Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Slaying Giants - Entry 1

Over the next number of days / weeks (hopefully not months), I plan to use 1 Samuel 17 as the backdrop to discuss the need for each generation of Christians to be aware of the “giants” we face, the “uncircumcised Philistines” that taunt God, His people and His kingdom. Though I rarely approach Scripture in this manner, I will use this passage as a metaphor for the battle we face as we identify the ideologies, philosophies and worldviews that capture and distort the minds of our culture and of the nations. I am convinced that God wants to bless, not only individuals but also nations (the corporate, social relationships between individuals, the social structures and networks of individuals). As I prepare to refer to a passage penned by the apostle Paul, let me make the point that we have had a tendency, within Christianity, to reduce our thinking to the level of how things apply to us as individuals. Surely, the Good News has tremendous application on this level, but we must be careful that we do not overlook the fact that the truth of God is intended to go beyond individual blessing and transformation and bring restoration and reformation on the level of our social structures and institutions. Consequently, as one example, as we consider the issue of economics we could properly identify Karl Marx and Marxism as a Goliath taunting the people of God. This is a political / economic system contrary to the principles of Scripture. As such, it is incapable of blessing the nations that embrace and employ its ideas. Therefore, when we read Paul’s statement from 2 Corinthians 10:3-7, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we”, we should think, not only of the personal application (controlling selfish, greedy, lustful thoughts) but of the corporate, social, national, ideological application. We must be able to identify the “speculations…raised up against the knowledge of God” (Darwinism being a huge one) and strategize ways to destroy them in order to bless the nations and set them free from the bondage created by false ideologies. The mission of the church has, what we can call, an Evangelistic Mandate (to reach, convert and disciple individuals) but also a Cultural Mandate (to transform the social structure that comprise nations). Finally, as I end this entry and prepare for future entries in this series, I draw attention to the commission God gave to the prophet Jeremiah. “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10)

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