I think you make excellent points, particularly with regard to climate change. That is an enormous, toxic and volatile future variable, which will certainly have disastrous consequences on world peace. Still we must always exercise hope!
I think the question of the meaning of justification by faith alone is important here. Does this doctrine mean that even if violence almost completely disappears from the earth we are still in the same sinful situation we were before (unless the whole world publicly professes “faith in Christ” in an explicit way)? Or could it mean that the decline of violence in our world is itself a result of an unseen and possibly unspoken “faith in Christ” resulting in the grace of God appearing mysteriously even where we do not expect it (in the secular world, perhaps)?
I find this latter possibility to be intriguing. Many Christians have assumed that if grace works only through explicit verbal declaration of faith in Christ. There is Biblical warrant for this (Romans 10:9). But could the work of God’s grace be more promiscuous than we have previously assumed? God has a habit of being where we least expect God to be (isn’t this the story of evangelism in Acts?)
And in states in the US, where evangelical Christianity and the emphasis on the proper confession of faith reigns supreme, domestic abuse, poverty, poor levels of education, and gun violence continue unabated. I’m not saying causation, but is there correlation? Is there power missing from a 16th century emphasis that answers 19th c. questions in the 21st c?
Could orthodoxy be missing the move of God in the world? It wouldn’t be the first time.
Just thinking out loud.
Hypotheticals aside. The Bible doesn’t teach lasting peace on earth because it would be antithetical to human nature and violation to the principles of God’s law. I would have to believe sin has no consequences. and, there is no relationship between sin, relative peace and Shalom.
It simply isn’t genuine thought Andy. Cobb and Pluralist Hick point out the inconsistency of the thought “An unseen, unspoken promiscuous faith in Christ.”
The story in Acts is Accept Christ, Jew & Gentile alike, be baptized and you shall receive the HS. Not the “anonymous Roman & Greek” Christian in deed only working for the kingdom of God.
Rather than causation it simply shows the effect of sin and sinful human nature that doesn’t entirely disappear on accepting Christ. The Christian is simply not “dead in trespasses and sins as humanity.”
Through the HS they are empowered to make inward changes that have an external presence and application for a better present order.
It can also show the effect of having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Conservative Christianity has traditionally prioritized correct doctrinal belief as foremost, over the practical implications of the gospel upon healthy life in community. It also emphasized individualized grace that is almost anti works, that can lead to a dead shell of belief. When works are focused upon, it’s often in the form of petty moralism. It also articulates a belief system that, to me, is rooted in medieval concerns and interpretations of the gospel, and rejects any fresh understandings as heretical. I frankly feel that all of this together can rob the gospel of its immediate power to truly transform lives and communities. What I’ve cited could just as well be a product of this.
The present order in these areas isn’t better. It’s in many ways demonstrably worse. To me, something is up beyond using justified and still a sinner arguments to explain such generational problems away in supposed strongholds of biblical orthodoxy and conservatism.
That’s your right. Just dont agree with you. And, you haven’t likely been associated with a lot of non Adventist conservative churches perhaps. The ones I am aware of do a lot of community work…they just dont prioritize government as their helper as the more liberal views do.
PS. So now we have Phil questioning my Christian experience and you questioning conservative orthodoxy validity. It must be “nice” to have such high regard for ones views.
I’m free to question, especially what appears to be broken, just as you have the right to uphold. I haven’t criticized you personally as having a high regard for your own views, though it is very obvious that you do. That’s ok. I disagree with you, and you with me on various issues. I try to support what I believe by my understanding of the gospel, as you do, too. Leave motive out of it, please.
And, I have told you I dont judge your Christian experience and said your view of social activity in the church have validity.
Simply leave the government out of the picture of church salvation and service mission.
I didn’t say anything about government involvement in this series of posts, Pat. It wasn’t on my radar screen. But, likewise, conservative Christians shouldn’t be pushing for conservative justice appointments, shouldn’t be pushing in the public square and pressuring legislation to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and we can go on. What’s good for the goose…
Frank do you see any difference between equal justice before law and provision issues related to church activity.
The original “separation” issue was government not providing funds for Cristian teachers of religion. Not, Christian input into morality or government service.
The church should not seek “provision”/money from the state to fulfill its mission of service.
That’s my entire point…or be a partner in completing the mission via the state where provision is concerned.
Where have I been saying that the church should be taking money from the state to fulfill its mission of service? My point has been that the church should also have a voice in how the government responds to the least of these in society, as well as carrying out its own mission of service to them, and such issues as treatment of the environment/creation. These are no less moral issues than abortion, the appointment of judges (which I find a reach), or capitalism vs. socialism, as many conservative Christians moralize about.
But Frank, the difference is IF conservatives differ with the economic theory used to best serve all people Including the poor, we are not Christians.
We are not following what in others view is WWJD in a POLITICAL situation. This is the problem. I could simply put forward, ok “your Jesus” believes in socialism + with national health ins., etc., etc. Well, I dont believe He does as any form of scriptural mandate. I dont believe the church as a unit should tell the state how to “provide for its citizens” because in truth they do not know.
The phrase “blessed hope” is a self-contained contradiction just as surely as the term “end time” is an oxymoron.
Hope, by definition, has no power to accomplish anything and is therefore a curse to anyone who’s goal is to make the world a better place.
To paraphrase the ancient Greeks, “Hope is for dopes.”
In regards to the possibility of some heavenly time-keeper “stopping the clock” on human history, Christians in general, and Adventist’s more rabidly, have been trying for generations to scare their fellow men into their way of thinking by insisting that the end of time is just around the temporal corner when, in fact, the “end” of which they prophesy—and with which concept, as fanciful it may be, they attempt to bludgeon anyone credulous enough to buy into their tactics of fear—could only ever be an end, in some relative sense.
That is, the end times as envisioned by all doomsday cults will, in all likelihood, be the cessation of nothing, except perhaps their interminable hand wringing and the seemingly endless fear mongering of those who hope for, and therefore predict, a supposed era-to-come of “time without time”.
Come to think of it, an “end time” story with no one preaching about the end times any more would be considered to have a very good ending for all but those who expect to impress with dogmatic intimidation, out of context religious recitations and righteous insensitivity.
When mankinds wisdom is at witsend to solve humanity’s problems and they hate Christian’s who have a better “mythical” hope then Christ comes to deliver the ones anxiously awaiting His appearance. It is finished. Hope becomes reality!
The saints have to be as patient as Christ is who not desirous that any should perish but all come to repentance, because it will not be a day of light but sadness for those not redeemed. No utopia on earth, just unbelief and hatred for the coming King of Kings who does not dance to their views…
Having said all that, there is a danger of getting too relaxed and thinking that things will always remain this peaceful and serene. This is just a break between the crisis, not that I like chaos and disorder. It is just that I am keenly aware that peace forged out of false pretenses does not last. Check this out:
Racism is still with us, what with Trump’s go-back-where-you-came-from rant. Suicide bombers are still terrorizing us. You just have to check on the military budgets of developed nations. It is misleading to say that if there is basic education and food for all, we’ll be ushered into some Utopia. We are not there yet.
I live in the developing world where most of my peers have migrated to the West for a better life. What I see on TV has convinced me that the impression of paradise-in-the-west is a false one. I do not claim to know how eventually end time events will unfold, but I refuse to call this earth my final home. Yes I take care of it the best way I know how, but I look forward to a new earth and new heaven, where there is no death, disease, racism, and inequalities
Funny, but only in a sad way, that you use human intellect and literature (yours) in an effort to denigrate the whole of “human wisdom”.
For my part, I have no use for the opinions of any person who attempts to demean me, or all of God’s Other Children, in this manner.