Last month, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, who is also a Catholic, came to Taipei for two interesting talks. In one of them Taylor laid out two models of secularism that in his naming are « the American model » and the « the French model. » Gauging each model by how faithfully they correspond to the democratic spirit of modern pluralistic society respectively, Taylor favors the formal and holds his critique of the latter.
In this interview La Croix conducted (my summary of it in Chinese here), you can clearly see how Pope Francis echoes Taylor’s call in his rejection of the French model of laïcité, namely, the political understanding of the government as the embodiment of the « counter-church, » whose role is to keep all pubic religious exercises at bay so as to minister to a « religionless » public square.
So as the French model prevails there, Pope Francis is also daring enough to call the French [Catholics] « the eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful, » whose republic nowadays has downgraded itself to a « mission country, » rendering the land « a periphery to be evangelized. »
But he is convinced that there isn’t necessarily « a need for priests in order to evangelize. » Baptism, and the Holy Spirit whom the believers received upon baptism, should provide the motif to evangelize, which means « to go out, to take the Christian message with courage and patience. »
« The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of whatever happens in the Church, its motor. Too many Christians are ignorant of this (in their false reliance on and espousal of ‘clericalism’). »
i’m not sure how i’m suppose to interpret 賢and能, but i don’t think they are moral concepts, if they are, then i think they are wrong. the one on zizek, i don’t quite understand. by 公平的論辯環境 i would include law. but law is not morality. law is to restrick 人性的敗壞. so that no matter who comes on stage, they won’t do outrageous things…
to still have the hope that governments could produce good people… i applaud for you. But i think that could only be achieved by the church.
還是允許世俗政治（敘利非尼基的希臘婦人）也吃教會聖壇掉下來的聖餅（Eucharist, symbolizing of some sort the theo-political union of believers）。
William Wilberforce見奴隸不合法、Martin Luther King 見種族遭歧視，這正是教會以為那些不甘自己的事，殊不知這正是被世俗政治意識形態導致的良心沈淪。
the church of which i am a participant has nothing to do with « joining » secular politics
« that’s not my calling to go into secular politics »
« [secular politics] has nothing to do with me »
[the church does not require less than 廢奴, they require more, they require people to love others as themselves. If, for example, the American church had lived as a church, there wouldn’t be a need for 廢奴.]
God may have different calling for different people. I praise God for what God has done through them (陳日君、Desmond Tutu 、Nelson Mandela、William Wilberforce、Martin Luther King…)
The church is a community of saints (holiness, meaning separation); the political agenda of the church is not to become 基督徒與外邦人共同生存的文化實體; the political agenda of the church is to be a communion of saints
“The church….they require more, they require people to love others as themselves. If, for example, the American church had lived as a church, there wouldn’t be a need for 廢奴.”
The first and foremost mission of the Church is for the Church to be the Church.
“the church is a community of saints (holiness, meaning separation)”
Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.
Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.
[Sad story indeed; in various points of the history, the church failed to be the church]
[I am not against社會參與. But, if church politics is the true politics, why wouldn’t you want to put all your efforts into that which is true?]
[Indeed the church should have loudly proclaim their message in the age of corruption, that is, they should of proclaimed the gospel, condemning the Nazis, and refuse to be part of them (the secular politics); the Christian polis should have entered war with secular politics, but sadly they didn’t ]
What’s really ironic is that you need Wilberforce’s leadership of the abolitionist movement to really stop the British church people from keeping slaves, King’s social engagement to awake the church about the importance to live closer to what’s already explicitly taught in Gal 3:28, and numerous other Christian political activists to help the church to be like the church.
Preach the gospel? Right. What does Jesus say about the gospel?
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 « The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. » 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, « Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. » (Luk 4:17-21 ESV)
I doubt if Paul sets all politics, secular or ecclesial, under God’s providential will, how could “obey…for the sake of CONSCIENCE” (Rom 13:5 CJB) and the LORD’s requirement of you “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God” (Mic 6:8 ESV) mean nothing more than paying homages and tax alike to the rulers to the exclusion of, say, rescuing a foreigner that was attacked, stripped, and beaten by robbers? (Luk 10:30 CJB)
Orally preach the gospel?
Jesus replied, « A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? » 37 He said, « The one who showed him mercy. » And Jesus said to him, « You go, and do likewise. » (Luk 10:30 ESV)
Hear Jesus said, “you go, and do likewise.”
If you try to “love people as you love yourself”, and you see the third world orphans live in poverty, I wonder how your claim to bring them into the true polis can be achieved without fighting the structural injustice of war, AIDS, unilateralism, economic exploitation, and so on.
I hope we learn more from those steady involved in the mission field. Sometimes I feel they have even much better grasp of how the church should be the church than we academic theologians [-to-be].
約翰福音 5:19 「我實實在在的告訴你們，子憑著自己不能做什麼，惟有看見父所做的，子才能做；父所做的事，子也照樣做。」
約翰福音 17:18 「你怎樣差我到世上，我也照樣差他們到世上。」
[we are sent to preach the gospel]
I am afraid that this short reply neglects the necessary step of exegesis
We are sent to be good Samaritans, to be a community of character, to be good stewards of the earth, to liberate the oppressed, and to bring spiritual and physical healings to the world.
The gospel entails nothing less than those (Luk 4:18ff), just as Jesus never falls shorting of doing anything of them.
He is the Gospel. And he is not doing this on his own. He sees what God has done and does them accordingly as He sends him for that reason.
If this is how (καθὼς Joh 17:18 BGT) God sent Jesus to the world, Jesus is sending us to the world for all those same purposes, through which God name will be exalted above all!
« I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world- just as I myself do not belong to the world. 15 I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the Evil One. (Joh 17:14-15 CJB)
So, if church politics is the true politics, why wouldn’t you want to put all your efforts into that which is true?
I believe it is because “to endeavor that which true” entails we do everything that God deems right and adorable, regardless of what kind of political engagement it is termed or classified.
Concerning Rom 13, I am worried that your insertion of “and nothing more” in the following verses may be too much of eisegesis:
For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Rom 13:6 ESV)
It seems far more like that Paul is giving an illustration concerning the RIGHT kinds of civil duties that believers ought to perform, rather than making an exhaustive list of Christian dogma for political involvement.
From the Greek you can see the shorthand parallel sentence structure. This is typically used when paradigmatic and illustrative purposes are intended, through which the audience is expected to observe the underlying principle of it and apply accordingly:
So, the government requires that you comply with the civil obligation of military service. Would you say “no”, because Paul teaches “nothing more” for that matter?
The government requires that you have to be licensed in order to drive on the road. Would you say “no”, because Paul teaches “nothing more” for that matter?
So then why is that when the democratic regime asks you to actively oversee the rulers you all have selected and advocate the right cause of social justice through all kinds of civil forums and political channels, you would persuade your Church to shy away from it because “it is not part of the church [as a community of saints]’s responsibility”? (Plus the underlying assumption of democracy is a deeply Christian one.)
[yes indeed, it is ironic; the church sinned badly; like the Corinthians, they did things that even pagans won’t do]
(Luk 4:17-21 ESV) is fulfilled in the kingdom of God that is brought about by Jesus.
[yes, the church needs to get together and fight against war, AIDS, unilateralism, economic exploitation, and so on. The church should teach their member not to be involved in war and in economic exploitation; I believe if the Church does live up to its standards the world will be very different] i believe the word of God has great power, the power to save, both the soul and the body
Basically, i have to say that the NT is filled with apocalyptic imagrey, the world is evil; the kingdom of God is light. You might be able to find one or two evidences that support your thesis, but overall, the church is a society and a polis. To be involved in society and politics is not to go to another polis and help them build their polis; but to build up the church, and to be a light to the world.
But then will your light have any use? ie. enlighten the world.
1) Will the light to the world do anything, if the world symbolizes darkness for sure?
2) I have pointed to moments of church history when God is really using Christian figures who embodied the theological ethical ideals to re-direct the church.
Indeed, the world is approaching its doom according to the Bible, but the Church is NOT.
The Church engaging in politics has less to do with helping the world to build up a parodic polis than a step for them to reflect the glory of God by being incorporated in the church in a true sense.
It’s a biblical mandate that Christians fulfill their civil duties and be a Good Samaritan. It does not matter if the Doomsday is tomorrow and two millions years later.
You are right that Act 6 is talking about the Church as an alternative society. I never reject the idea and I am as supportive to it as you are. It may not really give weight to the part of my position which is not shared by you.
I am saying, “Working in secular politics in a non-sectarian way” is sanctioned by God’s will for the Church. That it is inevitable is recognized by Paul and Peter (1 Pet 2:12-21).
The Church does unique things within believers in the intuitional church. I agree.
However, you really cannot say that you are refusing to get a driver’s license on the road or you should not be fulfilling the civil duty of overseeing the government or you dismiss the public cause of ending the AIDS in Africa on a structural level SOLELY because the world is evil and you just want to be the church.
For I can’t see how these will make the Christian church less churchy, what I have seen in history is that churches fail to be Christian over and over again only because it is way too sectarian and aloof to the turbulence of the surroundings, not attending to the Breath of the Holy Spirit, who “blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it’s going. That’s the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (Joh 3:8 GWN)
The HS can work in a muslin girl dream and make converts. It is the greatest force behind Wilberforce’s abolitionist movement.
It will be sad if we have a predefined notion on the breadth of Christian political engagement, and then stop short from where the Holy Spirit could fire up its power of revival that then makes people’s heart receptive to the Word of God.
At the “Church as the polis”, people can quickly move from the notion of church being the witness to “God’s kingdom come and will done” to the misconception that their only [direct] duty to the pagans is announce the written/oral gospel.
I hope the Bible is not wasting its pages on portraying those
「使神的名直接或間接得尊榮的外邦人政治家」：尼布甲尼薩 （Dan 3:28; 4-5）、波斯王古列（c.f. 2 Chr. 36:22; Ezra 1:1）、約瑟下監時的司獄（c.f. Gen 39:21）、以斯帖記中的亞哈隨魯王（c.f. Est. 6:1; 10:1-3）、「不認識約瑟的新王」以先四百年來埃及法老們（Ex 1:8）、下召讓尼尼微全城悔改的巴比倫王（Jonah 3-4）、以弗所城的書記（Acts 19）
Neither on giving account to Joseph, who as a foreign politician saves Egypt –
創世紀 41:54 七個荒年就來了。正如約瑟所說的，各地都有饑荒；惟獨埃及全地有糧食。
[You are right about John 3:8, as long as their aims cohere; I think an involvement in secular politics is to be appreciated. But Christian must keep in mind that what they are doing is for the kingdom of God; and whenever, their aims divert, Christians will have to dropout]