Proclamation By Demonstration

From “God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict” by Gregory A. Boyd

Just as our redemption is a feature of Christ’s broader cosmic accomplishments, so too the church’s passion to save individuals should be a feature of our burden to manifest Christ’s victory over his cosmic foes in all areas of life. For example, since part of God’s goal all along has been to restore humans to their rightful place as caring (not tyrannising) stewards of the earth, since Christ has in principle accomplished this by freeing us from the lordship of Satan, and since the restoration of nature is throughout scripture understood to be one dimension of God's eschatological vision, the church can hardly dismiss ecological concerns as being outside the parameters of its “spiritual” interests. Quite the contrary, through prayer and activism we are called to “curse the curse” and to free the earth from all forms of spiritual and physical destructive oppression, or rather to manifest the truth that the earth is in principle already freed from such oppression. The corrupted angelic guardians of nature have been defeated, and it is time for the church to proclaim it.

So too, since Christ has in principle defeated the fallen “gods” (principalities and powers) who have for ages inspired injustice, cruelty and apathy toward the weak, the poor, the oppressed and the needy (Ps. 82), the church can hardly carry out its role in manifesting, on earth and in heaven, Christ’s victory over these gods without taking up as a central part of its mission just these causes. We can, in truth, no more bifurcate social concerns and individual salvation than we can bifurcate the cosmic and anthropocentric dimensions of Christ’s work on the cross.

To cite one more example, if Christ on the cross has in fact torn down the racial wall of separation that divided people-groups (Eph 2:11-22), and if his Spirit now seeks to manifest this by reversing the effects of the catastrophe at the tower of Babel (Acts 2:5- 12), then the church has no choice but to seek to manifest this reality as intensely as we have sought to manifest the reality that the forgiveness for our individual sins was purchased on the cross. In other words, that racism has ended ought to be as demonstrable in the church, to our culture and in the face of the (now defeated) spiritual powers of racism, as is the gospel truth that personal condemnation has ended.

This is our part in spiritual war. We proclaim Christ’s truth by praying it, speaking it and (undoubtedly most importantly) by demonstrating it. We are not to accept with serene pious resignation the evil aspects of our world as “coming from a father’s hand.” Rather, following the example of our Lord and Saviour, and going forth with the confidence that he has in principle already defeated his (and our) foes, we are to revolt against the evil aspects of our world as coming from the devil’s hand. Our revolt is to be broad, as broad as the evil we seek to confront, and as broad as the work of the cross we seek to proclaim. Wherever there is destruction, hatred, apathy, injustice, pain or hopelessness, whether it concerns God’s creation, a structural feature of society, or the physical, psychological or spiritual aspect of an individual, we are in word and deed to proclaim to the evil powers that be, “You are defeated." As Jesus did, we proclaim this by demonstrating it.

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