. Though the prophet's cry over Constantinople during this period was, "Ichabod" (the glory of the LORD has departed), at the same time God was mightily using a young man named Patrick in a far away corner of the world called Ireland. The stone and mortar of Patrick's work would be built into a fortress that would preserve the Christian faith beyond even that which the pounding waves of the Islamic caliphates could reach; indeed, its foundation would even be translated across the sea to become part of the base from which American missionaries would re-launch the Gospel across the globe.
Will we be part of the 'something new'? This will partially depend on our desire and ability to let go of the 'something old'...