• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

the Sword

Today’s post comes from Chris in France about chapter 16: The Sword

When it comes to robbing little old ladies, both my wife and I found we gave the “wrong” answer to Keller’s question.  That’s not to say we agree with robbing little old ladies.  Rather, the reason is honour.  Australian culture is very clear on the subject.  You don’t do it because it is dishonourable.  So, I would feel shame if I did it.  In my opinion, the argument about identification with the victim and her dependents is secondary not alternative.  I also feel that it is just as based on self-regard as the honour position.  I think that this position really translates to: I would feel bad because I know how bad she would feel.  I suspect this is a cross cultural misunderstanding related to the relative power of appeals to emotion.  Emotional arguments in my culture seem to be much less powerful than in north American culture.

Keller has prompted me to ask: “Is my culture self-regarding rather than other regarding?”  My culture esteems generosity and voluntary service and requires self-effacing modesty – I mean it seriously requires this.  Anyone who has an inflated (or even high) opinion of themselves is cut down mercilessly.  We are aggressively egalitarian and obvious self-regard is socially punishable.  But, self-sacrifice, particularly in conflict is perhaps our most revered virtue.  Unlike other countries which commemorate great victories, our national day of remembrance commemorates a military defeat.  Every year, we celebrate sacrifice but also contemplate the cost and frequent futility of conflict.  Is it self-regarding to take up arms, and sacrifice your life, particularly when the no victory was gained for your country or even any victory at all?  I think it is the ultimate in self-disregard, but it is definitely motivated by honour.

First Question: Do you agree that self-sacrifice is self-disregard, even if it is based on an honour code?

Keller then goes on to talk about two administrations – the world system and the Kingdom of God.  We are all familiar with the world system: “might is right” and “he who has the gold makes the rules”.  In my mind the world system is godless evolution.  The world believes in survival of the fittest and the fittest have very big swords.  The swords may be made of steel or writs or shares but you would do well to be cautious around the people who strut about wearing them.

The Kingdom of God however speaks about survival of the meek.  It is not based on might or gold but on love.  But this is also love with justice.  The miracle of the cross is that Love used justice and self-sacrifice to reverse the fate of sinners.  We may be weak but our God is mighty.  God and me, is an overwhelming force in any struggle.  When God wields the sword, empires fall.

In Romans 13 we see that the world administration has been given the right to use the sword to punish evil.  How much more will God, in the fullness of time, deal justice to those who said there is no Creator, we evolved – and acted accordingly.  The world system despises the meek, the Kingdom of God promises them the earth.

Second question: Evolution defines survival as fitness and non-survival as weakness.  Were all those martyrs weak?


Next installment of the King’s Cross blog post will be October , looking at Ch 17 “the End”


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