September 22, 2022
In many ways, The Book of Revelation touches on the political and cultural sitz im leben, or "setting in life." John was given his vision while living in a specific cultural, political, and economic context. The people who first read this book understood many of the couched criticisms and condemnations.
In many ways, The Book of Revelation reinforces the truth expressed several times in Scripture that "we are in the world but not of the world." We genuinely avoid hyper-partisanship in politics. We work to keep materialism from running rampant. We manage as best we can a consumerist mindset. We struggle against how just about everything in our culture is sexualized/sensualized. It's even happening at the elementary level in public schools. Where's the line between becoming Amish or hedonistic?
In many ways, just as The Book of Revelation critiqued and criticized and condemned the wrongness and wickedness of its time, so, too, is it appropriate for us to do the same thing. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing any of these things. Our Good and Gracious God has told us there is plenty of reason to do these things.
In many ways, Christians need to stay on top of scandal and bad teaching from those who claim to be believers. The prosperity gospel immediately comes to mind. So does the leading Baptist theologian who said, "We have a responsibility to make certain that Christians understand the stewardship of the vote, which means the discipleship of the vote, which means the urgency of the vote, the treasure of the vote and they need to understand that insofar as they do not vote or they vote wrongly, they are unfaithful because the vote is a powerful stewardship." There's a lot to parse in that short paragraph. But many who read it say it sounds like there is a wrong way and a right way to vote. We hear that expressed from both right and left. A person's vote, whatever it is, is between that person and God. We all must be careful about passing judgment on someone's Christian faith based on how they vote.
In many ways, we have to be discerning when considering the chatter of the Christian marketplace. One woman calls herself a “pioneer” in high-level prayer, pointing to her decades of experience as a minister of the Gospel, televangelist and self-proclaimed prophetess. Her International Prayer Institute is offering a class