Friday, July 13, 2012

God and Government

click here to view Colson, Boyd and Claiborne discuss evangelical politics
Though all three participants had many interesting things to say, I would like to contribute (since I was not invited to be part of the discussion) a perspective that I did not see surface.
God & Government

1. God gave Mankind stewardship over all earthly creation and over all of which Jesus is Lord.

a. When considering the Lordship of Christ, we must understand that it extends to all realms and spheres of personal and corporate life.

2. Addressing the issue of stewardship has to do with learning how to govern in all individual and corporate areas of life.

a. Self government, family government, civil government, etc. are all part of engaging in an effective stewardship under God, over the earth.

3. In order to stay on track, we must guard against creating an unhealthy dichotomy between Old Testament and New Testament revelation.

a. The idea that the kingdom always looks like Jesus, as Greg Boyd often emphasizes, needs to be developed properly if it is to be helpful as opposed to misleading and counterproductive.

b. To expound upon the above statement, we must realize that the existence and activity of Jesus spans a much greater period than the 33 years of life (or 3 years of active ministry) that He had on planet earth as the incarnate God. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that He was present during the evaluation of Sodom and Gomorrah and a variety of other such dealings (the event the golden calf triggered, the swallowing up of those who rebelled against Moses, the command for the advancement of Israel's army against other nations, etc.). If we are to have an honest, well rounded view and representation of Christianity, this must be taken into consideration when we hear Jesus tell us that when we've seen Him, we've seen the Father.

c. This position also seems to over look the important fact that the earthly ministry of Jesus was intended to accomplish certain very important, but limited goals. Though addressing a major dimension of God's redemptive agenda, it does not represent the entire picture. For example, Jesus states that He did not come to judge the world but that the world might be saved. Though true of His earthly "project" there is yet a dimension of His ministry that does involve judgement (Jn.3:18-19; 5:22-32; Acts 17:30-31).

d. Illustration of above idea: Imagine a man who has a 30 year career of repossessing cars. During one of those 30 years, however, the company he worked for was involved in a charity program during which he was in charge of giving cars to the needy. To draw a conclusion about his career based on observing only that one year period will lead to certain distortion. 

e. The “love” and “peace” emphasis and positions established upon these words need to take much greater care in formulating its definition of such words. We cannot afford to create concepts based upon a partial approach toward the Scriptural revelation we have regarding the character of the God of love of which it speaks.

4. The God & government issue (church and state) is not an either / or matter.

a. Though the church and civil government serve distinct functions they both play necessary roles in human beings exercising responsible, God-pleasing stewardship over planet earth and the nation thereupon.

b. The truth the church is supposed to possess is to be employed in our stewardship over civil government.

c. It is no more appropriate for civil government to state that Christians are to stay out of the affairs of civil government as it is for the Christians to state the same.

d. As it has been given to human being to exercise such stewardship and civil government is one of many realms of government of which our stewardship involves, it is inappropriate to single out such a sphere and label it taboo. It is not as though we cease to be human beings with human responsibility for such areas of society when we become Christians. We must be careful not to establish yet another unhealthy and, ultimately, unfruitful dichotomy.

5. Possessing truth that leads to life (abundantly), it is a great act of LOVE, as well as our righteous, moral obligation before God to work toward seeing the nations understand and operate according to these Biblical truths and principles.

a. Teaching people to observe all He commanded does not only pertain to the period of His earthly human existence as suggested above.

6. Finally, every “experiment” in which we establish a community designed to reflect the right way to do all of this, will, of necessity (because it is ordained of God) have civil government. I am not against such "experiments" (as the U.S of A. is one such experiment) but it is naive to assume that pursuing such a community will free us from the need to figure out how our Christianity relates to civil government.

a. With this thought, I would challenge those who seem to look down upon love of country as though it is inherently evil or anti-Kingdom of God. If we are to love our enemies, why does it stop when speaking of our nation?

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