Church And State Revisited: 2
© 05.22.12 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the May 24 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
Two kingdom theology claims there is a kingdom of God restricted to the personal piety of each individual believer and a kingdom of the world or of Satan encompassing everything else. Two kingdom theology tells us Christians must restrict their faith to their personal lives and the activity taking place within the four walls of the church. Interpreted to its logical extreme it produces "Sunday Christians" who are simply "good people" the rest of the week but really no different than their non-Christian counterparts. It also leaves most of life in the hands of unbelievers.
Two kingdom theology finds its primary proof text in Jesus' words to Pilate: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here (John 18:36). Yet, a fundamental rule of biblical interpretation is to recognize a problem when one text seems to contradict another. True, Jesus' kingdom does not derive its power from a worldly source but it is a grave error to suggest his kingdom is not for this world. In other words, the reign of Jesus Christ has no limit. All authority in heaven and earth is already in the hands of Jesus and he has been given dominion over all of creation (Matthew 28:18-20, Colossians 1:16-19, Hebrews 1:2, 2:8, 1 Peter 3:22, Revelation 11:15 and many more). For this reason Christians are enjoined to do all things in the name of Jesus Christ and to do them heartily as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:17, 23).
Therefore, Christian men and women bring glory to the Lord as they labor to imitate our heavenly father and his son. For instance, a Christian plumber will not only be honest, prompt and courteous, he will also be innovative and a good "vice regent" of all that is under his authority. He will make good use of creation but not exploit it, using chemical products (for instance) that do the job without harming God's creation. He will have an active R-n-D department, always seeking to take hold of, rearrange and improve upon that part of the natural realm given him in his work. To be a truly good plumber he must be a Christian man who is passionate about bringing his arena of activity under the authority of Jesus Christ and to manifest the character of Jesus Christ in all that he does. Again, this is not limited to being on time with a smile on his face while charging only for the work he does. A kingdom plumbing concern must include the dynamic, creative aspect as well. Every technique and tool should be a subject of contemplation as he considers how to improve upon the wrenches snakes, pipes, gaskets and so on, of the trade.
Thus, the authority of Jesus Christ is not limited to the Sunday activity taking place in church buildings each week. His reach is not limited to a few "safe" professions. Instead, all authority has been given to Jesus and so all activities of mankind must be brought into the kingdom (Psalms 2:1-12, Malachi 1:11, Revelation 11:15). Which brings us back to the constitutions of the original 13 states. The men who produced those documents are the true founding fathers of our country. They represent the most convincing evidence that the United States of America is a Christian nation.
We have strayed a great distance from our heritage but the example of our fathers must not be forgotten. Theirs is a kingdom worldview, an understanding that everything man does must be done as unto the Lord. Theirs is an example we must follow. In other words, our goal as Christians must be to bring the civil realm under the authority of Jesus Christ - not merely in theory but in practice.
Next week: getting from here to there.