Opinions on faith and life

Christian Diaspora?

2010-12-10

Most who are familiar with the word diaspora know that it concerns the scattering of the nation of Israel after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Those of us who believe scripture says God is not yet finished with Israel understand that at least 7 years of Jewish history remain and see the crucifixion of Jesus as His being cut off per the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. So this church age has been an interruption of Daniel’s prophecy due to Israel having rejected her Messiah, as James explained at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:13-18).

But could the ekklesia itself be in a diaspora of its own? Consider what Paul said in Acts 20:29-30 about the wolves that would scatter the flock after his departure: history has shown that within a generation or so from when the last of the original apostles were gone, some began to claim a priestly status above other believers. The famous historian Philip Schaff, in sec. 42 of History of the Christian Church, Clergy and Laity, said Thus we find, so early as the third century, the foundations of a complete hierarchy (source). And as the Roman Catholic Church developed post-Constantine, the Bible itself was held captive by the powerful few, to the point where one wonders how the faith survived at all.

But survive it did, through a remnant very much like that which God always preserved of Israel (see The Reformers and Their Stepchildren for more), though today the efforts of the controlling seem focused more on novel interpretations and the sheer weight of their ability to influence. Some may see this two thousand year time of ebb and flow between light and darkness as proof that God cannot or will not preserve His own Word, yet we believers should know better, especially with the hindsight of the history of Israel. And just as Israel (in fulfillment of prophecies long reinterpreted as allegory) re-emerged in her homeland after two thousand years, so also it may be that the ekklesia is about to end her own such period of dispersion.

We wonder sometimes why God did not see to it that the original manuscripts of scripture, especially the New Testament, were preserved, or why He has allowed such terrible falsehood and violence to be done in His name all this time. But when we realize that God never promised a golden age of the ekklesia or told us how long this age would last (but see Rom. 11:25), we should instead be grateful that even today there are millions who carry the Holy Spirit within them, the scriptures are more readily available to more people than ever before in history, and the stranglehold the powerful have had on the Word of God is being weakened by ordinary believers searching diligently as the Bereans of old (Acts 17:11).

We should also trust God to preserve exactly what He wants preserved, and to leave hidden what He has allowed to be hidden. Instead of letting the critics weaken our faith by mockingly asking why God hasn’t been more openly involved in protecting Jesus’ Bride, we might tell them to ponder the wisdom of demanding an audience with God, because they just might get it. God will let us make mistakes, and we can no more expect to be kept out of the general suffering of the world than some of the famous Israelites of old such as Daniel. But if we remain faithful and keep doing the work God has assigned to us (Eph. 2:10), we will be rewarded (Mt. 5:12, 19:29, Rom. 4:4-5, 11:6, 1 Cor. 3:8-14, Eph. 6:8, etc.).

The world, even the church, is a very bleak and hopeless place now. But we who believe are about to enter the ultimate Promised Land. Are you looking forward to that (2 Tim. 4:8)? Keep your eyes on Jesus (Mt. 14:29-30), and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:25b).

9 Comments

Tweets that mention Words of a Fether » Christian Diaspora? -- Topsy.com

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marg Mowczko, Paula Fether. Paula Fether said: Latest blog post: Christian Diaspora? http://goo.gl/fb/lnens [...]

SaberTruth

Yep. Society and church have regressed to the point where "real men" more resemble gorillas than the image of God, and "godly women" resemble Barbie in a burqa.

Greg Anderson

Agreed, much of what I suggested would be like trying to tack a ziz-zag course through the Drake passage with only modest forward gain into the winds. Perilous for sailing vessels even in the best of weather. I still believe that children learn by example, and if boys see their Dads rejecting high-end big boy toyz and much of what pop-consumer culture tells them they must buy into to "be a man", it will go a long way in stemming the negative tide. I realize there are no guarantees, but I still think that if parents paid as much attention to the rearing of children as do wolf-packs in the raising of cubs, we’d have far less violence, cruelty and bullying than what is rampant now.

SaberTruth

Excellent suggestion, Greg. Yet we both know that such a suggestion for most will go over like a lead balloon. Bucking peer pressure is hard enough; we have kids today committing suicide from the bullying they get over being different in one way or another. If you don’t fit in, you experience a loneliness the goes to the depths of the soul. Of course, some manage to walk the line, somehow being smart and cool at the same time (I’ll never figure that one out, though some would say I do neither anyway). We have to put up some role models where more girls can see them. And really, boys need real Christian role models too: not the "alpha male", mega CEO, private jet set, but men who don’t think "soft" is a four-letter word or that you’re not a real man unless you boss somebody. I agree also that most entertainment is designed to dull our minds. That, plus fluoride in the water (causes compliant behavior, per the experience of Nazi Germany). I’ve also been reading about the technology to plant thoughts in people’s heads without audible evidence; something about using the skin as a receiver of certain ELF waves. But yes, it’s such a pity that at the time in history more rigorous education is both needed and possible, the people are least capable of handling it. Beam us up, Jesus!

Greg Anderson

You mentioned in a previous post that we are probably headed into a dark age. I agree that the likelihood is high if one uses the cycles of history as a template for future happenings. All empires go into trajectories of decline and fall, the U.S. is no different and will not evade this pattern. The inertia of its motion in that direction is too huge to argue otherwise. The only things evangelicals, and secularists for that matter will disagree on, are the reasons for it. I also agree with Katharine Bushnell that we should train up our gifted young girls in the ancient languages of the Bible so that new translations can emerge through the dark times, much in the same way that Irish monks preserved the learning of the past after the fall of the Roman Empire. Technology has been both boon and bane. On the one hand it has made information more readily available that ever before in human history, and on the other, it has created a culture of visual gratification with drastically reduced attention spans and aversion to intellectual disciplines that are hard and painful to acquire. Just as there is no "fun" or "easy" way to grasp the concepts of advanced mathematics, study of the ancient languages of the Bible requires the same "Jedi-like" commitment. It is my fervent prayer that we identify such giftings in our young girls and women, steer them away from what pop-culture demands they be, and cultivate them as a wise investment in the ekklesia.

SaberTruth

Thanks JR. :-) It’s so sad to realize that the bulk of the church has not even known it’s been living far away from "home", that being the NT model of a Body.

enjoyed your thoughts on this, you might be interested in this post which develops that thought in a different way, it is the third part of my original blog manifesto and probably the most neglected! :-( http://xenos-theology.blogspot.com/2008/11/living-life-in-diaspora.html

SaberTruth

That’s the mistake atheists make too: that unless God uses His power to always prevent bad things from happening to at least His own followers and children, He’s either not real or a joke. But Christians also have this cause/effect issue that borders on superstition. For example, someone starts tithing due to relentless pastoral pressure and then they get some unexpected cash windfall, so they conclude that the tithing caused the blessing. But later, if there is some tragedy such as losing one’s job, somehow the alleged blessing from tithing is forgotten and another cause is sought out. But this is the age of faith, not sight.

Lydia

You know, it is funny when people lament about the state of the church today, I always want to tell them to read up on church history. The state of the church today is nothing new if one looks at the big picture. Why didn’t God preserve the original manuscripts of His Word? Why didn’t He preserve pieces of the Ark or the Ark of the Covenant? I think the answer to those questions is the Holy Spirit as you mention above. "Instead of letting the critics weaken our faith by mockingly asking why God hasn’t been more openly involved in protecting Jesus’ Bride, we might tell them to ponder the wisdom of demanding an audience with God, because they just might get it." Oh how true. But they will get an audience with God and if it is anything like what Isaiah described his was like...OH MY! Folks who ask the above question about protecting the Bride need to read the book of Job.