What We Must Understand to Build Christian Civilization
Many believers not only don’t think such a thing as Christian civilization is called for by God, those that do believe it’s the will of God and possible, are clueless as to what it is and what a Christian civilization would look like.
One of the major problems there as I see it is the confusion over terms. If you think of the kingdom of God and Christian civilization as being the same, a lot of the cloudiness of mind and understanding disappears.
So what is Christian civilization or the kingdom of God at its core? It’s nothing less or more than the image of God being expressed in His people on planet earth. There is more to it than that, for example, in heaven, but that’s not the realm we’re called to take dominion in. As the scriptures teach us, the earth is given to men, not heaven.
What that means is from the point of view of God, the heavens and the earth are domains that are to have His image represented by His will being done and kingdom come on the earth as it is in heaven, as Jesus taught us to pray.
Or to put it in other terms: let the heavenly will of God and kingdom of God be expressed on the earth via a Christian civilization.
So what is the image of God that is to be expressed on planet earth? It includes three basic elements: the character of God, obedience to His moral laws and commands, and taking dominion of earth.
When talking of the character of God, I mean by that the fruit of the Spirit and description of love in 1 Cor. 13. The moral laws are those laws that remain in place in the new covenant era. For example, murder, adultery, theft, coveting things that are our neighbors, and similar moral commands. Finally, taking dominion on earth is the application of the Holy Scriptures to all areas of life. It says a lot of things about life on this earth, but we usually don’t think of them in terms of applying them to the many various circumstances of life because of our narrow way of looking at the vast expectations of God on the earth as revealed in the Bible. We’ve also substituted the traditions and outlook of the world in place of God’s word.
I’ve covered this in a variety of ways on New Creation Civilization, so I’ll stop there concerning the macro vision of God for creation.
What’s more important as it relates to believers is how we are to take steps to build Christian civilization. The first thing to understand there is that while Christian civilization is to be spread across all of the earth, for the vast majority of us it’ll be expressed at the local level. By that I mean there are a small number of people that have global influence, but even there it’s not that valuable if it isn’t being worked out locally.
What’s great about local focus is it forces us to move beyond the purpose and vision alone, and start to think about practical applications where we live. It’s easy to listen to visionaries that excite and motivate us with the possibilities revealed in the Bible, it’s another thing to get our hands dirty and take steps to build the kingdom of God in our cities and neighborhoods.
Be aware that the eternal purpose of God as revealed in the scriptures, is that we are to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. That entails His character, obedience, and ruling with Him now, or taking dominion, as mentioned earlier. Obviously it’s talking about a process here, not something instantaneous.
We are to first model the kingdom in our own lives, and then work on making changes locally.
While it’s very tempting to talk about many of the things that can be done locally to build Christian civilization, the most important thing initially is to see that while it’s something God expects in all creation – both invisible and visible, it ultimately comes down to people that dig deep and serve the people in their communities.