Tuesday, February 28, 2006

God's Vision for the City

I admit, I'm being a bit facetious with the title of this post. But since 99% of what's written about "The City" is from a transformationist (and I would argue, postmillennial) perspective, I just couldn't resist the irony....

The common grace City is something that came into existence postlapsum (after the fall) for the purpose of creating a stage upon which the drama of redemption could be played out (Gen. 4:13-16). It is neither demonic nor divine, but rather is a place where cultural, non-religious activity is to be performed by believers and non-believers alike (I Pet. 2:13-17).

What, then, is "God's Vision for the City"? Is the City a legitimate institution? Is its secular identity something that makes it off-limits or in need of transformation?

(Please note, I am not asking whether people in the City should be evangelized, or whether we ought to show mercy to the poor. Yes to both).

From the testimony of the Bible, it seems that God's vision for the City is that it remain what it is until the end. The story of Noah gives us a type of the final parousia, and there, Noah is called to be a "preacher of righteousness" while preparing the ark as the only hope for a doomed culture. And according to Jesus in Matt. 24:37ff, the days leading up to the Lord's coming will be no different -- the City will continue to exist, with its buying, selling, eating, drinking, and marriage, until God's purposes for it are exhausted. And when you take Rev. 17 and 18 into account, the conclusion seems inescabale that the City, "Babylon the Great," will be pronounced "Fallen! Fallen!" along with all its beauty, glory, merchantry, art, craftsmanship, and music.

If there is an implicit rebuke against God's people in any of these passages for their failure to transform the city from being creational to redemptive, I can't find it.

Can you?