Q: Let's grant that the regenerate church is the New Society and the only enduring society, that the world as such can never be Christianized and turned into the New Society, and that apart from regeneration there is no participation in the kingdom of God. Having said that, does not the church nonetheless have a mission of light and salt in the world? Even if the institutional church is not to be politically engaged, does not Christ wish to expand his victory over evil and sin and all the forces that would destroy him, by penetrating the social order with Christians to exemplify godliness and justice? Are they not to work for good laws and a just society, even though they cannot hope to Christianize society?
A: Certainly. Such effort prevents the world from putrefying. But I regard it as entirely negative. I do not regard it as anything positive.
Q: Is it not possible that here or there at some points Christian effort might bring about what in quotation marks might be called "Christian culture"?
A: No. It will never come. All Scripture is against that. It's impossible. In the present world situation—surely it has never been more critical—all civilization is rocking, and we are facing collapse, morally, politically, and in every other way. I would have thought that surely at this time our urgent message should be, "Flee from the wrath to come!"
Q: Would you therefore encourage young people to consider the pulpit ministry or a missionary call above every other vocational call?
A: No. That's something I have never done and never would do. Such a decision must be a personal call from God. But seeing the critical danger of the world we must surely urge people to escape. It's amazing that any Christian could be concerned about anything else at this present time.
Q: Would you be happier if Sir Fred Catherwood, your son-in-law, were in the Christian ministry rather than in his present political work in the European Parliament?
A: No, I wouldn't. In fact, I was glad he resisted when pressure was brought upon him to go into the ministry. I've always tried to keep men out of the ministry. In my opinion a man should enter the ministry only if he cannot stay out of it.
Q: Did you indicate to him the remarkable contribution that he could make in the political arena?
A: Yes. But I also said that he should never—speaking as a Christian—claim that "this is the Christian political view." That approach was the mistake of Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper placed himself in a compromise position: a Christian minister becoming prime minister and then needing to form a coalition with Roman Catholics and claiming Christian sanction for specific political positions.
Monday, November 06, 2006
This is where Carl Henry really gets warmed up: