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Contemporary Social Issues

 
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003white  A Note on The Church's Primary Role in the World (below)

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What is "Agape" and How Did It Work? We tend to assume at once that "love" means what it does to us in modern times -- in this case, a mushy sentimentality that never says a harsh word and never steps on the toes of others. but conceptually, it is certainly possible to love one's enemies, and yet also attack them; and the same for one's disciples or allies

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A Note on The Church's Primary Role in the World

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A Better Society Without The Gospel? The Unbiblical Cultured Expectations of Many Christian Leaders

“I think it is clear that Scripture does not conceive of the church's primary role in the world as one of opposing public immorality through political means. The early first and second century Christians lived in an extremely diverse, corrupt and immoral society where they did not have any access to political power or influence in public policy other than through persuading people to believe the gospel. These early Christians did not waste their time picketing or protesting, as we now see some doing. Shouting matches were not their calling. They witnessed to the historic fact of the resurrection, they prayed, worshiped, and lived pious & holy lives. Indeed this witness, in many cases, influenced society, but in many other cases, society went on in its paganism. These Christians knew that if there were to be a vast change of public ideas of morals, it would have to come through the grace of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by an imperial edict or judicial ruling. Laws do very little to change people's thinking or heart's disposition on such matters. And there is no evidence that Jesus went out of his way to take on any political causes, probably because, in themselves, they do have any power to change hearts.

Of course, many wanted Jesus to be a political organizer but that wasn't His interest (except in an eschatological sense). But that does not automatically mean He approved of the status quo. On the contrary, it simply means that the path of Jesus Christ is not identical with the path of political activism. I think Jesus' view of society really tended to grow out of his view of our individual and corporate alienation from God. He gave a diversity of responses to our alienation, but He did not mistake any symptomatic aspect of our lost condition--sexual depravity, greed, poverty, war, ignorance--from the root cause and remedy of that alienation: the gospel.

Jesus lived His life submerged in a culture of social problems and sympathetically tended to those problems, yet he never held out any hope for the substantial eradication of those problems apart from the gospel. The first century Christians, as revealed in the Scriptures, exemplified radical kinds of love and service, but none of these manifested itself as a stress on political activism. So there is great hope in the difference in the way Jesus views the actions of a Christian from the romantic possibilities for a political utopia, which may restrain some evil but itself really has no power to transform anyone.

Frankly, I have always viewed moralizing crusades with great suspicion. It appears to me to commit the church to such a course of action, which was never part of its original purpose, and is an attempt to accomplish something that must ultimately fail. The ultimate effect of merely attempting to focus on legal change might very well be to impede the hearing of the Gospel by those who need it most. To put it in other terms, we cannot minister to people if they perceive us primarily as their political enemies. I will give to you, however, that many biblically/theologically illiterate so-called Christians are crassly political and hostile to all kinds of groups. So surprising as it may sound to you, a more conservative view of theology is the answer to dealing with such ignorance and bigotry.

The theologically conservative position is that Christians should take no more interest in what gays do in their private lives than in what any other fallen sinner does, and that we should not distinguish ourselves by obsessing on the various homosexual agendas. Of course when we vote, we must do what we think is best by Biblical standards. But it is clear that homosexuality has by no means outpaced heterosexuality in the committing acts of evil. I am convinced that the response of Christians must include a great deal more love genuine acceptance of our gay friends and family. A Christians' principled opposition to gay marriage ought to be one form of confessing how unworthily we as Christians have treated marriage itself”. (Why is Secularism Exempt from the Separation of Church and State? by John Hendryx) {TOP OF PAGE}

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