Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Federal Vision and Global Christendom

The third affirmation/denial of the Federal Vision's Joint Statement reads, in part:

"We affirm that the Christian faith is a public faith, encompassing every realm of human endeavor. The fulfillment of the Great Commission therefore requires the establishment of a global Christendom. We deny that neutrality is possible in any realm, and this includes the realm of 'secular' politics. We believe that the lordship of Jesus Christ has authoritative ramifications for every aspect of human existence, and that growth up into a godly maturity requires us to discover what those ramifications are in order to implement them."
It's late, so I'll offer a few thoughts and we'll further the discussion in the comments section.

1. If Christianity is such a "public faith," why the instruction by Jesus to perform our acts of devotion and mercy privately, to the point that the works of the right hand are not even known by the left?

2. If the Great Commision is a charge to strive for "global Christendom," then why didn't Paul or Peter issue this clarion call when they specifically addressed the role of the believer in society (Rom. 13; I Pet. 2)? "Living a quiet life" and "minding our own business" is hardly the stuff of societal transformation.

3. Is the denial of "neutrality" also a denial of "common" endeavors? If there's a specifically Christian position on, say, economics or health care, I've not found it in the Bible.

What I find ironic in much of the transformationist rhetoric is that, to me at least, it always seems like it's those people's culture over there that needs redeeming (black culture, for example), but not our own. So for the sake of argument I'll agree, the ghetto could do with less drugs and crime, but is it not also true that the suburbs of Atlanta would be more "redeemed" if there were no shopping malls, or that Fallujah would have seemed more "heavenly" if hundreds of its civilian women and children hadn't been killed?

Or is the concern for America's greed and Iraq's dead not the right kind of sanctified politics?