The Story of the Birth of the Secular State

Here is another great quote from Doug Wilson’s excellent book Heaven Misplaced: Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. In this section of the book, he is discussing the new humanity and the story that God is telling.  God’s story is about His glorifying Himself through the redemption of a people.  This is seen, for example, in the Exodus.

However, as Wilson notes, “false gods tell a false story.”  Further, the stories of those false gods often ape God’s story on important points, changing the good guys and the bad guys, of course.  The following is a portion of Wilson’s description of the false story that the secular world is telling.  On pages 116-117, he writes:

In our case, the story we’ve heard countless times concerns how the secular state, our supposed “savior,” came to exist.  As the story usually goes, after the Reformation, Europe was torn apart with religious strife.  The infamous “wars of religion” wracked Europe until finally, with a great sigh of relief, our fathers stumbled into the virtues of tolerance, and the secular state took over the public square.  Our “deliverance” was that bloodthirsty religious convictions were finally banished into the realm of “personal belief” — a realm, of course, that had no effect on public behavior.  In this story, not only are we saved by something other than the Christian gospel, but we are also saved fromthe Christian gospel.  The story is compelling, widespread, constantly reiterated, and almost entirely false.  Unfortunately, even many Christians have been taken in by aspects of it.  This is how most Christians in the West have made their peace with the “escapist” option mentioned earlier.  Religion is to have no effect on our views of what should and should not be allowed in the public square, but may be allowed to inform us what will get us salvation in the next life.

The Church has been relegated to a position of lesser importance, even in the United States where professing Christians constitute a large segment of the population.  In large measure, this is because many Christians believe the secular story they were told.  In the back of their minds, they are worried about the cultural pandemonium that would be brought about if Christians gain undue influence.  Outlaw abortion and what is next?  Obviously bloodshed between Lutheran states and Catholic states, just like in the old days.  The story has done its work on us.

A good question to ask oneself after reading the above is “which story do I believe?”  For those of us, myself included, who are products of the government schools, we are likely much more steeped in the latter.  Thus, a special vigilance is required to rip out the tentacles of the false story.

And, I have found, at least for me, that it is appalling just how far the tentacles of this false story can reach.  As Wilson notes, the story has done its work.  And, it is hard work undoing what it has done.