September 20, 2006
The airing of ABC’s Path To 9/11 together with the President’s address on the event’s 5th anniversary offered some pause for reflection. Against the backdrop of this combined docudrama, the familiar words surfaced to my heart:
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
The President’s standing explanation for the terrorist attacks and justification for the Iraq War remain the hatred of / the expansion of freedom. “Freedom” is the president’s watchword.
But the president’s reason suffers a serious flaw, one exposed by the docudrama itself.
The movie casts a riveting story of a small band of public servants (centered on FBI agent John T. O’Neill) in hot pursuit of the terrorist trail since the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. But at each critical opportunity to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, O’Neill is stymied by an unbelieving, obstructionist “CYA” bureaucracy that squanders each one. (If you don’t know what “CYA” means, you will need to ask someone who works in the American corporate culture.)
The movie’s bottom line is that Bin Laden could not be stopped because the government trying to capture him was infested with people who are lovers of self more than lovers of truth.
The government only reflects the nation which it governs. America is a nation of lovers of self (ie, of the “freedom” to do as they please), more than lovers of truth. It is a nation of lovers of freedom from God in their actions, while paying tribute to God with their lips.
And this is the president’s problem. The “freedom” on which his mindset for action is built is this freedom of men to pursue their own pleasure under divine sponsorship. But freedom can only be had and maintained by submitting to the love for truth, of which there is little—either in the government or the culture, or (shall I go further?)— the American church at large.
The American culture reflects the state of God’s people in America and their gospel. The cultural freedom advanced by the president mirrors the spiritual “freedom in Christ” advanced by the church’s gospel, specifically the gospel of its prophetic mainstream.
Today’s freedom in Christ is no longer the gospel of freedom from sin in order to pursue the righteousness of Christ. It is the freedom only to “enjoy the manifest presence of God.” (Period.) It is not freedom through the truth, but through experience; not through conviction, but apart from it.
As a prophetic people, we are “lovers of divine pleasure” more than “lovers of God.” Think long and hard about that distinction.
What then of the “Path from 9/11?” Has anything changed? In the government? In the culture? In the prophetic assembly? No. Not really. All are as self-indulged as ever, each in their own realm, willingly oblivious to the truth. Each realm has blamed someone in the other, but no one has looked in a mirror.
Four years after September, 2001 the “9/11 Commission Report” gave the government largely a failing grade in its efforts to improve national security. And even where it has made improvements, the general feeling of the population is that America really is no safer. That should surprise no one. For outward improvements by an unchanged government can never provide a sense of security to an unchanged people.
If there is a similar report in heaven on the church-in-America’s response since that time, what do you think it shows?
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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