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…and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. —Revelation 1:6
The Scripture above, and others like it (1 Peter 2:9 among them), remind Believers that our assignment on earth is to “do business until I return” (Luke 19:13). They highlight at least two major roles: that of our ‘kingly” roles and our “priestly” roles. These two assignments are commonly viewed as pertaining to the management side of influencing the nations’ management of the social organizations of humanity. They also apply to the earth’s resources (the kingly) and our role of mediating the spiritual values of God’s Kingdom to a fallen world as we stand for biblical justice and the needs of the poor and the less powerful. Indeed, the Church over the last two thousand years helped build Western civilization on the biblical values of political-economic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments—especially after the Reformation and similarly championed social causes, both morally and ethically. To be sure, we have had outstanding failures in both areas.
However we evaluate our record as kings and priests, both roles carry with them inherently severe challenges. The Scriptures ask us to advocate values and principles of God’s Kingdom in a world that clearly opposes many of them both spiritually and socially, and for which Christ Himself was crucified from a political perspective. The world systems, by their declared purposes, are secularly opposed to Christ while the other competing religions are either indifferent or opposed on essential core points. Presently, the world is increasingly divided.
Conflict and severe pressure reveal who we really are in terms of disciplines and core values. We may attempt to avoid conflict, but we do so at the cost of not seeing ourselves at essential levels. The vast majority of people don’t want to see themselves because they have no available resource-aids they know how to use to help them grow.
Therefore, dodging conflict is a trillion-dollar per year global enterprise. It is everywhere. That is what makes social or cultural upheaval so distasteful; it is almost impossible to avoid its reach into all our lives.
None of this is new. Our spiritual forefathers touched these same dilemmas in Roman times, especially during the Reformation, and in fact, founded our nation as Pilgrims and Puritans seeking to live in a social atmosphere that could resolve these issues. Of course, they ultimately could not, and here we are. What I have maintained for years is that the so-called “left-right game” is stuck and will not become resolved by itself. It is fatally flawed in the way it is currently framed. That we must do something about as my writing over the last thirty years has attempted to address. So for now, I will just say this:
God’s Spirit has trapped us generationally within this complex situation designed to mature us, advance God’s Kingdom, and serve humanity. The stakes are high on many levels; the skill-sets and character attributes we carry into eternity from this will be of value to us all. And that is…
THE BOTTOM LINE.