Here’s another suggestion flowing from the 2012 presidential election in America: It is time for a remnant to serve the nation.
America was founded by men and women who were consciously Christian. They were Puritans in heart and mind, the grandchildren of the Reformation in Europe and children of the First Great Awakening in America. Over the ensuing generations, their ilk has diminished. More and more Americans have embraced an atheistic, Darwinian perspective. And perhaps a majority of Christians have adopted a dualistic framework. These changes have left a remnant of Christians seeking to think and act consciously as Christians in the public square.
By “remnant” I have in mind faithful, orthodox, thoughtful, wholistic, activist Christians. As such, they are rebels against the world system. The apostle Paul called them children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Phi 2:15 ESV).
The OT prophets spoke of the remnant as those who are “left over,” the “remainder” after a war, flood, famine, or apostasy. They are the seed corn from which a new harvest can grow, the kernel from which a new nation may arise, the embers from which a new fire can be kindled. The remnant will not only find hope for their own preservation, they represent the hope for a nation to be revived and reformed.
Throughout history, God has always had His remnant. In the book of Hebrews we are introduced to the concept as the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews chapter 11. The writer goes on to speak of them as
… having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Heb 11:13-16 ESV)
As Christians, we are citizens of two kingdoms. We live in a nation and culture which comprise the kingdom of this world. And we are citizens of the kingdom of God. The principles of the kingdom of God comprise God’s own intentions for His creation: the kingdom is for this world. We represent the interests and virtues of the King. We are to live as citizens of heaven in the midst of the struggles of our earthy existence.
The remnant are not just survivors waiting for the end. We are to live as free women and men, shaping the course of history in our family, community, and nation. The remnant is not passive but pro-active, making those tiny pushes that bring reform to nations.
Francis Schaeffer always called the church to be “counter cultural.” We are to represent the culture of the kingdom of God, and this culture will cut through the political culture of both the right and the left.
Richard Pearcey speaks of the remnant as the resistance – “hardwired that way by the Creator himself.” We are to stand against evil in all its forms: moral, natural and institutional. We are to speak the truth to lies, seed the hideous with beauty, confront evil with good, corruption with justice.
The late Francis Schaeffer put it like this: “Truth always carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong.”
We are not to be for appeasement – the easy way out; we are not to sacrifice principle. Again, Francis Schaeffer warns us, using abortion as an example of the larger battle of worldview:
Certainly every Christian ought to be praying and working to nullify the abominable abortion law. But as we work and pray, we should have in mind not only this important issue as though it stood alone. Rather, we should be struggling and praying that this whole other total entity “(this godless) worldview” can be rolled back with all its results across all of life.
In one final blog on the 2012 election we will examine how the remnant can engage.
- Darrow Miller