1. The spiritual state of our nation
formally Christian but functionally atheist
- Decline of Christian belief
- Collective failure of church to stand firm for the gospel
- Irrelevance of the historical Constitutional Settlement
- Impact of empirical pluralism
- Implausibility of Christian sexual immorality
- Lack of belief in eternal judgement
- Influence of the media
- Collapse of Christian cultural influence
- Rise of secularism as an ideology
- Marginalisation and privatisation of the church
- Subtle persecution of Christians and the church
2. Theological Models for the Mission of the Church in Relation to the State
Tim Keller (Centre Church) common approaches
- Transformationist (Presbyterian)
- Relevance (Anglican)
- Counterculturalist (Baptist)
- Two Kingdoms (Stevens – in modified form)
3. How is God at work in his World?
- Purpose in creation (Gn 1:28)
- Two kingdoms (Ac 26:18, Ep 2:2, 6:10-20, Col 1:13)
- Absolutely sovereign over government and rulers (Dan 4:25, Jn 19:11, Ex 9:16, Isa 45:13)
- Judges people by handing them over to sin (Rom 1:24-28)
- Jesus victorious over sin, Satan and death
- Jesus establishing his kingdom as he reigns in glory (1 Cor 15:25)
- Entrance into Kingdom by redemption/regeneration (Jn 3:5-8, Col 1:12-14, 1 Co 15:50)
- Kingdom not present simply because justice is practised
- Attitude of government to God's people varies (supportive, benign, hostile, oppressive)
- What is the place of our work in the world? (Gn 1:28, Mt 28:16-20, 1 Cor 15:58)
4. What is the Purpose of Civil Government in the Plan of God?
- Maximalist, minimalist views of the state
- Government to maintain civil peace and permit gospel freedom (1 Tim 2:1-7)
- Government to restrain evil and do good (Rom 13:1-7)
- Government to enforce justice/Shalom in all dimensions
- Relationship between state and church
- Is the state the kingdom or the place of exile?
- Does the state exist to promote true religion? (Contrast Westminster Confession/1689)
- Don't put your hope in civil government to bring salvation
- Function of the state in a plural society (Neutrality between communities? Privilege one and limit freedom for others?)
5. What is our Mission to Our Nation?
- Distinction between mission and effect
- Not to regain former national glory
- Not to impose mere morality or Christian values (1 Cor 5:9-13)
- Not to secure our own comfort
- Not to secure psychological support for our faith
- But to make disciples who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and live in obedience to him
6. How Can We Accomplish Our Mission?
- Plural approaches
- Persistent Prayer
- Plausibility of the gospel
- Prophetic Proclamation
- Persuasive Influence
- Practice Civil Disobedience
- Persevere in the face of Persecution
- Political Activism?
- Poportionate Reaction
7. What is The Task of Church Leaders?
- Eph 4:11-13, Tit 2:1-15
- Enable people to understand the times
- Encourage realistic expectations
- Equip to serve God in ordinary vocations
- Empower to be faithful witnesses
- Don't be like Hezekiah!
- Take the klong view
- Take heart from church history
- Is our culture on the cusp of a major shift?
- Beware of a revived Romanism
- Be encouraged that churches are growing
Keller, Centre Church; Grudem, Politics according to the Bible; De Young & Gilbert, WHat is the Mission of the Church?; VanDrunen, Living in God's Two Kingdoms; J D Hunter, To Change the world; Spencer & Chaplin, God and government; Carson, Christ and CUlture Revisited; Pearcy, Total Truth.