I saw the following posted on Facebook with a number of Christians responding with “Amen”:
“This world is not your home. God is your father. Heaven is your home. You’re going there. Be hopeful.” — John Piper
It looks like Piper’s statement is a promotional introduction to the T4G (“Together for the Gospel/Distinct From the World”) April 2018 conference that’s going to be held in Louisville, Kentucky. I understand the sentiment, but some Christians are going to take this statement and become Christian quietists in the name of Christian piety.
You can read the “Affirmations and Denials” to gain some understanding of the theological positions the conference sponsors are taking and promoting. “Elementary principles of the oracles of God” that should have been taught in churches (Heb. 5:11-14). I wonder if there will be any discussion about education, politics, media, journalism, film, law, economics, science, technology, the dominion mandate, etc. Does the Bible address these areas? If not, why not? If it does, in what specific ways does the Bible apply?
Too many Christians are caught between “This World Is Not My Home” (false) and “This Is My Father’s World” (true), and it’s destroying the impact the church could and should be having on this world. Richard V. Pierard comments:
In the nineteenth century . . . German Lutherans made a strong bifurcation [separation] between the realm of public and private concerns…. Religion was the domain of the inner personal life, while the institutional and external, the public, so to speak, belonged to the worldly power. Redemption was exclusively the province of the church, while the law, determinative for external conduct of human affairs, was solely the province of the state. Religion was a private matter that concerned itself with the personal and moral development of the individual. The external order—nature, scientific knowledge, statecraft—operated on the basis of its own internal logic and discernable laws.1
For decades before the rise of Hitler, Christians were subjected to arguments like the following from pastors and theologians based on the “this world is not your home fallacy.”
- The Gospel has absolutely nothing to do with outward existence but only with eternal life, not with external orders and institutions which could come in conflict with the secular orders but only with the heart and its relationship with God.”2
- “The Gospel frees us from this world, frees us from all questions of this world, frees us inwardly, also from the questions of public life, also from the social question. Christianity has no answer to these questions.”3
- Once the Christian understands the moral significance of the state, Wilhelm Hermann declared in 1913, “he will consider obedience to the government to be the highest vocation within the state. For the authority of the state on the whole, resting as it does upon authority of the government, is more important than the elimination of any shortcomings which it might have. . . . For the person who is inwardly free, it is more important [that] the state preserve its historical continuity than that he obtain justice for himself.”4
This world is the Christian’s home. We were born here. God wants us here. We live here. Our homes are here. We work here. We’ve been a part of God’s created order since Adam and Eve. To claim otherwise is to deny the Bible and all common sense. While our ultimate citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20), it didn’t stop Paul from appealing to his earthly citizenship, including his Roman citizenship (Acts 21:39; 22:25-29)…