Musings — Yancey on the US (3 of 3)

(Conclusion)

Toward Greater Faith in Things That Last, and Toward More Long-Lasting Understanding . . .

The New Testament seems to introduce a major shift:  God is now working not primarily through nations, but through an invisible kingdom that transcends nations.  Jesus stressed the kingdom of heaven as the central focus of God’s activity on earth, a kingdom that permeates society so as to gradually affect the whole, like salt sprinkled on meat. . . .
Projecting myself back into Jesus’ time, I have difficulty imagining Him pondering whether Tiberius, Octavius, or Julius Caesar was “God’s man” for the empire. What took place in Rome was on another plane entirely from the kingdom of God. . . .
It appears the church and politics may be heading in different directions.  The more I understand Jesus’ message of the kingdom of God, the less alarmed I feel over that trend.  Our real challenge, the focus of our energy, should not be to Christianize the United States (always a losing battle) but rather to strive to be Christ’s church in an increasingly hostile world. . . .
As America slides, I will work and pray for the kingdom of God to advance.  If the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church, the contemporary political scene hardly offers much threat.
– Philip Yancey, Finding God in Unexpected Places (1995), pp. 99-101

Again, I am concerned by the country’s denial of God, to whatever extent that has occurred.  When foes of God appear, I am sincerely offended.  But I am exceedingly more concerned by individuals’ denials.  The reign of God exists in the human heart, not in political hallows or in the institutions of religion.  The reign of God, unlike any denomination or nation, is forever.

Now, “to be Christ’s church in an increasingly hostile world”!

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