Thursday, January 5, 2012

Should We Try to Christianize the World

Should we try to Christianize the world or at least our nation? At first glance, the Scripture does not give us much encouragement that the world will come over to our side. In fact, we are told that to love this present world is to make ourselves enemies of God (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; Romans 12:1,2). We are also told not to be surprised if the world is hostile to us and opposes us (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; Matthew 10:17-25). Nor are we encouraged to expect that a positive situation will be found when the Lord comes the second time (Matthew 24:21,22; Luke 18:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-7).

But we, as Christians, are called to promote that which is good and just (Galatians 6:9,10; Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:13-15). We are called to help the poor and the oppressed (Matthew 25:31-46; Isaiah 58:6,7; Luke 10:25-37). And we are told God has empowered us to accomplish His work in the world (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5,6 ; Psalms 127:1,2). If we are to be advocates for what is right and merciful, we cannot sit idly  by and allow injustice without trying to change it.

Now I am convinced that the acceptance of nominal Christianity by western civilization was a foxhole conversion. The Roman Empire was falling apart, and they were looking for something to hold things together and turned to God. There were good things and bad things that came out of this situation. But once things got better, we began the process of slowly deserting Him. There have been a number of movements to turn our culture back to God, but though they slowed the decline, it continued. It is certainly possible that we may once more turn back to God as a society. But I see no assurance that we will. But we need to trust God to bring us through whatever happens (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 46:10; Romans 4:17-22). And we need to ask if one of the reason we want to Christianize our culture is so we can be comfortable and not have our faith challenged. Determined working for good in an imperfect world is to be encouraged. But the idea that taking a few steps or passing a few laws will produce a truly Christian society should be avoided. Further, we need to recognize that we are back in the place of the early church, as Christians in a pagan society. We need to let go of the past and rebuild again from where we are. For only the return of the One who will rule as King will transform us or this world into what they should be (Romans 8:19-25; Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 21:4).

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