Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Christian Socialists Misguided

So many Christians are either ill-informed about what the Scriptures actually teach, or they are stubbornly resisting the whole truth.

Mercy is the ministry of the Church, not the state. The role of the state is Justice. Both mercy and justice are Biblical responses to lawlessness.

When Christ offered Himself upon the cross, He wed mercy with justice. God did not give us amnesty from our sins. Christ embraced our penalty and took upon Himself the justice that was due us. Thus, the penalty was paid. God did not wink His eye and say, "I will let your lawbreaking go this time." No. He exacted the penalty due us from His Son.

What happened on the cross was a legal transaction.

Mercy and forgiveness are priestly functions. The ministry of Jesus Christ on the cross was a priestly one. The Church, too, is to perform priestly functions, acting as a dispenser of God's grace and mercy. We are to show mercy to all whom we can.

The state however, does not have a priestly function. In God's structuring of things, the state's role is to bear the sword, to make sure that justice is done.

Christian socialists want to make the state the church. They either do this willfully, or ignorantly. For example, when our government set out to right the wrongs of past racial injustices, changing the laws and enforcing them was all they should have done. This was clearly a correct application of justice. But they did not stop there. They began to function in a priestly role as well, seeking to re-order and re-shape society at large.

Socialists want the nation made over in their image, forced upon us from civil authority. They want us to think a certain way, to speak a certain way, and to act a certain way. This is nothing more than a religion. And it ISN'T a Christian one.

Amnesty for lawbreaking illegal aliens and the corporations that hire them will bring nothing but more chaos, more confusion, and the further deterioration of our culture. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the race or ethnicity of the illegals. It has everything to do with "winking" at the lawbreaker. And that can only take us as a nation, even further down the path to destruction.

When Christ returns He will come, not as the High Priest, but as the Righteous Judge.

2 Comments:

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous George Taylor said...

I believe Mark has this precisely right. Although it would be unfair to characterize all "Christian Socialists" to be fuzzy on Christian doctrine, there is a strong possibility of a distorted view of Christ's atoning work on the cross, as Mark suggests, when or if one wants to see the state doing the work of the church, but by extending a blanket "mercy" without any "cost factor" with regard to their law-breaking.

One of the first aspects of Christian thought to be watered down or eliminated from "polite discourse" in the church at large is the substitutionary representation of "the Lamb of God" who died and literally shed his blood as propitiation for the sins of repentant humankind. (I speak from an historical viewpoint, not a prejudicial or doctrinal position -- that is, I'm simply reporting here the historical decline and deterioration ("progress"?) of the church's early creedal and council positions on Christ's provision of a salvific solution for man's sin and estrangement from a holy God.)

In John R. W. Stott's definitive volume, The Cross of Christ, published first in 1986 (commissioned by IVP, UK), he states in his preface that he undertook to add to the literature on the subject primarily because he did not see in the extant writings on the cross enough of the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross on behalf of sinners, making a "way" for them to God, who could not wink at or overlook sin. Stott makes much of the mysterious and awful declaration in Isaiah 53 that "it pleased God to crush him (the suffering Messiah)."

Why did the Messiah "become" sin for us, he who knew no sin and was not, ever, a sinner himself? He did so as the sin-bearer, to accept and exhaust all the justified wrath of God in judgment on sin and the breach of his own law and character. Thus, there is a price to be paid for sin (law-breaking) that cannot be overlooked or swept under the proverbial rug.

I do not know enough church history to state dogmatically whether there is always a direct correlation between the desire to see the state step in and offer amnesty to illegals and a fuzzy view of redemption and the blood atonement as a propitiation for sin (that is, a payment exacted, not paid by us sinners but by Christ the Savior). As Weaver states, it could be from ignorance or it could be from a faulty view of atonement and the doctrine of sin.

 
At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

I agree that it is not the state’s place to enforce Kingdom mandates. “Christian Socialists” are undoubtedly misguided in wanting to enforce care for the poor and the alien onto the general population. Were the Church doing the work it is called to do there would be far less vacuum into which various well-meaning groups would feel a need to step.

As to equating Christ’s atoning work on the cross for our lawbreaking (sin) and the prosecution of “lawbreaking” illegal aliens, I’m not sure whether I am with you or not. These seem (to me) to be two different kinds of lawbreaking. The illegal alien issue is complicated---not least by God’s mandate for us to care for widows, poor people and aliens. Breaking God’s law is not the same as breaking the state’s laws; in fact, we may even break God’s law by initiating laws of our own (see the abortion issue).

The government of the United States is different from the Government of God and we must be careful not confuse them. It seems (again to me) that it’s possible to honestly make the distinction clear when it comes to paying for programs (i.e. “The Church should take care of the poor and not the government using our tax money”) but not make the distinction clear when it comes to the illegality of aliens entering US borders. The laws a nation makes governing and protecting its borders are “de jure” laws (laws made by man to govern, like speed limits) rather than “de facto” laws (laws made to govern essentially immoral behavior, like stealing and murdering). I know of no scriptural warning not to enter the boundaries of other countries without papers. I don’t say that it should or should not be prosecuted under the laws of the US government; I am simply suggesting that these are not necessarily people who are breaking God’s moral law. The entire Exodus account is the account of several million illegal Hebrew aliens. Just my thoughts…

 

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