Friday, November 09, 2012

OBSERVATION

In hearing and reading comments and observing responses from the Christian community to recent political activities, I write the following. It seems that the task of dealing with the “both / and” issue (in comparison with the “either / or” issue) is very important. Simply put, we need not pit preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ against being good stewards and having active involvement in the realm of government (or education, business, etc.). The tendency to dismiss the need to and importance of giving wise and responsible attention to the affairs of national and international governance is often portrayed as a more spiritual approach to life on earth. This is largely the fruit of an unhealthy and inappropriate secular / sacred dichotomy. The assumption is that our current, earthly existence is of no importance in comparison to our future spiritual destiny.

I would suggest that such an assumption and its ensuing approach falls short of the full reality that God is Creator of heaven and earth and, having been created in His image, He gave the human race (of which Christians are a part) a cultural mandate to rule over all the earth. A well balanced, holistic perspective and approach is our goal. Many seemingly pious remarks intend to communicate that it really doesn’t matter how things pan out in such earthly affairs because God’s kingdom is not of this world, etc. There are others who quickly allude to the assumption that everything happens according to God’s plan. Here’s where caution and balance must be sought. The fact that God’s kingdom is not dependent upon or ushered in through political movements does not mean that such affairs are of no importance. Neither does it mean that such affairs have no influence or impact on how, when and where the gospel is preached or how quickly the church manages to preach the gospel of the kingdom in every nation as a testimony (after which the end will come – Mt 24:14). Therefore, a dismissive or piously passive attitude regarding the unfolding of such events is not to be seen as the height of great faith.

Finding a fruitful “both / and” approach in which we are not distraught to the point of incapacity or passively pious to the point of inactivity is our goal. We have not been taken out of this world (we are in this world) and our involvement and influence must be seen as significant and even necessary. At the same time, we are not to be controlled by the principles of the ungodly (we are not of this world). We must, instead of being dismissive in our attitude, be involved in destroying speculation that is being raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5)  wherever this is being accomplished; philosophies of government, education, economics, family life, child training, etc. Our commission is to disciple nations, teaching them to observe (obey and honor) God’s principles and truths for fruitful human living, individually and corporately.

In a future article, I plan to address a similar confusion regarding the relationship between God’s active involvement and man’s active involvement in the unfolding of human history. Again, it is not all one or all the other.

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