Internationalists From Creation

It seems odd to me that we (the International Human Rights Group) have to spend so much time convincing Christians that we must get beyond our comfort zones, beyond our borders into the larger world with our faith and our good works.  We have learned to do the easiest part.  We have learned to send the few, the called foreign missionaries.  We are happy to send someone else.  We are happy to hear their reports when they come home.  We are happy to give them money.  And there it stops.

Do not ask us to accept foreigners into our culture.  Do not ask us to get actively involved in matters improving other cultures or helping the helpless in these cultures.  This is a flaw I see in America and her Churches.  There was a time when we were proud to declare, “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”  We held a welcoming hand out to everyone.  Then, we felt we had done our duty and we did not go out into the highways and the byways looking for the helpless.  Now we have let fear pull us back from the rest of the world.  We are hoping to be able to hide between our oceans.

Unfortunately for us, that is not God’s way.  In Genesis 1:28 we see God’s way.  Speaking to Adam and Eve He says:  “Be fruitful and multiply (increase in number), fill the earth and subdue it.”  A broad order if ever there was one.

From creation God intended His Kingdom to cover the entire earth.  His plan was never “my four and no more.”  God created man to live in community—the family being a community—and the communities of the world were created to be interdependent.

Thomas Schirrmacher says it well, “The diversity of peoples and cultures is not the result of the fall but was God’s original intention.  The Bible condemns no element of any culture that does not explicitly contradict God’s holy will.  Nor is the variety of cultures due to divine judgment over the Tower of Babel.  On the contrary, God confused the languages in order to fulfill His own commandment, the distribution of humanity over the whole earth which automatically leads to diversity of families and nations, but also of occupations, abilities, and cultures…God wants neither a universal city nor universal Humanism.”

We, the Church, must learn to see that we are all lost—trapped on the earth for a short time.  At the end of that time, there are two predetermined paths.  Our sole responsibility is to bring every person on the planet to the place where they can make the right decision regarding the final pathway.  We must learn to view the entire world, every culture, every person, with the heart of justice and compassion before we ever begin to call for judgment.  Once we have done that, we are closer to God’s worldview.

Perhaps you are not yet persuaded based on the Old Testament.  Acts 17:26 clearly sets forth the same principle.  “…he determined the times set for men and the exact places where they should live.”  What that means to us is quite simple.  When we refuse to see the world as one family we are not putting the world in its proper place—we are refusing obedience to God.  We are judging the judgment of God.  Our argument requires us to believe that if He sets the place, then He has made a mistake.  Only America deserves the grace of God.  All others fall short, thus God has fallen short.  Put this straightforward it doe3s not take more than a moment to see the fallacy of our argument.

God created the entire world.  He created man and woman.  He did not originally create America.  America did not come to western civilization’s attention until near the end of western civilization.  Before America there are at least six thousand years of history involving mankind.  We are new to the scene.  So, how is it that we think we are the top of the chain on God’s intentions for countries in the world?

True, we were founded by men who were either Christians or at the very least still in the throes of a society inundated with Christian values and mores.  As a result, we began with a Constitution that is more far-sighted than most to this point.  In fact, our Constitution has been influential in the drafting of many of the documents regarding human rights that came after it.

When we imagine our far-reaching glory and assume that it is endless, we must remember those who have come before us.  The Greeks were far-reaching.  Their glory is gone.  Alexander the Great conquered the known world.  His glory is gone.  The Romans were far-reaching.  Their glory is gone.  The Egyptians were great.  Their glory is gone.  It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire.  Their glory is gone.  God is no respecter of persons.  We have no greater claim to glory than any of these civilizations.  So, our glory can just as easily go.

There are some who would say that we are the new Israel.  America is the spiritual Israel.  They would have us believe that this alone preserves us for the ages.  This is a short-sighted look at history.  Israel is not the glory of the modern world.  While it is a miracle in its very existence, it is not a glory.  God required Israel to live according to a higher standard than those around her.  God required Israel to walk with Him.  When Israel turned away, God turned Israel over to the nations around her.  We can expect the same under the belief that we are the spiritual Israel.

God loves man.  Even in our deprived, sinful state, God loves us.  He does not profess to love our countries or favor our governments.  He blesses those who honor Him the blessings are not because we are special.  The blessings are because we follow His word and try to keep His will.

His word commands us to go to the “uttermost parts of the earth.”  If we lose sight of that commandment we will find ourselves lost in a world that swallows up the glory of men.  God has overlooked much of our national sin because we have been faithful to remember to help the rest of the world.

If we put our heads back in the sand we may well rise up one day to find that God no longer favors our nation.  Our glory could be gone.

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Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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