Follow-up to the letter “Our Dear America”
by Wolfgang and Mercy Simson
(To view "Our Dear America" http://archive.openheaven.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=41929&a mp;PN=2 - Click Here
Our sincere thank you to each and everyone who has welcomed “Our Dear America” message with an open heart. We are literally swamped with countless e-mails from all over the world. After answering a couple of hundreds, we decided to publish this open follow-up letter addressing the most frequent questions that keep repeating in the emails and address a very few next steps we strongly suggest. We hope you will find the answer to your question somewhere here. This follow-up letter is not only for America, but also to all the Western European nations that find themselves in a similar political and economic situation like the US. Many have, for example, asked about the role of political leadership in regards to God blessing or judging a country; many have asked: what about church; what about economics. We will try to address these in a nutshell, although we know it is impossible to cover all angles, so please bear with us.
The “Our Dear America” message was not sent out as a pacifying, soothing message for all those that wanted Romney to win and Obama to lose. This message is not meant to calm down your troubled spirit, so you can now take a deep breath and think: “God has mysterious ways”! Rather it is a wake-up call to shake those in America that call themselves after Christ from a toxic slumber, and encourage them to seek their true King, and to submit to his rule. Would you therefore please allow us take this to a next level and try to be as clear and concise as we can?
First, our motive: We love the US. My (Indian) wife and I (German/Hungarian/Jewish roots) have been given a passion and burden for the US that we can ìt really explain. For the past 21 years, we have been praying for your nation and we continue to do so. We bought your flag and have it in our office to remind us to ask God for supernatural love for America. And sometimes, love makes you tell it as it is, without diplomatic language and plan, without scheming for a certain angle, plain - just like that. We know that this can make us a target for undue praise, but also for misunderstanding, anger and criticism – by now, we have been called all sorts of untrue things, good and bad - but we are ready to remain vulnerable.
Secondly, we have cogent reasons to believe that there is a very real hope for a historic, mind-blowing turnaround and a possible re-invention of America – IF Jesus would be accepted as the ruling King of his people with the same or more passionate fervor that people went about electing a new president and spending their hope and money on it.
What happened during the election time now is that we felt God said, (in our paraphrase) They are missing it again; they are again looking for another Saul to be King, not me; yet another human Messiah, a political solution for a spiritual problem. The involvement in a process to elect yet another “most powerful man of the most powerful nation in the world” can lead to a toxic drunkenness of what the Bible calls - The Flesh: ‘we-can-do-it’ power. It is a symptom of the very same spirit that had people build the Tower of Babylon. If that continues, it will all come to nothing and yes, all will go down in flames, Christian churches, denominations, ministries, foundations and businesses included, with those in leadership wringing their hands in complete, perplexed despair – unless:
Those who claim the name of Jesus would finally emigrate out of a gigantic Babylon (Mammon-driven) captivity and repatriate into the Kingdom, seen as the domain of God’s uncontested rule. Repatriation means we emigrate, decidedly move out of one country into another country, apply for citizenship and diligently keep the laws and regulations of that country out of passionate, obedient love for its King. Then we would no longer be Americans first and Christians second, but Kingdom Citizens who happen to be pilgrims temporarily living in America – or any other nation. That is the right order, anything else is a deception.
Does God judge or bless us because of our Government? You don ìt expect sheep to behave like goats. And you don ìt expect pagans to behave like saints. God knows that even better. Therefore, all nations (political entities) are under God’s general merciful blessing, seen in the fact that he has not yet wiped us all out (Psalm 9:17; Isa 8:9; 40:17 etc.). But all nations are not only under his permissive blessing for a shrinking time window of grace, but also under God’s rightful judgment. One of the puppets of God is Satan, to whom God has given a limited but terrible allotment: “The whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). A dramatic event is narrated in the Bible that is so sobering that it might heal anyone of all false nationalism or even patriotism. It is Jesus and Lucifer standing on a mountain (Luke 4:5), and Lucifer says, in the face of Jesus: All these Kingdoms and their splendor have been given to me – and I give them to whom I want. This is why, (with very few amazing exceptions), power, money and splendor seems to be always bestowed on the wrong people. People whom Lucifer likes and he definitely always likes the wrong ones. This is why nations – with one exception –the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 12:28) - are all very shakable and fragile. In the coming days, they will all start to face more and more violent and unsolvable problems (Matthew 24) within themselves, through internal strife. And by flexing their muscles like teenagers on too much testosterone, this will lead to more rumors of war, nation at the throat of other nations. Nations that gave gone spiritually blind should be expected to act like this and blame someone else for its problems. And what is easier than to blame the others in general, and the neighbor in particular? There is a Kingdom solution to this, but it will simply not fit into such a short letter. Our point is this: all nations are under God’s rightful judgment, because all of them have long ago removed themselves from under his rule – Israel, Germany, Australia, Sweden and the USA included. The romantic and sugarcoated myth of a Christian nation is just that – a myth (A helpful book here is Gregory Boyd: The Myth of a Christian Nation). Sin is first and foremost a disposition, not the individual acts that result from our disposition. All have sinned – nation-states included. Whether they sin a lot or sin a little, sin they do all the same. The really big issue, the one we can and should actually do something about, is that God is looking at the level of holiness of his saints in regards to their alignment to the constitution of the Kingdom. Remember, judgment starts at the house of God. That is where the crux is. And may we be blunt? We have done empirical research and statistics all our life. If we would rate the corporate behavior of the collective body of Christians in our Western nations against the normative decrees and commands of the King, we would be at a catastrophic obedience level of around a 2- 5%, out of 100. The Body of Christ in countries like India would be more at a level of 20%; China, the same. My American friend Curtis Sergeant who worked in China, used to describe many Chinese followers of Christ with these three attributes: quick, costly obedience. We in the West replaced those attributes with slow, cheap arguments. This is just one of the main reasons for God to bless his people there - rather than us in the cultural West. Unless we change, this will not change.
The real pink elephant in the room, the problem so big that hardly anyone can or wants to see it, is this: most Christians are not in the Kingdom. They may have knocked at the door, but never entered in. Or they may have entered, said a quick prayer, raised a hand, but quickly walked out of the Kingdom again, unable or unwilling to leave the ways of the world behind and submit themselves to the King. It really breaks our heart to say this, but we really mean it: if Jesus does not evidently rule our lives, he is not our King. For us, as your distant lovers and foreigners who come in and go out of the US, one thing hits us in the face like a sledgehammer each time we pass emigration. It is the screaming testimony of the lives of most Christians that we have met in the US, who live an ignorant, shameless, or even violent disobedience, in regards to almost all royal commands of Jesus the King. They are ignorantly or even deliberately trespassing, with their heads kept high, especially in the key areas of sex, money, power and church. Yes, we know a few precious exceptions, but it seems to be more like a modern day group of 7000 who have not bowed their knees to Baal.
Christian people, in the four areas mentioned above, simply do whatever they want, if they want, when they want, with whom they want, where they want, thinking this is OK because everybody does it. In today’s America, it is just like in those days when Israel had no king, and everyone did as he pleased. This is why most (not all) church-going, praying, singing, tithing, book-writing, book-buying, conference-addicted, small-group and Bible-study attending Christians with or without a fish sticker on their car are, in fact, illegal aliens, having crept a few meters over the border of the Kingdom without yet being found out that they actually don ìt belong here (Matthew 22). They actually are in a spiritual no-man’s land, people that are not at home in the Kingdom, and not at home in the world; they have become people with no legal authority, power nor significance in the Kingdom – and the world ignores them anyway. Many of you secretly see and admit this powerlessness, which screams in our faces: divine power cut! Even after (because?) all those years of bible studies, songs, retreats, programs, prayers, laying on of hands, prophesying this and decreeing that, driving out that spirit and driving in another, many don ìt even have the power to overcome the most basic carnal addictions (lust, porn, work, greed, fear, fun, gossiping, eating, dating, shopping, touring), and compulsions (buying, selling, facebooking- voicing your opinion without being asked, writing endlessly, twittering, preaching, giving and reading “prophetic” words, chasing after what is new), just like the folks in Apostle Paul’s Athens (Acts 17:21).
Such a life has not even arrived at Square One of the Kingdom - the denial of self (Luke 14:33), and therefore does not have the power to change the life of our own teenagers, let alone our neighbors, let alone our city, county or country. From the perspective of Jesus and his Kingdom, this describes the life of rebels; nice rebels, maybe, but rebels all the more. Religious versions of any other US-citizen, pursuing as their top priority anything but the Kingdom: money, toys, happiness, life, fun, success, selfish significance or even the religious significance like some of those who export a dysfunctional cultural religion that has completely failed to disciple its own home base, and calling it missions.
The core symptom of an illegal alien from a Kingdom perspective is this: It is all about me. The center of this world is me, my opinion, my church, my ministry, my book, my, my, my. But you are not in the Kingdom if you can’t say: Your Kingdom come – my kingdom go! If you have not kicked your ego out of the driver seat of your life, then you run your life, not God. So don ìt fool yourself and your family. And if you are pledged – signed over - to this group, that entity, the other purpose, then you have sold yourself away to something else than God and his Kingdom. And your heart is divided and torn. And that is idolatry. You serve two Gods; God and Mammon; God and country; God and the NFL. That, however, is no longer a life that Jesus describes like this: Make the Kingdom and life according to its constitution your first priority (Matthew 6:33 in its proper translation). And that is why “everything else” that Jesus talks about in this foundational Kingdom decree is not given to many at all.
But it is not only self-centeredness that keeps us from understanding or entering the Kingdom, it is also the phenomenal delusion that we think far bigger and in unreasonable bias and favor of ourselves than what we really are. Statistics tell us that most Americans, if asked if they are “born again”, would say yes, even if they don ìt even know what that means. Similarly, if Christians hear the word Kingdom, many automatically respond: Kingdom? Oh yes, absolutely, sure thing, aren ìt we all Kingdom people, somehow automatically when we prayed “the sinners prayer” or when we got baptized? Many truly believe that therefore all they do is Kingdom; Kingdom business, Kingdom worship, Kingdom church, Kingdom conferences. This is a huge deception. It is therefore a very healthy start for all of us to take time out and ask ourselves first, and God very seriously, am I actually a legal citizen in the Kingdom? Jesus saved me by his grace. But, do I keep his commandments?
Our experience in the US has been that, with a very few exceptions, the vast majority of Christians all say “Lord, Lord” – but simply and doggedly do not do what Jesus says, being disobedient to the core, unconstitutional and Kingdom-law-breaking (Matthew 7:21-23). The King is utterly displeased with this, and he will not bless such a disposition. This “lack of blessing”, of Kingdom authority is evident in the problem-driven lives many Christians are leading. They have become a product of their environment – and their environment is no longer a product of them. Many keep running in ever faster circles, doing what Jesus never told them to do, and not doing what he did tell them to do. This will go on until we receive a wake-up call, someone stepping into our path saying: enough! This letter might be part of such a call, asking you in earnest to get out of any religious treadmill, leader follower, and be done with religion for good! Take a healthy time of religious detoxification and quarantine from church-as-we-know-it. Then, repatriate and submit yourselves as complete but repentant backsliders to the King and his Kingdom. He will welcome you with open arms, saying: How long I waited for this moment, let me embrace you, forgive you, heal you, deliver you, clean you, clothe you, and show you your place in the Kingdom, the role and mission that I created you for in the first place. That is when the blessings of God on your life as individuals, as Kingdom communities in your neighborhood and cities will become evident. And that will ultimately turn your entire nation on its head.
In other words, Christianity in the West is a complete and utter fail. It is the problem, not the solution. Church-as-we-know-it prevents Church-as-God-wants-it. And as judgment starts at the house of God, it won ìt stop there; both sinning saints and sinning pagans are experiencing God turning his face away in shame, while we are caught up in useless, self-centered rituals. The tough part of this is that the pagans in our nations have no chance to actually know what hit them; they are the innocent victims of collateral damage. They are judged together and because of the lukewarm, obnoxious, disobeying and self-sufficient “saints” that don ìt even know how far they have truly walked away from the Kingdom, all while singing Lord, Lord, shouting Hallelujah, praying in circles, endlessly learning but never understanding, and give testimonies about themselves that is as relevant as a person who presses the “Like” button on his own Facebook page.
If this is anywhere near a true diagnostics, then we have a therapy. If we know the problem, we can become part of the solution. That is exactly where we need to get started: by sacrificing our personal disobedience, rebellion, anger, selfishness, egos, grandiose plans, visions, dreams and four-color mission statements, place them all on the altar of God and ask for his fire to fall. What a deliverance that will be.
What happens if nothing happens - If you just say “Amen to this, Brother!”, and not change a thing other than post this note on yet another website, but otherwise carry on just the same? What if you find out its Sunday and you get up like nothing happened, trod to the religious building of your choice that you ended up finding like the way you choose your supermarkets and gas stations (for your convenience), and you keep on consuming the same-old religious programs, keep on praying and hoping that somehow, sometime, maybe at the next conference, with the next speaker, with the next book you may read, the lights will go on and somehow revival will break out! Did you ever allow the thought that hoping for revival actually is a mistake, a cop-out? Because revival means the reviving of what has been, including many religious patterns that are nothing but “traditions of the elders” (Mark 7:8-9) that God may have never birthed and endorsed in the first place? And, who needs revival, if we can have the Kingdom?
What should you do?
Say your farewell to man-made religion. Very little of current Christianity in the US has any resemblance of what Jesus actually lived, preached and wanted us to do. It is one gigantic deception of people being busy doing religious things, while Jesus came to actually deliver us from religion. Classical "sanctuary"- driven churches are part of the problem, not the solution. Exit it.
Detox. Remove yourself of the treadmill of religious tradition and take a significant time-out. You have a journey, a migration, to go on, and you should prepare for that trip of a lifetime. It is one thing to get out of the system, it is another to get the system out of you. If you want to know how to do this, there is a whole chapter called Apostolic Migration (chapter 9) in my book The Starfish Manifesto. It could serve you as a travel guide.
Many questions came to us about economics. Let us therefore address this by highlighting some of the steps we need to take if we ever seriously want to return to Kingdom standards in the area of money and work. Remember, Jesus spoke more on finances than about hell and heaven combined. In our work in the area of Kingdom Economics, we used to say it like this when we met a new person: Show me how you deal with money, and we tell you what you really believe. Our dealings with money are a powerful, unfailing spiritual thermometer, showing (quicker than probably anything else) our true spiritual temperature. There is a true saying from Cotton Mather, one of the American Puritan preachers, who said, “Religion begat prosperity and the daughter devoured the mother.”
Stop funding religion, start funding the Kingdom. This election cost billions. Imagine if only that part donated by Christians for this 2012 election would have been spent the Kingdom way? It would have caused a revolution. In the Kingdom, there are two main commands about money and resources:
a) share with each other locally (carry each other’s burdens, do not call your stuff, your stuff) until you eliminate need in your neighborhood;
b) give the surplus away (whatever is more than you need) and “lay it at the apostles feet” (Luke 8:1-4; Acts 4:35) so it can fuel the remaining apostolic initiatives of God to the ends of the world – and that includes your city!
In the Kingdom, I am excited to tell you, we do not have the obligation, nor the right (and the heavy burden that comes with it!) to distribute monies just as we wish, a bit here, a bit there. That is the way of the world. The flow of money in the Kingdom is regulated, not given to anarchy. Let us emphasize again the two levels of fellowship that - although many theologians have relegated it to the romantic day of the Early Christians who just did not know better – are normative behavior in the Kingdom:
Level a) Share locally by giving up your individualistic life and join a community, a Body. This involves local giving and receiving (not buying and selling), a transfer directly from giver to getter, with the goal to share and eliminate need. That goes far beyond a harmless potluck; it means the actual sharing of cars, boats, lawn mowers, houses, business-ideas, investment opportunities, inheritances, and real money. This requires death to the greed-based idea that we all need to maximize our gain (collect as much money as possible), and calls us into a life that is optimized – financially adjusted in such a way that all can and should have what they need to fulfill the task God created them for, not too much, not too little.
Level b) Give all larger surplus away to those that are tasked by God to distribute it (Rom 16:2; Acts 4:35). The giving of larger amounts of surplus always involves the Treasury, the National Bank of the Kingdom. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that it is the apostles that have this role; they are the bankers of the Kingdom, the stewards (a word that can be translated CFO) of the Kingdom – not the pastors, evangelists and deacons. There is an amazing tendency in all of us to quickly elect ourselves to be “God’s Josephs” and to be his finance minister. Many who have more resources than they actually need mistakenly often believe they have the God-given right to do with their money as they wish, when they wish, to whom they wish. This is sadly wrong, a principle of the world that has no space in the Kingdom. Not every family man in the US has the right to act as the Finance Minister of the US and dictate the nation’s budget; it is the same in the Kingdom. Therefore, start to share locally, and then find those apostles in your area or nation, and start handing them your individual and collective surplus, so that the Kingdom can increase in your area as well. If “the household of God is established on the foundation of apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2:20), then apostolic and prophetic people are the foundational people that are the ones charged and tasked by God to be the architects of the expression of the Kingdom in your area as well. And if they are not equipped, they cannot equip others, and the entire Christian movement is stopped in its tracks.
However, if we return to those two simple but powerful economic principles of the Kingdom, the two biggest, core foundational aspects of the economy of the Kingdom, that have been fought tooth and nail throughout the history of the church, all of heaven will hold its breath. Because this would define a historic moment, when we begin to return to the fascinating, liberating and mind-blowing biblical standards of Kingdom Economics. Beware, that as there are some few healthy and good apostles, there are an abundant many self-elected apostles as well. You will recognize the false ones easily by their complete absence of humility and brokenness. As a rule, only dead apostles are good apostles (Gal. 2:20). With “dead” we mean dead to selfish ambition and a join-my-winning-team mindset, and all that goes with it. If you do not know where such apostolic people are, I have the privilege of knowing some of them. Maybe this surprises you, but many of them are completely underfunded themselves. They are impoverished bankers, trying to survive because they have not sold themselves to a religious machine which is happy to fund those that entertain and please them - and teach what their itchy ears wishes to hear. Many true apostles are dead to this religious rat race as well, and will (just like the Apostle Paul), not sell themselves to the religious consumers, but rather try their best to survive as tentmakers to avoid bankruptcy. The religious world around them that does not even take notice of them, and, in comparison, swims in money, mindlessly demanding yet another new building to be added to the sanctuary-infested America, that will be run by yet another fraction of a fraction of a completely disintegrated, dysfunctional Body of Christ. This must end, so that the foundational people of the Kingdom can yet again function.
Did we already say you should stop tithing? Well, we just did. No matter how many flaming sermons in sanctuary-driven churches (that rely on tithing...) you have endured about tithing, don ìt buy it. Even the Old Testament has at least four tithes, not just one, so if you want to be really serious about tithing, you would end up with a lot more than 10% of your income to be given away to some centralized temple. However, Jesus “walked away from the temple” (Matthew 24). In the Kingdom, there is no temple - the people of God are his temple. In the Kingdom, it is not about giving to God. It is about ownership. After buying you with the currency of the blood of Jesus from the slave market of sin, God now legally owns you, and everything you own. So the real question is: what does God want to do with his money that is on your bank account? In the Kingdom, the issue is not giving 10% to God and keeping 90% for you, but deciding what to keep remaining afloat – and giving the entire surplus into the Kingdom Bank to be used according to the King’s directives. So let us put an end to wasting God’s money by filling out those tithing-slips in churches, or sending it to yet another dial-a-prayer organization, or another TV ministry that promises you a ridiculous, dust-collecting Golden Eagle, a Golden Calf, a prayed-over towel, or some anointed book for $29.99 – this would simply steal from God’s Treasury.
And what could you do locally? Gather in your neighborhood those that are after the Kingdom, not religion. Maybe you can begin with the two documents we made available for starters. Start sharing your life with each other, and stop fellowshipping in artificial set-ups and auditoriums where you cannot share life, but only a few religious moments. We are not trying to invent something new here. We are saying: please follow the original blueprint of the Kingdom found in Acts 2:42-47. To begin with, if you at all can, open up your house, your kitchen, your fridge, and create a space for this. Don ìt pray and sing and sermonize there - do something! Remember, the Kingdom is not about religion, so leave those guitars, songbooks and candles behind. Rather ask each other: what do you have, what do you need. Everyone has needs, and everyone has something and is good at something. If those good resources are shared with each other locally, it eliminates not only need and loneliness, but creates a powerful synergy and finally can grow into a local Kingdom-Coop, a Kingdom colony where those involved become co-owners and shareholders of God and all that he shares with us. That is what church actually is supposed to be. And is there a more fascinating way of life here on earth?
Be light and salt without being religious. What America desperately needs is a group of people in each neighborhood and region starting a public testimony, modeling "the city on the hill" in the key areas of sex, money, power and church by living in obedient, love-motivated alignment to the decrees of the Kingdom (The Law of Christ). When this happens, it will cause a sensation, making many people curious about “those Kingdom people” who live in a way no one could do if God were not with them. It should be in the news that “those people who have turned the whole world upside down have also come here” (Acts 17:6), and bystanders and observers would scratch their head, saying: these people are either crazy-or holy!
Seek out innovative Kingdom people in your region, especially inventors, pioneers, entrepreneurs in all areas of life. Why? Because they have the highest innovation potential – which is crucial for the initiatives of the one who said: “I make everything new!” If anything would ever change in your area, it would not change through those that represent the very structures that need to be changed in the first place. It would make the fox guarding the henhouse. So, stop starting with church-as-we-know-it. Together with such innovators, call a meeting in your region or city about the future of the Kingdom in your area.
If we would have any chance or energy for this, we would be ready to come and help you.
For more resources: You might get my book called “The House Church Book” (Tyndale). It could be a good start.
If you want to see the even bigger picture: read my recent book The Starfish Manifesto. It is not yet available as a printed book, but a PDF version is downloadable at http://whileweslept.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/starfish-manife sto/ - http://whileweslept.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/starfish-manife sto/
If you are interested in where money should actually be spent for in the Kingdom: download the file What to do with a Billion$ If you have questions about Kingdom economics, you could listen to a recent talk I gave in Cincinnati, by following this link.: http://www.pathsofreturn.com/audio-wolfgang-simson- 1;n-kingdom-economics/ - http://www.pathsofreturn.com/audio-wolfgang-simson-on-kingdo m-economics/
If you want to sign up for (sporadic) news from us: go to http://www.simsonwolfgang.de/ - www.simsonwolfgang.de and enter your email in our list
Lastly: When Joshua, before the fall of Jericho (Joshua 5:13-15), met the commander of the army of the Lord, he asked him a funny question: Are you a Republican, or a Democrat? A Presbyterian or a Pentecostal? Are you Pro-Life or Pro-Choice? I think you get our drift. He, of course, asked: “Are you for us or for our enemies?” The fascinating answer that this commander gave was: “Neither! Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.” There is a call for holiness before you can go to your battle. This is a crucial time for the cultural West – Germany included –which stands collectively staring at the angry walls of materialism, greed, fear, fornication, hopelessness. And as long as we think that Jesus should really join our church, our movement, our ministry, those walls won ìt budge, ever. But if we start to join him, by taking off our sandals, our titles, positions, dispositions, anything that makes us, us, and them, them - then heaven is the limit for what could and would happen.
We believe God is issuing a wake-up call for us all, a call very different from a call to return to good-old-religion. A call that, if you would respond to, and others with you, will result in a movement bigger than the reformation, creating a situation where Americans will have a fascinating chance to participate in God’s fascinating Kingdom plans and agendas. But remember: the only plans that God blesses are his own. And his blessing is the only hope to see that age-old promise fulfilled: “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth!”
In this spirit we wish you his abundant blessings!
Wolfgang and Mercy Simson
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org - email@example.com