Excellent discussion yesterday. I’m always hoping for a little push back. That helps me sharpen my thinking and test my ideas.
I want to try and further explore yesterday’s topics, based on some of the discussion:
- There are real limitations to saying, “I don’t see _____ in the New Testament.” I do recognize that. But I expect what we do today to at least fall in line with what is in the Bible, to not run counter to the examples there (Francis Chan has an interesting video that talks about this). And if we feel the need to circumvent some biblical teaching, I’d like at least a hint that early Christians saw it the same way. There is a prohibition of eating certain things in Acts 15, yet we have several passages that seem to say that all foods are lawful for us. That’s the sort of thing I’m looking for.
- Our situation is different today, with Christians representing such a large percentage of the population of many nations. Does that change how we view God’s teachings? I’m asking as much as anything. I’m wrestling through that one. Here are some thoughts:
- As Christians, we are called to give primary loyalty to the Kingdom of God. Even as a Roman citizen, I don’t get a picture of Paul looking to promote the interests of Rome. If Christians come to “power” within a certain country, their actions should be guided not just by what is best for that country, but by what is best for the world in general. That would be a political nightmare here in the United States.
- As Christians, we are to live by Christian principles at all times. Imagine what that would look like in governing a country. When negotiating with other countries, we would look to serve them, trying to meet their needs. We would return all land that we have taken from other countries, be it through war, be it through intimidation. Wars would be limited, if not eliminated. There is no way a Christian nation would be in a constant state of war for 70 years.
- To some degree, our governments are set up to rival much of what God does. Like the men of Babel, humans today look to band together and make a name for themselves, looking to find in one another what they should be seeking from God. I’m still trying to work out in my head how Christians can effectively be a part of that. I haven’t figured it out.
- Even where our situation differs, our dependence on God can’t change. We can’t put our trust in horses and chariots. We need to find the courage to imitate the Christians in Acts 12, despite the scorn and ridicule of brothers who choose not to do so. We need to be willing to let nations rise and fall when necessary, to trust God even when He raises up an Assyria or a Babylon to do His will. We need to be willing to honor Caesar even when Caesar is evil. Honor, but not worship.
OK, them’s my thoughts. I’m sure today the good ideas will be in the comments, as they were yesterday.