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Summary:

Many extremists become myopically fixed on certain issues. They cannot see that the Lord is more concerned about winning people to Christ, discipling them and growing churches that reflect all of His loving attributes. The church of today does not necessarily consist of the good, but of those who want to be better and do better. Yet, sadly, many of our churches are paralyzed with timidity and are gradually dying of indignity. A great church should be of such character that it is easy for people to find God and easier yet to forget themselves.

Most religious reactionaries struggle to trust people because of their abiding belief in the sinful nature of mankind. Often, an ultra conservative will quote Jeremiah 17:9 (quickview)  which says, "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked who can know it?" With this built in tendency to not trust oneself, the fighting fundamentalists have a hard time loving or trusting others. Love does not keep a ledger of the sins and failures of others. A great number of religious reactionaries struggle to have a healthy self-image because their security is rooted in obedience to a very exacting image of God. They tend to believe that God expects them to constantly strive to a higher level of theological understanding. For this reason it is difficult to be able to feel relaxed around these folks because of their nagging sense of self-doubt and inadequacy. Love is a fabric that never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the water of criticism, adversity or grief! Quite a few reactionaries are hard to read because of their hesitancy to reveal much of what they are thinking. They are afraid someone might disagree with their convictions. This seeming lack of transparency is in fact a planned response. By masking their feelings they believe they are better able to live a lifestyle based on raw objectivity rather than subjective interpretations of their situations. For example, some members of the religious right have difficulties in deciding whether to identify more with the fundamentalists or with the evangelicals. William Martin describes the two poles that many oscillate between in his book: God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America, when he indicates, 'If to be a fundamentalist used to mean to be separate from the world, then to be an evangelical implied that one should regard the world lost in sin nevertheless still under the control of a sovereign God.

It is like a pendulum swinging back and forth between;

1). Kingdom anticipation (God will bring His kingdom so we are to faithfully wait and serve Him in whatever way we can) - A fighting fundamentalist's perception

2). Kingdom building (God will bring His kingdom in quantitative and qualitative fashion. Therefore, it is a part of our responsibility to work toward His kingdom coming in all of its dimensions) - An evangelical's perception.

Paul the apostle challenges us where he writes, "We demolish argument and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5) Some of the masks often used by the reactionary religious right include some of the following:


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