By Chuck Jones.
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world; if it were, my subjects would fight.”
Fighting as the world fights, boycotts, petitions, lobbying and so on, isn’t in Jesus’ arsenal of weapons. Nor Christians killing Christians in war. If we learn to fight with the world’s tactics, then who are we learning from (or disciples of)?
It’s been said by some, “The early church, rather than being on the outside, did all they could to get into it, effect change and improve the system.” This brings up some questions.
When the Apostle James was killed by Herod, where do we read about “improving the system”? Were there protests or riots? God’s justice was that “Herod was eaten by worms.”
Acts 12 gives a good example of prayer rather than protest. Protest would not have been tolerated at all, but prayer can’t be stopped. Indeed the disciples were driven out of Jerusalem because of persecution.
Peter wrote about how to handle this in his first epistle. He didn’t talk about getting involved with the government. Can your child not pray silently in school?
I hold the view that the weapons we are to use are not according to the world’s way. That is to say we don’t need to pick up this world’s weapons in order to bring about change.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
I don’t think that political action is preaching the Gospel. Did Jesus overthrow Rome or try to?
This nation isn’t the Kingdom of God. Preaching the Gospel is our only tool to make any change, and it is one person (of 6 billion) at a time. This is the only way people are brought to repentance and born again to a living hope (Mark 1:14-15).
The lesson is: it’s the individual heart that needs to be changed. That change turns this man’s customers into non-customers, and he’s out of business. This is what Paul the Apostle ran into in Acts 16. I do not read about protests, letters, lobbying or any pressure put on the government to “change.” But I do read about deliverance through Yahweh’s intervention. I would also assert that in Acts 17 Paul again ran into trouble because he was preaching the Gospel against man’s idea of what is right. It is silly to conclude that the Gospel won’t have any effect but man’s methods will!