Quakers and the Sacraments…

The following is actually a comment attached to my April 5 concluding post on Quakerism.  I think it is important enough to pull it out and include it as a separate post.  Thanks eriu49 for sending it.

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I am very interested in your thoughts about Quakerism. I have been attending Meeting since 1995 and find it meets my needs very well.

I found a piece that spoke to your question about why Quakers do not perform Baptism, and it makes a lot of sense to me, so I hope you will find something in it. It is from whittierfirstfriend.org:
Meaning of Sacrament

One of the distinguishing features of the Society of Friends from most other Christian bodies is the absence of the observance of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper from its religious practices. To many of our fellow Christians, the Quaker understanding of the Sacraments is worrisome and appears to disregard what has long been perceived as the plain command of Christ to “do this in remembrance of Me”.

Our purpose here is to briefly interpret the Quaker vision with regard to the sacraments not only for the benefit of the visitor or seeker, but to remind Friends in this generation of the historic roots of the testimony and to inquire if the testimony rings true to our own experience today.

A Sacrament has been described as the intersection where God and human beings meet. Sacrament has to do with the sacred. Through the centuries, even in the mystery religions, primitive peoples believed in the possibility of participating in the life of the divine by eating or drinking something clearly associated with or representing their god in likeness or symbol. The extent to which pagan religions had a direct influence on the development of Christian sacraments during the early stages of the Christian era, is unclear. However, there is historical evidence that the sacramental idea was practically universal in the religious habits and practices of those who became Christians from pagan religions represented throughout the extensive Roman Empire.

The Quaker Emphasis

The Quaker movement was founded on the conviction that the whole of life is sacramental. The founders refused to designate any particular observance or practice as being more sacred than another. They assumed the same position with respect to time or to special days. Sunday was regarded as no more holy than Saturday or Monday. All days are the Lord’s days, all are holy. In this sense, it was a positive witness, emphasizing what Friends were for rather than what they were against.

While both Catholic and Protestant traditions in mid-seventeenth century required the observance of certain rites as a prerequisite for membership, Friends were persuaded that although to be a member of Christ’s body involved no outward rite, it does inescapably require an inward transformation of one’s whole life.

Friends do not consider the observance of the sacraments to be wrong, but they do regard participation in such an outward rite as unnecessary to genuine Christian discipleship or entry into the community of Christ’s people.

Friends use the words “baptism” and “communion” to describe the experience of Christ’s presence and his ministry in worship. John the Baptist was pointing to this when he said: “I have baptized with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Worship reaches its goal when those who worship feel the baptism of the Spirit. Communion occurs when the worshiper communes with God and with those who are gathered in the Lord’s name.

The presence of Christ with his church does not occur by symbol or representation, but in the real communication of his Spirit: “I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, who shall abide with you forever.” John 14:18. Christ needs no rite or priestly intervention to make that real communion or baptism possible.

We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and in communion with that Spirit. If the believer experiences such spiritual baptism and communion, then no rite or ritual is necessary; whereas, if the rite or ritual is observed without the inward transformation which these outward sacraments are intended to symbolize, then the observances become meaningless and hypocritical.

Communion after the Manner of Friends

The Quaker ideal is to make every meal at every table a Lord’s Supper. Again, the reality lies, not in the nature of the material substance, but in the way it stirs the heart of every partaker. The Quakers, and all Christians, are called upon to remember Christ every time bread is broken.

Friends understand and appreciate the fact that other Christians feel the need of ceremonial observances. In fact, we may share this with them, when invited to do so. However, the life to which we are called is one which is deeper than all ceremonies and outward observance.

Friends use the words “baptism” and “communion” to describe the experience of Christ’s presence and his ministry in worship. John the Baptist was pointing to this when he said: “I have baptized with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Worship reaches its goal when those who worship feel the baptism of the Spirit. Communion occurs when the worshiper communes with God and with those who are gathered in the Lord’s name.

The presence of Christ with his church does not occur by symbol or representation, but in the real communication of his Spirit. If the believer experiences such spiritual baptism and communion, then no rite or ritual is necessary; whereas, if the rite or ritual is observed without the inward transformation which these outward sacraments are intended to symbolize, then the observances become meaningless and hypocritical.

For Further Information Read

An Introduction to Quakers by D. Elton Trueblood
Friends View of the Sacraments by Jack Kirk
The People Called Quakers by D. Elton Trueblood

A Lutheran Pastor’s view of good works and Martin Luther’s words


Lutheran’s attachment to the phrase Sola Fida (By Faith Alone) as the foundation of their beliefs sometimes earns them the banner of being very weak in good works. I believe it to be generally true that many Lutherans (in all their synods) shy away from the concept of good works for fear that others will view them as adding works to the salvation pot. I believe that some do it to a much greater degree than others. 

A blog I frequent named Cyber Brethren had a post about works.  http://cyberbrethren.com/2009/10/16/how-to-teach-and-preach-about-good-works/ The author of the blog is Pastor Paul McCain who is currently the publisher of Concordia Publishing House and a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastor. Pastor McCain is probably the most active Chirstian blogger I read. I don’t see how he gets anything done except blogging 🙂 ! I took the liberty of editing the post and including it below. The original post has literally scores of bible verse references that were removed to help the words themselves come out clearly. Go to the blog to see the original post with all of its references.

Here is my edited and reformatted version of the post. (I don’t believe I changed, added, or deleted any of the original words):

According to the “Second Martin,” that is, Martin Chemnitz, here is how we are to go about preaching and teaching about good works:

“Luther used to present this doctrine in a fine way in three points:

1. good works should be done for the sake of God’s will, because to do them is his command and will

  • because He is our Father, that we show ourselves to be as obedient children toward Him,
  • that we be God’s disciples as he loves us and has forgiven us,
  • because Christ has given himself to us, in order that we not serve sin, but walk in the new life
  • in summary, that God be praised through our good works

 

2. we are to do good works for the sake of our neighbor that he thereby be helped and served in his need

  • that we give no one offense,
  • and the doctrine not be ridiculed
  • rather the mouth of the gainsayers be stopped and that others may be won through our good conduct

     

3. we are to do good works, for the sake of our own need, so that through them we may have a certain testimony that our faith is true, and that we are truly righteous and saved by faith

  • that we not perchance deceive ourselves with a false and dead faith
  • so that faith, the Holy Spirit, righteousness and salvation not again be lost, if we live according to the flesh
  • rather that faith be exercised and the calling made sure
  • also for this reason, because God threatens severe punishment temporally and eternally for sin against conscience and promises forgiveness of sins and blessedness, they do otherwise, however, really have rich and glorious reward in this and in the future life, not on account of the worthiness of the works, but rather on account of grace

     

I don’t know if all Lutherans agree with these words of Luther or not but they do help me in understanding what may be the true meaning of good works from Luther’s standpoint. But, as is the case with some Calvinists straying from the original words of their founder, I would imagine that some, but I hope not many, Lutherans today believe that these words go to far in the “works” direction.

I particularly like the third item in the list. You will do good works so that you know your faith it true. I might have used a different word than true but that one is strong enough to get the meaning across. Good works, whether they earn us salvation or not, are commanded by Jesus throughout the red letters in the Gospel text. Let us all try to do good works every day of our Christian lives.

Plan “B”?

This is going to be one of those difficult and probably controversial posts. Is Jesus Plan “B” whereas Adam was Plan “A” that failed? In other words did God really plan on Adam being the benevolent seed of mankind and when that didn’t happen he changed gears and  came Himself (via Jesus) to do the job of fixing things?

This concept has some pretty serious contentions among some Christians today. Some believe that nothing can happen that God did not previously ordain in that he had absolutely everything decided from creation to the end times  even before he started his work. If that is the premise then the above is utter nonsense to them! They believe that God, for whatever reason, planned for Adam to disobey and therefore set the path for Jesus to come a few thousands years later.  Some believe that God puts things in play and then steps back to let man’s free will have a go at it. This view is more in line with this supposition.

I am more aligned to the later I guess.  Part of what convinced me was the book by Greg Boyd entitled God of the Possible. Before you close your mind entirely about this topic I would hope you would look at the arguments in his book. They are very scripturally based and at least convincing to me.  There are several places in the Bible where God obviously changed his mind. If you are one of those who believe in literal and total inerrancy in the Bible please  think twice before you discount this possibility?

As a side note, I will be doing some extensive posts on this topic early in the new year. I just wanted to bring up the topic now to get you (and me) thinking more about it.  There are a lot of bible verses that support this view that God leaves some things open to possibilities while maybe closing some others.

Some interesting discussions…

This is a quick post to tell you about a very interesting discussion happening on one of the blogs I frequent  ( Kingdom People by Trevin Wax).   The URL below is a very good post and comments about the basic differences between Evangelicals and the Roman Catholic Church. I take heart that two people with opposing views can discuss these types of issues without name calling. This seems rare now days. Thanks Trevin for starting this conversation.

http://trevinwax.com/2009/11/24/evangelicals-catholics-on-holy-ground-4-questions-for-chris-castaldo/#comments

Cheap Grace is VERY Expensive!!

The term Cheap Grace was originally found in a book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer entitled The Cost of Discipleship. Bonheoffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. He was hung by the SS as a traitor in 1945 as he rejected Hitler’s rule.

To get started let’s look at the following excerpt is from Wikipedia:

In Bonhoeffer’s words: “cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” Or, to put it even more clearly, it is to hear the gospel preached as follows: “Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness.” The main defect of such a proclamation is that it contains no demand for discipleship.

Bonhoeffer made these claims about the church two generations ago because they were settling for what he called “cheap grace”. He said that they were practicing a brand of Christianity without the cross. This was easy believism.  In many circles it would seem all that was necessary is to voice creedal tenets, such as justification by faith alone. The ability to affirm right doctrine signifies that we are in the club. Dallas Willard has dubbed this as “bar code” Christianity. If we can be rung up by the great scanner in the sky, then eternal life is assured. With this understanding of Christian life, what is the need to have a transformed life?

Is this cheap grace more prevalent today than it was when Bonhoeffer pointed it out almost 80 years ago? I tend to believe it is. Of course our lives are more hectic than they were eighty years ago. It seems obvious that we just don’t spend as much time praising God as our grandparents used to. Many of the 35,000 versions of Christianity that are around today put almost all emphasis on God’s grace and none of our response to that grace. All we need to do is spend a few hours each week in our country club type facilities and everything is taken care of. Even if we miss a few, or even most Sundays that is OK.  Discipleship has almost all but disappeared from our local congregations. We usually do something around the end of the year holidays to make us feel better about ourselves as Christians. Maybe it is putting in a few extra dollars for some poor relief efforts. But those efforts quickly dissappear along with our well intended New Years resolutions.

Call it what you want; cheap grace, McChurch, Church Lite, Bar Code Christianity. It all is pretty much the same. I am just afraid that when it comes to our eternity cheap grace might be very expensive indeed! As I said in the last post we need to live in the Lord moment by moment and not just those times it is convenient for us to do so.

The Varying Theological Views of Justification

This is an awfully theological sounding title and is not typical of what I do on this blog. But as a result of the previous post I just wanted to study a little more on this justification issue. In particular I will be looking at how the major dominations differ in their views of justification. In order to make this manageable let’s break this down into different paragraphs. I will start with the Roman Catholics and Orthodox churches and then show how as a result of the Protestant Reformation others came to view it. Just to understand the magnitude I am going to put some rough estimates on the church memberships being covered. Due to not being unable to discern practices of non-denominational churches which number in the thousands they will not be covered here. All told there are about 35,000 different Christians sects.

  

  • Roman Catholics — The Roman Catholic church who have about 1 billion members, like almost all Christian sects, asserts that people are unable to make themselves righteous; instead, they require “justification.” Roman Catholics believe justification to be a three step process that goes on throughout a person’s life. The first step is accomplished through baptism. The person then progresses in his Christian life, he continues to receive God’s grace both directly through the Holy Spirit as well as through the sacraments. This has the effect of combating sin in the individual’s life, causing him to become more righteous both in heart and in action. This is progressive justification, or “being made righteous”. The last step is the individual’s works will then be evaluated. At that time, those who are righteous will be shown to be so. This is the “final justification.”

     

  • Orthodox Church — The Orthodox Church, like the Roman Catholic Church, believe that justification is a process. Within Christianity, the term orthodox occurs in the Eastern Orthodox, Western Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches as well as in Protestant denominations like the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The most prominent one I believe is the Eastern Orthodox Church which broke off from the RCC sometime in the 5th century. Its members, who total about 225 million, think of themselves as being the original church and that the Roman Catholic Church split off from them. I personally have not studied this so have no opinion on who is the oldest. Anyway, their views of justification are very similar to the RCC. They mainly differ in the last of the three stages. That is what happens at the final judgment.

     

  • Lutherans — Lutherans who have about 20 million members in 20 or more different denominations, generally believe that justification is an event rather than a process. They believe that justification is in no way dependent upon the thoughts, words, and deeds of those justified through faith in Christ. The new obedience that the justified sinner renders to God through sanctification follows justification as a consequence, but is not part of justification. The degree of works that is part of sanctification varies from person to person and is up to each individual to determine for themselves. Lutherans believe that it is possible to lose justification but only by a total loss of faith and basic rejection of God.

      

  • Methodists — Methodists who have about 75 million members in 50 or more denominations, also believe that justification is an event. John Wesley, who is the founder of the Methodist Church, was heavily influenced by the thoughts of Jacob Arminius and the Governmental theory of atonement. He held that God’s work in us consisted of grace, which undoes the effects of sin sufficiently that we may then freely choose to believe. An individual’s act of faith then results in becoming part of the body of Christ, which allows one to appropriate Christ’s atonement for oneself, erasing the guilt of sin. However, once the individual has been so justified, one must then continue in the new life given; if one fails to persevere in that new life or if he in fact falls away from God in total unbelief, the attachment to Christ and with it, justification can be lost.

     

  • Reformed Church — The reformed church who has hundreds of different denominations and counts about maybe 80 million members, gets much of it’s doctrine from John Calvin. Calvin basically believed that God chooses some to go to heaven but most to go to hell and that choice is God’s alone and therefore has nothing to do with the person themself. Therefore many of them consider the process is an event instituted by God and therefore can never be lost by the “chosen”. It must be noted that some churches usually identified as “reformed” do not follow this theology and therefore may have different views of Justification.

     

Wikipedia, which much of the information comes from, summarizes these differences in the following table.

 

Tradition Process
or
Event
Type
of
Action
Permanence Justification
&
Sanctification
Roman Catholic Process Synergism Can be lost via mortal sin Part of the same process
Lutheran Event Divine monergism Can be lost via loss of faith Separate from and prior to sanctification
Methodist Event Synergism Can be lost Dependent upon continued sanctification
Orthodox Process Synergism Can be lost via mortal sin Part of the same process of theosis
Reformed Event Divine monergism Cannot be lost Both are a result of union with Christ

As a summary the Reformation churches and the Reformed churches (about 30% of Christians) generally take man and his actions out of the process of Justification whereas the Catholic and Orthodox churches (about 70% of Christians) hold that justification comes from God but requires action by Christians to come to completion. Who is right about this?  They both can’t be.

Justification?…

This post will be the last and the most difficult post for me in this series on personal reflections in my walk with Christ.

 Justification is an issue that I personally have troubles with. What is the theological definition of justification:

a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon (q.v.) of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Rom. 5:1-10). It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of his Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:3-9).

Pasted from <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/justification>

 We are told that Jesus had to come down from heaven and die on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven. This is one of those things that I just have to take as a “leap of faith” as I just can’t fully grasp it. Yes, I have thoroughly studied all the rationale on how God needs to justify us. (As a matter of fact in my next post I am going to look at how the various sects of Christianity look at justification. They are by no means the same. The basic principle is God had to have some sacrifice in order to look past our sins. He did this by taking on human form and coming to earth to live a sinless life and to be wrongly persecuted and murdered on the cross and then to be resurrected. This may sound sacrilegious to some but my human mind just can’t get wrapped around this idea! If God is totally sovereign, which I know he is, why was it necessary for him to do this to himself? Why couldn’t he just declare us heaven worthy instead of limiting himself to this option? Getting yourself killed so sinners could accepted in heaven is confusing to me??

 By saying this am I saying that I think it was unnecessary for God to come among us in the human form of Jesus Christ? Absolutely not! Just look at the Old Testament history to get an understanding of how miserably we humans were at living a Godly life. God’s chosen nation, who is a primary subject of the Old Testament, again and again rejected him and seemed to be more interested in their traditions than in seeking God’s will. God had sent them prophet after prophet to try and set them right and it did no good! So as the next act of agape love God decided to come down in the form of Jesus Christ to teach us how to love one another and show us how to lead a God pleasing life. Unfortunately even this act has been rejected to this day by of his “chosen” people. By coming to us in human form and living among us Jesus gave us direct revelation in his own words and more importantly by his daily actions. Jesus not only died for our sins but he taught us how to live!

 As I mentioned in a previous post three things I pray daily to Jesus for:

  • To love him more dearly
  • To understand him more clearly
  • To follow him more nearly

(Day by Day – Godspell )

Without the red letters in the Bible this would be much more difficult to do!!

 After Jesus left he came back in the form of the Holy Spirit who is still constantly with us and around us. I sometimes think that we Christians don’t do much homage to the Holy Spirit himself and to his mission but that is future post I guess. So, this accounts for our belief in the Trinity. I am fully on board with this.  

To summarize:

Am I saying that justification was unnecessary? No, I am not; I am just saying that I personally can’t fully grasp the meaning of it. I certainly don’t pretend to have a full understanding of God so I just take it as a “leap of faith” that it was necessary. After all, Jesus even said so in the red letters so I will accept it without fully understanding it. I don’t think it is wrong to truthfully admit that one does not understand something biblical. But, I’m sure some do think that.  

But I do believe that it was totally necessary for Jesus to come among us in order to teach us how to truly love God and to show the same in his daily life. All glory and honor go to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Next time I will get back to the usual topics of this blog. Thanks for putting up with me while I vented some of my personal conflicts about my walk with Christ.

What is the meaning of life? – Part 2

We humans are constantly on the epic journey to find the meaning of life. It drives some of us quite crazy. Let’s look at some of the idols we Americans frequently put in place in our lives:

  • We must have a bigger and bigger home to make our life meaningful — I must admit that I am a regular watcher of the TV show “House Hunters”. On the show is typically a family of mom, dad and often times a small child or sometimes two. The couple almost always says that their current house of 2,000 sq ft is simply too small now that they have a child. They now need at least 3,000 sq ft! The show then follows them around trying to find the dream house. I guess they never listened to grandma, or grandpa tells stories about how they raised 6 kids in a house of less than 1,000 sq ft. And of course they must also have granite countertops and, of course, stainless appliances in the kitchen; nothing else is simply good enough. Constantly seeking more and more is the driving factor in their lives.
  • The CEO’s of American corporations are now typically making more in a day than some of their employees make in a year. It wasn’t that long ago where heads of companies typically made about 20- 40 times the lowest wage earner in their company. Most CEO’s have such inflated egos that they think they are worth the increased amount. After all being so superior to others is the driving factor in their lives and the more money the more superior.
  • Some families spend up to $100/week playing the various State lotteries trying to hit it big. They are convinced that if they just had enough money that their lives would have meaning. I recently watched a documentary entitled “The Curse of the Lottery”. In that show there was example after example of people winning the “big one” and then within three years they were broke and their life was spinning down the proverbial drain! How can that be?? After all they won the big one!! Why didn’t it give their life meaning?

Postscript:  Here is the latest story on winning the “big one” .   http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/92967?fp=1

  

I could go on and on with examples but I’m sure you get the idea. Finding things of this world that will give our lives meaning simply don’t exist. I don’t quote Old Testament scripture often (I dwell in the New Covenant, not so much the old one :)) but here is a very appropriate verse for this post:

Eccl 5:10 NIV

Whoever loves money never has money enough;

Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.

This too is meaningless.

 
So if you are looking to money and the things that it buys to be the meaning of life you better look elsewhere cause that ain’t it. Next time I will give you the secret about the TRUE meaning of life. I suspect many of you have already discovered it, or at least given the nature of this blog know where I am going.

Taking America back for God — Part 2

Last time I pointed out a couple of reasons why I believe that the phrase Taking America back for God to be erroneous statement. This time I will expand my thoughts on this topic and talk about allegiances.

Does God recognize governments and give some more blessings than others? — Except for Israel of course there is little evidence of that in Jesus’ words. And even for Israel, in my mind, refers to the people who have a relationship with God and not the political nation either then or now. God infinitely loves all his children no matter what their nationality or politics is. He loves that child who died of starvation within the last 30 seconds in an African country just as much as he loves you or your children. I don’t think Jesus is much on national identities. After all he even associated with Samaritans! That was a definite political no-no in his days.

 Christian Theocracies – We have had Christian Theocracies at various times in world history but we never see them end up acting Christ like. In fact they usually ended up looking pretty much like all the other pagan nations around them. We waste a lot of our energy as Christians today in the United States trying to establish a political kingdom that is Christ like. Jesus rejected that idea when he was walking this earth so I don’t think he would condone it now. Not even for the United States of America.

Where should our allegiances be?

  • Let us always remember that we are in this world but not of it. Our citizenship is in heaven so lets focus our attention there while trying to live our lives here and now as Jesus taught us to do. Our time on earth is a probationary period to see if we are sheep or goats.
  • Is it wrong to think that God had a hand in some of our successes such as our freedom of religion and our somewhat thriving democracy? Of course we should thank God for that help but we must also acknowledge our dark periods as well. These were times when we gave our nation over to Satan.
  • Is it wrong to ask that “God Bless America”? Of course not, but along with this prayer should be that God bless Iran, Afghanistan, Soviet Union……….
  • God bless all humanity, even our political enemies and help us to recognize that every human being on the earth are our potential brothers and sisters in the heavenly realm.  
     

Next time I will talk more about Jesus and politics and summarize this discussion. As usual I welcome any comments you wish to post as long as they remain civil.

Taking America back for God

The title of this series of posts is a popular mantra for a fringe wing of one of our political parties in the United States but is it really true in reality?? I am going to break down my opinions of this topic in next three postings on this blog.

 Using the word “back” implies that the United States was once a country that followed kingdom of God principles. I am a life long avid reader of US history. I love my country and we have done some great things but I don’t recall a single period of time that the country was ever aligned to any degree with the kingdom of God. And it was definitely not established by people who called themselves Christians. There was only one of the ten most important founders of the US who even called himself a Christian. Many were deists; that is people who believed in some divine inspiration but not particularly Jesus.

I personally don’t see how any worldly government can be aligned with Jesus’ teachings. Yes, Jesus is the epitome of the Kingdom of God. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. If it is not aligned with the teachings and words of Jesus then it is NOT about the kingdom of God! Unfortunately, for every bright period in our history there are usually corresponding dark periods. We often speak out against some African nations for the genocide that they are presently doing but don’t recognize the genocide that we did against the Native Americans who were here thousands of years before we were. We passed Social Security in the 1930’s that put a much needed safety mat under our senior citizens but at the same time we were calling our African American citizens less than human and lynching many without any criminal reprisals. And then there was the Civil Rights movement; how many Christian churches were camped on the segregation side of that issue. I could go on and on but I am sure you see the point.

Now on to a secind point in this arena. Was Jesus political? That is was he concerned about the Romans not having public prayers or not allowing the ten commandments to be publically displayed. The Jewish nation, whom Jesus was a citizen, was fully expecting the Messiah to come and put in place a political solution for all their problems. They were convinced that the Messiah would defeat the Romans who were currently running rough shod over them. Clearly Jesus had something else in mind. He made it absolutely clear that he was not at all interested in a political solution. He did not come to establish a dominant government that would rule “over” all people. Instead he had in mind a kingdom that  would  serve everyone including Israel’s enemies. The Jews didn’t that all like then and I am afraid many Christians today don’t at all like that idea now. Jesus did not come to form a perfect political government and he certainly isn’t looking to us to make it so either.

On my next posting I will put out two additional points on this topic. In the mean time feel free to comment with your own list or rebuttal of mine. God bless us all; not just America