Saving civilization

lozozlo comments on ballista’s about maintaining faith in Christ in this day in age. Particular in regard to hopelessness and civilization in general.

First, let’s explore what the Bible says about evil in the day and age. Ahab and Jezebel’s reign Elijah thought he was fighting alone against the evil:

1 Kings 19: 9 Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

11 So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

15 The Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. 18 Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.

This is not the first time and the last time that a remnant is saved in Israel and Judah when it is on the way to destruction. The Scriptures speak of the remnant of those that returned from Babylonian captivity, and also the remnant that remains in the book of Revelation.

The awesome thing is that God does not give us the task of saving civilization. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say this, and I think it’s a fruitless endeavor to do anyway. You can’t change most peoples’ minds who are convinced of their own truth over the Scripture’s.

Civilization always takes the course of great prosperity and wealth which leads people astray. People become slaves to that which money can provide, through the excess time created and decadence:

Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [j]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It’s no secret that the fall of the Roman empire mirrors the pains that western civilization is starting to experience. There is nothing new under the sun.

What we should be doing now as Christians is studying now is how the Church survived the fall of the Roman empire. I would suspect it was a combination of focus onto the core unit of the family, and small groups and communities within the local church. But I could be wrong since I have not studied early church history that extensively: what type of atmosphere, structure, and support they had in such a time.

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22 Responses to Saving civilization

  1. Neguy says:

    You hit on something important. We’re not charged with saving civilization. I recently reviewed all of Paul’s epistles, inventorying and categorizing his commands. I specifically created a category for “how we should engage with the world.” Honestly, there’s very little about engaging in the world, and what there is is basically all about keeping our heads down (submitting to authority, maintaining peace with all men to the extent it depends on us, etc). Paul (and I’d say Jesus, though I haven’t done the same exercise there yet) are remarkable unconcerned about changing the world. There’s much more concern with the Church and what happens inside there. The world is heading for judgment.

    This is where I sharply differ with Vox Day, who adopts the “when they punch us, punch back twice as hard” approach. That’s not how a Christian approaches life, and it assumes that the outcome of the battle is entirely on our shoulders. Unsurprisingly, he ends up with a similar view to Machiavelli about the necessity of certain battle tactics.

  2. @ Neguy

    Yes, in general, we’re supposed to be split between the two:

    1. Be in the world but not of the world to preach and make disciples (Great Commission).
    2. Shepherd and disciple the converts.

    The vast majority of Jesus’ teachings is about how to interact with the world.

    The vast majority of the rest of the NT including Paul, Peter, James, and the writer of Hebrews is about discipling and shepherding the church.

    There are obviously different standards for treating Christians and non-Christians which is why there is so much dissonance. Most of the so-called “Christians” invert the two: they try to shepherd/disciple (or rather “police”) the world, and they don’t try to shepherd or disciple the church at all. It’s sad.

  3. @ Neguy

    I recently reviewed all of Paul’s epistles, inventorying and categorizing his commands.

    Do you have this off hand that I can look at? I was looking into doing something like this, and it would be a big help.

  4. Looking Glass says:

    @Neguy:

    See: Joshua, son of Nun, God’s appointed Warlord.
    See: Ehud, son of Gera.

    God is neither a Pacifist nor a Warmonger. It is Wisdom & Judgement from which we must proceed. Which means, at times, Christians will be Martyred. And it means, at times, Christians will need to take up arms and conquer their enemies.

    Further, we will all be called to give account to how we use the Authorities & Privileges, granted directly from God, at the end of times. If God places a Man in leadership, he is responsible for the choices he makes, to God. I generally don’t see God being too pleased with a Christian allowing the slaughter of innocents by a lack of Wisdom.

    At the same time, as Christians, we’re not called to save a civilization. For the days are evil. We are called to Love the Lord, preach the Good News and make Disciples. However, *a* set of Christians may be called to save a *specific* culture.

    It is a common problem to mistake the General and the Individual callings. Just because the Church isn’t called to do something, doesn’t mean individuals within it aren’t called to tasks. And some of those tasks *do* change the world.

  5. Don Quixote says:

    Good post DS.
    I am reminded of Abraham who looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. A city that has foundations. Today our politicians have removed the foundation of civilisation with the introduction of no fault divorce and the welfare state. You cannot build families upon the shifting sands of easy divorce.
    Never mind God’s word will not return void, His kingdom will come and His will be done. And history will show that the current mess is just for a season. A time to overcome, I am convinced it will be worth it.

  6. donalgraeme says:

    What we should be doing now as Christians is studying now is how the Church survived the fall of the Roman empire. I would suspect it was a combination of focus onto the core unit of the family, and small groups and communities within the local church. But I could be wrong since I have not studied early church history that extensively: what type of atmosphere, structure, and support they had in such a time.

    As you might have gathered DS, I’ve been doing some of this lately. Not a huge amount, as my time is limited. But some nonetheless.

    What I’ve found is just what you said- that many of the problems we are experiencing now are not new at all. The early Christians, far from being overly welcoming, in fact seem to have been quite judgmental. They had no problem, or at least, their authority had no problem, excommunicating those who went astray. Early Christians were selective and choosey in who they associated with, and who they brought into the fold. We have forgotten this to our peril.

  7. @ Don Quixote

    Yeah, I think that’s the main gist of it.

    Though we stand on a foundation that cannot be destroyed… The stone that the builders rejected that has become the cornerstone.

  8. @ Donal

    I thought you might have haha.

    To be honest though I feel like you can tell from the Pharisees how much the early Christians were like. Probably more akin to say the extremely exclusive groups that we see now.

    Though, on the other hand, Revelation 2 and 3 describes more of the problems of the early church which we see a lot of now in various stages too.

    It was probably different depending on where you went in the world: Israel, Asia minor, Greece, or Rome. That would more accurately represent different people groups like the cities in Revelation 2 and 3.. each with their own set of problems of how how they are having issues with submission and obedience fully to the Lord.

  9. donalgraeme says:

    It was probably different depending on where you went in the world: Israel, Asia minor, Greece, or Rome.

    Yup. The Church is Israel/Palestine and some of the regions with a long-term Jewish presence had more trouble with Judaizers and Pharisaic influences than other problems. On the other hand, the Greek and Roman parts of the Church had problems extricating themselves from that culture.

    Overall, I think the latter problem is the prime one in this day and age. The former (what we might call extremist legalism) is probably restricted to only the most conservative/traditional locales. \

    To be honest though I feel like you can tell from the Pharisees how much the early Christians were like.

    I am curious about this statement. I can read it several ways, and would like to know for certain what you mean by it.

  10. @ Donal

    To be honest though I feel like you can tell from the Pharisees how much the early Christians were like.

    Oops, I meant to take that out after I wrote the final paragraph as that clarified everything in context.

    Oh well, I’ll just leave it up.

  11. KingProphetPriest says:

    This discussion has come up in the neo-reaction circles. Back following the 2012 elections, I saw a blog post that laid out what the author termed as the need to go “back to Qumran,” using the first-century Essenses as a model.

    Dmitri Orlov, who has commented extensively on the collapse of Russia and has been predicting the same for the West for some time, has spoken on resilient communities and one that he has identified is the Amish.

    The “Back to Qumran” post is worth checking out. I have found it quite thought provoking and am using many of the points as a blueprint for my family’s relocation.

    http://orthosphere.org/2012/11/20/back-to-qumran/

  12. Neguy says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a bit. One thing that does seem to be clear from the Bible is that those in authority are acting as God’s agents. So a ruler of the kingdom – say Pilate, for example – has God given authority to take action by virtue of that position in order to do things ordinary people can’t. For example, Paul says that we shouldn’t take our own revenge. But he also says authorities are instruments of God’s judgment against wrongdoers.

    I don’t have it totally figured out yet (and need to study the topic), but my view of my own personal behavior is that when it has been given to me, I have the right to exercise in accordance with my best judgment, subject to the limits put on it by the person who gave it to me (e.g., the laws of our society, the spending authorization limits for my level in a company, etc) and in line with God’s law. When I’m not in authority, then I’m not to act like I have it.

    The one exception I see is that throughout the Bible God’s people don’t shut up about God’s word, even when threatened or ordered to do so by rulers. So speaking in a prophetic voice is permitted (not claiming the office of prophet, but that sense of boldly proclaiming God’s word). But we should also keep in mind that Paul says our words should be “full of grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt.”

  13. Neguy says:

    I’m happy to share the Paul document. Is there an email I can send it to?

  14. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    lozozlo

    When I read this in the subject line of my email (actually it says “Deep Strength posted: “lozozlo…”) I first thought “uh oh, that annoying GBFM guy hacked his blog!” lol.

    Other than that, great post. 🙂

  15. jonadabtherechabite says:

    While we are not tasked with saving civilization, we are tasked with building the Kingdom through dominion and teaching all things that are commanded in the scriptures. There are two orders or arrangements of society. In Greek this is refereed to the cosmos often translated as world. But cosmos is the opposite of chaos and so order is more the gist of the word. We are tasked with establishing the order of God and to tear down strongholds and ideas that oppose the order of God. This is not just the task of the apologist, but for all who are in Christ.

    History has ebbs and flows, we are in a local decline, but N.America is not the whole world. Christ is on the throne ruling the nations and making His enemies His footstool. What role do we play? I suggest the beg four are Worship, dominion, prophetic utterances and an exemplary life.

    Worship is a warfare activity (when it is not a Oprah episode and rock concert). Psalm 149:6-8 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand, To execute vengeance on the nations, And punishments on the peoples; To bind their kings with chains, And their nobles with fetters of iron. It also reorients the worshiper to the cosmos of Christ and destroys the cosmos of sin. Thus worship is both building the worshiper and an attack on the cosmos of Satan.

    Dominion is the task of taking the created things and discovering, studying reassembling them to build society and in so doing mirroring the creator.

    Prophetic utterances are not oracles about the future, but speaking unashamedly the will of God as revealed in the Scriptures. Yes even to the pagan we teach the law that he might be broken and seek grace in Christ. Every man can be a teacher of the scripture in some fashion,even if just by the way he lives, but I encourage every man to become skilled in the Word and to lift up holy hands everywhere without wrath and doubting.

  16. cjohnw says:

    It’s important to realize what time period certain passages are speaking about. Psalm 149: 6-8 clearly has in view Christ’s second coming to set-up His earthly kingdom. At that time the mission for God’s people will be very different.

    I don’t see a Christian’s mission during this period of grace as one of taking dominion. It is a period where we need to spread the Gospel in order to bring God’s chosen out of the world. In doing so all believers are ‘set apart’ from the world.

    Obviously all of our actions and words need to be guided by the Spirit, but our society will always be dominated by sin, even if it has a Christian veneer.

  17. thehaproject says:

    One thing to note regarding saving civilizations: God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them of destruction and call them to repent. Not to keep his head down, and not to try to change their laws.

  18. Looking Glass says:

    And, Jonah, while he did it after a LOT of pushing by God, mostly was there to watch the city burn. God had a very different reason for sending Jonah than why Jonah was finally willing to go. Something to keep in mind.

  19. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2015/03/03 | Free Northerner

  20. @ Neguy

    deeperstrength on the gmail server. Make sure you remember the “er” in deeper.

  21. Neguy says:

    Deep, I sent you the file a few days ago. I hope you received it.

  22. @ Neguy

    Yes. I’ve been busy and haven’t been able to look at it yet. I will be busy for another week or so before I get to anything related to this aside from the occasional comment!

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