Tonight I will complete my last module of the term in Bible College. I have been teaching on God’s Ekklesia and Societal Transformation. It’s a massive subject and a predominant theme in Scripture. Sadly, it is one which many believers are not that familiar with.
Even those whose theology and worldview embraces the immanent Lordship of Christ and a present-moment dominion over the kingdom of darkness, reduce such to an individual experience to be had rather than a national or societal reality.
We have stopped singing Onward, Christian Soldiers how it was intended to be sung i.e. to advance upon any vestiges of non-Christian life in this world and stomp out the darkness. Instead we have allowed our metron to be shrunk within the four walls of church. Or the multiple screens of a Zoom meeting.
I hope, like me, you don’t accept the use of “we” here but identify with God’s Remnant at this time.
One book that has helped define my thinking in teaching this module is Stephen Spaulding’s OBEDIENT NATIONS. This book is a refreshing read in our 21st century Covid-dominated world. Granted, it isn’t such a sharp, threshing instrument having teeth like the writings of guys like Gary North – including the awesome RULER OF THE NATIONS by Gary DeMar – but it does claw back some ground lost to pessimistic eschatologies in recent times.
Spaulding brilliantly reminds us of the victorious mindsets that our spiritual forebears possessed. He writes compellingly, for example, of experiments in nation-discipling such as Geneva under the Reformers:
Geneva soon became seen as a “city set on a hill” or a “Protestant Rome,” certainly a pilot project for a vision of a nation and/or a city built on biblical principles and living in peace, prosperity, and righteousness. Both Holland and Scotland were transformed through visitors to Geneva. The Dutch visitors were converted through their visit there and took their message of transformation back to William of Orange, converting him to the new faith. John Knox was a visiting pastor in Geneva, studied what Calvin was doing and teaching there, and took it back to Scotland, which then spread to England and eventually to North America. The Geneva Reformers based their strategy on three principles:
1. preaching the gospel to individuals, so that people would be saved and start to be transformed, so that the church would be restored to biblical purity;
2. teaching the city, so that people would know how to live, the authorities would know how to govern, and all would know how to work in their different spheres; and 3. accountability for individuals and leadership in spheres of society, so that the teaching would not just be theoretical but applied in all areas of life.
These people studied the Scriptures, constantly searching for solutions to the city’s crises, wherever they were. This meant principles coming to life in the arenas of family, daily and vocational work, financial principles, education—hence literacy for all, ministry to the poor, the role and functions of government. As much as possible, every facet of life for the whole city—and to a lesser extent, the whole nation—were coming under the spell of the good rule of God.
There can be no doubt that we need to recapture the concept that physical territory is there to be taken for the Gospel and for the Kingdom of God. We are not served well as God’s ekklesia by negative worldviews or gloom-laden eschatologies.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 JOHN 5:4-5 KJV
This must pervade our ideology; indeed must BE our ideology. Being the people of God is not what inspires us to victory – it is what bestows upon us the identity of victors. We overcome because we are hard-wired to.
Overcoming is not mere survival. The Greek nikao means to subdue and conquer.
We are called to disciple the nations, to bring them into subjection to Christ.
God wants obedient nations to be the footstool and inheritance of our Master.
It’s time we got real serious about that. It’s our assignment and it isn’t optional.