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Evangelism - Myers Mott Maggay Linthicum        
The Ethics of the Reign of God  
"As attractive as the option always is to eschew power and glorify
weakness, maintain one's sanctity without compromise, and denounce both
worldly institutions and one's fellow Christians who participate in them, we
must return to these questions: When we are now members of the royal court,
so to speak-indeed, when some of us are members of the royal family-who are
we, for Jesus Christ, today? When we have opportunity not only to purchase
goods and services from a company, but to influence or even run that company
by working in it or buying shares in it-who are we, for Jesus Christ, today?
When we have the opportunity to vote or even run in elections and to share
in the governance of cities and states-who are we, for Jesus Christ, today?
When new forms of dissemination arise, and audiences emerge, for art and
entertainment shaped by Christian values-who are we, for Jesus Christ,
We are redeemed and reoriented human beings who heed God's primeval call
to make the best of it, using the resources Providence has put to hand. That
is how Christians reformed the excesses and debaucheries of the medieval
church in both the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. This is how Abraham
Lincoln did indeed provide saving-the adjective is not too strong-leadership
in America in its greatest crisis. That is how Christians have sacrificed
greatly to provide good schools, good farms, good water supplies, and many
more charities around the world. That is how Christians have advocated for
land reform, for the end of slavery and apartheid, for women's suffrage, and
for universal human rights. Christians Christians  . . . pray, proclaim, form 
godly communities that modeled alternatives, serve society in various other 
positive respects-and they wielded power: the power of information
media, the power of money, the power of politics, even (let us
not be squeamish) the power of guns. And good things happened. Not
unequivocally good things, as I have suggested we should not expect before
Christ returns. But better things happened than were apparently going to
occur without the use of these kinds of power.
That, then, is the point. Are Christians to work with others to wield
power-not only spiritual power through prayer and worship, not only moral
power through holy living and charity, not only persuasive power in
evangelism and advice, crucial as these are-but also the power of coercion,
whether financial, political, or, military? Are Christians to make deals,
even make compromises, in order to make the best of it? I believe that the
cumulative testimony of the Bible-the whole Bible-and of church history is
that yes, we sometimes should.
If we are to adopt this dangerous stance-and dangerous it certainly is,
let me repeat, for lurking everywhere are snares of pride, greed, lust,
self-righteousness, and self-deception-then we need a clear sense of mission
and vocation, as I have tried to outline above. We need to shape our lives
by gospel standards, and to respond with obedience to Christ in the face of
the shaping of our lives by forces outside our control, in order to optimize
our participation in the mission of God. In particular, we need to consider
what we can do to engage fully inpublic life, as God gives us the
opportunity to do so."
John G. Stackhouse Jr. Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real
World. Oxford University Press, 2008. Pp. 312-313

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