Monday, April 16, 2012

You're In Babylon Not Israel

Christians Need a Paradigm Shift

Where do you live? As a Christian and American citizen what mental paradigm (worldview?) do you use to locate yourself?

Many evangelical Christians think of themselves as faithful worshipers of the true God living in an increasingly apostate Israel. The United was founded as a Christian country and has uniquely experienced the blessings of God, primarily because of its Christian principles. However, our country is departing from God as evidenced by such things as its almost total removal of God from the public square, its embrace of religious pluralism, and its accelerating moral laxity and depravity.

D. James Kennedy
How should Christians respond? They should rise and reclaim America for God. Now. Before it is too late. The preachers (prophets) should stop minding their ease and start minding the kingdom. They need to denounce the moral apostasy, call for revival and reformation, and rally the faithful to God’s cause. They should hold out the promise that “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).  Believers need to wake up, shake off their slumber, arm themselves, and fight the battle for America.

Jerry Falwell
How? Since the United States is not a theocratic monarchy where a change of a king’s heart or a change of kings could return the country to God, but democracy (which we want to be Christian rather than secular), we will have to leave the safety of our pews (or chairs) and sanctuaries (or auditoriums), and get out in the world where the war is being fought and must be won.  We must win the battles for the election of legislators and executives and the appointment of judges. Then we must hold office holders (who tend to become pragmatists in office) accountable to cast their votes and make their decisions based on Christian principles.

Rousas J. Rushdoony
Some Christian conservatives have thought this out with care. It seems to me the theonomists do this the most consistently. For them a Christian America is an America ruled by those who bow to God as the true Sovereign and who govern according to God’s Law. The Ten Commandments are God’s Law, and the guide to applying them to a nation is found in the civil laws God gave to Israel. These laws are concrete examples based on timeless principles that will guide a godly government. Power must be obtained democratically (most likely in a time of national crisis and instability if not collapse), but with the power to govern goes the power of the sword to coerce obedience to God’s Law as it is progressively applied to national life.

Your Curmudgeon
It is this I challenge. The United States never was, is not, cannot be, and should not be Israel living in the Promised Land.

A better paradigm is Israel in exile in Babylon. We are the “elect exiles of the dispersion”, “living stones  being built up as a spiritual house”, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession”, who are called to live “as sojourners and exiles” (1 Peter 1:1; 2:4,9, 11).

For guidance we look not to the judicial (civil case law) of the Pentateuch but to the Prophets of the Exile. For example, we heed the inspired counsel of the Prophet Jeremiah:

“Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for yours sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city to where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:6, 7).

We are citizens of God’s kingdom living in a country that is not our own or our home. We cannot and should not try to turn Babylon into Judah. We may be here awhile. Get on with life. Buy a house; plant a garden; get married; have babies - lots of them. Pray for the welfare of the country where you live for your temporal welfare is tied to its. Keep the faith alive by developing synagogues where you will gather to sing, pray, and hear the Word. Circumcise those baby boys and keep the Passover.

But is this it? Isn’t the kingdom going to be restored to us and we restored to the kingdom? Yes, your King will come marching across the wilderness to take you home again (Isaiah 40: 3-5, 9-10). Don’t forget that your “citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). You are not going to turn Babylon or America into the Kingdom; your King is going to Kingdom to you and you to the Kingdom. Believe it or not, this is “better country” because it is “a heavenly one” God “has prepared” (Hebrews 11:16) for us.


mozart said...

Amen! Having a good time reinforcing this concept in our adult SS class where we are going through David vanDrunen's work, "Living in God's Two Kingdoms." Excellent stuff!

Anonymous said...

Well, of course. But on the baby thing, there is something to be said for modesty in multiplying.