Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Escape or Wait

We have gone for 2000 years without solving the church/state problem, but it will not go away. A reaction to the collapse of Christendom has been to avoid the issue by believing that the church should remain a persecuted and isolated minority. If the state is persecuting the church, Christians can declare it to be evil and not need to get involved. This is easy to say that when you are living in peace and comfort, but it destines the church to be defeated forever. My reading of the scripture is that God expects more of the Church than continuous defeat. We cannot assume that the Holy Spirit will leave his church defeated forever.

Others expect the problem to be resolved by Jesus coming back soon to rule from Jerusalem. They believe that Jesus will take over from “George Bush” and rid the world of evil, but this has not really been thought through very clearly. Think about some of the problems. How would Jesus stop Timaru teenagers from sniffing glue? He would be busy in the temple in Jerusalem, so he would not have much time for the young people of Timaru. He will have will have a lot of Christians in spiritual bodies to help him, but what would they do. Would they track down every glue sniffer and "zap"them. That is hardly likely to stop glue sniffing. The disembodied Christians could hide all the glue, but what about those who have a genuine need for glue. Society would become very controlled, but it would not be very pleasant place to live.

Jesus simply would not have the power to solve every problem. The world’s problems cannot be solved by forcing people to do things they do not want to do. Evil will only disappear when all sinful hearts are transformed and to love of God. Jesus sitting on a throne in Jerusalem would not have the power to change hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

And Surprise! Surprise! He can change hearts now without waiting for Jesus to return.

Neither waiting or escaping is the solution. If our Christian faith is real, it should be good for both the tough times and good times. We cannot avoid working through our relationship with the political system.

It will be too late to start thinking when things turn to custard.

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