Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: salt

The Christian nation heresy

Time was that most Canadians attended a church where Christian values were taught and claimed to govern their lives by those teachings. In such circumstances governments found it expedient to pay lip service at least to Christian principles and to legislate accordingly.

Times have changed. A survey several years ago found that 16% of Canadians attend church each week and only 5% of us read the Bible daily. 55% have never in their life opened a Bible and read a few words in it.

The few of us who still read, believe and endeavour to live by the Bible are left in disarray by this shifting of the ground beneath our feet. It’s all the fault of the government, we say. This was once a Christian country, but it doesn’t feel like it anymore.

We are avoiding reality when we say such things. The government did not create the situation we find ourselves in and has no ability to remedy it. Political activism is a snare for the Christian, a means of diverting us into fruitless activity while the world around us pursues its downward course.

Another danger for Christians is to draw apart from the troubles of the world and concentrate on being ready for our Lord’s return. But this is just the self-centred attitude that has allowed the society we live in to drift into its present situation.

For as Christians we have a responsibility to our fellow citizens. Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. He was talking of salt as a preservative, the only means available in those times to prevent food from spoiling. What good is salt if it is deposited in little piles that have no contact with what it is supposed to preserve?

He also said we are the light of the world and warned us not to hide our light under a bushel. If we cannot talk about our Christian faith in terms that are readily understood by others, isn’t that hiding our light under a bushel? Worse still is to think we don’t have to say anything, people will observe us and be drawn to enquire about our faith. Really? When we don’t even know how to articulate that faith?

When the people of God were taken captives to Babylon, the Holy Spirit inspired Jeremiah to tell them to “seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”

Paul told Timothy: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Can we say that we love God with all our being and our neighbour as ourselves if we decide the best thing for us to do is live in peace and quietness and let the world go on its merry way to destruction?

That wasn’t the way the early Christians thought, nor the Anabaptist martyrs whom we call our forefathers. There is no such thing as a Christian country. Never has been. There used to be Christian people. Do they still exist today? Do our neighbours know anything about them?

Is the salt losing its savour?

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-5).

The intention here should not be hard to understand: there should not be the slightest hint of these things among saints, because the wrath of God will be visited upon the disobedient. Have you noticed any of these things coming to a church near you? Isn’t that evidence that the salt is losing its savour?

Salt is the original food preservative. In Old Testament times it was the only means available to prevent food from spoiling. The sacrifices offered at the tabernacle or in the temple had to be pure, so they were salted. This is the inference when Jesus calls His followers the salt of the earth. He wants us to be pure from all defilement and to have salt in ourselves so that we can preserve others around us from defilement.

Of course we are human and even at our best our saltiness is mingled with something of our human imperfection. In like manner, the salt in Old Testament times that was dug from the shores of the Dead Sea was never 100% pure, yet it was effective. There were lower grades of salt with higher levels of other substances, sometimes to the point of there not being enough actual salt in this supposed salt to be of any use.

Jesus warned us not to be like that. If we allow little bits of the impurities of the world around us to infiltrate our lives, pretty soon we will not have enough salt in ourselves to preserve ourselves from the judgment to come. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13).

Before we complain too much about the putrefaction of the world around us, perhaps we should ask ourselves if we are salty enough to be of any help.

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