Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Animosity Against Comprehensive Redemption

Statism, Pietism, and Christianity present three rival worldviews. Statism has many forms: communism, Mohammedanism, and interventionism known in the past as fascism. 

Pietism agrees with and opposes Statism at the same time. It agrees with Statism when it comes to the application of humanism in politics and economics. It opposes Statism in areas of life when the laws made by the State becomes a threat to its survival. Pietism is the dominant faith in Christianity today. It is also known as monastic or escapist Christianity. 

Biblical Christianity gives us a different vision of the world and history. The impact of Adam's sin is universal. It includes man and all his affairs even the realms of economics and politics. 

However, as a result of Adam's sin, mankind has been subjected under the worst form of slavery, the slavery of sin. But the Son of God came into this world to liberate mankind and the entire creation from the power of sin. And since the work of redemption is already complete and Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of the Father, reigning until the time that all his enemies will submit under his rule, the duty of the church is to proclaim this message of redemption. 

Jesus Christ claims that all power in heaven and on earth are already His. On the basis of this authority, Jesus has given the church a commission to disciple all nations, to proclaim the whole counsel of God. This means that the gospel starts in personal transformation, but it doesn't end there. Personal transformation should affect families and societies and all the institutions in them. This is how I understand comprehensive redemption.

Unfortunately, the idea of comprehensive redemption has numerous enemies. Foremost among them are the statists, Marxists, and pietists. See how Gary North describes such animosity: 

So whenever the church begins to declare God's holy standards of civil rule, the state is outraged. "How dare you! It is your job to keep the people quiet," says the present ruler. "It is not your job to speak out on political questions. They are of no concern to the church."

The revolutionaries are equally outraged. "It is your job to preach revolution, not reform," says the Marxist liberation theologian. "It is not your job to preach peaceful change, the reconstruction of society by the preaching of the gospel, and the decapitalization of the state. No, the goal is to capture the state, strengthen it, and make it even more powerful."

The escapists are also outraged. "Look, we come to church to have our spirits soothed. You keep bringing up unpleasant topics. There is nothing we can do about any of the world's problems outside the four walls of the sanctuary. Preach Jesus, and Him crucified-and be sure to leave Him hanging on the cross, where He belongs."

The preaching of the full-scale gospel scares those who believe in political salvation, as well as those who believe in irresponsible, world-denying salvation. The message of the Bible is simple in principle: comprehensive redemption. Everything is to be brought under the dominion of Jesus, through His people who represent Him as ambassadors and judges on earth. Everything. This means that Christ redeemed (bought back) the whole world. It means that there is no neutrality between Christ and Satan. Christ's rule must be established over everything before He delivers the kingdom up to His Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).

Source: Gary North, Liberating Planet Earth, 1987, pp. 91-92

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