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Natural Order of Things

Nortega came up a good topic. He said:

If you can, would you mind explaining why we should use our (bodily or spiritual) capacities for the ends to which they are ordered? […]

To my knowledge, the notion of ‘ordered’ in the sense in which I am using it derives from Thomistic and (originally) Aristotelian philosophy. So when something is ordered, we could say it is ‘meant for’ something, or that this is its ‘reason for existence’ (raison d’être) […]

So I guess my question would be, though it may be easier to argue for something ‘natural purpose’, what I find more daunting is arguing why we should care about something’s ‘natural purpose’.

What is Natural Order

Okay, before we dive into the actual question why one should care about the natural order of some things, we really have to dig a little in the background of this concept.

In modern day theology, the natural order would be defined as a created order in which man would be directed to an end or destiny that is strictly proportionate to his capacities, powers, and desires. It is used to distinguish what is meant by supernatural and supernatural order. Natural order is part of what we call natural law which is built upon two assumptions. First, there is an order to nature—that nature conforms to a law and isn’t chaotic. Second, humans are rational creatures that can discover this order, which is binding on everyone because the Lord God gave men and women reasonable souls.

The idea of natural order is commonly used in apologetics as a means to make God known through reason instead through supernatural revelation. A natural theologian looks at nature—forests, mountains, the faces of people—and concludes things about God’s character and personality from what he sees. The supernatural theologian looks at the Scriptures and concludes the truth about who God is from what he understands from the text.

To make it a little easier on myself, I will use the terms, natural law and natural order, like they are interchangeable. But strictly speaking, they are a little different from each-other.

Example

A good example for natural order could be the traditional order of male and female. While females are best suited to bear children, men are overall better equipped to make them pregnant in the first place. Now, my kids will probably cringe when they hear that I used this awkward example. But still, the example makes a thing or two really clear. You see, we should look at what the Bible basically would have us ask two questions:

  1. What is a thing made for?
  2. What is it thus against?

And in my cringy example we can clearly answer these two questions… Without going into further detail.

Y, X and Z

This was a simplistic example, I know. It becomes more complicated when we talk about other seemingly ordered things. The fact that X is made for Y, does not automatically imply that X is not made for Z. Take your eyes for example, they are clearly made for sight… But does that imply that they can’t be used for communication? Likewise, the mouth which is clearly made for eating, but that doesn’t mean it’s not made for speaking. And to make things worst, even when it’s true that X is not made for Z specifically, neither does that imply that X is made for not Z.

Problems

< p class=””>And here we have arrived at the problematic situation we have with modern-day theology. Although the idea of natural order is very old, it is today that people actually start to stretch the Biblical principles.

The reason fundamentalists cite this doctrine against GLBT people is because they view any variance in sexuality or gender identity as a violation of the natural ordering of husbands and wives in relation to each other. Sadly this ordering is a perpetuation of that hetero-patriarchy where a man’s place is in charge and a woman’s place is in the home […]

The saying, “It was ‘Adam and Eve,’ not ‘Adam and Steve,’” is irrelevant, aside from the fact that most fundamentalists do not realize what ordo creatus naturalis entails as a doctrine. There is no “Natural Order of Creation” that the Christian is expected to fit into.i

The writer of this article assumes that the doctrine around the natural order was partly based on Scripture, partly based on the patriarchal Roman social order. Because of this assumption she reasons towards a straw man argument, saying:

Thus, within the Kingdom of God ordo salutis has superseded the ordo creatus naturalis. This is the context in which Paul declares, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) All distinctions of ruler-subject, husband-wife, parent-child, and master-servant are done away with in mutual servanthood.

Although, undoubtedly there are Christians who believe that men need to rule, or suppress, women, I am convinced that most of us will not look at the idea of natural order in that way. So, the fact that the New Testament tells us that we should serve one another and that we are one in Christ, doesn’t mean that we have to do away with natural order.

Why Should We Care?

So why should we care about the natural order? Believe it or not but many are already deeply concerned with the natural order of things, yes, even without them knowing it.

Dictatorship

Let me give you some examples. The natural law has been the bedrock of western moral and political thought for centuries. However, natural law is distinct from civil laws that are enacted and enforced by legislators. I mean, legislators can come up with laws that seem to contradict what we experience in the natural law. When legislators start to develop dictatorial attitudes, many will automatically fall back in the default idea of natural order.

This natural order basically dictates that we are all created equal because God…

Acts 17:26a

[…] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth […]

Being equal doesn’t mean we are the same, but is does rule out tyrannical leadership. It would be very weird when hard-working people start to celebrate the rise of a dictatorship. Most wouldn’t mind having some rulers who make laws and who are regulating the things that happen in a country. That seems perfectly in order with our concept of natural order. But any deviation on this concept will result in resistance.

Sexualityii

Maybe you can come up with another pillar of modern-day society? It isn’t really difficult, but it might be that you have to think hard since this pillar has been ridiculed by many liberals.

Right! I am talking about marriage. And not just a marriage in the way many governments like to classify it, no I mean marriage in the Biblical sense—that is between one man and one woman.

We shouldn’t think man and woman are unequal or that one is lesser than the other. Absolutely not! Marriage between a man and a woman upholds the dignity of the two because society can only arise from the sexual difference of each. Thus, sexuality aims toward reproduction. God blessed Adam and Eve:

Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28).

This doesn’t mean of course that all marriages result in children but that does not take away the main purpose. It is like eating an apple. You’ll find the seeds, and you just know what the main purpose of these seeds are. Knowing the purpose does not mean that it always actualises. Even though the main purpose is to grow a new apple tree you just might decide to bite the seeds and eat them, and that’s okay.

However, generation is inherently impossible between two man or between two women. In other words, disordered sexuality doesn’t even have the potential for generation and misses the main purpose, that is the natural order.

But there is another main purpose for sexuality. I am talking about unity, and faithfulness or commitment. Just look it up in the Bible, and you’ll find many verses about upholding this unity of a man and a woman. Why? Well simply because it is this unity that makes a society strong.

But you might say that a friendship between two men can be good as well, right? Absolutely! But, this kind of friendship has a different natural order. Men can encourage each-other, they can sharpen each-other, they should help each-other to become strong men who are able to lead their families in a God honouring way.

Provebs 27:17

Iron sharpeneth iron; So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Still, this friendship between two men cannot be a sexual friendship. Their sexuality misses the natural order, the main purpose, because it does not have the potential to fulfil the sexual good of generation. I know many disagree with me on this, but I hope that those who disagree will at least concur with me that it will be very hard for a man to make another man pregnant. Most advocates for gay-marriage know and acknowledge this. That’s why they never attack this natural order of sexuality between male and female, instead they attack the concept of marriage. That is much easier to do, since it is the government who now gets to decide what marriage is.

Get Enough Rest

Remember that I said that most are already concerned with the natural order? Not convinced? Why do you think people really want to have at least one day off per week? What did God say about work? He told us to work six day and rest on the seventh day. And yes, that is a natural order thingy as well.

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

It was Joseph Stalin who tried to do away with the six-day work week in the 1930s. Eighty percent of the workforce were told to go to work and 20 percent to stay home. The normal seven-day week was changed in the nepreryvka, or ‘continuous working week.’ It was five days long, with days of rest divided across the week. While a woman would have a day off, her husband might have had to go to work. Gatherings were very hard to organise because friends and family may had to work on different days. As a bonus the regular church services could not continue any more. There was no Sunday on which everybody would have time off. Both the naming, Sunday and Saturday, were a thorn in the eyes for the communists any way. The Russian for Saturday is Subbota, from ‘Sabbath,’ while the word for Sunday is simply ‘Resurrection.’iii

Anyway, the experiment utterly failed! Why was that you think? It failed on all aspects. Economically it was rubbish. The so-called shared responsibilities often meant no one taking ownership of their work tasks. Talking about natural order… We are called to take responsibility in our work, so what happens if everybody gets the same responsibility. Right, nobody will step up to take charge because everybody gets the same anyway.

It failed family wise because a man’s wife had to be in factory and his children in school while he had his day off. The homes became neglected because there was no time to do some work together. And when the family ceases to function it will soon be felt in society as a whole.

So Why Should we Care?

The initial question was about why we should use our (bodily or spiritual) capacities for the ends to which they are ordered? I think I have taken this concept a little further by also mentioning society. Even though many liberals would want you to believe that we do not have such a thing as natural order, we have seen that all aspects of life have a natural ordering.

God has created our universe and everything in it, in an ordered fashion. He gave us the natural law in which and by which we live our lives. Even those who says they don’t believe in God are bound by these laws. Every time people, or a society as a whole, abandon these laws we end up with something destructive.

Because God is a God of order, we should be, as well. We were created to thin, reason, judge, and consider all aspects of a matter in orderly ways. That’s why God said to us to

[…] come, let us reason together (Isaiah 1:18)

God enjoys it when we talk with Him. We can come with our questions, our studying of His Word, and our willingness, and He will bring order in our disordered thinking. It is beautiful to see that Christians who are really devoted to Him, will become more like Him. Their lives become more orderly, because He is a God of order.

Outro

There is so much more to say about this topic. I think I didn’t even scratch the surface yet. What do you think, are there any orderly things in life that should be followed and even obeyed? Are there aspects in this natural order of things that we can neglect without serious consequences? Let me know in the comment section of this video below! Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

I would like to invite you to follow me on my Odysee channel. This platform which based on a protocol called LBRY. Videos that are uploaded through the LBRY protocol are censorship free.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!

Footnotes

i Kellogg, E, A. The Natural Order of Creation, whosoever, [internet] https://whosoever.org/the-natural-order-of-creation/, 01-11-2004 (accessed 28-03-2022).

ii Marvel, J,. Natural Law and Human Sexuality, Gospel Reformation Network, [internet] https://gospelreformation.net/natural-law-and-human-sexuality/, 06-09-2021 (accessed 19-03-2022).

iii Frost, N,. For 11 Years, the Soviet Union Had No Weekends, History.com, [internet] https://www.history.com/news/soviet-union-stalin-weekend-labor-policy, 30-08-2018 (accessed 30-03-2022).

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However, while civil government is invested with divine authority to rule the state, neither of those texts (nor any other) grants civic rulers jurisdiction over the church. God has established three institutions within human society: the family, the state, and the church. Each institution has a sphere of authority with jurisdictional limits that must be respected. A father’s authority is limited to his own family. Church leaders’ authority (which is delegated to them by Christ) is limited to church matters. And government is specifically tasked with the oversight and protection of civic peace and well-being within the boundaries of a nation or community. God has not granted civic rulers authority over the doctrine, practice, or polity of the church. The biblical framework limits the authority of each institution to its specific jurisdiction. The church does not have the right to meddle in the affairs of individual families and ignore parental authority. Parents do not have authority to manage civil matters while circumventing government officials. And similarly, government officials have no right to interfere in ecclesiastical matters in a way that undermines or disregards the God-given authority of pastors and elders.

When any one of the three institutions exceeds the bounds of its jurisdiction it is the duty of the other institutions to curtail that overreach. Therefore, when any government official issues orders regulating worship (such as bans on singing, caps on attendance, or prohibitions against gatherings and services), he steps outside the legitimate bounds of his God-ordained authority as a civic official and arrogates to himself authority that God expressly grants only to the Lord Jesus Christ as sovereign over His Kingdom, which is the church. His rule is mediated to local churches through those pastors and elders who teach His Word (Matthew 16:18–19; 2 Timothy 3:16–4:2).

Therefore, when a government orders churches to close their doors (or when they strongly advise it), the pastors and elders of these churches should respectfully inform their civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction. Faithfulness to Christ prohibits the Christian from observing the restrictions they want to impose on their corporate worship services.

Said another way, it has never been the prerogative of civil government to order, modify, forbid, or mandate worship. When, how, and how often the church worships is not subject to Caesar. Caesar himself is subject to God. Jesus affirmed that principle when He told Pilate, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). And because Christ is head of the church, ecclesiastical matters pertain to His Kingdom, not Caesar’s. Jesus drew a stark distinction between those two kingdoms when He said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Our Lord Himself always rendered to Caesar what was Caesar’s, but He never offered to Caesar what belongs solely to God.

Pastors and elders, cannot hand over to earthly authorities any privilege or power that belongs solely to Christ as head of His church. Pastors and elders are the ones to whom Christ has given the duty and the right to exercise His spiritual authority in the church (1 Peter 5:1–4; Hebrews 13:7, 17)—and Scripture alone defines how and whom they are to serve (1 Corinthians 4:1–4). They have no duty to follow orders from a civil government attempting to regulate the worship or governance of the church. In fact, pastors who cede their Christ-delegated authority in the church to a civil ruler have abdicated their responsibility before their Lord and violated the God-ordained spheres of authority as much as the secular official who illegitimately imposes his authority upon the church. To make matters a little more clear we include a paragraph of Grace Community Church’s (California, US) doctrinal statement:

We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church, however, through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. The elders should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19–31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4–7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1–4).

In short, the church, does not need the state’s permission to serve and worship the Lord as He has commanded. The church is Christ’s precious bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23–27). She belongs to Him alone. She exists by His will and serves under His authority. He will tolerate no assault on her purity and no infringement of His headship over her. All of that was established when Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18).

Christ’s own authority is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And [God the Father has] put all things in subjection under [Christ’s] feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:21–23).

Accordingly, the honour that we rightly owe our earthly governors and magistrates (Romans 13:7) does not include compliance when such officials attempt to subvert sound doctrine, corrupt biblical morality, exercise ecclesiastical authority, or supplant Christ as head of the church in any other way.

The biblical order is clear: Christ is Lord over Caesar, not vice versa. Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church. Conversely, the church does not in any sense rule the state. Again, these are distinct kingdoms, and Christ is sovereign over both. Neither church nor state has any higher authority than that of Christ Himself, who declared, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Notice that this article is not making a constitutional argument, even though the First Amendment of the United States Constitution expressly affirms this principle in its opening words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” A similar statement can be found in the constitutions of many other countries. The right this article is appealing to was not created by these Constitutions. It is one of those unalienable rights granted solely by God, who ordained human government and establishes both the extent and the limitations of the state’s authority (Romans 13:1–7). The argument therefore is purposely not grounded in the First Amendment or any other constitution around the world; it is based on the same biblical principles that many of these constitutions are founded upon. The exercise of true religion is a divine duty given to men and women created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27; Acts 4:18–20; 5:29; cf. Matthew 22:16–22). In other words, freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state.

An additional point needs to be made in this context. Christ is always faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). Human governments are not so trustworthy. Scripture says, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). That refers, of course, to Satan. John 12:31 and 16:11 call him “the ruler of this world,” meaning he wields power and influence through this world’s political systems (cf. Luke 4:6; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12). Jesus said of him, “he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). History is full of painful reminders that government power is easily and frequently abused for evil purposes. Politicians may manipulate statistics and the media can cover up or camouflage inconvenient truths. So a discerning church cannot passively or automatically comply if the government orders a shutdown of congregational meetings—even if the reason given is a concern for public health and safety.

The church by definition is an assembly. That is the literal meaning of the Greek word for “church”—ekklesia—the assembly of the called-out ones. A non-assembling assembly is a contradiction in terms. Christians are therefore commanded not to forsake the practice of meeting together (Hebrews 10:25)—and no earthly state has a right to restrict, delimit, or forbid the assembling of believers. Many Christians have always supported the underground church in nations where Christian congregational worship is deemed illegal by the state.

When officials restrict church attendance to a certain number, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the saints to gather as the church. When officials prohibit singing in worship services, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the people of God to obey the commands of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. When officials mandate distancing, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible to experience the close communion between believers that is commanded in Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. In all those spheres, we must submit to our Lord.

Although Christians in America and Europe may be unaccustomed to government intrusion into the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is by no means the first time in church history that Christians have had to deal with government overreach or hostile rulers. As a matter of fact, persecution of the church by government authorities has been the norm, not the exception, throughout church history. “Indeed,” Scripture says, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Historically, the two main persecutors have always been secular government and false religion. Most of Christianity’s martyrs have died because they refused to obey such authorities. This is, after all, what Christ promised: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). In the last of the beatitudes, He said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11–12).

As government policy moves further away from biblical principles, and as legal and political pressures against the church intensify, Christians must recognise that the Lord may be using these pressures as means of purging to reveal the true church. Succumbing to governmental overreach may cause churches to remain closed indefinitely. How can the true church of Jesus Christ distinguish herself in such a hostile climate? There is only one way: bold allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even where governments seem sympathetic to the church, Christian leaders have often needed to push back against aggressive state officials. In Calvin’s Geneva, for example, church officials at times needed to fend off attempts by the city council to govern aspects of worship, church polity, and church discipline. The Church of England has never fully reformed, precisely because the British Crown and Parliament have always meddled in church affairs. In 1662, the Puritans were ejected from their pulpits because they refused to bow to government mandates regarding use of the Book of Common Prayer, the wearing of vestments, and other ceremonial aspects of state-regulated worship. The British Monarch still claims to be the supreme governor and titular head of the Anglican Church.

But again: Christ is the one true head of His church, and we should honour that vital truth in all our gatherings. For that pre-eminent reason, Christians cannot accept and must not bow to the intrusive restrictions government officials want to impose on our congregation. The writers of this article offer this response without rancour, and not out of hearts that are combative or rebellious (1 Timothy 2:1–8; 1 Peter 2:13–17), but with a sobering awareness that they must answer to the Lord Jesus for the stewardship He has given to the shepherds of His precious flock.

To government officials, the writers respectfully say with the apostles, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge” (Acts 4:19). And their unhesitating reply to that question is the same as the apostles’: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Let us pray that every faithful congregation will stand united in obedience to our Lord as Christians have done through the centuries.


Addendum

Many elders and pastors considered and independently consented to the original government order, not because they believed the state has a right to tell churches when, whether, or how to worship. To be clear, they believe that the original orders were just as much an illegitimate intrusion of state authority into ecclesiastical matters as they believe it is now. However, because they could not possibly have known the true severity of the virus, and because they care about people as our Lord did, they believe guarding public health against serious contagions is a rightful function of Christians as well as civil government. Therefore, they voluntarily followed the initial recommendations of their government. It is, of course, legitimate for Christians to abstain from the assembly of saints temporarily in the face of illness or an imminent threat to public health.

When the devastating lockdowns began, it was supposed to be a short-term stopgap measure, with the goal to “flatten the curve”—meaning they wanted to slow the rate of infection to ensure that hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. And there were horrific projections of death. In light of those factors, many pastors supported the measures by observing the guidelines that were issued for churches.

But they did not yield their spiritual authority to the secular government. Many said from the very start that their voluntary compliance was subject to change if the restrictions dragged on beyond the stated goal, or politicians unduly intruded into church affairs, or if health officials added restrictions that would attempt to undermine the Church’s mission. Pastors and elders made every decision with their own burden of responsibility in mind. they simply took the early opportunity to support the concerns of health officials and accommodate the same concerns among the church members, out of a desire to act in an abundance of care and reasonableness (Philippians 4:5).

But we are now more than twenty weeks into the unrelieved restrictions. It is apparent that those original projections of death were wrong and the virus is nowhere near as dangerous as originally feared. Still, roughly forty percent of the year has passed with chruches essentially unable to gather in a normal way. Pastors’ ability to shepherd their flocks has been severely curtailed. The unity and influence of the church has been threatened. Opportunities for believers to serve and minister to one another have been missed. And the suffering of Christians who are troubled, fearful, distressed, infirm, or otherwise in urgent need of fellowship and encouragement has been magnified beyond anything that could reasonably be considered just or necessary. Major public events that were planned for 2021 and 2022 are already being cancelled, signalling that officials are preparing to keep restrictions in place into next year and beyond. That forces churches to choose between the clear command of our Lord and the government officials. Therefore, following the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, Christian, pastors and elders should gladly choose to obey Him.

Stand united in support of the biblical mandate to gather for corporate worship.


Acknowledgements

The original article was written by Grace Community Church, California, United States of America. Apologeet does not have a formal permission to use this article. Apologeet tried to get into contact with the pastors and elders but did not succeed. However, the article is such a well written piece of work that we decided to publish it anyway (with the risk of having to take it down). Apologeet adjusted the article in such a way that it is applicable to all Christians, pastors and elders (basically changing words like ‘we’ into ‘us’ or ‘Christians’). The original article can be found here:

Grace Community Church (2020) Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church (A Biblical Case for the Church’s Duty to Remain Open [Internet] Available from: < https://www.gracechurch.org/news/posts/1988> [Accessed Dec 28 2021].

Series on Romans 13

Romans 13 — Thou Shalt Obey…

What to do with Romans 13:1-7 Introduction And here we are! The last episode of this series. I knew this one would come, and I have been thinking a lot about the applications of Roman 13. I am slightly nervous about making this video (only slightly). Most of what we have discussed until now was […]

Romans 13 — Thou Shalt Obey…

What I Believe Romans 13:1-7 Means Introduction I am a bit doubtful whether I should name this episode ‘What I believe Romans means’ or ‘What it definitely means’. Let’s just begin, and we’ll find out the most appropriate title along the way, okay? There is no Authority Outside God We have discovered in the fourth […]

Romans 13 — Thou Shalt Obey…

What Romans 13:1-7 Might Mean Introduction Sometimes you just want to see whether there are more possibilities than one. Welcome to episode 4 about Romans 13:1-7, in which we are going to do just that! Examining the text to see what else it might mean. We have looked at history and how our predecessors made […]

Romans 13 — Thou Shalt Obey…

What Romans 13:1-7 isn’t saying Introduction This is part three of this series about Romans 13:1-7. In part two we’ve looked at the history around this passage. We’ve seen that it strongly depends on who is in charge how we interpret this text. It is also interesting to see that, as soon as the church […]

Romans 13 — Thou Shalt Obey…

Throughout History of Romans 13:1-7 Let’s dive into the history and see what Christians throughout the ages made of this text. As I said in the introduction Romans 13 seems almost always be invoked by oppressing groups or governments. It is not often that you hear the ‘normal’ people say that we need to obey […]

Romans 13 — Thou Shalt Obey…

Introduction to Romans 13:1-7 In my last video, I asked you what I should do next. I was thinking about explaining some fine but sometimes hard to understand apologetic arguments or some videos about Romans 13. One of you actually posted this comment: @anonimous What should we do if the government is oppressing people? Should […]

And the Church Said Nothing…

Not a topic about apologetics this week. Something else got my attention.

Last week I was reading the news items concerning my home country, the Netherlands. One article triggered my attention. It was an interview with a doctor about all the measures the government took and is still taking to prevent people from getting Corona. This doctor is as far as I know not a Christian, but I might be wrong. She was pretty clear in her opinion. The measures take a bigger toll on people’s health and society in general than Corona does.

Many rights are taken away. People need to show a OR code to be able to go to restaurants and what not. The minister of health actually started to repeat the words uttered by other leaders by saying that this is now the pandemic of the un-vaccinated.

I wish I could recall where I read the article, but I can’t. Anyway, the doctor said that she was astonished with the fact that hardly any doctor spoke out against this policy. No doctors, no psychiatrists, no mainstream news outlet. And then she said it! “Even the church is quiet!” That last statement really hit hard.

Why would a secular doctor say something like that? Why didn’t she just stop at the normal secular authorities? I think I know why! It is because this doctor knows a thing or two about history. In the past—and I am not talking about the last 70 years, but rather hundreds of years—the church was always there when things got out of hand.

Last year, I already discussed the whole issue around the corona measures. In my first message I argued that the Church can’t permit being scared. Let me quote myself:i

… since when do we consider it normal to deny people social contact in the last phase of their lives? And when they die we still think it is normal denying visitors to come? Where, then, are the Christians who oppose this? Was it not the Lord Jesus Himself who touched the lepers, He who was called friend of sinners.

Later, I’ve made another video in which I openly discuss the credibility of the church and with that the message the churches ought to preach. Again, I will quote a little:ii

I believe we will do the same in ten years from now. Not much sooner, because next year the feelings and emotions about this epidemic are still too fresh. No, after about ten years we probably wonder what happened. Our answer might be one of surprise and bewilderedness. “But we’ve had lovely and professional live streams, and we encouraged each other with Zoom meetings. Yes, we actually drank tea and coffee with each other during these great Zoom meetings!”

Yes, but despite all this, the message is clear. We do not believe our own words when we preach that, in Christ there is no fear. In Christ, we stand tall. ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’ (2 Timothy 1:7).

I’ll put the link to these videos in the description below.

So, now we have arrived at that point in which people actually start to wonder why the Church is silent about all the developments around the discriminatory QR code. Last week we as a family, listened to a sermon given by David Pawson. Brother Pawson has already gone to heaven, but his message is still downloadable. He talked about the role of the Church in the second world-war. At one moment he said, and I will paraphrase him:

In the past century the Church spoke out when shouldn’t have, and we have seen the Church being silent when it had to speak.

Is this what’s happening right now? Is the Church silent while it should speak out against discrimination? Is that really the inheritance we want to leave for our children? A weak Gospel which is afraid of going against the ruling parties?

I remember when we still lived in Holland. This is years ago already. Sometimes I preached as well. A few things could not be discussed from the pulpit: Israel; Evolution/Creation; Abortion; the Occult and the Biblical view on raising children. It made the people in church feel uncomfortable. It caused to many discussions. No, rather not talk about these issues. These were things that we might discuss on the Monday evening during the Bible study. Except, we never discussed it there either. I have been in trouble several times for choosing these subjects. Well, maybe also because I wasn’t mild as well. I admit, I wasn’t paying much attention to feelings. But still, nobody else preached on these subjects. Can we now also add Corona and the QR society to the list?

And I know that there are churches who do speak out! They do no allow others to silence them. That’s wonderful! That’s what we read in the Bible. Jesus wasn’t silenced. But these churches are few, and they are frowned upon but other churches and individuals.

This is what Marcus Pittmaniii, the CEO of LOOR.tv said:

For the past 200 years, Christians have believed that things are going to get worse and worse. This faithlessness stunted the entrepreneurial spirit of American Christians. For centuries it was the faith of Christians that expected the world to last, and expected God’s blessings to be generational, that made this nation, and western civilization into the kind of place that would be able to afford to send missionaries to the rest of the world.

Christians no longer build hospitals, we don’t pioneer technological innovations, we don’t build businesses that can be used to bless our great, great, great grandchildren. We look askance when Kanye West said, “This for my kid, kid, kid, for when my kid, kid, kids have kids.”

[…]

Christians built the printing press, but instead of furthering that technology, we used the internet to build online book stores for small Christian audiences while we allowed Bezos to build Amazon. Instead of trying to take over Hollywood and use its resources to serve our neighbors and propagate the Christian worldview, we made cheesy movies that warned people to keep their eyes on the skies because the end of the world will be happening at any moment. Instead of using capital to invest in business and industry, we buried our capital in the back yard and called it stewardship.

Don’t get me wrong; I believe that Jesus will return one day. All Christians do. But I do not believe He will return to a powerless church, hiding like Gideon in the winepresses. I believe He will return victorious, having defeated every enemy (Marxists included) from the right hand of God by the power of the gospel going forth in the power of the Spirit. I believe that when Christ returns, the gospel will have reached every corner of the earth, and so with it the blessings of the gospel that always follow on its train.

Pittman wondered why we invest millions of dollars into nations that are considered to be the poorest in the world. Why we spend so much money on mission somewhere else, but at the same time very few Christians actually decide to spend their money and time in building big companies. Most all monstrous companies are in the hands of secular power hungry people. The kind of people who give donations to poor black people who are starving and then use this to propagate their own agenda.

Don’t get me wrong! I work as missionary, and I depend on gifts for my whole income. So, keep on giving. But! There is nothing wrong with being influential. Nothing wrong with having a position in which you can actually push your ideals. The secular world is doing it and the Church is just quietly doing her thing! Not to loud because we might disturb our secular neighbour in his sleep. Not to loud because our church members might start to feel anxious.

I am making this video in both the English and Dutch language. I am not going to make it into a Bible study. No, I am not going to explain God’s word to you and how this fits in with a pro-active church. You do your homework! Question the pastor and elders in your church. Where are you standing in history? What is your church going to communicate to the world? Are the words of the doctor I started with applicable to you? Or are you speaking out against unjust, discriminatory rules. Are you and your church still credible and relevant to the world around you?

What I have seen in the last year isn’t very ensuring. But as I said! I have also seen some remarkable courage among Christians and churches. I am looking forward to Jesus’ return. Until then, I hope we can work together and really build His kingdom in a world that is rapidly running away from it. It’s time to remember we are not called to put our trust in governments and big industries. Governments and industries that all ran away from Christ and mostly serve themselves, and in doing so, creating a life-destroying world. No we need to remember that we serve a victorious King. A king who called us to be the light of the world.

We need a faith that believes that Christ saves you from sin and hell, but also believes that salvation inspires you to transform the world now.”iv


Footnotes:

i J. Hofmann, (30-07-2020), Christians Dealing with the Corona Crisis, [Online video] https://odysee.com/@apologeet:3/christians-dealing-with-the-corona:5 [accessed 02-11-2021].

ii J. Hofmann, (27-09-2020), Is the Church Losing Her Credibility? [Online video] https://odysee.com/@apologeet:3/christians-dealing-with-the-corona:5 [accessed 02-11-2021].

iii M. Pittman, (28-10-2021), An Eschatology of Victory, [internet] https://news.gab.com/2021/10/28/an-eschatology-of-victory/ [accessed 02-11-2021].

iv Ibid.

The two previous videos I’ve made about this topic:

Christians dealing with Corona (Video)

Christians dealing with Corona (Page)

Is the Church Losing Her credibility? (Video)

Is the Church Losing Her credibility? (Page)

Recommende playlist

https://odysee.com/@apologeet:3/About-Corona-%28includes-Dutch-content%29:c

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-RuM28NuH2EWmufrn4wgKw2sjyqu5Pyn

The Church of Surinam

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsjn109vK2A

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