Will of God?

Here’s what a NY Times article posted on Palin:

In the address at the Assembly of God Church here [in Alaska], Ms. Palin’s ease in talking about the intersection of faith and public life was clear. Among other things, she encouraged the group of young church leaders to pray that “God’s will” be done in bringing about the construction of a big pipeline in the state, and suggested her work as governor would be hampered “if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God.”

She also told the group that her eldest child, Track, would soon be deployed by the Army to Iraq, and that they should pray “that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.”  See the rest here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/06/us/politics/06church.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

Many cite Romans 13 as a text that says the rulers and authorities have a seat of authority because God put them there.  Is Palin off base?  Can we speak of a war in the name of the state as a ‘Christian war’ that is ‘God’s will’ (regardless of its ‘just’ or unjust nature)?

I’m not talking about the ‘wall of separation’ as much as the nature of the Christian faith and its compatibility with war (any war) and politics.  I am fascinated with Christians on both sides of the aisle who insist that the other side is so utterly non-Christian.

I long for a day when the church will take the lead in values, peace, stopping abortion, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, providing health care, and stop waiting for the secular powers to do it for us.

9 thoughts on “Will of God?

  1. This woman knocks me out. I understand the infatuation of Obama from mine with Sarah Palin. The best kind of change is reform, not to the left, but to the federalist principles that avoid bigger government and “earmarks”. If they don’t eviscerate her for being a conservative woman, she’ll bring a lot of fresh air to the Beltway culture, called the swamp in Georgetown and environs. God’w will will be done no matter who wins, I believe. I’d just enjoy it more if it was red state values and approaches rather than blue state.

  2. The only thing is, Morpheus, gov’t has grown more under the last Three Republican presidencies than under the last three Democrat presidencies. I don’t believe the hype that Republicans today represent small gov’t. They just build bigger gov’t in ways different than the Dems do, but the Dems have done it to a lesser degree.

    I have not seen enough from this ticket to make me think they represent any significant difference than the last three Republican Big Gov’t presidents.

    I agree though, that God’s will will be done regardless. It’s just that I don’t think God’s in the business of choosing or endorsing specific leaders.

    Some leaders will be further from God’s Will in some ways and some in other ways, and in varying degrees. Seems to me.

  3. Fr Neo, responding to your last paragraph, I too once longed “for a day when the Church will take the lead…zippity-doo-dah…and stop waiting for the secular powers to do it for us.” I am not in that place anymore. In fact, I even used to long for a day when the Church would actually take seriously Christ’s commission “to make disciples” as well as “baptizing them in the Name of…” instead of running “social clubs in drag disguise,” as Bob Dylan so aptly put it.

    At best, we have a Church that can be depended on to baptise (infants whose parents are not disciples, and so depriving them of part of the grace of baptism—believing parents), marry (hopefully man-woman unions, and even the union of virgins, if they can find any), and bury (hoards of unconverted but nominally Christian strangers, sometimes called “my spiritual child” by the officiating priest, who didn’t even know them). At worst, we have churches that operate bold-facedly as shamanistic, materially-motivated redemption centers, where the name of Jesus is thrown around as a spell to bind devils and unleash God’s prosperity for the faithful.

    Yes, I admit, I used to long for a day “when the Church would…”—but no more. That doesn’t mean I don’t hope for and encourage any congregation, especially my own, or any church (denomination), to “seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness” as a corporate body. Why? Because I see that God is faithful and He is always and everywhere at work among those who seek Him, even in spite of their church affiliations. (Yes, I believe there are churches with correct doctrine and false, just as I believe there are individual believers who are true theologians and others who are nearly vacant of wisdom and vision, yet still hang on.)

    But to imagine that “the Church,” whatever we mean by that—and please, brother, don’t allude to some monstrosity like the Roman Catholic polity as being possibly what must be held to be “the Church”—to imagine that the Church will somehow “take the lead” in some corporate and effective way, to wipe out the ills of the world, well, I think that is folly.
    Even at its highest point in the late Roman, early Byzantine period, with all the great saints at work in the course of a couple of bright centuries, for the Church it was still a battle, corporately and locally, and rarely was the Church able to maintain the many good works it started. A very great difference between that time and this lies in the fact that our secular politics now is “democratic” instead of “despotic.” Without going into detail about the advantages of monarchy over polyarchy, we all know that one apostle could convert a whole nation (or at least lay the groundwork of structures to effect that conversion gradually) by winning the faith of a prince. I don’t believe that we are in that situation anywhere in the world today, and a day like that will never come again, until the King Himself comes.

    And come He certainly must, and may it be soon.

  4. I don’t believe that we are in that situation anywhere in the world today, and a day like that will never come again

    Thank God. We don’t need any more Christianity of nations by baptizing kings. Twas a bad idea the first few times around.

    Still, there’s no reason that I can see why we ought not encourage the church to be the church and live up to its ideals. No, we probably won’t have whole nations of people living up to our best ideals.

    But we CAN and do have whole communities of people living up to our ideals. And we can and do have whole communities of communities doing likewise.

    And that would be what I’d like to see.

  5. As I said,
    “That doesn’t mean I don’t hope for and encourage any congregation, especially my own, or any church (denomination), to “seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness” as a corporate body.”

  6. This is maybe a little off subject for the comments, but I just wonder what people here think about the free use Palin and others make of the phrase “Will of God.” In the original post Romans 13 is mentioned. I’m curious as to what everyone thinks about that. Is this speaking of a specific government in a specific place and time (I.e. the Roman empire)? Does this apply to every government? Did this apply to Nazi Germany?

    Also, what do people think about differentiating between “God’s Will” and “God’s Plan”? Is it possible that these governments are being used in God’s Plan without them being “God’s Will”. In other words, God can make Chicken Salad out of the Chicken Poop we’ve made of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that His will for us is to make all that Chicken Poop. Right? Just because God can use the depths of my sin to make me realize that I need Him, that shows it can fit His plans, but is still not His Will. At least that’s what I think. How about everyone else?

  7. One of the greatest (if not THE) was the embrace the Church extended to the state in the 4th Century. The era of Christendom is over, praise be to God!

    The error of both right and left is the thought that their vote, their party, will usher in the Kingdom of God (based on either the Evangelical Capitalist model or the Marxist Social Gospel/Justice model. Both of these are ananthema!

    My hope is that enough individuals will start seeking the Kingdom first, form communities of folk seeking the Kingdom, and providing for the least of these. Faith and Works in action!

    Now, can we get on with the work of the Great Commission?

  8. In reverse order, brothers!

    AMEN to Nonjuror’s entire comment, along with all its implications.

    AMEN to Andrew’s second paragraph. Brother, you’ve got it right. I know you’re asking questions in this paragraph, but you’ve also written the answer as you see it, and you’re on the right track. “…these governments are being used in God’s Plan without them being ‘God’s Will’.” Yes, this is and always has been true of any human institution and how it fits in with God’s will versus His plan.

    Andrew’s paragraph one: Romans 13 has to be taken to mean that “in general” government authorities are to be obeyed, but this teaching cannot be set up against the call of Jesus Christ. In other words, we follow the voice of Jesus as revealed in scripture and in scripturally enlightened reason, following not merely the letter (as explicit in Romans 13) but also the spirit of the Word of Truth. As a matter of historic fact, the Roman Empire was one of the greatest and best human constructs for governing an entire world that has ever been seen. At the time Paul wrote to the Roman church, this was still the case. There was no such thing as persecution yet, because Christians were just barely becoming known to the state. As a matter of fact, too, persecution against Christians, even in the Roman Empire, was limited to a few terrible scourges, and always based on not what educated Romans predominantly desired, but on the warped ideas of a few people in power, or their flatterers. So even the Roman Empire needed to be obeyed. In modern times, and thruout all history, Christians have for the most part obeyed civil authorities, except when the Word of God taught them otherwise. I will obey the US government in payiong my taxes and observing customary law, but should I ever be prevented from evangelizing in public, for example, I can’t say that I would obey that prohibition. For me, that’s where the line is drawn, or at least one of the places. If I were alive in Nazi German times, I would hide Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, in short, any human who was under the state’s death edict. That’s what my Polish ancestors did in WWII, and they paid the price. I have to be ready to pay the price if the same happened here. I think the family story that best exemplifies how the Christian should respond to the state in brutal times is the Ten Boom’s in Holland. The film The Hiding Place is one of the best films ever made to show EXACTLY how we are to obey the state, even when it wants to kill us. There’s obedience to the state, and obedience to God. As Jesus said, “Show me a penny…”

  9. Father Neo (Stace) i am so glad to see frequent and recent posts on your blog. keep up the good work! I recommended it today to about 30 of my friends, and sent out your link to them. God bless, Byzantine Christian (Lance in Minneapolis)

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