Old Testament Template: Addendum II

Things I am Not Saying!

My study and research for this material has been almost entirely from the scriptures themselves. In the very beginning of my search I felt the Lord say that I was to leave aside reformation history and books on the domains. This has worked very well for two reasons. The first is that I teach the material straight from the Bible rather than from history. This means that as I travel the nations there is no cultural or historical bias laid over the top of the material. I am not teaching some other country’s interpretation in history, but the Word God left for all nations, for all times. The benefit of that cannot be over emphasized. Secondly, it allows me to be both appreciative and critical of the Church Fathers; appreciative of the great revelations they did have in their nations in their times, and the way that influenced history, but also critical of what they were missing from scripture that would have made them even more influential. This is certainly not the only way to study, but it has proved most beneficial for me.

As I have spoken on these issues worldwide, I have become more aware of the many great conflicts in the body of Christ around concepts like the Kingdom, dominion, and discipling nations. I am constantly faced with tough questions that come from a particular view as opposed to scripture itself. I am not qualified to speak to any of these views, as I have not studied any of them. But I would like to clarify what I am saying by telling you what I am not saying. For some of you this will be a waste of time; for others it may be the thing that helps you hear my message without interpreting it through some other position.

Things I Am Not Saying:
1. I am not saying that we can create heaven here on earth.

We cannot create perfection here on earth. Only when Jesus returns and a new heaven and new earth are established will we see Him in His full glory. However, we can reveal Him in part and better our communities by living out and working for God’s values in all of life.

2. I am not saying that Jesus will come back once we disciple all the nations.

Only the Father knows when Jesus will return. The date is never to be our concern; we are always to be prepared. Our job is to obey Christ until He returns, which as Luther said, means “occupy”, “take dominion” until He does come. When we put the two truths together we develop a sense of urgency that works against discipleship, which takes time.

3. I am not saying that Christians are to “take over” society and tell everyone else what to do and how to live.

We will not eliminate sin in our world by discipling communities. However, we will, with evangelism and discipleship, make better communities. This, in turn, reveals God in a broader way and works for more evangelism and discipleship, which can create even better communities. But you will always have the lost and the saved who are undiscipled and they will continue to make choices that are less than godly. We are not looking for control; we are looking for influence. The way of the Kingdom is not by force but by persuasion. We are salt and light, not a hammer and sickle.

4. I am not saying that God died and left us here to do the best we can.

God is very much alive and active in our efforts. We can glean the principles from scripture with faithful study and prayer. But we cannot possibly know how to apply these principles to our nations and our times without fresh revelation in time and space from the Holy Spirit. We are not alone with God’s manual; He is with us in applying the Word just as He was with Moses.

5. I am not saying we should do everything like the English, the Americans, the Swiss, the Dutch or (fill in the blank with your nationality.)

A great temptation in teaching and working with this material is to choose a particular application as the reference rather than sticking with God’s examples in scripture. When we do that our listeners immediately think of all that nation’s faults and our point is lost. There is no “discipled nation” and there are no nations that do not have elements of God’s principles in practice. God’s goal is not for us to copy one another but to seek a dynamic equivalency of that Kingdom principle in our community, in our time, and in our way. God loves variety. We can learn from everyone. We should seek to emulate only God, not one another.