Eric told me I needed to be reading some heavy theology. I looked at him like he was crazy and asked him when I was supposed to be doing this. But, of course, he was right. So for two days I’ve been reading about two pages a day of the The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards. I couldn’t process more than two pages at a time anyway.

So, today, I made it past the author’s preface. And Edwards is going about arguing from the Bible what are the distinguishing factors that a person can look at and say, “This is true Christianity.” What does the Bible say to look for to test the genuineness of your faith?

And in his preface he says something pretty remarkable:

“It is by the mixture of counterfeit [Christianity] with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ … By this, he hurt the cause of Christianity in and after the apostolic age, much more than by all the persecutions … The apostles in all their epistles, show themselves much more concerned at the former mischief than the latter.”

Did you catch that? Not being able to discern between real Christianity and counterfeit Christianity gives the devil his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ. Not persecution from outside.

So here’s a question I’ve been asking myself: When I fear what is happening to Christianity in America, am I more afraid of persecution intensifying  against Christians or am I more aware of the dangers of the Church being unable to distinguish between true Christianity and the imitation version?

Edwards asserts that the writers of the New Testament were much more concerned with being able to identify what truly following Christ looks like than being afraid of persecution.

When you see the news and look at the Church, are you afraid of coming persecution? Or something worse?

 

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