Wednesday, March 29, 2006my answers...
I received, a few days ago, the following questions from John D, he was interested in how I would answer them. I thought some of you, dear readers, may also like to know my views on these questions:
1- How would you compare the view of Divine Providence that many American Christians have, to yours? Many of them think that the United States and the others of the Middle East Coalition are right now carrying out God's Plans in Iraq and Afghanistan; ie they are fulfilling the Word of God, or helping to set up the Kingdom of God by doing the things they are doing there. Do you think that is faulty logic?
Faulty doesn't even begin to describe this logic. Such thinking may be the result of a marriage between the desire to stand by a political party and Postmillennial eschatology. Problem is, I have no sense of duty to any political party, and I have no time for Postmillennialism. The Bible is clear, man will have no part of "setting up the Kingdom of God". If anything, what we find in Scripture is that things are going to get worse and worse in the church age:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
The Man, the Lord Jesus Christ will take care of setting up the Kingdom, not George W. Bush or any other politician:
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war... And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:11, 15-16)
Now, all this being said, there is no doubt that Coalition Forces are "carrying out God's plans in Iraq and Afghanistan". They are fulfilling God's plan for this age, but keep in mind, so were the 9/11 terrorists when they flew their planes into buildings.
2- To what degree if any is the Iraq War a thing that the Christian God wants to do?
My last point in the question above should answer this question. God has determined all things: war, peace, prosperity, poverty... etc... etc. If we have a mess in Iraq today, it is because God has determined it to be so.
"And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35)
Now does this mean that prior to the Iraq war, a Christian should have been able to determine that a war in Iraq was something God wanted to have happened. No. God's sovereign design for the age is, for the most part, quite secret.
3- Do you support the Iraq war? And if so why? And if not, why not?
Tough question. There are different angles by which to answer this question, and depending on the angle, I have different answers.
I support the war because:
-it has rid the world of a psycho dictator.
-without a doubt, Israel is more secure with Iraq under the control of the West.
-the world is also, undoubtedly, a safer place without the former Iraqi regime.
-under Hussein, the people of Iraq had ZERO hope for true liberty and democracy. Under Western control, such liberties are at least possible.
I don't support the war because:
-it has and continues to re-enforce a serious social problem: ISLAM.
-it is a pretty safe bet that Iraq's oil riches was the incentive for invasion, which kind of takes the nobility of the action away from the U.S. (i.e. Iran hasn't been dealt with, nor has North Korea and they are as much of a threat as Iraq was).
-I can't see an end-game. I mean, I know what the desired end-game is (free, democratic Iraq), but Babylon has always been a mess. ALWAYS. You don't change 5000 years of messed up society with a few "smart-bombs" and helicopter gun-ships over the span of a decade.
In the end, I wish Coalition Forces well; I truly hope they succeed in their endeavour. I'm not holding my breath though.
BTW... I apply the jist of this answer to the war in Afghanistan as well.
4- You've criticized the American Christian population for being so concerned over "tradition" rather than Christianity itself. You said,"Christian, you want to make the world a better place through socio-political means? You are wasting your time." Would you say generally that the major theme in the whole 'Christian Conservative' American movement is to: make the world a better place through socio-political means?
Christians have a duty in this Church Age. Their duty is simple:
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
So simple, my 5-year old son understands exactly what the above verse means. So simple, most Christian adults manage to mess it all up. You see, this whole preaching the Gospel thing... well, politically, it's a hot potato. You see it on this blog all the time. My Gospel isn't the Romanist gospel, or the Mormon gospel, or the Church of Christ gospel; and it's pretty tough to build a "movement" when you can't get people to move together and stay together.
So what happens? The Gospel gets thrown out the window. Ecumenical prayers in public schools, abstinence-only sex education, opposition to the homosexual agenda, creationism... now here we can build a "movement". So Falwell gets to work on a "Moral Majority". Dobson builds up his "Focus on the Family". And a "movement" is born! Romanist, Baptist, Mormon, even Jehovah's Witness!!! All of them on side and moving together!
Yes, John D, the goal is to make the world a "better, friendlier place" for "christians" and/or people of faith. Problem is, the "movement" exists at the expense of Truth.
5- How would you characterize the dynamic of the Republican politician to the Christian Conservative himself?
I don't believe that an elaborate conspiracy was formed between the two, but it is fairly obvious that a "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" philosophy has developed. The Republicans get support from the CCs on foreign policy, economic policy, and a myriad of other portfolios, and in return, the CCs get a Christian-friendly social policy.
6- Would it be fair to say the politician is taking advantage of the Christian Conservative (CC), by appealing to the CC's religious interest, while deceptively gaining the thing he really wants?
That being said, it is important not to look upon the CCs as being stupid. The CCs usually couldn't care less what the Republicans are "gaining", so long as they get the kind of social policies that suit them. Do you think anyone in the CC movement really cares about the dirty politics that goes between the U.S. and the Middle East? You offer them prayers in public schools or restrictions on abortions at the expense of good fiscal responsibility and you can say: "Hello debt!!!"
And that isn't being stupid, it's just that they want the one more than the other. The same kind of thing could be observed on the other side of the political spectrum. You wouldn't have to look too far to find a Democrat voting homosexual who believes in small government, yet would he/she/it ever vote Republican to get that smaller government? Not likely, because other priorities end up determining his/her/its vote.
7- How would you compare the Christian Conservatives in Michael's blog to the American Christian population at large, or the world's Christian population at large?
True Christians? As in born-again saints (which excludes Romanists, Mormons, most Methodists... etc)? I would say that most of them are the "garden variety" of born-again saints. If, on the other hand you call "Christian" all those who claim to follow a "jesus", well, then we have quite another situation on our hands. The kind of Christian Michael attracts to his blog are mostly evangelical, born-again Christians, which throughout most of the world, are few in number.
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
Hope these answers are to your satisfaction. Take care, dear friend...