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Teacher Teaching Truth Not Political Theory

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Should so-called “Christians” and “Clergy” get involved in politics?! Is it a “correct” move for a ‘Christian?’

Politics has been defined as “the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate or conflict between individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”​—The New Oxford Dictionary of English.

Relevant excerpted reading:  “Should the Clergy Preach Politics?” w ’04… (my highlights)

“INVOLVEMENT in politics can help the poor, a Canadian archbishop told pilgrims . . . Even if the political system does not seem to be according to God’s will, ‘we need to get involved so that we can bring justice to the poor.’”​—Catholic News

Can preachers of Christianity clean up politics? Is preaching politics God’s way of achieving better government and a better world? Did Christianity start out as a new way to practice politics?

How Politics in Christ’s Name Began

In The Early Church, historian Henry Chadwick says that the early Christian congregation was known for its “indifference to the possession of power in this world.” It was a “non-political, quietist, and pacifist community.” A History of Christianity says: “There was a conviction widely held among Christians that none of their number should hold office under the state . . . As late as the beginning of the third century Hippolytus said that historic Christian custom required a civic magistrate to resign his office as a condition of joining the Church.” Gradually, though, men coveting power began taking the lead in many congregations, giving themselves high-sounding titles. (Acts 20:29, 30) Some wanted to be both religious leaders and politicians. A sudden change in Rome’s government gave such churchmen the opportunity they wanted.

In the year 312 C.E., the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine turned a friendly eye toward nominal Christianity. Astonishingly, the church bishops were content to compromise with the pagan emperor in exchange for the privileges he conferred on them. “The Church became more and more implicated in high political decisions,” wrote Henry Chadwick. What effect did involvement in politics have on churchmen?

How Politics Affected Preachers

The idea that God would use churchmen as politicians was promoted especially by Augustine, an influential fifth-century Catholic theologian. He envisioned the church ruling over the nations and bringing peace to mankind. But historian H. G. Wells wrote: “The history of Europe from the fifth century onward to the fifteenth is very largely the history of the failure of this great idea of a divine world government to realize itself in practice.” Christendom did not bring peace even to Europe, much less to the world. What had been thought of as being Christianity lost its standing in the eyes of many. What went wrong?

Many who claimed to preach Christianity were drawn into politics with good intentions, but then they found themselves participating in evil. Martin Luther, a preacher and a translator of the Bible, is famous for his efforts to reform the Catholic Church. However, his bold stand against church doctrines made him popular with those who had political motives for rebellion. Luther lost the respect of many when he too began to speak out on political issues. Initially he favored the peasants who were rebelling against oppressive nobles. Then, when the rebellion turned savage, he encouraged the nobles to crush the rebellion, which they did, butchering thousands. Not surprisingly, the peasants considered him a traitor. Luther also encouraged the nobles in their own rebellion against the Catholic emperor. In fact, Protestants, as Luther’s followers came to be known, formed a political movement from the beginning. How did power affect Luther? It corrupted him. For example, although he at first opposed coercing religious dissidents, he later encouraged his political friends to execute by burning those who opposed infant baptism.

John Calvin was a famous clergyman in Geneva, but he came to have enormous political influence as well. When Michael Servetus demonstrated that the Trinity has no basis in Scripture, Calvin used his political influence to support the execution of Servetus, who was burned at the stake. What a horrific departure from Jesus’ teachings!

Perhaps these men forgot what the Bible says at 1 John 5:19: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” Did they have a sincere desire to clean up the politics of their day, or was it the prospect of power and of having friends in high places that attracted them? In any case, they should have remembered the inspired words of Jesus’ disciple James: “Do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) James knew that Jesus had said of his followers: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.”​—John 17:14.

“Something better than politics”…(my highlights)

BEING a Christian embraces more than reading the Bible, praying, and singing hymns on Sundays. It involves doing things both for God and for people. The Bible says: “Let us love, neither in word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18) Jesus had sincere concern for others, and Christians want to imitate him. The apostle Paul urged fellow believers always to have “plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) But what is the work of the Lord? Does it include trying to change government policy for the benefit of the poor and the oppressed? Is that what Jesus did?

Although Jesus was urged to intervene in political matters or take sides, he refused to do so. He turned down Satan’s offer of power over all the kingdoms of the world, he refused to be drawn into an argument over the paying of taxes, and he withdrew when a popular movement wanted to make him king. (Matthew 4:8-10; 22:17-21; John 6:15) But his neutrality did not prevent him from working for the benefit of others.

Jesus concentrated on what would bring lasting good to others. While his feeding the five thousand and curing the sick brought temporary relief for a few, his teaching made everlasting blessings available to all mankind. Jesus became known, not as an organizer of relief campaigns, but simply as “the Teacher.” (Matthew 26:18; Mark 5:35; John 11:28) He said: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.”​—John 18:37.

Preaching Something Better Than Politics

The truth Jesus taught was not political theory. Rather, it centered on the Kingdom of which he himself would be King. (Luke 4:43) This Kingdom is a heavenly government, and it will replace all human administrations and bring permanent peace to mankind. (Isaiah 9:6, 7; 11:9; Daniel 2:44) It is, therefore, the only true hope for mankind. Is it not more loving to declare such a sure hope for the future than to encourage people to trust in men to provide a secure future? The Bible says: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish. Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Jehovah his God.” (Psalm 146:3-5) So rather than sending his disciples out to preach a better way of organizing governments, Jesus taught them to preach the “good news of the kingdom.”​—Matthew 10:6, 7; 24:14.

This, then, is “the work of the Lord” that Christian preachers are commissioned to do. Because subjects of God’s Kingdom are required to love one another, the Kingdom will succeed in eliminating poverty by distributing mankind’s resources in a balanced way. (Psalm 72:8, 12, 13) This is good news and is certainly worth preaching.

[Excerpted: Does Neutrality Hinder Christian Love? w ’04]


2/26/19 @ 5:43 p.m.

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Sticks & Goads

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Yes, there are Sensitive Ones among us Humans. I can be pretty tenacious/stubborn and overly-sensitive, at times. (Especially when  a younger woman.)

Metaphorical/symbolic sticks & goads can be helpful and useful; at critical times in life for us stubborn ones, e.g., me, to keep headed in the healthy/life-preserving direction…when a little too slow to accept/learn an “essential” life lesson for our/my own good/safety.

This goes without saying: am NOT endorsing bullying nor violence: domestic or otherwise whatsoever!!

Taken in context to time of history and surrounding entirety of movie/culture…a classic, The Quiet Man…Watch the movie to put the following—Funny to some of us—clip in context: some may find it offensive, however.

BTW:  She ditched him first and made Hubby walk 5 miles alone; i think trudging through a downpour rain and unfamiliar terrain. Plus giving him grief, etc…as probably only a beloved wife can…way before this scene. (He had been extremely patient and quiet prior.)

i find it funny/odd/curious–the old woman saying…”here’s a stick to beat the lovely lady with.” No!! i don’t believe in physical beatings!! Not men beating women nor women beating men!! It just “strikes” 😉 a funny chord to me/my ‘dark’ sense of humor (on my unsuspecting modern-mind when the old woman interjects with the unexpected surprise stick!), and when taken in context to movie, and with regard to my own personal stubbornness…(perhaps, making things more difficult/complicated than necessary. Some of us stubborn minds may need to be dragged along a little to come to our senses about Truth.) and also, as a new/young wife learning humility when Hubby was graciously/kindly trying to share something very useful that could/would teach me something of value i needed to learn..yep, i can be a know-it-all..ready!;) {In case You Reader:) didn’t figure that out by patiently reading my ramblings…on, and on and on. 😉

i’ve come to appreciate some symbolic sticks of sorts (Divine Leadership)…Am always working on acquiring humility, patience and trying to listen more…and to Hubby. Male perspective/insight/competent-loving leadership is very important to me which i deeply RESPECT; and very helpful/useful i’ve  found as a female.}

Anyway stuff read about kicking the goads…(Divine Leadership)

The goad is compared to the words of a wise person, words that move the listener to advance in harmony with the wisdom heard. (Ec 12:11The figurative expression “kicking against the goads” is drawn from the action of a stubborn bull that resists the prickings of the goad by kicking against it, resulting in injury to himself. The expression, therefore, denotes resisting or rebelling against rightful authority or a condition that cannot be altered, doing so to one’s own injury.

This is exactly what Saul did before becoming a Christian, by fighting against the followers of Jesus Christ, who had the backing of Almighty, Jehovah God.​—Ac 26:14; compare Ac 5:38, 39. [excerpt: Insight on Scriptures “Goad” Vol. 1]

Self-reflection:  Am i kicking against warnings and wise words…arrogantly or unintentionally?! both? 😉

Further excerpted reading IF YOU:) so choose:

Are You “Kicking Against the Goads”? w 2003:

IN BIBLE times, an oxgoad​—a long rod, usually tipped with a sharp metal spike—​was used for driving and guiding draft animals. If the animal stubbornly resisted the prickings of the goad by pushing against it, what was the result? Rather than gaining relief, it only inflicted pain on itself.

The resurrected Jesus Christ spoke of goads when he appeared to a man named Saul, who was on his way to arrest some of Jesus’ disciples.

Out of the midst of a blinding light, Saul heard Jesus say: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? To keep kicking against the goads makes it hard for you.” By maltreating Christians, Saul was actually fighting against God, pursuing a course that could only harm himself.​—Acts 26:14.

Could we also unintentionally be “kicking against the goads”? The Bible likens “the words of the wise ones” to oxgoads that prod us to move forward in the right direction. (Ecclesiastes 12:11The inspired counsel in God’s Word can motivate and guide us correctly​—if we let it. (2 Timothy 3:16) Resisting its proddings can only harm us.

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Adorable 🙂

Hans Christian Anderson:

“If you looked down to the bottom of my soul, you would understand fully the source of my longing and – pity me. Even the open, transparent lake has its unknown depths, which no divers know.”

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

“Sharp knives seemed to cut her delicate feet, yet she hardly felt them, so deep was the pain in her heart. She could not forget that this was the last night she would ever see the one for whom she had left her home and family, had given up her beautiful voice, and had day by day endured unending torment, of which he knew nothing at all. An eternal night awaited her. ”

“My life will be the best illustration of all my work.”

“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, for the most essential things are invisible to the eye.”

Morning reading:

We should love, not in word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth.​—1 John 3:18.

practical application:

We should be willing to perform acts of love for our brothers “in secret,” or out of the limelight, when this is possible. (Matt. 6:1-4) We should also take the lead in showing honor to others. (Rom. 12:10) Jesus set the pattern in honoring others by performing the lowliest of tasks. (John 13:3-5, 12-15) We may have to work hard to develop the humility needed to show honor to others in this way. Even the apostles could not fully understand Jesus’ actions until they received holy spirit. (John 13:7) We can show honor to others by not thinking too much of ourselves because of our education, material possessions, or privileges […] (Rom. 12:3) And rather than envying those who receive praise, we rejoice with them even if we feel that we deserve equal honor or a share of the credit for what was done. [excerpted: w 17. 10 9 “Love in Deed and Truth” pars 9 & 10]

1/16/18 @ 8:26 a.m.
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