Recently, I’ve thought about the distinctions of Church Militant and Church Triumphant like I never have previously. And for me, given that my life and situation is here in America, I’m doing this within the context of our modern American Society. Christians in other parts of the world learn this same distinction in different contexts, no doubt, like those in the Middle East, but my purpose here will be to shed light on those seeking to live a Christian life here, in our culture. “Church Militant” meaning of course, the Christians on Earth who fight against sin, Satan, and the rulers of darkness of this fallen world. “Church Triumphant” meaning, those who are in heaven with Christ, alongside the Saints and Angels existing with Him in perfect love. Each of these distinctions, of course, comprise the One Church.
Over the centuries and decades, through such things as the subjective nature of Protestant doctrine, an organic interpretation of the Constitution’s First Amendment, and laws facilitating the many varying cultures and religions that comprise our society – the United States has become a thoroughly secular State. Valuing no Creed above another, no religion above another, and by pursuing an American identity of “non-identity,” our government’s official stance on religious matters has become “no stance,” all the while holding up tolerance as the highest virtue. As such, government in our land recognizes no particular truth, affirming that each person is free to pursue their own truth, while placing each faith on the very same level – Judaism, Islam, Witchcraft, Orthodox Christianity, and everything in-between. If it is true that the United States was at one point “Christian,” we are now truly “Post-Christian,” and the longer I exist within it I’m finding that post-Christian, at its essence, is anti-Christian.
This condition of spiritual pluralism is exactly where we find ourselves in 21st Century America. And while each person is free to believe exactly as they wish, not only in terms of civil freedom, but through the Trinity’s gifting of free-will on the human soul – this does not make our beliefs truth. On the contrary, from the Christian perspective, we would then have a million false-truths springing forward from the mind and hearts of fallen Man, who is darkened by sin. In the event any government chooses not to embrace any particular spiritual creed or outlook, this government will inevitably be formed by some other worldview altogether, if even unbeknownst to them. Having intentionally removed God from the Nation’s conscience, naturally, the worldview then becomes Secular Humanist, which is what we are beginning to see in the Western World.
The Secular Humanist worldview removes from the human person, God’s image, and places him at the very height and center of the cosmos. Having removed the human person’s identity from him, who is Christ, the primary consequence is that he no longer sees himself, nor understands himself, as a fallen creature. The fallen desires of the human heart – lust, greed, etc. – are no longer seen as “fallen” in the Secular Humanist worldview, but can only be seen as “natural” through this worldly prism. And if they are truly natural, then to refuse and not indulge them is quite “unnatural.” Any acetic refusal of such desires becomes “contrary to nature.”
As Secular Humanism matures, society begins to raise up and establish itself around our fallen passions, and they become the object of our unhindered indulgence, particularly sexual passions. Another natural result is the devaluation of human life, as God’s image has (theoretically) been stripped from us. This is where we are now as a society now… it is relatively new although has been a long time in the making. The culture that has come to accept such a vision will hate the person who voices Traditionally Christian perspectives.
In this environment, everything is working against the salvation of the Human Person. Not only evil spirits and persons, but government is also encouraging and facilitating our descent into a base and passionate existence. For the Christians who choose live and walk according to the Spirit, in the light of virtue, who so much as even acknowledges the existence of a base and passionate human condition – they will be hated. So it is in this context that we in America are apart of “Church Militant” to the fullest possible extent. Such secularism is fully opposed to the Christian gospel. By God’s grace, however, one day we will be triumphant. As the Scriptures say, with Him all things are possible. Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said about our culture, “there is plenty of freedom, but little truth.” I am tempted to think that what overt persecution of the Church could not accomplish, Western Secularism just might. It is the spirit of anti-Christ.
The Church Triumphant unceasingly prays for us, however, before our kind and merciful Savior. There is no place He is not, and no suffering (in whatever form) where He isn’t. Taking stalk of society is necessary if we are going to understand the nature of our struggle as Christians, and combat it properly. Those of us who seek to live an authentically Christian life here, need to know that in order to do so, we have to be completely opposed to the greater society around us, all the while filled with Christ’s love and humility.