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· 基督徒和牧师为何支持美国的左派
· 帝国铁蹄下的复活(文摘,谨供参
· 我们不会被沉默 We Will Not Be
· 2021年复活节前继续反思瘟疫和某
· 再读《路加福音》第三章7~20节
· 主日信息:如何为国家祷告(转贴
· “教会不讲政治”与“发挥社会功
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分类目录
【读《圣经·旧约·创世纪》】
 · 再读《创世纪》第四十七章(惟独祭
【读《圣经·旧约·申命记》】
 · 再读《申命记》四章/三十章/三十一
【读《圣经·旧约·以斯帖记》】
 · 8)上帝“出手”(2012-09-27 文摘
 · 7)以斯帖和末底改与约瑟的对比(2
 · 6)以斯帖记的神学目的(2012-09-2
 · 5)末底改不归回圣地的后果(2012-
 · 4)为何末底改不拜哈曼?末底改和
 · 3)以斯帖和末底改是否为正面的圣
 · 2)犹太人有必要在平反后再行杀戮
 · 1)从旧约看报复--当受害者成为加
【读《圣经·旧约·约伯记》】
 · 真实,独特,智慧的《约伯记》(20
 · 关于“以利户的苦难观”(2012-07-
 · 人的智慧到了尽头,是上帝上场说话
 · 读《圣经·旧约·约伯记》(2012-0
【读《圣经·旧约·诗篇》】
 · 再读《诗篇第十九篇》:颂赞上主律
【读《圣经·旧约·以赛亚书》】
 · 再读《以赛亚书》第四十章(神对余
【读《圣经·旧约·何西阿书》】
 · 再读《圣经·旧约·何西阿书》第九
【读《圣经·新约·马太福音》】
 · 再读《马太福音》二十一章:凯撒的
【读《圣经·新约·路加福音》】
 · 再读《路加福音》第三章7~20节:
 · 以“我们在天上的父”开始每日的祈
 · 文摘:撒该和仆人的故事(卢俊义)
 · 再读马利亚赞美上主耶稣基督的颂歌
 · 接近神圣“悲剧”前的一幕:一个女
 · 接近神圣“悲剧”前的一幕:一个女
【读《圣经·新约·约翰福音》】
 · 以“我们在天上的父”开始每日的祈
 · 再读《约翰福音》第八章39~47节:
 · 再读《约翰福音》第八章31~38节:
 · 再读《约翰福音》第八章31~38节:
 · 关于“灭亡之子---犹大”的若干思
 · 关于“灭亡之子---犹大”的若干思
 · 关于《约翰福音》第十七章12节中“
 · 上主是那么爱“这个世界的‘主人’
 · 在他里面有生命,这生命是人的光;
【读《圣经·新约·使徒行传》】
 · 让全世界都知道-初代教会:以弗所-
 · 彼得在五旬节讲道(教会史上的第一
 · 以“我们在天上的父”开始每日的祈
【读《圣经·新约·帖撒罗尼迦前书】
 · 再读《圣经·新约·帖撒罗尼迦前书
 · 再读《圣经·新约·帖撒罗尼迦前书
 · 再读《圣经·新约·帖撒罗尼迦前书
【读《圣经·新约·帖撒罗尼迦后书】
 · 主日再读《帖撒罗尼迦后书》第一,
【读《圣经·新约·启示录》】
 · 让全世界都知道-初代教会:以弗所-
【赞美诗】
 · 美国乡村音乐:《家传圣经 Family
 · 赞美诗:【三一颂 Doxology】(宣
【读书/笔记/分享】
 · 帝国铁蹄下的复活(文摘,谨供参考
 · “耶稣受难苦路十四站”,读经默想
 · 看报与晨读:德州高中校长家访每一
 · 《悼林昭》(今天是4月29日,说真话
 · 在新的一年再次开始学习研读(《加
 · 再读《马太福音》二十一章:凯撒的
 · 无法哭泣(文摘谨供参考)
 · 《向着有光的方向,往前走》(原作
 · 知青故事:《在中国长大的“美帝”
 · 以“我们在天上的父”开始每日的祈
【杂文/随笔/反思】
 · 2021年复活节前继续反思瘟疫和某些
 · “教会不讲政治”与“发挥社会功能
 · 《迈向上主耶稣基督的乐园》
 · 虚伪的参议院开大会之前的“虚伪祷
 · 从庄子拜见鲁哀公的故事说起,反思
 · 一定是左派,才会搞“文革”
 · 在共产党眼里,只有它自己是左派,
 · 再读《圣经》中含有“悔改”二字的
 · 教会真的不在讲政治吗?
 · 反思:“向被上帝带入北美的国人传
【信息/文摘/分享】
 · 基督徒和牧师为何支持美国的左派?
 · 我们不会被沉默 We Will Not Be Si
 · 主日信息:如何为国家祷告(转贴谨
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 · 《鹿心血》(知青回忆录,文摘)
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 · 《54周年祭 - 曹滨海和他的母亲》
 · 《那一代北京文人的诗酒过从》(文
 · 知青回忆录:《曾骥》
 · 北京版的“孽债”:《一颗遗落在荒
 · 《最后一盏灯火》(转载,仅供参考
 · 《向着有光的方向,往前走》(原作
 · 知青故事:《在中国长大的“美帝”
 · 知青该不该忏悔(文摘谨供参考)
【Covid-19病毒瘟疫期间的教会信息】
 · 黑人牧师反思:我们关于“种族 Rac
 · 【保守教会在基督的爱和荣耀里】,
 · 【耶稣为教会合一祷告】(信友堂5
 · 《从“李文亮事件”事件看专制的本
 · 《危难中的平安》(2020-05-24主日
 · 《上帝允许新冠病毒瘟疫的发生吗?
 · 主日(5月10日母亲节)信息:《耶
 · 看报与晨读:德州高中校长家访每一
 · 《悼林昭》(今天是4月29日,说真话
 · 《讲实话与讲讨人喜欢的话》(文摘
【2016年美国大选杂文】
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【随笔】
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 · 《十架:基督信仰之核心 The Cross
 · 《这人是谁?是方方的祖父!》
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网络日志正文
《天国人或社会人?─谈基督徒的公民责任》(文摘谨供参考
2020-11-02 22:05:29

《天国人或社会人?──谈基督徒的公民责任》(巴刻 J.I. Packer著;朱锦华,魏孝娥,吴鲲生合译)

【注:作者James Innell Packer(J. I. Packer,詹姆斯·恩尼尔·巴刻),牛津大学哲学博士,曾任加拿大维真学院系统神学教授;2020年7月17日安息主怀。】

  甚督徒生活中有一椿以非而是的现象:一个人更深关切天堂,他就会更关切上帝的旨意是否行在地上。在今世表现出最大的热忱来服事他人的基督徒,通常就是那些对于另一个世界最有把握的人。无论是牧师、宣教士、政冶家、改革家、企业家、医生、有钱有势之人,或一般的信徒,他们的生活都可证明此事。

  服事他人是基督徒的第一要务,从对人的服事可以看出基督徒的爱心。公民身分也是一种服务的形式,就像起初大部分的基督徒所领会的。尽管马克思主义者宣称宗教使人对于世上的需要麻木不仁,我们却发现,那些公民籍设在天上的人(我引用保罗在腓立比书三20的词句),他们在任何国家中都是最好的公民,不论在民主国家或极权国家、基督教国家或异教国家、世俗化国家或无神主义国家。  

  【公众活动参与的圣经基础】  

  新约圣经十分强调遵守公民义务,且把遵守公民义务视为事奉上帝。当耶稣回答纳税问题时说“该撒的物当归给该撒,上帝的物当归给上帝”(可十二17),这不是巧妙的规避,乃是一清楚的认定:纳所当纳的给执政的政府,是基督徒蒙召的一部分。当彼得说“敬畏上帝,尊敬君王”(彼前二17)时,他注意到同样的真理。保罗亦然,他认为基督徒应该存感恩的心来过每一天的生活,那是基督教的真精神,因之,他教导罗马基督徒“当顺服在上有权柄的”(罗十三1),并且告诉他们“为著良心的缘故”,他们应当“凡人所当得的,就给他;当得粮的,给他纳粮。当得悦的,给他上税;当惧怕的,惧怕他;当恭敬的,恭敬他。”(罗十三6~7)

  保罗说到每一个政府官员是“神的用人,与你有益”(4节)。注意那是个外邦罗马政府,他所提的,从皇帝以下都包括在内。而且他进一步地解释道,上帝如此设立国家,为要维持法律、秩序、公正和“益处”。这里显然含括了保护和福祉;这样说来,并没有挪开追求幸福的机会,那是美国宪法所奉为圭皋的。

  所以,虽然基督徒没有将今世视为自已的家,而是视自已为寄居者、路过外地的客旅,正往他们存实之处迈进(参阅彼前二11、太六19~20)。然而圣经亦告诫他们,不对从好政府而来的利益,漠不关心。同时他们对于尽己方为别人谋求最大的福利,也不可迟疑,就像为自已谋福一样。经由守法的生活来支持稳定的政府,并且经由个人参与,在其可能的范围内,协助政府扮好它的角色。这样的态度当日如何适用于约瑟、摩西、大卫、所罗门、尼希米、末底改和但以理(但以理的情况特殊,请勿进一步引伸),在今日同样适用于我们。这样的行动是服事上帝,也是服事邻舍。

  凯弗德爵士(Sir Frederick Catherwood)是欧洲共同市场议会的议员,他一针见血的说:“尝试改善社会,不是世俗化,乃是爱。洗手脱身社会,不是爱,乃是世俗化。”(注1)  

  【误导的理念】  

  可是,我们也得注意到现代化基督教界在“政冶观”上有三条支流,它们使得整个局面十分紊杂。在我们往下讨论之前,必须逐一的探讨一番:  

  1.持相对观的政治化意图

  当我提到基督徒“相对论者”的时候,我脑中浮现的是一些更正教徒,他们不把圣经的教训,视为上帝启示的真理,只把圣经看作人对上帝自我的启示的寻索,而且有浓厚的文化背景;所藉以表达的也尽是相对性的词语,今日基督徒不当照单全收;圣经中又有许多情绪性的言论,今日基督徒也不当全然接受。【本人注:此文中所谓的“更正教(会)-Protestants”,常常又被称作“新教(教会)”,相对于马丁路德“改教”之前的“罗马天主教(会)”。“更正教(会)-Protestants”一词涵盖了马丁路德改教之后的众多的“新教(教会)宗派”。】

  当我提到“政治化意图”,我的意思是说,他们的标的把基督教的信仰,从“天路历程”降为以现世为终点的“社会──政冶方案”。这个方案一向的论调是:只要除掉社会上那些集体性的罪,诸如种族主义,经济和文化剥削,阶级分化,反人权等,而以沙龙来代替之(沙龙Shalom乃希伯来文字,意指在上帝之下共有的福祉),上帝的国就得以建立在地上。

  这种说法错在那里?不是错在祈求平安,也不是错在处心的促成平安。今日整个地球已经像个村庄,四海之内的兄弟爱,需要每一个基督徒尽力去践履──不论是对自已的同胞,或对国外的需要都一样。但是当基督徒的信仰(在人群中,我们紧紧把握住上帝启示的目的)和基督徒的顺服(我们尽力遵行上帝所启示的旨意)贬为改革人类的社会,那就真是信仰上极大的扭曲了。当基督只被视为救人脱离今世剥削的救主、解放者和赋与人性者,则福音的核心可说已撇弃了。这种看法,可以说已经变为更正教领导阶层中,自由派和激进派的标准看法。普世教协(The World Council of Churches)不只如此表白,而且还强化这种看法。(拉丁美洲罗马天主教的“解放神学”也具体表现这种倾向,而且增强之;但是我们现在不准备进一步讨论,本文所关切的是北美洲的更正教)。

  可笑的是,更正教主流教会的教牧人员和平信徒领袖,放纵自已,把信仰的价值重新解释、定义为政冶价值。这样一来,他们藉口信仰必须应用在生活中,却把基督教信仰世俗化了,如此,他们多少把信仰左倾化了,甚至于革命、暴动和违抗合法政府的游击战争,可以纳入基督教里面,好多半学术性的书籍持这种观点,自由派神学院也固守此种观点,也有人口尊其为“政冶神学”学术研究,这些现象使得它颇受重视。更正教部分宗派的总部很有计划的宣扬此种看法,导致许多信徒把到处推介这种方案,和基督徒公民的角色等量齐观。

  以上这些论点的基本错误,就是抛弃了基督教的特质──超越性。那些尊圣经为属天真理的人,认为新约中最重要的真理是,耶稣把我们从罪孽和将来的忿怒中救拔出来,在义中更新我们,向我们敞开天门。这些基督徒同时认为那些把传福音当作兄弟之爱的最基本层面者,应该像其他任何人一样,尽全力反对社会邪恶。这样的行为,即是实践好撒玛利亚人的样式,所有基督徒都蒙召如此而行──也就是说,尽一已所能,在每一方面济助有需要者和困苦者。但所有这些必须以事奉基督为大前提,基督的国不属于一这个世界,这位基督要求人类了解今生,不但有喜乐和富足,也有艰辛和忧愁。今生是品德和灵性的训练场,训练我们好在日后生活于永恒之中。我所说的这些持相对观者,因为失去了这种永恒的眼光,于是整个兄弟之爱的走向,已经步入歧途。  

  2.持绝对观的禁欲敬虔论

  此处所谓的“绝对论者”,分布在更正教、罗马天主教,或东正教中。这些信徒相信上帝不变的真理,已经藉著圣经赐予教会,唯有持守这个真理,才能讨上帝喜欢。这些人可以称之为基督教保守派,或甚至保守主义者,因为他们不愿意修改也不愿减缩有历史根据的圣经信仰。更正教的“绝对观者”有好多(也许是绝大部分)比较喜欢被人称作福音派(evangelical),因为他们认为基督的福音(The evangel)是基督教信仰的中心。

  “敬虔”一词则指向关切如何达到圣洁、避免罪恶,救人灵魂,与弟兄姊妹团契相交,以及以个人身分,反对所有敌对基督的势力。敬虔派在政冶态度上相当被动,不愿与任何层面的政府有来往。有些人可能会去投票,但不会竞选公职,有些人甚至不去投票;而所有人一致倾向于不把政冶课题当作自已的事。这一派的基督徒对他们的公民职分,采取退缩的态度,而不是积极参与政冶行列。

  何以变成如此?因素有好几方面:

  第一点是对上文所述更正教中自由派者“社会福音”的反动;福音派敬虔主义者想要尽可能与他们有别。

  第二个因素是从他们的末世论衍生出的错误推论(“末世论”的意思是对未来的看法),此论点认为当基督再来,日近之时这个世界只会愈来愈糟,一点也无法避免。他们还认为,我们简直是束手无策;所以不管是谁掌权,都无关紧要。

  第三个因素亦与此有关,就是强调与“世界”分别,与世界的道德堕落、妥协原则、世俗化,寻欢作乐、事奉自已等生活方式分别之。对于政冶,他们认为是在阴暗的环境,为了赢得选票,得经常牺牲原则,而且为了达到目的,必须玩弄手段,因此政治很显然是“世俗”事务,对基督徒而言就成为禁区了。

  第四个因素,虽是不可思议,却很顽强,那就是“个人主义”。持这种看法的人,把所有社会问题,转化成个人问题,觉得政府并不重要,因为政府不能拯救灵魂;于是压根儿对政冶活动一点都不感兴趣。

  但是这一些都说不通。不管“社会福音”错得如何,不管在教会或福音事工,应是我们首要的关切有多正确,基督徒仍不可推托对社会和政冶的承担。

  即使主耶稣的再临已近,我们也不必以为我们不能靠著上帝,努力使这个世界暂时变得稍微好一点;如果上帝指示我们得尽所能去做,我们也不能因为恐惧失败,就找藉口逃避。

  政冶的确是权术游戏,但如果社会结构要有所进步,就必须去碰。虽然它属于这个世界,它也是服事上帝,服事人的领域,从实质上言,它一点也不“世俗”。况且,政冶上的妥协与牺牲原则,完全是两回事。

  最后,破坏政冶关切的那种个人主义,可说是短视近利,弄不清楚好政府带来的益处,和坏政府带来的灾害。(想想希特勒(Adolf Hitler)帕特(Pol Pot)和阿敏(Idi Amin)。敬虔主义的被动姿态绝对说不过去,现在仍这样想、这样做的人,应该接受再教育,放弃这种观念。这种看法一点也不比我们上面所批判的其他观点正确。  

  3.持尊重圣经的帝国主义观

  我所想到的是一种“十字军精神”,某些热爱圣经的教会、团契的会友,因这种精神而生气勃勃,他们宁愿自称为“基要派”者,也不要“福音派”的称号,因为他们觉得前者用字蕴涵比较多不妥协的战斗的态度。

  我不怀疑宣布目标就投入政冶世界的暄嚣之中,为的是得著他们。这一派人士的问题在于他们受到试探,要把民主权术游戏,当作旧约中圣战的现代化同义词。在旧约圣战中,上帝呼召他的百姓,推翻异族,用武力取得他们的王国。正因为这般试探,我在前头称它为“帝国主义”。

  圣经中的圣战中,异族没有权利,也没有得以幸免不死,因为上帝用他的子民为执行者,施行应受的审判。如果将圣战视为彰显上帝赏善罚恶的手段(公义是上帝的性格之一,在全本圣经显明)虽然作法令人生惧,但确有其一致性的道德意味;问题是圣战并不是上帝对新约教会的计划,保罗在罗十二19中说:“宁可让步,任凭主怒”。如果在现代多元化民主政体,像美国、印度或英国的政坛上,将报复当作基督徒行动的规轨,这种行动不具有道德上或实质的意义。

  在民主政治中,除非民意支持你,且留你在位,你无法统冶。所以探询舆论,且为了达成一致意见而进行说服非常重要。不顾别人想法一意孤行,好像别人不算数以的,总会得著反弹回击的结局。压力团体,只想夺取使用权力,而不争取民众支持,将会引发同等地反抗力量,且结局一定是夭折。

  更正教可能很高兴:罗马天主教现在已经放弃了它长期特定的信念,过去他们认为犯过错的人就没有权利可言,拥有教权的人可以任意发号施令。万一更正教自已也玩起天主教过去的老套,恐怕不久就会自食恶果。危险总是时刻在你我身边,保罗.亨利(Paul Henry)曾经指出:“公义型态的热忱”可能“妨害到政治上的实践。因为任何种类的『忠实信徒』很容易转化成为刚硬的意识型态者,想要将他们的真理,加诸于一般人的社会大众”(注2)基督徒公民,对于公众事务的对与错,应有很坚强的信念,但总以小心谨慎为妙。  

  【为什么我们支持民主】  

  在代议民主制度中,立法、司法和行政各有其地位;大众资讯服务(媒介),不在政府的控制之下;民选的内阁政府,总会伴随著另一个民选的反对势力;而以一人一票为基础上的选举,在定期间隔中再举行……。可是,就我们所知,目前并不是每一个国家的基督徒都享有这样民主政冶环境,不同国家的基督徒生活在不同的政冶制度下,依然能事奉上帝。然而,从基督徒的立场看,代议政冶无疑地比任何其他型态政府更合宜、更明智。

  基督徒推荐民主政冶,见解有二:

  第一,一个政府若以民有、民冶、民享为目标,在开放的社会制度中,有规则地允许任何人竞选公职,这样的政冶环境最能尊重上帝赋予每个人的尊严和价值。

  第二,是察觉在这个堕落的世界中,正如Lord Acton所言,权力有腐败的倾向,绝对的权力带来绝对的腐化。权力的分散和制衡作用建立在行政结构里,会减少腐败的程度;但即使设下限制的栅栏,仍然无法永远地全然地避免权力的腐化。

  一般理论已发觉,如果有更多的公民认清他们参与公共事务决策,可以影响他们的生活,那他们会更坚定的支持这种制度。这种观念与上述的基督徒见解不谋而合,而且相辅相成。由此可见,获得最大多数民众支持的政府,一般而言会比任何其他体制更趋稳定。  

  【促使民主运作】  

  既然基督徒对民主政治的评价如此之高,大家就会期待基督徒公民坚定的支持民主原则,而且基督徒公民也一定会尽其所能地促使民主政冶顺利运作。不过这样的看法表示在一个政冶实体之内,由衷地献身于民主政治行列,最能保证公共事务决策得以可靠进行。

  在西方,实行民主政冶的环境背景是哲学上和宗教上的多元社会,从冲突中达成协议的民主过程,十分重要。在这个堕落的世界里,冲突产生自短视与近利,几乎是政冶上无可避免的现象,藉著不同立场的两方公开讨论、辩驳,可以使政策更坚实、公正,并使及方彼此制衡:我们可以说,公开讨论的气氛愈健全,这个社会就越健康,越有朝气。

  透过辩论解决政冶冲突,我们称之“妥协”。不管在伦理范畴准确度有多高,在政冶上的妥协,不是指放弃原则,而是面对现实,有心理预备:即使已尽一切努力,可能只得到“次好”的境遇。妥协的精神是,半条面包比一点面包都没有来得好。

  取与予是政冶妥协的核心,就好像在民主政冶中,妥协是政冶的核心。能明白这一点,就是政冶见识成熟的标记。相反地,一个严苛的纯理论家,以对立的态度来对待所有不能百分之百赞同他见解和目标的人,这样的态度显出这个人政冶见识不成熟。

  民主政冶的决策,是一个尽可能公开的过程,大家都期待行政人员表达他们如此行动的理由:如此做是否不致危及未来。不过所有重大的政冶决策,都说明了决策本身相当复杂,而且在社会大众中,争议极大。至少有三点理由,可以说明这种现象是避免不了的:

  第一每个人对于每个案件的真相,所知都是片面,且经过爱憎心理筛送过。

  第二长程规列和短期解决二者的差异极大,自然也就影响到价值大小、优先次序高低和意见表达的轻重。试想想正在进行辩论的环境保护问题,即可明白。

  第三结果的统计也很复杂;特别是出乎意料的结果和不受欢迎的结果,产生的反应不同;许多行动,对某些人以乎是对的,对其他人似乎是错的,因为他们期待不同的结局。因为上级的决策会产生不受欢迎的副产品,大家变成在“两害”中取其轻──“也就是说,试著选择最小的恶,而避免更大的恶。能不能在战争中使用核武的辩论,即是一例。

  基督徒公民应当接受在政治中没有垂手可得黑白分明的答案,但是上帝愿意所有的同工都是被最高贵的理想、和最成熟的智慧所引导。所罗门的例子(王上三章)显出上帝给统治者的恩赐,是运用智慧有创意地应付所遇见的难题,上帝并不提供简易速成的解决方案。  

  【基督徒公民当做些什么呢?】  

  新约圣经没有论到积极参政的例子,因为第一世纪的基督徒没有参政的选择余地。当时的罗马帝国不是民主政体,而且大部份的基督徒不是罗马公民。他们在社会经济结构中,属于低阶层,人数很少,而且被看作是由老一派的犹太教中隔离出来的分裂份子他们在政冶上没有影响力,也无权享受任何好处(基督徒稍后得到政治保护所费的时间,远超过美国独立两百周年的时间:在君士坦丁大帝之前,他们的信仰是非法的,他们所到之处都受到激烈的压迫)。

  所以,他们在政冶上惟一能参予的几件事就是:纳税(参看太十七24~27,廿二15~21;罗十三6~7)为他们执政掌权的代祷(提前前二1~4),以及维持和平(罗十二18;帖前五13~15)。

  今天,毕竟典型的民主政权己经开启了宽广的参政通道,因此比起教会初期的情形要好多了;相对的,我们在责任上的投入也得更多。

  在投入方面大致可分为:

  1.每一个人对政治事项都应有全面性的认识,设非如此,我们没法正确判断政冶见解,投票给适当人选,或是认真的为执政掌权者代祷。忽略政冶,绝对不是基督徒的美德。

  2.每一个人应当为执政掌权者代祷,正如提前二1~4所指示的,祷告具有奇妙的功效,也正如圣经所指出的,祷告的功效无可比拟。

  3.每一个人当参与选举,也要参与复决投票,在投票时当就事论事,切忌以个人对候选人的爱憎为投票的依据。也不要以单一孤立的政见为准,应著眼于整个社区的利益,一票很小,但终究是一票,或许我们可以因此发挥在世作盐作光的功效。

  4.有一些人可以藉著辩论、写作,及参加政党中工作,寻求政冶的影响力,通常圣职人员不要参与如此的工作,这会成为他们与意见不同者之间的拦阻,有碍于他的事奉。但是,对于有兴趣的信徒而言,是非常适宜的,我们应当鼓励他们去把获取政冶影响力当作一种基督徒的事奉,与在教会生活、崇拜、作见证这些他们目前极熟悉的事奉同等重要。

  5.另有些人应当从政,那些人应当如此作呢?我想是对政冶有兴趣、有能力又有合适机会的人,他们对其他事业,没有像对政冶那么强烈笃好者;

  还有那些愿改进全人类关系者,促进国际和平,将不合原则的歧视以公义来取代,以及推进公众秩序的人士。还有,有些人准备勤奋工作,他们愿意以忍耐、谦逊、容忍,以及廉洁,避免狂热驾驭等态度,将公众的利益放在自已前面。前文提到圣经历史中有些从政者顺服上帝的引导去领导社会、攻革社会,他们寻得从上帝而来的呼召,也奋力去回应。 但是,可别忽略了,从政的代价极其高昂!政坛之旅是条艰辛的路,从政者的生活公开于万目盯梢之下,无时无刻不在舆论批评之下暴露,生活必须精神十足、经常自我牺牲正如Robert D. Linder 和 Richard V. Pierard──写过的“如此时工作是毫无感激可言及教人丧志的,有时甚至到了心理丧胆及为那些参与的人心碎的境地。这些是极困难的问题,而且不论一位政冶家如何的做,总是有人会感不满,并且发出抱怨,每一个社会中的人,都有权来评断任何一个公职人员的作为,这些评断总有些利处,一个否绝抉择家的特权。由个人观点来看,参与政冶相当消耗人的时间、家庭关系及经济资源。也有许多朋友会认为你之所以参政,是为了动机堪议,而且他们会绘声绘影……”(注3)。政冶是一个权力竞争的游戏,当中所有的不过是嫉妒、憎恨、指责及满足自我的寻求,在这场游戏中,充分流露了人性罪恶的一面,这是众所皆知,无须多说的了。没有哪位有原则的政冶家,期待平坦大道,那更别提是基督徒政冶家了。

  不过,基督徒的使命又有哪一类是轻轻松松的呢?凯弗德爵士在他的著作“基督徒公民”的结论是值得好好思想的。

  “我们一定要谦卑但不能批评;我们一定要准备接受指正并且承认过错;我们服务大众乃是基于我们对神舍命的爱的回应,他的爱是我们不论如何服务大众也报答不完的。所以,不论我们做什么,我们的责任理当如此。我们不像异端宣称立即的满足;我们也不像推销员一般,保证成功。基督徒的时间表是无限的,这个撒种,那个收割,这个劳力,那个收取他的劳力。在神看来一日如千年,又千年如一日。基督徒懂得什么时候该耐心等候,但他也懂得什么时候该行动。”(注4)这才是基督徒正确的参政态度,因为,它适用于基督徒生活的每一部份。


  注解:

  l. Sir Frederick Catherwood, "Reform or Revolution?" in Is Revolution Change? ed.Brian Griffiths, Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1972, p35.

  2 Paul B. Henry, Politics for Evangelicals,VaIIey Forge: Judson Press, 1974 p.69.

  3. Robert D. Linder and Richard V. Pierard, Politics: A Case for Christian Action, Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1973, pp.107 ff..

  4 Catherwood The Christian Citizen, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1969, p .177.


  (英译中译者注:本文译自《今日基督教 Christianity Today》杂志,1985-04-19。Used by Permission。上网时间: 2002-12-10)


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《How to Recognize a Christian Citizen》(by J. I. Packer,1985-04-19)

Faithful Christians throughout history have been remarkable leaders on public issues. Whether their manner of involvement has always been wise and biblical, however, is another matter. --- by J. I. Packer 】

It is a paradox of the Christian life that the more profoundly one is concerned about heaven, the more deeply one cares about God’s will being done on Earth. The Christians who show most passion to serve others in this world are regularly those with the strongest hold on the other-worldly realities. This has always been true, whether we look at ministers, missionaries, statesmen, reformers, industrialists, physicians, men of wealth and power, or ordinary layfolk.

Service to others, as an expression of love to them, is a Christian priority. But citizenship is a form of service, as most Christians have seen from the start. Despite the Marxist claim that religion anesthesizes one to the needs of Earth, we instead find that, other things being equal, those whose citizenship is in heaven (I echo Paul’s phrase in Phil. 3:20) make the best citizens of any state, democratic or totalitarian, Christian or pagan, secular or even atheist.

The Biblical Basis For Public Activism

In the New Testament, civic obligation is emphatically commanded alongside—indeed, as part of—the obligation to serve God. When Jesus answered the question about taxpaying with the words, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17), this was not a clever evasion of the issue, but a clear acknowledgement that rendering what is due to the existing political regime is part of the Christian calling. When Peter in one breath says, “Fear God. Honor the Emperor” (1 Peter 2:17), he spotlights the same truth; as does Paul when, in the course of his overview of the life of gratitude for grace that is true Christianity, he teaches the Roman Christians to “be subject to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1), and tells them that “for the sake of conscience” they should “pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due” (vv. 6–7).

Paul speaks of each state official as “God’s servant for your good” (v. 4). Note that it is pagan Roman officials, from the emperor down, that he has in view! And he further explains that God instituted the state as such to maintain law, order, justice, and “good.” “Good” here evidently embraces protection and well-being, and is thus not far removed from the opportunity to pursue happiness, which the American Constitution enshrines.

Hence, although Christians are not to think of themselves as ever at home in this world but rather as sojourning aliens, travelers passing through a foreign land to the place where their treasures are stored awaiting their arrival (see 1 Peter 2:11; Matt. 6:19–20), Scripture forbids them to be indifferent to the benefits that flow from good government. Nor, therefore, should they hesitate to play their part in maximizing these benefits for others, as well as for themselves. The upholding of stable government by a law-abiding life, and helping it to fulfill its role by personal participation where this is possible, is as fitting for us today as it was for Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Nehemiah, Mordecai, and Daniel (to look no further). We must see it as service of God and neighbor.

As one Christian member of the European Parliament, Sir Frederick Catherwood, trenchantly put it: “To try to improve society is not worldliness but love. To wash your hands of society is not love but worldliness.”[+]

Some Misguided Christian Developments

Here, however, we must note three developments in modern Christendom that have set up perplexing cross currents with regard to political duty. Each requires some discussion before we can go any further.

1. The politicized intentions of some Christian relativists. When I speak of Christian “relativists,” I have in mind certain Protestants who treat biblical teaching not as God’s revealed truth, but as man’s patchy pointer to God’s self-disclosure, couched in culturally relative terms that today’s Christians are not bound to use and voicing many sentiments that today’s Christians are not bound to endorse.

When I speak of “politicized intentions,” I mean that their goals reduce the Christian faith from a pilgrim path to heaven into a socio-political scheme for this present world. This scheme is often referred to as establishing God’s kingdom on earth by ending society’s collective sins—racism, economic and cultural exploitation, class division, denial of human rights—and setting shalom (the Hebrew word for communal well-being under God) in its place.

What is wrong here? Not praying for shalom, nor working for it as one has opportunity. Neighbor-love in the global village requires every Christian to do this—and to do it on an international as well as a domestic scale. But it is surely disastrous when Christian faith (our grasp of God’s revealed purposes among men) and Christian obedience (our efforts to do God’s revealed will) are reduced to and identified with human attempts at social improvement. The heart is cut out of the gospel when Christ is thought of as Redeemer and Lord, Liberator and Humanizer only in relation to particular deprivations and abuses in this world. This, however, has become the standard view of liberals and radicals among the Protestant leadership. It is expressed and reinforced by the World Council of Churches. (The “liberation theology” of Roman Catholic Latin America also embodies and feeds these tendencies, but I shall not discuss that now; Protestant North America is my present concern.)

What has happened, putting the matter bluntly, is that clergymen and clericalized laymen in the mainline Protestant bodies have allowed themselves to reinterpret and redefine their basic religious values as political values. Thus they have secularized Christianity under the guise of applying it to life. In doing so, they have turned it more or less into a leftist ideology, in which even revolutionary violence and guerrilla warfare against lawful governments get baptized into Christ. A flow of semi-technical books expressing this viewpoint, the entrenching of it in liberal seminaries, and the verbal dignifying of it as the discipline of “political theology” have made it respectable. Steady propaganda in its favor from Protestant denominational headquarters now leads many laity to equate the Christian citizen’s role with pushing this program everywhere.

The basic mistake in all this is that Christianity’s transcendent reference point has been lost sight of. Those who revere Bible teaching as divine truth, who see Jesus in New Testament terms as first and foremost our Savior from sin, delivering us from wrath to come, renewing us in righteousness, and opening heaven to us, and who view evangelism as the basic dimension of neighbor-love, ought to oppose social evils just as vigorously as anybody else. To do that is part of the practical Samaritanship to which all Christians are called—that is, the relieving of need and misery every way one can. But it is all to be done in the service of a Christ whose kingdom is not of this world, and who requires mankind to understand this life, with its joys and riches on the one hand and its hardships and sorrows on the other, as a moral and spiritual training ground, a preparatory discipline for eternity. Lose that perspective, however, as the relativists of whom I am speaking have lost it, and the entire enterprise of neighbor-love goes astray.

2. The pietistic inhibitions of some Christian absolutists. “Absolutists,” as I here use the word, are either those Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox who believe that God’s unchanging truth is given to the church in Scripture, and that only by obeying this truth can one please God. They may be called Christian conservatives, or even conservationists, by reason of their unwillingness to recast or diminish the historic biblical faith. Among Protestant absolutists, many, perhaps most, would prefer to be called evangelicals, since the gospel (the evangel) of Christ is central to their Christianity.

“Pietistic” points to a concern about achieving holiness, avoiding sin, winning souls, practicing fellowship with Christians, and opposing all the forces of anti-Christianity on the personal level.

Pietistic inhibitions take the form of political passivity and unwillingness to be involved in any level of civil government. Some will vote but not run for office, others will not even vote, and all incline to treat political issues as not directly their business. Their stance as Christian citizens is thus one of withdrawal from, rather than involvement in, the political process.

Why is this? Several factors seem to operate. One is a reaction against the “social gospel” of the more liberal Protestantism such as was described above, from which evangelical pietists want to dissociate themselves as fully as possible. A second is a faulty inference from their eschatology (i.e., their view of the future), which sees the world as getting inevitably and inexorably worse as Christ’s coming draws near, and tells us that nothing can be done about it; therefore it does not matter who is in power politically. A third factor, linked with this, is the stress laid on separation from “the world,” with its moral defilements, its compromises of principle, and its earthbound, pleasure-seeking, self-serving way of life. Politics, thought of as a murky milieu where principles are constantly being sacrificed in order to catch votes and keep one’s end up in the power game, is seen as an eminently “worldly” business, and so off limits for Christians. A fourth factor, potent though imponderable, is an individualism that resolves all social problems into personal problems, feels that civil government is unimportant since it cannot save souls, and so is fundamentally not interested in the political process at all.

But none of this will do. Whatever mistakes the “social gospel” may enshrine, and however true it is that ministry in the church and in evangelism should be our first concern, there remains a social and political task for Christians to tackle.

Even if the Second Coming is near, we need not think that we cannot under God make this world temporarily a little better if we try, and in any case the fear of not succeeding cannot excuse us from trying when God in effect tells us to make the attempt.

Politics is certainly a power game, but it has to be played if social structures are to be improved, and though it belongs to this world it is a sphere of service to God and men that is not intrinsically “worldly” in the proscribed sense. Moreover, political compromise, the basic maneuver, is quite a different thing from the sacrificing of principles, as we shall see.

Finally, the individualism that destroys political concern is a kind of myopia blurring awareness of the benefit that good government brings and the damage that bad government does (think of Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and Idi Amin). No. Pietistic passivity cannot be justified, and its present practitioners need to be educated out of it. This is no more valid a stance for the Christian citizen than was the politicized posture that we rejected above.

3. The political imperialism of some Christian biblicists. I have in mind the crusading spirit that currently animates certain members of Bible-loving churches and fellowships. They would call themselves “fundamentalist” rather than evangelical, because they feel that the former word implies more of the uncompromising fighting stance.

Here there is no hesitation in announcing objectives and plunging into the hurly-burly of the political world in order to gain them. Problems arise, however, through the temptation to view the democratic power game as the modern equivalent of holy war in the Old Testament, in which God called upon his people to overthrow the heathen and take their kingdom by force. It is because of this temptation that I spoke of “imperialism” in my heading.

In biblical holy war, the heathen had no rights and received no quarter, for God was using his people as his executioners, the human means of inflicting merited judgment. Viewed as a revelation of God’s retributive justice (an aspect of his character that shines throughout the whole Bible), holy war made coherent, if awesome, moral sense. But holy war is no part of God’s program for the Christian church. Leave retribution to God, says Paul in Romans 12:19. And it makes no moral or practical sense at all if taken as a model for Christian action in the political cockpit of a modern pluralistic democracy like the United States, India, or Britain.

In a democracy, you cannot govern except as public opinion backs you and retains you in office. Therefore the quest for consensus, and the practice of persuasion with a view to achieving consensus, is all important. Riding roughshod over others as if they did not count will always have a self-defeating boomerang effect. Pressure groups that seek to grab and use power without winning public support for what they aim at will provoke equally high-handed opposition and will typically be short-lived.

Protestants may well rejoice that Roman Catholicism has now given up its long-standing conviction that error has no rights. Should Protestants themselves now flirt with that discredited principle, however, there will very soon be egg on their own faces. And the danger is constantly present. As Paul Henry has pointed out, “righteous zeal” can be very “detrimental to the practice of politics. For ‘true believers’ of any stripe are always tempted to become hard-core ideologues seeking to impose their truths on society at large.”[+] Christian citizens, who ought to have strong beliefs about communal right and wrong, will always need to be careful here.

Why We Support Democracy

Representative democracy as we know it—in which the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive have separate status, the public information services (media) are not under government control, the elected administration always faces an elected opposition, and popular elections on a one-man, one-vote basis recur at regular intervals—is not the only form of government under which Christian citizens have lived and served God. However, there is no doubt that from a Christian standpoint it is a fitter and wiser form than any other.

The Christian recommendation of democracy rests on two insights.

The first is the awareness that government of the people, by the people, for the people, in an open community system that in principle allows anyone to qualify for any office, best expresses in political terms the God-given dignity and worth of each individual.

The second is the perception that, since in this fallen world, as Lord Acton put it, all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, the separation of powers and the building of checks and balances into executive structures will limit the dangers of corruption, even if such procedures for restraint will never eliminate them entirely.

These Christian insights mesh with the worldly wisdom that sees that the more citizens can feel they have shared in making the decisions that now shape their lives, the more resolutely they will adhere to them. The pattern of government, therefore, that maximizes public consent will ordinarily be more stable than any other system.

Making Democracy Work

Christian citizens, then, may be expected to show a firm commitment to the principles of democracy, and to see themselves as bound to do all they can to make democracy work. But that means conscientious commitment to the democratic process as the best way of decision making within the body politic.

In democracies that are philosophically and religiously pluralist, like those of the West, the democratic process that achieves consent out of conflict is vitally important. In this fallen world, conflict arising from limited vision and competing interests is an unavoidable part of the political scene. The intensity and integrity of the public struggle whereby a balance is struck between the contending parties then becomes an index of community health and morale.

The name given to the resolution of political conflict through debate is compromise. Whatever may be true in the field of ethics, compromise in politics means not the abandonment of principle, but realistic readiness to settle for what one thinks to be less than ideal when it is all that one can get at the moment. The principle that compromise expresses is that half a loaf is better than no bread.

Give-and-take is the heart of political compromise, as compromise is the heart of politics in a democracy. To see this is a sign of political maturity. By contrast, a doctrinaire rigidity that takes up an adversary position towards all who do not wholly endorse one’s views and goals implies political immaturity.

Democratic decision making is as public a process as possible, and officials are expected to publish their reasons for action wherever this can be done without jeopardizing the future. But all major political decisions prove to be both complex in themselves and controversial in the community. This is inescapable for at least three reasons.

First, everyone’s knowledge of the facts of every case is partial and selective.

Second, values, priorities, and opinions of the relative importance of long- and short-term results will vary. Think, for instance, of the debates that go on about conserving the environment.

Third, calculations of consequences, particularly unintended and undesired consequences, will vary too, and many actions that seem right to some will seem wrong to others because they predict different consequences. Because executive decisions regularly have unwelcome by-products, they become choices between evils—attempts, that is, to choose the least evil and avoid evils that are greater. Think, for example, of the debate about using large-scale nuclear devices in war.

The Christian citizen must accept that in politics no black-and-white answers are available, but God wills simply that all be led by the highest ideals and ripest wisdom that they can discover. The case of Solomon (1 Kings 3) shows that God’s gift to rulers takes the form of wisdom to cope creatively with what comes, rather than ready-made solutions to all problems.

Church and State at the Crossroads

Christianity’s status as a Jewish sect normally kept it from persecution by the Roman Empire. Upon occasion, however, an individual emperor’s wrath (for example, Nero) could be turned against the church. On other occasions (like Paul’s experiences in Acts 21–28), Christians might find themselves involved in legal proceedings similar to those illustrated here. When faced with such experiences, Christians could expect a fair trial, but also an almost complete lack of understanding by the Romans as to what the new religion meant. Later in the history of the church, Roman indifference would turn to more systematic and oppressive persecution (under the emperors Decius and Diocletion in the third and early fourth centuries).

【What Should The Christian Citizen Do?】

The New Testament does not speak about active political participation, for the very good reason that this was not an option for first-century believers. The Roman Empire was not a democracy, and many if not most Christians were not Roman citizens. They were a small minority from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum, and were viewed as eccentric deviants from the older eccentricity of Judaism. They had no political influence, nor any prospect of gaining any. (It took a longer period than the 200 years of American independence before Christians secured even political protection; prior to Constantine, their faith was illegal, and they lived everywhere under spasmodic persecution.)

So the only politically significant things they could do were pay their taxes (Matt. 17:24–27; 22:15–21; Romans 13:6–7), pray for their rulers (1 Tim. 2:1–4), and keep the peace (Rom. 12:18; 1 Thess. 5:13–15).

Present-day representative democracy, however, opens the door to a wider range of political possibilities and thereby requires of us more in the way of responsible commitment than circumstances required in New Testament times.

That commitment may be summarized:

1. All should keep informed; otherwise we cannot judge well about issues, vote well for candidates, or pray well for rulers. Political ignorance is never a Christian virtue.

2. All should pray for those in power, as 1 Timothy 2:1–4 directs. The secret efficacy of prayer, as Scripture reveals it, is enormous.

3. All should vote in elections and referendums, whenever expressions of public opinion are called for. We should be led in our voting by issues rather than personalities, and not by single issues viewed in isolation, but by our vision of total community welfare. This is one way, real if small, in which we may exert influence as the world’s salt and light (Matt. 5:13–16).

4. Some should seek political influence, by debating, writing, and working within the political party with which they are in nearest agreement. Clergy should not ordinarily do this, since it will be a barrier to the acceptance of their ministry by people who disagree with their politics. It is, however, very desirable that lay people with political interest should be encouraged to see the gaining and exerting of political influence as a field of Christian service, alongside the fields of church life, worship, and witness, with which they are likely at present to be more familiar.

5. Some should accept a political vocation. Who should do this? Those in whom interest, ability, and opportunity coincide, and on whom no rival career has a stronger claim; those with a vision for improving man’s lot globally, advancing international peace, replacing unprincipled discrimination with justice, and furthering public decency; those, finally, who are prepared to work hard, with patience, humility, tolerance, and integrity, fleeing fanaticism, riding rebuffs, and putting the public interest before their own. The Bible histories mentioned earlier show that God wants some of his servants as professional politicians, leading and shaping society well, and the discovery that one is fitted for the role is a prima facie summons from God to go ahead and embrace it.

The problems are difficult, and, no matter what a politician does, invariably someone will be dissatisfied and complain about it. Every person in the community has the right to criticize the acts of any public official, and the critics have the advantage of hindsight, a privilege denied the decision-maker.… From a personal standpoint, political endeavor places heavy demand upon one’s time, family and financial resources. Many friends will automatically assume that an individual is in politics for some ulterior motive, and they will reveal this by the knowing look or sly remark …”[+] Politics is a power game, and the envy, hatred, malice, and self-seeking duplicity, which the power game regularly draws out of the sinful human heart, is too familiar to need comment here. No politician of principle can expect an easy passage, certainly not the Christian.

But who ever thought that the fulfilling of any aspect of Christian vocation would be easy? The words with which Sir Frederick Catherwood ends his book The Christian Citizen are worth frequent pondering:

“We must be humble and not opinionated. We must be prepared to find that we are sometimes quite wrong and be able to admit it. We serve our fellow-men because of our love for a Lord who gave his life for us, a debt which, however well we serve, we can never repay. So whatever we do, we do it from a sense of duty and because it is right. We do not, like the cults, claim instant satisfaction. We do not, like the salesmen, guarantee success. The Christian’s time-span is not mortal. One sows and another reaps. One labors and another enters into his labors. One day with God is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Christian knows the meaning of patience and endurance. But he also knows the meaning of action.”[+] This is the right formula for Christian politics, just because it is the right formula for every single part of the Christian life.










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