Friday, May 25, 2007

Church and State cont.

I had a fairly sleepless night after our discussion (no, I do not think the two were related; it was more likely related to the Detroit Tigers slaughtering my Anaheim Angels 12-0) so I did some reading on the question. I came across the following series of blog posts by John Mark Reynolds that I think are outstanding. They center around the upcoming U.S. presidential primaries (if you can consider something still so far in the future, "upcoming") but he addresses many of the things we touched on. I find a lot of commonalities between Mark's position that the government's job is to manage and Reynolds position that the government's job is to administer justice and uphold freedom. I'm certain that there are many dissimilarities between their positions but as you read you will see what I mean. If it is safe to say, as Mark himself did last night, that his position maintains a distinction between Christian personal ethics and a broader citizen ethic, Reynolds' position maintains a closer connection between the two that I am more comfortable with and, in fact, agree with wholeheartedly. Although we just touched the surface last night, my initial reaction to Mark's position is that the line of demarcation between Christian and citizen ethics is too strong. And I don't think it allows general revelation and natural theology (and hence, natural law) enough of a place. But that is a discussion for another time. Here I am intending to give you access to Reynolds' thoughts. The posts are long but quite interesting, even for our Slavic brothers who may be bored by U.S. politics. To such bothers, I suggest reading them due to the fact that Reynolds, a member of an Orthodox Church and quite familiar with Slavic history, makes several comments on these topics that broaden the discussion beyond the U.S. context. Happy reading ...

This Next Presidential Election 1 of 6:
Voting as We Pray

This Next Presidential Election 2 of 6:
Direct and Dispose the Hearts of all Christian Rulers

This Next Presidential Election 3 of 6:
Truly and Impartially Administer Justice
(or Why Mitt Romney Should Never Be King of England!)

This Next Presidential Election 4 of 6:
The Punishment of Wickedness and Vice

This Next Presidential Election 5 of 6:
Maintenance of True Religion and Virtue

This Next Presidential Election 6 of 6:
Peace in Our Time- Looking for Lincoln and Reagan

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Worship on Thursday Night

I decided to open up the blog because some folks were having trouble viewing it. I am not certain that many people are looking at the blog anyway, so the chances of anyone else looking at it are probably slim. But if anyone wants me to change it back, we can. I have made the other authors for the blog administrators who can make changes, so I am not the only one.
I wanted to quote something from Kevin Vanhoozer's Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible on "Worship" (p. 857), under the heading "Corporate Gatherings":
There is every reason to understand the theological dynamic of "whole-life worship" as intrinsic to the regular, corporate and public gatherings of the church. To hold that mutual edification was the piviotal center of such gatherings in the NT (Richardson) is unconvincing (Thompson; Campbell). These occasions - in both OT and NT - are best interpreted as events when "whole-life" worship is concentrated in relation to God in a conscious and directed way, when the people of God are realigned with God and his purposes, and through this realignment, with each other. More fully, in Christian terms, the church faces and engages with God directly, being built up as a fellowship by sharing in the worship of Christ through the Spirit's endwelling.
I would want to say, as I tried to say Thursday night, that what makes this "concentrated" form of worship a sub-species of the "whole-life" worship is not the fact that it is a corporate gathering. There is private "concentrated" worship. Rather the distinctive aspect of it is it's "direct" nature; that the people of God are concentrating on God in a direct way, facing and engaging directly with God in a way that is not typical of daily life. I would be interested in any thoughts on his words.