The Kingdom Mandate
This article originally appeared in the June 29, 2006 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle.
© 06.26.06 By D. Eric Williams
Let me ask you something: when you go to work, do you leave your Christianity at the door, or does your faith influence how you do your job? I'm not talking about personal piety: don't cheat, don't lie, don't steal. These are good things and certainty every Christian should be a totally honest employee. But Christianity is not concerned with personal piety alone. Christianity is a world view and is concerned with more than just the individual.
When God created mankind, He gave him the task of subduing creation, establishing civilizations and cultures in imitation of God's own creative work (Gen. 1:28, cf. Eph. 5:1). This command, the Cultural Mandate or the Kingdom Mandate as I like to call it, enjoins us to follow God's example, not merely as stewards, but as God's viceregents. That means, like God, we are called to examine creation, take hold of it, "rearrange" and improve upon it. Obviously we cannot duplicate God's creation of everything out of nothing; our imitation of God is limited to making use of the existing created realm. Yet we follow His example as we establish families, churches, schools, cities and governments. We comply with His pattern when we plant crops, build bridges, design computers or write music and literature (see Nancy Pearcey's book, Total Truth or Cornelius Van Til's work, The Defense of the Faith).
The desire to do this is intrinsic to the human condition. Mankind is made in God's image and part of that image is revealed in Man's hunger to create and innovate. We cannot help but follow in God's footsteps. Unfortunately, far too many Christians don't understand these activities must be brought under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. So, rather than develop distinctly Christian views on government, education, entertainment and so on, we simply accept the views of the prevailing culture and "baptize" those beliefs for use in the Christian "ghetto." Yes, Christians should be the most honest, punctual and hard working people in society; we must also be creative and innovative and purveyors of excellence as well.
Perhaps you can see how this may work in the realm of politics or entertainment. But how do we obey the Kingdom Mandate if we're making our living twisting a wrench or running a saw? If we don't work in the realm of ideas is our Faith reduced to Church attendance and keeping our nose clean on the job? Absolutely not.
To carry out the Kingdom Mandate in a labor job you begin by learning everything there is to know about your line of work; pick the brains of the old timers, read the industry literature, take courses related to your employment. Then you take hold of what you know, rearrange it and improve upon it. You work hard at thinking about your job and come up with ways to do it better, faster, cheaper. For example, my brother worked in a shipping and receiving warehouse for many years; a physically demanding, mind numbing job. Yet during those years, he was learning about the business and thinking of ways to rearrange and improve the industry. He eventually came up with several time and money saving innovations, patented his ideas and started his own company (see http://www.buydcs.com/index.php).
Truly the first step to gaining a Christian world view is to understand that in Christ, the last Adam, we have been saved and restored to our original purpose before God. Personal piety is fine as far as it goes. But if we really want to be true to our Faith, it's time to get to work on the business of the Kingdom Mandate. May God empower us to do so.