A note to Dave Gustin of WCC back in the day
Following Sunday morning class at the Church of Christ back in 2010 Anno Domini, I wrote a fellow church member and SS class participant.
24 September 2010
Some after thoughts regarding my cursory reply to your broad question on Sunday morning: “What is the will of God?”
To say it is the “Law of God” begs for clarification, of course. But that effort is in dreadfully short supply in our time.
But to answer as you did, “that we are not under the law of God,” but under grace misses the point. The question is not whether we are saved from the condemnation of the Law by the atoning work of Christ. It is this: Does God provide Law to guide our personal lives and the civil order? Is there Law for persons, families, and governments given by the Scriptures?
That is a discussion which has not been presented in the six years I have been sitting in the pews and classrooms. Neither, until now, it seems with Dale, has there been any mention of the relevance of the Scriptures (the “Old Testament” as interpreted through the NT) to moral standards for church and state.
One of the shortcomings of the Churches of Christ which apparently proceeds from its origins in a settled Christian culture is the absence of a tradition of contending for political justice, i.e. the advocacy of the Law (as “distilled through the NT”). This ministry is summarily referenced in places like the Epistle to James where concern for the “widows and orphans” – i.e. “pure religion” – is taken for granted. It calls to mind all the warnings and exhortations from the prophets about JUSTICE. We are to be a light for justice in this world. That is what the Gospel-energizing conversions of people drives toward – all for the Glory of God.
Yes, Stone and Simpson lived in an era of “dead orthodoxy” where the structures of God’s churches had lost the Spirit, some would say. And, yes, they did not need to lay political/ethical/just foundations for the society they lived in. The land was still grounded in the Law of God and recognized him in the laws of the states and the nation. They were revivalists calling people back to Jesus to make genuine personal commitments to Him or to re-establish in sincerity their commitments-to-Christ-gone-cold and to become true followers of Him.
That is not our present milieu. We live in a post-Christian, neo-pagan land in need of not only the Gospel to save sinners but the Law for the guidance of Christians and civil rulers. Our breath must give a voice for sanctification and justice in both areas – the personal as well as the civil arenas.