By William Mikler
In the hands of secularists, the so-called sacred-secular distinction is really aimed at the extinction of the sacred
If there is one lie the secularists don’t want Christians to discover, dismantle, and have done with, it’s the lie that is summed up in the phrase, “the sacred-secular distinction”. It is by means of this lie that secularists attempt to imprison Christians in their church houses so that they, the secularists, can run and ruin the world.
Here is how the lie works. It attempts first to divide life into sacred and secular spheres. Then it attempts to limit all Christian activity to the sacred sphere—the sacred sphere as defined by the secularists themselves. And since for secularists the only approved Christian activities are public and private worship, all else in life, whether of business or politics or art or education or a whole host of other everyday activities, is deemed out of bounds for Christian activity. In the secularist world the Christian may worship in the church of his choice, but he may not practice his faith in the world outside the church house.
If secularists have their way, the lie of the sacred-secular distinction will lead eventually to the extinction of the sacred, including the bulldozing down of churches.
Essentially, secularists seek to establish a world in which the unholy dominates. In opposition to the secularists, Christian faith and action seeks to establish a world in which holiness reigns. Make no mistake about it: The war is on. It is a war between the holy and the unholy. It is a war between Christianization and secularization.
The future will be bleak if secularists win the war. A world run on non-Christian terms, the secularists hold, will be utopia. But the only utopia secularization leads to is the kind witnessed to by the bloody guillotines of the French Revolution, the unmarked graves and gulags of Communist totalitarianism, the garbage dump graveyards in the U.S. where more than 50,000,000 aborted American babies found their final resting places, and the failing welfare-entitlement state with its myriad oppressions, thievery, and industry killing programs.
No thanks. Secularism is evil. It leads to ruin and death. It leads to 20th Century Europe and two world wars. It leads to the Europe of today, where the foundations of Christendom have been deserted in favor of a godless and unworkable humanism. It leads to today’s United States of America and its failing public school system, deteriorating infrastructure, artless art, declining morals, imprisoned economy, and a state that wants the Lord’s Prayer to read as follows,
“Our Father, who art in Washington,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done.”
Let’s call secularism what it is: paganism. Anti-Christian paganism.
Because secularism is godless, it can’t be holy. Unholy, it cannot do the world any lasting good. But it can do a great deal of harm. Separate the holy from the affairs of this world and you get a world in chaos. In other words, you get a secularist world. You get today’s world.
Secularism’s inherent lack of holiness corrupts men and their institutions. That in turn binds men and their institutions to destructive failures. (Had early 20th Century Europe chosen Christian holiness over her ascending secularism, and had she been true to her Christian foundations, the 20th Century wouldn’t have distinguished itself as the bloodiest in history.) But while secularism leads men into destructive dilemmas of their own making, it also does something else: it brings down the wrath of God.
What does the wrath of God look like? In the Revelation, St. John metaphorically (and chillingly) describes its early stages as the march of the horsemen of the apocalypse. War and death, want and inflation, hunger and famine, men dominating other men—these are God’s early judgments on secularist cultures. Worse comes later if men don’t repent.
If a culture under the wrath of God wants the horsemen to return to their stables, it must choose Christian faith and practice over secularism. Only then will God’s blessing replace His wrath.
Men have a choice, you see, and the choice is between the holy and the unholy.
You want pagan politics? Then vote Nazis into power. Or Marxists. Or join the Marxist revolution and murder hope and the innocent. Or vote godless politicians into office and tolerate godless judges, executives, lawmakers, and bureaucrats. Politics is only pagan when it is secular. You want godly politics? Then make politics holy.
You want pagan education and stupid teachers and students? Then secularize the public school system and outlaw any mention or study of God as Creator, Governor, and Lord of History. Education is increasingly mindless because it is secular. You want godly education? Then make education holy.
You want a pagan media? Then tolerate its godless, secularist machinery that makes a mockery of truth. Where media is corrupt it is so because it is secular. You want a godly media? Then make media holy.
You want a pagan economy? Then do business the way thieves do business. Rob, cheat, and destroy. Steal by means of over taxation or oppressive regulatory policy. Let crony capitalism run amok. Justify and endow slothfulness. Destroy honest labor and reward. The economy is rotten in direct proportion to its secularization. You want a godly economy? Then make the economy holy.
You want pagan art? Remove God and truth and beauty from artistic expression. It is the secularization of art that corrupts it. You want godly art? Then make art holy.
Secularization is paganism, and paganism is destructive. Always. Everywhere. And it causes men to rot.
God gave ancient Israel the choice between life and death. The choice was between holy and unholy living. Israel eventually chose the latter. She chose to be secular. She thus chose death. A like choice is before us now. The choice is between secularism and Christianity.
The only cure for the ills of our world is Christianization. But Christians shouldn’t expect the secularists to accept this cure. Instead, Christians should expect secularists to fight tooth and nail against it.
The secularist fights Christianization because he can’t help himself. He is what he is: unholy; and holiness threatens him. He also fights Christianization because it threatens his corrupted being, power, and institutions. He knows what is bad for him, and Christianization is bad for him. As King Solomon put it a very long time ago, “The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers” (Proverbs 10:29 ESV). Christianization is destructive of secularism, and the secularist knows it. That’s why he resists Christianization.
Christians must labor for a Christianized world without flinching. When the secularists put up No Trespassing signs in an effort to bar Christians from exercising their faith in the everyday world outside the church house, Christians should ignore the signs. In God’s world, it is the secularist who is the trespasser.
It is secularism that must be made extinct, not Christianity. The secularists can’t and won’t lead our nation out of the pit into which they have led it. The hope of our nation is the church, the people of God. Christians must lead the nation into the paths of righteousness.
They’re the only ones who can.
William Mikler is a missionary bishop. His work with senior church leaders in developing nations focuses on the companion duties of discipleship and development.