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- How Homosexuality Became Normal in the West
- How Evolutionists Explain Poverty
- Lies Enslave, Truth Transforms
- Human Evil, Cosmic Consequences
- NURTURING: The Wonder of Being There
- Personal God, Personal Creation
- The Implications of Moral Freedom
- Work, Save, Give: The Protestant Ethic
- Three Ways God’s Universe Makes Sense
- HOME SCHOOLING: Why It Makes Sense Today
- Christianity is True Even If You Don’t Believe It!
- Moral God, Moral Universe
- What Do Singapore and Apple Have in Common?
- God’s Laws, the “Secret” to Life
- Time Matters: Present, Past, Future
- The Doctrine of the Trinity Matters in Real Life?
- Two Fronts in the War of the Century
God made humans to be free. But free societies do not fall from heaven; they are born within the hearts of people, grounded in biblical principles, and established through obedience to all that Christ commanded. That mandate comes in the context of a war for the hearts and minds of people and the souls of nations, a battle of conflicting visions shaped by three big ideas: moral anarchy, tyranny, and freedom.
Tyranny was the reality of communism and fascism in the twentieth century and is currently espoused by the jihadist minority of fundamentalist Islam. The symbol of tyranny is the sword.
The third big idea, freedom, the root of Euro-American civilization, flows from the gospel of Jesus Christ. The symbol of this way of life is the cross.
This war will not be won by bullets or bombs. It will be won by the side most convinced of the truth of their moral vision. Sadly, the church of Jesus Christ has been crippled in this fight.
For most of the twentieth century, the church was dominated by a dualistic worldview that separated the spiritual realm from the physical. But God is the Lord of all of life, not merely the spiritual. The mission of the church is comprehensive.
Dualism values the spiritual over the material. This view of the Great Commission is concerned only with the future—saving individual souls for heaven. But the biblical paradigm understands that the blood of Christ was shed “to reconcile to himself all things” (Col. 1:20), leading to a mission to restore individuals, nations, and all of creation.
The place of the Great Commission
The Great Commission is God’s mission, God’s “big agenda” for the world. It is a reflection of God’s heart for all nations to be blessed and to flourish. But the Great Commission is also our mission, because God has delegated certain responsibilities for its completion to His people.
Every generation has its own context in which it represents Christ. Our context today is one of war, a conflict manifesting itself on two fronts, the war in the West and the war from the East.
The war in the West is a battle for the soul of the West—the culture war. A domineering atheism confronts a sleeping Judeo-Christian theism.
The war from the East is that declared by a small band of jihadists. This is first a war for the soul of Islam between jihadists and moderate Muslims. The winner will determine the nature of Islam’s future and her relationship with the world. Currently the jihadists are on the offensive both among Muslims and in their assault on the West.
The Great Commission as expressed in Matthew 28:18–20 acknowledges Christ as king of heaven and earth. He has a task for all Christians, nothing less than the discipling of nations. This primary responsibility has two secondary tasks: to baptize nations, overwhelming them with the nature and character of God; and to teach them to be obedient to all that Christ has commanded them, transforming them to reflect the truth, goodness, and beauty of God’s kingdom.
The Great Commission is God’s comprehensive movement to bring about the restoration of all things that have been broken by man’s rebellion against God and His order; it is to be the church’s response to the conflicts raging in the West and from the East.
How will freedom survive?
In 2004 the draft of the European Constitution was completed. Conspicuously missing was any reference to the role of Christianity in laying the historic foundation of European civilization. When a people sever themselves from their roots, whether by neglect or choice, that people and their culture die. Today we are witnessing the cultural suicide of Europe and approaching a tipping point that will determine whether the United States will survive as a nation of freedom.
If the United States and Europe are to remain free, we need to reflect on the gospel roots of our Western civilization. Those living in countries struggling with poverty, corruption, and enslavement need to understand that the foundation of free and just societies is laid in the Great Commission. We need to be people who think from biblical paradigm and principle.
Russell Kirk notes that Greece died because her people refused to think.
Demosthenes, the great Athenian patriot, cried out to his countrymen when they seemed too confused and divided to stand against the tyranny of Macedonia; “In God’s name, I beg of you to think.” For a long while, most Athenians ridiculed Demosthenes’ entreaty. … Only at the eleventh hour did the Athenians perceive the truth of his exhortations. And that eleventh hour was too late. So it may be with Americans today. If we are too indolent to think, we might as well surrender to our enemies tomorrow.
In the West, Christians and non-Christians alike have not thought seriously about the foundations of the Western order and thus have unknowingly acted to sever our nations from their roots. We must wake up before it is too late.
Conscious Christianity required
In recent years, many Christians have loved Christ with all their hearts but not with all their minds. The secular and jihadist ideologues facing us know who they are and what they are about. They have a narrative that guides their lives; ideas they want to impose on the world. Writer Paul Berman states, “The terrorists speak insanely of deep things. The anti-terrorists had better speak sanely of equally deep things. . . . Who will defend liberal ideas against the enemies of liberal ideas?”
The founders of the US were Christian. Most were Puritans or influenced by Puritan thinking. The Puritans crossed the Atlantic with the Bible in their hands and a biblical worldview in their minds; biblical principles informed their concept of governance. They thought theologically, so the language of America’s founding was theological, not psychological, as is the language that governs national discourse today. The Puritans were consciously Christian.
The church needs to function consciously from biblical conviction, to engage in the conflicts that are dominating and transforming (or deforming) the world today. We are witnessing a battle for the souls of nations and the future of our world. Christians must engage as partners with moderate Muslims and the classical liberals who still believe in truth for the sake of free and just societies.
The war in the West creates an opportunity to restore Christian orthodoxy—a wholistic biblical worldview—to the church. It calls the church to speak the truth to lies, to create beauty in a society that is increasingly ugly and vulgar, and to “be good and do good,” challenging evil and injustice in society.
Our response to these twin wars could reengage the church in fulfilling the Great Commission. May Christians everywhere seize the opportunities before them, for the sake of our communities, our nations, and our world.
- Darrow Miller
This DM&F Classic blog post is excerpted from the book Emancipating the World. For the entire text go here.