The Twin Strategies of a Missional Church
Romans 13 is the positive engagement of God’s Kingdom as it spreads in the world. Romans 13 is the positive contribution God’s people make as we live as workers in the world. Romans 13 is a guide for how we live as citizens of a nation. Romans 13 is Paul’s way of explaining what the prophet Jeremiah said hundreds of years earlier (Jeremiah 29:1-9): work and pray for the welfare of the city to which you have been taken captive.
Revelation 13 differs drastically. Revelation 13 sees the sinful and demonic elements at work in a fallen and rebellious culture. Revelation 13 sees the systems of the world in full frontal opposition against the Kingdom of God. There is nothing neutral, polite, calm, or gentle in Revelation 13. Instead, there is robust resistance to the fallen world.
Romans 13 is the way of Reformational churches who want to work for engagement and transformation of those fallen parts of culture.
Revelation 13 is the Anabaptist way, which believes we work through prophetic witness and counter-cultural insurgency against the fallen state systems.
I think we need both. Occasionally we need them in sequence. More often we need them simultaneously. We gather and engage in an intentional community to be empowered to be agents who work for transformation and witnesses who speak boldly against what is wrong.
We encourage and we challenge.
We comfort and we confront.
We are pastors and we are prophets.
It was the way of Jesus and it must be our way as well.