by Christopher J. Ortiz
Chalcedon Report, June 2009
If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 9:23
God said, “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Gen. 11:7). This was His divine response to the arrogant gesture on the part of man to “build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven” (v. 4). God would not overturn the walls, as in Jericho, or flood the land, as in the time of Noah. He confounded their language, and the net result was the destruction of the city.
Whenever I read passages like Mark 9:23 about how all things are possible to them that believe, I think of the builders of Babel. Their unified ambition represents a form of faith that I’ve not considered as deeply as I should. It’s the kind of faith that shapes history, whether for good, or evil.
There are two basic ways most Christians understand faith. It is either an individual’s confidence in God’s promises (Rom. 4:18-22), or it represents the totality of the Christian belief system (Jude 3). However, a different form of faith operates within the collective hearts of humanistic men. It’s a collective faith that is tragically absent from most of contemporary Christianity.
A collective faith involves the mutual hope of a group. It’s not merely the concern of an individual, although it can begin with the thinking of individuals. Collective faith is the unified vision that fuels all of man’s activities in order that a collective dream may be realized in history. This was Babel:
And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Gen. 11:6
“Nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” Why? It is because nothing is impossible to them that believe. The collective faith of the builders of Babel would work to bring the impossible down to the realm of possibility. By this faith, they would attempt to move a mountain:
If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matt. 17:20
This is also where man’s faith is futile. Whereas the spirit of antichrist drives universal man to build towers whose tops may reach to heaven, the City of God is a realized order that descends out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:10). Humanistic man may have faith for a world order, but he lacks the heavenly power to complete the project. However, the collective faith of God’s people says, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1).
The meaning is not that Christians do not work for this city, but that the dream, power, and realization are supplied by the Almighty.
The Sower Sows the Word of the Kingdom
The Babelites were of one vision, and because of their ability to articulate and systematize the vision into doctrine, they could sustain a long-term building project. Therefore, God declared war on their vision by confounding the source of their power: their collective faith.
God destroyed their plans for the tower by destroying the multiplying capacity of their worldview. Without language, they could no longer propagate their dream.
St. Paul said that “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Cor. 14:33), but He is when it comes to foiling humanism’s plans for a world order. However, the opposite is equally true and effective. Satan can “disrupt” the plans for the universal Kingdom of God, i.e., the Christian World Order, by a similar confusion:
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside. Matt. 13:19 (emphasis added)
The simplest way in which the word of the Kingdom is snatched from our hearts is by deeming it impossible. To most Christians, the suggestion of a universal Christian order without Christ’s physical presence is as unlikely as a mountain moving into the sea. This is why we are defeated, and it’s why humanistic man prevails in the building of his world order. His will to be as god recognizes no impossibility. What if we were of the same collective faith? Then, “nothing would be restrained from us, which we have imagined to do.”
Our Lord has sown the word of the Kingdom with the objective of receiving a hundred-fold return of His reign in every sphere.
The Four Grounds
The parable of the sower is about our Lord seeking to establish His Kingdom by sowing that very word—or vision—into our hearts. His objective is a collective faith that would make world dominion—a seemingly impossible notion—a real possibility.
The four grounds of Matthew 13:18-23 illustrate for us the primary hindrances to that vision being cultivated within our hearts. There is the devil who comes to immediately steal the word away (v. 19); there is the rootlessness of those who cannot endure the persecution that comes from proclaiming the global rule of Christ (v. 21); and there are those who embrace the message but are removed from the battle because of the cares of the world or the deceitfulness of riches (v. 22)—the word is choked out by their occupation with other concerns or interests.
Those who have “good ground” hear, understand, and bring forth fruit in progressive stages. This is vital to note, because there will not be an external dominion without a corresponding development of that word within the lives of those who hear it. Remember, the parable states that the enemy “catcheth away that which was sown in his heart” (v. 19, emphasis added). This is not pietism—the heart is the power center for the collective faith.
We are Working Together to Create Good Ground
What is most needed is a collective faith on the part of God’s people to seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). This is the vision of the City of God—the Christian World Order. Until this is the resident belief of the majority of Christians, we will remain victims of the confounding of Satan with the resulting effect of being a scattered people unable to understand each other’s speech, and therefore, unable to accomplish what we have imagined to do.
If we all believe, then all things become possible. Therefore, our primary objective should be to proclaim and secure the “word of the Kingdom” in as many as will receive it. If you consider the matter in this light, then organizations like Chalcedon, and a few others, become some of the most vital ministries in the world. We are the keepers of the flame, and the guardians of the brain trust. Our business is the word of the Kingdom.
This includes you, because you are as much a part of the work of Chalcedon as any staff member. Our callings are different, but the vision we serve is the same—we are collective in our faith but diverse in our expression.
This is why our mutual work must increase. We are contending with mass confusion (Babel) on the part of God’s people. The world is filled with a multiplicity of churches, ministries, schools, and institutions, but each one advocates a different vision. If we were all to agree that our individual expressions work to serve this central calling of the advancing Kingdom, we would truly see the end of the contemporary Towers of Babel. Rushdoony wrote:
[T]he scattering of the ungodly, as at Babel (Gen. 11:1-9), is to prevent them from realizing their hopes of an anti-God order.1
As it stands, it is the godly who are scattered, and it is the godly who are not realizing their hopes of a Christian social order. This can be changed, if we believe. It will not change overnight, and it will not be within our generation. Does that matter? The future depends upon our faithfulness now. Shall we leave future generations with little resources, or supply them with reams of literature and lectures from which they can continue the great campaign? By preserving and propagating the word of the Kingdom we are securing the seed that will eventually produce the hundred-fold return for our Lord. The choice is ours.