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Featured Cultural Engagement: Every Christian's Obligation

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Iconoclast, Feb 16, 2021.

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  1. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    By your mentality , cannot belong to any union either then!
     
  2. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    I think what your posts are indicating is perhaps we should have Christians in our churches before we have Christians in politics.
     
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  3. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Here is an opinion on this issue.I think there is partial truth here, but also an avoiding of the issue;

    Social Justice: Why Jesus Didn't Pursue It + Why the Church Shouldn't Fight for It — Truth + Fire

    Again, the Jews knew that Jesus was coming, but their understanding of his purpose was carnal. They were expecting Him to deliver them from other men. Instead, Jesus walked around for 3.5 years preaching the Gospel to deliver men from the wrath of God. Walking in the Spirit, Jesus was also able to subject Himself to the greatest injustice ever known to mankind that a greater justice would be established. Walking in the flesh, Peter attempted to prevent Jesus’s mission - not once, but twice. Acting out of carnal emotion rather than Spiritual discernment, Peter sliced off someone’s ear on one occasion and spoke under the influence of the Antichrist spirit in another. Jesus sternly rebuked Peter for both (Matthew 16:23-27; 26:51-53).
     
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  4. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Yes. Our churches seem to have devolved into businesses with staff and customers. Our first vocation is the Church. What we do in the World should be an expression of our identity in Christ.

    We work our occupations for God.

    The issue with secular politics is the focus is on the worldly. No party is godly. They strive to fix the world through worldly means.

    We can see how faith and secular politics mix simply by looking at the Jewish leadership of Jesus' day. They thought they were of the kingdom, but they were actually of Satan.

    This is why I found your suggestion of a Christian party interesting. I do not think such a party would do well politically because it would not compromise BUT it could do well as a light in this world.

    A Christian Party could be a witness to the World. But joining a secular party just silences the Church- it is a compromise I am not willing to make.

    The reason is the end goal. I do not believe we are called to make the World a more moral place. I believe we are called to witness to individual sinners.

    That is how we change the World. Not through politics but by being witnesses of Christ. God calls people out of the world and into His kingdom.
     
  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    @Iconoclast

    Your post points out one of the reasons my primary question throughout several posts regarding Christian involvement in politics. I have repeatedly asked - "to what end?".

    If Christians are engaging in politics to make laws that would "glorify God" then this is what the Pharisees did. Jesus told them that His kingdom is not of this world. It is not an issue of making the Word behave morally but an issue of a re-birth.

    A Christian who becomes a part of secular politics has compromised his or her voice. They have turned back to worldly solutions and are "not fit for the Kingdom".

    Christians need to express a voice on contemporary issues - but not by compromising themselves.

    The end is not to make the World a better place but to save people who are perishing - to be a lighthouse. Lighthouses are not effective if they are under the water - they need to be on the shore. The city cannot be seen from a distance if it is in a valley, but a city on the hill can be seen from afar. A hidden candle provides no light, but one on a table illuminates the surrounding area.

    That is my point. We should not be known by secular politics. We should be known as children of God.
     
  6. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Too many wolves in the church.
    Second, a political party would devolve into wolf party or it would be utterly hated by the world like our King was hated.
    If an individual Christian ventures into politics, s/he should understand that God wants them to be ambassadors of reconciliation to a lost world. If there is a venue in politics to be an ambassador, then walk through that door. If the only purpose is temporal gain, then you're wasting your life.
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I agree about too many wolves in the church. I truly believe that many of these wolves believe they are sheep (Matthew 7:23 applies). That is why I am so vocal about politics. It is easy for many to spot the wolf that looks like a wolf, but those wearing sheep cloths sometimes are undetected.

    A political party that looks like "us" (except, of course, for that little detail about the gospel of Jesus Christ) is far more dangerous than a political party that openly opposes "us".

    After considering this a bit more, I think that you are right about a "Christian party". If it were a legitimate party then it would be compromised at inception. We have to do kingdom work in kingdom ways. A Christian party would be akin to the early Roman Catholic Church, and before long would be the same kind of thing. We are not called to make the enemies of God appear as if they are godly.
     
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  8. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    JonC,

    This becomes a thorny issue in that depending on the nature and level of discipleship the question is asked are we indeed functioning as biblical church members in every aspect of life.

    Rom13;
    7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    Yes we do.
    What if theonomic means are employed?


    Do you think their errors in judgment negate the mission they were called to? Have we been given a renewed Dominion mandate In Christ?
    Heb2:4-8


    This idea is foreign to our thinking because the churches have settled for a less God-glorifying existence, living to ourselves, rather than Being about God's business. Dave G raised the issue of 2tim2:4

    No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

    We are entangled in sports, amusements, hobbies, entertainments, maybe even worldly politics, and have lost sight of who, and what we are called to.


    This is the issue. The church would have to be who we are called to be "saints". No divorces,crime, unethical hypocrites. Judgment begins at the house of God. Then it spills over and draws the ungodly in.

     
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  9. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I think that we will be held accountable for our voice, even if an error in judgment. With this topic you have pointed out that we are not to become entangled in the affair this life. We may, but we should know better because Scripture has warned us repeatedly. Sometimes the seed falls among the thorns. The thorns prevail.

    So our intentions are less important than our obedience.

    Does this negate the mission? That is a very good question. I believe it negates the mission for that person and they will face consequences, But the mission carries on.

    If I become a stumbling block to another receiving the gospel then I believe I will be called into account. But if God is drawing that person then I cannot (even as a barrier) prevent God from saving that person.
     
  10. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Cannot God though work thru His people to cause a moral influence and impact into society, or at least our local communities?
     
  11. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The Lord Jesus commanded us though to go out and engage others with His truth, so shine the light into the darkness when and where possible!
     
  12. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Do you see God having done any revivals at all then on the past in USA or England or other nations, if so, His people did move culture in a good way!
     
  13. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Do not see the Lord commanding us to take over as a reconstructionist movement, but are to be light and salt into our society!
     
  14. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I never said that Christians are not used to move culture in a good way. I said that Christians should not participate in evil in order to move culture in a good way.
     
  15. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    God has worked through unfaithful people to accomplish His purposes, so yes.
     
  16. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    A Tale of Two Kingdoms by Michael Horton

    Ultimately, Augustine says, these two loves and two cities are themselves grounded in God’s eternal predestination. Although the city of man is destined to perish, God is both creating a new city (the church) from its ruins and preserving the old city by His common grace until ultimate peace and justice arrive with Christ’s return. In this era of common grace, God “sends rain on the just and on the unjust” and calls us to imitate His clemency (Matt. 5:43–48).
    So Christians have two callings: the high calling in Christ to belong to His body and the calling to the world as citizens, parents, children, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Because God is still faithful to His creation, there is the possibility of an earthly city with its relative peace and justice; because God is faithful to His electing purposes, there is a church in all times and places that brings true peace and justice. He does this first of all by uniting sinners to Christ, and then one day by eradicating all strife from the earth at Christ’s return.

    Consequently, each city has its own polity, serving distinct ends through distinct means. Although some of its citizens are converted to citizenship in the city of God, the earthly city is always Babylon. Like Daniel, believers pray for the city, work in the city, contribute to the city’s general welfare, and even fight in its armies. However, they never forget that they are exiles and pilgrims. Babylon is never the promised land.

    Throughout the Middle Ages, the national covenant that Israel made with God at Sinai was regularly invoked as an allegory for Christendom. Crusades against “the infidel” (often Muslims) were declared by popes with the promise of immediate entrance into paradise for martyrs. Kings fancied themselves as king David, leading the armies of the Lord in cleansing the Holy Land. The very idea of a Christian empire or a Christian nation was a serious confusion of these two cities. It was against this confusion of Christ’s kingdom with Israel’s theocracy that Luther and Calvin launched their retrieval of Augustine’s “two kingdoms.”
     
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  17. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    pt2;
    Like Augustine, Luther emphasized the distinction between “things heavenly” and “things earthly,” righteousness before God and righteousness before fellow humans. On one hand, the Reformers were rejecting Rome’s confusion of Christ’s kingdom, which is extended by the proclamation of the Word, and earthly kingdoms. On the other hand, they were also opposing the Anabaptist movement, which regarded the earthly city as simply evil and unworthy of Christian involvement.

    Opposing what he called the “contrived empire” of Christendom, Calvin says that we must recognize that we are “under a two-fold government…so that we do not (as commonly happens) unwisely mingle these two, which have a completely different nature.” Just as the body and spirit are distinct without being intrinsically opposed, “Christ’s spiritual kingdom and the civil jurisdiction are things completely distinct. …Yet this distinction does not lead us to consider the whole nature of government a thing polluted, which has nothing to do with Christian men.” These two kingdoms are “distinct,” yet “they are not at variance” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.20.1–2).

    Like Augustine, Calvin simultaneously affirms the natural order and its inability to generate an ultimate society because of sin. Bound to God as Creator in the covenant of creation, all human beings are heirs to a cultural mandate that they have transgressed.

    However, the cultural mandate is distinct from the Great Commission that belongs to the covenant of grace. The goal of common grace is not to perfect nature, but to restrain sin and animate civic virtues and arts, so that culture may fulfill its own important but limited, temporal, and secular ends, while God simultaneously pursues the redemptive aims of His everlasting city.
     
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  18. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    pt3;
    Responding to the radical reformers’ insistence that a commonwealth is only legitimate if it is ordered by biblical law, Calvin declares, “How malicious and hateful toward public welfare would a man be who is offended by such diversity, which is perfectly adapted to maintain the observance of God’s law! For the statement of some, that the law of God given through Moses is dishonored when it is abrogated and new laws preferred to it, is utterly vain” (Institutes, 4.20.8, 14). After all, Calvin says, “It is a fact that the law of God which we call the moral law is nothing else than a testimony of natural law and of that conscience which God has engraved on the minds of men” (Institutes, 4.20.8, 14). Even unbelievers can rule justly and prudently, as Paul indicates even under the more pagan circumstances of his day (Rom. 13:1–7).

    When Jesus Christ arrived, He did not revive the Sinai theocracy as His contemporaries had hoped. Instead of driving out the Romans, He commanded love for our enemies. Gathering the new Israel — Jew and Gentile — around Himself, by His Spirit, through Word and sacrament, Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of grace that will be manifested one day as a kingdom of glory. In this time between His two comings the wheat grows together with the weeds, the sons of thunder are rebuked for calling down judgment here and now on those who reject their message, and the faithful gather regularly for the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of the bread, and the prayers (Acts 2:42). Through its administration of Gospel preaching, baptism, the Supper, prayer, and discipline, the church is God’s new society inserted into the heart of the secular city as a witness to Christ and the age to come when He will be all in all.

    In our Christian circles in the United States today, we can discern a “Christendom” view, where some imagine America to be a Christian nation invested with a divine commission to bring freedom to the ends of the earth. Of course, Christians have an obligation both to proclaim the heavenly and everlasting freedom of the Gospel and the earthly and temporal freedom from injustice. But they are different. When we confuse them, we take the kingdom into our own hands, transforming it from a kingdom of grace into a kingdom of glory and power.
     
  19. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    pt4;
    We also recognize an opposite view, more characteristic of the Anabaptist perspective, as evangelist D. L. Moody asserted: “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said to me, ‘Moody, save all you can.’” In this view, improving the lot of our neighbors in the world is like polishing the brass on a sinking ship. Christians are often encouraged to focus almost exclusively on personal salvation (their own as well as that of others), unsure of the value of their secular vocations.

    But we need not choose between these two kingdoms. Citizens of both, we carry out our vocations in the church and the world in distinct ways through distinct means. We need not “Christianize” culture in order to appreciate it and participate in it with the gifts that God has given us as well as our non-Christian neighbors. Though called to be faithful in our callings until Christ returns, with Abraham, we are “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10, hcsb).
     
  20. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    Certainly when Jesus gave the commission in Matthew 28:19, 20 he was talking at much more than just the cognitive level. The command is to make disciples which is preceded by "go" and modified by baptizing and teaching them to observe all he commanded. Teaching them to observe all he commanded is both addressing correct doctrine, and correct practice by example as Jesus did with his disciples.
     
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