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Does God Work Through Systems?

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I enjoy listening to the podcasts from The Public Square which discusses American politics from a Christian perspective, In one of the archives discussing the founding of the Republic, Dave Shepherd made the comment that calling something "Christian" as an adjective is a recent use, whereas in the past "Christian" always referred only to people. So America was never a "Christian" nation, but was a nation created by Christians.

 

That got me to thinking. Does God work through systems, whether they be political systems or religious systems? Personally, I don't think so. I think God works through people in systems, but the system itself is not important to God. In government any bureaucracy created as people in it who tend to selfishly protect the system that has become their livelihood, which is why departments never go away and tend to grow larger.

 

Same thing with denominations. Once a denomination becomes established it becomes a system that staff members tend to guard and protect. When their priority becomes the preservation of the denomination, often, then, Ichabod - the Spirit departs.

 

What do you think? Does God work through the systems or the people in the systems?

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I enjoy listening to the podcasts from The Public Square which discusses American politics from a Christian perspective, In one of the archives discussing the founding of the Republic, Dave Shepherd made the comment that calling something "Christian" as an adjective is a recent use, whereas in the past "Christian" always referred only to people. So America was never a "Christian" nation, but was a nation created by Christians.

 

That got me to thinking. Does God work through systems, whether they be political systems or religious systems? Personally, I don't think so. I think God works through people in systems, but the system itself is not important to God. In government any bureaucracy created as people in it who tend to selfishly protect the system that has become their livelihood, which is why departments never go away and tend to grow larger.

 

Same thing with denominations. Once a denomination becomes established it becomes a system that staff members tend to guard and protect. When their priority becomes the preservation of the denomination, often, then, Ichabod - the Spirit departs.

 

What do you think? Does God work through the systems or the people in the systems?

 

God works through the people in the systems in my opinion. Systems often become corrupt and bureaucratic as you state. I think the main system He works through is the true church which I believe includes people of all denominations.

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God works through the people in the systems in my opinion. Systems often become corrupt and bureaucratic as you state. I think the main system He works through is the true church which I believe includes people of all denominations.

 

I don't think he uses the system specifically, but uses the people in the system who naturally use the system. But that does not mean those people are doing it God's way. Consider John the Baptist. The world tells us that marketing should target the people where the people are located, but John went out into the wilderness where no one was at. Someone, of course, had to be there to tell others where John was so the crowds could come to him. John did not use the religious system to prepare the way of the Lord. Ministries today send out marketing emails, flyers, and basically use the ways of the world to preach the Gospel. Nor am I saying that it is wrong to do so. What I am saying is that God does not need such things, and I think ministries rely more on the world than on God.

 

We are told that God creates governments, and I do not believe that. I believe God gave the right to create governments to men, but it is still men who create the governments, whether political or religious. I also think that we see the kingdom of God as though it is like the kingdoms of men, and I don't believe that either. The closest we come to seeing the kingdom of God on Earth in the Old Testament is in the book of Judges. Yes, they strayed and God had to intervene periodically. But if you compare the amount of evil in the book of Judges with the amount of evil in Chronicles and Kings, the latter was exponentially more evil. In fact, when they cried out for a king, God told Samuel that they were rejecting Him who already was their king. They gave up their freedom for the ways of the world.

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I don't think he uses the system specifically, but uses the people in the system who naturally use the system. But that does not mean those people are doing it God's way. Consider John the Baptist. The world tells us that marketing should target the people where the people are located, but John went out into the wilderness where no one was at. Someone, of course, had to be there to tell others where John was so the crowds could come to him. John did not use the religious system to prepare the way of the Lord. Ministries today send out marketing emails, flyers, and basically use the ways of the world to preach the Gospel. Nor am I saying that it is wrong to do so. What I am saying is that God does not need such things, and I think ministries rely more on the world than on God.

 

We are told that God creates governments, and I do not believe that. I believe God gave the right to create governments to men, but it is still men who create the governments, whether political or religious. I also think that we see the kingdom of God as though it is like the kingdoms of men, and I don't believe that either. The closest we come to seeing the kingdom of God on Earth in the Old Testament is in the book of Judges. Yes, they strayed and God had to intervene periodically. But if you compare the amount of evil in the book of Judges with the amount of evil in Chronicles and Kings, the latter was exponentially more evil. In fact, when they cried out for a king, God told Samuel that they were rejecting Him who already was their king. They gave up their freedom for the ways of the world.

 

That is a good point regarding John the Baptist. He did things God's way and the people flocked to him.

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God plans governments to come about for one purpose or another but governments are ungodly on their own.

I think God uses government like he used Pharaoh, Exodus 9:16, Romans 9:17, sort of.

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God plans governments to come about for one purpose or another but governments are ungodly on their own.

I think God uses government like he used Pharaoh, Exodus 9:16, Romans 9:17, sort of.

 

Personally, I don't believe that God plans governments. I believe He has given mankind the right for self government and men create the governments. It is noteworthy in the temptation of Christ that Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he would bow down and worship him. Jesus did not dispute Satan's authority to offer him those kingdoms. As I said before, I believe God uses people in governments, and the people use the systems of governments for God if they are responding to the prompting of the Lord.

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Personally, I don't believe that God plans governments. I believe He has given mankind the right for self government and men create the governments. It is noteworthy in the temptation of Christ that Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he would bow down and worship him. Jesus did not dispute Satan's authority to offer him those kingdoms. As I said before, I believe God uses people in governments, and the people use the systems of governments for God if they are responding to the prompting of the Lord.

 

Great points.

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Great points.

 

The main interest I have in this topic has been one that I have had since I became a Christian. What are the differences between how the Kingdom of God runs and the world? We are so overwhelmed with the ways of the world we naturally impose the world system on the Kingdom of God. Because we are finite creatures, as are the angels and demons, hierarchy is a natural structure. One man can not do what a thousand men can do, yet how does one man get a thousand to do his bidding? He can not talk to each one one-on-one so chains of command are formed to get his communication out through underlings. But not so with God. God is not finite, he is infinite. He can speak to everyone all at once in an intimate and personal level. He has no need of a hierarchal system. Yet the the people in the body organize in the same fashion. I believe this is one aspect for the apparent lack of unity in the body. Instead of listening to God directly, many prefer to listen to leaders.

 

Another difference is how Kingdom leaders lead. They do not. Instead, they live their lives following the Lord and others see it and follow them. In the world leaders impose their will upon others through rules and regulations, coercion, bribery and rewards, and a host of other means. I am not speaking of church leaders in the last clause, but political. Yet, too, often we see church leaders using the same means of the world. Kingdom leaders are servants to all and rely on God for all their needs, even it that means living on locust and honey like John the Baptist, or eating food covered in raven spit like Elisha.

 

There are many other examples that could be cited. Suffice to say, Kingdom leaders are dispersed throughout many systems, and though they work in those systems because we remain in the world, you know them by their fruits. It has been said for the last 2,000 years there are two churches. The visible church which includes all who profess Christ, and the invisible church who are all organically joined to God through the new birth and live according to the way of the King.

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The main interest I have in this topic has been one that I have had since I became a Christian. What are the differences between how the Kingdom of God runs and the world? We are so overwhelmed with the ways of the world we naturally impose the world system on the Kingdom of God. Because we are finite creatures, as are the angels and demons, hierarchy is a natural structure. One man can not do what a thousand men can do, yet how does one man get a thousand to do his bidding? He can not talk to each one one-on-one so chains of command are formed to get his communication out through underlings. But not so with God. God is not finite, he is infinite. He can speak to everyone all at once in an intimate and personal level. He has no need of a hierarchal system. Yet the the people in the body organize in the same fashion. I believe this is one aspect for the apparent lack of unity in the body. Instead of listening to God directly, many prefer to listen to leaders.

 

Another difference is how Kingdom leaders lead. They do not. Instead, they live their lives following the Lord and others see it and follow them. In the world leaders impose their will upon others through rules and regulations, coercion, bribery and rewards, and a host of other means. I am not speaking of church leaders in the last clause, but political. Yet, too, often we see church leaders using the same means of the world. Kingdom leaders are servants to all and rely on God for all their needs, even it that means living on locust and honey like John the Baptist, or eating food covered in raven spit like Elisha.

 

There are many other examples that could be cited. Suffice to say, Kingdom leaders are dispersed throughout many systems, and though they work in those systems because we remain in the world, you know them by their fruits. It has been said for the last 2,000 years there are two churches. The visible church which includes all who profess Christ, and the invisible church who are all organically joined to God through the new birth and live according to the way of the King.

 

Some very good and deep thoughts on this subject. I wonder how the hierarchy in Heaven works with the angels. I have done some study on the Heavenly government and it is interesting.

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Some very good and deep thoughts on this subject. I wonder how the hierarchy in Heaven works with the angels. I have done some study on the Heavenly government and it is interesting.

 

I don't know, but an Arch Angel suggests an order. And I also wonder, knowing Jesus, if even the angels are great by their service, too.

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Personally, I don't believe that God plans governments.

 

The Bible contradicts this belief.

 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1-2)

 

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,

to whom belong wisdom and might.

He changes times and seasons;

he removes kings and sets up kings. (Daniel 2:20-21)

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The Bible contradicts this belief.

 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1-2)

 

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,

to whom belong wisdom and might.

He changes times and seasons;

he removes kings and sets up kings. (Daniel 2:20-21)

 

None of your quotes say that God plans governments. I view Romans the same way I view Isaiah 45:7 when God says he creates evil, it means he takes responsibility for the existence of evil because he gave mankind the freedom to reject Him. Likewise He gave mankind the freedom to govern themselves.

 

Your quote in Psalms simply means He intervenes in human affairs as He needs to.

 

The point of the thread asks the question, Does God work through systems? And my point is, No, he works through people who are in the systems. The distinction I am making is that the system is irrelevant to God, whereas men defend systems as though they matter to God.

 

When I was a student at Christ for the Nations in Dallas, I earned a Jewish Studies Minor as well as my Practical Theology degree. As a requirement for the minor, I had to go to Israel for a three week tour, with the option of staying the summer on a kibbutz at Ramat Rachel in between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. On the tour we visited Yad HaShem, i.e., the Hand of God, which is a holocaust museum. There the Jews honored the righteous gentiles who fought to protect them during the War. They had a memorial for a Swede, Raoul Wallenberg, who used a rowboat and by himself over the course of many months, rowed Jews out of Nazi Germany across the channel to Sweden. He managed to save 10,000 Jews. While viewing he memorial, the Lord spoke to me and said, All I need is one person. In the statement I understood what He meant. He simply needs one person who is willing to lay his life down to obey Him. This salvation of the Jews was not done with any system, but one man with a rowboat.

 

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