The Pin Doesn’t Have to Be Big

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A former student wrote me about my “ten-point theology of resistance” to Obamascare and, boiled down, the question had to do with how all this relates to what we have taught here in Moscow for years about the centrality of worship. There are some related questions, but they all revolve around that one. Since I didn’t think he would be the only one with that question, I thought I would post something about it here.

We have taught for many years that worship is warfare, and so the question is “how does this kind of practical “active resistance” tie in with that?” Another related emphasis of ours is that theology comes out your fingertips, and whatever comes out of your fingertips is your theology. A regular feature of my prayers is that in our worship services we would (in the power of the Spirit) ascend into the heavenly places and glorify Jesus Christ there. Having done so, that we would be in a position to ask God to glorify the name of Christ on earth, as we just finished glorifying His name in Heaven. This is how I believe the kingdom comes — “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is the will of God that Jesus Christ be glorified. As we glorify the Lord in Heaven, the Father glorifies Him on earth, all through the power of the Spirit, and as this unfolds, the kingdom comes.

But as the kingdom comes, there is a point where it, you know, comes . . . as in, shows up.

Another feature of my prayers is that our people would establish the rhythm of their lives around the worship of God on the Lord’s Day, and that each week we would pour the foundation of the structure that

will be built in the week that follows. I pray that everything we do — education, business, arts, kite-flying, poetry, mercy work, political engagement and anything else — would be self-consciously built on that foundation. But surely it would be odd if this were the prayer of many years, and yet no poems ever got written, no businesses started, no kites flown. To change the metaphor, at some point you have to start letting the clutch out. In the realm of politics, there comes a point where you do this (pointing to a particular political action) because of that (pointing to the worship service). If this does not happen, then the centrality of worship is nothing but over-blown language, Christian kidding themselves on Sundays.

In my ten-point post, my reference to gospel-preaching (and worship is a central form of gospel proclamation) did come last, but not because it was an insignificant add-on. In my mind, it is and always will be the sine qua non. Without it, everything else is just heaps of vanity.

So why this, why now? Why is Obamascare the trip wire? And what should Canadian and British Christians do, as their health care system is already a fait accompli? Do they have an equal responsibility to “actively resist?” Well, yes and no. The battle goes differently at different places along the line of battle. A faithful soldier can have many different responsibilities, depending on his circumstances — advance, retreat, or just hold on. But those responsibilities should not include listening to the propaganda broadcasts from the enemy on the radio, and believing them. When it comes to comparisons, we should use a reasonable calculus and not a carnal calculus. This is because sometimes Frodo turns out to be a more important guy than Boromir.

The last question is this: why is this health care bill so important? “Yeah, it’s bad, but shouldn’t we just keep our heads down, and continue to labor on building up the church?” Two points — a church crammed full of people who think this kind of thing is acceptable is not a built up church, but rather a compromised one. And second, the reason for politically-engaged Christians to take action here is this. When Reagan sent the troops into Grenada, it was an insignificant move militarily, but it had a monumental impact. Up to that point, the communists had the “irresistible force of history” argument on their side, and a reversal (however tiny) was enough to puncture that illusion. When the balloon is big, the pin doesn’t have to be. Statism seeks to operate using the same illusion. There is a real chance that this health care mess will be first defunded in 2010 and repealed in 2012. If it is, a major illusion (the inevitibility of statist progression) will be undone. And if that happens, the new opportunities for the church will be enormous.

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