Saturday, 13 December 2008

Cosmetic changes...

Recycling, cruelty to animals, free-range, organic...

Interesting how Christians seem to think these are the issues of the modern church to champion... especially the liberal churches

So what are the options?

1. Lead the way
2. Do the opposite
3. Ignore everything

Personally I sometimes want to do number 2.. just out of spite...
but of course not really the Godly option
neither in some way is number 3 - since God does not want to ignore people - as opposed to worldly concerns

Also biblically there are a number of interesting verses:
For example:

Deut 20:19 - When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you?

Jonah 4:11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?

and many others on plant/animal welfare etc...
now I'm sure they have a deeper gospel meaning...
but let's use them for the sake of argument

So then what is the Christian perspective on these issues?
Join in with the world's insane crusades to create earthly Utopia & ignore the new creation?
Say everything will burn anyway and be made new - so let's give it a helping hand?
Ignore everybody and everything?

How about this:
The problem with dealing with all these issues, whether preaching for them or against them is that they are all merely external problems
It's basically cosmetic surgery...
That person is really evil - let's give him a facelift
Now that may make everything look better - but actually solves nothing

We know that the problem is ultimately the human heart - it is sin

Hosea 4:
Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel, for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns,and all who dwell in it languish,and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.

So if we then try to attempt to change the way we live by changing what is external - it usually leads to a whole host of other problems and issues, and ultimately is utterly useless..

That is why, eventhough God who is concerned for animals and creation, etc... never requests us to do such futile works, because He knows that that actually solves nothing!

What then is to be done?
The gospel - Jesus Christ - solves everything
Follow Him, have a heart transplant - proper surgery - then you get rid of the core issues, rebellion, consumerism, gluttony, oppression, greed, etc, etc....

Now a society living like Jesus would never have all the cosmetic problems either
and ultimately that is the Kingdom of heaven - filled with Jesus Christ's body - living lives that will never cause any of these situations

Let's take a real life example from history:

Crime in the UK
What does a Christian do?
The 'hardcore' crew: - Build more prisons, hire more police, Christians becoming community support officers??
The 'soft' crew: - Teach better in schools, have more youth centres, hug children when they're young??
All these campaigns may have sense from a worldly point of view - and in some sense you have to pity the world - because that's all they can really do anyway! But they all don't really work and have huge problems of their own

Now how about this - go preach the gospel, invite people to ACTUALLY live like Jesus
What happened in Wales in the early 1900s?
100,000 new Christians in 6 months
Alcoholism halved
Crime drops radically
Gambling dens are closed
Judges have to resign because there are no cases
People are genuinely helping and loving one another
(read more here)

Doesn't this solve a whole myriad of social problems and at a level WAY above anything those 'campaigns' could achieve?

Let's stop thinking we have only the world's rather pathetic solutions to these deep heart problems
We have the gospel - we have the Spirit of God
Don't act as though we are defeated - Christ is victorious!
The gospel can overcome so much more than we ever imagine
to start Christian-led worldly campaigns is a losing battle
It is quite ridiculous, it is fatalistic, it is definitely not keeping our eyes on the things to come, on heavenly things

What is the issue you are worried about?
Follow Christ... really... do what He says
Invite others to do the same
That solves all the problems
That is the life of the new creation
That Life will be reality very soon

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