Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
In a day when it is as easy to make campaign promises as it is to remove classified documents from the National Archives, I wasn’t surprised by Kerry’s bombast and hubris in his acceptance speech last night (“We will change the world”). As a paleonostalgic I often look back on the Reagan years with a sort of warm, golden glow. I say this, knowing that the speechifying at the Republican National Convention will be just as bombastic.
The truth is that the Republican Party was never truly conservative. Reagan and Goldwater were the exceptions. Beginning with the imperial presidency of Lincoln, the Republican Party has always been an arrogant political body ruled by empire builders and business tycoons. Like George W. Bush, they pay lip service to traditional tenets of capitalism, but they couldn’t spell “Small Government” if their lives depended on it. Add to that “U.S. Constitution.”
How quickly we have forgotten that neither Jesus nor His disciples represented the Jewish religious establishment. They were like you and me, ordinary people. They believed, as the Bible unequivocally puts it, that the “world” (our fallen human systems) and the “flesh” (our own self-centered desires) have both been thoroughly corrupted by the “devil” (evil that is bigger than you or me). The disciples of Jesus today see through the bombast of politics and realize how ambition masks as utopia, how selfishness pretends to be sacrifice, how idealism is delusion. From painful personal experience, they know how our sick deceits operate through the world around us, the flesh within us, and the devil who attacks us from without and within.
Carl Jung warned us about the consequences of taking this battle lightly (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, p. 104):
The devil was … abolished, with the result that this metaphysical figure was introduced into man. The wolf in sheep’s clothing now goes about whispering in our ears that evil is really nothing but a misunderstanding of good and an effective instrument of progress. We think that the world of darkness has thus been abolished for good and all, and nobody realizes what a poisoning this is of man’s soul. In this way he turns himself into the devil….
If we as Christians are to return to our pre-Constantine state, we must be willing to become strangers to all this – strangers to both our sacred and secular cultures, strangers to our postmodern thinking, and (perhaps hardest of all) strangers to our corrupted, arrogant, self-serving politics.
The good news is that Christ has already won this battle between good and evil. The war is over. We are the occupying and advancing forces in His completed accomplishment. Golgotha was D-Day, the conquering blood that secured our beachhead. In spite of momentary battles, our job is mopping up.
For those who place their confidence in the promises of men, Jesus suffered and died. He didn’t come for those who measure up but for those of us who don’t. Over the door to the kingdom stands the sign: “For Sinners Only.”
We ignore the reality of evil – of wolves in sheep’s clothing – to our peril.
July 30, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book is Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.