NCT: Christ Over All Things

A must read:  Chad Bresson: What is New Covenant Theology

Excellent; excellent!

I trust this will prove to be something of a catalyst in aiding people to think seriously about the NEWNESS of the NC in Christ.

Appreciate the labor! May the Lord continue to bless, providing us a clearer vision of God’s face in Christ Jesus. He continues to rend the veil that we might behold, believe and be-formed.

CIVIL: USA as Political Messiah

Richard Gamble on Civil Religion:

“America’s anointment as the world’s political messiah did not end when demobilized troops returned from Europe in 1919. It did not end with America’s opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, nor with America’s refusal to join the League of Nations. The cumulative product of generations of reflection, experience, and anticipation, the American identity reached too deep and far to have been uprooted in a moment of supposed renunciation. Transcending party politics and most ideological boundaries, nearly all of the language of universality and emancipation, of the “city on a hill” and the world’s rebirth, of light and dark, Messiah and Armageddon, reverberates down to the present moment. Like Woodrow Wilson before them, few modern presidents have been able to resist the allure of America’s global redemptive consciousness. In the 1940s, Franklin Roosevelt planned for a future refounded on four freedoms, freedoms that would prevail “everywhere in the world.” In the fourth of these universal freedoms, freedom from fear, he anticipated a day when “no nation will be in a position to commit and act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.”

“In countless speeches from the 1960s through the 1980s, moreover, Ronald Reagan reached back to the earliest metaphors of America’s divine destiny” to reaffirm the nation’s special calling as a “city on a hill.” Combining the Puritan errand with the Enlightenment dream of earthly regeneration, he also embraced Tom Pain’s longing to “begin the world over again.” And on September 11, 2002, George W. Bush, speaking with the colossus of the Statue of Liberty behind him, called America the “hope of all mankind” and appropriated the world of John 1:5 as if they described not just the Incarnation of Christ but the mission of the United States: “And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness will not overcome it.” To one degree or another and with varying motives and consequences, each of these men continued to speak of the United States as if it were the Salvator Mundi, following a pattern of thought that has endured for more than four centuries.”

[HT: DG Hart]

EvanGALATIANism: Not getting and keeping the Gospel right!

OK folks…you heard it here first:  EvanGALATIANism!

That’s right, I just coined a term that will radically transform both the Church and the World (one day).  Yeah right!

Anyway.  As the title of this post states, EvanGALATIANism has to do with our not getting and/or keeping the Gospel right, front and center; our not above all else, reading, teaching, and living/believing in accord with the Gospel (Christ himself).  And, EvanGALATIANism fails to ever genuinely understand the brokenness both apart from Christ and in Christ (identifying with the Cross; dying daily). BTW, FundaSARDISism (Rev.3.1), the elder brother to EvanGALATIANism, has long warmed-over having found itself buried alongside LiberaODICEANism (Rev.3.14).

The way (theology) of the Cross is not something we understand or live apart from the Spirit of Christ making the Word of Christ to richly dwell in us.  Hence, as we began, so even now, our entire hope is in the mercy of God to make this ONE Gospel about Jesus Christ to be the Bedrock of all faith and life.

This doesn’t mean that we at some point arrive at a higher level of Christian existence, but that we (by the Gospel) are brought to live as dead men toward the World and vacuous Religion, yet alive toward God in and through Christ Jesus, to the glory of God and good of our neighbor.

So then…beware of the leaven of EvanGALATIANism…all Gospel-less doctrine and the associated lifestyle that it promises and nurtures…that is, anything that doesn’t find its hope solely and squarely upon the Gospel.  EvanGALATIANism, perhaps having begun in the Spirit, is that religion (like all false religion) which seeks to complete the race that is before us in the power of the Self!

Kingdom: Left, Right, or Neither?

Lee Irons has commented on a work by Seyoon Kim, Christ and Caesar

 

1)   It is not the timing of the eschaton but the nature of the eschaton that conditions their [Paul and Luke’s] stance toward political issues. If the eschaton is going to bring about a radical change in the conditions of life such that the glory of the age to come totally transcends our present existence, then it matters little whether they viewed the eschaton as imminent (within their lifetime) or as far off in the future.

 

a.    The eschatological state, for the New Testament writers, is not continuous with the present state. Paul says that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Cor 15:50).

b.    The eschatological state will be characterized by a glorified creation and glorified bodies to inhabit that glorified creation. The glorified state is one of incorruption and immortality. It is not merely the eternal continuation of our present fleshly state.

c.    Thus, for the New Testament writers, political questions, tied as they are to the fleshly state of this passing age, are necessarily secondary in importance.

d.    Furthermore, as a part of the fleshly state, political arrangements are not capable of being transformed or taken up into the state of glory, whether in its “already” state (experienced proleptically by the indwelling of the living Christ through his Spirit) or its “not yet” form (the glorified creation/body).

 

2)   Second, I do not understand what Kim means by “the materialization of Christ’s Lordship” or “materializing the redemption of the Kingdom of God politically.” These sound like nice words, but what do they mean in practical terms?

 

a.    For those on the left it means increasing government funding for social welfare for the poor. Others on the left would say it means ending war in some sort of commitment to pacifism. Those on the right would say it means banning abortion, or having the constitution amended to exclude same-sex marriage, or reducing the size of government and government controls on the free market.

b.    A related problem is that, even if we were to agree on a specific agenda, how do these things relate to Christ’s Lordship or the redemption of the Kingdom of God? In other words, why should any of the above items, left or right, be viewed in such exalted spiritual terms, as the materialization of the reign of Christ?

c.    In my view, the above policies can be debated pro and con, and perhaps some are pragmatically better for society than others, but none are distinctively Christian, and certainly they should not be characterized as the political materialization of the kingdom of God.

Survey: “Bad?” Maybe not!

Here is an interesting article about the so-called spiritual decline in the USA.  Interesting how some folks think themselves less “spiritual” if they entirely abandon any and all so-called formal religion; while others are in hot pursuit of answers wherever they can find them, so long as their felt-needs are met.  And so the pendulum swings….

The findings in this article are not all that stunning actually, but appear to be further confirmation that, what once claimed to be at the religious helm in the USA was nothing more than an empty shell.  Folks are finally beginning to realize this sad truth; the mask is being pulled away from religion(s) that has long been just skin deep. 

Though there is reason to lament here (being that what was claiming Christ’s name, lacked Christ’s grace and truth), there is reason to rejoice.  The house is being cleansed.

Superficial religiosity, no matter how well meaning or busy, will always be found out.  Preaching everything but Christ crucified will wear out with using, no matter how “helpful and good” it initially appears.  In the end…it’s never worth its salt.

Find the article here:

USA TODAY: Most religious groups in USA have lost ground, survey finds

 

Christendom: Applauding The Fall Thereof

Excellent program by the folks at The White Horse Inn:  Losing Our Religion

The boys explain how it is that the notion of “Christendom” gave birth to Atheism/Modernism/Romanticism/Etc.  How, as Christians, we can be thankful that the unbelievers (i.e., Jefferson, etc) who helped founded this country saw fit to separate the two spheres, ecclesiastical and civil, which had the effect of preserving both alongside one another.

Glory: Fading, World

Seeyon Kim has written:

“When Paul is expecting such individual and cosmic salvation from God, and very shortly at that, how interested would he be in changing the present “scheme of the world” that “is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31), in order to make life in it a little fuller during the short interim period (v. 29) before such total salvation?