12 January 2014

Perchik's Hermeneutic and the Politicization of Everything (2 of 3)

The state has nothing to do with us. We don't go to their courts. We don't seek its approval. We obey the laws, pay the taxes. We interact with it at times and to some degree are glad that it's there. But the relationship is always a bit uneasy. We belong to different worlds and have different goals. The state will use power and the threat of violence for its own ends. But in God's Providence it inadvertently helps us by creating an environment that (hopefully) allows us to live our quiet, peaceful God centered lives.

Its laws will never be just or rightly motivated. It doesn't seek to redeem. It can't change men's hearts. It seeks power and security as a means for that power to grow. Its goals and means are totally different and they are incompatible with Christian ethics. It will always be corrupt. Would we expect any different? Politics is simply the struggle for power and control...the quest to capture the state. But somehow having something to restrain is better than nothing at all.

If our societies really were Christian and redeemed we would have people loving their neighbours, placing others first and rejecting power either through direct violence or the acquisition of capital. People wouldn't be profiting on the suffering of others or taking advantage of the gullible. We wouldn't need more laws, we would require far less. When Christians attempt to impose the Covenant through the state it always results in a counterfeit covenant, violence and ultimately a reaction. The end result is far worse. Look at New England, Holland, or even Britain. Christianity wedded to culture and power is finally exposed as the counterfeit cancer that it always was. These are lands where the false Gospel has contaminated the very soil and the Truth is almost universally rejected.

Though it seems implausible if not impossible to those alive now, but the day is coming that the American Bible Belt will become like these places and grow very hostile to any form of Christianity. The seeds have already been sown. If you try and preach the True Gospel (not the American one) in these lands you'll be categorically rejected. And the pendulum of pagan backlash has already started to swing. There's a strong counter-culture in the South and its growing.

If this world is all there is, who can blame those who seek after 'that kingdom' with all their being? But for us, we who are redeemed...we know better and we would never waste our time trying to somehow redeem an institution that (in the end) is really the antithesis of Christ's Kingdom. Violence cannot build the Kingdom of God unless it is Christ Himself bearing the Righteous Sword of Judgment. And that isn't building up....that's purging and removing the curse.

That's not our task and we are quite incapable of doing it.

The people of the Old Covenant did this or at least were symbolic of the principle. They were a picture, a historical lesson, a living parable of what was to come. In them they depicted the coming Christ, the Seed of Eve who was both Redeemer and Judge.

But now He has come and all has been accomplished. But even as all was finished, everything was paused... our longsuffering Lord delayed the Judgment, just as he did for Adam and Eve on the day of the Fall.

There's time, but it's short.

Why would we waste our time trying to redeem the Babel's and Babylon's, the Assyria's and Rome's of this world? They will all burn.

Only those who cannot see the Kingdom of God would waste their efforts in such futility. We must cry out to them, help them see the folly of their project and how it has blinded their minds and deceived their hearts. Many of these poor souls actually believe they are serving Christ by wielding the sword of state violence. They actually think they can tend the garden, make disciples by threat and death.

Today we are surrounded by Christians who like Perchik have politicized everything. Everything from history, the news, even the weather is subject to political manipulation. Everything is a political question because the prize is the world. There is no facet that they don't seek to dominate.

Some do this thinking they serve Christ but they have fatally misunderstood the nature of His Kingdom. It's not built through coercion and threat by worldly powers. It is proclaimed through the foolishness of preaching. It is not the strong overcoming everyone else. It is the weak 'winning', not by overcoming the strong in terms of power. It is the weak winning by defying the violence of the strong.

We win by losing. The world cannot understand the wisdom of God. It is foolishness to them. And many professing Christians have rejected God's wisdom and with the world denounce it as defeatism and folly.

The world cannot understand that we despise even our lives for the riches and more importantly the Truth that Christ brings to this world.

All that they have to offer, the kingdoms of this world and all power are nothing to us. We (like our master) despise it.

The 'Church' today and throughout most of history has (unlike Christ) said...yes, we want it. We must have it. And we do it to the glory of God.

Others have treaded that path. There was a man named Saul who was king of Israel...

We stand for the truth and the goodness of the Kingdom. And so in our twisted and degenerate culture we must certainly be unambiguous about morality and our thinking in the realm of ethics must be absolutely clear.

We need to know what is right, good and true and we need to speak about these things both boldly and with wisdom.

But there's a tremendous difference between standing for what's right, and acting accordingly, versus doing the same but with a goal of acquiring power. The actions may seem similar but the motivations are very different.

Are we demonstrating the love of Christ and standing for the truth or are we going through motions with an ultimate goal of defeating our enemies?

Sure in one sense when a soul is persuaded by the truth that is a defeat for our adversaries. But, are we seeking 'political' power? Are we seeking victories so that we can get laws changed, capture political office and use the power of law (which is the threat of violence) to force others to behave as we would wish?

Someone will say, 'It's for their good.' Where are we told in the New Testament to use this method to convert others and make them disciples? How can we make disciples if we're throwing people into prison and executing them? How can we make disciples if our Gospel comes not just with the threat of Eternal Judgment, which only a Spirit-born person will understand...but also with the threat of political violence? If we target people and punish them due to deviations from our Redemptive and Covenantal moral code, not only are we expecting the impossible from them, we're destroying the people we're trying to reach with Good News.

They will not appreciate their police, judges and prison guards sharing the good news with them at the point of a gun.

Regardless none of these outward manipulations can do a thing to the heart which is all that matters in the end.

Everything for us must be viewed through the lens of Scripture. We're Christians at all times and in all places. And that means in this world there are simply many things that we're not going to chase after. There are many things we're not overly interested in. We watch and warn. We proclaim and witness but we don't join in the world's projects, we don't share their visions or goals.

There are many things that we just leave to the Lost. Let them build their cities and their social systems. Let them conjure up their silly flawed ideas and attempts to fix a sin-cursed world. We don't come offering economic or political solutions. There are none. They all rest on a flawed notion of man and the world. No matter the system, depraved men will find a way to subvert it and use it to harm others.

Why? All social systems rest (in the end) in some form of power and coercion. They must in order to be maintained. If you reject this then your ideas don't matter anyway, because it won't take five minutes and someone will use violence to overthrow your system and establish their own model in its place...one that favours them. That's life in a fallen world.

We're selfish creatures. In our flesh, we seek our own. We lust for power and take pride in it. Power comes in many forms. We can exercise power over others in terms of the law but also in terms of relationships.

Continue Reading Part 3

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