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The American Revoltion and the mission of the church

INDEPENDENCE DAY IS BEHIND US. The shooting off of fireworks, the kids running around the yard, the smell of the grill all good things that we as Americans think of when celebrating our nations history

Just the night before a very thought provoking question was asked by a friend of mine which caused me to really think through the activities that lead to the nations independence and my participation. The question was “Would you have as a Christian particpated in fighting against the British in the revoluntionary war and is the churches mission to affect social change?”

This is not I’m sure a new question. I’m sure it was asked of many Christians during this period in our history. Some fighting with a clear conscience and others refusing on theological grounds.

The real question is “What is the mission of the church?” Because the church made up of people (Christians) who are supernaturally united to Christ by faith (Eph 2:8-9; 12-13, 22). And as Christians we are all also united to His Mission.

Christ himself was thought to come and overthrow the Roman government who was subjecting the Jews living in Israel. When that “mission” was not being fulfilled as they believed it; which was a misunderstanding of the scriptures; they refused to believe His message and work, eventually having Him cruxified.

The truth is this, that when God saves a sinner, their world view changes because it is God in them that drives them to seek not to be an American citizen; but a kingdom one; one that has not arrived as according to scripture. This “change” lies in what naturally happens when the effects of a changed heart bring about a submissive attitude toward the present government (Romans 13). This new desire in the Christian, does not call them to overthrow the government in order to bring about fundemental change, but to honor God in it’s submission. Now, I do believe that we should stand up for change that protects other earthly citizens such as the abolishment of abortion or the governments new regulations to force religious organizations to make available birth control; the list could go on. But you would not find me in a protest in a call for our governments over throw.

Church History has many examples of the church living in oppressive governments while going about implementing the mission of Christ. What made them different was that they chose to do major on the majors, and minor on the minors; obeying God as revealed in scripture was and is the major.

One of the comforting realities for Kingdom citizens is that whether we live in a represtative democracy like the United States or in an oppressive country like China, both will come to an end! As an American who loves his country, I am anxiously awaiting the return of my King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of what Christ did for His people on the cross as communicated in the gospel (one who was purchased by His own blood on a cross) makes obedience to a temporary government possible; are I say even with joy. So whether I am living under the banner of freedom or in oppression, I like Paul want to say that, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:11-13)

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