Monday, May 25, 2015
The Use of Authority
God is sovereign. He does not need us. He could display his power much more neatly and efficiently without us, but that has never been the point. Why does God choose this peculiar path, employing dirty, broken pottery to host and reflect his glory?That statement should have deep implications for how Christians do cultural and political engagement. If we are to follow God's example, the legitimate exercise of sovereignty must be preceded - PREceded - by winning hearts and minds. Thus, if our nation is no longer "Christian" in its nature it is not becasue we have failed to use authority properly, but because we have failed to win the culture on non-authoritative levels.
The fact that he does speaks to his relational nature — that he is eternally, wonderfully the great Three-in-One. He doesn’t intend to reveal himself to us, or through us, without communing with us in the process. His power is surpassing, not bypassing.
The United States is relatively unique in history in that it delinked these two things - culture and authority. It recognized the wisdom that Ms. Frank here teases from scripture. Stable states come from government responding to culture, not dictating it - just as God understood that to restore His created order to the world He had to win the culture, not simply reign sovereign over it.
It is the job of the church, separate from governmental authority to win the culture for God's purpose - government will flow behind. And yet the church today responds to culture and is molded by it rather than molds it. It is a miserable failure on our part.
authority church culture