Friday, November 03, 2006

Old or New?

The involvement of the church in American politics is just another indication of the church's Old Covenant mentality. Under that covenant, God moved primarily through a political state - Israel. Throughout the Old Testament, one sees God dealing with the state of Israel in its relation to God, and other nations in their relation to Israel.
However, under the New Covenant, the issue becomes the kingdom of God, which is not of this world, and the chief representative of that kingdom, the church, though being in the world, is not of the world. Nowhere in the New Testament do we see God dealing with political states, only the church. Thus the New Testament reveals a shift with God instituting a New Covenant whereby he writes his law on the hearts of men instead of legislating it through political means.
Jesus was pressured by people to get involved in the politics of the day, but he refused to yield to their demands. His mission was to initiate and establish a kingdom that transcends all the political kingdoms of this world. Yet today, his church has departed from him, becoming heavily involved in the politics of our day. We have reverted back to the Old Covenant, which is obsolete, thus making the political activity of the church obsolete as well. And we wonder why we're not successful.

Comments:
Yes. I was just reading in the Screwtape Letters how they enemy was plotting to damage the kingdom by convincing this person to mix their faith in God, with their strong beliefs about politics. When the two intermingle they become interchangable and the strength of faith is lost in things like today's Democrats and Republicans.

I often wonder what our involvement should be as believers on earth. Jesus did not become political, because he came to seek and save the lost. Seeing as how politics are a way to carry out the call of God to care for the widowed, orphaned, poor, etc... should we adopt that conduit for accomplishing that call? Or should we go about it mainly and primarily through our local community and church? Both I suppose, but the more I debate about politics, the more I want to throw all of it away (conservative and liberal). My vote basically doesn't matter, the people we vote in are only giving us a 'fauxtoshopped image' of themselves in a commercial while simultaneously ripping their opponent to shreds. Nothing is sacred and all of them seem like shisters and charlatans.

If you can't trust them, and they control the political realm, I suppose grassroots efforts in the local community are all we can have an influence on...

Just thinking out loud...
 
Reading the last two posts by Carm brings home the futility of politics and misplaced nationalism to enable His Kingdom to come on this trembling earth. As was said, we need to seize every opportunity, but also watch where we put our trust (which is really the essence of "faith")

In these days we are not presently seeing a one world government as many either hoped for or feared. Instead the rise of tribalism has surfaced and with it complex expressions of tribal Christianity. Unlike Israel that had a geographic identity, there exists no unifying border around Christendom despite Jesus’ heartfelt prayer in John 17, which the Church has blatantly ignored. Whatever image of Jesus that has been “lifted up” has been a doctrinally mutated image of our Lord, comfortably reflecting our own tribal culture. Many that understand the times ahead are now projecting even bleaker days than many expected.

Since my return from South Africa several years ago I have been unable to avoid continually being confronted with the book of Habakkuk. As Christians we are not locked into secular proverbs such as “history repeats itself”, but God's past methods of chastising His people seem to be bouncing all around us as the light seems to be growing menacingly dimmer.

I don’t want to preempt Carm here, but I sense God has prepared a cleansing time for the Church up ahead, and it is not going to be a familiar perfumed bubble bath but more like one my mother gave me as a child after I came home covered with oil and tar after a bicycle wipe-out on a freshly asphalted street. I was stripped down naked, humbled, and scoured with a very hard brush and a solvent that had to be diluted just right or skin and flesh would also be removed.

My hopes then were based in that I knew my mother loved me, but I am not real comfortable who is going to be holding the brush this time. My security is that God is going to be there with us and overseeing these events. I also recall what his infinitely greater love allowed His own son to experience to clean us up. I’m not worried, mind you, but I have also been reading Col 1:24 more than I would like. I also remember a song back in the early Jesus People days from Habakkuk about fig trees. I also notice that I seem to pray more these days.
 
lucaso,
Really appreciate your honesty. I've wondered about the same things you refer to.
I've noticed how the church has come to depend on the government, expecting the government to do what God called the church to do, caring for the poor and the oppressed. We have elements of the church who rail against the government for not caring for the poor when the church itself is not caring for the poor as it should.
I concur with your thoughts on the political scene and wanting to throw it all away. It's all part of the system of this world that God is ultimately going to throw away.
 
Ron,
GREAT COMMENT! Love your analogy of the cleaning up process your mother gaved you as a child. We may hate the process, but the end result is what we want.
 
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