If my difficulty in hearing what you’re saying is built upon a pretext it is this: Christ came to build His Church. He didn’t call His people to an overthrow of the social order. In fact, He specifically told His inquisitors that His kingdom was of a different nature.
He told Pilate that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’ This text is often cited wrongly in support of the idea that Jesus’ Kingdom was of such a nature that it was irrelevant to this world. The problem with such interpretation is that it doesn’t fit what John does with the word ‘world’ through much of his Gospel. For John, the word ‘world’ is often used to designate this world as it lies in the thralldom of Satan. Hence Jesus speaks of the Spirit who the Father will send — The Spirit that the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him (The Spirit) or knows Him. As just one more example, Jesus can say in 14:30 that ‘the ruler of this world is coming.’ For John the word ‘world’ often works in the same kind of way that the phrase ‘this present wicked age’ works for the Apostle Paul. Because this is so we shouldn’t stumble over reading Jesus saying that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world, anymore then we would stumble if we read Jesus saying, ‘My Kingdom is not of this present wicked age.’ Of course His Kingdom was not of the world as it lies in the thralldom of Satan. But that doesn’t mean that His Kingdom, which is not of this world, isn’t a Kingdom that will overcome this world.
B. F. Wescott wrote on John 18:36 saying,
“…Yet He (Jesus) did claim a sovereignty, a sovereignty of which the spring and the source was not of earth but of heaven.” So, agreeing with the Greek scholar Wescott we say that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world,’ means it (quoting Wescott again) does not derive its origin or its support from earthly sources.”
Second, in responding to your statement immediately above allow me to suggest that you forget the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. One line in that prayer is, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Now, if we are to pray that God’s present Kingdom continues to come that implies that we are praying against other Kingdoms that would exalt themselves over God’s Kingdom. To pray for God’s Kingdom to come is to pray against Kingdoms that rise up in defiance of that always present and always coming Kingdom. E. F., my friend, go read of that Stone in Daniel 2. It is definitely not an a-millennial Stone, but rather it is a rolling post-millennial stone that gathers no moss but instead overthrows and crushes everything in its path, including a-millennial naysayers.
The postmillenial obsession with the culture… transformation of the culture… influencing the culture… what you have sounds like a contradiction.
Well, when people use pretzel logic, I’m sure straight thinking gets accused of being contradictory.
I am not obsessed with culture. I am obsessed with the global and cosmic implications of the finished work of the King-Priest Jesus. I am obsessed with my ruling liege-Lord who provides such a rich salvation that it overflow the banks of individual lives and hearts that have been visited with His salvation. I see this salvation start trickling, pouring and cascading in the cultural street so that the salvation of the good High King Jesus becomes a flood that rolls over all of humanity and all of its institutions bringing life where the desert of wickedness had previously been.
I am obsessed with people coming to Jesus. I am obsessed with the Church swelling as God calls in His elect. I am obsessed with the glory of the crucified and ascended Jesus.
If my belief that Christ will ultimately have victory over sin and death and create a new order in His second and victorious coming is Gnostic I guess I’ve misread something. Your implied assertion that I do not believe that Christ and His disciples had all power is a misunderstanding of two kingdom thinking: I believe that said power is of a different nature than the power to transform secular culture. The power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching the Gospel message.
First, there is no such thing as secular culture. It is a phrase that has been invented and repeated ad nauseum to convince people that culture can be a-religious. Culture is but the outward manifestation of a people’s inward beliefs. As all belief is theological, all cultures are theological. There is no such thing as ‘secular culture.’
Second, you believe ‘the power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching’ with a message that in the end utterly is triumphed over as the Church becomes a isolate fort surrounded by the ‘injuns’ that can only be rescued by a deus ex machina eschatological in breaking. You believe that Jesus returns to a tare field in order to pick the wheat out. I, on the other hand, believe that Jesus returns to a wheat field to pick out a few irksome tares. I likewise believe that the ‘power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching,’ but unlike you, I also believe that the Gospel will both succeed and bear fruit that will remain. I don’t confuse the Gospel for the culture but neither do I fail to believe that the Gospel has implications. That a people freely declared Holy will increasingly become what they have freely been declared to be and that with that personal and individual transformation all that they touch will be affected by the salvation that has visited them. Salvation doesn’t end with Jesus coming into people’s hearts. Neither does salvation end with doing Church just right. The salvation that Christ brings to individuals gets in their marriages, their families, their schools, their economic structures, their juridical and legal institutions, their art and science and every other realm over which Jesus is King.
Quit being embarrassed by Jesus cosmic Lordship.
Furthermore, my comments regarding the personal holiness of believers and our call to be salt and light refer directly to the third use of the law. The third use of the law, unfortunately for you, does not call those outside the Church to be transformed, but those inside.
Look, E. F. if you have a problem with transformation you need to take it up with Romans 12. In writing to the Church at Rome the Holy Spirit speaks,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The Holy Spirit speaks something similar in Ephesians 4:23-24 and while you have your Bible open you might want to also look at II Cor. 3:18 and Romans 8:28-29. Honestly, I can’t understand for the life of me the resistance of R2k types to the idea that the Christian life is one of ongoing transformation into the image of Christ.
The motivation for Gospel ministry for Amils such as myself is the glorification of our Lord through the steady use of the means of grace to the end that all of the elect may be brought into this redeemed culture called the Church. The postmil seems to have much more to do with reforming the existing political and social order.
As it is the case with all Amillennialists you are seriously confused. The postmillennialist is with you every step of the way in your first sentence above. The difference is that postmillenialists believe that the Gospel as vastly wider and more powerful implications then our Eeyeore cousin amillennialists. Notice also the amillennial tendency to compartmentalize nature and grace. This is platonic (gnostic) thinking.
Where did Christ command us to “baptize all cultures (especially Constantines Christendom)”? I thought that call was to people of every tribe and tongue… gotta return to Matthew 28 and reread I guess…
How very American and non-covenantal of you to read the text that way. No, you have no trouble reading what the text says … it is what it means you need to spend some time on.
I’m not Gnostic, you’re just a member of “the cirumcision group”.
I beg your pardon… Both my son and I still have our foreskins. Similarly we both believe that salvation is completely gracious.
Further gnostic comments will not be posted. Go find someplace else to evangelize people into the belief that Jesus is Lord in a abstract way over the realm where we do 95% of our living.