Greetings ChrisWhen I wrote in my post I was speaking about myself and my own personal view. I just wanted to make sure that was clear and that I did not make anyone feel as if I was laying this personal conviction of mine at their door. God Blessmj
Q. American or christian?A. I'm both...... y'know that word both is interesting. The origin of words is always interesting to me.
Hi Sister MaryJane...No problem here, sister. I wasn't referring to you (or anyone in particular) when I wrote this. I was merely replying to the question in regard to whether or not we can retain an earthly citizenship while living, moving and having our being under our preeminent heavenly citizenship. When asked, Paul invoked his temporary, earthly citizenship. However, he also proclaimed his eternal citizenship. I find nothing in Scripture that indicates he was wrong in doing this. Our allegiance, of course, is to our Lord. However, we still live in this present "secular" world. Many of us have jobs...pay taxes...and endeavor to provide for our families (and churches, missionaries, the poor, etc...) here. The New Testament is clear that God raises up nations and authorities as "ministers of God to thee for good" (Romans 13). Thank you for your words, sister. I hope that you know that I wasn't referring to you or anyone in particular. I just wanted to share my view where I think that we can serve God...pay our taxes and, like the persistent widow, still petition the governors of this secular world.
In these discussions I am always quickly reminded of [url=http://whatsthedealwithstuff.blogspot.com/2008/12/christ-culture-niebuhr.html]Reinhold Neibuhr's 5 Christ/Culture models:[/url][b]1. Christ AGAINST culture (rejection)[/b]Christ and culture are in direct opposition to each other (= enemies). Therefore, Christians need to fight against/escape from the evils of non-Christian culture, in order to reject worldliness altogether. Engagement with non-Christian culture should be minimised, and where possible completely avoided. Eg. Tertullian, Tolstoy, most separatist movements (eg. monastic orders), sects (eg. closed brethren, the Amish and Mennonite communities) and cults (eg. JWs).[b]2. Christ OF culture (assimilation)[/b]Christ and the best of culture are in agreement with each other (= friends). Christians should embrace the good of non-Christian culture, blending in (= incarnating the gospel) as much as possible with the non-Christian world in order to love others. Eg. most Liberal churches and some parts of the Emerging Church movement.[b]3. Christ ABOVE culture (synthesis)[/b]Christ is spiritually above and over culture. Therefore Christians should neither reject nor accept non-Christian culture completely. Rather Christians should seek in this life to synthesise their heavenly, Christian lives with their earthly, cultural lives. Eg. Aquinas, most conservative Catholic and Protestant churches (esp. seeing evangelism as the only real connection between Christ and culture), early apologists.[b]4. Christ and culture in PARADOX (dualism)[/b]Christ and culture are spiritually divided and cannot be synthesised in this life. Therefore Christians face a tension (only to be resolved with Jesus return) in belonging to this world, and yet belonging at the same time to the world to come. Eg. Luther (and his doctrine of two kingdoms), Lutheranism, Roger Williams.[b]5. Christ TRANSFORMING culture (conversion)[/b]Culture is sinful, but can be transformed by Christ. Therefore, culture is something that needs Christians and the transforming power of the gospel to redeem. Christian are to engage culture in order to bring about its transformation. Eg. Calvin (and his optimism towards social reform), Agustine, most social action and liberation theology movements.