Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Wholism 303

Why should kids go to school?

With the responsible role of rulership over the earth given to human beings, who were created in the image and likeness of God so that we can fulfill this grand purpose (Gen. 1:26-28), and since Planet Earth was not given over to Satan at the Fall, but remains God’s full possession in its fallen condition (Ps. 24:1), and since Christ continues to hold all the atoms of the material world together “by the word of His power,” thus turning the realm of creation into more than a one-time act of the past but a continuous "voice" of the present (Heb. 1:3), and since Jesus’ authority presently resides over all things, including earth things, such as legal things, artistic things, agricultural things, industrial things, and civil things, not being limited to “spiritual things,” and “church things” (Acts 10:36), and since God is now working in the Earth through His Redeemed People to reconcile all things to Himself, not just the things of the soul, but whole systems (II Cor. 5:17-20 and Col. 1:16-20), then perhaps Dallas Willard was on to something when he wrote:

“There is truly no division between sacred and secular except what we have created. And that is why the division of the legitimate roles and functions of human life into the sacred and secular does incalculable damage to our individual lives and to the cause of Christ. Holy people must…take up holy orders in farming, industry, law, education, banking, and journalism with the same zeal previously given to evangelism or to pastor and missionary work.”
That’s wholism 303. It gives no place to SSD, that false "Sacred-Secular Divide" which we Christians have talked about so long we think is really there. But where exactly is this place? We certainly do live in a secularized world, where Christ is marginalized, ignored, or completely denied. But this is a fantasy-world people create.

Why school?

So the next generation will be equipped to do well in reconciling the things of Earth to the living God, and rule well over the whole of God's creation, especially in its fallen, broken condition. It’s about equipping the next generation to bring farming, business, law, economics and journalism into alignment with the Lord's vision for the Blue Planet.

Next week I have an amazing testimony from a headmaster that I can't wait to share! 

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Wholism 302

If Earth is “God’s creationnow displaced,” and Satan is “lord of the planet,” then we might see our sole purpose on Earth as telling others how they can go to Heaven when they die. Yes, evangelism is essential! But when we see the whole of God’s Kingdom "in the light of His glory and grace," the things of Earth will not grow “strangely dim.” Quite the opposite.

If we view Earth as “God’s broken creation He wants to restore,” then the Gospel is more than the Gospel of Personal Salvation. It is the Gospel of The Kingdom, and that is the fuller biblical description.
Yes, it's Good News that my soul is saved from Hell. But that’s not all there is to the Good News. The Good News of The Kingdom is that Christ came to restore things as well as souls. What kind of “things?” Earth things.  

I’m not suggesting all things will be fully restored before the second coming of Christ. But it is clear from Scripture that the “ministry of reconcilation” Christ gave us in this present life (II Cor. 5:17-20) is not limited to souls. His Kingdom isn’t just about “religious life” and “spiritual things.”  His Kingdom is all-encompassing and as broad as creation is wide. The scope of Christ’s work of reconciliation goes far beyond the human soul.
Colossians 1:16-20 sums it up well: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,  and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

To reconcile all things? Things on Earth? Does that include business things? Legal things? Artistic things? Civil things? Yes, "...that in all things He may have the preeminence...."

This is what The Kingdom is about, and that’s wholism 302.
See also 7-15-11 and 1-1-10.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Wholism 301

Last week I suggested that the “glory and honor of the kings of the earth” that will be brought into the New Jerusalem [Revelation 21] might be products of human culture, made by Earth-Rulers. Frankly, this is not a theological hill I'm going to die on. 

Yet even if nothing produced by human hands were to survive the melting heat mentioned in II Peter 3, this should not make a difference in our attitude toward creating culture in this fallen, temporal world.  That’s because it’s God’s world, even in its fallen condition. It’s God’s creation we’re surrounded by, and it's God's stuff we're taking into our hands when we form and shape anything. 

Image-Bearers are to engage in ruling over matter even if what we create doesn’t survive past Wednesday. A good chef creates works of culinary art that don’t usually last more than a day. This glorifies God innately, because a good meal is an outworking of the chef’s image-bearing likeness as “Creator in Miniature,” ruling well over salmon, rice pilaf and blue cheese. In this act of imitation God is glorified, and chefs fulfill their God-designed glory and honor: to rule well over God's stuff. (Check out Psalm 8.)
Earth-Rulers fulfill God’s purpose for their own creation when they mow the lawn. Cut hair. Fix an automobile. Or negotiate the sale of a house. We fulfill God’s purpose for our creation when we create good legislation, or write something worth reading, or bake a loaf of bread. It's all God's stuff, and it's our God-given glory and honor to govern well over it. And in this imitation, He is glorified.  

I have a definition of “work” taped to the top of my computer monitor that goes like this: “Work worth doing is any expenditure of energy, mental or physical, for pay or not, that rightly manages God’s stuff, and employs my God-given abilities to benefit others, or prepares me to do so.”
This definition covers a lot of ground. In fact, it covers the whole of God’s creation. It includes all legitimate forms of royal work done by Earth-Rulers. Making cars, light bulbs and computers. Building roads, skyscrapers and furniture. Playing the piano. Washing clothes. Feeding the kids...and the dog. Ruling well over matter. All to the glory of God. Today.

That’s wholism 301.
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Wholism 203

Genesis 1:26-28 says the purpose God has in mind for humans is for us to rule over Planet Earth. But I can hear someone saying, “That command came before the Fall! The world has been messed up by sin, and God can’t possibly have the same purpose in mind for us that He had in the beginning! Why should we concern ourselves with ruling over a broken world, creating culture that’s destined to be burnt to a crisp? Our purpose now is to get as many souls saved as possible. For Heaven! There’s no sense polishing brass on a sinking ship. It’s going to be The Late Great Planet Earth someday. Didn’t you read that book?”

Indeed, I read that book. My wife and I were young married students attending the University of Washington when it came out. After reading it, we dropped out of school. There was no reason to pursue a degree, or to even look five years into the future. I spent my days reading the Bible, working just part-time to feed the two of us and to keep a cheap roof over our heads. That was 1970.

Later, in another Book, I read about a New Earth with a great city. I read about an Earth containing fruit trees, and pruning hooks. Lions and lambs. I read of a city having commerce. A city where God’s raw material is not all there is, but the “kings of the earth” will “bring their glory into it.” (Revelation 21:24)

What is this? Could the “glory and honor of the nations” brought into that city be cultural "goods" made by human Earth-Rulers in years prior? Could this “glory” be works of art? Technological wonders? Could such things pass through the fire Peter writes about? Could the fervent heat he described be a purging, cleansing fire, rather than a total crisp-job? Could the second great purge, with fire, be like the first great purge with water, that "destroyed the world" but did not wash the planet away? Read II Peter 3 again. Revelation 21 and Isaiah 65-66 give us cause for pause.

I look forward to a whole planet, purged wholly of rot and junk, and to a whole city containing “the glory and the honor of the nations.” If this is human culture, then let's add to it. Now.

That’s wholism 203.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Wholism 202

In Genesis 1:26-28, we see what God had in mind for human beings when He created us and placed us on the Blue Planet. Let me say that again, so you can savor the full weight of what Genesis 1:26-28 actually says: We see what God had in mind for humans when He made us.

What did God have in mind for us? “Let Us make man in Our likeness and image, and let them rule…over all the earth.”

Dr. Albert Wolters, in, The Foundational Command: ‘Subdue the Earth,’” says it is “almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of this first and fundamental command of God to humans.” He calls it, “the first and fundamental law of history.”

This first mention of purpose, which Wolters says “all subsequent revelation presupposes,” is called, "The Cultural Mandate," or, "The Dominion Mandate." I call it, The First Commission.

What purpose did God have in mind for humans when He created Adam and Eve? What purpose did He have in mind for your parents? For you? For your children? Wonder no more! The Bible tells us human beings were created with this astounding purpose in mind: to rule [have dominion] over Planet Earth!

This is probably why Wolters says it is almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of this command. It has profound implications for all human work, and all human learning.
Dr. Wolters says: “…man is to be fruitful in order to multiply, he must multiply in order to fill the earth, and he must fill the earth in order to subdue it.” And then he adds that we were created in God’s likeness and image in order that we may have dominion.

Selah. Think about this! We were created to rule over all the Earth! This includes water (salty and fresh varieties), air, electricity, sound waves, light, lead, uranium, silver, rubber, maple trees, money, fish, birds, cows, carrots, copper, fingers, thumbs, feet, real estate, sweet potatoes, soybeans and every derivative thereof, including plastic and dyes [thank you Dr. Carver], as well as digital images, smart phones, e-books, ships, cars, airplanes, glue, paper, antifreeze, pencils, ice cream and cake!  
We were made to rule over whole systems, too. Because without systems, rulership cannot happen: civil systems, domestic systems and economic systems. To be an Earth-Ruler includes city-making!
Wow. I'm in awe. We were made to rule over the whole Earth.

That’s wholism 202.  

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