A nagging question continues to lie in the recesses of my mind and bug me: Why don’t I hear or read Christian leaders talk about the single basic issue in all of life—”Why are we all here on the earth?”
Those of you who are regular attendees at my little weekly meetings at this blog know that the answer is unequivocally stated in Genesis 1:26-28, at the conclusion of the creation story:
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…”
If this is announced in the very first chapter of the Bible, which is our inviolate standard of faith and practice, why does this not form the foundation for all of our preaching and teaching? Should we not know “why”—our life’s purpose—before we can successfully live out its “what?”
God has told us clearly the “why” in the above Scripture: (1) To bear God’s image (be like him in all we do, say and think); (2) Rule over all the earth as His representatives (His body expressing the Head, Jesus Christ, who is right now ruling through us, according to His law, from God’s right hand in Heaven); (3) Reproduce (have children who are trained and educated to carry on our ruling mission). Why aren’t Christian leaders communicating this?
Those of you who are with me regularly know that what I have reviewed so far represents the core of my teaching, and I believe it with all my heart. I intended to make it the opening review for today’s blog posting on proposed constitutional changes for a Christian America. Since most other preachers don’t see it that way, does that mean I am right and they are wrong, or that I am smarter, more insightful, more mature, or more favored by God in some way?
Three very recent events underscored again for me the obvious answer to that question (and completely torpedoed the nature of this posting I have begun to write!). The answer is, “No, Andrews, but it does demonstrate that you are an incorrigible, arrogant, know-it-all to even entertain such ideas!” God used three very close friends to show me, again, my addiction to the performance fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil by using three issues on which we did not fully agree.
The first is the nature of the worship service when we meet together. My perspective, as I have related clearly previously, is that church is (1.) participation rather than observation for the attendees (1 Corinthians 14:26), and (2.) walking fully in transparency, or “in the light” together (James 5:16; 1 John 1:5-10).
My friend on the other hand, is seriously exploring Anglican church liturgy as a vital component of the church service. I initially disagreed as nothing seemed as inconsistent with my church model as that. However, after our conversation and some reflection, I began to realize that the choice is not limited to “either-or” but can be “both-and.” It may be possible to incorporate a liturgical element in what I see as the biblical model for church. It would be very beneficial to always have solid, tried-and-true gospel teaching available liturgically every Sunday, particularly until the Lord supplies mature prophets and teachers for that particular church.
Second, another friend asked a question about a specific verse, Jesus’ statement to Pontius Pilate in John 18:36—”My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
Notice Jesus said His kingdom is not “of” or “from” this world system—He did not derive His power and authority from it. His authority came completely from His Father, who gave it to Him later at His ascension (Daniel 7:13, 14). He, in turn, then delegated it to us, His church (vs. 27). We are again commissioned to rule over the earth! This is the answer for my friend, who is an eager, open-to-learn, warrior.
Finally, my third friend is working on reconciling transgender issues with biblical truth because of very real, and what seems to him to be, very unfortunate circumstances. He and I don’t currently agree on his considered solution and are both “prisoners” of our present beliefs. I recognize this fact clearly, and know that I want to hold my beliefs in an open hand because I could be wrong, although I can’t see that now. I am helpless to change if I wanted to. He is too, and we remain best of friends, talking about these theological issues constantly and knowing we are each on the path God has tailor-made for us, and it is never exactly the same!
So, I have three friends and three disagreements: On the first, I modified my position; on the second, my position was strengthened; on the third, I remain unchanged, but I am reminded to always be open to seeing God’s law in His word in a new light, as I attempt to walk in constant remembrance of my abiding arrogance.
After this little side-trip into my personal life and struggles, next week we will return to our vision of a constitution for a Christian America
Thank you Robert for your response to disagreement #2 🙂
It seems to me that you have side-stepped the plain meaning of Jesus declaration to Pilate. If Jesus’ kingdom were of this world he would have physically and politically overthrown Pilate and Roman tyranny, with the power of a myriad of angels, as he declared. Many times in the gospel we hear the Apostles and Followers expecting Jesus to overthrow the Romans. He keeps correcting them, for example when the mother of James and John ask Jesus if her boys can sit at his right and left hand when his kingdom comes. Or after his resurrection, the Apostles ask Jesus: “Now will you bring in the kingdom?” (I can’t find the exact quote just now) Or thirdly, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. If he was coming to overthrow Roman rule with a theocracy, he would have ridden in on a war horse. In ancient Middle East culture, and modern Arabic culture, the horse is a symbol of earthly and military power. His riding on a donkey was a HUGE declaration to the powers-that-be, that Jesus was not inaugurating an earthly kingdom, a theocracy.
I am eager for your thoughts 🙂 And you are SO refreshing to muse upon our great Kingdom of God 🙂
I’m off and frustrated that I don’t have time to read your blog post and so many other things that come into my inbox… But I’m glad I read this one!