Creating a Learning Network for Kingdom Builders!
The Emergence of A NEW Christian Covenant Nation
William R Collier Jr
There has been more ink spilled, even by Christians, about the so-called “post-Christian” era we are allegedly entering into than there has been about the nuts and bolts and of what a Christian Nation is and how we can restore or create such a nation in our midst. Unless you are somebody who applauds the seeming demise of the Christian Nation and the emergence of a “post-Christian America”, I suspect you might be more interested in seeing the Christian Nation restored, or a new one created, than in simply accepting the triumph of the forces of hell and their secular allies in America, with them in control of the politics of the nation, our culture, our social services, our media and education, our economy, our businesses, our finances, and even our home life and church life.
The consequences of living in ANY sort of non-Christian society can be severe and, should the Lord tarry, if we simply refuse to resist the trend and the actions of the enemy, perhaps because we think the Lord is NOT going to tarry, then our heirs will grow up in a new nation where slavery, bondage, and even torture or death are the daily price Christians pay for simply existing as Christians.
It would seem that the leaders of many Christian movements and organizations come from the Me Generation, the Baby Boomers, and they are not acting out of character, they are serving themselves and they see no past before their generation or any future after their generation.
This pride and foolishness is vanity and it has already done much to undermine the future of their children and their grandchildren who were born into a world that was already making needless compromises as Christian leaders gave up on everything, focusing instead on “church growth” and “body ministry”, revivalism, and end-times prophecies.
I see this very differently.
I see that the main problem here is that the Kingdom Nation, all believers in America, has lost its influence over the natural nation. It is so bad that today when we say things like “the Kingdom of God” we see churches or heaven, we don’t see that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”, we assume that everything outside of praise and worship, sermons, benevolence, prophecy, and “spiritual issues” is really under the rule of “the god of this world”, which is not really the case at all.
That word for “world” is “kosmos”, a word that stands for “a harmonious arrangement of order” or “the present arrangement and order.”
The idea of using “world” for “kosmos” is like when we say “in the world of the teenager” or in the psychological term from Choice Theory, the “quality world.”
Of course, we also say “world” for the planet, and to be sure, at times the Greeks did as did Jewish writers who used Greek in, for instance, the Septuagint, but you cannot interpret a word meaning, where the word, as in kosmos, has different shades of meaning (just like “world” in our language) if there are other clear scriptural reasons to deny such an interpretation.
In Psalm 24:1 it says the earth (erets) is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof and all they that dwell in it.
This is repeated throughout scripture: God Himself rules over everything and everyone within the earth.
How can we interpret any verse to mean that the devil is in charge of this earth? Clearly, the devil rules, where he rules, by default. This means that he has influence and control because human beings do not submit to God’s rule, but both he and they are in rebellion, a rebellion which God will ultimately judge, punish, and destroy.
If there is a “god of this world” it is a “god” that is no god, for there is only one God, so that this is a false god, the “rule” is illegitimate and is only by default, the “world” here is a system rooted in these false “truths”, and this “world” includes people, ideas, and structures that are not submitted to God’s rulership.
The idea that any false god should rule over the earth and its people anywhere for whatever reason you might give is in fact a false doctrine that does not match the simplicity of truth, that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The idea that we are in some alleged “post Christian” nation or culture or and that we just have to accept this whole process as if it is inevitable and un-changeable, is rooted in this same false doctrine.
The false truth says, “we are not responsible to future generations to leave them an order of things that is based on the fact that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof and all who dwell on the earth.”
I am not a “dominionist”. I do not believe in establishing political, military, cultural, or economic control over non-believers and I do not believe in any notion that we can usher in the Return of the Lord or the End Times by bringing the physical world under our physical dominion. On the other hand, I also reject the idea that we can or should let the affairs of the physical world, our culture or economy, be dominated by worldlings, people are of the “Quality World” of the very spirit of anti-christ which has been at war these past 2,000 plus years, opposing the People of God and the Truth of God.
If the only way we see our present, our past, and our future is through the perspective of an end-times worldview that has held, for over 150 years, that Jesus was going to “definitely” return “in this generation” then we mystify the common sense solutions that might help millions of believers be more effective at extending the Kingdom of God and we stand in the way of individual believers walking in the full measure of the good things God has prepared IN THIS LIFE for those who love Him!
If we do not do what is right, not only for ourselves, but even on larger scales, as with our region or our nation, then we will suffer, and we should not say we are suffering for Christ or because “Jesus is coming back soon.” There is not any Bible based reason to deny our obligations or to neglect to use right principles in every area of authority or influence within our hands, not even on the very last day before Christi’s Return. In other words, no matter when Jesus Returns, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring the full measure of our obligations, of our opportunity to act as witnesses and also as the salt of the earth, or to not follow right principles in every area of life at all levels.
I am not debating whether Jesus’ Return is very soon and I am not debating the specifics of how or when, or even, for instance, how the Tribulation will play out or if there will literally be a tribulation. I personally lean towards a post-tribulation Return and I personally would be amazed if Jesus did not Return in my generation, but my view of the end-times is not the issue, and neither is yours.
The issue at hand is simple: do we let the god of this world destroy the past vestiges of our Christian Nation and accept his triumph over all the issues and authorities of our lives at every level or do we respond with wisdom, in boldness and faith, using right principles, refusing to even countenance the idea that there will ever be a complete absence of some form of a Christian Nation on this earth at any point until the RETURN of Christ?
The problem is simple and direct: the Kingdom Nation in our midst was once the salt of this natural nation, and it was consciously aware of belonging to the whole Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom Nation in America has lost its “savor” or its ability to preserve the Truth and heal wounds.
If the salt has lost its savor what happens? It gets trampled on by the feet of men and if there ever was a “Christian Nation” (Kingdom Nation) within America that led the natural nation, instead of the other way around, then truly it would seem that it is being trampled on and the leaders of the Kingdom Nation within America have abdicated their roles as leaders within the Kingdom Nation of America.
This brings us to a new language or way of seeing things that may help us understand the natural nation, which exists naturally as a political/military sovereignty which may or may not be influenced by God’s Word, the Kingdom Nation which exists in the Spirit and which consists of all believers within the Natural Nation, and the Covenant Nations which are intentional nations within the natural nation and constituent parts of the Kingdom Nation. It is the retreat from the Work of creating and preserving Christian Covenant Nations by the Kingdom Nation within the four walls of a CHURCH that is defined by the Natural Nation, that is making the Kingdom Nation of America irrelevant to the Natural Nation of America.
Consider this- the physical body, your flesh, should be governed by your soul, your personality or your “heart and mind” while the soul should be governed by your spirit, which is made alive in Christ, and which is ruled by Christ.
Here then we also have God, the Father, who rules over all, God the Son who created all things and who governs this world and who dwelt among us, and the Holy Spirit (God the Spirit) who dwells in us all and manifests in signs and spiritual gifts in our daily lives.
The proper order of the temple is the same- the Outer Court, the Inner Court, and the Holy of Holies.
I do not propose to say what the order for Covenant versus Kingdom Nation should be. Clearly the Outer Court is the Natural Nation but for the individual it may seem that their Covenant Nation is the Holy of Holies but in terms of which leads which, the Kingdom Nation produces the Covenant Nation, because you must enter into the Kingdom before you can be part of any Covenant Nation.
What is different about my perspective is that we do not get caught up in arguing about whether America is or is not or was or was not a Christian Nation.
We can say, properly, that the Kingdom Nation was the place where the first Covenant Nations emerged on these shores and that those Covenant Nations within the overall Kingdom Nation were the “head and not the tail” in this land, exerting strong influence most of the time over the Natural Nation.
The Kingdom Nation, which is Spiritual and eternal, which is what many simply call “the Church”, but in a broader sense of family, community, fellowship, and the rulership of Christ, led by the “local church”, a fellowship community of Christian families and households, works THROUGH the Covenant Nations, specific moves of God as unique Works that manifest the Kingdom of Nation in ALL areas, for all issues, according to a God-given identity, a cohesive value system and way of life, and a shared vision, mission, and destiny as unique to each Covenant Nation as it is with each individual believer.
What were the Covenant Nations within the Natural Nation of America that manifested the Kingdom Nation within America?
While some might argue that I should include church groups or religious movements, such as the Great Awakening, we can point to three good, solid examples of Covenant Nations which influenced the Natural Nation until the mid to late 1800’s-
1. the Covenant Nation of Puritan New England spearheaded by the Pilgrims led by William Bradford (who was not a “Puritan” simply because he was a “separatist” from the Church of England, but who was, in fact in total concord with the Puritans on all other points and who, though not a “Puritan” in the strictest sense was the father of Puritan New England)
2. the Covenant Nation of what we might call “greater Pennsylvania” which originally included most all of New York, parts of Ohio (or perhaps ALL), West Virginia, northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, and, less obvious
3. the numerous Societies for abolishing slavery, preventing cruelty to animals, and for promoting virtue, culminating in over 69 Christian benevolent and fraternal societies, during the 1800’s as a result of William Wilberforce, an English reformer and Christian nation-builder (he helped to found Sierra Leone, for instance).
These “covenant nations” were all born within the Kingdom Nation, but they became the heart and mind of the natural nation, and only after they declined, especially after the proliferation in America of an end-times obsession, did the Natural Nation begin to dictate terms to the Covenant Nations, constricting them, maligning them, making them conform to its image.
This has done harm to the Natural Nation, with vice and moral perversity being celebrated and holiness being shunned.
It has done harm to the Covenant Nations so that they no longer have any substance or voice and barely even have any remembrance.
It has done harm to the Kingdom Nation which suffers now under a regime of control, regulation, discrimination, and suppression that can only end in the slaughter of believers for no better reason but that Christian leaders abandoned all the rich inheritance of their forbearers in Christ.
What these three Williams did I hope to call to remembrance and to not merely restore but to recreate, although in a different form that gathers from each of these types of Covenant Nation ideas, principles, and methods which can be compared with scripture and applied to today’s needs, issues, and technological possibilities.
If some of the skeptics of this plan for creating a NEW Covenant Nation, to renew and serve the Kingdom Nation, to promote the creation of other Covenant Nations, to serve and proclaim the truth as witnesses and as the salt of the earth to the Natural Nations, were to have been persuasive with their arguments to William Bradford, William Penn, and William Wilberforce one can hardly imagine the great evils we ourselves would have suffered, far beyond even our present crisis!
The wisdom of Gamiliel, a great Jewish teacher, applies here.
Gamiliel said of Jesus and His followers, basically- do not try to destroy them or shut them up, do not oppose them, for if they are doing the Work of God then we would be working against God, but if they are not doing a Work of God then their whole movement will collapse and fail under God’s judgment.
We see that the Natural Nations of this present age appear to be wholly under the dominion of the enemy of our faith, the accuser of the brethren, and the spirit of anti-christ, and we see that the Kingdom Nations are largely passive and apathetic about all of this, even to the point of celebrating all this as a “sign” that Jesus will Return soon. The problem is, at its root, that the heart and soul of the Natural Nation, which was the Covenant Nations, has been abandoned by Christians.
The problem is that we are not manifesting the Kingdom of God within Covenant Nations, therefore the solution is that we start manifesting the Kingdom of God within a NEW Covenant Nation by building that nation intentionally, in our midst, even as Bradford, Penn, and Wilberforce did, but by using the technology of the 21st century and addressing the needs and problems of the 21st century and beyond.
You can mystify and spiritualize the reasons for our present crisis, where the Natural Nations reject truth, you can convince yourself that it is isn’t our fault because Jesus is “coming back soon”, and you can mystify and spiritualize the solutions, saying we should pray more, preach more, go to church more, or worship and praise more, but none of these mystical spiritualizations of cause and effect and potential solutions will in any way clear us from our guilt for letting this happen or our present obligation to work to make things as they should be: by creating a new Covenant Nation that will be able to be a witness and the salt of the earth to Natural Nations.
The question, as I see it, is not “is or was America a Christian Nation” but, rather, “how can we more effectively influence the Natural Nation by mobilizing the Kingdom Nation to create a New Covenant Nation in our midst?”