Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christianity and Civilization

“If Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilization, compared with his, is only a moment.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Given the most recent elections in the United States, great debate has occurred within and without the church walls as to the meaning and significance of the times. I have spent the last two weeks listening, thinking and reflecting on this issue and have a few ideas that I want to share.

Whatever your political views may be one truth cannot be denied: the election of 2008 was historic in nature. More money was spent, more people voted and the very first African American President was elected. For many people this was a sign of great change and opportunity. For others it was cause for concern and alarm.

One thing we must always keep in mind is that God is the controller of the eternal destiny of mankind and he is the controller of the governments of the world. Scripture teaches that no government exists except that God allows it to exist (Romans 13:1). Some have taken this to mean that God mandated President-elect Obama to office. I stop short of that interpretation because God allows man to make free choices and decisions. It does not necessarily mean that God approves of our choices. As individuals we make decisions that honor God and as societies we make decisions that dishonor God. But what is clear is that God is still God, no matter who the President of the United States happens to be.

I am fascinated by the above quote by Lewis because it seems that in the wave of emotion that has swept our nation in the past weeks we seem to have forgotten that the United States is not an eternal entity. Governments, civilizations, societies and cultures all fade from the world except to live on in the pages of history. But individuals, they are the one eternal creation.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
Lord Alexander Tytler (1747-1813)

My point is this: God’s call to humanity is to love him and love others. That is how Jesus defined the law that rules men’s lives in Matthew 22. As followers of God our job is not to rely on government to be the answer to life’s solutions. Nor is our role to be afraid of our government. We serve an eternal king who has an eternal perspective.
If the church in America works together to love God, love others and seek the wisdom of God in the daily affairs of our lives, we will see life and liberty in ways only dreamed of in the social construct of our day.

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