Sat March 17 2018 6:40pm
There is correspondence between the verbs 'depend' and 'obey'. In a give-receive relationship, the benefactor is normally in control; the dependent beneficiary is humble and obedient. The theme of the previous article is that Christian gift-service should normally involve self abnegation, helping others with a view toward weaning them of their dependence. Deliberately working to undermine one's own benefactor status.
This is often a time-consuming process, requiring years, decades, or longer to mature. In the meantime, nothing good is attained by shunning leadership where leadership is still needed. The abdication of God-given authority is often nothing more than a weak fear of rejection. The Christian parent or pastor who refuses to discipline or who says, "Who am I to judge?" is not truly humble, but merely lazy or cowardly.
The operative term in the above, I believe, is "God-given". The authority of mother and father is certainly God-given and may not be forsaken. Likewise, the legitimate pastor's duty to teach, sanctify and govern must not be abdicated.
By contrast, authority (or 'service') that is not established by God should be seen as a moral and spiritual plague, degrading both to those who would wield it and those who would be subject.
In many cases, the "Teach a man to fish" principle is appropriate. Charitable and well-meaning individuals or agencies that (figuratively) give a fish are fostering long-term dependence. Where there is no natural ecclesial or family relationship, such manufactured dependence may well be unnatural, even devilish, not true charity at all.
Humble public servant
Now the question gets a bit stickier. If it is wrong for bureaucrats to acquire more power, is it alright for the honest Christian to submit to that power? Does the demand for humility and self abnegation mean that the Christian must always obey civil authority? Is that what Christ was commanding when he said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's"? (Mt.22:15-22) Note that he had asked to see the Roman coin, which his detractors readily produced. Maybe he was saying, in effect, "Look, you're already playing Caesar's game. If you want to play his game, you gotta play by his rules."
Another possible interpretation would be to simply admit that, like it or not, civil government is the present reality, there's no use pretending otherwise. Perhaps Jesus was simply saying, "Do what you have to do, given the present reality." But surely it is absurd to suppose that obeying civil government is a Christian's religious obligation, that the King of kings would demand, as a condition of obeying him, unswerving allegiance to an ungodly and contrived human usurpation of divine authority.
If you need a pigeon hole for me, consider me a theocrat. Judges 21:25 is a triumphal verse, an ideal for which to yearn. Meanwhile, in the present: Do what we have to do. And hope for the literal fulfillment of the ideal.
Thy kingdom come(Note that it pertains to this world, not just a heavenly, spiritual theocracy.)
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
2 comments:Lenore Sun Mar 18 8:05pm
i don't need a pigeon hole for you. i want to Live in God's Kingdom with you as my husband; hard so many miles apart. God wants us to love one another as He so Loved Us. Holy Week is coming up soon. Indifference is that gray matter that God will throw up.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (all true happiness comes from loving God and doing His Will; also all authority comes from God our Father so you have it right, honey. i love you.