04 August 2011
Anti-Wisdom Part 2
The issues at hand:
Transformationalism Politicizes the Gospel, leading to agenda-driven thought, and often a complete rejection of genuine discussion and investigation. Is this wisdom applied or utter moral foolishness?
Does Dominion-driven Worldview teaching promote Christian wisdom in this world? If it's a false theology is it even promoting a Christian Worldview at all?
Is the true Biblical Worldview something for regenerate believers or something for societal transformation?
These are some questions to keep in mind as you read through these posts. These are key questions I'm continually asking as I interact with what I believe to be a erroneous theology, a false system masquerading as Christianity.
So continuing the previous discussion, how can we be wise, and does Christian wisdom mean all issues are reduced to simple categories?
First, a careful study of the Scriptures defeats the Transformationalist notion. We don't need to dive back into all of that here. I've written about it extensively. So we're left with Christians in antithesis with their unbelieving neighbours and contrary to the Postmillennialists, that will never change. Remember that as you hear their arguments. During the Golden Age, when the world is Christian, many verses in the New Testament will be negated or rendered obsolete. If they're right, we as Christians won't be suffering persecution for the Cross of Christ. The antagonism, the antithesis will be removed. For this and many other structural reasons, the Transformationalist system as well as method must be abandoned.
Second, since the Bible teaches us this antagonism, this division is permanent until the Second Coming that ought to affect how we view the world and what are hopes are concerning it. Rather than embrace a non-Biblical notion of transforming it, we need to consider how to live with the fallen. And I say live with, because our options do not include transformation, and we cannot retreat. There are times when we might need to partially retreat in order to maintain our identity. The Roman context of the New Testament was every bit as bad as our present cultural situation and monasticism and similar ideas regarding Christian living did not become mainstream until the Constantinian Shift. The early Church survived living in but not being of the world and culture around them. Today, this is derided as defeatist. In fact, it's Biblical Christian living and the reality of Kingdom life. A partial retreat does not mean withdrawing to live in a monastery. There are some Protestants and Fundamentalists that do practically speaking do that...and they're wrong to do so. We see them all the time in our area. When they venture out in public in their sectarian uniforms and hairstyles...they are not salt and light...they're carnival sideshows to be gawked out by passersby.
So in order to deal with world around us we need wisdom. Wisdom is derived by taking the multitude of facts and considerations, putting them together, and working toward an interpretation and ultimately a conclusion, a solution.
The solution is Christ right? Pretty simple. All we need to do is apply to the rule of Christ to all of society. That's the argument at least....
Christ is rightly the only solution, but this ultimate solution only comes with the Blessed Hope…the Second Coming and not before. If we're seeking solutions and resolutions of antithesis PRIOR to the Second Coming, then Christ is not really our hope at all….but instead we're trusting in the programmes of man, even if those men belong to the Church. They are still man-based, because they've stepped far beyond the boundaries, the 'solutions' of Scripture. One might claim the Holy Spirit does this work, but the Holy Spirit preserves the Church, operating within the realm of those Born Again. The New Testament gives no indication the Holy Spirit will transform the fallen world into a redeemed one.
Again, If the Bible teaches us that in a fallen world, there really aren't solutions, then we ought to pause a moment and think about how we interact with our fallen neighbours.
We are to LOVE them as lost people in need of reconciling to God and having their sins forgiven. We are to be HUMBLE as those who are saved by grace. And we need to be WISE, understanding where the gospel works and where it doesn't. We need to shape our thoughts by the gospel, conforming every thought so that are minds are organs of worship and single-mindedness. We are to be heavenly minded and yes, I know there are many who mock and say we can't be so heavenly-minded that we are of no earthly good. This saying is erroneous. We are to be heavenly minded (Colossians 3.1). We are exhorted to this end in both the gospels and the epistles and only by being heavenly minded can we even HOPE to be any earthly good. Only by being heavenly minded will he have the right answers and the wisdom we will require to interact with lost people. Only then will we understand our hope is not in power, politics, laws, monuments, movies or any other such nonsense. Our hope is in heaven and the Gospel of Christ. We seek to transform lives, and have no hope or expectation that we can accomplish the purgative work of the Parousia.
We are dealing with equations that have no solutions. We are dealing with problems of immense complexity that defy all answers in a fallen world. If we had solutions, we would be undoing the curse. Postmillennial Dominionists talk this way. They believe that their work will undo the curse. In fact writers like Gary North believe during the Golden Age, the future pre-Parousia Millennium they envision, we will return to living for centuries at a time as they did in the early chapters of Genesis. Sickness will be eradicated, and technology will be harnessed so man can fully exercise dominion and subdue the earth. The only check to this in Theonomic Postmillennial circles has been the rise of Christian Agrarians who have framed a Christian narrative based on the Antebellum South and rather than have a positive view of technology and innovation they think the means of Transformation lies in a return to more primitive methods.
We have to provide the answers they insist. Because the pagans are trying to provide their own worldview solutions, their own messiahs and eschatological systems. The pagans are doing this, and we can certainly pick apart and critique their models, but our gospel is not cultural transformation and political solutions. Instead it is the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
I will happily hold hands with other Christians in critiquing Marxism, Anarchism, or Monarchy. But I will go further and apply the same critiques to their political and economic solutions, and I will also discuss the positive merits of the other systems as well. I might even read the Marxist, Anarchist, and Monarchist critiques of their systems for though they are flawed, not all their insights are of no value. All have something to say. What's the Christian model for politics and economics? As I've said before, the Bible provides the Church an understanding of how we relate to power and how we view money and commerce. But nowhere does it set out an agenda or display a blueprint for the Roman or American worlds. The discussions that do so ASSUME the Christendom paradigm, which if false negates their entire discussion regarding so called Christian Politics and Economics. Again, if they restricted this usage to The Church, that would be one thing, but they're speaking in terms of a Sacralized Society.
All of this results from a tortured exegesis of Scripture that I refer to as Inverted Hermeneutics. They read the New Testament in light of the Old, rather than the Old in light of the New. Rather the view the New Testament as the fulfillment of the Old and the interpreter of it, they hold the Old to be supreme, at least in practice and refuse many of the clear teachings of the New Testament with regard to prophecy and the supremacy of the New Covenant.
Returning to my point, if dealing with a fallen world means encountering irresolvable problems, then we are seemingly left with two options. Since conquest/transformation is not one of them, we must either retreat or live with these contradictions. We cannot retreat at least not strategically. It's not our calling to cease to be martyr-witnesses for Christ. So we're left with interaction with a fallen world. We're left with an endless complexity of contradictions and difficult situations which defy easy answers and in many cases have no acceptable resolution. Many wrongs simply cannot be put right. Even the gospel though it can transform and give hope cannot in this life eradicate the consequences and baggage of sin. Regeneration applies the work of Christ to the believer, but the carnage of the pre-conversion life cannot be left behind. Even if the whole world was converted tomorrow it still would be a mess. Some problems can't be solved this side of glory.
Intellectualism is rooted in idolatrous pride, but Christian Intellectualism is actually rooted in humility. For starting with Christ and a gospel of grace we develop a right view of the fallen world. Understanding Christ's Kingdom and our task, we try to LOVE our neighbours with HUMILITY and WISDOM. Rather than try to solve their problems apart from Christ by means of cultural and political solutions, we understand their only hope is the gospel of Christ itself.
With humility we approach these problems which cannot be solved or transformed and seek not answers which don't exist, but wisdom in how to deal with them. The solution for the individual is the gospel. The solution for how to live in a fallen world is the pragmatic application of wisdom. Since the world is fallen and we have to live with fallen people we need to as much as is possible work to live peaceably among them...not antagonizing them in power struggles and moralizing. No, we want a venue that allows us to live at peace and let the gospel work.
more to come.......