You are hereAn Interview with Greg Boyd

An Interview with Greg Boyd

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By John - Posted on 28 March 2006

Our own Jared Coleman had the privilege to recently interview Greg Boyd, the author of The Myth of a Christian Nation : How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church. The book is published by Zondervan and will hit the market on May 1, 2006. This is a great interview, and is especially relevant to those of us who like to be involved in politics and the social aspects of our faith.Click here to read Jared's interview with Greg Boyd

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

Nice interview.

The book probably has some good, anti-statist points. And books like his may help people to begin to be less-idolatrous toward the State, or its federal auxiliary, the United State.

That's definitately helpful, and a place to start for many state-incorporated churchgoers.

Of course, I take a far harder line that Mr. Boyd, and will easily say that the State is anti-Christian cult which is built on a foundation of extortion, force, and bloodshed. But, books espousing stuff like that doesn't have much marketability in North America.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Virgil's picture

I agree with you in principle, but again, you are off base when you label the state as a "cult." That's a misnomer. Not to mention, what would you propose as a replacement for our current government structure?

chrisliv's picture

Well,

The principle, following Christ, and being led by the Holy Spirit is the point of what God's Kingdom is all about.

I think "cult" is a fair term for the State. That term isn't intrinsically negative. I mean. the Church is a "cult" too!

Every cult, or group, should be judged by its ideology and actions.

As I've stated before, I don't want to "replace" the State with some new hostile body that forces everybody to participate in the new system. That's what the English colonists did, they wrote up a terrorist/anarchist document (the Declaration of Independence) and began a violent revolution to throw off the yoke of their King and Sovereign, George III, their so-called "powers that be". And sure enough, when they killed enough red coats, the Central Power of the English Throne went away. And for a dozen, or so, years, those that rebelled against the 3 pence tax on a pound of tea fame (The Boston Tea Party) were at a great deal of liberty and had a cooperative compact on the East Coast, called the Articles of Confederation, for what that was worth.

Of course, the Merchants, Slaveholders, and other elites soon formed a new Central Power to import all of the Old World norms (Slavery, Maritime, Common Law, Corruption of Blood, Equity, Bankruptcy, Copyrights, Tarriffs, Patents, etc.) contained in the US Constitution, so they could exert power over other others and protect their particular interests through the new Federal government that was given a tract of land for its headquarters in the District of Columbia as it was formed around 1789.

Although I'm certainly not a fan of Reconstructionism, there's a recent Gary North article on lewrockwell.com that is especially good about how the US federal gov't came into being. It's entitled, The Most Successful Fraud in American History. I'll include the URL:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north445.html

Don't misunderstand, I'm not suggesting that the Loyalist were any better than the Rebels. They were probably even more idolatrous. But, if the proper interpretation of Romans 13 really is talking about obedience to the State, then the Loyalists were more biblical in their stance, and the Rebels, or even current US Citizens were/are deserving of Damnation, e.g., "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Romans 13:2 .

Of course, I don't think "the higher authorities" of Roman 13 refer to Caesar or the State. I think the higher authorities are Christ and His Body, in which the context of Romans 12 catalogs the various ecclesiastical offices. Of course, The Epsitle to the Romans had no original chapter divisions, so I don't think the State is "the Minister of God" of Romans 13:4. And, if Apostle Paul was really referring to the State and Caesar when he wrote, "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil..." then why did the State and Nero Caesar executed Apostle Paul by beheading? Was Paul an evildoer who deserved a State execution? Was Paul really giving bad advice to Christians and leading them to believe that the State would treat them nicely?

We know that the State executed and martyred Christians en masse for about 250 years, until the Church became a State-Corporation under Caesar Constantine around 312 AD.

There's no need for any "replacement" for your governmental structure, Virgil.

The Body of Christ is already Separate from The Body of the State.

As Christ tells us, at Luke 22:25 & 26:

"And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But it shall not be so among you..."

Those who are living in Darkness are free to come to the Light. But the mind of a slave is a terrible thing; it has trouble believing that life away from the Plantation is possible, or just figures that being sold-off to a slightly kinder master on a better Plantation is his only hope.

The State and the World System has Reason for Being, because there are so many idolators around the globe. So, it will be.

And our Lord Jesus teaches us that the World System does provide one valuable service to The Body of Christ, it give us a place or system to excommunicate certain of our members, until they repent and come to their senses once more.

Mat. 18:16 & 17:

"But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

So, Christians are not typical anarchists; they don't really need to abolish or destroy the State to liberate the mass populous from tyranny. But, Christians do offer a non-hostile alternative to the Kingdoms of the World to all those who believe and are ready to come out of Satan.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

[CLIV]
We know that the State executed and martyred Christians en masse for about 250 years, until the Church became a State-Corporation under Caesar Constantine around 312 AD.

[Parker]
The Church never became a "State Corporation." That's a grave misunderstanding you have glommed on to. Instead, the Church became legally accepted in the society and protected under Constantine so that persecution stopped.

Christians later had to rebuild and run the territories when pagan Rome entirely collapsed a couple hundred years later. Now, does such participation make the Church and State one and the same entity? If bunches of Christians play professional football, does that make the NFL the Church? If bunches of Christians participate in government, does that make government the Church. No. They are different spheres.

As to Luke 22:25, Christ is not teaching against the concept of authority. He is teaching the proper use of authority. Government is to be a servant to the people; it should not exist to subject the people to become slaves serving its whimsical pleasures. The Church's apostles and bishops had absolute authority over the flocks. Yet that authority was NOT given for the purpose of turning converts into slaves and servants in a physical sense as the Gentiles did.

Finally, there is no "World System." You are making the same mistake the Dispensationalists make. Dispys think that labor, and economics, and government, and education are inherently evil, satanic things--an evil world system. That's *not* what scripture means by "the world."

mazuur's picture

Excellent Parker. I agree.

I also disagree with his interpretation of Romans 13. The subject is definitely the State. But what Paul is addressing is the fact that God has created the institution of government. He did this because he is a God of order and law, and knows the nature of man. We need an authority to adhere to. With out one present man will tear himself apart. Remember Rodney King out in LA? When the riots started and the police were afraid to get out of their cars, fear of authority was removed. And the people went crazy.

That doesn't mean when an evil government takes power that God personally put in in power. Like I said God created the "institution". But we are still to obey (unless it contradicts God's law of righteousness) and respect the authority when an evil government does take over.

1 Peter 2:13-17

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king."

Rich

-Rich

chrisliv's picture

Well,

Rich and Parker, I know you are sincere in your beliefs. So am I.

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Mat. 4:17

I'm not surprised by your responses, they're typical of most every US state-incorporated churchgoer, and were undoubtedly espoused by preachers in Nazi Germany quite effectively.

Caesar Constantine "got religion" because he needed more bodies on the battlefield. Christianity was illegal at that time and the Church was Separate from the State, i.e., it was politically (and literally, in Rome) underground and no Christians participated in the Roman Empire's military. But, Constantine "had a dream" and offered the Clergy a Legalized-Incorporated status, so long as Christians began fighting on the battlefield for the State, since the Roman Empire was about to fall apart.

And so it was, that the Clergy accepted a position of Power alongside Caesar, and so-called Christians began killing State-declared enemies on the battlefield for a worldly Empire.

So, the "Church" was corrupted by allowing Caesar to mingle The Body of Christ with The Body of the State. And, generally speaking, nothing much has changed since that time, except that there has been more State-directed carnage in the 20th Century than there has been for the past 2000 years.

God never ordained the State, Man did.

"They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off." Hosea 8:4

Every hostile State claims that they were formed for the so-called "common good" of all, blah, blah, blah... That's why Christ refuted that common misconception about the World System, at Luke 22, by saying that the State "exercise's" lordship over them" , i.e., they weren't ordained by God, and that they are falsely "called" benefactors, as anyone could see all of the crucified bodies along The Appian Way. Christ then directed the Apostles to never allow His Kingdom to function in that same hostile manner. And, it goes without saying that Christians should not participate in those hostile systems of "the kings or princes of the Gentiles." (Luke 22:25, Mat. 20:25, etc.)

"And (Jesus) said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Mat. 18:3

I know that there are a few passages by Paul or Peter that seem to contradict the many teachings of our Lord regarding His Kingdom and an undivided allegiance to God.

I think everyone here will agree that idolatry with a State is possible. So, how much Idolatry is God comfortable with from His people? Or, where is that line where Idolatry begins? And how close to that line do you want to be? Or, is blind obedience and mindless full-participation in the State actually obedience and a duty to God, as some suggest?

Will anyone here, besides me, say that the Secret Ballot is a sneaky theft of other people's funds/property without their consent, and a form of Extortion using hostile, commissioned agents of the State? Or, how many know that the Church of England maintained the whole island of Barbados as its own Slave-Plantation?

I mean, when it comes to Idolatry, if there is aome debate about the matter, I'd rather err on the side of caution, not Statism.

Earlier in this thread I gave a URL to a recent politically Rightist article entitled, "The Most Successful Fraud In America" (http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north445.html) that shows that some are no longer as hypnotized as they once were by the State and its Creation by Man. And, interestingly, another recent article from the Left gives much the same conclusion, which seems to indicate that Statists on the Right and the Left are begining to come out of their Statist fog.

So, State-incorporated, 501 (c) 3 churchgoers may be the last ones to give up Statism. Very sad, indeed.

I'll include a URL and an exerpt to the Howard Zinn artilce below.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

-------------------------------------
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=72&ItemID=9987

"...A careful reading of history might give us another safeguard against being deceived. It would make clear that there has always been, and is today, a profound conflict of interest between the government and the people of the United States. This thought startles most people, because it goes against everything we have been taught.

We have been led to believe that, from the beginning, as our Founding Fathers put it in the Preamble to the Constitution, it was "we the people" who established the new government after the Revolution. When the eminent historian Charles Beard suggested, a hundred years ago, that the Constitution represented not the working people, not the slaves, but the slaveholders, the merchants, the bondholders, he became the object of an indignant editorial in The New York Times..."

"...If we as citizens start out with an understanding that these people up there--the President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, all those institutions pretending to be "checks and balances"--do not have our interests at heart, we are on a course towards the truth. Not to know that is to make us helpless before determined liars.

"The deeply ingrained belief--no, not from birth but from the educational system and from our culture in general--that the United States is an especially virtuous nation makes us especially vulnerable to government deception. It starts early, in the first grade, when we are compelled to "pledge allegiance" (before we even know what that means), forced to proclaim that we are a nation with "liberty and justice for all."

"And then come the countless ceremonies, whether at the ballpark or elsewhere, where we are expected to stand and bow our heads during the singing of the "Star-Spangled Banner," announcing that we are "the land of the free and the home of the brave." There is also the unofficial national anthem "God Bless America," and you are looked on with suspicion if you ask why we would expect God to single out this one nation--just 5 percent of the world's population--for his or her blessing. If your starting point for evaluating the world around you is the firm belief that this nation is somehow endowed by Providence with unique qualities that make it morally superior to every other nation on Earth, then you are not likely to question the President when he says we are sending our troops here or there, or bombing this or that, in order to spread our values--democracy, liberty, and let's not forget free enterprise--to some God-forsaken (literally) place in the world. It becomes necessary then, if we are going to protect ourselves and our fellow citizens against policies that will be disastrous not only for other people but for Americans too, that we face some facts that disturb the idea of a uniquely virtuous nation.

"These facts are embarrassing, but must be faced if we are to be honest. We must face our long history of ethnic cleansing, in which millions of Indians were driven off their land by means of massacres and forced evacuations. And our long history, still not behind us, of slavery, segregation, and racism. We must face our record of imperial conquest, in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, our shameful wars against small countries a tenth our size: Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq. And the lingering memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not a history of which we can be proud.

"Our leaders have taken it for granted, and planted that belief in the minds of many people, that we are entitled, because of our moral superiority, to dominate the world. At the end of World War II, Henry Luce, with an arrogance appropriate to the owner of Time, Life, and Fortune, pronounced this "the American century," saying that victory in the war gave the United States the right "to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit..."

mazuur's picture

uh....yeah.

"They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off." Hosea 8:4"

That was a nice quote....right out of context.

Not going to waste any time trying to get through your glasses.

Blessings,
Rich

-Rich

chrisliv's picture

No,

The quote from Hosea 8 clearly shows that it is a biblical fact that God has not ordained some governments.

That is in perfect context with what we were talking about.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

mazuur's picture

No,

Hosea 8:1-4

"1 Put the trumpet to your lips!
An eagle is over the house of the LORD
because the people have broken my covenant
and rebelled against my law.

2 Israel cries out to me,
'O our God, we acknowledge you!'

3 But Israel has rejected what is good;
an enemy will pursue him.

4 They set up kings without my consent;
they choose princes without my approval.
With their silver and gold
they make idols for themselves
to their own destruction."

The context concerns Israel who was under the direct theocracy of God. It was God who choose the King (and every other office) to lead Israel personally. That was the relationship God had established with Israel.

It's clear from verse one that Israel had broken their covenant with God and rebelled against His laws. They did this by choosing their own king, which was them rebelling against God (verse 4). This was a no no because they were under the direct theocracy of God, and it was His prerogative to choose their earthly king.

So, what can we learn here. 1) Israel's ultimate King is God. 2) God had established a Civil Government lead by an earthly king, chosen by God personally to rule over Israel.

Today, our ultimate King is still God, nothing different there, yet today we are not under a direct theocracy with God choosing our civil government. Instead, as Paul explains in Romans 13, God has created the *institution* of government and allows man to choose his own civil leaders.

Now it's our responsibility to mankind and choose Godly leaders to lead us. I believe it's still us rebelling against God if we decided to vote for men who reject *God* and His *laws* (righteousness).

To use this verse to try to say that it supports clearly that "it is a biblical fact that God has not ordained some governments". It's completely out of context. It does show that any government that *Israel* tried to establish for *itself* would not be ordained by God, because that was God's right concerning Israel under the Old Covenant. It has nothing to do with society today under the New Covenant. Today, God has given that right to man. We get to choose our leaders.

Rich

-Rich

chrisliv's picture

Well, Rich,

I think you prove my point even more.

If the one God-ordained government (besides Christ's fully established Kingdom) in the Bible and history (Israel) became unapproved by God, how much more obvious is it that the governments of Men were never ordained by God?

Your statement below ends up nothing more than wishful thinking that makes the same error as the Israelite example you give:

"It's completely out of context. It does show that any government that *Israel* tried to establish for *itself* would not be ordained by God, because that was God's right concerning Israel under the Old Covenant. It has nothing to do with society today under the New Covenant. Today, God has given that right to man..."

So, I'll ask you the obvious questions:

When exactly did God suddenly ordain every State of Man?

Was it after Israel broke its Covenant with God?

Was it around the time Jesus began to preach that people should Repent, because the Kingdom of God was at hand (circa 33 AD).

Was it after 70 AD, with the complete destruction of Jerusalem that God supposedly wanted all Christians to begin to embrace pagan kings or the Roman State?

No, God never ordained any hostile, worldly States organized by a few clever Men.

Again, when it comes to Idolatry, how much does God appreciate?

It is within the nature of an idolator to not understand that they are committing idolatry. Rather, they believe they are zealous toward God or the gods. Like the Pharisees of Israel, idolators really believe that what they are doing is a service to God, even as they are handing over the Holy One of Israel to a hostile, foreign State, to be murdered by State execution.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

mazuur's picture

Holy Cow, do you even read my post, or did you read it through your glasses pouring everything you wanted to see in it into it?

I'm done.

Blessing,
Rich

-Rich

Parker's picture

Cliv,

Your history is horrible. You have no historical evidence to back your perspective on Constantine's interior states of mind. You are engaged in pure libel.

The Church was not corrupted. It continued right on as always and continued on in unbroken connection from the apostles even down to our time. The Catholic Church has been here since Jesus Christ walked the earth. Do you know of some other group that can claim such?

I'm not sure where you get this "idolotry of state" concept. The Jews had a state, and that wasn't idolotrous.

The offices of the State are indeed of God. The individuals holding those offices can however fail to uphold the responsibilities of the office. The person is corrupt, not the office. Jesus acknowledge this clearly at John 19:11 and at Mt. 23:2-3.

And about that article. That author must be completely off his rocker. If he thinks there is moral equivalency between our system of justice and that of the Islamic world or the Asian countries, he's completely insane. American exceptionalism is a reality not because we are inherently superior to any other country, but rather because OUR RELIGION is superior. Seeking to learn and apply the Christian faith to all aspect of country and culture is what made America prosper! Many of the countries of the world have our natural resources, but few share our faith. No one is claiming America always acted without hypocrisy. But relative to other countries, we have acted far more Christian, and we have reaped the rewards inherent to such fidelity. Our work ethic, our justice system, our free enterprise -- all these things emerged out of Christian ideas and principles. It's history, Cliv.

Finally, no one has ever said we are "entitled because of our moral superiority to dominate the world." Who fills your head with such unhistorical fantasies?

chrisliv's picture

Well,

Caesar Constantine "had a vision" that he should attempt to conquer his enemies by using Christ's moniker and banner on the battlefield.

Constantine legalized Christianity at that time with the Edict of Milan (313 AD). The Church became a State Corporation at that time and recieved a Tax Exempt status, so long as Christians killed enemies of Casar on the battlefield.

Thus, the "Roman" Catholic Church was born.

However embarrassing these facts are for you, Parker, they are easily verified in the historical record by anyone who is not affraid of reality.

I'll include a URL from a cursory web search, and include an exerpt of text that clearly shows the point of State-Incorporation.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

-----------------------------------------------

http://www.thenagain.info/WebChron/EastEurope/ConstantineConverts.html

"Constantine became the emperor of Rome in 306, and was the most powerful person in his part of the world. His conversion to Christianity had far reaching effects on the common practice of the religion and on all the factions of Christianity that are present today.

"His conversion happened during a war against his brother-in-law and co-emperor, Maxentius. According to the historian Eusebius (see Eusebius Pamphilus ), bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, before the crucial battle of Milvian Bridge, Constantine was convinced that he needed divine assistance. While he was praying for such assistance, God sent him a vision of a cross of light at midday, bearing the inscription "in hoc signo vinces " ("in this sign you will be victorious"). That night he had a dream that reaffirmed his earlier vision. God told him to use the sign he had been given as a safeguard in all of his battles. Thus, Constantine converted to Christianity and ordered the symbol of his Savior's name (the intersection of the Greek letter chi and rho) to represent his army. Constantine was victorious in the battle of the Milvian Bridge, and he continued to wear the symbol for Christ against every hostile power he faced.

"Some argue as to whether or not Constantine's conversion experience was authentic. Some hypothesize that the "vision" Constantine saw was nothing more than a form of the rare natural event called the "halo phenomenon." This is caused by the sun reflecting off of ice crystals instead of rain in a rainbow. However, most historians accept Constantine's statement since he gave the testimony on oath. Also, Constantine showed sound judgment many times over in other situations. Further, Constantine did not recount this vision to Eusebius until long after that battle had been won and he was in power. Thus, he was not using the story as a tool to gain acceptance. There is no way to "prove" the event, of course, but what is important is that Constantine believed it to be true.

"His conversion helped Christianity in many ways. Followers were safe from persecution, and Christian leaders were given many gifts by the Emperor. Constantine's adherence to Christianity ensured exposure of all his subjects to the religion, and he had no small domain. He also made Sunday an official Roman holiday so that more people could attend church, and made churches tax-exempt. However, many of the same things that helped Christianity spread subtracted from its personal significance and promoted corruption and hypocrisy. Many people were attracted to the Church because of the money and favored positions available to them from Constantine rather than from piety. The growth of the Church and its new-found public aspect prompted the building of specialized places of worship where leaders were architecturally separated from the common attendees, which stood in sharp contrast to the earlier house churches which were small and informal.

"Constantine believed that the Church and the State should be as close as possible. From 312-320 Constantine was tolerant of paganism, keeping pagan gods on coins and retaining his pagan high priest title "Pontifex Maximus" in order to maintain popularity with his subjects, possibly indicating that he never understood the theology of Christianity. From 320-330 he began to attack paganism through the government but in many cases persuaded people to follow the laws by combining pagan worship with Christianity. He made December 25th, the birthday of the pagan Unconquered Sun god, the official holiday it is now--the birthday of Jesus. It is likely that he also instituted celebrating Easter and Lent based on pagan holidays. From 330-337 Constantine stepped up his destruction of paganism, and during this time his mother, Helen, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and began excavations to recover artifacts in the city. This popularized the tradition of pilgrimages in Christianity.

"Whether or not his conversion was "genuine," Constantine's reign was extremely important to the Christian church. After his vision, he immediately declared Christianity legal in the Edict of Milan. He completely abandoned paganism and put his full force of favor towards advancing the cause of the Church of Christ. He provided Christianizing legislation on such matters as the observance of Sunday, the confiscation of the temple treasures, and the exemption of some clergy from taxes. He funded Christian leaders and the construction of churches, some of which he dedicated to his mother. Most Christian leaders greatly admired Constantine for the works he did for the church and Christian cause.

"While Constantine's idea of an integrated Church and State, (now called Constantinism), began having sway in the empire upon his conversion, it became significantly stronger through several events. In 316, a sect of Christians called the Donatists asked Constantine as emperor to settle a dispute they were having with the church in North Africa over the personhood of Christ. (Ironically, this was resolved by Constantine favoring the N. African church.) This was the first time that a political leader had power in the religious sphere. In 324, Constantine defeated his co-emperor in the west, Licinius, leaving Constantine dominion over the east and the west to uproot paganism where tolerant Licinus had not. He also called together and presided over the Council of Nicaea that 300 bishops attended, which again dealt with the Arian controversy about the nature of the divinity of Jesus. The Council issued an official statement of creed affirming Jesus' complete divinity, and the decision was enforced politically by Constantine. the dispute over the personhood of Christ. They drafted the Creed of Nicaea, the predecessor to the Nicene Creed, a proclamation of faith still used by many Christian denominations today."

Parker's picture

The RCC was not "born" at 313. It was founded by actual apostles 250+ years prior and exists in your bible (Church of Rome). That Church has unbroken historical continuation from the time of the apostles until today, and this is not a debatable issue. It is pure historic fact and requires no faith to accept. We have all the history to back it.

CLIV:
According to the historian Eusebius (see Eusebius Pamphilus ), bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, before the crucial battle of Milvian Bridge, Constantine was convinced that he needed divine assistance. While he was praying for such assistance, God sent him a vision of a cross of light at midday, bearing the inscription "in hoc signo vinces " ("in this sign you will be victorious"). That night he had a dream that reaffirmed his earlier vision. God told him to use the sign he had been given as a safeguard in all of his battles. Thus, Constantine converted to Christianity and ordered the symbol of his Savior's name (the intersection of the Greek letter chi and rho) to represent his army. Constantine was victorious in the battle of the Milvian Bridge, and he continued to wear the symbol for Christ against every hostile power he faced.

Parker:
This was a miracle and a conversion that history sided with. The victory was as the vision promised, and such was celebrated by the then persecuted Catholic Church. You may try to explain away the vision through positing natural phenomena, but the fact is that history sided with Constantine as the vision had predicted. This is the same issue detractors of Joan of Arc face. Her visions were backed by major, objective historic events--and that's key.

In 324 Constantine defeated Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis, and he became sole ruler of the Roman empire. Now his ardor for Christianity new no bounds. In fact he was so disgusted by the paganism of Rome that he moved the capital of the empire to Byzantium, finishing it in 330, and renaming it Constantinople. He forbade pagan sacrifices and he decreed that there were to be no idolatrous worship and no pagan festivals of any kind. It is also an anachronism that during the time of Constantine, that the "Church became the Roman Catholic Church," or that "Catholicism was made the state religion by Constantine in the 4th Century." Actually it was Theodosius I who decreed that Christianity was the official religion of the empire in 379. It is true that Theodosius made "Catholicism" the state religion, if by "Catholicism" one means true Christians over against heretics.

Next, it is not true that the first Christians never observed the birth of Christ until the time of Constantine. There is evidence of the feast being celebrated in Egypt prior to 200 A.D. The Church father Clement of Alexandria tells us that certain theologians had claimed to have determined not only the year of the Lord's birth but also the day; that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus and on the 25th day of Pachon (May 20) (Stromata, I, 21). He also added that others said that he was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi (April 19 or 20). Another piece of evidence is De Paschae Computus of 243, which states that Christ was born on March 28, because, it says, this was the day that the sun was created. Clement also tells us that other Christians were in the custom of celebrating the Baptism of Christ (his Epiphany) on the 15th day of Tubi and others on the 11th of the same month (Jan. 10 or 6). This is significant because it became customary in many places for Christians to celebrate both Christ's epiphany and his birth at the same – a practice of the Armenian Church to this day.

chrisliv's picture

Well, Parker,

I'll agree that Christians and The Church have continued, in a sense unbroken for nearly 2000 years. But, Christ and the Apostles certainly were not Romans Catholics who had a habit of kissing the ring of a non-existent Pope.

I mean, the arguement that you make could also be made for the Eastern Orthodox Church, that it is the "Original, True, and Unbroken Church, Divinely handed-down."

Not that it matters much, but Constantine put the Christian symbol on the battlefield to see if it brought him luck, first. And when it seemed to, that's when he "got religion" and legalized Christianity.

Also, Constantine, apart from being a mass-murderer on the historical stage, refused to be baptized, until his deathbed.

Constantine the Great was a very savvy politician and Emperor.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Peter was the first pope (Mt 16:18-19/Isa 22:20-24). And there has not ceased to be a successor to Peter for 20 centuries:

LIST OF POPES
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

And yes, the argument I make IS true for the Eastern Orthodox (Eastern Catholics). We share the same unbroken Episcopate and theology, sacraments, etc.

Just some food for thought.

chrisliv's picture

Well,

The Bible knows nothing of any Popes, much less Peter being the first.

In my opinion, if there was any "Church" still in existence today that really had an unbroken tradition that traces back to the early Church around Asia Minor it would be The Coptic Church of N. Africa. Of course, that doesn't mean The Coptic Church is worth following today.

As a Roman Catholic, Parker, it is understandable why you would want to defend Caesar Constantine, and how the Clergy at that time Incorporated under the Roman State.

But, try to be objective for a moment, and think about how perverse it was that Constantine "had a vision" to more effectively commit mass-murder by pasting the logo that signified the name of Christ on the shields of, initially, the pagan warriors of the Roman Empire as they went out to kill other pagan legions.

When you think about it further, you may realize that that was about the time Islam began, and the historic birthplace of the Church (Asia Minor) was lost so quickly to that new Faith and Religion, all the while the newly State-incorporated Church became more and more corrupt, while participating in the shedding of blood alongside of the various Caesars'.

The sadistic nature of the Roman Catholic Church became so bad that the pagans that were tortured by it made the same appeal to the Right of Conscience that the early Christians had made when being martyred by the Roman State, before the Clergy incorporated under Constantine in 313 AD.

Of course, those are nasty little historical secrets to Roman Catholics. We could bring up the murderous campaign by the Popes, known as the Crusades. But, that was just more sport-killing under the guise of service to God. Or, how about the Inquisitions? Or, how about the murderous 30 Years War campaign with Protestants?

But, maybe those days are over for the Roman Catholic Church. I mean, I believe the last person it executed for heresy was in 1828.

In any event, for you to say, "We share the same unbroken Episcopate and theology, sacraments, etc." as the Eastern Orthodox, is something I'm sure they don't brag about.

These are all old chesnuts that I'm sure neither of us will convince the other to change their perspective. But, it's nice to dust-off these old chestnuts, once in a while.

Maybe we'll see more Preterist articles that will stimulate discussion that we can find more in common with.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

mazuur's picture

Parker,

"It continued right on as always and continued on in unbroken connection from the apostles even down to our time. The Catholic Church has been here since Jesus Christ walked the earth. Do you know of some other group that can claim such?"

Here is where you have completely lost it. However I am not going to debate this with you as it has been debated for a very long time now. If you refuse to open your eyes, then that is your decision.

Rich

-Rich

Parker's picture

Rich,

I'm stating a 100% fact. It's plain history and requires no faith to accept. The Catholic Church is the only historic church that was around 2000 years ago when the Church was created. It's not a debatable issue. Look it up in an encyclopedia if you are unaware of this.

Best,
BJ

mazuur's picture

Parker,

Blessings.

Rich

-Rich

Parker's picture

Christ's blessings to you too, Rich.

Virgil's picture

Great interview Jared...and congratulations...again! I will now have to grab a copy of his book and read it in detail. I just looked at Greg's biography:

http://www.gregboyd.org/images/boyd_vita.pdf (PDF).

I would be curious to see what he thinks of Libertarian philosophy..too bad we don't all know the right people that can put us in touch with him and shoot the breeze about these issues. :)

flannery0's picture

Virgil,

I am finding this exciting! As I mentioned on another forum, Greg Boyd speaks at our church (a church of approximately 8,000 here in Troy, MI...I guess you could say it is "high profile") occasionally. He has the ear of our pastors, big time. Our resource center carries his books, and he is quoted all the time in messages by our teaching pastors.

I am especially intrigued by this statement he makes about his upcoming book:

"I'm working on a massive project for InterVarsity Press called The Myth of the Blueprint which attempts to explain how the Church's theology became deterministic in the first five centuries of Church history."

I just have a feeling that the time is at hand for the subtle winds of change to gather into one explosive storm.

I am keeping my eyes and ears open...if and when our church decides to host an eschatology forum or conference, they are going to get some input from me regarding guest speakers. :)

Tami

Ed's picture

Tami,
Just curious, is your church in Troy Kensington Community?

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

flannery0's picture

indeed it is!

Ed's picture

My niece worked (or maybe still works) for the business that supplied all chairs and equipment for you guys way back in the day. I believe that she is now attending Kensington.

Her name is Susan Howard, and her husband's name is Sydney Tyrone-Howard (keyboardist and member of the Detroit Christian band called Jubal).

Do you know them?

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

flannery0's picture

Ed, I don't recognize the names, could very well know them by face, as we have been there for 9 years. Especially if his band has played at Kensington. (It's kind of a big church) Plus we have a north campus now so that is where I attend; I rarely get over to the main campus anymore.

You should visit a service if you are ever down this way....you are in Traverse City, correct? It would be an interesting experience for you, I'm sure.

Tami

Ed's picture

Oh, I'm quite familiar with the Kensington style. But for sure, if I was down that way...I'll let you know if it ever happens so we can plan to meet.

Drawback: our old church is down in the Canton area (we lived in Ypsilanti for 7 years before moving up here). They kind of expect us to visit when we are around, ya know?

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

JeffE's picture

Is Dr. Boyd a preterist now? I met him here in Minnesota and he told me "Revelation is not a future book."

flannery0's picture

Hey, Jeff.

I have no idea what his eschatological views are. I didn't ask since it was not germane to the topic of the book. That's cool that you met him, though!

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Jeff,

I read his main book on open theism a few years ago. It was an interesting read. I do remember him making a brief comment acknowledging preterism as one option regarding a text that he was discussing. It did seem like he was very open to the idea and that was probably 4 years ago when I read the book. It wouldn't surprise me if he was a preterist of some kind.

I got the distinct impression after reading all of his biblical arguments for open theism that Boyd does not really understand the hermeneutic approach which underlies preterism - at least as it has been explained by people like Milton Terry, Gary DeMar, and Don Preston, etc.

The basic arguments for open theism boil down to accepting the language the Bible uses in reference to God at plain, face value. So, when the Bible uses human-like language in terms of God's decisions and actions (i.e. repenting, changing mind, or testing to find out, etc), it proves God's knowledge is limited. Boyd's principle argument is that the Bible teaches (because of a plain, face value reading of this language) that God's knowledge is limited in some way just as human knowledge has limits.

My problem with this argumentation is that it appears to me to be a function of dispy-literalism. I do not believe the open theism viewpoint leaves room for poetic/anthropological language in the Bible, for if it did, then then language of the Bible applied to God could not prove what the open theist claims about God.

My own personal take is that those texts do communicate God's personality and covenant actions to us in a way we can understand as humans, but does not define the nature and being of God. The language is poetic/anthropological, for we have other texts which draw a clear distinction between man and God. Those texts reinforce the Creator/creature distinction at the heart of biblical monotheism. I was disappointed with how Boyd's book handled those texts.

I reject open theism because of my preterist understanding of biblical genre and language. Biblical language (particularly Hebrew) is flexible and more metaphorical than open theism allows. Like so many other issues dispensational literalism at the heart of open theism just doesn't work.

The real issue at the bottom of open theism (and virtually every other theological paradigm) is hermeneutics.

Blessings,

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

P.S. I am in general agreement with his views of the relationship between contemporary Christians and Republican politics. It is idolatry - I believe he nailed that one, whether or not I agree with his open theism.

Parker's picture

[BOYD:]
They are often frustrated by the arbitrary and self-serving moralistic politicizing of "the right wing." They see how this is undermining the advance of the kingdom in America.

[PARKER:]
Is Mr. Boyd really this naive? Has he never noted that when Christianity is leveraged in support of Marxism/the Democratic Party it is hailed as "genius" and "enlightened" by the press? Has Mr. Boyd never noted that the Left Wing famously marches out Reverands Jackson and Sharpton and others in support of all manner of "justice" issues? C'mon. The Democratic Party LOVES moralizing, and they love it any time Christianity appears to back their agendas. The mainstream media adore the Roman Catholic Church when it comes to its general opposition to the death penalty, but they HATE and deride it when it comes to the Church's position on abortion, marriage, and homosexuality.

[BOYD]
These folks tend to leap for joy at the message of my book The Myth of a Christian Nation. Many have told me this book - or the sermon series that lead up to it -- articulates and demonstrates an intuition they've had for a long time.

[PARKER]
Intuition must be backed by the facts. Gary DeMar should debate Mr. Boyd and do it repeatedly. America is as much a Christian nation as Israel is a Jewish Nation as Iran is an Islamic nation as Italy and Poland are Catholic nations. Anyone that says otherwise has cut himself off from history and evidentiary investigation.

Ozark's picture

Hi Parker,

I think you may be taking this a bit out of context. Note the context of Mr. Boyd’s statement.

“They understand that humbly serving sinners is more important for the kingdom than passing laws against them. They are often frustrated by the arbitrary and self-serving moralistic politicizing of ‘the right wing.’ They see how this is undermining the advance of the kingdom in America.”

Perhaps the question is whether the religious right is treating sinners like Jesus treated sinners. I agree that the presence of the kingdom of God will effect the laws of the land. Yet, if our goal is solely to be the ones in charge rather than the unbelieving (us verses them), have we missed something? Sinners flocked to Jesus. They would do stuff like climb up in a tree just to see Him. If they don’t have the same attitude towards the church, perhaps we need to ask why.

It is possible we need to redefine what it means to be a Christian nation. Is it just having “In God we trust” on our coins or the ten commandments posted in our courtrooms? Boyd seems to indicate it is far more important that a nation behave like Christ. I think he is right.

Parker's picture

Hi Doug. Hope all's well with you. I'll add my comments beneath yours.

[ozark]
I think you may be taking this a bit out of context. Note the context of Mr. Boyd’s statement. ... Perhaps the question is whether the religious right is treating sinners like Jesus treated sinners.

[parker]
Both the religious Right and the irreligious Left are dealing in matters of government and law, not church ministry. Boyd misses this distinction entirely, and he seems to question whether a religious person has any business creating and enforcing laws and participating in government. Scripture has much to say about making sure a nation's codes reflect actual justice and righteousness as revealed by God through scripture and the natural law.

[ozark]
I agree that the presence of the kingdom of God will effect the laws of the land.

[parker]
We're on the same page. But is Mr. Boyd? It doesn't look like it.

[ozark]
Yet, if our goal is solely to be the ones in charge rather than the unbelieving (us verses them), have we missed something?

[parker]
Again, we're dealing in matters of law and government here, not Church ministry. In matters of law and government, there are good laws and there are bad laws--and Christians have as much right to create and enforce laws as do pagans. Why should we wish for pagans to govern us and our children? It will do the world no good for Christians to abandon the sphere of government--and for sure, such abandonment would take us back to constant persecution (firing squads, lion's mouths, etc.).

[ozark]
Sinners flocked to Jesus. They would do stuff like climb up in a tree just to see Him. If they don’t have the same attitude towards the church, perhaps we need to ask why.

[parker]
*Some* sinners flocked to Jesus; but many more hated him and considered both Christ and his christian movement to be nutty or even dangerous. It's the same today. Some flock to Jesus, others mock and deride. So long as our good deeds match our words, we're in good shape and shouldn't care one whit what our enemies say. We must pray for them, but we are not obligated to surrender our lives and our children to be abused under their tyranny.

[ozark]
It is possible we need to redefine what it means to be a Christian nation. Is it just having “In God we trust” on our coins or the ten commandments posted in our courtrooms?

[parker]
From a national and historical perspective, being a "Christian nation" meant creating a constitutional republic, devising the most fair justice system in the world, allowing all people groups to partake in freedom, and creating free enterprise--and none of these things would have existed without direct Christian involvement in matters of law and governance. Furthermore, flags, mottos, religious inscriptions, coinage etc. are the visible emblems and symbols of the institutions and beliefs upon which our great nation rests. To attack them is to attack the things for which they stand. Think about it...if emblems are without meaning, significance, or import, then why do atheists and anti-Americans spend immense energy and money to have them erased? And why do our Christian symbols receive so much invective from atheists? It is because they are powerful transmitters of values, ideals, and beliefs. When atheists pull them down, they set up pagan ones in their place.

[ozark]
Boyd seems to indicate it is far more important that a nation behave like Christ. I think he is right.

[parker]
This is not an either/or situation. It is a both/and situation. We can both teach Christ and act like Christ. We can both worship in our congregations and serve in government. And again, government is not the same thing as Church ministry. They are different spheres, yet they may vitally reinforce each other for the common good of all.

Ozark's picture

Let me try to give you an example of what I am talking about. A while back I went to hear a well known preacher. He has very large congregation and is very well known in a certain denomination. To motivate people he used three tactics.

Fear (not fear of God, but fear of man): If you don’t stand against certain people they are going to do all sorts of terrible things to you. They are going to take away your rights.

Hatred: These sinners are an abomination to God.

Guilt: He actually said he got up at 3:30 AM every morning to pray. The implication was that we needed to be more like him.

He left the community more deeply divided than it had been in years.

I am part of what some might call the “right wing.” I’ll bet if looked at your voting record and mine, they would probably be very similar. However, I wonder what would have happened if this visiting preacher came with the message that we Christians are required to love our enemies. What if he spoke of the love of Christ for even the worst sinners. What would have been the result? It probably would be similar to Boyd’s experience. There would be a certain group of Christians who would hate him. The attendance at his church might even go down as well as the offering, but sinners would probably come into the kingdom, and that community would be more at peace.

Now, as for sinners’ response to Jesus, the sinners that were considered the worst in Jesus’ day were the prostitutes and the tax collectors. I don’t recall a single incident when a tax collector or prostitute rose up against Jesus. It may have happened, but the scriptures do not stress it. What the scriptures do stress is the compassion Jesus had for such folks and how many were drawn to Him because He treated the outcasts differently than many of the religious folks of the day. It wasn’t just the sinners He treated differently. It was also the infirm, the gentiles, and even women. My question is why is this Jesus so absent from much of the preaching today?

Parker's picture

Hi Ozark.

My point was that Christian involvement in government, business, education, and other such endeavors is justifiable, and perhaps even required by God. Yet people like Mr. Boyd seem to deny this, perhaps due to an inability to make the distinction between those things and Church ministries. I cannot follow his logic, if there is any. The path of disengagement in matters of government, business, and culture is the path of reckless irresponsibility and, ultimately, of self-destruction for Christianity. I just don't see that he's thought deeply about this topic.

Your post seems to address a different matter, I think. You're saying that there is a common message out there that is oft repeated by evangelicals yet really harmful to the cause of Christ. I agree, but I don't see how this relates to Mr. Boyd's rejection of the Christian Right's involvement in government.

You make great points about what might be a more constructive message and emphasis from the evangelical community, and you ask a good question: "why is this Jesus so absent from much of the preaching today?" Let me suggest one possible and practical answer: Perhaps it's because evangelicals rarely preach the four gospels. Someone once told me that evangelicals preach Paul's letters something like 85% of the time. Paul's letters give vital dogma and truth, but the accounts of Jesus found in the gospels show that dogma *in action in real life situations with others.* That context is important for the message. In other words, it helps to understand Paul's teachings by locating them in some event in the life of Jesus in the gospels. For whatever reason, the four gospels have always been central to all Catholic preaching. Every single Mass every Sunday in every parish in the world has the four gospels as the central text. The other scripture readings are used as support, to set the stage for what Jesus will do and say in the gospel reading.

To close out here, Jesus constantly met resistance and unbelief in the towns to which he was sent. And even on the Cross he was mocked by mobs and ridiculed by one of two thieves. In keeping with his teaching, he prayed for their salvation. But rejection is to be expected no matter what and cannot be avoided. That's why the apostles were told "shake the dust off your feet" -- they were to move on when rejected. If the fish aren't biting in one area of the lake, pick up and head to another area.

DavidF's picture

Greg Boyd has overlooked “not a few” crucial Preterist realities about the civil/political intentions of the saints.

I would like to start with something Rich wrote in the comments here:

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men”. This verse was concerned about non-Christian authorities in the 1st Century, however, the Scriptures plainly show that the Lord’s sake changed on one glorious day in A.D. 70 and the only state authority “instituted among men” since that time is The Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ, and His government.

The following passages show the Lord’s purposes post A.D. 70 and only He knows how many millenniums He will use to carry these things out, nonetheless we can see that His revealed will is being done on earth as it is in heaven, as well as His secret will.

“to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called… Mighty God… Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end… establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” Isa. 9:6-7

“there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed… the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.” Dan. 7:13-28

The ancient Greeks are well known for their democratic city states and the form of civil government they used was called the ecclesia. It is a word for a political assembly of all the citizens of the city, called together to take care of civil business, exactly like town hall meetings are conducted across the USA today. Acts 19:23-41 uses the word 3 times to describe the civil ecclesia in Ephesus, and this shows us in part that ecclesia did not carry a religious usage at that time.

Why did Jesus Christ use this word to describe the institution He would develop? MT 16 is the passage where He said He would build His “ecclesia” (see the Greek in MT 16:18), and remember, in A.D. 30 the word was strictly used to denote a form of civil government in Greek cities. It was not a religious institution.

If Christ wanted to signify that He was building a “religious” establishment He could have used words that described Greek religious assemblies, like thiasos, eranos, koinon, synodos, or even kuriakos (where the word “church“ comes from) but He did not use these examples. He used a well known political/civil term - ecclesia - to explain His government organization.

Kingdoms have forms of government which enable them to function effectively. The kingdom is not the government. The kingdom is the area over which a king has authority to adjudicate. The government on the other hand is the body of office holders within that kingdom/area who carry out the day to day functions of oversight in the king’s interest, for the king’s sake. For example, modern day England is a kingdom, the area over which the king (or queen in this case) has authority to adjudicate. However, the government in England is a form called parliament.

Ancient Greece was a kingdom, but the form of government in that kingdom was called an ecclesia. Jesus Christ has a kingdom, an area over which He has authority to adjudicate ("All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matt. 28:18) and He chose the Greek ecclesia form of civil government to shape His organization, to carry out the day to day government functions within His kingdom.

So then, a state or civil form of government is the character He purposed for His institution, and that same character is what He will progressively accomplish in His saints as time moves on.

"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you [A.D. 70] and given to a nation who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." Matt. 21:43-44

"Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” Dan. 7:27

Hope this helps to simplify why the saints will continue to focus on the political.

DavidF :)

mazuur's picture

David,

WOW. I never thought it all the way through like that before. That was excellent! Thanks a million. Now I have to spend the next few days thinking about it all and letting it sink in completely.

Bless you,
Rich

-Rich

DavidF's picture

Rich: Thanks to the Almighty if you gained anything from this, but to be sure, it is not popular to take these thoughts and run with them.

My views are not pro-democracy. Democracy is a Greek word signifying “demos = man” and “kratia = has the power”, or better said, ultimate controlling power is in man. Theocracy indicates that ultimate power is in God. Theos could execute a pure theocracy where His law would be enforced with instantaneous direct punishment for any violation, however, all humanity would then instantaneously cease to exist on the earth.

On the contrary, Scriptures show that Theos has always tried to share His government/control of the earth with man, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule…over all the earth…” Gen. 1:26, and Israel as a nation was selected share and carry His dominion over earth but regrettably, man in and of himself is incapable of being in reliable control of anything, and is proved helpless to Theos. Nonetheless, this illustrates a revealed historical pattern for what must be viewed as Theocratic democracy, not democracy, not theocracy, not separate, but in unison control.

Logic would then ask, what can be done for this wholly inadequate beast called “man”? What can be done with this Spiritually dead, living thing that cannot govern with an undivided interest in God’s law? “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah… I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts… I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Jer. 31:31-38

And what better way to permeate your citizens with your very own will, attitude, and laws than to immerse them in your very own essence. “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Rev. 21:3. Therefore, the New Covenant government of Theos is an indissoluble participation of Theos with man, a Theocratic democracy, to fulfill His earliest mandate “let them rule…over all the earth…”

And because all of this is established in the Theos-man Jesus Christ, the government God has instituted will never proliferate with the mind-set of Muslims, Judaists, US citizens or anyone outside of Christ. It will always be a Christian Theocratic democracy and He will only bring effective government through the influence of the men He dwells with, the Christians. As it is written, “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”

Thank Jesus Christ,
DavidF :-)

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Thanks,

All I can say is thanks.

Your previous post stood out on this thread. I forwarded it to a couple of friends who would appreciate your comments.

But this comment is really helpful. Amazing.

I sense many debates spring up naturally from our immersion in imbalanced thought forms. Our tendency is to divide and reduce things too much. Is it God or is it man? It is the organic whole that really counts.

God with us is the central Biblical emphasis. Those who attempt to make it an either/or situation can only be partially true.

Blessing,

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

DavidF's picture

Hi Tim Martin: Thanks to the Most High, and I appreciate your comments. Yes, the Christian’s “imbalanced thought forms” are a very big problem from our perspective. I know the war within, but thanks to God “with us“, everywhere we go in this globe we will still find expanding righteousness, joy and peace - everywhere. "In all things God works for the good of those who love him." Rom. 8:28

I am so happy He has not put the whole responsibility on us.

DavidF :-)

Paige's picture

" It will always be a Christian Theocratic democracy and He will only bring effective government through the influence of the men He dwells with, the Christians. As it is written, “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”"

How would you answer this question on our history? Was Christ effectively dwelling in the Puritans who hanged the Quaker woman, Mary Dyer, because she wouldn't stop preaching according to her conscience? Or was Christ effectively dwelling in Mary Dyer as she died by hanging for following her conscience? Or was Christ effectively dwelling in none of the above?

I really am trying to better understand your view.

Paige

DavidF's picture

Hi Paige: When you say “our history” I assume you are talking about the USA, or at a minimum the march of western, new-world men into the North American continent. However, not all who are in those two groups can be viewed as Christian. This is important because Jesus Christ does not choose to work through someone based on ideological, sectarian or racial background, but rather only because He indwells them.

Did Christ indwell Mary Dyer and/or her Puritan hangmen? “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Rom. 8:9. And even if Christ did live in them He knows that they will still err, hence the necessity to forget their sins as well as making sure His law is inscripted on their hearts. I do not know the full scope of Mary Dyer’s case; if it is simply as you have stated it, it looks like the Puritans were unjust.

Yet He carries His purpose forward through it all, and keep in mind, He has thus far worked patiently with us for two millenniums, despite our enormous misgivings. As far as Christian history is concerned, from heaven’s perspective it is pure as snow.

Still, God knows the injustice of men in society, even Christian men, and His will is to work in His earthly citizens to bring increasing justice and peace where we live, even if that means the death penalty for a Christian who murders, perhaps for people like Mary‘s hangmen. The believer is forgiven but he is not free to be unjust.

“He will reign… over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” Isa. 9:6-7

DavidF :-)
“You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you” Isa. 9:3

Paige's picture

Thank you for clarifying. In reading over your comments, I wasn't sure where you were coming from. I've talked to people in the past who hold up the puritan model as "perfection", and that if we could somehow get back to it, then things would be OK again in the world. That is why I used that as a backdrop for my question.

You know that historically, mankind has disagreed on how exactly the Bible should be interpreted. I could never agree to give governmental control over to representatives of one point of view, and then denying freedom of conscience to all the rest (the Taliban model, for example).

Paige

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