Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love




The connection between the institutional church and nationalism and materialism is strangely contradictory but imminently predictable. The way the church casts the sacrifice of the soldier in a likeness of Christ's sacrifice is telling. The soldier is the ultimate instrument of nationalism and a primary instrument of the national state. Soldiers and the military are the agents of the state to conserve and maintain its sovereignty and its relationship with outside nations.


Likewise materialism which places great emphasis on the accumulation of wealth as the proper measure of success is reverentially honored by the church. Quite literally the church is dependent on the financial support of its most materialistically successful members. It requires large funds to pay its ministers, maintain its properties, and support its programs. For that reason the material success of its adherents is essential to its very survival. If financial success of its membership is necessary, then the church's promotion of an economic system which stresses striving for material accumulation then logically follows. Thus we witness the church as a foremost promoter of the capitalistic system with its enshrinement of competition and materialism.


There is additionally a close association between the church's reverence for materialism and the role of the soldier. The latter is very often the instrument of foreign policy to assure materialistic prosperity. Though wars are generally justified as efforts of self defense in order to preserve the nation state, in reality most wars have economics and materialism as their root cause. Access to raw materials, overseas markets, and sources of capital are often seen as reasons to engage in military action. As a compounding factor, we also witness that the military itself is a vast and lucrative worldwide market for those seeking material success. 


I view the church's unfailing allegiance to the military and the materialistic philosophy of capitalism as anomalies because they represent a most blatant denial of some of the basic tenets of Christ's teachings. Whereas Jesus taught humility, simplicity, and self sacrifice, the church  promotes materialism as almost sacred. Christ is known as the Prince of Peace from the moment of his birth on earth, and yet the church wants to reverence those whose occupation is the propagation of war. War does not promote peace any more than paralysis promotes growth.