AssemblyBoard
November 30, 2022, 12:03:16 pm *
The board has been closed to new content. It is available as a searchable archive only. This information will remain available indefinitely.

I can be reached at brian@tucker.name

For a repository of informational articles and current information on The Assembly, see http://www.geftakysassembly.com
 
   Home   Search  
Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6
  Print  
Author Topic: How Do These People Live With Themselves?  (Read 70450 times)
vernecarty
Guest


Email
« Reply #60 on: March 28, 2009, 03:04:49 am »

Here is the link to that article:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0310/p09s01-coop.html

I think the article says in a dramatic way what we have observed through most of church history. 

Thanks for the link Dave.
I felt a real sadness as I read that article (which is well worth the time).
I felt sad not because what is asserted in that article is untrue, but because it is.
Several years ago Francis Schaeffer observed that we were not simply in a post-Christian era, but actually in an anti-Christian.
I must say that I have to agree that allowing the wonder of the gospel message to become indentified with political ideology has eviscerated its inherent power.
That article is right on the money.
Increasingly we Christians are going to be despised because of the terrible compromise we have made in this regard.
Nonetheless, God is faithful.
We now have the possiblilty of living the kind of Sprit-energized lives which need no political or socio-cultural affiliation to glorify our Heavenly Father.
The circumstances with which we will all be faced will absolutely leave us no other choice.
God bless and keep all those who love Him.
Verne
« Last Edit: March 28, 2009, 03:06:22 am by vernecarty » Logged
Mark C.
Guest


Email
« Reply #61 on: April 01, 2009, 05:12:56 am »

Thanks for the link Dave.
I felt a real sadness as I read that article (which is well worth the time).
I felt sad not because what is asserted in that article is untrue, but because it is.
Several years ago Francis Schaeffer observed that we were not simply in a post-Christian era, but actually in an anti-Christian.
I must say that I have to agree that allowing the wonder of the gospel message to become indentified with political ideology has eviscerated its inherent power.
That article is right on the money.
Increasingly we Christians are going to be despised because of the terrible compromise we have made in this regard.

God bless and keep all those who love Him.
Verne

   I like much of what the author of that above link says at Internet Monk, but re. this particular article, as he states himself toward the end of it, "I am not a prophet, and may be wrong."  I'm glad that he said this because up to the point of his disclaimer I thought his forecasting of the future of the church a bit arrogant.

  I don't agree that "Christians are going to be despised because they've become identified with a conservative political movement".  As a matter of fact, I would say very few Evangelical Christians would see political support for a conservative "cause" as anything more than just trying to take their place as a voting citizen in the USA.

  Most born again folks understand that all the kingdoms of this Earth are going to be crushed by the coming kingdom of God.  Even the one nation that God established himself (Israel) failed miserably and points to the only resolution to Man's need found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I think the founders of this country understood this and clearly designed this govt. on the basis that men are basically corrupt and expected that it's survival depended on the involvement of those committed to biblical moral values.

  No, we are going to be hated because our values afflict the consciences' of those who wish to have Gay marriage, abortion on demand, etc.  Those that hate us don't do so because we preach, "Jesus loves you", or because of our theology.  They might ridicule us for our preaching and beliefs, but "hate" comes from a deep fear on their part that they may face judgement for their sin.

  As I said before, I think "culture war" is the wrong word because this conflict is not about whether I eat hamburgers or tacos but a difference in moral values.  Imposing moral values, by itself, won't save anyone but it does perform the function of convicting a conscience (God imposed a moral code on Israel).  George Bush was against a "progressive morality" and so he was hated for that, not because he believed in tax cuts.

  Coming up with a definition of Christian practice that removes us from the public square-- where we all flee to our church affiliations-- will head us in the direction of the Amish where we will do little good in serving the generation in which we live.  Just go to Europe and you will see what happens when Christians are not involved in the public sector (politics)---- they have no influence at all and the general populace are quite at peace in their rejection of biblical morality.

   I realize this is a difficult issue, and it is so because it is a balancing act between what we know as the only true hope-- the Gospel of the everlasting Kingdom--- and our day-to-day lives "rendering unto Ceasar."  Remember,  John the Baptist lost his head for pointing out immorality from a govt. leader, not because he preached the coming of the Kingdom of God.

                                                                     God Bless,  Mark C.     
Logged
outdeep
Guest


Email
« Reply #62 on: April 01, 2009, 06:04:12 pm »

    I realize this is a difficult issue, and it is so because it is a balancing act between what we know as the only true hope-- the Gospel of the everlasting Kingdom--- and our day-to-day lives "rendering unto Ceasar."  Remember,  John the Baptist lost his head for pointing out immorality from a govt. leader, not because he preached the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Thanks, Mark.  In reflecting on this "Culture War" discussion some more, I realized how easy it is for me to get moved by what is popular at any one time.  You are right about it being a balancing act and as I said before blaming the demise of the church because we are "political" really ignores the diversity and resilience of the church throughout history.

In my peanut understanding of history, I see this:
1.  In the 1800's it was really popular to believe in a post-millennium eschatology that through the salt-and-light of the church, society was going to get better and better and the kingdom of God would arrive.
2.  The horrors of the civil war as well as the depression kind of killed the "society is going to get better" idea and things kind of swapped around to a pre-millennium "the world is getting worse" mindset popularized by J. N. Darby and the Scholfield Bible (not trying to argue escotology - just stating a fact that the sediment within Christian circles changed).  Couple that with WWII where there was clear ideas of the evil enemy personified in Hitler and there was a lot of acceptance of the idea that we need to separate ourselves from society, pursue holiness and put our hope in Christ's return when he will make things right.
3.  This mindset lasted until the early 1980's spurred along with the idea that the fig tree (Israel becoming a nation in 1948) plus one generation (40 years) would return Jesus to us in 1988. 
4.  In the 1980's we realized we had screwed ourselves with this retreat-from-society mindset and allowed secularism to take over the universities, government, judicial system and entertainment.  So this is when the moral majority and such groups sprang to power.  The clear recognition that the Evangelical vote helped Ronald Reagan get elected seemed justification that we were on the right track.  We were coming out of our fortresses and engaging society.  Did we go overboard and fall into the trap of arrogance?  Sure, but we were new at this and made mistakes.
5.  Now, we realize things have not gone as we had hoped.  Roe v. Wade has not been overturned.  We have ticked alot of people off.  The media zeros in the cameras not on the most articulate and thoughtful Christian but on the ones that supports their cartoonish image they have of Evangelicals.

So we have a choice.  Do we swing the pendulum back and go back into our fortresses and focus only on personal holiness?  Or do we continue to engage culture in a way that takes into account the lessons and mistakes from the past in order to do it in a more mature way?

N. T. Wright in his book Evil and the Justice Of God says "We are called to live between the cross and resurrection on the one hand and the new world on the other, and in believing in the achievements of the cross and resurrection, and in learning how to imagine the new world, we are called to bring the two together in prayer, holiness and action within this wider world."

In other words, we affirm that the atonement and resurrection did not deal only with "how I get forgiven" but dealt in a complete and through way with the problem of evil.  He secured a new world in which is righteousness in peace.  In the meantime, we look back to the victory and look forward imagining this coming new age and seek to approximate this vision in the world today.  We do it though growing in personal holiness and Christian spirituality, through social activism, through expressing our worldview in art, etc.  As Mark pointed out, this will all be crushed when the true kingdom comes, but we are still called to express the kingdom through any means we have at our disposal as inadequate as that expression may be.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 08:08:54 pm by Dave Sable » Logged
vernecarty
Guest


Email
« Reply #63 on: April 02, 2009, 07:09:11 am »

.

So we have a choice.  Do we swing the pendulum back and go back into our fortresses and focus only on personal holiness?  Or do we continue to engage culture in a way that takes into account the lessons and mistakes from the past in order to do it in a more mature way?


We must do both!

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it....Mat 6:18

This verse is too often mistakenly interpreted to present the Church as being on the defensive, the "fortress mentality".
The imagery is more accurately that of the Church storming the gates of hell and smashing them to bits.
The gates of hell give way to the assault of the church.
Having said that, it must be understood that the primary nature of the battle is spiritual, not social or political.



   .

   I realize this is a difficult issue, and it is so because it is a balancing act between what we know as the only true hope-- the Gospel of the everlasting Kingdom--- and our day-to-day lives "rendering unto Ceasar."  Remember,  John the Baptist lost his head for pointing out immorality from a govt. leader, not because he preached the coming of the Kingdom of God.

                                                                     God Bless,  Mark C.     


In fact, Mark powerfully makes this point in his reference to John the babtist and his criticism of Herod.

What made John's challenge so weighty (as to result in his death) is exactly the fact that the man lived a life of holiness!

In my humble opinions dear brothers, we can never have any impact of lasting significance in either the political or social arena, unless our actions are accompanied by lives of true holiness.

In this regard Francis Schaeffer was a stellar example and this is why I believe he was so effective in his ability to stir our consicences on the matter of abortion for example
.
Is it possible that we have neglected this critical fact in all our social and political activism?
The fact is we have had far too many espousing views that perhaps reflected our own, yet whose manner of life has brought shame and reproach on the gospel we proclaim.
My own view is that this has badly hurt our credibility in these matters, right though we may be.

Mark my friend this is absolutely not directed at you for I know you love Jesus Christ.
I suspect that when most people think of politics and the "christian" perspective on the so-called culture war, (remember Ralph Reed?!) holiness in not the first thing that comes to mind.
Great food for thought...
Verne
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 07:24:10 am by vernecarty » Logged
Mark C.
Guest


Email
« Reply #64 on: April 04, 2009, 07:57:54 am »

Verne and Dave,

  I'm finding this to be a very interesting discussion.  There is a lot to chew on here:  I really appreciated your church history synopsis Dave as it does help to consider how the church dealt with these issues in the past.   

 Can you imagine being alive during the Civil war where there were truly godly Christian men on either side?  Either Christian man could have had an identical level of faith and piety yet had very strong differences between them about what was "right" (policy?) as to a course for the nation.

  What do you think of this paragraph above Verne?  I ask because you raised the necessity of personal "holiness", to the which I think we all agree that it is crucial---- but, how about a unified set of values for our entire society to go along with it? 

  In the Civil War the battle was for emancipation, and preservation of the Union.  These kind of larger societal goals are worked out in the political arena, not via personal spirituality and holiness.

 We know that Stonewall Jackson prayed and we also know that Abe Lincoln did too.  I've read biographies of both men and I would say that Stonewall was the more spiritual of the two, though only God really knows the hearts of both.

  My point is that there are two levels of "being right" and that one did their level better than the other one.  I would say Abe was wiser re. the social/civil righteousness area and that Stonewall had a better grip on personal discipleship.

 Stonewall's blindness to the evils of slavery and the importance of a national unity caused him to engage the world around him in a wrong way, even though he was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.  How about the white church in the South after the war?  Their racism was a very ugly stain that came from an inability to perceive morality as more than just personal piety and a preservation of the status quo.

 As another example, to this day there are Christians who still think that believers should be pacifists and that all war is immoral.  They just don't believe that there are larger societal moral issues worth resisting.  As in: should we have fought a "cold war" against the USSR?

 Ronald Reagan saw the USA as an instrument of God to resist an international organized evil like communism and that our nation was founded on principles that better reflected who God is and how he would like us to live our lives.  Was Reagan a born again believer who followed Jesus?  Or was he more like a Cyrus of old who God called and used to establish certain temporal civil goals?

 
  The age of "enlightenment" brought about an experiment in civil govt. which was founded in the understanding that there is a God and that he has given a certain kind of dignity to each individual that superceded the state--- We were the first country to do this and God has used it's establishment to resist the organized evil of things like Nazism and Communism.

  You are right, we need both personal holiness and involvement in the public square, but for a President of our country I would take a Ronald Reagan, who didn't go to church, over a Jimmy Carter who did.

                                                                                God Bless,  Mark C.   
« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 08:01:23 am by Mark C. » Logged
vernecarty
Guest


Email
« Reply #65 on: April 05, 2009, 04:15:48 am »

Verne and Dave,

  I'm finding this to be a very interesting discussion.  There is a lot to chew on here:  I really appreciated your church history synopsis Dave as it does help to consider how the church dealt with these issues in the past.   

 Can you imagine being alive during the Civil war where there were truly godly Christian men on either side?  Either Christian man could have had an identical level of faith and piety yet had very strong differences between them about what was "right" (policy?) as to a course for the nation.

  What do you think of this paragraph above Verne?  I ask because you raised the necessity of personal "holiness", to the which I think we all agree that it is crucial---- but, how about a unified set of values for our entire society to go along with it? 

 
                                                                                God Bless,  Mark C.   


On the question of a "unified set of values for our entire society", I like the concept but I am afraid that history weighs heavily against us my friend. When the world had a population of exactly only two people, and only one directive to observe, they totally blew it. They also had the advantage of no in-dwelling sin!
Of course my response is partly tongue in cheek but J Vernon McGee does have a point about the Lord directing us as believers to fish in the fish pond, not clean it up. Smiley
We certainly should espouse a standard of holiness (not just morality), but do we expect that sinful men and women will be able to keep it? Think about it.
I agree that an orderly society absolutely requires just laws, but we in the West have been really spoiled by our Judaeo-Christian heritage.  I believe that legacy is now lost.
The individuals we have in leadership today are nothing like the ones of the past, when aknowledgement of divine authority was almost universal.
Trying to change our society for the better through political and social means will always ultimately fail. It always has.

The reference to Jackson and Lincoln is an insightful and thought-provoking one and it merely confirms that Godly men can be guilty of great sin. One has to question the piety of any man who sanctioned the system of slavery, and what it did to an entire race individuals created in God's image. Remarkably, while it is true that Christians led the fight for abolition, many a preacher defended the practice from the pulpit, (from Scripture no less!) We now of course look back with pity and contempt for anyone, Christian or otherwise, who defended the enlavement of other human beings.
Another startling example of this kind of anomaly is Andrew Murray, a truly gifted and pious man of God, who apparently silently countenanced the unspeakably cruel, and Christ-dishonoring system of apartheid in the church he pastored in South Africa where the Dutch Reformed church taught it as part of their doctrine.
I do not have an answer for men of God who make these kind of choices for that is what it is - a choice.
David had the same problem.
So did Moses. So did Peter.
In my personal life I often choose to sin although I know better.
The outcome of the civil war from the perspective of God's sovereign rule over the course of history should give some insight in this regard.
With this in mind, we Christians need to stop and carefully think about the reason our society is in the state it is in today.
My own view is that we are seeing God's immutable law of sowing and reaping at work, and not just that we as Christians have not been more politically vocal or active.
We can have a far greater and more lasting impact on the world in which we live by securing our own lives and that of our children for God's purposes. I contend that it is a failure to do this as believers that has led to the level of depravity we see today.
The absence of Christian influence (and I don't mean political influence!) has always culminated in the decline and death of every society. The US will not be an exception. We are seeing manifested in the physical creation, results of battles waged in the spiritual realm. If we believers do not understand this what hope is there of influencing this generation for Jesus Christ...?
Verne
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 05:45:50 pm by vernecarty » Logged
Oscar
Guest


Email
« Reply #66 on: April 13, 2009, 10:25:50 pm »

Guys,

Here is a link to an article that applies to this conversation.

Tom M.

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=487682
Logged
vernecarty
Guest


Email
« Reply #67 on: April 14, 2009, 02:07:18 am »

From the article:
 
"It requires voting action to thread one worldview or the other into our rule of law and the Christian right has chosen the Republican Party as its needle."

I would say the views of this writer quite accurately reflect the so-called "Christian right".
From her statement above, she apparently remains convinced that the proper vehicle for the achievement of her aims (the Christian world view threaded into our rule of law), is the Republican party. There is not a single mention of the church or the lifestyle of Christians.
I wonder how Christians living under a repressive Roman regime would view such a notion.
Most revealing, she goes to great lengths to outline the differences between the viewpoint of Republicans and Democrats on various moral issues:

"On particular "values" issues, according to Gallup, Republicans and Democrats are night and day.
 
Some 59 percent of Democrats say out-of-wedlock births are morally acceptable, compared to 39 percent of Republicans. And with recent data showing 40 percent out-of-wedlock birth rates, what if any public policy should regulate this behavior?
 
Abortion is morally acceptable to 51 percent of Democrats compared to 25 percent of Republicans. And with 48 million abortion deaths since Roe v. Wade, should no political concern address the societal costs of this law?
 
Homosexuality is morally acceptable to 55 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans. And 52 percent of Democrats are ready to legalize same-sex marriage compared to 22 percent of Republicans. We only need to look at 30 years of inner-city data and see the impact of coupling government social engineering with unbridled sexual impulse.
 
Without a moral compass in politics and law, where do we go to answer the hard questions?
"


I would like to  humbly suggest that this is a meaningless exercise.
What difference does it make if we as Christian parents (or Republicans) pontificate about the wrongness of bearing children out of wed-lock, when we have not raised our own daughters with the moral rectitude to avoid this mistake?
What credibility do we have in inveighing against the evils of homosexual marriage when the divorce rate among believers is now indistinguishable from those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord. I take no comfort whatsoever in the above statistics nor should any thoughtful believer.
Holding political viewpoints that are starkly at variance with our personal conduct and manner of life opens us to the credible charge of being despicable hypocrites and this is what so many believers eager to enter the political and social activist marketplace fail to consider. The true source of power to change this world comes not only from what we say, but also who we are!

To really understand what is happening in American society, one must compare statistics (the data regarding the family being of utmost importance) regarding those who profess to know Jesus Christ as saviour, and those who do not.

While I admire the author's confidence and bravado, and even agree that the Christian viewpoint must be intelligently articulated and even more importantly modeled by our manner of life, I have to conclude that this individual does not truly understand the nature of the battle with which we are engaged.
She clearly views the conflict as primarily a social and political, as opposed to a spiritual one. She asserts:


"So I would suggest that the naysayer put away their shovels because the religious right is not dead nor in a coma. Christian conservatives are not and never will withdraw. In fact, we are just getting started."


I suspect her lofty expectations are going to be disappointed...the tools she prescribes, mere political and social activism, are unequal to the task.
Christians entering the arena of politics to try and change society without looking to put their own spritual house in order will find themselves with their noses badly bloodied...
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 04:59:56 am by vernecarty » Logged
Mark C.
Guest


Email
« Reply #68 on: April 19, 2009, 07:31:14 am »

From the article:
 
"It requires voting action to thread one worldview or the other into our rule of law and the Christian right has chosen the Republican Party as its needle."

I would say the views of this writer quite accurately reflect the so-called "Christian right".
From her statement above, she apparently remains convinced that the proper vehicle for the achievement of her aims (the Christian world view threaded into our rule of law), is the Republican party. There is not a single mention of the church or the lifestyle of Christians.
I wonder how Christians living under a repressive Roman regime would view such a notion.
Most revealing, she goes to great lengths to outline the differences between the viewpoint of Republicans and Democrats on various moral issues:

Without a moral compass in politics and law, where do we go to answer the hard questions?[/i]"


I would like to  humbly suggest that this is a meaningless excercise.
While I admire the author's confidence and bravado, and even agree that the Christian viewpoint must be intelligently articulated and even more importantly modeled by our manner of lfe, I have to conclude that this individual does not truly understand the nature of the battle with which we are engaged.
She clearly views the conflict as primarily a social and political, as opposed to a spiritual one.

  Very thoughtful reply Verne and thanks Tom for providing the link.

   I will try and respond to a couple of the things you've mentioned above; mostly with what I hope are thought provoking questions.

1.) How did Christians view their lives under the oppressive Roman govt.?  Paul told them in Rom. 13 that they were to view that oppressive govt. as "appointed by God" and the govt. as "ministers of righteousness."

   I can guarantee you that the Roman govt. was not regenerated and that their level of personal morality was very low indeed! How then did the Roman govt. serve God's purpose in the world?

   2.)  Is it possible to have "2 levels of conflict" where on one it is spiritual and on the other it is a moral one?

        Why do you think Jesus said, "render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar's and unto God the things of God"?  Is their such a thing as civic duty for the believer?  What should that civic duty involve for those who live in a country where we can influence how we are governed?

  3.) Was Lincoln (who was not a member of any church and didn't seem to embrace a clear profession of faith) serving any purpose of God in fighting against slavery, or were his actions essentially worthless in God's sight?

      Remember God's servant "Cyrus", the heathen king who knew not God, whom God called into his service to perform a purely temporal, and civil function?

                                                                                           God bless,  Mark C.
Logged
vernecarty
Guest


Email
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2009, 03:43:03 pm »

  Very thoughtful reply Verne and thanks Tom for providing the link.

   I will try and respond to a couple of the things you've mentioned above; mostly with what I hope are thought provoking questions.

1.) How did Christians view their lives under the oppressive Roman govt.?  Paul told them in Rom. 13 that they were to view that oppressive govt. as "appointed by God" and the govt. as "ministers of righteousness."

   I can guarantee you that the Roman govt. was not regenerated and that their level of personal morality was very low indeed! How then did the Roman govt. serve God's purpose in the world?




  Great questions Mark. I will try to give my perspective on each separately.
In the larger historical sense of how God used the Roman Empire, there is broad agreement among historians that the so-called Pax Romana (Roman Peace) was absolutely critical in preparing the then world for the advent of the gospel.
The remarkable military and political success of the regime imposed a certain order in the world that made some measure or civilized society possible. The infrastucture was certainly instrumental in allowing the dispersal of the gospel message throughout the region.  So one can take a sort of macro view of the course of history and see how God orders events in accordance with his larger purpose.
More central to our discussion I think though is how Christians lived under this regime.
You are quite right that Paul instructed believers to be subject to those who were in authority and the fact of the matter is that Christians with far less political freedom and influence still managed to exhert a tremendous influence on that culture.
Remember countless numbers of them were savaged in Roman arenas and provided human torches for Nero's gardens, which we as Christians do not have happen to us because of our faith (at least not yet).

This raises a sobering question:
How is it, that with far greater freedom and political influence,  greater affluence and material blessing than the Christians of the Roman era could have ever hoped to achieve, we Americans now find ourselves in the sad position that we are in as believers so far as our influence on the culture is concerned?
Is it possible that God has permitted this situation to arise to highlight the fact that we as believers have not been all that we ought to be, despite the remarkable blessings and privileges accorded to us by Almighty God?
The apparent assumption by some Christians that our primary problem is political, as opposed to spiritual files in the face, in my view, of the lessons of history.
Think about it.
I will try and tackle your second question a bit later...
Verne
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 03:46:04 pm by vernecarty » Logged
Mark C.
Guest


Email
« Reply #70 on: April 24, 2009, 06:58:08 am »

 How is it, that with far greater freedom and political influence,  greater affluence and material blessing than the Christians of the Roman era could have ever hoped to achieve, we Americans now find ourselves in the sad position that we are in as believers so far as our influence on the culture is concerned?
Is it possible that God has permitted this situation to arise to highlight the fact that we as believers have not been all that we ought to be, despite the remarkable blessings and privileges accorded to us by Almighty God?
The apparent assumption by some Christians that our primary problem is political, as opposed to spiritual files in the face, in my view, of the lessons of history.
Think about it.

Verne


  Verne,

  Getting back at me by asking a question in return?  Wink   Like in a tennis game, it's no fun if you can't get a good back and forth rally going--- I think we got one!

  It would be a problem indeed if Christians thought that politics were their only resource to effectively impact the culture.  I also think it would be a problem if Christians thought that their theology and personal piety should be the exclusive means to achieve God's will in the world in which they live; we need wisdom in both.

  Many groups ( Roman Catholic monks, Amish, Quakers, etc.) calling themselves Christian thought that devotion to God via separation from the world was what God was calling them to.   

  A Christian's life is not a separated "spirit" life, in that we have the exact same humanity that everyone else has.  Though we are regenerated, and strive to please God, we are painfully aware of how sinful we are.  Sometimes the Abimelech's of the world catch us in our sin (as in the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Ambimelech-- Gen.20) and they will shame us.

 How holy we are is not the means of salvation for those around us, because we will always woefully fail to accomplish this goal.  We can try and be the best phonies possible ( GG and company anyone?).  As with Abe above, coming clean and renewing our faith in God is true spirituality.

  My point is that a Christian can be saved and very pious, but make some big blunders in his/her life.  Christians need to be wise in how they live their lives in the day and age in which they live.  If they choose to just ignore certain realities around them and live in "spiritual awareness" only they will be a kind of Extra Terrestrial who can live a pretty dumb life.

  Here's 2 illustrations of what I mean by being wise in the two realities that we live in as believers:  If one of your children needed to have a very difficult brain surgery performed how would you choose the doctor?  Would you look for the holiest Christian you could find or the best and most competent surgeon?  If you had to elect a President would you vote for a "born again Christian" like Jimmah Carter, or a non-church attending Ronald Reagan?

  Reagan pursued a govt. that identified and fought evil doers--- This is God's design for civil govt. as described in Rom.13.  To understand this, and to aggressively fight for it, makes you "a minister of God."  This is not a "Christian" ministry, but a ministry nonetheless.  This nation's govt. was not formed to be a Christian church, but to fulfill a completely different function as God always intended a civil govt. should.

  Carter practiced as one who sought to blur the lines between good and evil and thus pacified evil instead of fighting against it.  This led to huge blunders in the world and at home.  He may have been theologically sound and a holy man but his decisions were very foolish as a leader of the nation.

                                                                                   God Bless,  Mark C.

   
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 07:05:05 am by Mark C. » Logged
vernecarty
Guest


Email
« Reply #71 on: April 24, 2009, 07:20:46 pm »

  Verne,

    It would be a problem indeed if Christians thought that politics were their only resource to effectively impact the culture.  I also think it would be a problem if Christians thought that their theology and personal piety should be the exclusive means to achieve God's will in the world in which they live; we need wisdom in both.

                                                                                    God Bless,  Mark C.

   

Amen!!
Verne
Logged
vernecarty
Guest


Email
« Reply #72 on: April 24, 2009, 08:18:17 pm »


   2.)  Is it possible to have "2 levels of conflict" where on one it is spiritual and on the other it is a moral one?

        Why do you think Jesus said, "render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar's and unto God the things of God"?  Is their such a thing as civic duty for the believer?  What should that civic duty involve for those who live in a country where we can influence how we are governed?

 
                                                                                           God bless,  Mark C.

This is an awesome question.
I will try not to blow it in giving you my opinion because I think our understanding of how to correctly answer it more than anything else distinguishes believers from everyone else and also distinguishes believers from one another.
This question is awesome because it raises the issue of a kind of dualism in the life of the Christian that is tacitly assumed, even if not explicitly stated.
In other words, are we safe to make the assumption that there is indeed a distinction to be made between that which is "spiritual" and that which is "moral"?

The following verse strongly influences my view on this point:

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Heb 11:3

If we assume that this verse has reference to not only the physical creation, but also the various forces that operate within that creation, "the worlds" as it were, then we have to immediately conclude that it would a fatal error to attempt to separate the "spiritual" from the "moral".
Someone once referred to the great Christian J.N Darby as a man who "lived in the heavenlies" and I think I am starting to understand a bit of what that means, especially in the context of our current discussion.
I would submit Mark, that it is exactly our tendency as Christians to compartmentalise our lives into categories that in fact may not be warranted, that so often leads to confusion and divergence on so many issues.
How would one distinguish for example, among issues that were moral, but not spiritual or vice versa?
I think the Christian would have to conclude that he cannot for no such distinction exists.
Every "moral" decision, no matter how seemingly trivial has "spiritual" implications for it is from that realm that the Christian understands that he draws his very existence!
Now here is the thing.
The Christian understands this, or certainly should.
The unbeliever generally does not. Those who do, frequently employ this knowledge to advance their practice of evil for if they will not be subject to Christ, they will necessarily be subject to another.
We must understand that there is always spiritual forces at play, when issues of morality are. Can any one doubt that there is an uncanny power and genius behind the way, for example, the  homosexual community is advancing its agenda in this country?
It is the failure of so many of us, both Christian and non-Christian alike, to take into account the ever-present weight and power of the spiritual, unseen though it may be, that adds incredible significance and consequence to choices we make daily.

We therefore have to keep in mind that every aspect of our civic duty, is subordinated to the larger reality of our being also citizens of another country. We may differ on how this plays out for each of us personally but if the proper predicate is in place, I believe God will honor that which the Christian endeavors, including social and political involvement. There is no question that this was the case with a man like William Wilberforce and many others.
This is also why countless numbers of believers loved not their lives unto the death.

I believe the vast majority of Christians pursuing moral social and political objectives, noble as they are, are folk in the midst of a ferocious battle with no amor whatsover...they are likely to get slaughtered...
I know I may be getting a bit deep here but this is worth some serious reflection...

Verne
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 06:58:35 pm by vernecarty » Logged
Mark C.
Guest


Email
« Reply #73 on: April 26, 2009, 10:22:21 pm »

This is an awesome question.
I will try not to blow it in giving you my opinion because I think our understanding of how to correctly answer it more than anything else distinguishes believers from everyone else and also distinguishes believers from one another.
This question is awesome because it raises the issue of a kind of dualism in the life of the Christian that is tacitly assumed, even if not explicitly stated.
In other words, are we safe to make the assumption that there is indeed a distinction to be made between that which is "spiritual" and that which is "moral"?

Someone once referred to the great Christian J.N Darby as a man who "lived in the heavenlies" and I think I am starting to understand a bit of what that means, especially in the context of our current discussion.

We therefore have to keep in mind that every aspect of our civic duty, is subordinated to the larger reality of our being also citizens of another country. We may differ on how this plays out for each of us personally but if the proper predicate is in place, I believe God will honor that which the Christian endeavors, including social and political involvement. There is no question that this was the case with a man like William Wilberforce and many others.
This is also why countless numbers of believers loved not their lives unto the death.

I believe the vast majority of Christians pursuing moral social and political objectives, noble as they are, are folk in the midst of a ferocious battle with no amor whatsover...they are likely to get slaughtered...
I know I may be getting a bit deep here but this is worth some serious reflection...

Verne

  Verne,

  You are getting deep, but this is a topic that deserves the kind of serious reflection we are trying to give it.  I wish I had the ability to give a thorough response to all you so ably develop above.  I will take a shot at a few points you raised in the last post and try to clarify some of my earlier ones.

 I think we probably are very close in how we think of a Christian living his life in the here and now in the good ol' USA.  Whatever the differences, they could be due to how we define the words and phrases we are using.  I most likely could have used better words than "spiritual" and "moral" when describing the two different worlds that a Christian lives in.  In earlier posts I made reference to "the two kingdoms" that are referenced in the bible.  I used Rom. 13 where Paul calls the Roman civil authority "Ministers of Righteousness" that seems to paint a picture of some kind of "dualism." (also Jesus' words, "render under Cesar, etc.")

 I think the words "spirituality" and "holiness" need to be defined because their meanings can get very distorted.  This distortion can affect the way we relate to the world we live in--- ie, how we look at our interaction with the secular world around us.

  I'm glad that you brought up J.N. Darby because he can provide an excellent illustration of what true holiness looks like.
 
1.) He was a brilliant man and a bible scholar: This, in and of itself, did not make him holy I think we both can agree.

2.)He was very dedicated to his view of scripture and refused to "compromise" those views:  Now, this can be either good or bad, depending on the particulars.  With JND it led to him separating from all who did not agree with him and causing a tremendous party spirit among the brethren whom he previously associated with.  Is this true "spirituality", or was it a holy result to his convictions?"

  When "spirituality" becomes some kind of adherence to "purity" of doctrine that can't admit the fact that "we all see through a glass darkly", it can take the ugly face of pride.  I put the word, "purity" in quotes because in my use of it I want to convey the sense that there are those who believe they perfectly understand all mysteries (or at least understand them better than others).

  Yes, I understand there is a true orthodoxy, like the Gospel of the grace of God and the nature of God, that we can't give in on.  However, the kind of conduct (holiness?) that accompanies these foundational truths should be exemplified in an attitude of humility

  I view holiness/spirituality of life much differently now then I did in the past; though my past still tends to haunt my daily life.  The distinction between false and true holiness I've come to realize is the difference between pretense and honesty about oneself.

 
  What does the above distinction re. holiness have to do with our topic of a Christian's involvement in the world around him/her?

  One view encourages a very self centered life where "inner reality" is all that there is---- this life "in the Spirit" is (like JND in the Heavenlies) actually based on ones own "vision" that denies anything that seems to threaten that view.  This belief embraces the idea that The Eternal Kingdom of Christ through the Spirit can be perfectly understood and practiced in the age in which we live now.

  The other view recognizes that these Kingdom realities are "not yet" and that we live in the world as those looking forward to the coming of "that which is perfect."  The bible recognizes this "dualism" and also (as in Rom. 13) explains that we must in wisdom function in both realms.

                                                                 God Bless,  Mark C.

       


   
Logged
vernecarty
Guest


Email
« Reply #74 on: April 28, 2009, 03:39:25 am »

 
  I'm glad that you brought up J.N. Darby because he can provide an excellent illustration of what true holiness looks like.
 
1.) He was a brilliant man and a bible scholar: This, in and of itself, did not make him holy I think we both can agree.

2.)He was very dedicated to his view of scripture and refused to "compromise" those views:  Now, this can be either good or bad, depending on the particulars.  With JND it led to him separating from all who did not agree with him and causing a tremendous party spirit among the brethren whom he previously associated with.  Is this true "spirituality", or was it a holy result to his convictions?"

  When "spirituality" becomes some kind of adherence to "purity" of doctrine that can't admit the fact that "we all see through a glass darkly", it can take the ugly face of pride.  I put the word, "purity" in quotes because in my use of it I want to convey the sense that there are those who believe they perfectly understand all mysteries (or at least understand them better than others).

  Yes, I understand there is a true orthodoxy, like the Gospel of the grace of God and the nature of God, that we can't give in on.  However, the kind of conduct (holiness?) that accompanies these foundational truths should be exemplified in an attitude of humility

  I view holiness/spirituality of life much differently now then I did in the past; though my past still tends to haunt my daily life.  The distinction between false and true holiness I've come to realize is the difference between pretense and honesty about oneself.

 
  What does the above distinction re. holiness have to do with our topic of a Christian's involvement in the world around him/her?

  One view encourages a very self centered life where "inner reality" is all that there is---- this life "in the Spirit" is (like JND in the Heavenlies) actually based on ones own "vision" that denies anything that seems to threaten that view.  This belief embraces the idea that The Eternal Kingdom of Christ through the Spirit can be perfectly understood and practiced in the age in which we live now.

  The other view recognizes that these Kingdom realities are "not yet" and that we live in the world as those looking forward to the coming of "that which is perfect."  The bible recognizes this "dualism" and also (as in Rom. 13) explains that we must in wisdom function in both realms.

                                                                 God Bless,  Mark C.

       


   



You are quite right.
How sobering that even men of great spiritual gifts can suffer from the sin of spiritual pride.
Interestingly enough, the comment about Darby living in the heavenlies was made by George Mueller to someone who was apparently trying to curry favor with Mueller by criticising Darby.
Your point is well taken.
True spirituality will always evidence itself in Godly deportment in the practical areas of our lives, including how we interact with both our brethren and the unsaved. I agree that Darby was less than exemplary in this regard.
Verne
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!