At the heart of American society is Reformed Protestantism, specifically Calvinism, and its tendency toward Old Testament theocracy.
Baptists are the largest religious body in America.
American Theocracy | Wikipedia
[W]e have...to begin any discussion of the meaning of the life and teaching of Jesus with a look at this thorny question of authority, and especially the authority of holy scripture. Because (in this country in particular) there are an enormous number of people who seem to believe that the Bible descended from heaven with an angel in the year 1611, which was when the so-called King James (or, more correctly, authorized) version of the Bible was translated into English. I had a crazy uncle who believed that every word of the Bible was literally true, including the marginal notes. And so, whatever date it said—it said in the marginal notes that the world was created in 4004 B.C.—and he believed as the word of god. Until one day he was reading, I think, a passage in the Book of Proverbs and found a naughty word in the Bible. And from that time on he was through with it. You know, how Protestant can you get? — Alan Watts
Lutheran vs. Reformed
The Religious Bodies of America 4th Edition - F.E. Mayer | Amazon
The Religious Bodies of America — Frederick Emanuel Mayer (1892-1954) | Archive.org 4th ed., rev. by Arthur Carl Piepkorn PART FOUR - The Reformed Bodies SECTION I - Introduction ... Basic Differences Between Lutherans and Reformed ... 3. In America more so than in Europe, revivalism resulted in deep and essential changes in Reformed theology. In particular, revivalism set in motion a reaction against the Calvinistic doctrine of God's absolute sovereignty and His decree of a double election. This is true especially of the great revival of 1734, which marked the beginning of New England theology. In the Great Awakening of 1800, "Deeds rather than creeds" was the shibboleth. ... 4. ...Modernism seeks to magnify the glory of God in a social and economic revolution; fundamentalism in the establishment of a millennial kingdom. 5. The theological revival in its American form appears as a determined effort to steer a middle course between the prewar modernism and fundamentalism. ... SECTION II - Genetic History of Reformed Theology ... Calvin's Theology ...The basic principles of Calvinism still are the very lifeblood of the historic Calvinistic churches. Likewise fundamentalism has its taproots in the soil of Calvinism. Even in liberalism certain principles of Calvinism can be detected. It is generally admitted that neo-orthodoxy to a very marked degree moves in the thought patterns of Calvinism. ... By temperament and training Calvin inclined toward austere asceticism. His schoolmates nicknamed him "the Accusative Case." For a brief time he studied law. ... THE MATERIAL AND FORMAL PRINCIPLES OF CALVIN'S THEOLOGY THE MATERIAL PRINCIPLE THE FORMAL PRINCIPLE - Differences in Understanding the "Sola Scriptura." Lutheran theology asks: What has God done for my salvation? and finds the answer in the Scriptural revelation of God's grace. Calvin asks: What must I do to the greater glory of God? and sees in the Bible the Sovereign's will for man's conduct and belief. In the papacy men must submit blindly to the voice of the church; in Calvinism men are required to submit obediently to the Bible. Calvin's approach to the Bible appears to be legalistic rather than evangelical and reveals a mingling of Law and Gospel. ... Calvin's legalistic principle prompted him virtually to erase the distinction between the two Testaments [Old and New]. This is evident particularly from his concept of the Law as the basis for, and the ground of, the divine-human covenant relation. This covenant relation obligates man to fulfill the requirements of God's Law. Though Christ has come to free us from the coercion of the Law, He has not abolished it, for "the doctrine of the Law, which remains inviolate after Christ, prepares us for every good work with its doctrine, admonition, rebuke, and reprimand." According to Calvin, the chief function of the Law is to serve not as a mirror, but as a rule. This principle prompted Calvin to maintain that the Old Testament rites have been abolished only as to their use, but not as to their significance. Thus Baptism and the Lord's Supper have supplanted only the form but not the purpose of circumcision and the Passover. The legalistic emphasis in Calvin's theology is reflected not only in his approach to the Scriptures, but also throughout his theology, especially in the realm of sanctification, in the nature and function of the church, and in his philosophy of life.... It was Calvin's conviction that though Christ has fulfilled the Law, the basic principles of the Mosaic Law were not abrogated. This meant that he prescribed the punishment for such sins as blasphemy, adultery, and witchcraft on the basis of the Mosaic Law. Indeed, Calvin went beyond this Law and established economic principles, introduced price control, and laid down specific rules for the choice of one's vocation and the discharge of one's obligations in it. In the various social relations the church carefully prescribed the limits for everyone's conduct; for example, the church prescribed the menus for the various income groups; the style and color of dress. Card games and all luxury items were forbidden. In short, the private life of every citizen of Geneva was minutely prescribed and closely watched.
Addiction to Law
Legalism | Wikpedia
The Bottoming Out of the American Evangelical Church — Calvanist addiction to moralism, to what Luther called the "Theology of Glory" (the Law) instead of "Theology of the Cross" (Suffering), to declaring (proving) oneself righteous in order to absolutely exhibit unquestionable salvation per erroneous doctrine ("once saved, always saved") [T]he law cannot save.... [W]e’ve been shouting at each other over definitions of the law, peddling a more correct understanding of the law as the answer to all...problems... only tightening the law’s death grip on our hearts. No one can actually pursue any good because we are consumed with the task of defining and defending our righteousness... We are addicted to declaring ourselves righteous, addicted to moral self-reliance, addicted to distinguishing ourselves by being good people. We are addicted to mediocre self-evaluation. Moralism makes us addicted to our own righteousness...addiction to good works... All of the “isms” presented to us are simply human attempts to identify and deal with real brokenness.... They are often beautiful, complex, meta-temptations for Christians who remain addicted to the law. They are societal level attempts to repair the world’s brokenness with good works.... The misuse of the wisdom of law is a matter of bondage. The sinner does not preside over this matter nor can the sinner make a free decision not to misuse the law and its wisdom... So we could not simply say that this or that “correct theology” or proper instruction will remedy the matter. ...[W]ithout the theology of the cross we misuse the best in the worst manner....unless we see everything through suffering and the cross...unless we are “brought low, reduced to nothing through the cross and suffering,” we cannot but misuse and defile the gift of God in the worst way. Without the theology of the cross we will of necessity take credit for works ourselves and place trust in them....treating the “isms” not as ways to understand what is broken according to God’s will, but rather as systems which will make...the world better....“isms” have become our collective theologies of glory. Like the addict, ...what we need is a “bottoming out.” We must let the law crush us and the cross kill us. Only after death can resurrection happen. ...[Calvanist heterodox] churches cannot be brought back to life by pursuing the law. They can only be brought to life when they wake up to the truth that the law has been given a false throne in our houses of worship and only the gospel of death with the crucified Jesus can breathe life into souls.“...humans have no active capacity to humble themselves but only a passive capacity. They can be humbled. ...[H]umility is always something done to us. The instrument of this doing is the law and wrath, God’s ‘alien work,’ not our pious posturing. Humility in this context means precisely to be reduced to the position where we claim absolutely nothing.”... The righteousness that avails before God is a being claimed by the crucified and resurrected Christ. It is not like accomplishing something but like dying and coming to life. It is not like earning something but like falling in love. It is not the attainment of a long-sought goal, the arrival at the end of a process, but the beginning of something absolutely new, something never before heard of or entertained. The first of Luther’s 95 theses reads, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” The evidence of the law fulfilling its purpose is not Christians in churches in perfect agreement with each other about what the law consists of. The evidence of the law doing its work is Christians who acknowledge they are hopeless before the law, are struck dead by the humility of the cross, and are raised to life in Jesus, living lives of repentance. Any “ism” which reduces the free and frequent repentance of the believer individually and of the church corporately is a theology of glory. But where the saints are marked by entire lives of repentance, where churches are known for their corporate and public repentance, we can trust that the theology of the cross is at work. ...[T]he law “simply cannot bring into being what it commands.” All the “isms” of the world can tell us what our problems are, but they cannot produce the holiness they desire. ...shame cannot compel righteousness; in fact, it usually produces exactly the opposite. “...Grace, instead of demanding love, simply gives it unconditionally,”... “It is simply, ‘I love you.’” The power to do good does not lie in all of the things we’ve been shouting about. The power to do good comes in the pronouncement that everything has already been done and therefore all that remains is God’s creative action in us. Luther writes, “...the love of God that lives in man loves sinners, evil persons, fools, weaklings in order to make them righteous, good, wise, and strong.” The fruit of the Spirit working in the various factions...will not be better understandings of the law. It will be the love of God compelling each faction to love its enemies — those it sees as sinners and fools. If we are to agree with Luther, then the creative work of God in the lives of “social justice warriors” won’t necessarily be a change in the ethical principles to which they hold; it will be laying down their lives for the unvaccinated Texan pastor. Likewise, the creative work of God in the lives of the Trump supporters will be compassion and denial of self on behalf of the social media influencer deconstructing the faith of their childhood. For only the bottoming out in the face of the law...can create the kind of repentant hearts that would cause someone to see themselves as so wretched that they could love those reprobates across the aisle. This is why I now feel compassion. Not because I’ve been able to finally parse out the nuances of each side and determine which one correctly interprets God’s law. But rather, because I’ve come to feel the compassion I feel for the addict for the people of God.... God’s people in America today are...believing that with just a little more understanding, we can get the Christian life right, get the church right, get our presence in the culture right. This time will be different. But we are to be pitied. Thankfully, the God we worship does not sit in heaven, observing our hopeless addiction like a scientist and a lab rat. No, he is already at work upon us, taking our bottomed-out souls and communities and beginning an act of redemptive life within us. The Role of Social Science in ‘Deconstructing’ White Evangelicalism [S]ome Christians who are politically conservative are so focused on the dangers and evils of the left that they feel the need to ignore, downplay, or simply deny the problems and dangers on the right; they imply (or outright say) that criticizing the right is disloyal because it helps the left. The Six Way Fracturing of Evangelicalism Sociologically, the resurgent neo-fundamentalism and its co-belligerent Christian Nationalism will continue to create parallel information ecosystems that will further stretch and rend the fabric of the USA.... Racially, tensions are likely to continue to rise. Neo-fundamentalists and Christian Nationalists will continue to find new labels and terms for their fears surrounding social justice.
Paul Krause The Puritan Origins of American Progressivism [T]he left-right divide in America is the schizophrenic vision of America rooted in her very foundation: one puritanical and moralist, the other cavalier and individualist. Puritanism and the Utopian State of Mind In the History of England, David Hume opined that Puritan “theology” was the world’s first false philosophy – that is, the world’s first systematic political ideology. More recently, from sociologists like Max Weber that the Calvinist ethos produced the spirit of capitalism, to Talcott Parsons arguing that Puritanism was, at its a heart, an “activist” movement, to historians like George McKenna who explained the relationship between Puritanism, Progressivism, and American messianic patriotism, and George Marsden who – in his award winning biography of Jonathan Edwards – declared Edwards and the Puritans as the progenitors “of the party of progress,” the link between progressivism and puritanism has been widely attested to in academic scholarship. Puritans were more Jewish than Protestants The Puritans were obsessed with the Bible and came to identify their political struggle against England with that of the ancient Hebrews against Pharaoh or the King of Babylon. Because they identified so strongly with ancient Israel, they chose to identify with the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). ... Puritan obsession with the [Hebrew] Bible led them to try and incorporate many aspects of the Jewish commandments into their lifestyle based on their literal interpretation of Hebraic laws. Perfectibility—Possible among the Puritans Knowing the Puritan obsession with perfection, Nathaniel Hawthorne portrayed the Puritans of The Scarlet Letter in just that way—obsessed. He played up their hypocritical and false premise. Hawthorne emphasized that law and religion were inseparably connected in their community. Fanatically so.
Prosperity theology | Wikipedia
“[P]rosperity gospel was formed from the intersection of three different ideologies: Pentecostalism, New Thought, and "an American gospel of pragmatism, individualism, and upward mobility". This "American gospel" was best exemplified by Andrew Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth and Russell Conwell's famous sermon "Acres of Diamonds", in which Conwell equated poverty with sin and asserted that anyone could become rich through hard work. This gospel of wealth, however, was an expression of Muscular Christianity and understood success to be the result of personal effort rather than divine intervention.
Wealth With God! — prosperity heresy alive and well in the 3rd millenium
John Nelson Darby
John Nelson Darby | Wikipedia —
Promoter of modern heresy: father of modern Dispensationalism and Futurism, popularized Rapture “theology” extensively in the 1830s (unheard of until then), which was further popularized in the United States in the early 20th century by wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible
The Rapture | YouTube
Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: The Rapture
The Rapture — Indisputable Christian Heresy
What is the Rapture Part 1 of 2
What is the Rapture Part 2 of 2
Orthodox Christian Teaching on the Rapture: Is the Rapture in the Bible?
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