Archive for the ‘reasoned faith’ Tag

Christians in the 21st Century   3 comments

Jesus told Christians to be “in the world, but not of it” and historically, Biblical Christians have exemplified that command. In the 1st century, that caused the Jews to want to kill Christians for disobeying their laws. Rome killed many Christians for refusing to fall in line with neighbors. As the centuries wore on, Christians walked (sometimes singing) into arenas around the Empire to be torn to pieces by wild animals for the entertainment of others. Some people think Christians gave that up when Rome recognized Christianity and then when the Roman Catholic Church became the defacto ruler of the European continent. That’s not exactly true. From time to time, the Roman Catholic Church would rule this or that group “heretics” for refusing to follow the edicts of the “Church”. Some of these groups may well have been heretics as the Bible describes heresy, but many others were simply Bible believing Christians who refused to disobey God in order to obey the Holy Roman Empire.

Today, Christians live in tension between the demands of the world in which they live and the demands of Christian discipleship. I want to examine the point at which obedience to God and obedience to government clash. I hope to offer a method of dealing with the conflict.

In the United States we take it as a matter of course that a good citizen is one who calls the government to account for its actions … unless we agree with those actions and then the person is a terrorist, right?

Christians have been taught that we are to obey the government and that doing so, shows respect for God. When Becky Akers and I were doing our series, we showed that the most relied upon Biblical passage for this (Romans 8) has been misinterpreted for many centuries. That misinterpretation probably grew out of the unholy alliance of church and state that was the Holy Roman Empire, but it also served every denomination that sought to entangle church and state — the Anglican/Episcopalian, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Lutheran … all have a history of this.

Notice that I left out one of the largest pan-denominations in the United States — the Baptists. Historically, Baptists come out of the anabaptist tradition and anabaptists have a long history of preaching separation of church and state. That might surprise some people who see men like Mike Huckabee running for president. I don’t really know Huckabee and don’t support him for president, although I doubt seriously that he could do a worse job than the current occupant of the Oval Office or his presumptive successor. That’s not my point in this discussion at all. My point is “What is the role of the Biblical Christian in the 21st Century.”

For me, that starts with examining my spiritual roots and then moves onto what should Christians be doing about our government — if anything — in these trying times. And along the way, we’re going to have some visits from Becky Akers once more.

Yes, because I think anarchists have a lot to teach us Christians about our role in the world. Why? Because anarchism owes some of its existence to anabaptists.

You didn’t know that?

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