When the Reformation challenge the apostate churchism, Renaissance arrived to open the world to “culture without spiritual influence.” The moment the kingdom sought to restore grace to “church,” hell tried to remove the kingdom’s influence from culture.
The church was powerless to stop Renaissance. The church was so enamored with the exaggerations of Roman Catholic errors that is moved the plumbline to the opposite extreme. It gave up on culture because of its overreaction to Roman error.
Renaissance produced a condition that persists into modern times. Renaissance moved literature and arts to the top shelf of our definition of “culture” and dismissed kingdom influences from culture altogether.
A wildness set in. A hurried escape from God began filling literature and the arts with worldviews geared to empty culture of God’s influence. Worldviews, values, beliefs, and superstitions from the ancient empires Daniel saw in his visions regained influence.
We may characterize the Dark Ages in many ways, but replacing the kingdom with church-anity is the fundamental kingdom issue of this period of history. I know we don’t talk about this in these terms but consider this viewpoint for our discussion, then decide the validity of this idea.
Once kingdom was displaced by church-anity, with various branches of church-anity replacing kingdom – the Reformation and the Renaissance were primarily European phenomenon – church reverted to tradition and superstition for power. That is, church became a religion, and culture responded to a religion, not the kingdom of God on Earth.
The Reformation focused upon “church” without a second thought for culture. It was so focused upon what was wrong with church-anity that it fixed church-anity without restoring the kingdom of God. Before you decide that sounds like a diminishing of the most significant turning point in the kingdom of God, since Jesus ascended, let me say that the Reformation was so influential that what is going to happen next will reach back to touch it with honor. And, what is going to happen now will be so much higher that we will celebrate the Reformation even more.
Church turned in upon itself while Renaissance pushed church over into a corner. Church-anity has been there in that corner ever since. And, even now, our discussion of cultural influence remains a church influence discussion with a religion mountain as part of our understanding of culture.
The kingdom of God is a mountain. It can never be part of a religion mountain. A kingdom Ecclesia does not operate by infiltration of mountains but by displacement of evil authorities in the main gates and positioning of kingdom leaders at the cultural gates.
Our modern metaphor reaches a point of exhaustion when we attempt to carry its prophetic meaning too far. It is a valid metaphor for understanding some aspects of Ecclesia, but without a restoration of the kingdom of God and kingdom culture, church ain’t church at all.
Renaissance Rules Culture
As I write, my software provides alerts for spelling, sentence structure, verb tenses, and possible synonyms that might better communicate messaging. When I use the word “culture,” it always offers me “literature” as an alternative. Why?
That is not what culture is at all. Why would modern communication assume the first definition of “culture” is literature and arts? And, why is that so dangerous as an obvious threat to the purposes of God?
Renaissance sought to kick the ghost out of the machine. The Renaissance rejected Providence when it rejected religion. It rejected God and religion from involvement in culture. It sought the autonomy of Man over the affairs of Man and left religion to flop like a dying fish in the corner of the room.
The Renaissance moved on when Reformation hit the church. And, the Reformation missed the opportunity to restore the church to the kingdom and the kingdom to the church. The church moved on to restore church without Rome without picking up the cultural mandate. The Reformation is a striking statement against Roman error but not a reset of the kingdom of God on Earth.
The Reformation did have cultural influence through revival and Awakening, but those harvests landed in the storage houses of church-anity. (I am making wildly simple statements here because this is a blog, not a book.)
I am saying nothing that diminishes the power of revival and Awakening. I’m pointing to the reasons why they do not become Reformation and Transformation. I am heading to the main point of this blog: we have lost kingdom culture, and we do not know we’ve lost it.
We have brought pagan Renaissance thinking into modern church-growthism. With it, we have nearly restored the worst problems of Roman error, only in very different forms.
To understand why we are about to enter a New Era Reformation, we should determine what we are doing right and doing wrong and make immediate course corrections. This determination certainly divides the modern church again, and that is as good as it is going to get. We require division for purity.
Renaissance rules culture. Renaissance rules church subculture. Renaissance rules where kingdom culture should influence, shutting out kingdom culture influence by sending it home to a religion mountain.
We must consider how the Renaissance loves the idea that there is a religion mountain. It corners church like a flopping fish. It laughs at it flopping over there in the corner. Renaissance says, “Go over there and celebrated your Reformation. It can reform church-anity. It cannot reform culture.”
Literature and Arts
We write and express a worldview. When Renaissance stripped the church of influence in literature and arts, it began communicating a worldview that assumes the autonomy of Man in God’s Creation.
Be careful to say, “The Roman error weakened the church so that She couldn’t respond to the Renaissance” when the modern church is doing less now than Reformation did then. The harvest of the Reformation is massive. The harvest of the Renaissance is massive.
The kingdom should receive both harvests. Instead, church-anity without cultural influence borrows from Renaissance thinking to assist in the accumulation of believers with no thought of kingdom at all.
Consider how the new covenant portion of the Bible provides us with nearly nothing about music, yet we have developed subcultural expressions of music to serve church-anity. Consider how the people who change history with regards to music are very often harvesting a kingdom purpose to beautify a hellish Renaissance. Consider how the difference in the worldview of both church-anity and modern humanism remains too difficult to discern.
We now rejoice in crossovers because we think kingdom music will have a witness when the sounds of the kingdom are the harvest of Renaissance worldviews. Consider how we celebrate the very thing hell creates a breakthrough!
Elvis started singing in church, was rejected, and changed music forever. Many of the places from which kingdom music sounds emanate become harvest points for Renaissance humanism. We now find the idea of using humanism and its influence as a church-growth dynamic. We teach ourselves how to accommodate and use what God finds so poisonous and treacherous to His purposes that He wants us to confront it until it dies.
Education was the first thing Renaissance provided cultures the church wanted ignorant. Reformation bought the same ridiculous concept because it didn’t restore the kingdom.
The Reformation took the sola scriptura idea to the extreme that church without kingdom demands. If it isn’t the Bible, we don’t need it. If it helps us understand the Bible, we can just read the Bible.
Literature? Forget it. Education? We teach only the Bible and tell you what to think instead of training you how to live the Bible, so you know how to think.
When the church started training leaders – another Roman error restored as a new form of “higher calling” – it walked right into Renaissance thinking by accepting liberal arts as a basis for education. Fighting the authority of the Bible battle and whether teaching evolutionary uniformitarianism as a viewpoint was an issue in my youth. It isn’t even an issue anymore.
Kingdom education assumes that every kingdom citizen enrolled by faith becomes a leader at some level of the kingdom culture’s influence. So, everyone is entitled to and receives education in kingdom culture. We don’t teach people how to function in our church subcultures, so they agree with our doctrinal idolatry. We train them to live like kingdom citizens subduing and taking dominion as God’s representatives.
The Black Death killed more than half the population of Europe in the 14th century. A kingdom worldview was not available to the people. They could not understand Providence within that context.
Reformers were saying that the Bible should serve as the only Source of Revealed Truth in matters of faith. While excellent, this was not seen as a return to the kingdom culture. It was seen in terms of a religious portion of life and culture. The authority of the Scriptures is more than matters of faith for believers. It is a worldview for dominion – the process of maintaining the purpose of Creation on Earth through Man.
Modern thinking in the church will wrestle with these conclusions because it lacks kingdom thinking. It will interpret history and church history through the filter of contemporary church-growthism. It will seek to use culture when it should confront the culture.
It is a modern evangelical syncretism we must fight. Roman error syncretized superstition into faith, accepting the worship of one’s ancestors by praying to saints, creating patron saints to accommodate principalities, and becoming a stronghold for antichrist globalism by normalizing animistic religious thinking. All for money and increased numbers.
Modern church-growthism cannot be judged any less guilty of syncretism than Dark Ages Roman error. By combining Renaissance thinking and humanism – the autonomy of Man – with its contemporary, limited “authority of the Bible” hodge-podge. Blending existing culture into church-anity is the opposite of kingdom culture. You will find this basic to church-growthism but contrary to the strategy of the King.