Sunday, July 23, 2006

Thoughts from the Beaches of the Big Island of Hawaii -- Part 4

In the July 2006 issue of Christianity Today, Philip Yancey wrote a brief article entitled The Lure of Thoecracy. Here are some of his thoughts.

Yancey tells of a Muslim man who made the following statement to him.

I find no guidance in the Qu'ran on how Muslims should live as a minority in society and no guidance in the New Testament on how Christians should live in the majority.

This man put his finger on a central difference between the two faiths. Christianity, tends to thrive cross-culturally and counter-culturally, often coexisting with hostile governments. Islam, geographically anchored in Mecca, was founded simultaneously as a religion and a state.

In many ways Muslims see the state and their faith as one. Islam is not a private religion -- it is very public. It is a way of life. In many ways, Islam is theocratic.

What Yancey and I find interesting is that some of the very things many Christians resist in Islam, are the very things many Christians find tempting. Christians seek political power and a legal code that reflects Biblical morality (hence the focus on amendments to the constitution on marriage, homosexuality, banning abortion, etc.). Christians are rightly concerned about raising their children in a climate or moral decadence. Christians, like Muslims see others as a stereotyped community, rather than as individuals.

I have heard from many Christians the idea that we need to change laws to reflect Biblical values in order to preserve our Christian heritage. This has got me wondering -- maybe Christians and Muslims are not that far apart. Both of us are tempted to impose our worldview on the nation we live in. The Qu'ran encourages Muslims to do this. The Bible however, seems to be silent on this issue -- prefering to see individuals and communities transformed from within by the grace and power of God.

I wonder what we should be spending our time on. Signing petitions and attempting to exert political pressure -- or simply doing the Kingdom of God -- living justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God?

1 comment:

SocietyVs said...

Karl, that is a great post (as usual). I find the church trying to seep into political affiars and if that works for them, great. However, for me, I don't see who we can impose faith upon someone and try pretend we should have a 'Christian' gov't.

There is now way we can ever have a Christian kingdom until Christ comes back. We may practice our beliefs and morals but wide-spread acceptance of 'non-violence' in a political sphere is just unheard of. Unless we invoke OT law and live by that standard, which I am not prepared to do under Christ's law of grace.