Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lessons from Issues 6: God's truth in the public square

Previous posts in the series are here, here, here, and here. Bullets:
  • This brings in the concept of the left-hand kingdom (non-*church* issues) (LH).
  • Testimonies 1083, 2157, 2965, and 3084 from the petition, emphasize as well how applicable and relevant the pure Gospel is in all areas of life.
  • Says Uwe Siemon-Netto, writing:
    Is there something ultimate about the color of one's skin? Are guns in every hand, the electric chair, affirmative action, and the campaign finance reform issues linked to the Gospel? The answer is of course: No! Yet, Christian denominations often act as if they were, and this contributes to a monumental scandal in contemporary America...
  • There is the infinite "Kingdom to the Right," where God reveals Himself in Christ. This is the realm of the Gospel...
  • On the other hand, there is the secular and finite "Kingdom to the Left," of which Christ has said, "My kingship is not of this world" (John 18:36)...
  • [The governing authorities] are fallible, of course, and sometimes become outright evil. But in time God intervenes and puts things right again...[S]ecular issuses often dominate preaching and worship. Where this occurs, Christ's Kingdom does not radiate into the world. Instead, the world radiates into His realm and therefore pollutes it.
  • Comparison of major understandings of the right-hand kingdom (RH) versus LH:
  • Evangelical: The RH should be the LH; LH should listen to RH. Why is this bad? Answer: No one can understand or obey the Word except by faith. We are to be a "little flock."
  • Roman Catholic: "We are ruling the world, but the world just doesn't know it." True (partly!) - God is ruling the world. But the Church's job is NOT to get cuddly with LH.
  • Lutheran: If one's vocation requires action in LH (e.g. serving as an election judge), then do it. But don't mix LH with RH; don't let LH crowd out RH. The only power the Church has is that to forgive sins.
  • Romans 13:1-7 - classic. Related: Hebrews 1:3, Acts 5:29, and 1 Peter 2:17. Only understandable in terms of LH. God works behind the scenes, indirectly through rulers.
  • 2 Timothy 2:1-7 - details RH deeds (prayer) that influence LH.

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