Sunday, February 26, 2006

Reconstruction or Liberation

Several years ago I was watching Jesse Jackson speak about one of his protesting experiences, and he transitioned into a patented poetic preaching rhythm, and quoted some version of Romans 12:1, saying that his trip to jail was offering himself a living sacrifice. By doing so, he could deliver people from oppression like Moses did the children of Israel out of Egypt. For how crazy that was, many people not knowing the Bible could be drawn in by such serious perversion of Scripture. Many years ago someone signed me up for a subscription to The New American, the magazine associated with the John Birch society. I was 25 and I had truly never heard of either John Birch or The New American. I agreed with some of what the magazine had to say, but for the most part, it just made me angry. I never renewed my subscription when it came time to pay for it. It's easy enough to get angry on my own without getting something sent that could get me mad all the time. Like many of you, I've found both a far right and a far left in this country. I can identify with both those groups more easily than I do with the middle. However, I don't agree with either of them.

The furthest right politically has a reconstructionist world view and the furthest left has a liberation one. Reconstruction says that we can bring in the kingdom of God on this earth through enacting something as close as possible to the Old Testament law. Liberation says that we can bring in the kingdom through progressive social policies that would liberate the poor and oppressed. Both focus on injustice. The first says we bring in the kingdom with enforced morality. The second says that we set up God's throne by giving the poor a fair shake. Both of them involve an allegorial intepretation of the Bible. Both of them allegorize the literal, thousand year reign of Christ on earth, a position called amillennialism. With both views, Jesus brings in the kingdom, but He does it spiritually through his agents on this earth. Reconstructionism has very conservative ambassadors and liberation theology has extremely liberal representatives.

Both of these thoughts have seeped into modern thinking in churches. Churches attempt to reform people through their standards or they try to change them by giving them things. The Bible is clear, however, that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, will set up a literal, physical kingdom on this earth. He will end the problems of poverty, injustice, and unrighteousness. Scripture contains lots of great teaching on the kingdom, but a wonderful synopsis of His kingdom comes in Isaiah 11:1-9. Jesus wants to rule and reign in people's lives today spiritually in prospect of a future physical kingdom on this earth. The changes people covet will actually come through the powerful transformation of Jesus Christ, first in the soul and then physically. He will completely change societal structure, reconstruction, and liberate everyone from their former oppressed condition. Until then, let's keep marching to Zion.

No comments: