Christians throughout the centuries have always communicated the good news of the Kingdom of God in the vernacular of their surrounding culture. They have engaged those around them by making use of their culture’s shared experiences so that the gospel is heard in a way they will understand. To be effective means to infiltrate and influence society so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Those who communicate the gospel effectively are agents of change in the world. One of the challenges for Christians is to avoid letting a culture’s influence dilute the message of the Kingdom of God so as to become ineffective or irrelevant.

The constantly evolving nature of cultures and the inescapable reality of a global pluralist society have become major challenges to the Church in the West, and to Protestantism in particular. The past century has witnessed an unprecedented rate in the change of cultural motifs and the increasing accessibility to these diverse cultures from the foreigner. In centuries past only the wealthy could explore the far regions of the world. Today even the poor can spend a few hours on the Internet to glimpse a foreign cultural experience.

To meet the challenges of a changing global community, a new generation of Christians are diverging from the standard political, social, and theological views they inherited. Although this movement involves the global Christian Church, my experience has been largely within the evangelical community, a relatively recent phenomenon within Christianity’s twenty-century lifespan. Cultural shifts are always a mixed bag, but it is prudent to notice the promise such shifts provide as well as the challenges.

It is promising is that younger evangelicals are less eager to hastily form opinions and embrace dogmas. They intuitively recognize the inherently divisive nature of asserting one’s opinion as though it were absolute authority. They seek truth in humility. As wise participants in the ongoing struggle of ideas, they recognize that for Christians to make strongly dogmatic assertions means to risk devolving into irrelevance in a world working out its own meaning. Along with their sparring partners, they recognize dialogue as the best move forward with the fewest personal bruises or injured bystanders. A pluralist world expects a respectful posture toward disagreeing ideologies and world views. This does not mean jettisoning all truth claims, but appropriately disposing of the arrogance that often accompanies those who are certain and intractable.

The challenge for younger evangelicals is not to repeat the mistakes of movements past by dismissing the value of established traditions and forming a new Christianity that is no Christianity at all. Christ-centered ethics, a cruciform hermeneutic, and a prophetic critique of empire must be a vital characteristic of our Christian faith. Without Christ at the center of ethics, “biblical morality” is meaningless and merely one of myriad ethical options. If a crucified Messiah is not the center of hermeneutics, the Bible becomes a mere object to understand rather than a life-giving text that leads us to aliveness and spiritual awakening. And without Jesus Christ, the Church’s ability to speak truth to power becomes impotent, for Christ demonstrated a new way of power by subverting the empires of this world.

In the religious sphere, the Church is talking about the mission and message of Jesus in new ways. Phrases such as “personal savior” or “friendship evangelism” are out of vogue. Terms like “missional” or “incarnational” are the new trend. Hardly any theologian or preacher would deny that individuals must repent of their personal sins, but the attention has turned to the sins of collective violence and social injustice. It is no longer distinctively Christian to preach and uphold personal moral values. To be a light in a world of darkness means Christians must think beyond simply keeping a moral code. Even the most devout atheist can be a moral and ethical bearer of light. Light-bearing in a postmodern world now means that Christians must seriously consider what it means to “love God and neighbor.” Brian Zahnd reminds us that it is easy to believe in Jesus, but it is immensely difficult to believe in the way of Jesus. After all, “the narrow way that leads to life” is not about asking Jesus into our hearts, but the difficult task to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

In politics the United States is witnessing many younger evangelicals becoming significantly less enthusiastic about the limited and contrived choices. Whether it be the two-party system in national elections or the unnoticeable difference when a different party assumes majority, the future looks bleak if our choices do not become more diverse. Gone are the hopeful days of assuming My Candidate is pure good and Your Candidate is pure evil. Gone are the expectations that My Candidate will outlaw abortion, obliterate the terrorists, and deport all immigrants to their homeland in time to watch it on the evening news tomorrow at dinner! The new reality is that most have realized that My Candidate is just as evil as Your Candidate.

The Church’s attention to the social implications of the Kingdom of God and America’s increasing dissatisfaction with the current set of choices in politics offers libertarian Christians a unique opportunity. In some ways I believe it is critical that we do so. Libertarians inherent a political philosophy that speaks truth to power, a major asset to engaging the culture as Christians. Libertarians offer a long-forgotten alternative to politics as we know it. The current set of options is too narrow, and I hesitate to even frame it as a “Left vs. Right” dichotomy. Many have proffered the seemingly wiser “third option” in politics, but often they are in reality peddling reinvented Marxist or theonomist proposals with clever sloganeering. The world has had its share of Marxist disasters, and an Old Testament theocracy didn’t even work for those who literally witnessed the mighty acts of YHWH. To be relevant and address the growing focus and attention of politics and Christianity, a proposal for a new kind of Christian libertarianism cannot be dressed in the garb of conservativism, progressivism, or consumerism.

To outline a proposal with such high aspirations is far beyond the scope of this article. My goals are much more modest than that. I hope to open a conversation about the compatibility of a theology whose inclinations are more “social” in nature with a political philosophy whose concerns are highly individualistic. Libertarians will want to know what happens to liberty when coupled with a theology that is not dedicated to individualism. Progressive Christians shudder at the very thought of individual liberty dominating a discussion on social justice. Both sides have every good reason to be wary of the “language house” of the other. Words quickly lose meaning when they become hijacked by the peddlers of win-lose agendas. It is unfortunate that Newspeak is not a dead language!

Anabaptist theologian John Howard Yoder seems to understand both the pitfalls of idolizing the individual and the dangers of collectivism. In his book, The Priestly Kingdom, he captures these sentiments well:

“Communities which are genuinely voluntary can affirm individual dignity… without enshrining individualism. They can likewise realize community without authorizing lordship or establishment.” 

In forthcoming articles I hope to elaborate upon a few texts in the Bible that demonstrate the necessity of a social dimension to Christian faith and salvation while remaining committed to libertarian individualism. For Christian libertarians to be a life-giving community for the good of the world, we will need to communicate and demonstrate why individual liberty improves the common good.

Doug Stuart

Doug Stuart holds a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Seminary and is a regular contributor to LibertarianChristians.com. He currently lives with his wife and three children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he enjoys home brewing, coffee roasting, reading, and aviation. He is a life group leader and deacon at an evangelical church, where he has also taught classes on film and culture, evangelism, faith and economics, and non-violence.
  • Doug Stuart: “One of the challenges for Christians is to avoid letting a culture’s
    influence dilute the message of the Kingdom of God so as to become
    ineffective or irrelevant.”

    I would submit that Christians don’t need any assistance from today’s culture to dilute the message of the Kingdom of God. Christians have been their own worst enemies in this regard.

    What, in the 17th-century, was Christendom has become culturally irrelevant, 4-walled Christianity (Christendumb). Today’s Christianity is best described, in Matthew 5:13, by Christ as salt that’s lost its savor, good for nothing but to be trampled under the foot of man.

    Among other reasons, this has occurred because the majority of today’s Christians view the Kingdom of God as exclusive to heaven (the kingdom in heaven rather than kingdom of heaven) and/or something only relevant to the future. These two doctrines have all but emasculated the church today.

    For more, see free online book “Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant” at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/law-kingdomFrame.html.

  • HM8432

    Good article, Doug; very thoughtful. A folly of Big Government-loving statists (on all sides of the political spectrum), is that they expect God to change for them, society, and ‘the times’. God changes for no one, no matter how Politically Correct the group they represent may be, or if they think they are ‘on the right side of history’ (but not God).

  • We are not off the hook, Ted.

    Every last one of us alive on the planet today had the same opportunities to read the Bible from cover to cover and comprehend what it says and means and to then decide to obey it or not. What no one wants to address is why is it that in 2015, all but less than 1% of the world’s population are such deviant LIARS and FRAUDS, wearing masks and playing fast and loose with the TRUTH to deceive themselves and everyone around them?

    If the mythical notion of man’s “free will” were the issue, then why has the vast majority of mankind alive on the planet today chosen to rebel against God and refuse to listen to the objective truth? If mankind is now so “highly evolved,” why is mankind even more depraved, wicked ands sinful today than at any other time on all of world history?

    The answer to the questions I pose here is quite simple: because God, in His sovereign brilliance and wisdom, has willed it so.

    99% of those professing themselves to be Christians are nothing more than self-deceived con artists and frauds. A true Christian is of the truth and hears the voice of Yahushua (Jesus), He told Pilate in John 18:37. Yet most frauds posing as Christians believe the Khazar impostors posing as Jews are God’s chosen people, when in truth, they are the Antichrist of these final days of the end times!!!! These deceived fools have taken on the mark of the beast in swearing allegiance to the “jews” who hijacked our nation and world in their Satanic cult of Talmudic Judaism decades ago. Americans long ago rejected God and swore first allegiance to mammon as their #1 idol and false god. Now we collectively are reaping the whirlwind of our past and present sins.

    It’s over. We are at the end of God’s prophetic Biblical timeline and anyone who cannot see this by now is proven to be of the non-elect (as proven by Matthew 24:24) and the subject of strong delusion, sent upon him by God, for the reasons spelled out in 2 Thessalonians 2:12.

    Let the wise understand. The wicked never will. Daniel 12:10 tells us this. God never lies, changes or fails.

  • echelon

    Ted, are we to conclude then that your way would have the United States become a theocratic kingdom or some other form of theocracy?

    Christendom is just as evil an idea as Christendumb, as you’ve called it.

    Both miss the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. God neither wants His disciples to lose their saltiness and have no effect on the world, nor does He want His disciples to create another earthly Jerusalem from which to rule the nations.

    Rather, Christ commanded us to go forth to the ends of the earth proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and to practice true religion. By doing so the Kingdom starts small, like a mustard seed, but then grows into a very large tree.

    And so, 4-walled Christendumb fails because it is insular, self serving and lukewarm – rejected by Christ and ready to be spit out. Likewise, Christendom is militant, domineering and ruthless – also rejected by Christ and utterly demolished.

    Instead let us cling to the one who redeemed us from the curse of the law, (Gal 3:10-13) go forth to the nations and proclaim the gospel (Matt. 16:18-20) and love our neighbors as ourselves while keeping ourselves holy (James 1:27). Let the four walls of our temples crumble and leave to Caesar what is his…

  • Kevin Regal

    Doug. Thank you. You make some really great points. I do have a question about your fourth paragraph (beginning with “It is promising…”). Couldn’t statements like “They intuitively recognize the inherently divisive nature of asserting one’s opinion as though it were absolute authority. They seek truth in humility” be construed as being assertive, dogmatic, etc.? Though it is very careful, this paragraph pretty much accuses anyone who disagrees of being closed-minded, dogmatic, divisive, without humility, unwise, opposed to dialogue, disrespectful, and arrogant. I hope I’m not coming on too strong, but I worry that some of the people you commend are actually (to make a cliche) arrogant about their own humility.

  • SpiderWatch

    So about 24 million people are going to make it hmm? Well you don’t count Catholics and probably Orthodox too, so probably about 80 thousand people save according to you. Does that sound right?

  • edward budny

    old test. jerusalem was a kimgdom not a theocracy a christian theocracy is whats coming to america and the future in Gods dominion 1cor 15:24—-

  • Echelon, thank you for responding. I will try to be as brief as possible.

    1) “Christendom is just as evil an idea as Christendumb….”

    Christendom is merely Christians serving their God, King, and Sovereign here on earth as His subjects, servants, and ambassadors in every way and everywhere possible, in fulfillment of 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, etc. Any you find this evil!?! I wonder how Yahweh views your estimation of his commission?

    There are no vacuums when it comes to dominion. Someone is always in control of dominion, legislating morality (or more often than not, immorality). Consequently, if you’re not pursing ChristenDOM (His kingDOM or DOMinion) here on earth as it is in heaven, you’re promoting (or at least tolerating) some form of man’s dominion, which is sedition against Yahweh, the King of kings.

    2) The good news of the kingdom is not merely salvation or Christians being a light to the world. That’s, of course, where it begins for the remnant. However, the good news of the kingdom also includes Christians being the salt of the earth, which demands that they pursue Yahweh’s righteousness (as reflected in His triune moral law-His commandments, statutes, and judgments) at all levels of society. What part of society do think Yahweh doesn’t intend for Christians to salt?

    3) “Christendom is militant … and ruthless….”

    So, Yahweh’s perfect laws and altogether righteous judgments produce a militant … ruthless society!?!

    “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as Yahweh my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as Yahweh our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:5-8, see also Deuteronomy 28:1-14)

    “The law of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of
    Yahweh are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7-11)

    “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [nor militant, nor ruthless] .” (1 John 5:3)

    Do you really think fickle finite man can improve upon what is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and altogether righteous? Only rebellious man would think so!

    4) “…What belongs to Yahweh? And what belongs to Caesar? The answer to the first question answers the second question. Yahweh reigns over and owns everything:

    ‘The earth is YHWH’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.’ (Psalm 24:1)

    “What does this leave for Caesar? Even Caesar didn’t belong to Caesar….”

    For more regarding Mark 12:17 and Jesus’ oft-misused statement “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” see online Chapter 19 “Amendment 10: Counterfeit Powers” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/BlvcOnline/biblelaw-constitutionalism-pt19.html.

  • echelon

    I get what you’re saying but however God’s Kingdom operates after His 2nd coming, it’s clear that it doesn’t operate in any way like any earthly system. So to call it a “theocracy” is probably quite a stretch.

    I also don’t think you can get a theocracy out of the verse you referenced. All that says is that Christ will hand over the Kingdom to the Father.

  • echelon

    Ted,

    1) Show me anywhere that Christ tells us to form a new “nation” or “government”? Show me where we are to go back to any sort of organized rule. Christ himself, by telling the disciples to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and the things that are God’s to God was telling us to tolerate unrepentant man’s foolishness. Christ basically avoids man-made government at all costs, or pays His “dues” quickly for their sake (as not to offend) and when He finally does confront it head on – it kills him. And He basically tells us that we are to expect the same. “They will hate you because they hated me”. Government that is perfect cannot tolerate imperfect citizens. And since we are such, any attempt by Christendom to DOMINATE it’s citizens or subjects only ends in misery — as history illustriously shows.

    I do not have to wonder what God thinks of me. I already know that I am the lowliest of sinners and I do not deserve to have a relationship with him. I’ve broken one law once, so therefore I’ve broken all of the laws. Luckily, Christ has taken my penalty and now I live for Him, however imperfectly that may be until He comes again.

    The last time I checked, God declared that ALL have fallen short of the Glory of God. So therefore, whatever you wish Christendom to do, it is not in God’s will because God is already building his Church – His Kingdom – all over the planet, everyday. He cares not what earthly kingdoms declare themselves “Christian” or any other such thing.

    2) God intends for us to salt everything – but that doesn’t mean that others won’t reject that salt. Setting up an earthly government run by God’s statutes ultimately means that we have failed the mission God gave us. One has no need for such things when the laws are written on our hearts.

    But as such we are sent out like sheep among wolves but our fight is not against flesh and bone. Christ will come and conquer, he has assured that, we are not to do that ourselves. As has always been the case, we’ve missed the point and aim of His mission once again and propped ourselves up in His place.

    3) You mistake what God gave to the Earthly Israelites as continuing on to this day. Christ fulfilled the law and became the curse of the law for us. His perfect law that is not militant is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind; and secondly, to love our neighbors as ourselves.

    Stoning people for adultery doesn’t really come into play there. Trying to set up another earthly theocracy is tantamount to trampling on the precious blood of Christ, the same thing the 1st century Jews were wont to do.

    Christendom, historically after the church “triumphed over Rome” became one of the most corrupt and sinister regimes. Between crusades, inquisitions, burning of various people, indulgences, etc. the list could go on. It’s easy to see what happens when Christ’s Kingdom decides to play the harlot like Israel and get in bed with the beast.

    4) Everything does belong to God, but He hasn’t claimed it all yet or revealed it yet. He has not come back the 2nd time to claim His bride and do away fully with sin, Satan and death.

    Notice Christ’s response to Satan when he offers Christ all the kingdoms of the world…Christ refuses his offer, but he doesn’t claim that Satan’s offer is illegitimate. The Kingdom of Heaven is the Kingdom not made by human hands – any attempt to make it like any nation on earth is already in vain.

    I understand fully Christ’s statement about Caesar. I am not misusing it or misunderstanding it. To take it in the sense that you’re intending then it’s understandable why Judas and most of the disciples as well as the other people of Israel were mistaken about Christ – they too thought that he had come to conquer Rome and restore the monarchy back to Israel. And to be sure He did conquer Rome and all past and future earthly governments – but he also rightly judged Israel as well because they missed the Truth about God and instead had their eyes fixated on earthly things and not heavenly things and tried in vain to follow rules and regulations that God knew were impossible fore them to keep.

    It seems today, in America and the West at least, we have committed the same sin and no learned our collective lesson.

  • edward budny

    after the second coming there is a new heaven and earth .God (Christ is reigning now .his dominion will increase in the whole world through israel(anglo saxon nations) where.Christ puts dow ALL RULE AND AUTHORITYread 1 cor.15:24….. again he will have full dominion(worldwide christian theocracy) reinging in his people as kings and priests(not Christ literaly him self on this earth) then cometh the end when he gives back the kingdom to the heavenly father in the new heaven and new earth he will recreate read 1 cor. 15 again

  • edward budny

    you sound like you waiting for the socalled rapture man are you sleeping on a cloud

  • edward budny

    its not over God is king of kings and lord of lords

  • I’m sorry, your view of the kingdom is perverted.

    A kingdom involves a king, his law, a territory, and his pervasive and comprehensive dominion over that territory. The only time Christians, such as yourself, want to violate these kingdom realities, is when it applies to Yahweh’s kingdom.

    In Yahweh’s case, his territory is the entire universe, which includes all government here on earth: individual, familial, ecclesiastical, and civil.

    Just what part of civil government do you not want based upon Yahweh’s moral law?

  • No, Yahushua (Jesus) is King of kings and Lord of lords.

    It is effectively over. 517 days from today the great tribulation ends. Sometime during the 45 days which follow, Yahushua returns in the clouds to gather the elect in fulfillment of the prophecy of Matthew 24:30-31. After that, all hell breaks loose on earth. Since all is predestined by God, and His sovereign will is NEVER thwarted, it is as good as done.

    YHWH has spoken.

  • I’m not waiting for it, but I am certain that the gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 is imminent. Anyone who cannot see all the signs of fulfilled end times prophecies all around us is strongly deluded by God, in perfect fulfillment of the prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. You most certainly are one of them. Bummer for you.

    As YHWH’s true prophet and watchman on the wall I have lots of work to do to blow the trumpet and sound the alarm of the coming calamity upon the wicked, to teach and explain what’s coming and why, and to urge the few who are still able (the elect) to confess and repent of their many sins and to submit their lives and their wills fully to Yahushua as lord while there is still time left. In 517 days from today, that time will be up forever.

    History is repeating itself. Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.

    YHWH has spoken.

  • edward budny

    no you have sppoken math.24:30-31 was alreadyfullfilled Iin ad 70 when rome sacked jerusalem see verse 34 and verse 36 says no one knows that day or hour verse 36 to end of chapter is warning about the end.you are a false prophet.

  • You’re desperate and grasping at straws. You know it and I know it. I’ve already caught you in one lie; shall I expose you here for two more?

    If it were true that Matthew 24:30-31 was fulfilled in 70 A.D., where’s your evidence for that event? Revelation 7:14, written in 95 A.D. makes reference to a future event from that time in which resurrected saints will have come out of the great tribulation (the same one foretold in Daniel 12 and Matthew 24 for thousands of years). So do tell us all: just how do you reconcile those two passages and make your bogus theory hold together? Remember, the Bible NEVER contradicts itself, so don’t you even try to claim otherwise.

    Now as to verse 34, the Greek word “genea” which is translated into English as generation, makes no sense if it literally refers to those who were alive at the time of Christ’s ministry on earth. A simple examination of Strong’s Concordance clears up that matter quite readily. The Greek word “genes” can also refer to an era or age, as ion “church age” and this is what Yahushua (Jesus) was telling His disciples and the elect, of which you clearly are not one of us.

    As to verse 36, Yahushua did indeed teach that no man knows the day or the hour of His second coming. But that’s ALL it says. It in no way says that no one can have a clue as to when He will return. In fact, it teaches the precise opposite of this.

    First of all, if you had any truth and intellectual integrity in you, you would see that my 517 day reference was NOT to the second coming of Christ, but rather to the day on which the great tribulation we now are in comes to an end. My book, Making Sense Out of a world Gone Mad: A Roadmap for God’s Elect Living in the Final Days of the End Times, explains all of this with hard evidence, reference to relevant end times Scripture and simple logic. I really have no interest in repeating myself here on all of that. I sincerely doubt that you’d be able to grasp it, even if you read my book, so I suggest you don’t even bother.

    My book explains that buried in Daniel 12:11-12 are clues that when applied to the date on which the end times prophecy of Matthew 24:15 was fulfilled both literally and metaphorically on March 22, 2013, reveals a 45 day window of time within which the prophecies of Matthew 24:29-31, followed by those of Revelation 19:7-9 HAVE to occur with hair-splitting accuracy. Once that 45 day window of time passes, all hell breaks out on the wicked of this earth who remain behind, as Revelation 19:11-16 explains in no uncertain terms. so I don’t know the day or the our of Christ’s return because Scripture is not that specific. but I do know the 45 day window of time within which it HAS to occur with virtual certainty.

    God has sent you strong delusion in fulfillment of the prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. This is why you believe and promote the lies you have put forth here. You’re one of the seemingly endless non-elect spiritual goats and vessels of dishonor of Romans 9:21-23, fitted unto destruction and God’s eternal wrath. You’re serving your predestined purpose by promoting lies such as these for a season, and then you will be destroyed, just as God’s infallible words of the Bible clearly state.

    Thus, I have now exposed three more lies of yours and so doing I have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that I am indeed everything I reveal myself to be: God’s true prophet and His watchman on the wall in these final days of the end times.

    As for you, you’re a four-time proven liar. Revelation 21:8 reveals that all liars shall have their part in the burning lake of fire and brimstone. It doesn’t get any clearer than this. You’re toast.

    YHWH has spoken.

  • SpiderWatch

    So what’s god gonna tell you on 18 November 2016?

    Are you going to be an earthly leader fighting the dreaded antichrist?

    Are the end times moving up a few months?

    You’re going to need a plan b.

  • echelon

    I’m sorry to disagree with you but I feel that your view of the kingdom is not based anywhere in scripture.

    I do not disagree with the sentiment that you proclaim, but rather with the timing and execution.

    God does have dominion over the entire creation, but He chooses when to exercise that dominion. Rather than blithely conquering nations with the sword as any bloody, earthly kingdom run by Satan could have and continue to do, God has chosen to reveal the truths of his perfect kingdom to the lowly and unlearned of this world and to make fools out of human kingdoms and empires.

    What you are fundamentally missing is the fact that it doesn’t matter what I WANT or DO NOT WANT based on God’s moral law! God has provided the marching orders and we are to follow those orders in faith and not stray from them.

    The rules for the Theocracy in the Old Testament were explicit and detailed for how to run every aspect of God’s government and economy in the earthly realm. But notice that God did not demand these things of the rest of the earth at that time even though they may be perfect and true.

    And what happened? Did God’s perfect governmental system fail? Not because of any deficiency on God’s part! But because we humans are frail and sinful – they broke the covenant! It was supposed to be the appointed judges who were supposed to consult God and He would rightly and justly condemn or vindicate a person – but the people didn’t like that so they started to take things into their own hands.

    And then they twisted the system even further and dethroned God as the head of their government and asked for a human king! And yet God did not execute His just wrath on them, but rather tried to work with them still to get them to see their folly and to reveal Truth to them. Once again, it didn’t end well, not because God failed, but because the people including the kings, were fallible. The Law is not the giver of life, it is the bringer of death. It is meant to draw us to God’s mercy not for us to execute God’s wrath on others.

    By the time God becomes flesh the system that the Jews created is nothing more than a weak and wicked imitation of the system God originally designed.

    Read God’s Word further and notice that Christ did absolutely nothing in word or deed to indicate that the disciples should stay in Jerusalem and build another nation. Nor did he instruct them to go to any other land and build “Christendom”. Nor did he give any instructions to Europeans to travel across the Atlantic and build a new earthly Israel to be a light to shine to the rest of the world.

    And even if He had – we already can see what the outcome was. Once again the experiment clearly failed! Why? Because it matters not how perfect the laws or the system is when the constituents of the nation are ungodly. It does not matter if a nation calls itself “Christian” or exalts a certain religion over another, their deeds show them for what they are. But the Kindgom of Heaven has citizens who have the law written on their heart.

    Furthermore, God makes it obvious that He knows the full number of His Church and none will be taken from His hand. So we workers of the harvest are to go out – not to make nations or dominate the planet – but to draw those whom God has chosen into His Body.

    Jesus prophesied that He would come on the clouds and those hearing His words would see Him vindicated and triumphant. Christ, not being a false prophet, proved Himself correct when He utterly demolished the entire Jewish system by destroyed the temple and Jerusalem in 70AD through the hands of the Romans.

    Let us not seek to rebuild what God has not permitted us to do. God has made no new covenant with any one people to create an earthly nation, rather He has called forth His chosen from all “tongues, tribes and peoples” to enter into His Kingdom, proclaim His Truth and await His coming.

  • echelon

    Edward,

    With all due respect, you are reading a theology into 1 Cor. 15:24 that just isn’t there. It is not a proper exegesis of the Scripture.

    Christ is now ruling, true. But most of the world does not know and/or accept this. God has given a forbearance of His judgement so that His body may go out to the ends of the Earth and gather the remainder of His people to Himself. Once that task is accomplished, then the end will come. Read the preceding verses in the passage you state. The passage you reference is talking about the resurrection of the dead.

    Furthermore, where in Scripture does God make a covenant with Anglo Saxon nations to plot out and rule the entire world? This sounds like the theology of Islam, not of Christianity. Christ has not instructed the citizens of His Kingdom to do violence to any others, or to “rule” them. Through earthly Israel, God already showed us that we, humans, cannot keep our end of the bargain when it comes to being citizens of a Theocracy so why would He try the same failed experiment over again? God knows the definition of insanity!

  • Thank you for proving my point.

  • echelon

    LOL, ok, Ted. Thank you for once again not answering any of my direct objections or questions. I guess we’re just apt to agree to disagree and people reading our comments and hopefully the Scripture will be able to judge our opinions expressed here and let them rise and fall on Truth and Reality.

    Peace to you brother!

  • To you, as well!

  • Ted, I like what you say about Christians not needing much assistance from the culture to dilute the message of the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, I applaud your contrast of kingdom IN heaven versus OF heaven!

    From my limited perspective and personal experience, what is supposed to set the Church apart from the world is our commitment to loving God and neighbor. Living that out in mission means demonstrating what it is for Jesus, as King, to reign and have dominion over a “land” without becoming just another tyrannical institution.

    Scot McKnight’s book Kingdom Conspiracy was incredibly helpful to me in understanding some of the sloppy thinking regarding the phrases “kingdom of God” or “doing kingdom work.” McKnight pulls no punches against even his favorite authors, and calls for clarity in what it is that we are talking about when we speak of the “kingdom of God.” Much of what I highlighted in the book comports with a view from liberty and free society, though I doubt he’d call himself a libertarian.

  • Kevin, thank you for reading. At the risk of oversimplifying, in some ways I’m articulating the old adage, “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” What I think many in my generation (I’m in my 30s) and younger have recognized is that assertion of opinion, even if it is a solid one based on evidence and not merely persuasive rhetoric, can act as a sort of “power play,” where the assertiveness itself is seen as an act of dominating.

    For instance, because online conversations tend to be brief, assertions are often made as if they are self-evident. Christians, for instance, quote Bible verses, as if the interpretation of the verse itself were so obvious that the conclusions made by the one quoting the verse are taken as “true.” A responder to that might say, “Well, I have a different interpretation than you do,” but that only gets us to the point of disagreement. One step further: “I disagree, and here’s why,” gets us a little further in a productive discussion, but can only take us so far.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but my inference from your question seems to be that what I’m advocating could be endorsing (wittingly or unwittingly) a sort of “arrogant tolerance,” whereby the supposedly tolerant, humble, open-minded person is arrogant in their commitment to being tolerant, humble, and open-minded. If that’s accurate, I get what you mean, and the risk is certainly there. But being against arrogance is not the same as being against holding unswayable opinions. If one is completely against the holding of strong opinions, then yes, we are on the same page. But the kind of humility and openness I’m describing isn’t a rejection of convictions or strongly held beliefs. On the other side, it is also wrong to simply label the certain and confident as “arrogant” simply because they are confident and certain.

  • Doug, thanks for responding.

    I’ll check out McKnight’s book.

    If you’d be interested I’d love to send complimentary copies of “Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant” and the “Primer” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.”

    The latter is an 85-page abbreviated version of the complete 565-page “BL vs. USC,” in which every Article and Amendment is examined by the Bible. The former is a 50-page booklet, containing the first two chapters of “BL vs. USC.”

    If interested, provide me with your address and I’ll be pleased to get copies right out to you. If not here, you can send it to me at tweiland@vistabeam.com.