Archive for April 30th, 2009

Watchdawggie in trainingThe wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously (Ps 37:21)

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13)

In the past year, we’ve had a number of discussions and articles on the concept of the phrase “of the world”, and the meaning of the word “worldly”. In a nutshell, the Greek concept of “worldly”, the word kronos, deals with systems by which a society words – not a society’s art forms.

The systems of this world are not the systems of the kingdom of God. God does not bring his kingdom through wealth, power, coercion, and political intrigue. In His kingdom, the last are first, the meek are blessed, the poor in spirit are the first ones in, and the peacemakers are called sons of God.

So, “worldly” churches would be ones that preach a gospel of “health and wealth”, or who seek to achieve earthly domination via politics and power.

Worldly Christians are those who have bought into the systems of the world – who borrow beyond their means to repay; who focus on material wealth to the detriment of the poor; who benefit from the oppression of others; and those who see coercion and force as primary means of leadership and for whom humility and admission of error are foreign concepts.

Hypocrisy

Unsurprisingly, the #1 reason many unbelievers give for rejection of the church is observed, unrepentant hypocrisy of its members. Whether public scandals or private irresponsibility, the hypocrisy of churchgoers – coupled with the fact that they look little different from anyone else in their financial and family dealings – is a driving force behind the decline of the impact of the church in society.

Imagining, when the housing bubble burst in 2008, what if all of the Christian households had maintained integrity in their borrowing and little-to-no debt, living within their means? The current economic crisis affecting most of the world would be significantly lessened. The church, by and large, would be in a position to provide material and spiritual comfort to the unwise. In short, the impact would be huge!

Instead, Christians, by and large, are almost equally affected by the economic downturn, opportunities have been lost, and hypocrisy has been put on display.

Just An Example

Boom!  Headshot!Imagine that you’re a Christian, the CEO of a company with a name that implies some level of integrity, and debts upward of $1 million. In a faltering economy, do you a) buckle down and find a way to repay your creditors in full;** or b) stiff your creditors, pay to travel across the country to visit churches you don’t belong to* (where you criticize minutiae and gracelessly spin everything to fit your preconceived notions, offering nothing more than “essentially a Lutheran critique of Wesleyanism”), manage multiple ‘discernment’ blogs (where you beg for donations), and launch a “Pirate” “Christian” “Radio” station (three lies for the price of one!)?

I don’t know about you, but the choice seems rather obvious to me. (The choice of whether anyone in their right mind ought to lend to you again ought to be clear, as well, based on your decision…)

A few weeks back, much of the US watched, as rag-tag pirates from a fourth-world country tried to extort cash from unarmed victims, threatening to execute the innocent lives of others. Here in the first world, we just execute a “general assignment for the benefit of creditors” or declare bankruptcy, politely taking the cash w/o the physical coercion.

Off the Somali coast, the US Navy Seals effectively dealt with the Somali pirates. Here in the US, though, it looks like the ‘pirates’ just keep moving on – preying on the generosity of others, while stabbing innocent bystanders in the back to pay for their daily bread.

Where are God’s version of the Navy SEALs when you need them?***
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*It has been submitted that travel costs for 2008 were < $2000, paid from personal – not company – funds (which was not insinuated, just clarifying).

**It has also been submitted that one of the creditors was the CEO, himself, and that he was owed $140,000.

***It has also been noted to me by one of the other writers that this article is not in line with the “branding” of CRN.Info (we typically don’t involve ourselves in ‘opposition research’ – our niche is defending those who have been attacked and offering devotional/research materials on the diversity of (sometimes differing) views within Christian orthodoxy. This is not a new direction we’re intentionally heading down, so don’t expect many articles like this one…

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