the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
One of the things we can count on from the world is inconsistency. While consistent Darwinian evolution would applaud the unrest currently roiling the world as evidence of natural selection in action, humanist do-gooders wring their hands over the lack of human brotherhood these conflicts represent. War in Iraq and Syria, military action in Palestine and racial conflict in Ferguson Missouri are not accidents of nature but the natural outcome of a materialistic worldview.
One well known humanist writer suggests the only solution to these problems is the complete separation of differing races and cultures. In his mind the United States of America should return to a “separate but equal” policy while the Middle East should follow suit. Yet, if history is any guide, these are non-answers at best.
As with everything else in life it is only the consistent Christian faith that provides lasting answers to human conflict. The Bible tells us that, in Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). Lest we forget, animosity between differing races and cultures has been part of the human experience throughout history. There has never been a resolution to this problem except the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rome was known for tolerance yet it was a tolerance built upon the acceptance of might makes right. The permissiveness of Rome extended only so far as the willingness of her subjugated people to acknowledge the superiority of Rome. Different races and cultures were allowed to enjoy their heritage but any hint of rebellion was quickly and brutally dealt with – through the execution of individual trouble makers or the destruction of an entire nation as the situation warranted (consider the Jewish war of AD 66-70 for instance).
Although many godless powers in the modern world advocate a Roman approach, the more subtle autocrat seeks to subjugate those they deem inferior in a more “compassionate” fashion. Rather than beat the masses into submission they enslave them thorough social welfare schemes. The enlightened elite bring out the heavy artillery only when the mob resorts to violence in their demands for more.
We must realize that these kinds of problems cannot be solved by handing out tracts or through the occasional evangelistic crusade. Instead, what the world needs is the gospel in action. The duty of every Christian is to bring their arena of activity under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Every Christian must take dominion in their sphere of influence through self sacrificial service. Every follower of Jesus Christ must walk even as Jesus walked and disciple those under his authority to do the same. Then, when the world comes knocking at our door asking “how do you do it?” we must, be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). We cannot kid ourselves; no one will be converted simply by our good example. We should understand that worldlings are pragmatic and will make use of kingdom ways only so long as it benefits them. Nonetheless, it is through the obedient walk of believers that God has chosen to manifest his authority. And part of our obedience to Christ includes active evangelism - but our evangelistic efforts will fail unless we walk the walk even as we talk the talk.
More on this next week.