Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Christian Action Project (CAP) – Study 1 – Kingdom Of God - Introduction

(This is a Summary of the Chapter entitled “Kingdom of God”, from Gary North’s book “Unconditional Surrender”. It is actually entitled ‘Conclusion’ for the chapter, but it accomplishes the same thing. I find that having an overview, before we dive into the details, gives us a better perspective when we sort out the specifics in the chapter. We will begin that process in the next Study.
There is a lot of confusion among Christians on the subject of the ‘Kingdom of God’. What, when, who are some of the questions. Please read and absorb what the author is concluding in this summary. We will start in the next Study to dig through the details. Remember, the Bible is our standard for proof. When you see a scripture reference, be sure to check it out yourself.)

The kingdom of God is comprehensive. It involves the inner life of man, as well as the environment around man. Both social and natural environments are in view. There can be no zones of neutrality. No area of life can be segregated from the rest, and marked as a neutral zone between God's kingdom and Satan's kingdom. Every area of life is going to be part of one or the other kingdom. Therefore, Christians are called to serve as ambassadors of Christ and as subduers of the earth, throughout the earth. Did Christ exempt any area of the face of the earth from His gospel? Or did He tell His people to preach the gospel everywhere? We are commanded to disciple all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). But this inevitably means that all nations are under the requirements of the law, for they are all in need of Christ's redemption - His buying back from the curse of the law.

Is the law partial? Is the law anything but all-encompassing? Are men not totally in need of spiritual deliverance because of the comprehensive nature of the law's demands? The law is comprehensive, Christ's deliverance is comprehensive, and God's kingdom is comprehensive, in time and on earth. If this were not true, then men would not be required to repent, in time and on earth. If they fail to repent before they die, or before Christ returns in judgment, then they must become permanent salted sacrifices, burning on God's awful altar, forever (Mark 9:49). The comprehensive nature of God's punishment should testify to the comprehensive claims of God's law, and the comprehensive scope of God's kingdom, in time and on earth. To argue in any other way is to minimize the extent of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, to lessen its significance, and to lessen its cost to our Lord.

Any social movement which is serious about changing the shape of history must have at least two features. First, it must have a doctrine of the possibility of positive social change. If men don't believe that history can be changed through concerted effort, then they are unlikely to attempt to change very much. Second, it needs a unique doctrine of law. Men need to believe in their ability to understand this world, and by understanding its laws, change its features.  In other words ,they need a detailed program for social change.

There is another feature of a successful program of social reconstruction which is usually present, and which is undeniably powerful: the doctrine of predestination. The doctrine of historical inevitability strengthens the souls of those who are convinced that "their side" is going to win, and it weakens the resistance of their enemies. A good example in the Bible is the optimism of the Hebrews under Joshua, and the pessimism of the people of Jericho (Joshua 2:8-11).

Where have we seen a fusion of all three elements? Where have we seen simultaneously the doctrine of predestination, the doctrine of the possibility of positive social change, and the doctrine of law? In the 20th century, we have seen all three doctrines espoused by the three most powerful social and religious movements of our time: Marxian communism, modern science, and (in the final decades of the century) militant Islam. All three have a dynamic of history and believe that external affairs can be controlled by elites. All three have a doctrine of world conquest and evangelism.  All three, therefore, are religions, for they espouse distinct (and morally mandatory) ways of life.

The war is on. The two major participants recognize this war. Too many contemporary Christians have not seen it, or else they have misinterpreted its implications for themselves and the church. The war is between Jesus Christ and the more militant forms of anti-Christianity, especially those that proclaim their versions of all three doctrines.

All three doctrines need to be held for maximum leverage in this world of religious conflict. The doctrine of predestination can lead to social impotence if it is coupled with pessimism concerning the long-run triumph of the church, in time and on earth. Those who hold both the doctrine of predestination and an eschatology of earthly, historical defeat have a tendency to turn inward, both psychologically and ecclesiastically. They worry too much about the state of their souls and the state of the institutional church and not enough about the state of the kingdom of God in its broadest sense. Such a theology is guaranteed to produce defeat, and we should expect such theologies to remain backwater views of back water groups, as they are today and have been in the past.

The question is therefore not "predestination vs. no predestination." The question is: "Which predestination?" The question is: "Whose predestination?" God's? Modern science's? Islam's? Marxism’s?

The battle for world supremacy will be waged among the competing predestinarian worldviews. Everyone else is simply going along for the ride. Will it be the sovereignty of God or the sovereignty of man?

We must become optimists concerning the victory that lies before Christ's people, in time and on earth. We must be even more optimistic than Joshua and Caleb, for they were only asked to spy out the land of Canaan. They were called to give their report prior to Christ's sacrifice at Calvary. Why should we be pessimistic, like that first generation of former slaves? Why should we wander in the wilderness, generation after generation? Why should we despair? Why should we adopt the mentality of slaves, or the mentality of the beleaguered garrison in the last outpost? It is Satan's garrisons that are defending the outposts, and when Christians recognize their responsibilities for building the kingdom, and master the law of God as a tool of dominion, realize a vision of freedom through self-government and lead their fellow believers into battle in every area of life, Satan's troops will find themselves defending their last outpost. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against God's church