Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

We Are To Provisionally Obey, Not Admire Or Idolize

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Rom 13:1-2)

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. (1 Pet 2:13-14)

Contrary to what many (most?) evangelical Christians would say, I do not consider politics to be a "noble" aspiration but a necessary evil in this fallen world. In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense,

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.

The Bible is explicit about the relationship between the Christian and civil government. We are to respectfully obey legal government authority, and the government is to treat us justly and fairly. But even when the government does not fulfill its role, we are still to live up to ours. However, when the government directs/asks us to do something that is in direct disobedience to God’s Word, we are morally obligated to disobey the government.

The problem is that many contemporary Christians seem to hold an almost-sacrosanct view of civil government, especially that of the United States. The founding fathers were keenly aware of the fallen nature of man and thus deeply suspicious of civil government and orchestrated a Constitution to specifically limit the power of government. We are to respectfully obey unless directed to do something that contradicts Scripture. But respectful obedience is worlds away from admiration. Somehow I have trouble picturing 1st century Christians holding Apr 21st celebrations in the church in honor of the founding of Rome (believed to have been founded on Apr 21, 753 B.C., see here.)

As I observed earlier here,

The hypocrisy of those ensconced in power in Washington D.C. is exceeded only by their greed and lust for power. The founding fathers clearly understood this and thus sought to limit the power of the U.S. government via the Constitution.  But ingenuity is now inventing creative ways around it to satisfy the greed and lust for power inherent in fallen man.

I would never encourage or enjoin anyone to seek political office. Yes, I recognize the necessary presence of Christians in the political process, but view it as a necessary evil in this fallen world. The allure and trappings of power are simply far too seductive for the vast majority of Christians to withstand. I believe the best qualified candidate is the one that does not want or seek political office. (George Washington, the first president of the United States did not seek or want the position - see here.)

There is a difference between the respect that Scripture mandates for civil government and the almost fawning attitude that many evangelicals display. I certainly don't espouse the position of someone like the Jehovah's Witnesses who view civil government as illegitimate (I served on Active Duty for 20 years.) The Bible is clear that all civil authority is mandated by God and I respectfully obey. But it's  a necessary evil in this fallen world ...... and one that is quicksand for many unwary believers.

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